This Day in History
The First Model T

The First Model T
October 1, 1908

Ford’s name is indissolubly associated with both the history of the automobile and the modernization of American industry. It was Ford’s engineering skill, business acumen and resourcefulness that were largely responsible for transforming the automobile from a rich man’s luxury to a universal necessity. Brought up on a farm, Ford early wearied of the drudgery of farming. As an apprentice in a Detroit machine shop, he discovered a natural talent for machinery, and possessing an inventive mind, he determined to “lift farm drudgery off flesh and blood and lay it on steel and motors.” Pursuing his “most conscious ambition,” Ford turned first to making a motor-driven tractor for the farm, but soon discovered that “people were more interested in something that would travel on roads than in something that would do the work of the farms.” And so, he built a steam car, and ran it with a kerosene-driven boiler. But how to make it safe and cheap enough that every man could afford it? Ford solved that problem by substituting gasoline for steam. By 1893 his first motor car was on the road. Running at an astonishing twenty miles per hour, it signaled the creation of America’s largest and most successful industry. With the introduction of the immortal Model T, the Age of the Automobile had begun. By World War I, the name Henry Ford was the most familiar in America; by the time Ford died in 1947, the automobile was the central material fact of American life - social as well as economic.

October's Archived Features:

Thursday October 1, 2020
Friday October 2, 2020
Saturday October 3, 2020
Sunday October 4, 2020
Monday October 5, 2020
Tuesday October 6, 2020
Wednesday October 7, 2020
Thursday October 8, 2020
Friday October 9, 2020
Saturday October 10, 2020
Sunday October 11, 2020
Monday October 12, 2020
Tuesday October 13, 2020
Wednesday October 14, 2020
Thursday October 15, 2020
Friday October 16, 2020
Saturday October 17, 2020
Sunday October 18, 2020
Monday October 19, 2020
Tuesday October 20, 2020
Wednesday October 21, 2020
Thursday October 22, 2020
Friday October 23, 2020
Saturday October 24, 2020
Sunday October 25, 2020
Monday October 26, 2020



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.