As some of you regulars at the blog may have noticed, we already had a blog post about horns a number of months ago. You can see that post here if you missed it earlier. Since that time we had a brand new bracket custom fabricated for the horn to be mounted to the Liberty Truck’s firewall based on original examples. However we also experienced a loss of some storage space during that same timespan to the museum park’s horticulture team and their own fleet of vehicles, leaving us to do a massive reorganization within our motor pool in my absence. It is with a heavy heart that I must report that our Klaxonet push-horn since named ‘Jeffrey’ became a casualty of that chaotic move and is now floating in the eternal ether of missing garage parts, split pins and bolts. Our hearts and prayers are with our lonely little horn as we hope he shows up again one day…
With great sadness follows great joy! In my desperation and eventual acceptance of the loss of Jeffrey, I began to look for his replacement. I took this opportunity to reevaluate the use of horns with the Liberty- prior research had given me the general idea than the Klaxonet horns like Jeffrey were in fact the model used. However upon further inspection and some conferring with other Liberty Truck enthusiasts I took another look at some photos of existing trucks. The horns on the Fort Eustis’ and the Marine Corps Museum’s Liberty Trucks appear to be original to their respective trucks (Ft.Eustis’ served as our pattern for the repro horn mount in the first place). Despite looking nearly identical to the Klaxonet “Jeffrey”, these horns are in fact a totally different horn model: E A Laboratories Model 6 which differs from the Klaxonet in only a few small details. Similar also but far easier to discern at a distance is the Klaxon-3: a longer bell but the same body style and push rod of the Klaxonet which NARA photos indicate was built under contract for government trucks at some point during WW1.
The longer Klaxon-3 model has been noted on some trucks but by far and away the majority have the shorter Klaxonet/E A Labs model 6 style. I have only seen a handful of original photos supporting the use of the Klaxon-3, but it was certainly used. One such example appears to be a truck assembled by the Velie Motor Company of Moline, Illinois. Appearing in a series of photos from an accident on a motor truck convoy, no other trucks leaving Velie I have found show the long type horn aside from this one convoy.
Fast-forward a few more weeks as I scour eBay for research materials and the usual historical themes. What appears in my search results as I comb through various models of brass-era car horns? None other than an original E A Laboratories Model 6 horn with its ORIGINAL MOUNT.
I was instantly smitten and continued to monitor the horn, winning it in the final throws of a bidding war after several days. After further research and close observation, the horn is not only the correct model but appears to have formerly been mounted on an actual liberty truck. It retains original Olive Drab paint that matches other examples of surviving paint we have come across, as well as the fact that it has an original Liberty truck mount as well which fit our truck with no modifications whatsoever. And to top it off, the rear of the horn brandishes the infamous ‘USA’ stamped into parts contracted for the liberty truck design just like other parts on the truck such as our Adlake kerosene lights and oil cups. The parts Gods had smiled upon me that day and over 100 years later our horn is finally home, painted and mounted finally completing our Standard B truck.
The new horn has a few small cosmetic nicks and dings, but unlike Jeffrey the bell is original to the body. After a short trip to the wire wheel, some primer and paint the horn is smooth, clean and mounted to the truck. The E A Labs Model 6 horn is truly the cherry on top for us as it was the last functional and cosmetic piece we were missing on the truck.