We got a new Model T in 1913 (the year I was born), and traded for a new one in 1916 and again in 1921. That was our car until we got an Essex late in 1928.
The 1921 had battery lights and a self-starter and was really modern, as compared to the other hand-crankers, but they were all open touring cars with side curtains for bad weather. [10.48-5]
The Model T's were famous for breaking wrists when they kicked. The only way to control the acceleration was a lever sticking out under the right side of the steering wheel. There was a similar lever on the left side to set the "spark," or timing.
When you cranked, you set the lever clear up and it wasn't so apt to kick. As soon as the engine started, you ran around and shoved it down to make the engine run better and smoother.
When starters and batteries came in, you turned the ignition key one way to start or crank with battery spark and then quickly turned the key the other way to run on the magneto. [10.48-6]
For some unexplained reason, everyone learned that when the engine was too hard to start on the magneto, it helped to jack up a rear wheel and put the car into high gear. Then you would run back and pull the high lever into neutral and put the jack away. If it slipped off the jack while you were still in front, you could get run over. [10.49-1]
Pa built a single car garage for the Model T out of old telephone cross arms and grain doors he salvaged out of coal cars when he unloaded cars of coal. It had drop siding and a tar paper roof and was quite adequate for our needs in town. [10.51-6]
Ole Johnson sold machinery and helped "tinker up" the Model T to keep it running on all four. He had the first, and only, gas pump then, on the sidewalk by the curb. He would crank it all the way up and then crank it down again for each gallon. [10.58-3]
The Model T never had a spare tire and I remember Pa patching leaks in the inner tube along the road and pumping the tire up again. He always kept good tires on them, so I don't really remember any "blowouts" when he had to drive it in flat, like so many did. Spare tires weren't thought of for the Model T's until the last models came out with de-mountable rims.
I don't ever remember it stopping dead like other makes of automobiles often did. The Model T's would get "missing" spells and run on three quite often from various causes like fouled spark plugs, worn out times, and pitted or burned coil points, but they would always make it home on three cylinders, if necessary. [10.58-4]
Pa's first two Model T's only had magneto ignition and magneto lights and they were awfully poor. Sometimes they didn't work at all. If you went slow, the lights got really dim and if you speeded the engine too much, the bulbs burned out. Pa told about someone making a trip to Dalton after dark with only a kerosene lantern hanging from the radiator cap for light. [10.58-5]
Pa used the first Model T (the 1913 model) for hire along with the horse livery, so he had to get a Chauffeur's license. That included a metal badge, dated 1913, to wear on his cap, also a card and picture for identification. (We still have it.) [10.58-6]
He sold the 1916 model to Nels Eian when he bought the 1921 model. Tillie said it was a choice of buying a car and getting out of town or staying home and cooking for everyone else who had cars. [10.59-1]
Hans Haugejordan worked on a section crew for the railroad and had to walk to town to work. He bought an old Model T touring car that had a glassed in "winter top," and Clarence got to drive it to school. [10.106-2]
(Clarence eventually tipped the car over, and after that it was a two-seat open convertible.) [10.107-4]
One day when Hans Haugejordan got off from work on the tracks, his car was in town but for some reason Clarence wasn't there to drive it home, and Hans couldn't drive. Tollef Hoff was working on the track, too, and walked to work. Hans got Tollef to drive the Model T as far as Hans's turnoff by Teisbergs'. [10.106-4]
Hans had a young grandson that was visiting there and was riding along from town. The kid was young and didn't know much about driving, but the road was only two tracks with grass between that last half mile and Hans figured the kid could steer the car along the field. So Tollef showed him how to get the car in gear and Hans got hold of the gas lever. [10.107-1]
Tollef said, "You better let the kid feed the gas."
"Ay tak care of that meself, I si," Hans said. I guess he was afraid the kid would speed too much. I guess they got the car home okay with the kid at the steering wheel and Hans feeding the gas. [10.107-2]
When I was 12 years old, I had learned to drive the Model T (always with Pa or the whole family along), but of course I couldn't go anywhere with it alone.
That summer Pa went to Wisconsin on the train for a week to visit his mother and brother and sisters, etc. and I got to take the car to town alone on cream days. I told Ma, truthfully, that there wasn't any danger of my speeding or driving carelessly, because I drove real slow to make it last longer. (I did, too.) [10.107-8]
Ernie Hanson was the mail carrier for a time and he had a Model T to carry mail with. He had a small Airedale dog that rode standing up on the front fender and leaning against the motor hood. Ernie was "spooning" Mildred Heald, who was Teisbergs' hired girl. It seemed like Ernie was always going in and out of Teisbergs' driveway with his dog on the fender when we went by. (He finally married Mildred.) The dog got run over and spent his last years paralyzed from the middle on back. He dragged his whole back half. [10.140-1]