A Year: Day to Day Men: 1st of October, Solar Year 2018

Love with a Heart

October 1, 1908 marks the introduction of the Ford Model T by the Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Model T was produced by the Ford Motor Company from October 1908 until May of 1927. It is regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American. The success of the automobile came not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale; but it also signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a symbol of the age of modernization.

Although automobiles had been around for decades, by 1908 they were still mostly scarce, unreliable and expensive to purchase. Marketed as reliable and easily maintained, the Model T was a immediate success. Within days of its release, fifteen thousand orders had been placed. On September 27, 1908, the first production Model T left the factory at Piquette Avenue in Detroit.

The Model T was designed by Childe Harold Wills, and Hungarian engineers Joseph Galamb and Eugene Farkas. The original engine was capable of running on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol, which eventually became an impractical fuel once Prohibition started. The ignition system was an unusual one, using a low-voltage magneto incorporated in the flywheel, as opposed to the high-voltage ones on other vehicles. This made the Model T more flexible in the quality or type of fuel used. The starter was hand-cranked; and acetylene and oil lamps provided illumination for the road.

In the first years of production from 1908 to 1913, the only colors available for the Model T were gray, green, blue, and red: Green for touring cars, town cars and coupes; Gray for only town cars; and Red only for touring cars. By 1912, all cars were painted midnight blue with black fenders. In 1914, the policy became only black cars, due to the low cost, durability, and faster drying time of black paint in that era. During the lifetime production of the Model T, over thirty types of black paint of different formulations were used on various parts of the car.

The initial cost of a Model T Runabout in 1909 was $825 with the Model T Touring costing $850, equivalent to about $23,000 today. With the innovation of the moving assembly line production at the Ford Company, the costs dropped substantially: from $440 in 1914 to $345 in 1916. By the year 1925, with almost two million cars produced that year, the cost of a Model T Runabout was $260 and the cost of the Touring Model was down to $290. Overall, a total of 14,689,525 Model T’s rolled off the assembly line during its years of production.

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