The production of automobiles spurred the economy into one of the most prosperous periods in the history of the Republic. The demand for steel, glass and many other materials – necessary for the production of the automobile – employed thousands at wages and in working conditions that were better than ever before. Many of these worker benefits were first enacted by Henry Ford at his Ford production plants.Henry Ford is universally acknowledged as the “Father of the Automobile.” He is the man who made automobiles available at a price that many more people than ever before could afford. The public quickly became mobile, distances evaporated under the wheels of the automobile and people traveled, further homogenizing the country as people interacted with each other. When jobs were not available in the south people motored north and west to find work. Society was on the move as never before in human history.
Henry Ford’s automobiles demanded more and better roads and highways. Surfaced roads increased from 387,000 to over 1,000,000 miles from 1921 to 1941. America had a better road system than any country since the Roman Empire. Industry located wherever it best made sense – even though it was not close to supply sources as was previously necessary – bringing prosperity to previously remote areas. Businesses developed along the highways to feed, fuel and amuse the millions of travelers.
Suburban areas quickly developed out from cities as people were able to more easily and conveniently commute to work. Housing construction mandated the building of streets and sidewalks and of course businesses opened to supply the developments.
Henry Ford forever changed the way we live.