What an awesome event it was last night! I feel very fortunate that we secured the last 4 tickets for the last tour on "Devils Night" here in Detroit. It was a perfect night to be in the city.
Here is my write up on the EFR. If that doesn't work, I'll try and write it up again after work. Uncle Henry keeps a close watch, you know. ;)
Jason, That really looks like an enjoyable event. Do they have it every year? If, so, please tell us in advance next year, as I'd like to go. It's like seeing history in action....
BTW, that metallurgist sweeping the floor kinda looks like Jerry Van.....do you suppose?
My knowledge of metallurgy would make me qualified as a floor sweeper, but that's not me.
I was there on Friday however and I did do some floor sweeping, though not connected with the "Ghosts" tour. Look's like it was great fun!
I don't know if it's yearly, but if it is I'll put the word out. ;) It was really fun.
And as far as Jerry Van... could have been a 'posession'? ;) Muhahahahahaha!
Yes, It was fun and informative. The Piquette staff and volunteers did a great job resurrecting some of the "Ghosts from the Past" at Piquette. It was especially effective after sunset Sunday night. Loved hearing the sounds of Jerry working on his work bench.
Sounds like a great time! If it happens again, I'd really like to go!
Great post, Jason! ... I was one of the volunteers last night, and actually think I saw your metallurgist image on your phone as you snapped the picture! LOL ...
I'm new to Piquette .. my first year .. but believe this was the first year for this event, and they do plan/hope to make it a seasonal event. It appeared to be very well received. It's nice to hear some of the 'human' stories behind the legend of the T.
I had my '24 there last week, and had it parked by the check-in table so folks could see, feel, and ask questions. Unfortunately, I put it in storage Saturday, so it didn't make the Sunday run.
I think they need to work on Ed Huff a bit. When I wrote the article for The Vintage Ford entitled "Ed Huff, Henry Ford and the Flywheel Magneto", I didn't include all of my research on Ed Huff. After all, The Vintage Ford is likely to be read by the whole family, and some of what I learned was "R" rated.
James Purdy was actually the one in charge of the magneto winding department at Piquette in the early years of the Model T. He was also one of Huff's good friends, and helped Huff build the prototype flywheel magneto parts.
In his Reminiscences Purdy made it pretty clear that Huff was a womanizer. He said he had a heck of a time keeping Huff out of the magneto coil winding area because Huff would come to see the women who worked there. So about the last place they would have put Huff was in charge of the magneto winding department.
That part of the Huff story wasn't too bad, but Purdy also describes the time when Mr. Ford told him to find Huff, and find him fast. Purdy tells where he found Huff, and who he was with in his Reminiscences, but it is well beyond the scope of this forum comment "Well beyond the scope of..." Is college professor talk for "I really don't want to go there." You get the picture.
Ed Huff was one of the most colorful characters in early Ford Motor Company history.
Can you tell how he got the nickname Spider?
So I wonder if Ed Huff left the Ford Company and then formed the Simms Huff starter and generator manufacturing company. I believe they started around 1912.
They did 'touch' on the Spider Huff/Womanizer aspect. Maybe if my kids weren't there, they would have went into more detail. ;) We did get the general idea though... sounded like a role model for the "Rat Pack".
Dennis- were you our tour guide? If so, THANK YOU! It was a great time!
I too hope it becomes a yearly event. In any case, getting to go through parts of the plant I haven't been (ie, where the "Dodges" were) made it worth it. And made me realize I need to utilize my membership more!
Thanks for looking!
I added one more picture of the coil spinning young lady. My wife had her picture, I didn't even think of taking pictures until we got to the third floor...
Fantastic pictures. Looks like a great time. Have to put this tour on my bucket list if it's an annual event. Certainly hope so!
Answering a few follow up questions:
Thomas, I never did get to the bottom of why Ed Huff had the nickname "Spider".
Brass Car Guy: Ed Huff was one of the most interesting characters in early Ford history. I read through every one of the Reminiscenes in the Benson Ford Research Center that mentioned Ed Huff. One of the things I noticed among these Reminiscences was that Ed Huff was described as a genius more often and by more different people than anyone else in that era. But is was also noted that he was a bit flakey. Some commented that there were times when Huff would just disappear for weeks or months at a time. The consensus was that it wasn't drink, but that it was something that occasionally drove him to just vanish from the scene for a while. After leaving Ford, Huff moved on to form several companies. One of which was the Huff Research Laboratories. I got the impression that the Sims-Huff Starter/Generator combination device was a product of the Huff Research Laboratories. One other thing was also clear: Huff went through money quickly, spending it on his research laboratory, yachts, high life and, of course, women. He was married at least three times, maybe four.
To return to Jason's point, the last place they would have put Huff was in the coil winding department. That would literally have been like turning the fox loose in the henhouse. Ford management would have made sure that didn't happen. That is why they put James Purdy in charge of the magneto coil winding department, and not Huff. Even then, Purdy says he had to constantly run interference between Huff and the women working in that department.
I might add that there is quite a bit of evidence that Huff had his own experimental room, and accounts indicate that it was located on the second floor in the southernmost bay of Piquette. Exactly what he did there is not entirely clear. But it was close to Mr. Ford's 2nd floor office. The two of them were know to be close friends, although they were very different in personality.
Trent- The presentation had his 'office' or 'experimental room' directly across from Mr. Ford's office. It was said so that he could 'keep an eye on him'... or know when he wasn't around. He also had people who tracked him down all over the city- ie prowled the bars looking for him. ;)
Maybe that's the inspiration for the 'social department' he formed later on? I know Mr. Ford was very much against drinking and tobacco use.
Maybe they Called Huff "Spider" because he had eight arms when he was around women
Maybe he was called that because of the body english used as a riding mechanic?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.