Four Months Pay Could Buy A Model T Ford!

The first automobiles were "horseless carriages". These cars were invented and created by many, but popularized by Henry Ford whose assembly line made them affordable in the 1920's.

The cars of today are very different from those of 100 years ago. For example, we no longer have hand crank starters. It was the production of the Model T Ford (1908 to 1927) that made the car affordable for the average person. An assembly line worker could buy a car for only 4 months pay.


It was Ford's assembly line invention that reduced the manufacturing time for each vehicle from 12.5 hours to 93 minutes. The price of a 4 seat touring car was gradually reduced from $850 (1909) to $260 in the 1920's.

Fords Were Produced in Canada, Europe, South America, and Japan!

By 1925 Ford had produced 15 million Model T's. Factories around the world were cranking out 9,000 to 10,000 cars per day. At one point 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords. Thousands of Model T's are operational today.

The Model T Fords had a 20 hp engine, a top speed of 45 mph, and got 13 to 21 miles per gallon of gas. They were rear-wheel drive, but did not have brakes on the wheels. The parking brake served as an emergency brake.

The Fords were equipped with a horn and had 3 shift pedals on the floor. The throttle was next to the steering wheel. Electric headlights replaced acetylene gas lights in 1915.

Model T's were practical machines. One of the drive wheels could be removed and a flat belt could be placed on the hub to drive several farm machines such as a thresher, blower, conveyor, or a water pump.

Driving a car on bumpy, pothole trails was slow going. As more people could afford cars, there was a need for better roads. By the 1950's, during the Eisenhower administration, the non-stop freeways were built. That put an end to stop-and-go driving and allowed people who worked in the city to live in suburbs.

Dirt Roads Were Eventually Replaced With Pavement!

Karl Benz, German engineer

Gradually the following automobile improvements and conveniences were added. The related dates are when it was first available. Often it was not commercially available until several years later.

First Car

  • First Car (Karl Benz, German engineer, 1886)
  • Electric Heater (1890)
  • Windshield Wipers (1903)
  • Car Radio (add-on) (1929)
  • Seat Belts (patent 1885)
  • Clocks
  • Shatterproof Windshields
  • Automatic Transmission
  • High Beam Headlights
  • Electric Turn Signals (1938)
  • Fuel Injection System
  • Electric Windows (1948)
  • Moon Roof
  • Tinted Windows
  • Third Brake Light (1974)
  • Power Seats
  • Cruise Control
  • Disc Brakes (patent 1901)
  • Built-in Compass
  • Heated & Cool Seats
  • Backup Cameras
  • Keyless Entry
  • Remote Starting
  • GPS

The above listed amenities were instrumental in creating competition among the automobile manufacturers. The engine and drive train improvements were equally impressive. Advances in vehicle emissions and better fuel efficiency have also been significant.

The first automobiles were responsible for many inventions. The improvements were gradual and continuous. The cars of the future continue to benefit from the advancements of the past.

A Bit Of Automotive History!

  • Ransom Olds and Henry Ford were gas engine machinists.
  • William Durant (founder of General Motors) was the largest producer of carriages. He bought the struggling Buick Motors.
  • In September, 1893 the Duryea Brothers created the first gasoline powered "motor wagon".
  • Henry Ford's failed in his first two automotive adventures. His second failure was renamed Cadillac and became part of General Motors.

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