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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Tag: Ford Model T

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

[ 4472 Words ]


Quotations Related to Henry Ford:

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“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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Edited by Gerald Boerner


Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day includes only one international event of note, but it is one that is of the upmost importance to this country. Numerous events involved with America itself have also occurred on this day. But let’s start out with a consideration of the international event, the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the Continental Congress in 1784. But how is this an international event, you might ask. The Treaty of Paris formally ended the Revolutionary War between Britain and its American colonies — now that is a major international event. This treaty gave the new colony a set of borders that would define the new country. These borders were the Great Lakes to the North, the Spanish territory of Florida on the South, the Mississippi River on the West and the Atlantic Ocean on the East. Only the lands east of the Appalachian mountains had been extensively settled, so this new country had a great deal of land to explore and settle.

Dixie Clipper_Boeing-314_1

On the home front, we had three Connecticut towns adopt “The Fundamental Orders” in 1639. This was one of the earliest democratic constitutions in the colonies along with the Mayflower Compact. Most of the American colonies were settled under decrees from the King granting settlement rights to a few wealthy patrons. More recently, this day saw the start of NBCs Today Show hosted by Dave Garroway in 1952. This was the grand-daddy of the morning news and talk shows; its format was copied by the other TV networks. It was also on this day in 1954 that Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe. It was also the day in 1985 that saw Martina Navratilova join Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors as the only tennis players to win 100 professional tennis tournaments.

But this day saw two major innovations introduced into this country. In 1914, Henry Ford introduced a manufacturing innovation in its new Model T plant in Highland Park, Michigan. With this assembly line, each worker performed a single task as the car passed by their station. This was in contrast with the traditional manufacturing process that saw a small team of craftsmen building an automobile by performing all tasks required. The new assembly line enabled more productivity and enabled the price of the auto to be dropped to that affordable by the average worker. It would also enable our manufacturing facilities to produce war materiel for World War II in order for the U.S. to become the “Arsenal of Democracy”, as FDR put it.

Ford Model T Military Field Ambulance

The other major innovation was the development of passenger aircraft from the early open air seats to an aircraft that enabled passengers to travel over long distances in comfort. During World War II, FDR was a passenger on the “Dixie Clipper”, Pan American’s flying seaplane (a Boeing 314 seaplane), on his trip to the Casablanca Conference to meet with Winston Churchill in 1943. FDR was the first sitting President to use an airplane to make such a trip. It was probably a wise decision due to the continued presence of German U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic during the Battle of the Atlantic. This helped to give the population confidence to fly to their destinations after the war rather than travelling by train or steamship. Our technology had come of age!

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

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

[ 1101 Words ]


Quotations Related to Casablanca:

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“If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?”
— Howard Koch

“Well everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.”
— Humphrey Bogart

“Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.”
— Winston Churchill

“Most people would rather stay home and watch Casablanca for the fourth time or the 10th time on Turner Classic Movies than go see Matrix 12 or whatever the hell the flavor of the month is.”
— Joseph Bologna

“Churchill knew the importance of peace, and he also knew the price of it. Churchill finally got his voice, of course. He stressed strategy, but it was his voice that armed England at last with the old-fashioned moral concepts of honor and duty, justice and mercy.”
— Suzanne Fields

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