Model T Advertising In Ford Times and Other Periodicals

The Model T Ford upon its introduction in 1908 as a 1909 model was destined to be the world’s most popular and best selling car. It was replacing Ford’s Models N – R and S, already the world’s best selling and most popular cars.

Back cover of a 1911 Ford Times sows racing events in England. Of course a Ford won!

Ford advertising took many forms. There were advertisements placed in trade journals such as The Automobile, and advertisements in popular magazines such as Life and Harper’s Weekly. There were newspaper advertisements, post cards, and of course the in – house publication known as Ford Times.

Photograph enlarged shows the detail and quality of the image.

The Ford Times slightly predates introduction of the Model T Ford, beginning in April 1908. It was published monthly until April 1917, with Ford ceasing publication in order to concentrate more energy towards WWI. Oddly enough Ford decided to start publishing Ford Times in 1943 just as WWII was reaching its zenith. The magazine continued to be published through the early 1990’s.

Ford Times magazines were sent to Ford customers, dealers, distributors, factories and suppliers among many entities who received the free publication. It was a form of advertising that contained both typical advertisement and news items that were in fact advertising as well. Each issue contained beautiful photography, artwork and often poetry all centered on Ford cars. Many of the Ford Times 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.

A 1910 issue of Ford times showing a lovely water color image of an early 1909 touring at speed next to a powerful locomotive. Oddly the Model T seems to have its brake lever in neutral – artistic license perhaps?

A retouched colorized photograph graces this Ford Times cover. The brass hub covers and white paint are typical of a 1911 touring assembled at Trafford Park, UK as are the unique British cowl, windshield and front doors. The setter is an optional accessory!

The photos and articles in each issue were designed to showcase the Model T around the world. Here we have a Canadian assembled 1911 touring in Ceylon, then a part of the British colony of India.

A rear cover from late 1910 shows Ford class racing at Syracuse New York.

Frank Kulick was a Ford employee from the earliest days of the company. By the 19 – teens he was often engaged in demonstrations and competitions involving specially prepared and built Ford race cars.

Frank Kulick in the specially prepared Ford Model T circa 1910 – 11.

A Brewster Green 1909 touring meeting a river boat makes for an idyllic cover typical of the Ford Times. Notice the attire of the women with their fancy hats, no doubt held in place by several hat pins through the piled up bun of hair hidden below each hat.

Henry Ford posing with his 1896 Quadricycle. This photo was taken during the Selden lawsuit case which Ford battled from as early as 1903 (Ford initially lost the case)  until 1911 when the judgment against Ford was overturned by the United States appellate courts. Ford spent about $7 per car fighting the Selden Patent, if he had paid the royalties demanded by Selden it would have cost Ford around $12 per car. Ford’s testimony was quite acrimonious, at one point Henry testified “It is perfectly safe to say that George Selden has never advanced the automobile industry in a single particular…and it would perhaps be further advanced than it is now if he had never been born.”  The Selden patent royalties would have expired in 1912 if it had still been valid.

A 1911 cover combines a water color / pencil drawing with an inset image of Ford assembly plant managers convening for their annual meeting.

The December 1911 rear cover offered a Christmas poem for customers and employees to enjoy.

A 1911 torpedo runabout graces this Ford Times cover.

A Highland Park assembled RHD Model T touring is shown in faraway South Africa in the 1911 Ford Times image.

A Japanese driver’s license graces the rear cover of this 1910 Ford Times.

Water color street scene Ford Times cover showing that the majority of Americans still used horses for transportation in 1912. Ford was doing its part to change that fact. By the early 1920’s there were more cars than horses on the road in the United States.

Ford introduced its new “winged pyramid” logo in 1912. It was replaced in most advertising by 1916 by Ford script.

The winged pyramid continued to dominate rear covers of the Ford Times for several months in 1912.

For most Americans there was no way they could ever expect to see a far away foreign street scene. Yet they could see one at their local Ford dealer, on the cover of Ford times, complete with palm trees, a dusty road, and a Roman column dominating the watercolor image.

A 1912 Ford Times rear cover talks about the competition without bothering to name any of them. There were hundreds of American automobile brands in 1912, many of them staying in business only long enough to build a handful of cars before going bankrupt.

By the 1950’s Ford Times had shrunken into a small Reader’s Digest sized magazine.

Ford could not help but to compare the new 1970 Pinto to the Model T in this rear cover Ford Times advertisement. Which begs the question, when was the last time any of us saw a Pinto driving under it’s own power?

Lovely watercolor image on the November 1912 Ford Times.

By 1918 the Ford Times was gone. Newspaper advertisements continued to be placed by local dealers while Ford concentrated on national publications.

A 1924 Fordor sedan appears in a Saturday Evening Post advertisement.

A 1926 Coupe is shown painted Channel Green, a very dark color but still it was better than black!

One of the last advertisements showing Model T Fords in 1927 boasts of the new colors and the improved “Vaporizer” carburetor. Gasoline quality had dropped considerably in 1927 as the petroleum industry struggled to supply an ever increasing amount of automobiles made not just by Ford, but by a host of other companies too. Chevrolet production increased to beat Ford for the first time, a signal that the Model T was outdated and in need of retirement.

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