How to date my Model T key?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2009: How to date my Model T key?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By daryl h on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 10:59 pm:

I found a Model T key and would like to know what year car it came from. It is a #58, with a "B", which I am told means that it was made by "Briggs". What can I find out about this key, or its car?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 12:16 am:

The numbered keys (51 through 74) were used 1919-1927, so your key would be for any Ford with a #58 lock during those years.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 11:14 am:

Steve,

I'm pretty sure the keys of that type began in 1921. Didn't 19's and 20's still have no instrument panel and therefore no switchplates, (except for the ones on the coilbox)?

This point always bugged me because the 19's & 20's had generators but no place to put an ammeter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 12:22 pm:

The early 1919 closed cars used a Clum ignition key, which is different than the later ones. I also understand, the 26-7 cars used a brass key and the previous cars used a solid nickel one. I could be all wet on this one, but I do have a Clum unit for an early 1919 which is round, and totally different than the later switches.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By DAREL J. LEIPOLD on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 01:04 pm:

Post a photo of the Clum unit.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 01:39 pm:

Here are the early 1919 and 1920 Clum switch plates, the 4 rivet and the 2 rivet versions, each have the large nickel round-knob lever. A heavy casting unlike the later press steel levers.

pic here
Early Clum switchs and plates, these take the normal style Ford key


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By DAREL J. LEIPOLD on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 02:09 pm:

Here is a Clum key.

1- mypicture

2 - mypicture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By DAREL J. LEIPOLD on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 02:12 pm:

will try again.

1 - mypicture

2 - mypicture


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 03:53 pm:

O.K. Someone straighten me out here.

The 1919's & 1920's had no instrument panel, correct?

Yet Lang's shows the switchplate w/ammeter for 1919-1925.

However, the earlier style key, for switches on the coilbox, are advertised for 1913-1922.

Did starter equipped cars come with an instrument panel while non-starter cars came without?

Usually, people are quick to point out errors on this forum. Please point out mine!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 04:31 pm:

Darel,
I thought Clum keys with "DB" were actually for Dodge Brothers. My '16 uses a similar key, but mine is a stamped, not machined key. VERY hard to find blanks too!! I am still looking for some, or an original "17" key.
T'
David D.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By DAREL J. LEIPOLD on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 04:35 pm:

Yes, it is probably a Dodge key. I thought it might be similar to one used on 1919 Closed Model Ts.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 07:48 pm:

Jerry

The early 1919 open cars, with starter, came with a wood dash, the switch panel was mounted on it. The switch used the now famous diamond shaped key

The early non-starter had no dashboard. Used the earlier coil box mounted switch and flat key.

Later the dash became metal with the switch plate mounted.

The Sept 1, 1920 Service Bulletin mentions the early Clum style switch, with the big cast handle. The Bulletin also states that there were four manufactures of the early switches, so there are some variables with the very early starter cars, including the type and style of the ammeter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Carter on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 08:23 pm:

The following information is in the encyclopedia (http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/I-O.htm):

IGNITION KEYS
1913 - 1927
By Trent E. Boggess
Dept. of Business
Plymouth State College, Plymouth, NH 03264

It seems that there is a story in even the simplest, most common Model T part. For instance, take ignition switch keys. A key is a key, right? Just make sure you have the right number. Well, maybe its not so simple.

From the time that the Ford Motor Company began using coils and coil box assemblies of the K.W. Ignition — Ford Motor Company design, the Company began to have a say in the design of the switch keys. The first switch key was adopted for production on April 12, 1913 and was given the factory number T-5815. This key was actually an assembly of three parts: T-5816, T-5817 and T-5823. The handle portion of the key was brass plated. Keys were supplied by both the Clum Manufacturing Co. and the K.W. Ignition Co.

The first real change in this key came on December 19, 1916. The finish on the key was changed from brass plate to Raven Finish. Raven Finish was a rust proofing process that was developed by the Ford Motor Company that was very similar to Parkerizing. It left a black, phosphate coating on the surface of the steel that tended to resist rusting.

On May 8, 1917, the key was redesigned. Instead of an assembly of three pieces, the key was made from a single flat piece of cold-rolled steel. The name of the key was changed as well. Instead of “Switch Lever Assembly,” this part became known as simply the “Switch Key” This design was modified slighTLy on June 19, 1919 by changing the inside corners of the “L” shaped plugs to have a 3/64” radius instead of a square corner to strengthen the dies which made the key.

This key's factory number was changed to T-5815-A on February 13, 1919 to distinguish it from the key used on cars equipped with starters. It remained a part of standard equipment until the use of the switch mounted on the coil box of non-started equipped cars ended about August 9, 1922. Thereafter, this switch key was given the designation T-5815-AR, the “R” indicating that the part was to be used for repairs only. (Releases for T-5815-AR)

The second type of key is distinguishable by the round shape of the head of the key. It was a short lived design supplied by the Clum Manufacturing Company. The tumbler notches appear on one edge of the key only. According to factory records, it was used on the first 15,000 cars built with electric starters in 1919. These cars were primarily sedans and coupes and had the ignition switch and ammeter mounted on the instrument panel. Keys were purchased by Ford in series numbers ranging from 1 to 32. Cars equipped with starters came with two of these keys, as opposed to the non-starter cars which came with only one T-5815-A. The Ford engineering records refer to this key as T-5815-BR and it was given the name “Ignition Switch Key” to help distinguish it from the earlier type. (Releases for T-5815-BR) The final and most common key is characterized by a head that is diamond shaped. While it was adopted on Feb. 21, 1919, the records suggest that this key was not used until after April 23. This key was number T-5815-C. These keys were made out of nickel silver and the heads were “pin frosted” on both sides. A smooth 1/8” by 3/8” surface was provided on the back side of the key for the serial number of the key. These numbers ran from 51 to 74 inclusive. The front face bore the word “Ford” in script.

These keys were made by a number of different vendors. On December 19, 1919 Ford specified that the maker's trademark be placed under the script “Ford” on the face of the key. Keys were supplied by five vendors. These vendors and their trademarks are:
Clum Manufacturing Co.
Briggs and Stratton Co.
King Lock Co.
Cabkey Dupree Co (keys have also been observed with Cabkey Dupree spelled out on the key.
Culver Stearns Co.

Cost cutting caused a change in these keys on Jan 16, 1920. The “pin frosting” was eliminated and the front and rear faces of the diamond head became smooth except for the borders, script word “Ford,” trademark, and serial number boss.

The final change to the key came on January 30, 1926 when the material the keys were made from was changed from nickel silver to “S” brass. (Releases for T-5815-C)


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