Dug this out from the top of the barn. First glance it appeared to be 1915, after a closer inspection perhaps a Frankenstein?
No horn tube, gear case is polished bronze, brass plated steel quadrant, nickel plated steel gear case cover, later style spark and throttle spring cups, round flattened end levers, early throttle rod guide, single pin throttle lever?
I don't how what year it is, but I always thought the 1915-16 steering columns have two tapped hole on top up near the quadrant for the short lived horn button used at that time.
Early 15, the late 15 ones had the single wire horn tube and button holes.
I would go with the Frankenstein theory.
My early 1915 has no horn tube. It has a Rubes horn.
Mine is like that one with 14 style levers. No tube no holes either.
If you take a look where the quadrant is riveted to the column you can see it is not riveted the way Ford did them. The rivet tails are flat, and one is nailed over so that you can see the hole on the top side. At the bottom the rivet technique is also not too good, and has obviously been done as some sort of field repair. There are parts from several eras married together to make something that works.
Other than maybe the top of the steering box,nickel plated? it looks like all the right mix of bits to be the perfect candidate of all the old and new changes for 1915.
The gear case cover is steel not brass and the throttle lever has a single pin. Still 1915?
Other than the cover, which is much later, it looks like early '15 to me, but what do I know?
is this the correct shape for the spark and gas rods ends? I thought the 15 would have a tapered end, didn't the style shown started in 1917? Thanks
1915 - early 1916 model year column has throttle and spark rods like this:
It is clearly a '15 steering column that has been messed with. Note the rivets, and the spark and throttle rods have been changed, along with the top gearcase. The acorn nut is late too.
Larry, thanks. Is there anything that definitively identifies this as a 1915 other than the missing horn tube wire?
Hmm, I'll be; my '16s steering column spark and throttle rods have the type in the first picture, not the flared ends as in Royce's photo.
Back to the drawing board!!
Mid year 1916 the pinched ends came out. If your serial number is over about one million that might be correct.
Nope, my car is just under 1M, Dec. 10, 1915. Rats, it's all (the steering column)nicely restored and brass plated.
That's pretty close. Maybe someone has the record of changes for the spark and gas rods. If not it would be worth your while to request a copy from the Benson Ford archive. To me there is nothing more interesting than a car built on the cusp of several changes. When you are restoring a 1915 or 1916 things were changing every couple of weeks.
There was an original early 1915 touring body only with all its parts and pieces at Chickasha in 2015, so took a lot of detail photos.
The key to the early columns is the flange at the tube end, there are no rivets there, just brazed joint. And the levers as Royce mentioned, along with double rivet levers for the spark and throttle rod.
Pictures from that early '15, no horn wire tube, if there was a horn tube, those early ones had bigger than the normal tabs brazing the tube to the underside of the column.
Long and trim flats on the rods.
'Double' rivet spark and throttle rod levers.
'Smooth' round flange on column tube. No rivets there.
That's what I was looking for. Thanks! Anyone interested in a pseudo 1915 steering column? It's available. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the post.
Interesting that that body has the later coil box switch. Could be a replacement, or that body could be newer than the seller realized. Maybe it's an early '17? Though if the column had no holes for the horn button, Hmmm. . . .
The tabs for the "pipe" style horn wire tube are a "longer" than the ones for the stamped "U" tube. I should take some pics of my column.
Many of us looked at the car. It is a legitimate early '15. The coil box probably got changed.
I have 2 early 16 cars. The first, a touring with casting date 11/23/15 and serial number from early December, had a column with no holes for the horn switch, no horn tube, and steel spark and throttle levers with flattened ends. The second is a roadster with holes for the horn button, skinny tube with long narrow tabs to fasten to the column underside, and steel rods with flattened ends.. There is a trace of brass plating on the rods inside the column but I am not sure if this is just rubbed on from the gear box. This car is with casting date in September and serial number in late December. The touring came to me with the body together and engine out, having been rebuilt. The roadster came to me all in pieces except the motor/transmission that was stuck.
OK, I took pics of my restored steering column. It's a bit dusty, but the dust sorta helps you see some of the features:
top view of upper end
Bottom view of upper end
End view of top end
Horn wire tube clamp (dust helps define the edges!)
Whole inside car column (top and bottom views)
And engine end of column with double rivet lever
Now this column did not come with my car (the car was in pieces), but when we did it, we thought it was correct for the car. Now. . . ???
It's so nice I don't think I want to change out the spark and throttle rods! Oh, and yes, I know the engine side of the spark & throttle rods shouldn't be plated. Probably paint them with that "cast iron" paint to disguise them!
Oh, and so you don't have to look through the thread, my car is Dec 10,1915, probably in the morning about 10 am!!!
Oops, I double posted, and this is as much as I could change--darn dial-up!
(Message edited by david_dewey on December 20, 2016)
10:43am to be exact....
Harold-You funnin' me? as that's about when I figure, I'm 28 engines before the magical 1M.
Bump to the top, need more opinions on my steering column
I don't know if my opinion on this means much or not. I have had several steering columns from that narrow window of use, but none of them were attached to anything that could give a clear date of manufacture or use.
The supposedly late '15/early '16 center-door sedan I had twenty years ago, had been the victim of a bad '50s restoration. There were several details that indicated it MAY have been genuine that early second series center-door? But so many other things had been changed to way later parts, that nothing could be certain about it. The frame was pre-starter, and drilled for the earlier firewall brackets. But the engine was 1925, the front end, most of the rear end and wheels were all post '20. For a car so confused about its identity, it had one interesting part unique to its claimed vintage. And that was the steering column. It was just like David D's restored column, only not quite as nice. Small horn wire tube with clips just like he shows. The horn button was the little one on the top of the column. The spark and throttle levers and quadrant all had the remains of brass plating, that appeared to have been original and had been painted black in the '50s restoration. I found the brass plaiting when I was cleaning everything up for a repaint. Unfortunately, my time and budget did not allow for having them re-plaited at that time, so they got painted again. Those spark and throttle levers had the small button ends.
Another loose column I had was quite restorable, in spite of the fact that the horn button and wire tube were rusted away so badly as to be unusable (although I did mange to salvage the Bakelite horn button switch and used it to restore a horn button that was in better condition otherwise. This particular column had a brass gear case with the small button ends on the spark and throttle levers. They were all too rusty to detect any brass plaiting.
I had one other '15/'16 column, complete enough to have some meaning. It also had the small button ends on the spark and throttle levers. Those do seem to outnumber the wide flatted ends by quite a bit (which should be expected). Wide flatted ends on earlier columns with the two-piece gear casing should of course be the norm.
The 1915 model year was very short. Except for the very low production sedans and couplets built in the fall of '14, real 1915 serious production did not begin until January 1915, And production switched to the '16 model year about August '15. Those 1915 cars as well as at least some early '16 models should have the wider flatted levers. Some will have brass plated quadrants, some may not. The small button end spark and throttle levers started to show up somewhere between July and December '15. I have read and been told several dates, but none of them that I would hang my hat on.
MY opinion Mr D. Use your column. It looks really nice, better and more correctly restored than 90% of the '15s and '16s out there. I am not a 100% sure? But I suspect that the smaller button end spark and throttle levers were probably showing up by sometime in December '15 (and probably the two styles intermixed with different assembly lines). I suspect that you could use either style and be right for your month of production.
You need to get your touring done, I need to get my runabout done, then we can get together and pick each others car apart!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thanks, but after all the time it's going to take to put mine together, I sure don't want to pick it apart!!
But first I get Barney back on the road (and the living room finished--decree by SWMBO!
From what I have seen the column you have should be appropriate for a 1916 car with a serial number near one million.
1915 model year is a whole different story.
SWMBO? I'm out of guesses!
David H, (She Who Must Be Obeyed) = Wife (usually)
David D, One thing we both need to change, at the rate we are both going on these two cars, we may be in our 90s by the time they are anywhere near done!
Beyond that, I can pretty much promise that your car will be the much nicer and in many ways a better restoration. I will be happy as the proverbial clam if mine looks good from fifty feet and runs well enough to enjoy some tours.
Drive carefully, and do enjoy the holidays! W2
Thanks Royce, now I feel better!!
David: SWMBO? She Who Must Be Obeyed.
AKA; the better half (well, she is in my case!)
Wayne, Boy, you've got that right!! I'm afraid I'll have to buy another set of tires for it at this rate!
I think the general public doesn't notice the difference between a 5 foot and 50 foot paint job! So we're probably safe. . .