I had the floor mat out of my car recently and while it was on the driveway I took a few pictures of it and thought that some of you might like to see them. This mat was in the car when I acquired it and I believe it to be original to the car. I do not know that to be fact, but the mat is quite old and I want to think that it has been in the car since it was new.
The biggest difference between this mat and current reproductions is that they are molded rubber only and this mat is comprised of layers of rubber and cloth. The cloth seems to be linen, certainly nothing as heavy or stiff as canvas.
The top layer of rubber and the cloth beneath.
The second layer of rubber and the cloth on the bottom of the mat.
And the reinforcement over the speedometer cable hole and slot.
Why is it that the suppliers do not provide an authentic floor mat? If Ford could do it back then, surely it can be done today?
The mats could be made that way today in the tire factories of Vietnam or India or Sri Lanka. The technology to make objects like that uses lots of manual labor and hot press molding. You would have to pay a lot to develop the tooling which does not exist, then pay for international shipping.
At the end of the process how many of us would pay $500 for a floor mat made just like an original? Then guess how many would buy the current reproductions which are made very nicely for $30. My guess is not many would see the value in a perfect reproduction.
Royce states the case exactly. I have the drawing for the Delivery Car floor mat and in fact they did refer to the center layer as canvas but we are probably used to having only a couple examples of something called "canvas" when in fact it seems to have been commonly available in various weights and with or without sizing which is often what makes it stiff.
Was the original made from natural rubber? Was it gray color--or what?
I have a 1960 Hemmings catalog. (a pamphlet really). There are a couple of mat dealers listed. All claim "real live or top quality rubber". The colors offered are Black, White, Red & Green. $16.00 for colors $12.00 for Black. Rears $8.00. Red Grows Parts offered a Black front for $9.50. No mention of Grey.
According to MTFCI judging guidelines the early mats were white but I think it more likely they were a greyish color since that is what natural rubber color was. After WW1 when they began to add carbon to the rubber formula as a way of stretching the batch of rubber, the mats were likely then black from then on. The drawing I have makes no mention of color just the construction of the mat as being rubber with a canvas inner core.
I was lucky enough to buy a Martin white mat at the Lau sale for $20! Another interesting mat fact, I see original early mats often, but have never seen an original 1925 open car mat! Does anyone have one?
So this is very likely an original 1914 mat and it's black. There must be some remains of earlier original mats - what years have you seen, and what colors were they?
I'm very suspicious about apparent colors in original photos when it's about rubber. I've seen so many examples of how hard it is to see the contrast between the black wear surface and the white sides of original 1916-23 tires in era photographs, guess it has to do with the chemistry in the negatives used back then.
Well, Royce is correct in that it will take tooling and more "hand work" to do, BUT with modern machining technology, I suspect the mold making wouldn't be that expensive, except for the Ford licensing, so yes, the mats would probably be $100 instead of the $30+ of the current mats---which don't really fit anything as they are designed to fit everything!
The original mat in my '17 runabout is black and made exactly like the one Bill Harper has, although mine is in far better condition.
Larry- I have what I believe to be an original rear mat in my '25 Touring. I can send a picture of it if you need some reference. - Mike
Did or did not? Did the 1914 floor mat have Ford on both sides so it could be flipped over used on right hand drive cars?
My mat is one sided, not reversible.