Curtis Saunders and his 1914 Model T


This is Robert loss of welcome to another episode of cars that matter today we're joined by Dr Curtis Saunders, Mechanical Engineer Researcher at Johns Hopkins University Tower Things in Baltimore today, Curtis agreed Robert. It's a beautiful sunny day here in Curtis is here because he's the owner of a nineteen fourteen Ford model t now I guess I could make all kinds of jokes curtis about how you really need a PhD in mechanical engineering to work on one of these. But I'm sure it doesn't hurt. I we're going to dig into the history of the Ford model teachers to understand a little bit better. Why was such important automobile? The Ford model t is often named the car the century. Obviously, it's an important car. Why is it important to you? I should say while I'm a mechanical engineer I've always loved history. I'm always been a student of history and history has always been a passion of mine. So the model t important to to me. One of the reasons is just the impact it had on American history and just the general in addition just to manufacturing in general the manufacturing methods behind the model. t some of the things that Henry Ford merely pioneered with the car I was just really fast anyhow had in areas as well as the impact car itself had in American culture from what I understand. They made about fifteen million and they had quite a lifespan and first one came. Out in Nineteen Oh eight is that right? Yes. That is correct Kinda wrap things up by one, thousand, nine, hundred, Ninety, seven when by that time was almost as much of an antique as it is today it's amazing how long the car ran and even through its cycle while the appeared. So the car changed a lot of the underlying the chemical structure while had some changes remain basically the same, the same four cylinder engine, the chew speed transmission. The bones are really did run twenty years I remember years and years ago in my former life I worked with the operating engineers, UCLA. What do we have these emergency generator rooms now ucla campus was built back in the nineteen twenties and we actually had an emergency generator that was still powered by a Model T. engine this back in the eighties imagine that that old engine was deemed reliable enough and competent enough to be working all those decades later. Really Testament to the Durance of that particular design you talk about Henry, Ford and how the model t was really the first mass produced car but I almost get the feeling. Henry could have been making washing machines or vacuum cleaners in a lot of ways the model t was sort of a test bed for the whole production line process actually rates moving assembly line process was not unique to model ts and applied to so many different types of products from airplanes, trains, cars, like you said, also goods washing machines TV's. Of that type of process, we take it for granted now, but someone had to think of it I in there had to be a pioneer that type of industry that really started this whole thing not only introducing a whole new way of making things it was done. So efficiently and relatively inexpensively that I gave any American with a halfway decent paying job the opportunity to own a car or it's eight a here's rolling car off the assembly. Line every ninety seconds from what I understand though maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong the model t was such a grand vision of Henry Ford's that he actually set up manufacturing facilities or plants all around the country, and even in other comments, he truly believed it was the car for the masses I. Don't think he really viewed it as just something for a specific region or even a specific country her specific time thought he'd really. distill down essential components vehicle and that that's what anyone in the world would what I guess. There was more than just one model T. everything from pickup trucks to delivery vans they made a whole bunch of them didn't they? Absolutely, there is various types of cars from to Cedars. Cedars even enclosed cars and open cars later and the whole line of trucks. You can even buy a model t rolling chassis and build your own body for it. If you didn't like what Fort is offering, you could just build your own. You're not even limited cars like you said, the power plant could by the Ford engine, the Ford, power plant and just apple sorts of other applications that would make a nice Margarita blender wouldn't it just about the right amount of horsepower to get that is just just right. Everybody knows what one looks like but I suspect most people don't really understand what it takes to. Make one move got a little engine. What is like three liter inline four or something like that it's a little inline four and it has a two speed transmission. What's the horsepower output on that engine? Would you figure it was rated at twenty two and a half horsepower? Wow. Okay. There's a lot of lawnmowers. Today might a riding mower hardware store that has more horsepower than this little novelty

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