Posts Tagged ‘Model T’

Joe Gilman Part IV

December 10, 2009

In July, The Carlisle Arrow announced that Joe Gilman and 18 other boys were receiving excellent reports for their work at Ford. On Sept 11 1915, Joe married Lydia Douglas 1 week before Lydia’s 17th birthday. In November the school reported on his marriage, stating the young couple, “..is getting on very well. Joseph has an excellent record at Carlisle, and great success is wished him by his friends.” The fact that this item appeared in the Alumni Department Notes column implied that Joe was no longer a Carlisle student. Lydia was a white girl who was born in Michigan to a father from Canada and a mother from Michigan.

The December 3 edition told of Joe’s promotion and transfer:

Joseph Gilman, Everett Ranco, and Norman Thompson, who went to Detroit last January, were promoted in July and are now receiving $5.00 a day.…Joseph Gilman expects to be transferred to Minneapolis, Minn., before long to do the same kind of work in the Ford plant there.

In January 1916, The Arrow reprinted an article from the Philadelphia Public Ledger titled “Indian Youths Set Records in Factory.” The lead paragraph featured Joe:

Out of the score of nations represented in an automobile factory in Detroit it remained for an Indian, Joseph Gilman, a Chippewa, whose home is in Minnesota and who is at present enrolled at the Carlisle Indian School, to set the world’s record for assembling a car of that make. He had the machine ready for the road in two hours and fifty minutes after beginning work. The previous record was three hours.

Roberta Carlisle Gilman was born on March 3, 1916 in Minnesota.

End of Part IV

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Carlisle Indians Built Model Ts

October 17, 2008

In 2003 three of my brothers and I took our soon-to-be 90-year-old father for a tour of old car museums in the Midwest. At Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI we took a ride in a Model T. That was all it took to whet his appetite for the Tin Lizzie. Before I knew it one appeared at my doorstep. Dan lives in Illinois but the 1915 brass radiator T he found was in New Jersey. The seller agreed to deliver it as far as my place in Pennsylvania. (See photo below)

This being the 100th anniversary of the Model T, one looks for connections between it and the Carlisle Indian School. Some employee surely had one but I haven’t bothered to explore that link because a much stronger tie exists.

Shortly after Henry Ford increased wages to $5 per day and reduced the workday from 9 hours to 8, a move that other industrialists thought would bankrupt him and possibly themselves as they tried to compete for workers, Superintendent Oscar Lipps arranged to have some Carlisle students enter the training program at Ford. In January 1915 6 boys left to put Americans on the road. At Ford they were placed in a training program which consisted of both classroom training and hands–on work in the various aspects of the Highland Park plant. Lipps received feedback on the boys’ performance and found it necessary to upgrade part of the academic program at Carlisle to better prepare students for positions in modern industrial concerns.

The boys performed well and received good evaluations from Ford. So good in fact, that additional students were sent to Ford. By mid-summer, 19 boys were in the Ford training program. In September most, including the football players, returned to Carlisle, but 9 remained at Ford. In December, after football season was over, 16 more, including several who had previously been in the Ford program returned to Detroit. By January 1916, Joe Gilman, Chippewa, set a Ford record by assembling a Model T in 2 hours and 50 minutes, breaking the previous record of 3 hours.

End of Part I

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn

Ann cranks while Tom impatiently honks horn