July 30, 2019

THE FATHER OF THE MODEL T: On this day in 1863, during the depths of the Civil War, future automaker Henry Ford was born.

Ford didn’t invent the automobile. Nor did he invent the assembly line. But he put those two ideas together and combined them with a relentless … and I really mean relentless … effort to make a product that was both functional and affordable. Said Ford:

I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Of course, as he acknowledged, he had great people working for him. When we pay tribute to Ford for putting ordinary Americans behind the wheel of a Model T and other early Ford automobiles, don’t forget Ford’s many bright boys–Clarence Avery, Gus Degner, Eugene Farkas, Jozsef A. Galamb, Henry Love, Peter E. Martin, Charles E. Sorensen, C.J. Smith, Childe Harold Wills and others–who supplied their share of that relentless effort.  I suspect Instapundit readers can fill in some names that I don’t know.

Yes, I know Ford was an anti-semite. And not your garden-variety turn-of-the-century anti-semite either. He was hardcore, feels-it-deep-in-his-gut kind.  I bet he had other bad qualities too. But the Model T was a marvel.

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