The Missing 1913 Spindle Bolt Oiler

While researching the Model T spindle bolt oiler some months ago I ran across two interesting entrys in the Record of Changes or Releases for T-218 Spindle Oiler. Both were authorized by Joseph Galamb. The first was dated Nov. 19, 1912 and states "Design changed from "Bowen #4-N" to "Zerk" oiler." About four months later on March 7, 1913 Galamb stated "Have changed the design from Zerk OIler to Bowen #4-N which was in use before teh Zerk oiler was adopted."

Elsewhere at this web site you will find a discussion of the Bowen #4-N oiler and the conclusion that the Ford engineers used expression "Bowen #4-N" to designate the standard brass oiler (many of which were manufactured by Winckley). However, I certainly was not aware that Ford had ever used or at least contemplated using a spindle oiler made by Zerk. Nor did I have any idea what this oiler might have looked like.

During my last visit to the Research Center, I was looking through an unprocessed accession Terry Hoover had tucked away that consisted of prints of drawings made from the negatives in accession 1701. Within this collection I found the drawing for the Zerk oiler, shown below.

Here is a closeup view of the oiler itself.

As you can see, this might be catagorized as something of a cross between the Special Winkley oiler used in 1917 and the top hat oilers that came into use about the same time. What makes this oiler different from those other two is that by pulling up on the rim of the "hat" slides the cover up exposing the oiling hole. Of course, this still leaves the questions open of 1) did this thing really exist and 2) did they ever really use them in production?

I can now answer the first question. Yesterday at the Bennington, VT swapmeet I purchased a Zerk oiler that fits the description described in the drawing above and which appears to be NOS.

This is a fairly large oiler. It is a full 1 inch tall from top to bottom. Threads are indeed 1/8 inch pipe. The outer cover appears to have been made from sheet brass. The stem which also is threaded is steel.

The top of the oiler is 3/4 inch in diameter and is clearly marked with the manufacturer's name.

When the top is pulled up (the screw in the picture has been insterted into the oil fill hole to hold the cover up against the internal spring while I took the photograph) the hex on the stem above the threads is visible.

Well, now we know what the Zerk oiler looks like and how it worked. Apparently they did exist at one time. That leaves us with the next question of did Ford every really use this style of spindle oiler? That question I will leave to this community of Model T scholars to answer.