Henry Ford, "the high priest of efficiency," was the tinkerer-craftsman who produced one of many horseless carriages, the automobile. Nearly three years after his only son was born in 1893, Ford succeeded in producing his first car. After months of vigorous work and two final sleepless nights, the Quadricycle tolled out of Ford's garage. The Quadricycle was a primitive machine, with a tiller for a steering wheel, bicycle tires, a bicycle seat and a bicycle chain to transfer the power of the engine to the wheels.
Engine-manufacturing plants did not exist, so Ford's car was constructed entirely by hand, with common parts recycled into new uses. A house doorbell was the horn. The two cylinders were made from scrap pipe rescued from an old steam engine, honed and then cut in half (Taub 17-18).
An attempt to create one of the first automobiles was Charles King. However, his car weighed three times the amount of Ford's attempt at 500 pounds. While King's car could only make five miles per hour, the speed of a brisk walk, Ford's automobile reached up to 20 miles per hour.
Since Ford lacked factory experience, the company folded before a single car could be produced and sold. A convincing win in a 1901 automobile race attracted a new group of supporters for Henry Ford's industry. "With fifty-thousand dollars in capitalization, these supporters set up the Henry Ford Company. But Ford could not set his mind to designing and building the low-cost cars in which he claimed he was interested (Taub 18)." By 1903, Ford designed another car, the Model A. This came with a two-cylinderengine developing eight horse power, capable speeds up to thirty miles per hour. H...
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Henry Ford's invention of the automobile led to many opportunities that people had never before dreamed of. This new invention is one of the main factors that has built our nation to where it is today. Through all of the different models of the automobile, we have evolved to where we are today.
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- Clymer, Floyd. Henry's Wonderful Model T 1908-1927. New York:
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- Meyer, Stephen III. The Five Dollar Day: Labor Management and Social
Control in the Ford Motor Company 1908-1921. Albany: State of
University of New York Press, 1981.
- Taub, Eric. Tavrus: The Making of the Car That Saved Ford. New York:
Dulton Book, Penguin Group, 1991.
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