Tuesday, October 1, 2013
October 1 - Ford Model T
105 years ago: On October 1, 1908, Ford Motor Company began making the first Model T automobiles at its production line in Detroit. The car came to be known as a “Tin Lizzie” and a “flivver” (a slang term) because of its ungainly appearance, rough ride and constant rattling at reasonable speeds. It was the first automobile to be mass-produced on Henry Ford’s revolutionary moving assembly lines (perfected by 1913), entirely with interchangeable parts. The process, based on the division of labor, allowed the car to be marketed to the middle class, not just the rich, at an initial price of $825 for the runabout (two-seats). By 1925 the price had dropped to $260. A durable, easily maintained machine, the Model T was also available as a touring car (five seats) and town car (seven seats). In a largely agrarian nation, owners often pulled the car apart and made it into a tractor. Gasoline was fed to the engine by gravity from a 10-gallon tank (under the front seat), and reverse gear provided the greatest power. As a result, the Model T had to be driven backward to climb steep hills.