Magic carpet for the multitude

The short posts continue, as I’m out and about for a few days. Last week I filmed a short TV piece about our Ford ‘Model T’ car. It’s one of our centenary icons, but I’m gutted to say it didn’t win our public poll on which was the most important. It seems the x-ray machine was more significant, so well done (through gritted teeth) to my colleagues in the medicine department…

Ford Model T car, 1916 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

Ford Model T car, 1916 (Science Museum / Science & Society)

I dare say I’ll change my tune next time I break something and need an x-ray, but I think it’s fair to say the Ford Model T was a hugely important product – not just in transport history but in manufacturing, labour relations, marketing and pretty much any aspect of modern industrial life you care to mention.

Henry Ford on a tractor, 1908 (NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society)

Henry Ford on a tractor, 1908 (NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society)

Henry Ford changed the way we make things, sell things, buy things, want things and feel about things. When the Model T was first introduced in 1908, few people could afford a practical, reasonably powerful, robust car that could seat a family. By the time the seminal vehicle finally stopped rolling off the production line in 1927, over 15 million had been sold. Ford sold a dream, and a lot of people bought it.

I’ve just finished reading Robert Casey’s excellent ‘The Model T – a Centennial History’. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

2 thoughts on “Magic carpet for the multitude

  1. Peter Turvey

    I second your comments about Robert Casey’s book – just got my own copy! Makes my 1914 Stanley steam car look a bit of a joke compared with the contemporary Model T. Only a purblind rabid steam enthusiast with deep pockets would buy one, the same performance at three or more times the price ….oh – rumbled!

    Reply

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