A commonly available automobile put American citizens and corporations on the move as never before. Many credit the proliferation of the automobile as the driving force behind the industrial age which was sweeping across the country.
Actually, the new age was born by a confluence of circumstances. At the time Henry Ford made the automobile available to millions of people, the steel industry was jump-started by the development of the open hearth process. The oil industry laid pipelines that fed areas that previously did not have access to oil. The ready availability of steel and oil facilitated the construction and fueling of the automobile, which in turn created the market for these commodities that kept the wheels of those industries turning. Railroads connected the country and made immediate shipment of steel, oil and automobiles available everywhere.
After many startups and failures Ford launched a new company on a shoestring budget with 12 investors in midyear of 1903. Ford’s company sold its first automobile one month after the company’s incorporation. However it required five more years of conflict with investors and tireless effort and money spent to develop the Model T. Ford named each new prototype after a succeeding letter of the alphabet. The Model T was rugged, dependable and affordable. Ford’s company sold almost 11,000 autos that year, shattering records everywhere.
In 1913 Ford began a series of brilliant moves that once again changed the course of history. He developed and implemented the concept of mass production. He began a social revolution by paying his employees double the country’s average wage. This created a loyal worker who produced a quality product and just as importantly in Ford’s eyes, an employee who could afford to buy one of his automobiles.
After 19 years of production, over 15,000,000 Model T’s were sold.