Introduced in October 1908, the Ford Model T had received unprecedented public acceptance. Fiscal 1909 (October 1908 to October 1909) had seen 10,660 cars assembled; fiscal 1910, 19,050; fiscal 1911, 34,858; and fiscal 1912, 68,773. 1913 was to see sales almost triple to 170,211 cars.1 Selling the product was not the problem, the problem was that the increasing sales made it difficult to produce the cars needed to fill the orders.

While the year 1913 is generally regarded as the year in which the moving assembly line was “invented,” the real beginning had come years earlier, and at Ford no doubt as early as 1903. It is only natural to seek easier and quicker ways of accomplishing an objective. Just as one might wash dishes—you wash all, then dry; not wash one, dry one, etc. The simplification of manufacturing and assembly by implementing logical routines evolved into the step by step placement of men and machines in the order of the operations, and from this evolved the moving assembly line. The Ford Motor Company was in a unique position to fully develop manufacturing and assembly methods to their maximum efficiency; it made just one product and it made enormous quantities of that product.

Increasing production could have been accomplished by adding more workers and more factory space for them but this obvious solution has a number of flaws. Men cost money, as does factory space, and the per-unit cost of the item would remain constant. Ford’s aim was to increase production by improving efficiency. In most cases, this effort resulted in far fewer men putting together far more parts. As a consequence, the unit costs were greatly reduced, thereby reducing the cost of the finished product. With the product’s cost reduced, its sales price could be lowered, and with the lowered price, more could be sold. With greater sales, a greater profit could be made, and this increased profit could then allow further reduction in price, which increased sales, which demanded further production efficiency, and so on.

Every phase of the manufacturing of the Ford car was analyzed and modified to this end. In the case of the engine, the engine traveled over 4,000 feet during assembly in 1909 but this distance was reduced to just 340 feet in 1914. In October of 1913, it took nine hours and fifty-four minutes of one man’s time to assemble the engine, but by May 1914 this time was reduced to five hours and fifty-six minutes.

Machine tools were moved into the production lines so that one operation fed the next with a minimum of handling. Machines were given just enough room so the operator could produce with the greatest efficiency; less room would have cramped him, while more room would have meant wasted steps or lost motion. An example of time-saving on just one of the operations was outlined in the July 1914 issue of The Engineering Magazine:

To show what can be done by simply dividing an operation seemingly already reduced to its lowest terms, and placing the short work-slide lengthwise of the assembling bench; the first example of the improved Ford practice here illustrated and described is the piston and connecting rod assembling, changed within the past two months, so that now fourteen men assemble 4,000 pistons and connecting rods in one eight-hour day, instead of the twenty-eight men employed to do exactly the same work less than two months ago, and with no change whatever in the tools used, nor in the ultimate operations performed.

In addition to the labor-time saving, the present practice of piston and rod assembling includes an inspector, who gauges and inspects each piston and rod assembly, with the result of no rejections from the motor assembling line. With the former practice, where each man did the whole job of piston and rod assembling, numerous returns were made from the motor assembling line, causing delays in the motor assembling to say nothing of the costs of pulling down and re-assembling the faulty piston and rod assemblies.

The finished weights of Ford pistons vary—maximum, about six ounces. Each piston is weighed and marked on the head by a center-punch used without a hammer, with one, two, three, or four center marks, dividing the pistons into four weight classes, maximum weight variation in each class three-quarters of an ounce. After inspection, the inspector places the assemblies on one or another of four shelves, according to the center marks on the piston head, and the pistons are paired for weight on opposed crank-throws by the motor assembler.

The pistons and pins come to the piston-and-rod-assembling bench with the pins in the pistons. The rods come to the bench by themselves.

The work bench is covered with sheet metal on top. In the old style, where each man did the entire job (average time about three minutes), each bench had seven piston-holding special vises on each side, with no inspector, and no inclined work-slide over the bench—fourteen men to each bench, two benches, twenty-eight men in all, who assembled 175 pistons and rods, average, in nine hours of one man’s time, or about three minutes and five seconds time, each. Operations, tools and benches were the same as now used in working the new methods, save that seven of the fourteen vises are now removed from each bench. The flat-top sheet-metal-covered benches are fourteen feet long and four feet wide.

Here was a three-minute operation, very simple: push pin out of piston, oil pin, slip rod in place, slip pin through rod and piston and tighten the pin-pinching screw in the rod top-end, and place and open the pinching-screw split pins; and although the time was not very small and the work not faultless, no one had studied the job carefully, or held a stop-watch on the operations to find out how the three minutes were actually expended. Finally the motor assembling foreman analyzed the time with a stop-watch and found that four hours out of the nine-hour day were spent in walking—that is to say, in body movements of each assembler made by moving his feet.

In a day or two the foreman had split the single man into three men and reported to the machine-shop superintendent that he had no use for fourteen of the twenty-eight men on the piston-and-rod assembling job, and the superintendent laughed at him.

Seeing convinced the superintendent that the laugh was misplaced, and he then said that it was surprising that the job had not been changed before.

It is of no use whatever to tell this story without detailing it as minutely as a split second-hand details operation-motion time-losses; therefore three photographs are shown, together with a fairly complete operation-time analysis so that the reader can see for himself much more than he could learn as a mere uninstructed spectator in the Ford shops, watching this piston-and-rod-assembling job in actual work.

Operation 1.
Drive out pin with special hand-hammer.
Operation 2.
Oil pin by dipping end in box of oil.
Operation 3.
Slip pin in rod-eye. Hand.
Operation 4.
Turn pin to take screw. Screwdriver.
Operation 5.
Turn in pinch-screw. Hand brace.
Operation 6.
Tighten screw with open-end wrench, and put in cotter-pin; spread pin-end with special tool.

Time: Three minutes and five seconds; no inspection; fourteen men on one bench. Average production per man, 175 pistons and rods assembled in nine hours working time.


Bench provided with slide, three men on each side of bench, and inspector at end of bench.

Operation 1.
Drive out pin, oil pin, enter pin in piston. Average time, ten seconds.
Operation 2.
Place rod in piston, pass pin through rod and piston, with screwdriver turn pin to position and take screw, turn screw in with brace. Time, ten seconds.
Operation 3.
Tighten screw with open wrench, place cotter-pin by hand, spread cotter-pin ends with special tool. Time, ten seconds.
Operation 4.
Inspection. Inspector gauges piston with flat steel gauge, places piston in pin-holding jig, tries rod to see if rod is pinched tight on pin, then holds piston horizontal in both hands and vibrates it slowly in vertical plane to see the weight of the rod free-end will barely rock pin in piston-pin bushes, and that pin has friction enough to keep rod from moving freely, a delicate test for pin-fit in the piston bushes. If rod works either too stiffly or too freely the assembly is rejected, goes back to the assemblers, and has a larger or smaller pin put in, as the case may demand.

Actual inspecting time about eight seconds, leaving inspector two seconds time to place the assembly on the proper shelf, according to the center-punch marks or the marks on the piston head.

The best time record for seven men, six assemblers and one inspector is 2,600 piston and rod assemblies turned out in eight hours, equal to one assembly in 77-1/13 seconds of one man’s time. Average time, 2,400 assemblies in eight hours, with seven men, gives one assembly in 84 seconds of one man’s time, or better than double the work of one man doing the job with no inspector, and with a saving of 101 seconds of time of assembling.

With inspection, under new style, as said before, there are no returns from the motor assembling line.

The piston-assembling job teaches two lessons of first importance. The first is that there are great savings in labor to be made by splitting operations to such an extent that the workman does not need to change the position of his feet, and the second lesson is that a work-slide so located that the workman can drop his completed operation out of his hand in a certain place, without any search for a place of deposit, and can also reach to a certain place and there find his next job under his hand, is also a very important time saver.

The vises are sixty inches apart, so that there is only thirty inches reach required for the pistons and pins, which are placed on the bench after Operation 1, ready to hand to the man who performs Operation 2, who in turn places the pistons where they are readily reached for Operation 3. The slide is used for the completed assembly only, and delivers the completed assemblies close in front of the inspector so that not a movement need be wasted anywhere.

In commenting on the late change from the old routine of piston and rod assembling to the new method by which fourteen men are made to do more and better work than twenty-eight did before, the foreman of the assemblers said, “We were asleep over that job, asleep and dreaming. I don’t see how we came to overlook the possibilities the way we did.”

The piston and rod assembly was, of course, just one small part of assembling a Model T. Similar savings were made in every step of assembly. The first major Ford assembly to be given the moving assembly line “treatment” was the flywheel-magneto. Until the moving assembly line was created, one man took about twenty minutes for each one. After the change it took about thirteen minutes and ten seconds. As the methods were further refined, and a chain drive was added to the line, the time was dropped to about five minutes per man per assembly.

The moving assembly lines for the sub-assemblies for the Model T resulted in a severe problem at the final assembly. While final (chassis to axles to engine, etc.) assembly had been modified and shifted, the actual operations were carried on in more or less static locations. The moving final assembly line was Ford’s crowning achievement.

In August 1914, Horace L. Arnold described the chassis assembly lines in The Engineering Magazine:

Up to August, 1913, the Ford chassis was assembled on one location. First the front and rear axles were laid on the floor, the chassis frame with springs in place was assembled to the axles, next the wheels were placed on the axles, and the remaining components successively added to complete the chassis. All components needed to make up one chassis had to be brought by hand to each chassis-assembling location. This routine of stationary chassis assembling was, in September 1913, worked with two lines of assembling-floor space, 600 feet long, twelve feet chassis to chassis centers, fifty assembling locations in each 600 foot line, 100 cars in process of assembling in the two lines. Working in this routine 600 men were employed, 500 being assemblers who were supplied with components by 100 men acting as component carriers.

About April 1, 1913, the first sliding assembly line, used for assembling the Ford flywheel magneto, was placed in work and immediately showed a large reduction is assembling labor-cost. Consequently, the possibility of lowering chassis-assembling costs by introducing the moving assembly line for chassis assembling became a matter of discussion among Ford engineers.

In the month of August 1913 (the dull season), 250 assemblers, with a stationary assembling location for each chassis, the assemblers being served by eighty component carriers, worked nine hours per day for twenty-six days to turn out 6,182 chassis assemblies. Total labor hours 330 x 26 = 77,220 hours, giving twelve hours and twenty-eight minutes for each chassis, about as good as ever done with stationary chassis assembling.

The assembling line was long—600 feet—but even that did not give enough room, and 12-1/2 hours of labor time seemed altogether too much for one chassis. It was in the dull season, and an experiment was made with rope and windlass traction on a moving assembly line 250 feet long. Six assemblers traveled with the chassis as it was slowly pulled along the floor by a rope and windlass past stationary means of component supply, and the chassis-assembling time was reduced to five hours and fifty minutes of one man’s time, over fifty percent saving.

October 7, 1913, on a moving assembly line 150 feet long, with no helpers, components being piled at suitable locations, 140 assemblers in the line completed 435 chassis assemblies in one nine hour day, two hours and fifty-seven minutes of one man’s time for each chassis assembling.

The assembling line was lengthened by degrees to 300 feet, giving the men more room, and on December 1, 1913, 177 assemblers working nine hours turned out 606 completed chassis assemblies, about two hours thirty-eight minutes of one man’s time on each chassis.

December 20, 1913, working two assembly lines, 191 men completed 642 chassis assemblies in one nine-hour day, a little less than two hours forty minutes of one man’s time for each chassis, the cars being pushed along by hand.

January 14, 1914, one assembling line was endless-chain driven, with favorable results.

January 19, four chassis-assembling lines were worked, only one line being chain driven. The wheels were put on as soon as the axles and frames were assembled, and the assemblies in progress ran with their front wheels on the floor and their hind wheels carried on three-wheeled cradles, used to give easy placing of the rear wheels on the motor-starting drive at the end of the line.

February 27, 1914, the first high line of rails with chain drive was used. The chassis slid on its axles as pulled by the chain, and the wheels were applied only a short distance before the motor-starting was reached. This first high line was made with rails 26-3/4 inches above the shop floor, and at once showed great advantages, the best time for one chassis assembling being only eighty-four minutes, while the worst time was two hours. Two other high lines were soon installed, 24-1/2 inches high, with chain drives; tall men worked on the line 26-3/4 inches high, and short men on the other two lines, 24-1/2 inches high.

The Ford engineers make a point of “man-high” work placing, having learned that any stooping position greatly reduces a workman’s efficiency. The differing heights on the chassis-assembling high lines are believed to be decidedly advantageous.

On these high lines, on April 30, 1914, 1,212 chassis assemblies were completed in one eight-hour day,2 each chassis being assembled in one hour thirty-three minutes of one man’s time, as against twelve hours twenty-eight minutes, the best time with stationary chassis assembling, September 1913; 93 minutes as against 728 minutes—and it must be borne in mind that the September 1913 Ford practice in chassis assembling was fully abreast of the best known in the trade. Very naturally this unbelievable reduction in chassis-assembling labor costs gave pause to the Ford engineering staff, and led to serious search for other labor-reduction opportunities in the Ford shops, regardless of precedents and traditions of the trade at large.

In addition to the constant changes in production methods, the design of the car itself was modified to facilitate ease of production or cut the basic cost of the components. The new 1913-style Model T Ford was the result of many of these cost-cutting modifications.

Introduced about October of 1912, the 1913-style Ford had an all-new body of simpler and less-expensive design than those that preceded it. Small details such as the use of all-brass lamps, hard-rubber knobs on the spark and throttle levers, and extensive use of leather all came “under-the-axe” in the economy drive. As the year progressed, the car evolved in cost-cutting design.

One of the minor changes which had a major consequence in cutting costs was the elimination of the separate forged body bracket at the rear of the frame by simply using a longer rear cross member, a modification during calendar 1913. Presume that it took just one minute to install the forged brackets on each chassis. Ford produced about 200,000 cars in 1914; it would have taken 200,000 minutes, or better than 3,300 hours for the installation of these forgings. Each of these brackets was held in place with three screws, three nuts, and three cotter pins; that’s six screws and nuts per car—1,200,000 of each! This saving does not take into account the cotter keys nor the brackets themselves. Each bracket had four holes which had to be drilled—1,600,000 holes—which took some time as well. If the screws alone were as cheap as ten for a penny, the savings on screws alone would have been $1,200!

The 1913 body (not made by Ford, but purchased outside) followed the general lines of the 1912 cars (as they appeared with their fore doors installed) but was a much simpler design and considerably more modern appearance. The separate fore doors of the 1912 were now integral with the body; the door on the driver’s side being eliminated since the brake lever and steering column precluded its practical use anyway.

The wooden dashboard (firewall) was made smaller and a new steel-frame windshield with a sloping lower section was installed. This windshield was braced to the body side instead of using the long rods to the front of the chassis as in the earlier models. The top section could be folded forward.

Upholstery, possibly all leather initially, evolved to a combination of imitation-leather material and the real thing during 1913 production. The diamond pattern continued with the diamonds being sewn into the seats rather than tufted (a change made, apparently, in the 1912 model year).

The standard color for the initial (and perhaps all) 1913 cars was a very dark almost-black blue, with black fenders and splash aprons, following the same color scheme as the 1912’s. No written evidence has been found of all black Model T’s prior to 1914, although surviving examples would seem to indicate that there were such cars. A factory list, issued in December 1913, showed the following colors:
F-101 First coat plastic black japan for fenders and shields
F-102 Second coat black japan for fenders and shields
F-103 First coat blue dipping for hoods and rear axles
F-104 Second coat quick-drying black for rear axles
F-105 First coat brushing black japan for front axles
F-106 Second coat brushing black japan for front axles
F-107 Blue black baking for coil box
F-108 First coat black wheel surfacer for wheels
F-109 Second coat blue color varnish for wheels
F-110 Second coat black brushing for frames (the first coat was not specified)
F-111 First coat red baking metal body primer for body
F-112 Second black glaze putty for body
F-113 Second coat blue ground for body
F-114 Solid blue rubbing for body (repairs only)
F-115 Third and fourth coat body spraying blue varnish for body
F-117 French gray for striping wheels
F-119 Black engine dipping for finishing crankcases.

Striping (in French gray) appeared on some of the early 1913 production but was apparently discontinued early in the year. The use of black undercoating on the bodies is interesting. Just how durable the blue final finish was is open to question but perhaps after a little oxidation and polishing the blue wore through, giving the appearance of a black body. Note, too, that there was no paint specified for the engine—just for the engine pan. Production photos of 1913 and 1914 (and even later) seem to indicate the engines were not painted, or if they were, they were not black. They may have been coated with some preservative but more likely they were just bare iron.

The initial 1913 Touring bodies were built on wooden sills about 2-5/16 inches thick. The front and rear sections of the body were separate, with the doors extending to the splash aprons to give the body a one-piece appearance. These thin sills proved to be too weak, allowing the doors to open as the rear of the body flexed, particularly when there were rear-seat passengers. Early in production the sills were reinforced with a a strip of wood which was glued and screwed on top of the existing body sill. Later a formed-steel bracket which coupled the two body sections together was installed over the body sill. Then additional body brackets were installed ahead of the rear seat section, and finally the sills were increased to 3-1/4 inches but the problem was still not solved. The ultimate solution, however, was the change to smaller doors with a connecting body panel (the 1914 style body) in later 1913.

Interestingly, later in the year the factory asked for an inventory count of the reinforcing brackets at the branches. It seems they were still getting orders for them and that they had already made and sold more than enough to fit every body that had been produced prior to becoming standard equipment. Rather than tooling up for more, they hoped the branches could come up with the surplus that just had to be somewhere.3

While the square-cornered doors extending to the splash aprons were the main identifying feature of the 1913 body style, the windshields and their supporting brackets were another. The upper half of the windshield folded forward this year and the supporting brackets were relatively straight. The 1914-style windshields looked similar but the top section folded to the rear, and the supporting brackets had a curve to allow clearance for the folded section. The windshield frames were steel and painted black, as were the supporting brackets.

Windshields were supplied by Rands, Diamond, Vanguard, and Standard. Rands made two styles, one with a larger lower section and a smaller top section as in the other brands, and another with both sections of equal height. This “odd” type required different support brackets and an altering of the front top bow to fit.

The fenders used in 1913 continued in the style used in 1912 except that the front “bill” was eliminated (to be reinstated in the later 1914 cars). Some of the early cars had the lip of the front fenders on an angle (see photo) as if the former bill had been cut off. There were no reinforcing moldings pressed into the triangular splash section of the front fenders, and no cross molding pressed into the wide part of the front fenders (as in the 1914-1916 style).

As mentioned earlier, the chassis frame initially was the same as the 1912, using the forged rear body brackets. During May 1913, at about #271,425, the rear cross member was made longer, eliminating the need for the brackets.

1913 was the last year in which any parts with the Dodge Brothers name would appear. The Dodges, major stockholders in the Ford Motor Company, had been major suppliers of Ford parts (mainly forgings in later years) since the company had begun in 1903. Until about 1906, the Dodges were the manufacturers of the Ford car, exclusive of the body and wheels. The two Dodge brothers, John and Horace, had decided to build their own car about this time. There is little doubt that the highly successful Dodge car got its start from the profits of the Ford company, in which they shared. Dodge Brothers apparently continued to supply forgings to Ford but only with the “DB” logo on many of them.

1913 marked the beginning of the “Made in USA” identification either stamped or cast in many parts of the Model T. The practice had begun in 1912 (and on some parts, much earlier), but by 1913 it was wide-spread. Most noticeably, this identification appeared on the front of the radiator and on the hub caps.

Mechanically, the 1913 car was like the 1912. During 1912, the rear axle had again been redesigned to use the rounder cast center section, with the axle housings flared and riveted to it. This style was introduced, perhaps, about August 1912 and continued until early 1915. Other minor changes were:

Brake rod Anti-rattlers. During 1913 these were changed from the welded design which ent under the brake rods and folded over, used since 1909, to a simpler pressed type which now went over the brake rods and folded under.

Carburetors. The Kingston Y “four ball” or the two-screw Holley S were supplied by Ford. Later production used the Holley three-screw model G.

Coil Boxes. Early cars used the wooden K-W and Heinze boxes but during the year the Ford metal box, using the standard-size coils made by K-W, Heinze, and Ford, became standard. This metal box continued through 1914; differing from the 1915 and later types in that it had a one-piece, non-sloping cover.

Crank. Most 1913 production used the aluminum-handled crank (painted black) introduced in 1912. The simpler steel-handled crank may have appeared later in the year but it is believed to be more typical of the 1914 and later cars.

Driveshaft Housing. 1913 was the last year for the so-called “two-piece” driveshaft housing with the separate U-joint housing. During the year, the U-joint housing was made integral with the front forging.

Engine. 1913 was the last year for the pipe-plug water jacket seals. These were dropped in favor of welch plugs beginning about number 200,000 (February 1913). The flat-top pistons were superseded with the domed type, and the compression ratio was reduced to about 4:1. Many 1913 engines had cylinder heads which were drilled on the left edge for priming cups. The holes were plugged with screws. The early cars (built in 1912) may have used the earlier camshaft which had greater timing overlap (and more power). 1913 was also the last year for the engine pan with the deep “tea-cup” oil drain.

Engine Manifolds. 1913 cars used the aluminum intake manifold as on the earlier cars. The cast-iron manifold may have appeared in later 1913. The exhaust manifold was modified during production to use the flanged exhaust pipe, instead of having the pipe fitting into the manifold and being sealed with asbestos packing.

Front Axle. The steering connecting rod (drag link) now had integral sockets, riveted and welded at each end, replacing the adjustable type used from 1911 to sometime in early 1913. The front radius rod (wishbone) was now held to the engine pan with studs and springs, instead of the screws used earlier (with no springs). The steering connecting rod (from spindle to spindle) now had the locking bolt on the left-hand fork vertical instead of horizontal.

Hood. Aluminum, in the same pattern as the 1912’s. During the year the handles were made of forged (or cast) steel (instead of aluminum), riveted in place.

Lamps. First introduced in late 1912 cars, all lamps were of the “black and brass” type; steel bodies with brass trim. Headlamps were either E&J 666, 66, or 656, Brown 16, Victor 1, or Corcoran. Side lamps were E&J 30 or 32, Brown 110, Victor, or Corcoran. Tail lamps were E&J 10 or 12, Brown 115, Victor, or Corcoran.

Muffler. 1913 was the last year for the curved tail pipe, and the separate mounting brackets. Typical 1914 production, which may have appeared in 1913, used the muffler with the straight pipe and mounting brackets cast as a part of the end plate.

Oil Filler Cap. Brass, with Ford script, but now with the “Made in USA” also stamped on the cap.

Radiator. Similar to the 1912 type but with the “Made in USA” under the “Ford” on the upper tank. The filler spout was now spun-brass (instead of cast), riveted and soldered in place.

Rear Axle. Cast, thicker, center section. The brake shoes were now modified to use two springs; the second spring across the mounting bolt side. Since the cast shoes easily broke at this point, the added spring held them in place. By 1913, the hex-head filler plug was standard. Many of the internal bronze bushings (differential spider, gears, etc.) were discontinued and by 1914 all were eliminated.

Running Boards. Similar to the 1912 except that the “Ford” now runs across the width of the board, rather than parallel with it. While the style was identical to later boards, the stamped diamonds are deeper and sharper, probably due to the dies being worn down in later years.

Speedometer. Stewart Model 100, of shallow design, with drum-type indicator and a three-digit trip odometer to the right of the regular odometer, both above the speed drum. Trip-reset knob was on the right side of the case. Black case with brass bezel. The larger Stewart 100 with the odometer below the speed drum may have appeared during the year. 1913 was the last year in which the speedometer was supplied as standard equipment on all production.

Splash Aprons. While earlier cars had a pronounced bulge at the rear to clear the radius rods, late 1912 and later aprons had a more gradual taper to the rear, beginning about ten inches before the rear. The rear of the apron now matched the fender line, eliminating the large gap seen on the earlier cars.

Spring Shackles. “Figure-8” style with brass oilers, front and rear.

Steering Column. 1913 was the last full year for the spun brass, riveted gear case. The hard-rubber spark and throttle knobs were discontinued; the arms were now flattened on the ends. The mounting flange (column to firewall) was changed from a forging to pressed steel. The steering wheel had a cast-iron spider and a wooden rim, all painted black.

Transmission. Essentially the same as earlier except that the key was eliminated between the clutch collar and the tail shaft. Minor modifications in the drum bushings, and one additional clutch plate appeared during the year. The transmission cover had a plain steel door, lettered pedals, and was aluminum. During the year, some covers had the cast-in reinforcing ribs at the corners of the flywheel housing to prevent breakage when the corner bolts were tightened.

The Runabout (or Roadster) body with a metal turtle deck was introduced a few months after the new touring. The December 1912 Ford Times showed the new style. Apparently Ford continued the 1912 style Runabout with the “mother-in-law” seat for a time, for in February 1913 the company issued a letter in which they stated that only the new style was then available.4

The Runabout followed the style of the Touring, with the full-length door that extended to the splash aprons. New, though, was the rear “turtle” deck. Styled in the pattern of all such decks used on Fords until 1923 models, the 1913 was unique in that instead of the smoothly rounded rear corners, this one had rather sharp corners. The deck lid was hinged at the top (forward side) and used two “L”-shaped handles at the rear.

In addition to simplifying the design of the car, Ford also reduced the number of body styles available. In 1912 they had offered the Touring, Runabout, Torpedo Runabout, Town Car, Delivery car, and a few Coupes. In 1913 the line was reduced to just the Touring, Runabout, and Town Car. Ford did not offer a bare chassis in their catalogs but they did ship a number of them (2,133 in 1912, and 8,438 in 1913). These may have been for export but the records do not indicate their use. Some of the 1913 production may have been available to dealers, though, since the 1914 catalog included the bare chassis.

Like the 1912 style cars, the 1913’s were short-lived and were soon superseded by the next year’s models. The “1914” style appeared about August or September 1913, and these “new” models began the era of major expansion for the Ford Motor Company. By August 1913 Ford had built about 300,000 Model T’s, making the company the major supplier of automobiles in the world.

Henry Ford was little-known outside Detroit, and really not well known in that city. All this was to change dramatically in January 1914 when the Ford Motor Company announced its new five dollar a day pay schedule and at the same time reduced the work day from nine to eight hours. Almost overnight, Ford became a national hero. Just who came up with the idea is still an open question. Charles Sorensen, James Couzens, and Henry Ford (and perhaps others) all took the credit, but as far as the public was concerned, Henry Ford was the greatest benefactor of mankind who had ever appeared on the industrial scene. And in view of Henry Ford’s attitude in later years, he must have agreed with the public.


1. The figures given are for U.S. car production. Engine production was 11,146 in fiscal 1909, 20,387 in fiscal 1910, 39,217 in 1911, and 86,675 in 1912. Engines were shipped to Britain and Canada during these years for assembly there, and those cars are not included in the car production figures.

2. In January 1914 Ford announced the “Five-Dollar-Day” and at that time also reduced the work day from nine to eight hours, six days a week.

3. In a letter issued by the factory, dated January 28, 1913, Ford announced a reinforcing body bracket for the Touring body. On March 4 another letter said that this reinforcement would be discontinued because the heavier sill was now being used. On June 12, 1913, still another letter indicated the bracket was still in use and hinted that the problem was a bit acute. These letters do not detail this bracket or brackets, but apparently there were more than one type, depending on the manufacturer of the body and/or the thickness of the body sills. None of these parts were listed in the parts books. A Factory Letter dated May 29, 1913, listed the brackets as p/n T-5668 and T-5669 for the body with 2-1/4” sills, and T-5676 and T-5677 for the body with 3-1/4” sills.

4. There appears to have been considerable overlap in 1912 and 1913 production. Original 1912 cars have been seen with black and brass lamps, steel-frame windshields, imitation leather upholstery (in part) and the “1913” rear axle. Some of this may have been due to some cars being assembled at Ford branches as well as at the Highland Park plant.

© Bruce W. McCalley. Rev. July 1, 2000.