Mark Chaffin posted these photos in the classifieds recently, and since the classifieds purge themselves after some time, I wanted to copy them over to here.
Regarding the 1909-10 starting cranks:
The rivet hole for the ratchet was moved from "90" to 60 degrees (from a line drawn vertical) on 4/14/09. Another interesting feature of the crank that Mark C. shows is the smaller diameter of the arm just adjacent to the handle. This 1/2" diameter was changed to 9/16" on 8/24/09 which remained until the part was changed to the the simpler type around 1921.
The handle drawing, T520, indicates its the same as N-937. The first drawing date is 12/31/07, and specifies "Hard Rubber". Interesting to note is that up until 1/8/12, the handle was knurled rather than being grooved like most reproduction handles we see today.
I wonder if auto part stores back in the day sold wooden handles to replace the original hard rubber ones? There are a lot of wood handles around like the one in Mark's pictures. They had to come from somewhere.
I believe that the handle is a plastic like material.
I've never seen a knurled handle, only the lines like the pictured one. I know the record of change says knurled, maybe the term meant something else. All the originals I've seen are the dark green phenolic and not the black plastic on the reproductions.
The best preserved original handle I have seen is on Frank Kulic (sp?) race car at the HFM. It makes sense it would not be worn out since the race car would not have been started daily or even weekly most likely. It is not knurled but has the small grooves in it. I have never seen a handle that was knurled like the handle drawing shows. The first aluminum handle of 1912 does show that then the handle was NOT knurled but had grooves in it like the one pictured above. The next drawing after that dropped all grooves and said to polish it. The reason is rather obvious if you ever tried to knurl a curved surface. It simply cannot be done even on a surface with some sort of static radius like a ball or long radius for a portion where the knurling would go. A knurling tool is typically a wheel(s) with either straight or diagonal pattern and it will not give you a uniform depth on a curved surface nor even a slightly uniform depth. It would have to be some sort of exotic cutter so I am sure the handle maker stated this to Ford and presented the handle as shown for approval and won the day likely by telling Ford what the additional cost would be to knurl the thing as requested rather than as evenly spaced small grooves in the area that was to be knurled. The area to be knurled was between the 2 pairs of wider deeper grooves.
Yes, the handle on this item does not appear to be made of wood. Instead, it appears to be a composite or plastic type of material. Also, no slot is present in the handle shaft which is threaded like the other early examples.
What about that nut in the background....
Kim, I agree that most handles are grooved despite what the drawing actually shows (diamond knurl) and the record of changes indicates ("Replaced knurling on handle with ridges and grooves").
There's two reason I'm not completely convinced though.
First, The drawing was created 12/31/07. It was changed 1/9/09 (hole size) & 10/16/11 (added a recess on the front end). Both drawings show the knurl. It was sometime after the 10/16/11 change that a hand-sketch was added to show the grooved construction. This change appears to have been formalized as part of the 1/8/12 change when the material was changed to aluminum. If the part had grooves rather than a knurl, there was at least (2) opportunities for the print to be corrected along with the other changes.
Second, The change states "Replaced knurling on handle with ridges and grooves". It doesn't say the more common language that was typically used when the part and the drawing didn't match, such as "brought drawing up to date with the way the parts are actually / currently being produced".
The handle on the crank in the photos appears to be an original judging by the two deeper grooves on either side of the pattern. Many reproductions don't mimic this, rather have a series of grooves.
I suspect wooden handles, at the time, were common replacements for more than just automobiles. Maybe this is why we see some on seemingly original cars?
The handle bolt being without a driving slot is interesting. How was it tightened? Also, there appears to be a spacer behind the handle. Is there a chance this bolt was replaced?
The slot in the original pin was removed at the same time the threads were. At this time, the pin was staked into the hole rather than being threaded and staked.
If they made knurled handles for as long as the drawing says, there ought to be an original example out there somewhere. Do you have a photo of one?
I meant to add, even if they were knurling them, I would think it would have to have been molded / embossed with heat, or some such. I don't think phenolic would take well to being worked over with a mechanical knurling tool, in addition to the profile complications that John pointed out.
Pictures from the original handle on my 1910.
Kim - you knew Otis longer than I did - he turned out quite a few of the black ribbed handles & machined the handle bolt with the slot - do you suppose that after threading in the bolt, Ford would have cut off & peen the end ?
Here is the starting crank handl from a July 1908 Model S Roadster.
Note the similarity to the 1910 starting crank handle.
Thank you Kim. No doubt an original judging by the peened bolt. The two deeper groves beside the finer grooves don't appear as distinct as the photos at the top of this thread. Thank you for taking and posting that picture.
Here is the threaded portion of the starting crank handle bolt. It's 11/16" long and is 7/16x20. The end appears to have been peened over.
Anybody know the history on Kulic's race car? That handle too has the same double wide/deep grooves on either side of the "knurled" area which was also a series of narrow shallow grooves. The handle on the car at HFM is in really good condition.