I am in the process of acquiring my first Model T (a 1923 Model T Runabout), and it has a non-appropriate (modern metal and plastic) aftermarket tail-lamp on the rear.
I'm looking to find a more appropriate-style replacement, and it got me to wondering... did these cars even come with a working "stop" light (meaning, one when you stepped on the brake pedal, the red light in the rear lit-up brighter, like a modern-day car)? Or, did they just come with a steady-burning kerosene lantern on the back, that you lit when heading out at night?
This car came with two cowl-lamps that have the kerosene fonts and wicks inside, by the way.
Please excuse my ignorance, but your help will assist me in choosing an appropriate replacement.
The cars without a battery and generator or starter had the kerosene lamp on the back. The cars with starter had electric lamps on the cowl and in back. None of them had stop lights. The stop light was an after market item. It is a good safety item. The switch mounts around the starter bendix cover and is activated by the outward movement of the brake pedal when you apply the brake. There are other methods which pull a spring activated switch when the pedal is pushed. Some have adapted a chevrolet switch to work. The early stop lights were various types either stand alone lights or combination lamps or bolt on to the tail light, so really any type which appears vintage will be OK.
Ford supplied a stop light as an accessory from 1926. I suppose the "sport touring" and "sport roadster" accessory packages included stop lights?
They're hard to find nowadays, but model A rear lamps are quite close. Another option is to put a double filament bulb in a 1919-25 electric tail light.
Fun Projects supplies a well engineered stop light contact, but it's easy to make your own design with a contact from some old motorcycle or whatever you can find at swap meets..
Ford's solution was fastened on the bendix cover and reacted on the sideways motion of the brake pedal, but there have been quality issues with the repros available from the vendors.
Accessory stop lamps were sold as early as the late teens. They are not hard to find (eBay is your friend), and make a nice safety improvement that is attractive and authentic.
My 1926 Touring came with tail lights on both sides. It was required because of the luggage rack, when loaded, could obstruct the view from one side or the other. The lamps had only one central contact for the bulbs. What I did to keep the DMV-equivalent happy, was as follows. I found higher output bulbs that fit. I installed a resistor in the circuit, that dimmed the bulbs, and a switch, actuated by the brake pedal, that bypassed the resistor and made the bulbs brighten up when the brake pedal was pushed down.
If adding a brake light switch, the unit from Fun Projects is my choice. http://www.funprojects.com/products/bls-1.aspx It mounts to the rear of the transmission and doesn't move like the bendix cover switch might.
Welcome, Bob --Since you're in CA, there will be lots of other Model T'ers around to help you with your "new" car. But this is the best online Model T help source you can find.
For the time being, here are what you need.
One of these:
And one of these, if you like:
And one of these to make them work:
Bob, As Mike said. Welcome .... to probably the best source of help and info anywhere. As to tail lights. In 1926 and 1927 the was a "STOP" tail light offered by FORD. It was usually a "Dealer" installed option. There was only one and it was on the left or drivers side. (I know you Canadians, and Aussies like to think the drivers side should be on the right side ) Your 1923 model only came with an electric tai light. If the car was non starter equipped it would have had the kerosene side lights and kerosene taillight. A lot of times the kerosene side lights were added to a starter car, as lots of people like the looks of them. In that case there probably was an electric tail light already there so they left it instead of going back to the kerosene taillight. I have seen lots of cars with 2 regular taillights added to the car. The parts suppliers sell a left and right bracket to mount them with. Then just change the single contact socket to a double contact socket and add dual filament bulbs. Then you can use the 1926 1927 style "STOP light switch" or some of the other aftermarket styles of switches to activate the "Stop" light part of the bulb. You can also add turn signals if you have the dual filament bulbs in place. The parts suppliers also offer several options as to turn signals. Again, welcome to the Model T world and be safe and have fun .... submitted with respect, Donnie Brown ....
I might add that California law requires all cars to have a stop light.
They also require an inside rear view mirror and an outside rear view mirror on the left side.
Right hand drive cars are required outside mirrors on both sides as well as directional lights.
My sincere thanks to all of you who responded to my question... and for the warm welcome from your Model T community! I look forward to learning as much as I can about these cars, and hopefully "down the road" (pun intended) become more of a contributor to the Forum.
So, if I'm understanding you all correctly, my cowl lights were probably retrofitted at some point in time, to the older Kerosene-style lamps... and, if I go with one of the conversion-to-electric kits out there, I would just be putting those back to the way they originally worked (yet still retain the Kerosene lamp look).
On the other hand, it looks like I have some thinking to do regarding the rear tail-lamp. I am supposed to get the car in a couple more days, so will get a closer look at the rear lamp set-up at that time... perhaps it was already converted to include a stop-lamp feature already?
I'll report back on that once I get my mitts on the car.
"...my cowl lights were probably retrofitted at some point in time..."
Bob -- Either that, or the car began its life as a non-starter car and the cowl lamps were on it from the beginning. It could be either way, and it's very common to see either scenario. Folks with starter cars add cowl lamps because they like the looks of them, and folks with non-starter cars add starters for the convenience.
Here's my homemade stop light contact setup:
The clamp on the brake pedal was made from aluminium, the bracket held by the inspection lid screws is made out of a steel strip and the contact was found at a swap meet.
Happy hundredth to my hogshead, the only(?) 1915 part on my Johnny Cash car
UPDATE: I found that my Runabout already had a stoplight switch circuit, fed to the rear with a single wire. I installed a standard teacup lamp fixture in the spare tire carrier, and now have a working stoplamp. I also pre-wired a second wire, from the tail-lamp circuit of the teacup fixture, all the way up front to the engine compartment, in the hopes of finding a usable place to connect the tail-lamp, so that it is on whenever the headlamps are on.
Does anyone have a suggestion as to where to tie-in this new tail-lamp lead up front? I did do some testing and found that, on the wiring strip (on the firewall), the terminal screw that is 2nd from the left seems to only go "hot" when the key is on (and the headlamps are on). Would this connection be a good choice to tie in to?
Before you go any further...
Count the number of terminals on your firewall and repost...
My guess is 6 post but your comment above says otherwise or wired non-standard...
You can NEVER allow the DC voltage circuit and the mag voltage circuit to mix or your mag gets permanent amnesia....
Also, is your teacup rewire for a 2 filament lamp? (Just checking)
I can't prove this, but I believe Ford made a replacement taillight for the mid-twenties T's probably in the thirties. I have several of them, and they have a straight through socket in them similar to the headlights, that allow you to use either a single or double filament bulb, with a spring type plug on one end. That way you can choose the type of bulb you want to use. I use a double filament cowl light bulb from Snyders, and file off one of the pins, because for some reason Snyder chose to use a staggered pin type socket.
I'm using an original Ford stoplight switch mounted on the bendix cover.