ASME-Landmark:Model T


When Ford Motor Company introduced its new Model T on October 1, 1908, it kicked off vast changes throughout American society. The assembly line became the century's characteristic production mode, eventually applied to everything from phonographs to hamburgers. High-wage, low-skilled factory jobs accelerated both immigration from overseas and the movement of Americans from the farms to the cities and into an ever-expanding middle class. And the creation of huge numbers of low-skilled workers also gave rise in the 1930s to industrial unionism as a potent social and political force.

The Model T had some advanced features, like a four-cylinder engine with a detachable cylinder head and a one-piece cylinder block. It did use lightweight, high-strength vanadium alloy steel. But one key to its early success was a simple thing like ample ground clearance, allowing it to deal with abysmal rural roads. At $850, the new car was cheap for its day, but still cost $30 more than the average worker's annual wage—but by the end of 1913, Ford and his engineers built a huge new factory, created the moving assembly line, and drove the price of a Model T down to $550.

The 1927 Ford Model T, on display at The Henry Ford, is the 15 millionth Ford Model T to be produced. This touring car has a 4-cylinder, in-line, water-cooled, 176.7 cu. in., 20 hp engine, and its price at the time was $380. It came off the line at Ford's Highland Park, Michigan, plant on May 26, 1927, and marked the end of Model T production. See ASME website for more information