Henry Ford made the first inexpensive automobile by producing his Model T car on an assembly line. The first Ford Model T left the Ford Motor Company factory, in Detroit, Michigan, on September 27, 1908. Within ten years over half of all cars sold in America were the Ford Model T.
Fast Facts about Henry Ford and the Model T
Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan and died April 7, 1947 at the age of 83. He was a self-made man who became a world famous American industrialist and the founder of the Ford Motor Company.
The Ford Model T was made in nine different body styles that were built with the same engine and essentially the same chassis. The Ford Model T was the first automobile that was mass-produced on moving assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts.
The colors of the first Model T cars were grey, green, blue, and red - not black. In 1914 Henry Ford reduced costs and durability by using black paint. The most famous Henry Ford quote, made in a 1909 planning meeting with his production team, was that in the future:
"Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it's black!"
Facts about Henry Ford and the Model T
Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 at Dearborn farm in Greenfield Township, Wayne County, Michigan
His parents were William Ford, who was born in Ireland, and Mary Litogot, an American. Henry was the eldest of six children and raised on the family's Dearborn Farm that was located on the outskirt of Detroit.
He developed an interest in mechanics by taking apart a pocket watch and then earning some pocket money as a watch repairman. His passion for machinery led him to leave the farm in 1879, to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit city.
His first jobs were with James F. Flower & Bros and then with the Detroit Dry Dock Company where he finished his apprenticeship.
In 1882, he returned to the family farm and at the same time studied bookkeeping at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business College in Detroit. His education gave him the skills to become a successful businessman.
The family farm used a Westinghouse portable steam engine and Henry became an expert operator of the machine. He was hired to work part time for Westinghouse Company for steam engines to service and demonstrate their machines. At this time Henry Ford became inspired by the first petrol or gasoline powered automobile that was invented by Karl Benz in 1886.
In 1888 he married Clara Bryant and the couple had in 1893 became the parents of their only child, their son Edsel Bryant Ford (1893-1943).
In 1891 the Fords moved back to Detroit so that Henry could learn more about electricity by working at the Edison Illuminating Company.
The Quadricycle: In 1896 Henry Ford built his first car - a horseless carriage using a simple frame with an ethanol-powered engine and four bicycle wheels mounted on it. He called his creation the "Quadricycle".
He sold his first Quadricycle for $200 in 1896 to Charles Ainsley. The Quadricycle was his first experimental automobile and its success led to the founding of the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and the manufacture of the Model T automobile.
Following the commercial success of the Quadricycle he persuaded investors to help him form the Detroit Automobile Company and the Henry Ford Corporation to manufacture automobiles. He started by producing racing cars but the market for these special vehicles was obviously limited so the first companies closed and he opened the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
Alexander Y. Malcomson, John and Horace E. Dodge, John S. Gray, Horace Rackham, and James Couzens were some of the original investors in the company.
He achieved considerable publicity by racing his cars, and his name became well known in the early automobile industry.
Many other models were designed from the Model A to the Model S. Then the Model T came into its own when the "Tin Lizzie" was introduced.
The first Model T automobiles were produced on October 1, 1908
The automobile was manufactured in different designs to suit all tastes.
The Model T automobiles had strong selling points and significant time and effort was put into publicizing the automobiles.
The Model T designs included different innovations
The company developed a unique ignition system an unusual trembler coil system was used to drive the spark plugs of the Model T:
In the early years a crank had to be used in order to get the engine started
The Model T had become so popular that it was selling faster than the company could make them. Henry Ford began looking for ways to speed up the manufacturing and introduced the assembly line method.
The Assembly Line: In 1914 Henry Ford reduced costs and durability by using black paint on the Model T automobiles. The black paint color also dried the fastest - speeding up production. His most famous quote was "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants - so long as it is black!"
The Ford Model T was eventually manufactured in nine body styles that were built with the same engine and essentially the same chassis
The nine Model T body style designs consisted of the roadster, the runabout, the roadster torpedo, the town car, the coupe, the coupelet, the touring car and the fourdoor and tudor sedans.
In 1913 production levels had increased to such an extent that 200,000 Model T automobiles were produced
The new assembly line mass production techniques, together with the use of efficient materials, saw the price of the standard Model T steadily drop from $825 in 1903 until by 1924 a brand new runabout could be purchased for as little as $260.
In 1914, Henry Ford announced that it would pay workers a minimum wage of $5 a day. This was more than double the average for the automobile industry. He simultaneously reduced the working day from nine hours to eight, operating the factory 24-hours-a-day with a three-shift system. The factory employed 13,000 workers.
In 1918 over half of all the cars sold in America were Model Ts - from 1909 to 1927 15,007,034 Model T vehicles had been sold. Easy credit on Installment Plans were made available which led to the rise of Consumerism in 1920's America. By 1923 Ford had gained 50% of the new car market. By 1927 the company was turning out a Model T every 24 seconds.
Fordism: The term of 'Fordism' emerged defined as "the eponymous manufacturing system designed to spew out standardized, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them".
The Ford Model T had become affordable to many Americans in the 1920's. The Model T had revolutionized transportation in America. Henry Ford died at age of 83 on April 7, 1947
|US American History|
|1881-1913: Maturation Era|
|Consumerism in 1920's America|
|The Assembly Line|