Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fixing Flat Tire

Dust Bowl Week continues with this picture from 1935. It shows a couple of men changing a tire on a Model T. Changing a tire on a Model T is actually very easy. The car was light, so easy to jack up. Then there are four nuts around the outside rim. The tires are lightweight, so easy to get on and off. Now days they put the lug nuts on too tight at the factory, and if you have a flat, the little Micky Mouse lug wrench has almost no chance or loosening the lug nuts, and hence you are stranded.

We had lots of spirited discussion in the comments yesterday. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and your experiences. For those of you who have been hit by a New Reality recently, our prayers are with you. Actually, I have always been very conservative in my spending. When I was in High School I had a lot of trouble finding a job. Minimum wage at the time was $2.25. I tried to get a summer job in the Cotton Gin doing maintenance, but they said they did not have a spot. I told them that I would work for $1 an hour if they would hire me. I told them I would not come back and ask for more money, but that if I did a good job, maybe next summer they would bring me back at minimum wage. They gave me the job. The Gin had no ventilation or air conditioning. With it 100 degrees outside, it got up around 120 in the Gin. I had to crawl up into the machinery, and take off the old cutting blades, and replace with new ones. There were tens of thousands of these little blades to be changed. If your hand slipped on the wrench, your hand would run into the little blades, and really cut your hand up. It was a hot and very unpleasant job. The funny thing is that to this very day, I still put purchases into terms of how many hours in the Gin it would take to buy something. So, if I am eating out, and a soft drink is $2, I think that was 2 hours of labor in the Gin, and I have a water instead.


  1. I was just at a family reunion this weekend, and the aunts and uncles were all reliving family memories. They told me about how the old farm truck they had (about the same vintage as that car) got a flat once so my grandfather stuffed the tire with straw. Apparently it was a bit of a bumpy ride but it worked!

  2. They sure have a lot of wrenchs laid out for such and easy job.
    That tire sure looks like it is bald and has spots where the rubber is missing.

    I remember some of the old movies that showed tire repairs with a rag tied around the tire on those model "T"s

  3. Before I purchase anything I discover how much gin I must drink before I no longer give a damn what it costs.

  4. I had an old cowboy who was raised near Manville, WY tell me this story about his Dad's first Model T. He decided they all needed to make a trip to Buffalo, WY which was a two day horseback trip. Floyd was about 13 I think and he said it took 2 days to get to the half-way point of Sussex because the Model T kept getting flat tires, which HE had to change. Sussex had a huge Livery Stable/Pens for teamsters,etc. and Floyd said his Dad was furious with him when he asked if he couldn't just rent a horse and meet them in Buffalo when they eventually got there! Poor Floyd had to change tires from Sussex to Buffalo and BACK again. He hated the machine.

  5. My father's first car was a model A for which he paid $35 in 1936. A wheel got stuck in a street car track and he almost collided with a streetcar before he got it free. (Just like an old silent movie.)
    I'm amazed at how people throw money away. A friend once told me she and her husband were going to save money and stop eating out so much. Then proceeded to tell me how they ate out the week before. I said "What about saving money?" She said, "we only eat out once a week now." My husband and I only ate out on our birthdays and went to the restaurant that gave free birthday dinners. There are the co-workers who complain about how tight money is as they eat their daily deli sandwich. All my life, I used vinegar to rinse my hair, the laundry, in the kitchen. I do all kinds of old fashioned THRIFTY things and people thought I was weird and cheap; now I'm like a green poster girl. Very ironic.
    (Now that bandaids come in little carboard boxes, I really treasure my stash of metal bandaid boxes.)

  6. I have a hard time getting rid of reusable items too, Anon, lol. I have the typical old Sucrets tins filled with pins in my sewing room, an Electrasol tin that I put my Electrasol tabs into when I take them out of the mushy and collapsible plastic bag, and numerous "decorative" designer watch boxes - the metal hinged kinds - that I use for various notions. Don't get me started about the baby food jars, lol. Buttons, snaps, hooks and eyes, my sewing room would be a disaster without all the repurposed goods! That's something I learned from my mom - a depression baby.

  7. This makes me feel better about not being sure if I could change a flat on my car. I bet I could have changed one on a Model T.

  8. +JMJ+

    I used to do field work for $2/hr and I'm about 15 years younger than you are. It makes you think about what things are worth . . .

  9. I love these photos of the old cars. My daughter and I go to the “cruise nights” around here all summer long and spend hours drooling over all of the classic cars, from the 1920s right through to the ‘60s. My husband thinks I’m nuts.

    My grandfather owned a successful tire company here in Providence, RI. It was one of the first in the area- he opened it when people were just starting to buy the mass-produced Model Ts in the 1920s. After he passed away, my uncle inherited it and ran the company until he decided to close it in the 1970s. I’ve always loved cars, and I really wanted to take over that business - but I was still in college at the time. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get a chance.

  10. My first job I earned $1.00 and hour. My first car was a '54 Chevy with a '50 engine. I had to replace the clutch, universal joints, and generator.(that was to get it home) I paid $45.00 for it.

    We always had a garden and Mother canned vegetables and fruit, and made homemade jams and jellies.


  11. Norkio:

    Re your previous post, I love Target.

  12. Brother Dave, amen!

    All through high school I worked for $1.50 an hour. Gee, I must be getting old.

  13. Oh ho, Norkio, you are worse than I am. I chucked my hinged jewelry and watch boxes during a purge. I had three button jars. My own, my mothers and my grandmothers. I consolidated them into one batch.

    When I was a kid in the 70's my father would give me his shirts to turn the cuffs and collars.
    Hand sewing too. I wonder how many people now a days even know what that means?
    It's a sign of prosperity or waste or both that people don't mend their clothes much anymore.

  14. When the first Ford's came out, it was advertized that with "proper maintenence", they could cover 100 miles per day. Of course, considering the condition of the so-called roads, it's a wonder they could even do that!


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