The Competition – The Model T Ford in the Marketplace Part 1

The Model T Ford today is unique among collectible automobiles. There are several national club organizations that accept the Model T, and there are local Model T clubs in nearly every major city in the United States. When the Model T was new, the cars that it competed with never sold nearly as well. Nowadays we hardly even think of the fact that there were other cars competing with the Model T for market share and profitability. There are few car clubs forĀ  the cars that shared the automotive market with the Model T FordĀ back then. Let’s take a look at who the competition were back then, and see how they stacked up.

This article is the first in a series. The Model T Ford was very popular for a long period of time. In this article we will look at the competition that existed in the early years of the Model T.

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The Ruckstell Two Speed Axle Part 1


The Ruckstell Axle was one of the few Ford factory approved accessories for the Model T. Indeed, it is every bit as useful today as it was when introduced in the time just after WWI by Hall Scott. Without a doubt it is the single most useful accessory ever devised for the Model T Ford. Many books and magazine articles have been written about the Ruckstell Axle. No question the best of these books is the one written by Glen Chaffin of Corona, California. It is the “bible” of Ruckstell repair.

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Cleaning the Model T Ford Spark Plug T1386

The Bethlehem Spark plug was originally manufactured by Silvex corporation based in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. About 1918 they received a contract from Ford Motor Company to supply a quantity of spark plugs for Model T Ford and Fordson production, supplanting the contract given to Champion Spark Plug which was the prime supplier. At the time the chairman of Silvex / Bethlehem was Edward H Schwab. You may have heard of his brother, Charles Schwab who was president of Bethlehem Steel Company. The advertisement above is for one of the company’s “gimmick plugs” which had multiple ground electrodes instead of the normal single ground electrode.

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The Model T Ford Hubcap T2819

The Model T is an example of the object being constructed of many parts in which the sum of the parts exceeds the cost of the whole. Like almost every part on the car, the hubcap design was revised many times. The reasons for changing the design were many, often to change or improve the style and appearance. Other times the reason for change was financial. Let’s take a look at them and see what we can learn.

The image above shows the illustration of the earliest Model T hubcap. These were stamped from sheet brass with an elegant block letter “Ford” logo. The inner surface was threaded 2 1/8″ X 24 threads per inch. This is an older “USS” or United States Standard specification which utilized a 60 degree pitch on the cut threads.

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