Automobiles in Early America Essay examples

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Automobiles in Early America


The automobile changed American life, but the process was gradual. Though historians argue the date and inventor of the first automobile, we can say that Henry Ford’s creation of his Ford Motor Company in 1903 marked perhaps the major milestone of the early twentieth century automobile industry in America and around the world. Five years after the company’s inception, Ford’s legendary Model T of 1908 would revolutionize transportation and the world economy. Before the Model T, automobiles in the US were associated with only the wealthier class. Ford sought to make cars available to every American. His cars would assume the general build that continues to characterize automobiles today, and
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There was a growing interest in sporting activities, like hunting, that cars helped to create. This voyage to new environments is one example of the new outlook Americans had on the lack of constraints the natural world placed on them and their new machines. Even before the arrival of the Model T, cars proved themselves to be clearly capable machines. However, while these new vehicles were fun and exciting, the price of automobiles made them difficult to purchase for most people.[iii] After the Model T, the American landscape would change forever. The “average” American was able to buy a car and drive wherever a paved road could take him or her.

Henry Ford introduced his Model T in 1908. The car originally cost $850, but over time the price greatly reduced. By 1925, Ford had sold 12 million Model T’s.[iv] Demand for the Model T was answered by Ford’s revolutionary system of maximizing efficiency of production: the assembly line. The term, “Fordism,” describes this new economic movement that would go on to drastically change twentieth century industrialism. Standardization is perhaps the most important concept in understanding Fordism. Ford could produce such astronomical quantities of automobiles because of what Fred Thompson of Willamette University describes as, “standardized components, standardized manufacturing processes, and a simple, easy to manufacture (and repair) standard product.”[v] In…

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