October 14, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1899 A miscalculated prophecy

In the early days of the automobile, many doubted that owning a "horseless carriage" would ever be within the reach of an average citizen. Indeed, some critics of the noisy and expensive invention went so far as to prophesize its eventual demise once the wealthy got over the novelty of owning one. On this day the Literary Digest declared that "the ordinary horseless carriage is at present a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into common use as a bicycle." But what critics of the automobile failed to foresee were the types of revolutionary manufacturing techniques that would be developed by Henry Ford and others. Less than a decade after the Literary Digest predicted that the automobile would remain a luxury of the wealthy, Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with his affordable Model T built for the average American. Ford was able to keep the price down by retaining control of all raw materials, and by employing revolutionary mass production methods. When it was first introduced, the "Tin Lizzie" cost only $850 and seated two people, and by the time it was discontinued in 1927, nearly 15,000,000 Model Ts had been sold.

Posted by Quality Weenie at October 14, 2005 08:07 AM | TrackBack