There sure was a lot of hand Klaxons used on 1915 cars...
Yeah, like on just about ALL of them.
FWIW, I've read where the Klaxon is an accessory?
Supposedly bulb horns were what were typically on the car from the factory? Interestingly, the car in this picture sure seems to be sporting that interesting, if not controversial, rivet just ahead of the rear door. Yet this car clearly has all the '15 trim, and I seriously doubt anyone would've bothered to "re-trim" their '16 to look like a '15 back then, let alone have the availability of parts. According to Bruce McCalley's (R.I.P.) Model T Ford, pg. 210-211 (soft cover edition) he says "Early in the year, though, the bodies were modified....identified by the "rivet" on the side panel just ahead of the rear door."
That said, could it be possible then, that certainly many more '15s actually DID have this rivet than we realize? I would think "early in the year" would imply possibly prior to July '15, as by then thoughts were turning more towards '16 production?
10,000 '15:s got the new magneto horn and the rest got the bulb horn from the factory. The problem was they were now located under the hood - and even with the new louvered side panels, neither original horn gave as much external noise as the public thought was needed in traffic back then..
When Ford relocated the bulb horn under the hood for the 1915 model year, many owners opted to purchase an accessory hand klaxon style horn (even a few electric horns). That was so common and so many of the early photos show the 1915 model year cars with hand klaxon style horns that for many years the consensus was they were supplied by Ford which turned out to be incorrect.
The facts are often hard to determine. Just because ice cream sales and drownings both go up in the spring and summer doesn't mean if you eat ice cream you may drown. In that case both increases are linked to the increase in temperatures.
But from at least around the 1940s - 1950s research of original USA produced cars indicated that many of the 1915s had a hand klaxon on them when the restorer purchased them. Reviewing photos of the 1915s also showed that many of them as well as others had hand klaxons.
The 1955 book by Floyd Clymer "Henry's Wonderful Model T" on page 121 for the 1915 models states [incorrectly] “The bulb horn appeared no more, but was replaced by a hand Klaxon with a polished-brass belled end."
The 1965 book “Model T Ford Restoration Handbook” by Leslie R. Henry – Curator of Transportation Henry Ford Museum on page 157 and another great supporter of our hobby stated [incorrectly] The early 1915 cars, like this one, had a bulb horn concealed under the hood. Soon a hand operated Klaxon was mounted on the top of the dummy left door.”
The 1971 book "From Here to Obscurity" on page 141 for the 1915 model year states [incorrectly] The hand klaxon horn, with a brass bell, was standard equipment this year (although some of the very early models had a bulb horn mounted under the hood, we have been told).
By 1994 when Bruce published his book "Model T Ford" they had found evidence that the bulb horn was continued into 1915 and that as early as Jan 1915 some cars were fitted with a magneto-powered horn. Note that the information was added to as time went by.
So as additional information was discovered what was considered "correct" changed. So why did so many of the 1915's have a hand klaxon? Because the bulb horn mounted under the hood was very quite and the klaxon was an easy way to have a louder horn.
Note -- someday someone may discover a factory photo of cars coming down the assembly line with hand klaxons or receipts in the Ford archives for hand klaxons and then we will need to update the information again. But currently that is my understanding of the hand klaxon on the 1915 cars. Why don’t we see them in abundance on the 1915 Fords? Because Ford also recognized the bulb horn performed poorly under the hood. Ref: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/doc15.htm that states:
OCT 16, 1915 Acc. 575, Box 19, Ford Archives
Electric horns specified for all 1916 cars. Notes that 10,000 electric horns were used in 1915 but the wording is such that there may have been more.
Once Ford went to the magneto horn the need for the accessory klaxon dropped off significantly. You will still see them on some early photos of the later cars – but the magneto horn works “good enough” that you know some one was honking.
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We have solid documentation that the rivet (actually a carriage bolt) was used on a very large portion of the 1915 model year cars.
It appears that having or not having a carriage bolt in front of the rear seat was more a function of having or not having the wooden seat frames. And that appears to be more dependent on which body maker was producing the body than the time frame the body was produced. Note during 1918-19 when some of the body makers went back to the wooden seat frames the carriage bolt in front of the rear door remained part of the construction.
I will try to post more on that later.
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Is that a bulb horn right behind the Klaxon? I can't tell if the car has a horn button up on the steering column.
Ken in Texas
Thanks Hap for your input. I could be wrong, but the main reason I brought this up, is that it seems virtually every time a pic of a '15 is posted with the "rivet" it's automatically deemed a '16 in disguise. I have one of those '15's with the carriage bolt and it has virtually every '15 attribute possible, way too much for someone to "convert" a '16 to a '15. I'm a stickler for accuracy, maybe too much so, therefore have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to research the "bolt theory". Thanks for re-inforcing my findings.
"We have solid documentation that the rivet (actually a carriage bolt) was used on a very large portion of the 1915 model year cars."
Sure would like to know what documentation exists to support that statement.
While I have seen an example of a Model T produced in 1915 model year with the large rivet behind the door, it is much easier to find Model T touring bodies dated after the beginning of 1916 model year in that style. It is quite easy to tell if a particular body was produced in 1915 model year. For the earlier style bodies there is a date stamped in the wood seat frame in the format of month_day_body number.
The cars with the rivet in the side have the same information stamped in the passenger side floorboard riser. The MTFCA 1915 Documentation page has the note to dealers showing this factoid:
JUN 26 Factory Letter
"Hereafter when ordering body panels for 1915 cars, please give both the car and body numbers. The body number will be found on the right sill just inside the front door. This number will be preceded by a letter which indicates by whom the body was made.
"The above information is necessary as panels for bodies made by our various suppliers vary somewhat."
Regarding bulb horns, I've posted a number of period 1915 photos here:
It is always good to see your postings. I’ll try to get something posted by the middle of next week at the latest. Note, I've been having internet issues (Twenty years ago I never would have thought that I would need internet access – but now I know do), changing over to a newer computer (it doesn't have a water pump -- but I haven't moved the files etc. yet). I agree that the bulk of the USA 1916s have the rivet (carriage bolt in front of the rear door on the touring) -- but I am fairly sure that some of the 1915 body makers also used that metal seat frame and carriage bolt.
While we are waiting for me to get my computer act together – if anyone has a touring body with the carriage bolt in front of the rear doors and a date stamp before say Jul 1915 (the model year started in Aug and an Aug body could easily be on a 1916 model year car (for that matter so could a Jul body) Ref: page 193 Bruce McCalley’s (R.I.P.) “ Model T Ford”
And for truth in research – please let us know if your car does or does not have a half moon cut out on the dash above or behind the coil box. If it does – it may have had that panel replaced or it may be a later black radiator body that was back dated. Note so far I have not seen any Beaudett bodies with a carriage bolt in front of the rear doors and a 1915 date in the body number. But there were several other body suppliers.
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Klaxon is one of those brand names commonly used generically, like Kleenex for tissues. To an earlier generation all cameras were "Kodaks". Like most 1915 Fords, mine has a mechanical horn. It's a Stewart.
You're right about certain name brands becoming standard terminology for an item Steve. When I was in the US Navy serving on a diesel electric submarine the diving alarm was an Ahoogaa alarm. We called it a Klaxon, but I don't think it was. It just made the same sound. To the best of my knowledge modern submarines still use the same sound for that purpose and the sailors still call them Klaxons, but it's pretty unlikely such a low tech item as a real Klaxon would find its way onto a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine.
Richard Williams has a beautiful 15 touring car. I hope he will add his info to this great thread. Also, its good to see Mr. Royce back.
In English-French dictionaries, the French for car horn is klaxon. Generic enough?
Tim.. My 15 was made in late January. It does not have the carriage bolt. It has a wooden seat frames and lids and the oh so controversial Klaxon!!
Hey Steve, my Klaxon is a Stewart too! ;o) It'll be for sale at Chickasha.
Got to have a Klaxon too - you can't hardly hear the original horn above the engine noise.........