Some of you are newer forum participants. For several years, I placed Model K and other early Ford stories on the forum. Some member enjoyed them, and some didn't. However, life interfered, and I stayed away from these historical stories for a few years. However, I'm baaaaack.....
This involves a particular gentleman who owned a Ford Model K for several years. He was a wealthy businessman in Elmira N.Y. at the turn of the last century. Elmira is a town just north of the PA NY state line. In 1910 the population was 37,000. For those used to my "stories," this one begins in the middle.
Elmira had many Ford Model K, along with other early Fords. Evidently their Ford dealer was successful. One of the residents of Elmira ordered, and received one of the first Model K roadsters in 1907:
Ford announced the "K" roadster in late January 1907. However, this is one of the first actual deliveries, in May, 1907, to Fred H. Richardson." This particular K happens to be red:
Meanwhile, one of the towns businessmen is the proprietor of what he describes in advertising as "the largest Merchant Tailor House in the state."
Those of you who have read my "stories" in the past, know there is much more to come. This story is about Frank T. Carroll. He leads an interesting life, and a Ford plays a part in his story. This one will take some time, so sit back and listen to his story, if you are inclined.....
Rob, We're waiting for more....
Keith, I was just putting this together. Tomorrow I'll get to more with Mr. Carroll, and the interesting life he led. Needless to say, he's a man after all our hearts, with a "need for speed" and interest in the cars and aircraft of the 20th century.
I don't know when Frank Carroll bought his Ford six. The car listed for sale below may or may not have been a roadster, and along with the one Fred Richardson bought were Elmira cars and may be the Ford K roadster Frank Carroll bought.
We know Frank owned a Model K roadster as of July, 1910. We know it because, he started in low gear, and the K proceeded to drive into a store front. Knowing the torque and power of a Ford Six, this could easily have been the end of the story. Fortunately, it wasn't the end of Frank, nor his Model K Roadster.
Thanks Rob. There are a lot of us who really enjoy these stories.
For me, it's probably the closest I'll ever get to a Model K and hearing the history of it. Thanks again.
I really enjoy these historical tales. Please keep them coming
Keep it up Rob, as I'm a captive audience for a while, keep them coming!
You know I like these stories! Amazing how that car started with a short pull and took off. A wonder the damage it did.
Also, a good reminder to all of us to make certain the brake and other levers are properly set.
I will admit that I myself have made that mistake and given the model T's crank handle a yank with the car in gear (even Muncie under-drive). Usually, I know so immediately what I have done, that the engine doesn't even get a chance to fire. Of course, the K's low gear would likely give the crank handle just enough more leverage to allow one fire.
A side note, to me, is the upside-down "e" in that advertising piece. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Things like that always catch my attention. One of my many claims to obscurity is that I am a trained "old-school" typesetter. One of my oldest cousins had a small print shop when he was in high school in order to make spending money. His dad had been killed in a plane wreck a few years earlier, money was tight without a father/bread-winner in the house, and the print shop had belonged to his dad before my cousin moved it into the barn on his parent's place. So I made a little money setting type for him. A couple years later, I took a class in high school myself that was still teaching typesetting as a business-arts class. It was really ridiculous as typesetting was a dead art even then. But I enjoyed it, and already had a head-start. It was an easy grade. For a decent type-setter, it is almost impossible to put a letter in upside-down without knowing it and doing so deliberately.
Interesting the different things different people will notice, and what they think of it.
That is one of the reasons that I like history so much!
Meanwhile, I will tune in tomorrow for the next exciting installment in the wonderful world of model "K"!
Thanks guys, I'll "persevere to persevere."
Frank Carroll struck a note with me. This came to the forefront due to a mention on an earlier thread that a Model K sold in the mid-teens still held a somewhat hefty price tag (for the time). As the K was denigrated historically, it became one of the best surviving "big" cars of the period, with almost two and a half percent surviving. I suspect one reason the model survived well relative to others was due to Ford stocking parts for years. There was still a separated printed parts list for 1912-13 for the model.
I have three of these "stories" prepared. The most interesting, to me, is about the "last Model K" sold. However, I'm having trouble tracking down a few pics of the car (actually cars) that ended up in San Benito, TX (just north of Brownsville). Now, back to the story......
Meanwhile, in 1910, an article mentions Mr. Carrolls business success:
And he goes to a 1910 auto show. Maybe Mr. Carroll is in the market for a newer car. His "fast car" (K Roadster) is mentioned:
Frank Carroll becomes fifty percent owner of a local company making Monarch motorcycles:
Frank also encounters a police officer, removes the spark plugs from his Model K so the car can't be moved, and finds himself arrested. You just can't make this stuff up......
Meanwhile, the Monarch Motorcycle is successful, and the company builds motors for a cycle car:
Rob, It was an interesting read, as Elmira is not that far from me.
It's nice to see history corrected on what has been assumed for years about Henry's attitude towards the "K".
The next piece of history that needs to be corrected is the supposedly relationship between Henry and Edsel. Like the Model K, as it stands "It ain't so"!
Thanks for sharing
Great reading on a cold day.
I see where Frank's business partner is Charles Swartwood who is a county judge...maybe that's why they said in the paper after his traffic arrest or attempted arrest that "The matter is being straightened out. It is doubtful if any more would be heard about it." I guess it's good to have a county judge as a business partner :
Dan, I agree regarding Henry and Edsel Ford. At least during the early years of FMC. I've read many of the Remembrances of Ford employees and associates that paint a wonderful picture of the relationship between Henry, Edsel and Clara. One thing I've noticed, once a them is established historically, almost every follow-on book or article simply regurgitates that theme, often embellishing it. I see another thread coming.......
Denny, then, as with now, always good to have friends in high places....
Now, on with the story. As with all of us, life moved on. Mr. Carroll loses his wife in 1915:
In February, 1916, he buys an Abbot-Detroit 8-80 Roadster:
The 1916 Abbot Detroit 8 cylinder touring (I couldn't find a good pic of the roadster). It appears Frank Carroll still goes for large fast roadsters:
So the time has come and gone for the Ford six-forty.
Or is there one last hurrah for the old girl?
I love these, keep em coming please!
Thank you Mike....
In May 1916, a report about Frank Carroll's new Abbot-Detroit.
And, the final death knell for that old Ford six. Frank puts the old six up for sale June 9th, 1916:
However, Frank Carroll still thinks the old warrior has another battle left in her. An article a few days later, about how Frank is still willing to race with the old Ford. And, we learn that the old Roadster was yellow in color:
More good stuff! Thank you Rob!
Ives Motorcycle Corporation, Owego, NY. This car usually shows up at the local car shows around here...
Here it is a couple of years ago at the AACA show in Owego. I got a ride in the thing and I couldn't imagine running down the road in it!
So it appears that Mr. Carrol frequently traveled from Elmira to here (Binghamton, NY). He most likely traveled the old Indian road along the Susquehanna River that is now NY Route 17C. I have various period photos depicting the road in various locations- I will try to post them. It's hard to imagine the big six cruising from Elmira to Binghamton on such a road. Must have been quite a ride!
Wayne, thank you, and as you know, my pleasure.
Tim, Thanks for the great info on the cycle car and pic of the hotel. A little more background on Frank Carroll. Following his wife's passing, he continued to enjoy fast cars, horse racing and travel. A limitation of these "stories" is that I try to keep it centered around the Ford involved. However, while researching, I get quite a lot of glimpses into the lives of those involved.
Frank traveled, including trout fishing and hunting trips. He remarried a few years later, and for a time lived at the hotel, explaining why it's the location where he is demonstrating the Ford K for sale in 1916. A few more followup clips about his life.
As mentioned early on, Frank Carroll was a man after my (and many of our) heart. He liked to drive fast, and as the articles below demonstrate, fly high and fast:
In 1932, Mr. Carroll passes, at the age of 66. To put his life in context, he was about three years younger than Henry Ford:
Thanks Tim. I just saw your post after my last entry. There were several Model K in the Elmira area, and I'll post a few tidbits about them later.
Rob, Thank you for the presentation. The cars are great, but for me, it is the story that goes with the car.
Thank you Chad,
It's interesting for me to learn about the people who drove our cars and the times they lived in.
Elmira had a few other Model K, and a few high profile newspaper articles involving the Model K during this time. Early in the K's tenure, a well publicized military auto courier came through Elmira, as an army courier relayed a message between Chicago and New York, in a test of the efficacy of using automobiles to dispatch information. There were several legs, and a Ford Six made the last leg. Two of the photos used in the paper still exist. The roads were muddy and the relay took quite a bit of time, probably demonstrating the need for better roads. The of the Ford looking in the top photo is Gaston Plaintiff, New York Ford Branch Manager:
Another high profile incident involving an early K occurred near Buffalo N.Y., and made national newspapers, as well as the front page of the Elmira paper. Louis Block, one of Ford's branch managers, was racing another car and lost control, killing one of his passengers. This may be the first death of a passenger or driver of a Ford production automobile. Fords had been responsible for pedestrian deaths earlier. Ford also has the distinction of the first race car driver death in the U.S., when an inexperienced driver named Frank Day was killed racing Ford creation 999 at the Milwaukee State Fair in the fall of 1903.
And a few six cylinder articles and classifieds appeared in the Elmira newspaper over the years:
That's all I have for Elmira, N.Y..
Rob, In case youíre interested in clearing up the false history of Henry and Edselís relationship, you are the guy to do it! A good place to start is the fall issue of the Ford legend, the newsletter for the Henry Ford Heritage Association. This issue is all about Edsel Ford.
There is a good article written Bob Kreisler author and historian. Edsel was pretty much a loner and purposely stayed out of the limelight. Henry Ford II and his brother William Clay Ford both said their father and grandfather were very close.
I may start a thread about early Reminiscences and how Henry and Edsel were portrayed. Those personal remembrances seem much different than the historical reports we read today.
My suspicion has been for some time that conspiracy theories and bad guys sell books. It seems there always has to be a villain to make a historical account interesting. Be it Malcolmson, Henry Ford, or any number of characters in Ford Motor Company, it seems the key players are often portrayed as downright malicious. My guess is it's probably often somewhere in the middle. Just as with all of us, mistakes are made, sometimes unknowingly and certainly unintentionally.
Then again, guys like Bennett show up and throw that theory out the window. He appears to have been a bad guy.....
Thanks for the note,
Got a bit if a start to read about Agnes Harrison this morning! She grew up in Elmira but in 1909 was in Dushore Pa.
I hope you do start a thread. I believe your suspicions are correct, just look at the phony TV productions on Henry.
Bennett, he wormed his way into Henry's confidence. It was a time of worry about kidnappings after Lindbergh's, ordeal, and Bennett made the perfect body guard. After Henry's first stroke in 1938, Bennett took full advantage of it and Henry's confidence in him.
Any chance that Henry had heard/read about these machines, and built his K to compete against them?