I've been working on steering linkage and noticed these markings on my front axle.
Can anyone tell me what they mean. One of them appears to be a date.
Trent Boggess posted this back in '03 :
front axle markings
The one is a date. But I don't think anyone has yet determined for certain what it signifies. It is a part of the forging process, and may have been only some forging companies, and not others. The Ford script after about 1918 was on most parts (including front axles) to show that it was a genuine Ford part, whether it was made by the Ford Motor company or not. Next to the Ford script is a maker's mark (or cartouche). I don't claim to know all the ones used by Ford, and do not recognize that one.
Ford did many of the forgings themselves after about 1911, however, did continue to use outside suppliers also. All front axles were from outside suppliers until late in the teens. Dodge brothers and Transue/Williams were best known from the early days. Dodge brothers stopped making parts for Ford in 1914 (I think?), however, those parts still showed up on cars well into 1915. There were several other forging companies that also supplied axles and other parts. T/W and others continued supplying front axles until almost the end of model T production.
The date is interesting, and gives a time-frame for when it likely would have been assembled onto a car. The date may signify the date the axle was forged, but probably not. My guess (and it is nothing more than an educated speculation), is that the date corresponds to when the forging die was made. It was probably used to track inventory, billing, or defects. Dates were not on all axles. I don't know of anybody that has tracked enough of them to provide a hypothesis for the who what when or why. Most dated axles appear to be from 1920 through 1923 (based solely on what I have seen and heard about). I have seen one 1919, and a few after 1923. I have never noticed if dates correlate to the maker's mark or not.
One interesting note. Usually, if there is a date on one side of the axle (front or back), the same date will be on the other side of that axle. However, I did see one axle that had two different dates on it. As I recall, they were only a day apart. Maybe that means it was a forging date? But somebody forgot to change one? Maybe they made half the axle one day? And the other half the next day?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Thanks for the info Phi and Wayne.
As I recall, Herbrand made the axles with the dates. The one on my '25 is dated 4/25, but the car is a July car. I have another that has a June date on one side, and the day after on the other!
Most likely it was the date when the forging tooling was last resunk, thus the same date would have appeared on axles for some time until the tooling got worn and it was time to resink it again, weeks after the last date. If one half of the tooling was resunk late in the day, then maybe the other half was done the day after in some cases.