I have been working on removing the remains of the top on a 16 which was fairly original. Here are some of the observations:
1. The front bow shows no sign of any flap or other material to close the gap between the windshield and the top.
2. There is a piece of brass 1 1/2" wide between the front bow and No. 2 bow on each side. This was installed inside the bow pad and tacked to each bow. The bow pad enclosure shows no sign of ever being tampered with.
3. The bow pad enclosure has no trace of being black.
4. The bow covers on bows 2,3 and 4 were sewn and then pulled onto the bows and tacked at the ends.
Is this typical for tops in the 15-16 era?
I'd say this is typical for all Model T Tourings of the era.
Brendan, Can't say for items 1 to 3, but Number 4, I might have an idea. As I understand the bow covering, it is placed on a diagonal to the cloth weave, Then, one edge is lightly tacked to the bow with about 3/8" long tacks. The other edge is then wrapped tightly around the bow and sewn to the first edge. Pull the covering both ways to remove any wrinkles, cuff the ends back into the covering and then tack it down at the ends. Are you certain the covering on your bows was sewn into a tube first and then slipped on the bow, like a sleeve? That sounds difficult to me.
Here are pictures of redoing the top on my 1916 touring car.
Once the bows are uncovered from the previous top, I plugged all of the tack holes with wood glue and wood toothpicks. Trim the ends after the glue dries.
The following pictures show various stages of sewing on the bow covering.
These are photos of the brass strip and the bow covers which were machine stitched.
Cover the bows with bow-drill on the bias, and just go over the top of each socket about 1/4", and fold it in about the same, I guess that would be cuffing it as mentioned above. I staple the bow drill down the middle of each bow, and also use contact cement in difficult areas.
Brendon, I have a set of irons and bows from what should be 1916 touring. Have not compared the engine number the bows still have top material attached from a horse barn falling on the top. The iron is in nice condition wood would have to be replaced.