Ford and The First Affordable Car: A Brief History For Automotive Course Students

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Before Henry Ford created the Model T, it was mainly horses and buggies that populated the streets of North America. Only the very wealthy could afford to buy a car, but—thanks to Ford—all of that changed. Because of Ford’s revolutionary new assembly lines, cars could be produced at a lower cost, and as a result be sold at a much lower price. Thanks to this new approach, millions of people all over the United States, Canada, and the world could afford to buy their very own car for the first time in history.

Continue reading to discover how Ford and the Model T changed automotive practices and helped create the automotive industry we know today.

Ford’s Assembly Line Paved the Way for Auto Mechanic Training

To help create an affordable car, Henry Ford had to first create the assembly line. On December 1st, 1913, Henry Ford’s assembly line first opened and reduced the manufacturing time of a Model T automobile from 12 hours to just above 90 minutes. It also reduced the cost of the Model T from $825 in 1908 to just $260 in 1925, which is approximately $4,500 CAD today—what a deal!

Ford’s first assembly line was housed in a factory in Highland Park, Michigan. It had 4 floors, with the top floor being used for building engines and the bottom floor being used to attach the body and the chassis. Assembly automobile production sparked a new era for the automotive industry, as even more people were now able to afford their very own car. Many experts also believe that this lead to the beginning of the auto mechanic career, because all those new cars eventually had to be fixed. Students in auto mechanic college might have Ford to thank for the car industry as we know it!

Auto Mechanic College Students Know Cars Have Come a Long Way Since the Model T

Although the Model T’s production process was legendary, its actual capabilities and design weren’t the best. After all, the Ford Model T had been designed with affordability and durability in mind, rather than performance. The top speed of the Model T (70km/h) was impressive for the time, but the ride at that speed was anything but smooth. The transmission was actually controlled by foot pedals and consisted of three gears—two forward and one reverse. The 10-gallon fuel tank was housed under the front seat, and due to the gasoline being fed to the engine via gravity, and because the reverse gear was more powerful than the forward gears, the Model T often had to be driven uphill backwards.

Auto Mechanic College Students Can Thank Ford for Raising Wages

In addition to creating the assembly line, the concept of minimum wage also first emerged from Henry Ford and the automotive sector. When Ford unveiled his new assembly line, it was a first, and what followed was also groundbreaking; the emergence of a standardized minimum wage for workers. Ford pretty much doubled the standard day wages of the early 20th century, from $2.25 to $5 a day, and therefore gave his own employees the opportunity to purchase the product they made.

Auto Mechanic College Students Know the Ford Model T Had a Big Impact

As pros with auto mechanic training can attest, people have a special bond with their cars, because the automobile provides a feeling of freedom. It’s one of the reasons why the Ford Model T had such a big impact when it was launched.

Dimitry Anastakis, a Trent University history professor, maintains that the Model T was “probably the single most important consumer item, not just in North America, but certainly around the world…It really reconceptualised the way we live our lives.” With people from all walks of life finally getting to experience easy, affordable, and fast travel outside of their towns, they had the chance to experience their surroundings in a whole new way.

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