110 years ago today the Boston Auto Show was in mid session. The Boston papers claimed it was the last and largest of the late winter auto shows. Below is a description of the Ford exhibit, and the "sensational 1906 Ford cars:"
On March 14, 110 years ago today, a gentleman from Rhode Island attended the show, riding in both Ford cars. That evening, he felt inclined to write Henry Ford regarding the two cars, and the Ford employees who demonstrated them:
courtesy THF, all rights apply
Text of the letter:
"Henry Ford, Esq.
I had the pleasure of attending the Boston Automobile Show today and had a very fine ride in your six cylinder with Mr. Kulick. It is certainly a great piece of mechanism. Was very much disappointed however to find that the runabout does not stand test in making grades. Your agent in charge, Mr. Block absolutely refused to give me a demonstration elsewhere than on a level asphalt street, which does not highly recommend the little car. He simply said that if I ordered a car and did not like it, I did not have to buy one. Such explanations are neither courteous or pleasing for customers; and as the name of Ford stands in the shadow of strong prejudice in this section of the country you can hardly expect to gain favor through such representation.
Should like to state, on the other hand, that courtesies extended by Mr. Flint(?) and Mr. Kulick were very pleasant.
As it turns out, we not only have Mr. Caswell's impressions of the Ford cars, and his complaint about the unwillingness of "Mr. Block" to give a more aggressive demonstration of the Model N, we have a draft of Ford's letter responding to Mr. Caswell:
What Phillip Caswell couldn't know was, this Model N was probably Ford's only working model at this point. At each show, one N was used as a demonstrator, and another unfinished model was shown at the Ford Booth. Ford would not begin deliveries of the N until July of 06. I suspect Mr. Block (Louis Block, who demonstrated the Model N at all the 1906 Auto Shows, and future Ford Branch Manager) had orders to be very careful with FMC's only operable Model N.
The following day, March 15th, Frank Kulick would write a personal letter to Henry Ford, describing his impressions from the Boston show. I'll post that letter, and the changes it caused with the Ford models, tomorrow.
And, if anyone is reading along, the other event that occurred 50 years after this March 14th letter from the Boston Auto show, in 1956?
My birthday....... I'm 60 today.
Happy Birthday, Rob!
Happy birthday Rob
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLD MAN ROB...Welcome to the 60's club...I've been here awhile.
Happy Birthday Rob! Hope to see you in the fall.
Happy birthday Rob!
Thanks for the fun reading.
Happy Birthday, you old geezer!
Happy Birthday Rob!
What they said!! Bud.
Bob, You are young enough to be my son! Welcome to you and all the younger generation to the hobby. Hopefully the next and next generations after you will also follow in your footsteps.
Happy Birthday Bob!
Happy Birthday Rob.......thanks for sharing all your diggings on the early Ford's....it really doesn't need OT in my eyes......
Well, Happy Birthday, Rob!
Considering "The sensational 1906 Ford cars" makes me think you saved this for today.... Thanks for a really nice article and letters.
Hope you have a nice Birthday.
This sounds like your man. Philip Caswell senior:
"PHILIP CASWELL born Newport, RI 3 February 1879; died Middletown, RI 23 August 1947 at the age of 68."
More at http://caswell.org/familytree.html
Well then, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROB H!!!!!!
I knew you were a bit younger than I, but it really isn't much.
Thanks for all that you share here.
Do drive carefully, and enjoy life to the fullest! W2
Thanks guys. Denny, I thought you were younger. Wayne, I always knew you were wiser. Robert, in my opinion (worth every bit of two cents, in other words, not much), these are what OT posts should be, old car or Ford related, but not strictly Model T.
Mike, wait a minute, I know how old you are.
Thomas, i've found a little info on Robert Casswell too. He was a well to do (gentleman) farmer. He raised award winning chickens (Rhode Island Reds, of course), and he evidently owned a car by 1906, as he was a member of a local automobile club.
I don't know if he ever bought a Ford. I did think it quite interesting that he felt the Model N, and reputation of Ford, were questionable.
When I get to it tomorrow, the letter that changes the look of both the Model K and N, and performance of the K, sent March 15, 1906.
I just finished a 650 mile road trip, picking up Dean Yoder in Iowa City. Now we're on our way to Chickasha....
Hmm, if you're a "young one" at 60, I guess that means when I turn 63 on Friday, I'm still young!!
Now someone tell my body this news please????
Belated Happy Birthday! And thank you for all the items you contribute on the history of the cars. So much more still to capture and document.
Hap l9l5 cut off
The information about the very few demonstrators available in this time period got me to thinking. Was your car one of these demonstrators? The very early serial number would indicate that it was of only a few in existence at the time that Ford was showcasing the new Model N at auto shows.
David, that's another thing I love about this forum. Where else can a person be in their sixties and still be a "young guy?"
Hap, thank you. And thank you for the research and information you share on the forum.
On March 15, 1906, Frank Kulick writes Henry Ford. Frank Kulick was one of Henry Ford's first employees. His father also worked for Ford in the early days. Frank Kulick became a world record holding race car driver for Ford in 1904, driving Ford's 20 hp four cylinder skeleton racer to several world records.
Kulick had been involved with Henry Ford's six cylinder racer, driving it at the Ormond (Daytona) beach races in late January 1906. He then joins the Ford auto show circuit, demonstrating the new Model K, as Louis Block is demonstrating the Model N.
Frank Kulick to Henry Ford, text printed on the right:
Frank Kulick makes several observations and suggestions. He mentions the swelling cam idler gear made of fiber. Ford will change to a brass and rawhide laminate gear by production of the as. Kulick also remarks on the noisy cam gears and adding grease to them. Ford will add an oil line to the front cam gear, plumbed into the top of the front engine crank case.
Kulick recommends a brass strip be added to the Model K to similar to foreign cars. The Model K will have a brass trim added by production in April. Below is Kulick driving an early K, very possibly at this auto show. I don't believe there is a brass strip on the firewall:
One of the first two Model N. This photo was taken at the N.Y. Auto show, January, 1906. There is no brass trim on the firewall:
One of these same first two N, taken during a magazine review in June, 1996, no brass strip:
As Hap said above, there is much to learn, and we are fortunate to live at a time when so much information is available at our fingertips.
On to Chickasha....
I was preparing the post above when you posted.
Our N had what I believe was the original firewall. It had no screw or nail holes for brass trim, and the wood had been rounded too much for a brass strip, in less it had been specially formed. This makes me believe it was a very early N. Also, the brake rods and rear brake arm lever would only work in the down position, as the first photos of the demonstrators show, another "early" clue.
Trent Boggess also told me the front axle had a few features he thought were only seen on the very early N (unfortunately I don't recall exactly what the difference was, I need to remember to ask him). All these clues, along with the engine #3 lead me to think it was certainly one of the very first. However, it doesn't have a few of the very early "one of" features of the NY Ns.
So, who knows........
See you tomorrow,
I am old enough to remember the Mechanics Building in Boston. One of the highlights of each year was the New England Sportsman's Show. There were demonstrations of log-rolling, archery, target shooting with real (gasp) rifles, and fishing. Ted Williams (who claimed to be a better fisherman then baseball player) would conduct demonstrations of fly casting. In the '50s, my dad would take me to the show every year. They even had a trained Seal. Alas, Mechanics Building is long gone.
Why do I see 3 pedals and one lever?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
NRS have three pedals, reverse on the left, transmission brake in the middle and hub brakes on the right. The lever is low (back) high (forward). The only difference between NRS and the K is the hub brakes on the K are applied with a hand brake lever.