Little Bits of History

Model T & A

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 27, 2011

1908 Ford Model T ad from Oct. 1, 1908 Life magazine

May 27, 1927: Ford Motor Company begins retooling plants. The Ford Model T began production in 1908. The car was also called the Tin Lizzie, Flivver, or simply T. The car’s popularity was such that it’s availability marks the general popularity of the automobile in general. It was the first affordable automobile and opened up travel to middle America and in years to come, the world. The assembly line production reduced costs and workers were paid a wage large enough to be able to afford to buy a car. This produced a ready market for the commodity. The first car was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908.

The Model T was not the first car Henry Ford produced. The company began in 1903 and he built a prototype Model A. There were not models built for every letter although the car just prior to the Model T was the Model S, the car the S replaced was the Model N. The Model T was designed by Childe Harold Wills along with Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas and team of other engineers. Within ten years, half the cars in America were Ford’s Tin Lizzie. Most of them were black. The color was durable and lasted well. Thirty different black paints were used, however from 1908 to 1914 and again in 1926 and 1927, other colors (red, blue, green, and gray) were available.

The car got 25 miles to the gallon and had a 20-horsepower engine running a two speed transmission and could reach 45 mph. Vanadium steel gave the car both durability and a lighter weight. In 1914, Ford put out 308,162 cars, more than all the other car makers combined. More than 15 million of the cars were made before production ceased on May 26, 1927. The next day, the retooling began for Ford’s new Model. Again, not quite following the alphabet, the next Model offered to the general public was the Model A.

The first A car rolled off the assembly line on October 20, 1927 but didn’t go on sale until December 2. It was called a 1927 model and came in four different colors, none of them black. Production of the Model A ended in March 1932 after nearly 5 million were made. The 40-horsepower engine got between 25 and 30 miles to the gallon and had a top speed of 65 mph. The wheelbase was slightly wider than the T and it had a 3 speed transmission with a 1 speed reverse. The Model A also came in a variety of styles – 25 of them. After retiring in 1932, it was replaced by the Model B.

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

“A bore is a person who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it.”

“An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.”

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” – all from Henry Ford

Also on this day:
No More Burnt Toast – In 1919 a toaster with a timer is patented.
St. Pete – In 1703, St. Petersburg, Russia was founded.

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