What Happened to Used Model T Parts

By Ginger Wentrcek

We've all heard the stories about Henry Ford's penchant for being frugal with wood from the boxes in which the parts were shipped and how he used the scraps from the plant floors to make steering wheels and other parts. But there was one area where the idea of using every salvagable item seemed to fly out the door, and that pertained to his thoughts about recycling used Model Tparts.

Try to imagine driving your brand new Model T to the repair shop or service station to have it repaired and the mechanic had to take off a worn part and install a new one. Did you ever wonder what happened to some of those parts that were removed from the cars? One would think Henry would find a way to get them back and find another use for them. But, the Ford Company did not want any of the used parts, however slightly used they might have been, to find their way back onto a Model T. To spread the message, they sent out a service bulletin to dealers and service station owners which instructed them to mutilate the used Model T parts before they were sold to scrap dealers. Once mutilated, the parts could not be resold to Ford Model T owners to be reinstalled in their cars. The Ford Company wanted to make sure that the used parts did not make their way back onto the market.

This information came from Model T Ford Service Bulletin, Dan R. Post, Lincoln Publishing Co. p.101.

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