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Magic Carpet For The Multitude

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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.

Written by David Rooney

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  1. Peter Turvey

    You can still buy loads and loads for spares for them – just look at Lang’s Car Parts catalogue…..http://www.modeltford.com/

    Ford’s dream is still alive and ticking over!

  2. 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!

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