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Salmon River: Artist and Photographer George Beard’s Model “T” Ford

Artist and photographer George Beard (1855–1944) of Coalville, Utah, was the manager of the Church of Later-day Saints Coalville Cooperative Mercantile Institution, later was elected as the Mayor of the town and served as a state legislator. Coalville is located in the northeastern section of Utah near the Uinta Mountains which extend into Wyoming.

Beard traveled in the states of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming in his artistic pursuits; this set of prints are from glass plate negatives taken by him in 1921 at the Salmon River in Idaho and another location in the State. The images include his sons, family, and friends and a circa 1916 Model “T” Ford fitted with a utility body with a roof taller than others produced at the time. The canvas covering may have served to protect Beard’s artist’s supplies, camera and photography equipment. The six-year-old Ford is looking a bit worst for the wear encountered in Beard’s travels.

There is much more to be learned about Henry Ford’s Model “T” that he called the “Universal Car” here on The Old Motor. Tell us what you find of interest in this set of photographs courtesy of the Brigham Young University Library.

17 responses to “Salmon River: Artist and Photographer George Beard’s Model “T” Ford

  1. Try and pull that same stunt with your Ford Explorer, probably not a very good idea.

    As I recall from looking out my mother’s living room windows the Wasatch range is on the Wyoming side of the Salt Lake Valley., and the Uinta’s on the other.

    • Not on the “other side” of the Salt Lake Valley.

      Idaho Jack, I did not post the rest of your comment as it is a copy and paste from another website that if posted will lower the sites Google Search rating.

    • The Wasatch range runs north to south and forms the east side of the Salt Lake Valley, (and the west side of Park City). The Uintas run more or less east-west and are farther east and just south of the Wyoming-Utah border. Coalville is about a 40-50 minute drive east from Salt Lake City on I-80. Beautiful town, I’d live there if I could.

  2. Noticed the man in the picture is using his right hand to crank. An old-timer told me once, you had to crank a T with your left hand in case it kicked back. I’m sure the other readers will tell me if this is true.

    • I use my right arm (much stronger) for cranking….I just DO NOT wrap my thumb around the handle…just use my palm to lift the crank 1/4 turn. That is usually enough to start my T if the gods are happy and all the stars align!!

    • I’ve always been curious about hand cranking a vehicle. My dad told me you wanted to pull up on the crank, not push down. Presumably for the same reason.

    • I’m a little late with this post, but I found the safest way to crank is to grab the left fender with your right hand curling the fingers around the bead and pull with the crank handle at about 9 o’clock with the left . It is a stretch……anyone have a better way ? Thanks, JK

  3. Kick back can be deadly. In this case I bet the low pedal is engaged, the switch is off, and the guy in front is moving the car be cranking it “in gear”.

    • Intriguing and very plausible theory. Guy 2 looks like he’s more or less pushing. How did they hold down the low pedal? Maybe a tree branch hacked off to the right length and wedged against the seat?

      • George Beard was a professional photographer, and there is a good possibility that this was a staged photo.

        Or his son on the left and the Colonel got it stuck in the river and he was documenting the scene so he could harrass them about it forever.

        Also his son may be in fact trying to start it, as just the above the Colonel’s arm the brake lever can be seen pulled back which means the clutch has been released and the brake is on so there in NO connection between the transmission and the rear end to make it possible to move the car w/the crank.

        A “T” with a weak mag and no battery or a dead one has to be “spun” with the crank to put out enough voltage for the plugs to spark which may be what was going on here?

  4. That poor little Model T has led a hard life. It appears most of the fenders are cracked from the vibration and twisting of traveling on rough roads or no roads. With the “timer” low on the engine I would guess there is little chance for “kickback” as the ignition is probably very wet. That said, the “safe” way to crank a T is with your left hand, keep your thumb from wrapping around the crank handle and pull up. By using this method your arm will be thrown out of the cranks path without breaking your arm if the engine should backfire. Great photo of driving conditions in the early part of the 20th century.

  5. Since the other man seems to be pushing maybe the man cranking is trying to crank the Ford forwand in gear rather than trying to start it.

  6. They could also have been trying to hand-crank it out of the water !
    I did this to my car after it was caught in a flood.
    Just put it into a high gear, and cranked away, took me a while, but I did it

  7. I do not see this fellow’s thumb where it belongs: All digits —including the opposing one !!! (thumb) belong on the same side of the crank handle!!! Wrapping the thumb around the crank is: “A recipe for disaster” . Pushing down on the crank is not a good idea either . Pulling up on the crank (only) is suggested — in 1/4 -turn increments , — only! Lubricating the crank’s coupling pin & crank Saddle bearing (on a Model “T”) is also recommended as it allows the crank’s One Way ratchet to release, — in the case of: “backfire!!! ” ” Backfire” is a Flame coming Back out of the Carburetor’s Inlet and not a muffler /tail-pipe explosion !!! This is best avoided by maintaining engine “tune” and setting the dash mixture adjustment correctly for Cold Starting or Warm starting situations — which are different! IF one has to crank and crank and crank —to get an engine running (Cold or hot) then one might be experiencing an engine with Lack of Maintenance, or other issues like: no gasoline or forgetting to: Adjust the mixture to “rich ” — Only when Cold! and priming the engine (Key off! ) (Throttle slightly open ) – (One pull!) Before: (Spark retarded) Set Brake, “Key on”, (One pull) Motor commences to run , mixture is adjusted, as motor warms, spark is advanced for power! A hot start is way easier ; (mixture is usually already adjusted ) Retard spark, crack throttle , Set Brake, key on , pull up crank , motor commences to run, advance Spark for power. I will assume that the engine is warm in the “stream picture” : Allow motor to “self-dry” , wipe out timer, ( if necessary) Do a “warm engine(?) ” Start and Slowwwwwwly (this time), — drive the Ford to dry land .

  8. Ed Towe a Montana native, banker and originally very large contributor of Ford Vehicles to our Montana state historical museum now(automotive) moved to Deer Lodge, would start his model T from the drivers seat and did not crank it. It depended on timing. I do not understand how it worked but at our 2001 club tour I watched him do that several times. Another method he displayed at the time was to jack up one rear wheel and spin it to start the car.

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