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Flat Leather Fan Belts | Product categories | Then and Now Automotive

Flat Leather Fan Belts

Flat Leather Fan Belts

Flat leather fan belts turned radiators up until about 1928 after being used to power most factory machinery of the industrial revolution. As cars became more complex, with belts turning generators and pumps, mass-produced moulded rubber belts replaced hand-made leather belts. In flat belt systems, the leather belt runs with its rough side down against pulleys, which are called, “drums”. Flat belts are not supposed to be very tight, just tight enough to move the fan. Studies have shown that flat belts were the first fan clutches – they moved air through the radiators when the car was idling and would slip at higher speeds, allowing the fan to create less turbulence and interference with the air being forced through the radiator (Not too shabby for 1800’s technology!).

Measuring For A New Leather Fan Belt

Use a cloth-tape measure- a metal one will not bend accurately around the drums in the belt system. Cloth or “Dressmaker’s” tapes are sold in any fabric store and many hardware stores. Set the adjustments in as far as they will go. Hold one end up against a drum, run the tape around the system and note the length (which will be the inside circumference). The belt will always be a little narrower than the drums – a 1″ wide belt runs on 1 1/8″ to 1 1/4″ drums.

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