I have a 30 x 3 1/2 inch wooden felloe FRONT wheel. The wheel does not appear to be tampered with. The hub looks to be original. The hub is post 1917 with the shorter threads (less threads). It has the showlder on the inside end of the hub for the speedometer gear to rest on but does not have the holes drilled for the gear screws.
I know that 1919 was a strange year for wheels on the model t. Does anyone out there know if there was ever such a thing as a 30 X 3 1/2 wooden felloe front wheel.
I had considered taking out the front hub and putting in a rear hub but the spokes are so tight that I am afraid of cracking some of them. I have done that a couple of times in the past so I am thinking about leaving the wheel as is.
I would like to post a couple of pictures of the strange wheel.
The first one is a shot of the front of the wheel.
The next picture shows the hub with the shorter threads than the ealier hubs 1916 and back. This picture also shows the showlder for the speedometer gear.
I thought the Canadian T's had 30 x 3-1/2 front wheels. There was a '13 Canadian T in Wichita and if I remember right, it had 30 x 3-1/2 front wheels.
I don't consider that strange or unfathomable. As Verne says, 30 x 3 1/2 fronts were used for Canadian cars. More than likely, I would say that someone simply installed a front hub on a 30 x 3 1/2 wheel.
My unrestored '17 roadster has 30 x 3 1/2 square wooden felloe front wheels (with hubs appropriate for 1917). The original 30 x 3 front wheels were replaced by the original owner who drove the car until 1947. He probably swapped out the front wheels (and retained the original hubs) because 30 x 3 1/2 tires were much easier to obtain than 30 x 3 tires in the 1930s and '40s.
I would post a picture of my car in this thread but I can't figure out how to post under the new system. However, you can see it in the last post of the old thread below:
I don't think this hub has ever been changed. If Canadian cars had 30 x 3 1/2 front wooden felloe wheels I think that is closer to the answer.
One more possibility:
Australian T's post the early ones, had 30 x 3 1/2 all round l believe, l have two in my garage, old yellow with pin stripes, small thin spokes and partly rotted felloe, right where the valve pokes thru .
Why do you think the front hup hasn't been changed in the last 80-plus years? The finish was changed at some point - I believe all Ford produced wheels were painted, not varnished.
I have refinished DOZENS of wheels back to natural wood without changing hubs. However with that said maybe the hub was changed. I was just asking if anyone know FOR SURE without guessing if around 1919 could Ford have been using 30 by 3 1/2 wood felloe wheels in front.
For David Cockey – you are correct that up until May 1925 Ford did not offer a natural finish on its wood spoked wheels. Ref: Bruce’s on line encyclopedia: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/doc25.htm (also available on his Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia (has many more pictures and contain more information than his book “Model T Ford” which is out of print. http://mtfca.com/encyclo/mccalley.htm There are a few picture in the book that are not in the CD but most cases additional photos have been added to clarify items. And of course some subjects were expanded such as the 1925 roadster pickups etc.)
MAY 14. 1925 Factory Letter
Leather "Dope Washers" announced. These were the leather grease seals that go inside the outer rear wheel bearings. P/N T-198AR or cars, TT-198AR for trucks.
NATURAL WOOD WHEELS announced. T-291-1 front wheel, balloon, with hub and less rim, at $5.50 each. T-2815G rear wheel, balloon, with hub and less rim, at $5.50 each. These were sold as a set to the dealer for $13.20. They were to be sold to the customer on an exchange basis (for black balloon wheels) for $15.00. Ford would allow a credit of $6.00 for the returned set.
MAR 22, 1926 Letter 1463 from the Fargo branch
"We can now furnish khaki or black top boots, khaki gypsy curtains and windshield wings for the open models; automatic windshield wipers, open and closed types; and NATURAL WOOD WHEELS in unlimited quantities and expect to be able to furnish bumpers, snubbing units and the combination stop and tail lamp assembly within a very short time, therefore, we ask that you make immediate necessary arrangements to line up your organization to properly merchandise the complete line of Ford accessories."
For Dave Huson – As stated above, Canadian Production which was exported to many British Commonwealth countries including Australia, New Zealand, and others used the 30 x 3 1/2 on all wheels from the beginning of Canadian Model T production.
For normal USA civilian production Ford did NOT use 30 x 3 1/2 non-demountable wood felloe wheels. Ford did make a 30 x 3 1/2 non-demountable metal fellow wheel (
2800A1 291J Front 30x3-1/2 Non-demountable (1926)
used briefly on the least expensive model of the touring and roadster. But not before then. Ref: http://mtfca.com/encyclo/U-Z.htm#wheels
Ford USA also produced Ambulances during 1916-1919. I tried to locate my reference for the Ford USA Ambulances being equipped from the factory with 30 x 3 1/2 wooden felloe wheels and tires all around. The closest I came was a friend’s e-mail where he said I had posted on the forum the Ambulances had the 30 x 3 1/2 all around as well as several posting where I stated that. But I did not give the reference on those postings. Funny how the memory fades sometimes. Anyway, if anyone else has a reference for the front tire size on the USA produced Ford Ambulances please let us know. From looking at some pictures tonight, I believe that was the case – but I would like to have a better reference for that information. The picture below is from pg 20 of the Sep-Oct 1993 “Vintage Ford” and is used by permission.
I’ll also see if I can locate my original source. And of course by the 1919 model year – the demountable wheels were available from Ford on closed cars and later open cars. I don’t know if the Ambulances used only non-demountable or the newly available demountables or if both were used. The photo below is also from page 20 of the Sep-Oct 1993 “Vintage Ford” and is used by permission. It shows the demountable wheels mounted on an ambulance. The original caption said TT – but it appears to be a car chassis to me. Note the later T car chassis was stretched about 9 inches for Ambulance use – but those ambulances were used later rather than in 1917 and earlier. Note the demountable wheels on the T below.
Bruce McCalley does show 2,227 Ambulances were produced by Ford USA during Ford’s Fiscal year 1919 (Aug 1918 to Aug 1919) (ref pg 462 of Bruce’s Book “Model T Ford” and it will also be included in his Model T Comprehensive Encyclopedia.
Hap Tucker l9l5 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and l907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
I've got a pair of 30 by 3 1/2 square felloe front wheels also. I've often wondered about them. Bought them at a swap meet in Tyler Texas in the mid 90's. Maybe they found their way down from Canada. They have the later hubs.
Hap, thanks for the information. I had missed the availability of natural finish wood wheels starting in 1925. "NATURAL WOOD WHEELS announced. T-291-1 front wheel, balloon, with hub and less rim, at $5.50 each. T-2815G rear wheel, balloon, with hub and less rim, at $5.50 each." These were 21" ballon tire wheels, not the clinchers. Also Dave's wheel appears to have a "rounded" felloe so it pre-dates 1925 by a few years. So it doesn't appear to be from the factory.
According to the wheel section of the Encyclopedia 30 X 3 1/2 non-demountable front wheels were available early in 1926. "Early production continued the options available in 1925 but the 30 x 3-1/2 (all around) demountable wheels became standard after a short time, ..."
My theory is a lot of front wheels were changed to 30 x 3 1/2 by swapping front hubs into rear wheels off of T's which had been junked. For a garage with a suitable press, it's a few minute job per wheel if the hubs are not corroded badly.
Reasons for the swap were likely availability of 30 x 3 1/2 tires over 30 x 3 once demountable rims were introduced which were 30 x 3 1/2 all around. Also, the 30 x 3 1/2 tires probably wear longer and are less likely to "blow out" than the smaller section tires.
Our 1916 T had 30 x 3 1/2 all the way around when we bought it. They were also square felloe so not the original wheels. When we had new wheels made up we went to 30 x 3 on the front.