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Old 05-18-2018, 01:54 PM   #1
BUBBAS IGNITION
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Default Brown helmet ?????

Later version of the helmet distributor. Can someone give me a explanation regarding the brown parts??? 40-41 ??????l
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:22 PM   #2
Seth Swoboda
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Jim,

I believe the brown caps and coil were used in 1940-1941. Why brown? I can not answer why they chose the color. Perhaps someone that has researched this a the Benson Ford Research Center can tell us?
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:50 PM   #3
petehoovie
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Maybe it had something to do with WW2....
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Yes, camouflage!
Seriously, I don’t know reason, but have come across several of those myself. Would like to know the “why” of it as well.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Back in 1993 at the Grand National, there was a bus tour to all the Ford Industries in Michigan. One of the sites (on a creek with hydroelectric power of course), was a small factory that used to produce Ford Soybean resin parts such as gearshift knobs. The Docent told us that the brown distributor caps were also soybean, and had been made at that site. Now, whether that was true or just a colorful story, or even just how this old man remembers it, that's all I got.
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:19 PM   #6
Graeme / New Zealand
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I also understood some of Fords dash knobs were made of Soybeans. I had to cut one off its shaft with a hacksaw once and cutting through it, it smelt like vomit!

GB
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Soy bean plants can broken down for quite a few uses. The soy bean oil can be refined down with a polyol being one of the by products. Polyols can be used in the manufacture of polyester plastics that have a wide range of uses. The soy plant fiber makes a very good filler or reinforcement materiel in the manufacture of phenolic plastics similar to Bakelite which is phenol with formaldehyde. Bakelite can be made in quite a few different colors. I have no idea why they were changing colors around but there could have been a good reason in the war time era with shortages of all sorts of materials. Carbon black was in short supply.
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

And the winner is???

Rotorwrench... it all had to do with the diversion of carbon black for war materials.
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

And you guys admit they are pretty cool looking....this one had red see thru wires .....
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Starter solenoids in the 50's used brown (bakelight?). TBirds in particular, they are coveted for authentic restorations
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kube View Post
And the winner is???

Rotorwrench... it all had to do with the diversion of carbon black for war materials.
I'm willing to believe this with one - sorta. In 1940 and early 1941 the US was still operating under the rules of the Neutrality Act restrictions and Lend Lease wasn't passed until March 1941. Are we sure about the diversion? This wasn't just one of Henry's cost moves?
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by FortyNiner View Post
I'm willing to believe this with one - sorta. In 1940 and early 1941 the US was still operating under the rules of the Neutrality Act restrictions and Lend Lease wasn't passed until March 1941. Are we sure about the diversion? This wasn't just one of Henry's cost moves?

America was supplying England with war materials and was building up arms for itself prior to entering the war....
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by petehoovie View Post
America was supplying England with war materials and was building up arms for itself prior to entering the war....
Before the Lend/Lease Act was passed? My history books indicate that US defense spending was mostly flat to previous years during 1940 and most of 1941. Not looking for an argument but mostly want to understand what may have driven the shift at Ford.
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:42 PM   #14
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"October 28, 1939: A motion to amend the U.S. Neutrality Act to allow the sale of arms to besieged allies passes the Senate. It will clear the House and be signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on November 4. The change is contingent on the requirement that arms are not transported by American ships. In November, Congress repealed the arms embargo and passed a "cash and carry" policy for Allied purchases.

January 3, 1940: Despite the U.S. policy of neutrality, President Franklin Roosevelt's annual budget request to Congress includes $1.8 billion in defense spending.

March 11, 1940: The United States has relaxed its arms embargo for its once and future allies, selling several P-40 fighters to Britain and France.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

You guys have to remember that Windsor, Ontario is right across the river from Detroit. Ford of Canada was full swing into the war effort by early to mid 1940. Construction of the B-24 Bomber plant at Willow Run began in 1940 with production starting in mid 1941. The war clouds were thick in 1940 even though it was nearly two years before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

anyone seen a 40 coil with both colors- black bottom/brown top?
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

My original 40 wagon's helmet caps and coil is brown, just like the picture. Thought they were all that color for 40.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by philipswanson View Post
My original 40 wagon's helmet caps and coil is brown, just like the picture. Thought they were all that color for 40.
The same with my 40 tonner and it was delivered in May of 1940 well before any of the federal government’s official directives (Lend Lease, PAWB, OPM, WPB) regarding oil or its use as it related to national defense in WW2. (Oil being the primary source of lampblack after 1933). I think that its more likely that the price of lampblack was being jacked up as the refiners discovered more profitable uses for petroleum based products (fertilizers, plastics, explosives) starting in the late 30’s and suspect that it was this reason that drove Henry’s decision to use the reddish brown color more so than any government edict. I’ve seen crab distributors with that same reddish brown colored cap which suggests that Henry intended to continue the color after 41 had not the war broke out.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

There was a big carbon black plant at the north end of the Hugoton Gas field in Kansas. It used to put out a very heavy black cloud of smoke every day for years in the making of carbon black. The place was shut down after the Korean war due to the excessive and wasteful emissions. When the wind was right, folks had to wear a respirator as far away as 20 miles from that plant. The cows in the pasture would have a build up of black dust around their eyes and nose when enveloped by the cloud. The carbon black was formed on the same principle as an acetylene torch run with a low flame. No telling how much natural gas was used up to do that. The structure might still be there too. Last time I went by the structure was black as coal and it was built out of galvanized steel originally. Most of the stuff went into the production of tires.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 05-21-2018 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: Brown helmet ?????

Yes, I have a black and brown coil. I don't know if I would call it a '40. Makes a good case for Ford or its suppliers using all of the stock on hand though.
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