Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbHenry Ford sits amongst those luminous inventors and innovators of the last part of the 19th century. Around him are Thomas Edison, known for the light bulb, direct current, the phonograph, movie technology, and Alexander Graham Bell, known for the telephone. These men were the giants. They brought light, entertainment, and communication to the lives of a nation. But Henry Ford’s contribution was much more profound — he gave the nation mobility! No longer were the common man living in American cities, towns, and villages would be restricted to their locales if they could afford the few hundred dollars for a used Model T.


The major contribution of Henry Ford was the design of an innovative manufacturing production techniques — the assembly line. Automobiles prior to Henry Ford were produced the same way that luxurious means of transportation had been made for decades, if not centuries. A single craftsman or a small group of skilled craftsmen worked on a single vehicle through its construction. This was the technique used on coaches, railroad cars, and automobile with notable nameplates such as Pullman (railroad coaches). But this craftsman-based approach made each unit expensive to create and, therefore, expensive to buy. The common man was excluded from this new transportation opportunity. Henry Ford’s Model T was created on an assembly line where each worker did only one part of the manufacturing process; this made automobiles inexpensive and available to a wider audience!

The revolution of the automobile had a profound effect upon American society. Not only did it provide mobility beyond a farmer’s local village, but he could now use a tractor to tend his fields. Americans and foreign immigrants were put to work building roads to replace the carriage tracks had previously existed. And the nation was on the move. Eventually, a national web of highways tried together the nation like no railroad had been able to do. This was formalized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the mid-1950s signed legislation that created the Interstate Highway System.

Not all the changes produced by the automobile were positive. These vehicles were adapted as transports and ambulances during World War I. But cars were also used to transport illegal alcohol during Prohibition. Gangsters used the car to carry their terror and death around large cities in our country. Also, the automobile is said to have contributed to the breakdown of morals in young people, providing them with a mobile “passion pits” in which to loose themselves in the moment.


Today, we suffer with air pollution from vehicle exhaust. But on the bright side, new technologies have been developed in recent years to provide mobility with clean air. That is progress.

Now, let’s get started with our exploration of Henry Ford, the Ford Motor Company, and the low-cost automobile… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

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Quotations Related to Henry Ford:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/henry_ford.html ]


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

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

“Any colour – so long as it’s black.”
— Henry Ford

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