The standardized production of goods allowed automobiles to be mass produced at scale. Automobiles became commodities and were mass produced in volume in the United States as early as 1913. In that same year, the United States produced 485,000 motor vehicles. These cars revolutionized the way we travel, live, and work. Today, there are many different automobile models, but the Model T is still the most popular and affordable. To learn more about the history of automobiles, read the following articles.
The first Model T was a hand-built, piece-by-piece construction, but later the company adapted the car for a variety of uses, including a rail car. After it was introduced, many after-market car manufacturers offered ways to customize the car. For example, the car could be painted red, white, or black, and was available in a variety of colors. It was manufactured in small batches and first sold in the fall/autumn of 1908.
In addition to its use on rails, the Model T was also capable of running on various narrow-gauge railways, including the Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington RR. These lines were a bit narrower than standard gauge, and the Model T could be converted into motorized railway vehicles. It was not a particularly good option, however, because the vehicle would not have the capacity to stop the rear wheels if they were turned.
Early Model Ts came with a toolkit, and a gas tank packed underneath the front passenger seat. They also provided a windshield, although this was an optional feature. Unlike modern cars, the Model T was crank-driven, and the only way to start the car was by holding a hand over the clutch. It also required a cranking motion, making it an awkward and dangerous machine for many drivers. This makes it impossible to drive a Model T without some basic mechanical knowledge, so drivers had to be careful when cranking the engine.
The Ford Model T also received the nickname “Tin Lizzie.” There are various theories about how this name came about, but the nickname is often associated with the old-fashioned name for a horse. One tradition says that Lizzie was a generic term for horses that was passed onto the Model T by a San Antonio car dealer. In this case, the factory agreed to ship the cars without doors, but it included a tool to remove the doors.
Henry Ford worked on automobile design prior to the Model T. His first known design, the Quadricycle, was built in 1896. He left the Edison Company in 1899 and briefly worked for the Detroit Automobile Company. Detroit Automobile Company folded in 1900, so Ford formed the Henry Ford Company. The Ford Motor Company later changed its name to Cadillac, and it was named after Henry Ford. The company continued to produce the Model T for over two decades.