Evolution of the Automobile Industry and Henry Ford
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. Henry Ford was now able to attract new financing. The Ford Motor Company was born. The company which Ford had founded would eventually become the first element in the future General Motors Corporation.
Ford revealed many new models in the next three years following the production of Model A. In January of 1906, his newest automobile, Model N, was produced. The car was the only 600 dollar vehicle with a four cylinder engine. The Ford sold over 800 units in the twelve months, ending in December of 1907. This was five times the amount of their previous annual sales. By the end of 1907, the company had made over one million in profit of sales of 4.7 million dollars. This profit was outstanding for the company, however, the consumers wanted a lower price for the automobile.
This forced Henry Ford to promise in 1905 to build a high grade touring car and sell it at an unheard of price, and now, just as surely as every claim made for the small car was made good, just so surely has Ford made good this promise. The Model T was that car. The car that was promised a four cylinder, twenty horse-power touring car. The Model T was a roomy, commodious, comfortable family car, that basically was as good as it got. ...