Ford Times Magazines and Other Fun Stuff from 1915

The “Tonford” conversion used a standard Model T Ford chassis and added heavy duty rear frame rails and a low speed chain driven rear suspension. It would have been less expensive than a new TT truck if you installed the Tonford kit on a used Model T.


The cab on this Tonford conversion is quite large and airy with the curtains rolled up for summer weather.

WE think of trucks like the TT and the Tonford as being very slow. Yet they were much faster than the horse drawn wagons they competed against in the marketplace when new.

Most of the Ford Times, original sales brochures and other items seen here are from the collection of Erwin “Irv” Plagman. Mr. Plagman is no longer with us, but we hope he is looking down upon us and enjoying what his son is sharing with us here today.

We are not sure what this item was used for. Perhaps a decorative element from a teens era Ford dealership?

Ford Times rear cover from 1915.

A joke book from about 1914 shows what appears to be a RH drive Model T. British perhaps?

All Model T Fords were factory equipped with a speedometer during the 1915 model year. The speedometer was mounted quite low near the passenger’s feet. Perhaps a cuckoo clock as described above would have been more practical? Ford eliminated speedometers from all Model T’s built after August 1915.

A Seargent Motors calendar from 1920 has a lovely color lithography aquatic scene on the cover image. Perhaps the shore of Lake Ontario, which is lovely in summer time but very miserable in winter.

Ford was a proponent of “vertical integration” to include all possible sources of profit in the manufacture of Ford cars. Since the Highland Park plant had iron and steel foundries Ford had to buy copious amounts of coal. Therefore, why not own the coal mines, the railroad that delivered the coal from the mine to the great lakes, and the ship that carried the coal from the rail terminal to the other side of the lake?

The heyday of Model T Ford production was from about 1921 – 1926. Most of Model T production was built during those years, and the price kept going down as production increased.

Not every Model T accessory was a good idea. Case in point, the Gates plate glass side curtain kit. While plate glass is certainly better to look through when clean, it is also going to be quite dangerous in any kind of accident.

While Ford in the United States was a private entity, Ford Motor Company of Canada was a publicly traded corporation. Here is a stock certificate for shares in that company. Wonder what it would be worth if it was still valid today?

The cover image of the April 1915 Ford Times shows a spiffy new torpedo runabout crossing a creek out in the country.

Ford did sell more than 300,000 new Model T’s in the period between August 1, 1914 and ending August 1, 1915. Many Ford owners received checks ranging between $40 and $50 depending on the purchase price of their Model T.

Subscribing to the Ford Times was simple. A Model T owner just filled out the back of one of these envelopes with his car’s serial number and the address where the magazines were to be sent.

One of the earliest federal holidays was Washington’s Birthday, celebrated on the third Monday of February every year. Many states changed it to “Washington – Lincoln Birthday” to honor President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination in 1865. As a result many Americans call that holiday “Presidents Day” incorrectly. The February 1915 Ford Times gets it right, with the two presidents shown above a backdrop of Mount Vernon and a 1915 Model T Ford couplet coming up the snowy drive.

The rear cover of the February 1915 Ford Times has an eloquent quote from President Lincoln that is still relevant today.

June 1915 Ford Times shows a new Model T touring. The suburban scene likely does not look like this today!


Another federal holiday is celebrated on the cover of the July 1915 Ford times.

The Model T Ford touring in July 1915 on the rear cover of Ford Times. Factory records show that all Model T’s were produced with bulb horns in July 1915, and we can see the bulb on this one.

It would be many years until Ford offered a pickup truck from the factory. The October 1915 Ford Times cover shows that the new runabout could easily be made into a light delivery truck by removing the turtle deck and installing an aftermarket pickup bed kit.

We don’t know where this Ford brass badge might have been used – if someone does please advise so that we can revise the article with the correct information.

Artwork for The Ford Times and other printed material was often made using reverse engraved relief printing. These images were cut into wood sheets using a reverse photo negative image. The wood cutting was done by hand.

When the image was printed it would be the reverse of the image on the wood block. Color lithography, also known as chromolithography, requires multiple processes beginning with a black strike of the engraved image block, followed by strikes of each additional color contained in the image.

Nine dollars in 1927 would typically buy between 36 – 45 gallons of gasoline. Gasoline cost between 20 – 30 cents per gallon depending on where you lived in the USA. Was it worth that amount to change your Model T over to a Vaporizer?

Back side of the Holley Vaporizer brochure.

January 1915 was one of the worst months for Model T production since 1910. Ford was in the middle of changing from the “old” body style used for the early 1915 tourings but the tooling and bodies were not yet ready. As a result all Model T’s built in January 1915 at Highland Park were roadsters, couplets, sedans or town cars. The new center door sedan was not selling well. It must have been a hard time to be a Ford executive.

The center door sedan was the most expensive Model T in 1915. Ford only built approximately 645 of them during the fiscal year of 1915, compared to about 619 town cars in the same period (note that Bruce McAlley’s production figures in his book and CD are in error).

Ford set up a temporary assembly line at the Pan Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Meanwhile the Highland Park Ford plant was building more cars per day than the next ten Model T Ford competitors combined.

Ford was certainly “The Universal Car”.

“Early” 1915 touring bodies shown in the yard behind the Highland Park plant before the change over in January 1915. There is no snow on the ground so this must be in the fall of 1914.


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