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  #21  
Old 01-06-2014, 02:55 PM
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It would seem there is something with this brass tag that has been lost to history. I found the same brass several years ago, and have seen two others on ebay listings over time. Each example was attached by screws. In another thread somewhere, someone had one attached to a later model 61-66 that was found.

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...ighlight=WIXOM

Found picture from another 1960 TBird, 0Y71Y102608.
This mounting location matches the others I've seen.
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File Type: jpg brass.jpg (11.6 KB, 96 views)
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1959 J Convertible
1960 J Hardtop

Last edited by GTE427 : 01-06-2014 at 03:23 PM.
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  #22  
Old 01-07-2014, 12:27 AM
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These brass tags are very heavy duty, made to last many decades, and somewhat expensive to stamp out. Examine this brass tag:

Notice the number cannot go passed 9999, and there is no date. Ford Wixom made 5,000 T-birds in a month. Also notice that it has witness marks from being pried off its original location, most likely because it was riveted in place. Screwing it into thin sheet metal will distort the steel, not a brass tag. This one was pounded into a machine using 1/8" spiral rivets.

Plant workers also used 'tool checks'. They were also heavy, triangular brass tags, numbered, with one hole at the top. Workers usually kept them on a large home-made safety pin, attached to their coveralls for easy access. Each employee (or department) was assigned a number of these. If you needed an expensive (usually precision) tool, the crib would supply it with the exchange of your tool check. Of course, if the tool was never returned, they would charge your next pay check(s), (so don't lose any).

Racks of time cards kept track of who was at work (the 'in' rack), and a printed record of their times throughout the week (Mon-Sun). Not brass tags. During the 1990's, Ford eliminated time cards and strictly depended on each foreman to enter deviations from his worker's 8-hr day. That saved a lot. No more cards, time clocks, time clock repair dept., Timekeepers, etc. No more queing up at the clock, two minutes before punch-out time. It also stopped something the company really didn't want to do. If an employee was caught punching out another's time card, it was a fireable offense. Believe me, you really don't want to fire a great employee who has been an excellent worker over many years. Some jobs require great skill and the ability to work closely with a partner, like 'engine stuffing', 'rear axle sled', 'windshield or sidelite installation', etc. Random drug testing was elliminated for senior employees for the same reasons. Let's say a good worker of 25 years tests 'positive' for weed he smoked weeks ago. Maybe ten workers were at a party together. The company has two choices; send them to rehab or fire them. Either way, trained replacements are required to make cars. "Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." - Dave
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  #23  
Old 01-07-2014, 07:55 PM
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Ken's picture is almost the same as my cars tag (also 1960) except mine is installed with black screws. I'd take a picture but it's 8 degrees in the garage and the wood stove is nice and warm here in the house. Still find it hard to believe this is a prank by a rogue line worker. Maybe I just want to believe my car is special (:
Steve
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  #24  
Old 01-07-2014, 11:47 PM
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But Steve, your '60 Squarebird IS special, brass tag or not. There is no other car with your car's identity, and no other model more beautiful than a Squarebird. Your car was built when cars were really cars, and people bought them for their style and grace, not fuel economy. There simply aren't many left in the world and if I were you I would feel very fortunate to own a good one.

It would never happen, but I would love it if Ford announced, 'Ladies and gentlemen, for 2016, we will build the 1960 Thunderbird.' Yeah, it would have a modern drivetrain, safety equipment, etc., but so what... Ford wouldn't be able to supply the demand. - Dave
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2014, 08:07 PM
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Can't argue with you there Dave.
In the words of singer/songwriter David Wilcox: She's a tailfinned road locomotive from the day's of cheap gasoline....A rusty old American Dream.
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  #26  
Old 01-09-2014, 07:48 AM
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I wonder if the Wixom tag was a way to notify the line workers that this car was for one of the workers or their family, and the number was the last four of their employee number?
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:24 AM
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Have you ever heard of a 'cigar car'? It's the 'Ford family of fine cars'. Ford gave their employees time to watch their cars being assembled. Normally, a worker who is following his car, also hands out cigars or suckers (thus, a cigar car). The line workers immediately recognize this 'stranger to their area, handing out cigars' and they try to do their very best because of how proud we are to buy what we build. Put another way, we buy one minute of everyone's time because that's how long each worker has to assemble your car.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as 'throwing in a few goodies', because the last guy to see the car at the garage door was a Ford Security guard (with a ROT sheet). He was responsible to make sure hub caps were in the trunk and all options were present and accounted for. Security then weighs the car, generates the paperwork (window sticker), and literally signs the car over to the transport company. Right then, the car belongs to the transportation company, and they drive it out the back door. If anything is missing from that car enroute to the dealership, the transportation company is responsible to pay for it. All the options plainly appear on the window sticker.

The guys on the line might add a few extra spot welds, or make sure paint, undercoating and sealant covered everything very well; things like that. They might even buff the paint to make it nicer. I had three 'cigar cars' during my career. Others, I bought off the dealership lot.

Quality Control had to 'watch' a random car through the system, every hour. Let's say, if I worked in Dearborn and I ordered a car to be made in Atlanta, for example, I could call Scheduling in Atlanta with my four digit dealership order code and find out when the car was to be processed. Then I would call QC and THEY would follow my car for me. Usually, when QC got a-hold of a car, they did further emissions testing after it was done, then they filled the tank because they put the car through its paces. QC stuck a special sticker in the glovebox showing why a few more miles were on the clock and the emissions compliance results from that car. (They did that with my Mustang GT convertible, then I drove it directly to the dealership.)

Using the last four on a brass tag is a cute idea but what if two people have the same number? Yes, I've seen it. Dearborn Assembly had 1,500 people. God knows how many throngs retired since 1917. The Rouge had 100,000 working employees including only ONE assembly plant out of twenty, spread across the USA and Canada.

Ever notice that "F" on your head and cap bolts? Yep, Ford cold-headed (and heat-treated) their own bolts, made their own coke, pig iron, nodular iron, steel, radiators, fuel tanks, engines, frames, stampings, dies, glass, castings and they even made parts for other companies (like tiny crankshaft castings for Briggs & Stratton engines.)

Just when you think Ford is big... Chevrolet Div., was equally as big as all of Ford Motor Co., and as big as all the rest of GM.

I don't miss working at Ford but I sure miss well over a thousand friends I left there when I retired. I see some of the guys who retired, but I see more of my 'restorer buddies' and FE guys' from our Motor City Galaxie Club. - Dave
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  #28  
Old 01-10-2014, 03:06 AM
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A nice story Dave, I enjoyed reading it, boy, I wish I had been in the US back then - and worked at a Ford assembly plant on the line for a bit.
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  #29  
Old 01-10-2014, 05:57 AM
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Tom, I cannot stress enough how hard the work was. The pay is commensurate with the work, and not many people could last for a whole career. Labor Relations had a hard job keeping the plant operating because of absenteeism and tardiness. In these two areas, the UAW couldn't help a bloke because; the company has work to do and if a worker decides not to come in, he is firing himself (unless he can produce a doctor's letter or a note from a court clerk, etc.). The union's first responsibility is to supply the workforce with qualified workers. An absentee makes that impossible.

Labor relations regarded five years of seniority as nothing. 'Sympathy can be found in the dictionary between syphilis and $hite.' So regardless of how you feel on any day, they always expected 450 fenders stamped out each hour (in the stamping plant). It seemed, once the company hired a worker, they immediately started building a case to fire him, constantly whipping him into submission or he's gone. No excuses, Ford demanded hard work in the form of quality products at all times. I've seen new hires throw off their safety equipment (terry cloth sleeves, gloves, pads, glasses and ear protection) and march straight out the door, many hundreds of times. I have seen strokes and deaths in the plant, too.

All this friction and pressure galvanizes the workers, because they're all in the same boat, with the same goal - to go home to their families in one piece and to make a 'living wage'.

One beautiful Friday in summer I was riding my Harley to work, and I passed under this big sign showing the direction for "Chicago". Five hours later, I was in Chicago. Many times, I dreaded that assembly line. My only driving force was the anticipation of entering the apprenticeship.

I graduated to "Industrial Electrician, Journeyman" in two years flat. 8,000 hours; 7,424 on the job and 576 hours spread over 19 courses in school. I was the fastest apprentice to ever complete the course, working every weekend and many double shifts. I did it because I vowed to myself that I would NEVER work on the line again, and I never did.

After Journeyman, then Leader Electrician, I continued my college courses in electrical engineering, all of which Ford paid for. Ford was very good about paying for all employee's education, then they promoted from within. I never had a student loan.

Not many engineers came from the production line. I used to have fun with it. Ford assigned me an area of responsibility. I would regularly chat with the workers, telling them not to mess up the line. I would say, "If you need a break, call me and I'll take your place while you get us a coffee." The first guy I said that to freaked right out and didn't believe me. Reluctantly, he left for the coffee machine and came back to find me doing his job, easily keeping pace with the line. After only a few sips, he wanted his job back (all of a sudden, it was HIS job, and no one else's). All the other line workers got a big kick out of that and so did his foreman. My areas always had the fewest breakdowns and the best workers. They came to realized that we all want Ford to profit, and as long as things ran smoothly, none of the big shots would ever show up because they were too busy 'managing trouble areas'. No news is great news.

One day, they asked me if I would consider working in Manufacturing Development, which is part of 'staff' and a country club. They needed someone with production plant experience. There, is where I worked with many of the old timers who developed Squarebirds, Mustangs, and a host of other models and processes. Quite a few had Ph.D.'s in every field of engineering and manufacturing. That was pretty amazing but for me, it all started from working in the trenches on that line. - Dave
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  #30  
Old 01-10-2014, 09:52 AM
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Dave, you should write a book about all of this.
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