OT - The strange case of J. M. Hibbard (early Ford Model K related)?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: OT - The strange case of J. M. Hibbard (early Ford Model K related)?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Friday, January 30, 2015 - 09:50 am:

Came across an interesting (to me anyway) set of transactions while reading Trent Boggess' Early Ford Database research (included with Carlton Pate's book, "Pate's Early Ford Automobile Encyclopedia").

In 1907, J. M. Hibbard is listed taking ten to thirteen (the numbers are sketchy) Model K according to the ledger page pictured below. There is also one Model R listed. The first question I had was, why almost all Model K? Of course, the next question was, who was J. M. Hibbard. The ledger page also lists the location as "Omaha."


Courtesy "The Henry Ford," all rights apply

Searching Omaha newspapers and real estate records during the 1905-1910 time frame revealed no "J. M. Hibbard." Furthermore, the Model K "J. M. Hibbard" is credited with appear to be going all over the midwest and eastern U.S.. Two of the Model K go to the Omaha Nebraska dealer, Deright Auto Company. Deright is credited with purchasing their own Model K also, so I'm unsure why two are listed on Hibbard's ledger, only to be delivered to Deright?

The only "J. M. Hibbard" I've found was a vice-president of Stolp Manufacturing, and appears to have been an on the road representative for the company. Stolp made radiators, and merged with McCord Manufacturing. At that point, according to news accounts, Hibbard continues with the new company (McCord) as a traveling representative:



Considering the expense, and reputation of the Model K, it seems quite unusual that an agent or dealer would choose to deal exclusively in Model K, while only moving one Model R. Furthermore, most of the names on the ledger beside different Model K appear to indicate Hibbard was moving the cars to existing or former Ford agents.

So, was Hibbard a "free lance" salesman for Ford? I find no other dealings between Hibbard and Ford. It seems that between February and August 1907 Hibbard is involved with a significant number of Model K, and does not appear in any Ford dealings before or after.

Was he acting as a Ford representative in addition to his work with McCord? I believe this is the same McCord that manufactured McCord oilers for Ford models K, R and S. Did this relationship allow Hibbard to acquire and sell Fords? If so, why primarily Model K? The ledger page shows dollar amounts equal to what other Ford dealers were paying for their cars, so this doesn't appear to be a wholesale situation.

Another question, why are some dealers, such as Deright, (Omaha) Nichols (N.Y.), Curtis (WI) and "Special Motor Vehicle Co." (OH) buying Model K direct from Ford, and also taking cars from Hibbard?

Below are pasted excerpts of Trent's database of early Ford ledger entries. Some of the dealers/agents mentioned in the "Hibbard" ledger are included.

First, one entry has the word "Keystone" beside it. Is it referring to former Ford dealer "Keystone" shown below?

Next is J. A. Cramer, last seen buying a Model F in 1905. Is this the same dealer the "Buffalo" entry refers to?

One entry reads "car delivered Curtis." Possibly the "Curtis Auto Co." Of Milwaukee?

Is "Binghampton" referring to the Ford dealer in Binghampton N.Y. Listed below?



It seems the Model K listed to Hibbard are moved on to dealers in most cases (if I'm interpreting the notes correctly).

Still coming, the car to "H. R. Potter."


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Ohio on Friday, January 30, 2015 - 02:32 pm:

Prior to "Freighter Jim" Mr. Hibbard would sign for the cars at the factory and deliver them to the dealer :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George_Cherry Hill NJ on Friday, January 30, 2015 - 04:09 pm:

In 1907, the Omaha City Directory has but 4 Hibbard listed and it just happens that one is a John M. Hibbard. (J.M.)

He was a salesman for the C.F. Adams Company whose address was 1720 Capitol Avenue, Omaha. The nature of the business was "Installment Goods".

I have not a clue what that actually meant...other than 'goods' meant just about anything for sale (In the days before there were titles it probably also included cars). So maybe Mr. Hibbard IS this Hibbard, and he sold cars onward on installment sales contract??


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Friday, January 30, 2015 - 05:36 pm:

George,
We (Omaha World Herald newspaper archives person) could not find a "J. M.. Thanks for the info. May I ask where you found it?

As for the Omaha J. M. Being this person, I am suspicious (but of course it's possible).

It seems strange that these cars were listed as sold to Hibbard, then sent off around the country. That's the reason I thought it may be the McCord "J.M., because of his potential connections with several automotive people around the country?

A mystery to me.....

One of the cars Hibbard sold to Deright of Omaha still exists, number 489.

Now, another one, the car listed under "H. R. Potter."



It looks as though Potter is an owner of "Crescent Automobile and Machine Co. of Fond du Lac, WI.



While I couldn't find a six cylinder Ford associated with Potter, I did find this:




It appears the president of the company, Dr. Wiley, did own a six cylinder Ford that was destroyed in a fire a year after the ledger listing. Was this the Ford sold by Hibbard a year earlier, or a coincidence?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George_Cherry Hill NJ on Friday, January 30, 2015 - 06:28 pm:

Rob,

It may not be the same J. M. Hibbard...I was just pointing out that in 1907 there was only one of them 'registered' in Omaha

What many folks today don't know is that most cities from average size and bigger started publishing what are called CITY DIRECTORIES before the dawn of the 20th century and in some places kept them going to the 20's/30's.

Imagine a White Pages...no phone number (yet)...name and occupation and address...lots of adverts around the edges of each page...(I used them to follow my family migration all over Minneapolis because they were published every year and I could see who left the household and when,and what years they moved to new houses as Minneapolis grew etc.)

So I looked up Hibbard in the 07 Omaha, found a John M., listed as C. F. Adams Co salesman...went to C. F. Adams listing and it said "Installment Goods" there.

The more I think about it...I don't know for sure yet, but my hunch is that "Installment Goods" and "Installment Sales" are in fact one and the same...it was IRS who started purging the word 'goods' and replacing it with 'sales' as in sales revenue once they started the tax code. I may be off by a mile...It may not even be the same Hibbard...but think of C. F. Adams as the equivalent to todays "Household Finance" coupon book guys and maybe it does tie together????



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Sunday, February 01, 2015 - 09:25 am:

George (if your still with me, and for anyone else),
Your idea about "Hibbard" may be a clue. Whoever "J. M. Hibbard" is, it looks as though he isn't buying these Model K (and one R) for retail sale, but moving them around to different dealers or garages. The record only covers February through August (although this was the peak season for car sales at the time).

Is it possible Hibbard was a middle man for Ford, allowing them to move cars to different dealers or even dealer prospects, skirting existing dealer sales areas (or, I believe you suggested, as a financing concern)? Another curious thing about these records are the "Int." numbers, that I presume to be "interest." Why was interest being charged on cars that were in their current season? While the interest amounts seem small by todays standards, today's value of the interest amounts is significant. For example, the first "Int." amount, $44.50, to "Binghampton", would equal about $1100 in today's terms.........



Other "Int" entries:





I need a class in "ledger reading 101." I'm not sure what these numbers tell us, except that it looks as though these cars are not being moved at a discount, except for the 20% commission allowed by Ford on Model K. Even at that, the cost is somewhat high. For example, the last entry above, "Car delivered Curtis", is for $2502. With 20% commission added, the total is over $3100. A K with top sold for $3000 plus shipping, so this seems to be at the top of the price spectrum.

Finally, it doesn't look as though "Hibbard" is making anything, just moving the cars on to other deales/owners. What I don't know or understand is, why is Ford Motor Company documenting the price Hibbard moves the cars for (I believe that is what the far right column is showing), although, again, I'm just guessing?

Still a mystery..........


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George_Cherry Hill NJ on Sunday, February 01, 2015 - 10:45 am:

Always a mystery :-)

I might tend to disagree with your conclusion on 'int', because I could just as well see it as 'frt'.

Here is why...Cursive writing of a century ago was all over the map with a lot of flair and a lot of style...some of it based on systems ( analogy to fonts) some not and almost the persona and personality of the person. (i.e. many still would use the letter 'f' and reverse the lower loop and it was no longer an 'f' it was actually an 's'.)

I think it was maybe the Catholic schools that began demanding a common acceptable 'script' during the early 20th century and the rest of education went along. So...look hard sometimes...look from outside the box...because when I looked at city directories for you earlier, I also looked up Hillard because that was just as probable but then drew a blank.

OK, the keys to the kingdom rest in the leftmost column of numbers. This is why I've suggested digging deeper at BFM so you can have A/R, A/P, monthly financials, journal ledgers, or as much as can be gathered to recreate a proper accounting system...no matter how many highways Ford chose to get there, everything has to be listed 'somewhere' with a description and a match-up...and from there it really does get like your personal check-book.

FWIW, My wife was also the President of a good sized company in the petroleum field. Although not a CPA she was the CFO before taking on the presidency when her father passed in '86 and we sold the company in '95 when she returned to education.

So what we did over Sunday morning coffee is print out your A/R and then each of us took a best guess blind test...and here is what we came up with in our summaries...

She agrees with me on the cursive maybes...

We both agree that the left hand column of numbers is the keys to the kingdom in what you are looking for...

We both feel that the cursive 'J' most probably stands for 'journal entry' which is where you might put things if you don't have a bill, or had additional costs, or are breaking up an accrued cost pass through. Find the journal for that day, and you undoubtedly would find the full detail of what the transaction was...

The 4 digit numbers 'could be' purchase order references, or, customer account numbers, but they too would also have a corresponding explanation on the A/P sheet or general ledger.

The debits credits balance would be the same as your checkbook.

Does Trent have a hint book as to where 'other' financials reside that have not been catalogued yet? My mind may be getting slow on short term...but...somewhere I have seen and do have a list of accounting records as to general ascension and box...I didn't do the research to get it, not sure how to find it without big dig, so someone else did and it may have been Trent...and if not it was a probably a graduate student that would not have known what to call things without asking someone!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Sunday, February 01, 2015 - 01:28 pm:

George,
Thank you for the response. Trent has been kind enough to share quite a lot of information concerning his ledger research. However, I have the impression there is a lot of information missing that would help us understand Ford's accounting and reporting systems.

I went back and checked some other copies of ledger pages, and found one for Curtis Automobile. As it turns out, one of the K listed to Hibbard is the same (#430) Model K sent on to Curtis. Also, I think the "Curtis" page also shows "Int" along with the additional words "on above" referring to K #430. And, the dollar amount of "Int on above" is the same as on the Hibbard ledger, causing me to think it is indeed "interest." Also, Curtis buys Model K in addition to the one sold to "Hibbard" so I'm at a loss to explain why Hibbard appears to first have the K, then Curtis. Also, while the interest (if that's what it is) is the same, but the "K" total is lower to Curtis than to Hibbard?

top of "Curtis Automobile" page, showing two "K" along with R and N models to "Curtis"


Lower part of page, with K #430 (Hibbard K, second highlighted line) shown:


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