Name Calling

Somewhere I heard that Ford’s Model T cars were not actually called “Model Ts” until the end of the Roaring Twenties. So what? Well, if you’re a historian writing a novel set in 1924 and two of your characters drive Model Ts, what are you going to call them in the book?

 Slang terms like “flivver” and “tin lizzie” were common back then, but what did people call these cars when they weren’t being irreverent?  Ford ad 1924I searched for old advertisements to see what they called the Model T, and guess what? They called it a Ford (there’s a shocker, huh?) and then used the word for the particular style. Like Ford Runabout, in this ad to the left. Or Ford Touring Car. Ford Coupe. Ford Sedan. Not a single one of the ads I found (dated from 1908 through 1925) used the term Model T. Oddly enough, the Ford models that pre-dated the Model T were called by their letter names. I came across a 1905 ad for the Model B and the Model C.

It wasn’t easy finding old Ford ads–there aren’t a lot out there, which makes you wonder until you learn that the irascible Henry Ford considered paid advertising a complete waste of money. Ford dealers advertised, but the Ford Motor Company itself seldom did.  Here’s one dealer ad dating from 1920: Ford ad 1920   









(The prettier ad at the top is one of the Ford Motor Co. ads and dates from 1924.)

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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