Dearborn Report for 1/7/99



This is an addendum to last week’s Dearborn Reports. I was so busy writing up the discovery about spring hangers that I did not get a round to writing up my findings on oilers.

The basic, screw-in oiler carriers the factory number T-218, and the name spindle oiler. It was adopted on 11/20/07. The drawings in the collections of HFMGV show an oiler that appears quite similar to the one we all use on brass era cars. I might add that the drawings with different dates all show the same generic oiler up until Sept. 6, 1916, but I am getting ahead of my story.

The next entry in the record of changes is dated 7-11-11 and states: "Added to panel T-283 – Steering Spindle Conn. Rod Bolt Oiler, 2 req." This confirms the adoption date of July 11, 1911 for the tie rod bolts which incorporated the oiler.

The next entry really got my attention. Dated Nov. 19, 1912 it states: "Design changed from Bowen #4-N to Zerk oiler." First this tells us that they had been specifying Bowen oilers. This did not surprise me too much because I had run into Bowen oilers on the Model N and the universal joint grease cup was initially specified as a Bowen #1. The Zerk specification, though, did catch my eye. Unfortunately, the drawing doesn’t show any difference in the design. We just know that they were buying something from Zerk – for a while…

On March 7, 1913 they changed back to the Bowen #4-N design.

On Jan. 8, 1914 the drawing was changed to include the fact that the same oiler was being used for T-267 front and rear spring hanger oilers and T-283 spindle connecting rod bolt oilers. So the same part carried three different factory numbers.

On July 24, 1914 the Ford engineers changed the design of the spindle bolt to incorporate a built in oiler. So the number required for each car was reduced from 12 to 10. A month later on Aug. 27, 1914 the tie rod bolts were also redesigned so that the oiler would be built into them as well. This decreased the total number of oilers used per car to 8 – to be used on the spring hangers.

On July 16, 1915 the number needed for the spring hangers changed. With the introduction of the fabricated hanger made by riveting over the end of the stud in the loop, 4 fewer oilers would be needed, and specifiying that they would be needed for the lower hangers only. But then they added to the drawing that 4 oilers would be needed as the front and rear spring perch oilers, so the total number needed per car did not change. The date corresponds with the date the new fabricated style hanger was adopted and the date when the front spring perches were to be drilled and threaded for an oiler.

A year later, on July 11, 1916 four oilers were removed from the four spring perches. At this point they began using a press in oiler for the spring perches, T-2944. I’ll get to that later.

Now on Sept. 6, 1916 the releases state: "Brought drawing up to date with oilers as they are being made by changing design from a #4-N Bowen." The drawing did indeed change and it shows the smooth sided oiler found on some 1917 cars. The first time I noticed them was last year when I was examining "Old Rip". The drawing indicates this is a "Special Winkley Oiler" and that it was to be Raven Finished by Ford Motor Company.

On Sept. 30, 1916 they eliminated the oilers for the lower front and rear spring hangers, and removed them from use on 1917 cars. Of course they may have stated they wanted to do this, but as I just mentioned, "Old Rip" has full figure 8 shackles with oilers in the rear. The fronts, however, do conform with the engineer’s design.

Now on to the spring oilers. This is factory number T-2944. It was first adopted on Sept. 30, 1916, the same date that the engineers decided to start drilling the main leafs of the springs for oilers. The drawing calls for a #1-G Special Winkley Oiler" and shows an oiler which appears to have a spring loaded ball for a door. Push down on the ball with the oil can outlet, put in a few drops, and when you remove the oil can the spring presses the ball up and closes the door. The drawing indicates that this oiler was to be zinc plated.

On Nov. 29, 1916 the design was changed from the Winkley #1-G to simply a "Special Oiler". The drawings indicate that this is the familiar "man-hole" style oilers. Initially, the oiler was to be Raven finished, but a week later, on 12-6-16, the oiler was changed to zinc plated. And they also added one of these oilers to the commutator.

From this point on until 1922 the drawings all show the same style of oiler. But on 12-13-16 the drawings are changed from "special oiler" to a "Winkley oiler, #3, Style R"

On Feb. 8, 1917 the releases state: "Added to panel 2 req. as spindle bolt oler, all cars 1908 to 1917 inclusive, and 2 as steering spindle conn. Bolt oiler, all cars 1910 to 1917 inclusive." I take this to mean that the era of the built in oiler on the spindle and tie rod bolts had ended and that these oilers were now being used on these bolts.

On March 15, 1918 this oiler was removed from the commutator. I believe that they used a different, larger oiler in that application.

On July 3, 1919 the two required as the spindle bolt oiler were eliminated. A large oiler was being used in its place on the spindle bolt. A month later on Aug. 7, 1919 they changed the tie rod bolt to use the larger oiler as well, and the number of the smaller oilers was reduced again.

One of the more interesting points that the releases reveal is that this style of oiler continued in use until April 3, 1922, when it was replaced by T-2944-A3. We know this part as the flip top oiler. The new oilers were used through to the end of Model T production. According to the part specification sheet for T-2944-A3 these were zinc plated and were purchased from Bowen Products Co.

In summary, from 1908 through Sept. 1916 (excepting three months in late 1912 and early 1913) the records indicate that Ford was buying its spindle and spring hanger oilers from Bowen. In 1916 they switched to Winkley for both the spindle and spring hanger oilers, and for the new spring oilers. Winckley seems to be the primary supplier for these oilers until early in 1922. Bowen’s flip top spring oiler then seems to have replaced the Winckley man hole oilers.

Goodnight from Campton,

Trent Boggess