In all the years I have been involved with T's, I have heard that Henry used the boxes from suppliers for the fabrication of the floorboards in the T's. I have a 1923 Coupe that I just noticed, very lightly pressed into the wood the words "Simplex-USA". I was wondering if any of you might know who this suppler was and what they suppled to Ford. thanks, Mike
I doubt very much if Ford used packing crates for floor boards. Most of the floor boards were supplied by the body builder - meaning Ford didn't actually make the floor boards. If you look at the floor boards you will see that because of the angles any box you make would be a very odd shape. None of the original floor boards I've studied have any extra holes in them where screws or nails would have been to hold the box together.
Now, it is possible that Ford did use packing crate material for the wood under the seats of the earlier touring car bodies. These tend to be random size boards that are just laid in there. I believe that people have reported that some of these boards have partial writing on them. This could be where the floor board myth came from???
I have a 24 coupe which has the original floor boards in it. The #2 floor board is marked "Manufactured by the Mengle Mfg Co, Louisville KY." The Mengle Mfg. Co. was a supplier of wood parts. I have a photo of the inside of the plant where they are making wooden firewalls for the T. Mengle also supplied wood parts to the Briggs Co., which is who I think may have made the coupe bodies.
Could you possibly send me a photo of your floor boards showing the Simplex stamp? Also, does your coupe have the suicide doors or the regular style doors?
Trent put this tale to bed as an old wives tale many years ago. Ford did use up scrap wood in a few places and it is entirely possible that a piece of wood from some box got used because there was a machine called a Linderman (sp?) that was able to join supposedly random width boards together to make usable stock. Floor boards during the peak production years were indeed made from "Linderman stock". I can't tell you what size boards were joined or if all boards used to make this stock were first ripped to a standard width or what. Trent knows about it and researched it. The record of changes for the floorboards mentions in Feb of '24 that the floorboards changed from 9/16 to 5/8 thickness and that "Linderman stock is now permissable - no open joints..." This Linderman machine and its output may be the source of the "crates for floorboards" legend.
Not only that, but if you consider the number of Model T's that were rolling off the line every minute, there couldn't have ever been enough packing crates to keep up with that figure!
IIRC, Simplex was a company that made clocks and related equipment like chart recorders and time punch clocks.
Back when I was in high school,over 50 yrs ago,I worked after school in a woodworking shop. A customer brought in a set of floor boards to have new ones made. They were pieced togeather and had the name of a battery co printed on them. I think it was Excide for Ford cars printed on them. The customer was going to hang the originals on the garage wall. These were from pretty big crates as they had been cut down to fit the car.
I have something in Spanish on the floorboards of Evita, the Argentinian 1926 Tourer.
I suppose that many of the recycled wood was added during the life of the car either by a cash strapped owner or a mechanic...
I read somewhere (perhaps on the Forum years ago) that, Henry Ford was always looking for ways to reduce the cost of his cars which meant getting anything he could for free. With that in mind, it is easy to imagine Mr. Ford issuing a decree to his vendors requiring certain specs to be used in the thickness and width of wood used in the crates they sent parts to him in, so the crates could be dismantled and the wood cut to size for use in the floorboards. Someone as large as Ford Motor Company could do it and those vendors that wanted to continue doing business with him, I'm sure, happily complied. Makes sense to me. Jim
Have any of you looked at the back of a Kingsford charcoal bag? A friend showed me one recently and it said that the company got its start because Henry didn't want to waste the wood scraps left over from making the T. One of his relation was named Kingsford, and ran the company! If Henry was frugal enough to make charcoal from the wood scraps, I'd think that he would have found some use for the packing crate material-maybe the wood body blocks or something like that.
This factory photo from c.1914 shows a lot of wood crate material in a scrap bin. I'm not arguing whether Ford used it for floor boards or not but if you look closely there appears to be floor board blanks in the foreground and just to the right of the dark cart behind those. Some are banded but the ones on the cart nearest the scrap bin are not. Could this be a receiving area and the floor boards are being unboxed or is the cart full of usable boards from the scrap pile? Could this be body wood? I don't know.
Forgot to mention- The apparent stack of floor board blanks in the foreground seems to be about 12-15 feet high. The picture above was cropped from this full view. There certainly was no shortage of crating material. But I doubt is was used for floor boards.
Look! Right there in the middle is that 1902 Truck.
Is that a Shorpy photo, if so do you have the link?
I think it's an early Mac truck. Note the boxed rear axle (chain drive) and cab-over design.
Sorry Bob. I don't have the link. I saved it a few years ago but don't recall where I swipped it.
The wheels look pretty hefty, is that a double tire on the rear?
kinda make you wonder what the stock T's are doing in the warehouse...i think the mac truck has "extra wide" solids on the back..that baby could squish the 1902 "ford" like a bug....
I zoomed in on the picture. It looks like the touring car on the left side of the picture is an early one without front doors. Unless they had kept a car in the factory or recalled one from pre-1912 or so the photo is from before 1914.
I believe all three tourings shown are 1911 - early 1912.