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Old 11-16-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Pre-Planned Obsolescence



I found the above picture in Al's gallery and it made me think about my experience rebuilding my own Model-A fuel gau... To read the rest of this blog entry from The Ford Barn, click here.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

You are absolutely right. For a low priced car, they used the best materials. Look at all the other manufacturers who used pot metal for instance in their construction. These fords can be rebuilt over and over. They will probably be going in another 80 years.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

Yep, you're right.

I'm a broadcast electronics historian of sorts, and it always amazes me the way equipment makers of the 30's thought that the state of technology was as good as it was ever going to be, and equipment and facilities were designed and built with the intention of it being in existence and operation for all eternity. You'd be amazed how reliable broadcast equipment from the 30's really is, especially compared to the fragile junk that passes for "broadcast quality" today.

Earlier this month, had a colleague (engineer) who is a know-it-all telling me over lunch (as he made fun of me for driving an 82 year old car all over the place) that Henry Ford made his cars "to a price" and they were all as cheap as cheap could get. His facts were all wrong, and I asked him, if the Model A was such a "K-Mart car", then why are so many of them still on the road, while almost all the Chevys (that outsold Ford) are gone?

The more I get in to the Model A, the more I realize that the car was truly built to last. In those days, they didn't have the "planned obsolescence" mindset that car makers do today. Even though the Model A wasn't a high-dollar car like the Duesenbergs or Pierce Arrows, etc. of the time, they are still obviously built with the intention that the owner would likely have bought the last car they would ever need.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

P.S you re correct in that Henry stived to build a great vehicle with the best materials available. Read some of the accounts in designing the Model A as he wanted a sliding gear box like the Lincoln, Houdie Shocks and many other features that other manufacturers at the time did not do.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

thanks Ryan....the fact that so many "A" componants are mechanical makes it so simple to take apart and replace. Sometimes interchangeable parts DO WORK!!!!
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

I think that mass produced quality carried through WWII and allowed us to produce the needed materials to win. I always enjoy looking at trade publications from the 1930's the equipment and machines used to build the cars is a study in itself.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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Doesn't the Model-A owners manual state somewhere that with regular service some parts, such as the transmission and rear end, will last "indefinitely". I laughed when I first read that because I have never seen another car manufacturer use the word "indefinitely". Meanwhile, we continue to hear of more untouched original cars alive and well. How many of us are restoring cars that suffered incredible abuse and neglect yet have the structural integrity to be made road-worthy again?
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
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Don't forget the AAs, they also have a respectable survival rate in the heavy truck category, considering most of them led a truly abused life. The automobiles purchased by the wealthy typically have led pampered lives, but the equipment and machinery that helped developing countries move ahead, impress me the most.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #9
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Thanks Ryan for your thoughts. Those of us that do respect the design and construction of these vehicles built in a period when craftsmanship was respected and understand the beauty of maintenance, repair and care are a rare breed. The United States and the World today are just too filled with folks who now believe the notion that we should move fast, change for change sake (think of computers on that one) and keep it fast and disposable. My research in WWII and the leaders tells us that it was a philosophy that was necessary to win. Afterward, however, industry was just too tooled to change. I will conclude with one last thought...if the lights ever go out, those poor folks are going to want to know what we know, and they are going to want it fast...Sadly, for many of them it will be too late.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

Good read Ryan!! In the pages below you can see some of the Henry thoughts...




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Old 11-23-2012, 05:56 AM   #11
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I do not remember the thread, but it was said that the model "A" was made up of 180 different steels in composition!!
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

Stuff was just built better back then, from a materials standpoint... I have three GE Monitor-Top refrigerators that are still working fine, including a first-generation Sulphur-dioxide machine, plus a 1940's unit in my kitchen that is working just fine, thank you.

We have had huge advances in technology since the Model A, but these gains are frequently offset by cheapening of the product to meet price-points / keep CEOs / stockholders "happy"....

You can keep your 21st Century... I'm not impressed so far...

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Old 11-24-2012, 07:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

ratamahata,
Thx for the article, I also like the short article on Antifreeze that appears after the Henry Ford story. My grandfather was the Mechanic for a School District with 8 Busses. This was in '32. They used Kerosine in the winter for Antifreeze. Although Prohibition was winding down they had problems with the Alcohol being stolen from the busses. Of course it was not Grain Alcohol so it would kill you or blind you.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QGolden View Post
ratamahata,
Thx for the article, I also like the short article on Antifreeze that appears after the Henry Ford story. My grandfather was the Mechanic for a School District with 8 Busses. This was in '32. They used Kerosine in the winter for Antifreeze. Although Prohibition was winding down they had problems with the Alcohol being stolen from the busses. Of course it was not Grain Alcohol so it would kill you or blind you.
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. A psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs known, ethanol produces a state known as alcohol intoxication when consumed.

Methanol is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol (drinking alcohol).[4] At room temperature, it is a polar liquid, and is used as an antifreeze, solvent, fuel, and as a denaturant for ethanol. It is also used for producing biodiesel via transesterification reaction.

Methanol ingested in large quantities is metabolized to formic acid or formate salts, which is poisonous to the central nervous system, and may cause blindness, coma, and death. Because of these toxic properties, methanol is frequently used as a denaturant additive for ethanol manufactured for industrial uses. This addition of methanol exempts industrial ethanol (commonly known as "denatured alcohol" or "methylated spirit") from liquor excise taxation.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

Buster T's take on this:
If EVERYTHING was made to last 80 years, like Model A's & Monitor Top fridges, there'd be NO need to manufacture replacements & our economy would go BELLY up???????--------------WELL! that's what he said! Bill W.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

Kind of on topic here. I bought a nice stereo system when I was stationed overseas in 1968.It still is working like brand new and the only thing that was ever replaced on it since new is the on-off switch. It has outlasted numerous audio/visual setups my relatives have bought throughout the years. Of course, it cost me an entire months pay back then, but it was money well spent.
These old Model As were meant to be fixed by the average person, not taken to a shop and diagnosed. So Henry made all the parts rebuildable.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:40 PM   #17
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

How about a 1948 International Harvester fridge still working as my beer fridge. We bought it in 1959,only changed a door seal. The new one we bought last year as told by the salesman might last 8 years. The beer fridge will still be working !
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:35 PM   #18
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Chief & Momma bought a used Norge Frig. in the '40'S, used it for many years. God! one night it went PSSSSSSSST! Thought we were going to DIE!! We didn't know that SUCKER ran on AMMONIA!! Bill W.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:38 AM   #19
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Default Re: Pre-Planned Obsolescence

I find the gas gauge a thing of beauty and want one for my desk top in my high school English class...I think it would make a great conversation piece. By the way.. I love the AA too. Those are some of the coolest machines and wish I had one...maybe in the future...my wife wants an old truck but I think she is thinking 50s or 60s...a double A would suit me fine.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisonk1957 View Post
I find the gas gauge a thing of beauty and want one for my desk top in my high school English class...I think it would make a great conversation piece. By the way.. I love the AA too. Those are some of the coolest machines and wish I had one...maybe in the future...my wife wants an old truck but I think she is thinking 50s or 60s...a double A would suit me fine.
Dennison,
I wish Chief was still here to tell us the stories of how TOUGH & DEPENDABLE the AA'S were when he worked for the W.P.A, building gravel roads & bridges. In S.E. Oklahoma, those bridges are still in use! One really TALL one across BUZZARD CREEK!They even had a pile driver mounted on the back of an AA, can't remember how it was constructed. Bill W.
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