In support of our EDUCATIONAL MISSION, the chapter members will be recommending tidbits of knowledge from many sources about Model T’s! Share your ideas: info@SouthernPeachTs.com
March Articles – 2022
Submitted by Darin Hull
Most of you may be familiar with acetylene gas generators on a Model T, especially if you have an earlier car. I was unfamiliar with them when I began the Georgia Peach T’s restoration and thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned for those who aren’t familiar with them.
My grandpa’s 1913 Ford Model T had a Prestolite tank, containing compressed acetylene gas, to run the headlamps. My understanding is that was an aftermarket accessory correct for the time period. I was never able to locate the tank when I took over care of the Georgia Peach T but getting acetylene gas to the headlamps was added to the list of things to do. I’ve included a pic of a Prestolite tank mounted on a Model T taken by Gary London and posted on the MTFCA Forum on 8/19/2010 in case you haven’t seen one (last pic).
Researching all things Model T led me to realize the Georgia Peach T would’ve come with an acetylene gas generator mounted on the running board. Acetylene gas was generated by storing water in an upper reservoir, adjusting a needle to control the water’s drip rate to the lower part of the generator, and the water drops hitting calcium carbide which was held in an upper basket (trough pictured in second and subsequent pics). The water striking the carbide generated acetylene gas and calcium hydroxide. CaC2 (calcium carbide) + 2 H2O (water) = C2H2 (acetylene gas) + Ca(OH)2 (various names like slake lime, carbide lime, etc)
The lower baskets captured the calcium hydroxide byproduct whereas the pressure of the acetylene gas would flow out of the outlet nozzle (visible in the first pic on the lower left), through tubing, to the headlamps. When the pressure was sufficient and ambient air purged from the lines, the gas lamps could be lit. I’ve read tips to prevent a dangerous buildup of acetylene gas in the lamps before lighting them, including to blow into the lamps like you were blowing out birthday candles to disperse the potentially built up acetylene gas. Once lit, the brightness of the lamps was determined by the drip rate of the water which was controlled by adjusting a knob on the top of the generator. More drips, more light. Less drips, less light.
Like many Model T parts, Henry Ford had more than one manufacturer for the acetylene gas generators to ensure an adequate supply to keep up with manufacturing demands. Companies such as Victor, Corcoran, E&J, and JNO Brown provided these generators. I believe mine is an example of a JNO Brown but could be a Corcoran as I’ve read they’re very similar and I can’t find any markings. I purchased this acetylene generator at a Luray, VA Mid-Atlantic Pre-War Swap Meet.
I’ve included pics of the assembled system and different states of disassembly for those who haven’t had an opportunity to see the clever system used to generate gas for headlamp light prior to the Model T receiving an electrical system.
Please comment if I made any statements which need correction/clarification or if you have any additional information which may be helpful. I’m still learning. 😃
February Articles – 2022
There are a variety of tire options when it comes to finding new shoes for your Model T. Spending countless hours reading MTFCA discussion forums, it seems the prevailing wisdom indicates that even though there a variety of name brands… pretty much all tires have the same quality.
Enter Blockley Tyre, https://www.blockleytyre.com/product/30×3-5. It is believed Blockley has superior quality standards which their manufacturers must adhere to, both with their tires and tubes. The higher quality does come with a higher price. The Model T community had apparently expressed enough interest that Blockley designed a Model T tire and began selling them recently. Last I checked, there wasn’t a US representative distributor so these tires had to be purchased from the UK.
A Model T owner, Chris Tragert, posted on the Model T Owners group pics of his new Blockley tires. I thought they were an interesting tire tread pattern and wanted to share his pics.
I currently run Firestones and have no complaints; however, I will consider this brand when it is time to replace my current set. I wanted to share with you some T tire information which you might not have heard of before. Plenty of debate on numerous MTFCA discussion threads about these tires. I’ll post just one of them in case you’d like to read the discourse and find out more info:
Ridz by the River Fall 2021 Car Show – Cartersville, Georgia
Video by Darin Hull
Model T Ford Homecoming Event – Richmond, Indiana
Video by our own Darin Hull
Select the arrow (middle) to view the video.
Then, select the button (bottom right) to view full sreen.
Jay’s 1925 Tudor project “The Goswick”
Thanks to Darin Hull for sharing his video on starting a 1913 T. – Link Here for Video
Safety Note: – 😳 “Would hate to demonstrate a safety issue. I use my right hand when I engage the choke but the switch is not on battery or mag. I set the spark to the fully retarded position and will then switch to battery. Hand crank with a left hand and thumb tucked.”