Museum Talk

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Model T car jack on display at the Buffalo Island Museum.

The Buffalo Island Museum in Monette has many tools that our forefathers used in days gone by. One of these is a Ford Model T car jack, donated by Verlon Darr. It was made in the early 1900s and is a screw jack with an attached handle. It would fit under the front or rear axle.

The Ford Model T was first released Oct. 1, 1908, and was made until May 27, 1927. The car was designed to be a car for the people. It was made easy to operate and inexpensive enough that the working man could afford one.

The making of the Model T car revolutionized the factory world. The car moved along on a monorail with the pieces placed in the order they were needed. This way of producing cars cut the fabrication time in half. By 1914, it only took 93 minutes to assemble a car.

The Model T originally cost a reasonable price of $850, but what really made it so popular was the ease of operation and repair. They traveled an average of 11 miles per gallon, and on a good road, they could go 30 to 35 miles an hour. The one drawback was the terrible brakes.

The first model T came in green, gray and red, but in 1914, to minimize costs and improve durability, Ford started his famous slogan "any color as long as it's black."

Each car came with a tool roll which included a jack like the one at the museum, hubcap wrench, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pliers, sparkplug wrench, oil can, tire pump and tire iron. The tool roll fit in a can and fit behind the gas tank.

Most men at that time would fix their own car and twine, baling wire, or clothespins were often used. The car jack was an important tool. The tires were pneumatic clincher types that needed more air to keep the tire on the rim and horseshoe nails on the road made flats a common problem.

The museum wishes to preserve the history of this area for the past, present and future generations. Admission to the museum is free and we are open on Friday and Saturday 1-4 p.m.

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