Wanted a few good folks to develop a plan for the continuation and updating of Bruce’s "Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia"

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2009: Wanted a few good folks to develop a plan for the continuation and updating of Bruce’s "Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia"
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By "Hap" (Harold) Tucker on Saturday, October 24, 2009 - 03:43 pm:

1. Bottom line up front.

I've been discussing with Bruce McCalley that I believe we need to figure out a plan to make sure his excellent work the “Model T Comprehensive T Encyclopedia” continues to be updated and made available to others in the future. Don't panic -- Bruce is feeling and doing fine. But at the moment, if he gets hit by truck or abducted by aliens -- there is no plan in place for continuing to update and make available his excellent years of research and writings. Some of it will not really require much up keep -- such as the USA Price List of Parts section of his CD. That tends to be very static -- i.e. he took the Price List of Parts and cross referenced them, added in the factory numbers when available, dates when things were used, and nut & bolt size and threads per inch etc. For the USA it is very complete. I would like to see it expanded to include more Canadian and other countries' Price List of Parts information as well as possibly going back to include some of the earlier information if it is easy to add that – but it is probably not going to get dated even if nothing was updated on it. But in other areas -- such as the Model T Encyclopedia -- there are always new discoveries or rediscoveries being made. Such as the 1916 "pointy leaf spring" [see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/5633.html ] that restorers were throwing away because they thought it was an aftermarket item. But then John Regan's son had one on his 1916 and took it a part to clean. He found a Ford script on one of the leaves. Then John Regan did some research at the Benson Ford Archives and found the documentation where Ford used those springs for a short season on the 1916 models. And while the front spring part number did not change and the form and function did not change -- it is still a piece of the history of the Model Ts that was rediscovered

2. Who would be interested in helping develop a plan to ensure the continued updating and availability of Bruce McCalley’s “Comprehensive Model T Encyclopedia”? And then once a plan is developed who would be interested in helping to provide resources --time, research, money, etc.in making it happen?

3. Some background information:

3.a. For those who are wondering “what ‘Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia’” please see his excellent on line Model T Ford Encyclopedia at: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/intro.htm as well as the CD version see: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/mccalley.htm as long he can. But I would like to work with some other folks or support someone else’s efforts to develop a plan so that in the future Bruce’s excellent compilation of so many contributors as well as his own research continues to be updated and available for future Model T enthusiast. That plan would be developed with Bruce’s inputs and approval. And yes, I mentioned above I have corresponded with Bruce and I have his permission to bring this topic up.

3.b. Note – some folks could care less about a plan of any kind. They are perfectly happy to jump in the car and say “Let’s go on vacation.” Let’s head west and we will figure out what we want to see and where we want to go while we are driving.” Other folks like to contact AAA or Google maps and lay out a plan and make hotel reservations and make sure tickets are available for the attractions they want to see. And the majority of folks are somewhere in between those two extremes of “unstructured vs highly structured.” And note that both approaches work for different people just fine.

3.c. But about 10 years ago or so Mr. Mell Miler became ill and finally passed away. He was a great asset to our hobby and produced some excellent rewooding plans for the Model T open cars. But he had not made appropriate plans to continue to have his drawings made available (many of us are also probably a little behind on planning for the future). His family initially tried to continue providing the plans but they basically are no longer available except from someone who already has a copy they will loan or sell on e-bay etc. And those plans are not being updated when someone discovers something new that the original plans did not address. The good news Leon Parker rewooded several Ts and has produced new rewooding plans that actually made some improvements and corrections (and added the wood seat frames for the earlier 1915 and the 1918-1919 open bodies). How much easier that would have been if Mell had been able to give or sell etc. the plans to someone else to make them available. I tried to suggest to the family that they give the plans to one of the national clubs and the MTFCA could sell the plans and use the profit to offer a trophy honoring Mell to the best ‘rewooded’ Model T – but that never went anywhere – and the family doesn’t really have the time and energy the last time I tried to check. I do not want to see the excellent work that Bruce has compiled grow further and further out of date over time and become harder and harder to obtain.

3.d. In my correspondence with Bruce we have observed that many people are not aware of the wealth of Model T information that is available in his Encyclopedia. In some cases they just don’t do computers or they are not interested in the historical details. Many of those same folks are a great support to our hobby – driving their Ts and encouraging others to locate and preserve additional Ts. In addition some of them are also serving in leadership positions in our MTFCA as well as the MTFCI at the local and national level. At my suggestion, at a MTFCA board meeting this year, Bruce asked if there was any interest in ensuring the Model T Encyclopedia would continue to be updated. Bruce found that while there was not any real opposition to continuing to update the Model T Encyclopedia there also was no real feeling at that meeting that there needed to be any plan developed to ensure that it was updated.

3.e. With the current mortality rate still hovering at about 100%. I would respectfully suggest a plan could help improve the likely hood that the Encyclopedia will continue to be relevant and available for future enthusiasts. Note science and medicine may eventually lower that rate – but I believe it will not occur soon enough to help Bruce, me, or probably many of you reading this. (If you are under 30 don’t worry – you are still “bullet proof.”)

4. What are some ideas:

4.a. First I think we need to locate some people who would like to see this happen. If someone is wanting to document the history of something I am not interested in – then I won’t be much help to them. So I would like to identify some folks that would either like to help develop such a plan and/or help support it once it is developed. You can let us know on the forum or you can send me an e-mail.

4.b. Second we need to scope out the size of the task. I have discussed this with Bruce and from memory (I know that is dangerous) he spends about 4 – 5 hours a day working on the forum and another 2 – 3hours a day working to keep the Encyclopedia updated. I know I will not have that amount of time nor the expertise to accomplish as much as he accomplishes in the same amount of time. I am not trying to address the web site requirements – as frankly I don’t think there will be a need to try and convince people the MTFCA web site needs to be continued. But for updating and making the Encyclopedia information available, I think a small team of folks working together could accomplish a lot. I.e. a couple of folks who can track the information and keep it current. Probably by year range i.e. someone(s) to monitor the 1909-1910 information; someone(s) to monitor the 1911 – 1912 etc. Most of us are more knowledgeable in some years than others. And of course some of us are more interested in some years than others. But finding one to three folks for each year range should spread the work load out and still keep the information updated. If those folks are good with computers and can update the actual files – great. But if not, then having someone who can take the new information and insert it in the correct sections so it looks nice and is still accurate would be needed. And we don’t need to try and be as good as Bruce. We just need to keep adding information as it comes to light. We also need to be willing to share things as “Theories” with the note – more information is desired etc. Clearly there are still many things to be documented about the cars and trucks.

4.c. Third we need to figure out if the MTFCA would like to have the overall responsibility and ownership or if a separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization would be more helpful to focus on that task with the goal of giving the final versions to the MTFCA for display and selling.

5. Please let me know your thoughts. Ok – be sure to keep them “family friendly” if you post them – or you can e-mail anything and I won’t post any inappropriate words. I know there are some folks like me who really enjoy the history of our cars. It clearly isn’t everyone’s passion – but if you are interested in helping please let us know. If anyone would prefer to lead this charge – just let us know and I will gladly support your efforts. I would like to work on the 1907-1908 N,R, S, & SR and the 1915-1918 years myself.

6. And next time we think about it – we might want to send Bruce a note of thanks – the forum doesn’t just run “all by itself” just like the Encyclopedia will not continue without someone or some group working at it.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 19l5 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf on Saturday, October 24, 2009 - 10:58 pm:

Hap, thanks for getting the ball rolling on this. I'm pretty busy and won't be involved in this very worthwhile project unless I retire someday, but I'll be cheering from the sidelines.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Craig Sutton on Saturday, October 24, 2009 - 11:50 pm:


I enjoy doing research from time to time. My adventures with the aftermarket (wood) bodied trucks have left me with an interest in them but I realize they are non-Ford items which members may not want included in the encyclopedia. However the chassis they sit on could possibly have differences from standard open/closed cars and factory pickups. If there is information you would like documented/researched on the bare chassis (sold by FORD with no body), or aftermarket body companies as related to FoMoCo please let me know.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kim Dobbins on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 12:07 am:

Thanks for bringing this Hap. I spoke to Bruce at Hershey, he looked great and was as upbeat and helpful as ever. There will never be another one like him. He has always had that can do attitude and a great work ethic toward the hobby. With that said, I will do what ever I can to help out.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 03:22 am:

Hap, this is an excellent idea. Although I don't have the expertise to help with this project, I am sure that there will be many who will. As far as aliens abducting Bruce, I'm sure they will bring him back quickly! Just kidding Bruce, I have been following you for a long time! Dave

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William L. Vanderburg on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 08:44 am:

I used to do this sort of thing for a living, until I got burned out. Research concerning buildings, railroad equipment, trucks, automobiles, dugout canoes, Conestoga-type wagons, experimental aircraft (one in particular powered by a Mazda RX3 engine) and even a steam powered engine the size of a milk can capable of powering a city transportation bus.

It takes time, dedication, determination, and the ability to not believe the first thing you read. And a willingness to pour over 1000's of primary sources, secondary sources, and as many "experts" you can find.

Maybe I will do it again someday......

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Verne Shirk on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 10:42 am:

It certainly would be nice to continue research into the Model T/TT and earlier models. A coordinated effort would be great so that we could all benefit from the information. I wish I had the time and money to visit the Ford Archives to do research like many have done. I have a lot of questions from having scrounged for Model T parts for 40+ years. I learn something new everyday and have learned a couple of things in the past week. The drawings, which have been reproduced from time to time in the MTFCI "Ford Times", have opened up a new aspect of our hobby. I would certainly be willing to do what I could to help but don't know for sure what that would be. Here's a few questions I have concerning the Model T...

What do all the casting numbers mean on the cylinder head?

When did the rear axles backing plates change on the '26-27 T's? Also when were the round disks added to the emergency brake cam on the rear axle?

What part(s) of the car changed so that the rear of the '26-7 T could be dropped 1" like the front?

Who built what?...I get the idea that many parts were built by others on the Model T, but as time went on, Ford began building more of the T themselves.

Who made what wheels? If you look at a lot of 30 x 3-1/2 demountable wheels, you will find several different rims and felloes. Same goes for the hubs.

And, let's not forget...was the engine painted or ??? Perhaps we fill find out someday!

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Sunday, October 25, 2009 - 11:07 am:

I would like to see the entire book available for a three ring binder, so we could add pages as they become available.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By "Hap" (Harold) Tucker on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 09:32 am:

For Craig and others with aftermarket bodies,

I would think information about the aftermarket bodies would be welcomed and helpful. I believe more cars & trucks will be saved it we make it easier for folks to save/rebuild them. Part of that is helping folks to identify what they currently have so they can find help in rebuilding it. Or if it is not salvageable then at least the parts could be made available to someone who has a similar model and is restoring or keeping it repaired. And it is just encouraging when you can look up your Model T aftermarket body and say – hey it looks just like that one (ok several of them may look very similar).

And some folks have gone to a lot of effort to measure and document how to build certain parts. They produce those parts to help provide money so they can purchase more T stuff etc. As long as they have a plan to keep the information from being lost that is great. But I would offer we might be able to serve as a “safe deposit box” for copies of items that someone has researched but does not want to release just yet. They could give us instructions that after my death or after year 2050 or something – it could be published in Bruce’s database. One of my desired is to help keep early Ford things and information from just going to the landfill and disappearing when one of us departs.

So yes, I would encourage you to volunteer to help head up the Mifflenburg body information for us. I know you have an interest there and if I remember correctly you are very fortunate to have two samples of the body – one that came as a basket case and the other in much better condition. I believe you initially started out being told you had purchased the remains of a York Bodied T (http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/22623.html ) , but through your research you discovered it was actually a Mifflenburg. That sort of information can be very encouraging to someone as they look at a project. You can help them see the Mifflenburg body that others might not see in that old truck or pile of wood. Please let us know if you would be interested in documenting that sort of information. And yes – we would love to have you also document the way the chassis came from the factory etc.

For William,

You are correct it can take a lot of time and effort – but if we do it because we “like this sort of stuff” it can be very fulfilling. I am not looking at this as a commercial venture. I don’t think the Model T market is large enough to support paying a staff etc. And fortunately we are not trying to build the database from scratch, but rather to continue to update it as additional information comes to light. For example – if we are lucky – we may know within the next couple of months if the Model T Ford assembly plants used an assembly plant mark (letters) and serial numbers on the cars they assembled in the late 1920s (see: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/111490.html?1256558457 ) “IF” that is discovered or proved one way or the other – it could be added as a future remark under the appropriate areas of the current data. I.e. the year coverage for the Ts that likely would have had one and then perhaps a new paragraph on Assembly Plants. In this case we would not be creating additional information – only adding information that was discovered to what has already been compiled. I’m sure others run across information ether through research or hands on – “look what we found.” As you work on your 1924-25 touring hopefully you will find the information that is already published/available on Bruce’s “Comprehensive Model T Encyclopedia” will be helpful to you. And you may discover some information that is not there that could be helpful to others in the future. Larry Smith’s documentation of the 1925 roadster pickup trucks is a good example. He wrote the article for the “Vintage Ford” and it was published there. But Bruce had already included it in his CD so restorers could have access to it. Many of the items detailed there apply to the roadster and touring – such as the door straps, hinges, etc. for the 1925 models. It will be available for owners for years to come. And Larry added to what Steve Coniff and Bruce had previously written.

For Verne Shirk,

I appreciate the support and those are good questions. I will probably recommend we attempt to answer “car specific questions” on a different thread – so we don’t “high jack” this one. The current encyclopedia offers some great information about some of your questions and of course others such as the type of demountable wheels are being worked (the answer isn’t nearly as simple as Hayes or Kelsey). That probably is something we would want to have – a way to highlight areas that are still being worked and who to send information to about that subject. Many of these questions will continue to be worked on – but I believe we can publish & share some preliminary information that will help stimulate additional discussion and discoveries. Are there any of those questions you would like to help track down the answers to? And as George in an e-mail pointed out – we need to emphasize that the answers are always a work in progress that will be updated as new information becomes available. And that has always been Bruce’s approach – he offers what was “typical” realizing that the different branches and even the main plant could and sometimes did do things that were not “typical.” (For example there are several notes where a part was “tried out” on the main assembly line – such as electric horns for the 1915 Models see: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc15.htm where it says:
JAN 23, 1915 Acc. 575, Box 19, Ford Archives
Will use 10,000 electric horns. If satisfactory, these horns will be used to replace bulb horns in manufacturing. A note to reduce the stock of bulb horns.
and lots of different timers in the 1920s. Most cars were not assembled with a “trial part”– but some where.)

For Larry Smith,

I like your suggestion to make the information available as a three ring binder or binders. Most folks will not want to purchase a hard copy – they will just print out the pages they want a hard copy of and will be happy with the CD or on-line version. But there are still many Model T folks that don’t do the computer thing. Or like myself – I had much rather have a book in the reading room than a computer. In those cases having it formatted so it could be stored in three ring binder is a great idea. And that would also allow the replacement of pages when new information was discovered or added. And folks could decide if they wanted one really large binder or several smaller binders – they could do what works best for them.

And that reminds me that we need a way for folks to “snail mail” information. There are a lot of folks that have a wealth of information who will never use a computer. We want to have a way for them to participate also.

For Kim Dobbins,

Thanks! I know you have been supporting Bruce’s efforts for years and I look forward to continuing to see you add additional information as it becomes available. This reminds me of the marathon races. Even a beginner is allowed to participate in the same marathon that the champions run in. As one of those beginners, I feel really privileged to be able to participate in the work with those like Kim and Bruce who have already done so much. And I would welcome any one else to join us in the marathon of continuing to find and document information about the early Fords.

For everyone,

It has already been a long race for many who have come before us – but they are offering us a chance to continue the effort. I am very encouraged by the responses Thank you all for your help and support. I still need to answer an e-mail or two but I believe we have the manpower to make it happen and now we need to figure out a plan for how best to support Bruce now and how to continue the effort when he finally retires.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 19l5 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bruce McCalley on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 09:54 am:

At the present time the CD Encyclopedia (not including the other files on the CD)is a much-updated version of the Model T book and is almost 1000 pages long. As I update the CD I print out the pages and keep them in a loose-leaf binder as Larry suggests. Anyone who has the CD can do the same if they have a printer.
However, due to the constant updating, the page numbers, when printed out, are not consistant. When viewing the CD, the page numbers are established by the PDF program and have no relation to the numbers which are shown at the bottom of each page.
If the data were to be published in book form I would need to renumber all those pages.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 10:34 am:

CD Encyclopedia by Bruce is the most wonderful thing for me in a long time.

I too enjoy most a 'hard page' book...the benefits of leafing thru material, and flipping back and forth, that's a part of my library fun.

But....if you don't have a copy of Bruce's CD Encyclopedia on your desk top screen, you are missing a whale of a good thing. The images are clear, the easy of scrolling back and to other sections, having all of Bruce's 1,000s of pages of works at the touch of your mouse......that is a joy for Model T guys and gals. All the parts books, all the Ford sales catalogs, tons of materials are on this CD set.

Recommend that you purchase this 2 set CD from Bruce, and install it on your computer, heck, if I had a laptop, that thing would be with me all the time! :-)

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William L. Vanderburg on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 12:46 pm:

For Hap,

Please don't misunderstand my post. I'm not looking for a job....I just mentioned that I used to do this sort of thing. And I didn't burn out because I didn't like this sort of stuff, because I do. I burned out because I did it 7 days a week for 10 years.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Verne Shirk on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 09:11 pm:

I have never owned a 1928-31 Model A Ford but have always had the idea that the parts for a Model A was pretty well documented in current books and literature. I would guess this is the case because, for one thing, it is not as old as a Model T and perhaps folks have spent more time researching it. I have never been to the Ford Archives, but I hope to someday. From the results I have seen, it looks like there would be a lot to learn if someone had the time to do research at the Archives. No, I'm not looking for immediate answers to my questions above and I wasn't trying to hijack the thread. They were only included to point out that there are many things (some of them quite common like 30 x 3-1/2 demountable wheels) that we don't have the answers to. When we get the Model T all ironed out, I have a few cars I would like some answers to like a 1907 REO, 1910 & 13 Buick, 1915-16 Oakland. So if you are worried about running out of something to do...!?!?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By "Hap" (Harold) Tucker on Monday, October 26, 2009 - 09:50 pm:

For William Vanderburg,

Thank you for the clarification. If you desire to be more involved with the research at a later time, just let us know.

For Verne,

Yes, the 1928-1931 Model A Ford folks are very fortunate. They are only tracking approximately 4 years of production. They have also worked really hard at cataloging and documenting items. For example from 2000 to 2005 they had numerous volunteer hours spent cataloging the Factory Drawing for the Model A Ford. So now the drawings can be ordered easily from the Benson Ford Archives (see: http://www.maffi.org/My_Homepage_Files/Page9.html ) And possibly Ford was a little more standardized with the Model A production than with the Model T production. Trent Boggess has an article on his web site giving an idea of the size of the Benson Ford Archives (previously called Research Center, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village) at: http://oz.plymouth.edu/~trentb/HFMGVStacks/Stacks.html There is still much to be discovered there as well as on the original cars and parts.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 19l5 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.

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