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From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Glenn D. Miller.
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Glenn D. Miller.

Show & Tell: Ford Model T Ignition Key

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Glenn D. Miller.
From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Glenn D. Miller.

This ignition key, produced for the Ford Model T between 1914 and 1919, is a relic of a time when the operation of an automobile required much more from the driver than it does today. The metal key, slightly rusted, is now preserved in the collections of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

The pre-1919 Model T, Car and Driver advises, is especially difficult to get going because it doesn’t have a manual starter. Here is the procedure, as described by Car & Driver for those interested in driving a restored specimen: The driver starts at the front of the car, by the right fender, and pulls the choke, while cranking a lever under the radiator to prime the carburetor. Then, she climbs into the car. This is where the ignition key comes into play: she inserts it, then adjusts the timing stalk, the throttle stalk, and the hand brake. Then, she hops back out of the car to crank the lever, using (Car and Driver advises) the left arm: “If the engine backfires and the lever swings counterclockwise, the left arm is less likely to be broken.” At that point, the engine should start.

A group of friends in their Model T Ford car circa 1915. Getty Images.

The elaborate nature of this procedure meant that the driver had to be ready to remember a lot of technical details, and to have a modicum of physical strength. While some contemporary critics argued that women couldn’t handle a Model T, drivers like Britain’s Dorothy Levitt, who wrote a 1909 handbook for women interested in buying and operating an automobile, insisted that the level of technical expertise necessary was easy to acquire: “An engine is easily mastered. A few hours of proper diligence, provided you are determined to learn, and you know all that you have to know.”

Ford’s Model T was unusual in sticking to the crank starter method throughout the 1910s. The electric starter motor, patented in 1903, could be found in most non-Ford cars as the second decade of the 20th century progressed, and their manufacturers boasted of the relative ease of their cars’ starting procedures (the tagline of a Cadillac ad: “The Car That Has No Crank”). While the whole procedure was rendered somewhat simpler with the advent of Ford’s Model A—the driver no longer had to get out of the car and crank—it still wasn’t easy, when compared with our super-quick present-day process.

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Amazon Will Now Deliver Packages to Your Car Trunk
Amazon
Amazon

Delivery drivers call them “porch pirates.” It’s a derisive term for people who take advantage of the fact that many residents aren’t home during the day and swipe packages from doorsteps. Bad weather, nosy neighbors, or general privacy concerns may be other reasons you’re not comfortable leaving shipments unattended. Now, Amazon has a solution: Today, the company is introducing Amazon Key In-Car Delivery, a new method for dropping off packages that virtually guarantees they’ll be in one piece when you get home.

When shoppers opt for Amazon Key at checkout and own a vehicle that supports app-based unlocking, the delivery driver will be able to pop open your trunk and deposit your items inside. Essentially, your car doubles as a storage locker.

Your car may be sitting in your office parking lot during the day, but that’s no problem. Drivers will be able to pull up to your car there and make the same drop-off. When you’re done with work for the day, your packages will be waiting. Your car can be parked anywhere within a two-block radius of the delivery address and still be eligible for the service.

But how would a driver find it? The In-Car Delivery program requires a few things in order to work. For one, you need Amazon’s Key app; you also need to give the company permission to lock and unlock your vehicle. Your car must support app-based access, like 2015 or newer GM cars with OnStar subscriptions or recent-model Volvos with a Volvo On Call account. These vehicles have partnership agreements with Amazon that make them compatible with the Key software, as well as GPS functioning that allows drivers to find them when parked offsite. You’ll also need to be in one of 37 markets where Amazon dispatches their own delivery staff.

If this delivery approach is embraced, it’s likely that other carmakers will help Amazon widen their distribution platform. Amazon Key also offers in-home delivery service in select cities, which allows drivers entry into your home to leave packages inside.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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iPhone’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ Feature Is Actually Reducing Distracted Driving (a Little)
iStock
iStock

While it’s oh-so-tempting to quickly check a text or look at Google Maps while driving, heeding the siren call of the smartphone is one of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel. Distracted driving led to almost 3500 deaths in the U.S. in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and even more non-fatal accidents. In the summer of 2017, Apple took steps to combat the rampant problem by including a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting as part of its iOS 11 upgrade. And the data shows that it’s working, as Business Insider and 9to5Mac report.

The Do Not Disturb While Driving feature allows your iPhone to sense when you’re in a moving car, and mutes all incoming calls, texts, and other notifications to keep you from being distracted by your phone. A recent survey from the insurance comparison website EverQuote found that the setting works as intended; people who kept the setting enabled did, in fact, use their phones less.

The study analyzed driver behavior recorded by EverDrive, EverQuote’s app designed to help users track and improve their safety while driving. The report found that 70 percent of EverDrive users kept the Do Not Disturb setting on rather than disabling it. Those drivers who kept the setting enabled used their phone 8 percent less.

The survey examined the behavior of 500,000 EverDrive users between September 19, 2017—just after Apple debuted the feature to the public—and October 25, 2017. The sample size is arguably small, and the study could have benefited from a much longer period of analysis. Even if people are looking at their phones just a little less in the car, though, that’s a win. Looking away from the road for just a split second to glance at an incoming notification can have pretty dire consequences if you’re cruising along at 65 mph.

When safety is baked into the design of technology, people are more likely to follow the rules. Plenty of people might not care enough to enable the Do Not Disturb feature themselves, but if it’s automatically enabled, plenty of people won’t go through the work to opt out.

[h/t 9to5Mac]

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