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The Game-Changer

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A short 105 years ago, the Ford Motor Company released the vehicle responsible for revolutionizing the automotive industry: the Model T. Colloquially  dubbed the “Tin Lizzie,” the Model T altered the way Americans viewed cars.

Though he did not create the assembly line, Henry Ford perfect the technique for the smooth, incessant production of the Model T. The mass production subsequently lowered the price of the Model T to unimaginable levels, starting at $850 dollars in 1908. Low cost for high quality enticed the eager masses to purchase the Model T, skyrocketing the demand for the “Lizzie.”

Enormously high demand made non-stop production requisite. However, Ford faced a problem with its workers. Low wages paid to the assembly line workers could not adequately compensate them for the strict, efficiency-oriented demands of Ford Model T production. Many workers quit their jobs within weeks or months, costing Ford the efficiency in production that it desired. In 1924, Henry Ford implemented the first minimum wage of $5 dollars a day, more than twice what the average factory worker earned at the time. This revolutionary measure ensured the best workers came, and stayed, at Ford factories.

With the wide-availability and popularity f the Model T came the standardization of the American car. As most Americans know, the design of cars in the Americas and in Europe differs drastically when it comes to the interior. American cars, unlike their European counterparts, are oriented with the steering wheel on the left side of the vehicle. This seemingly basic concept spawned from the legacy of the Model T. Before the “Tin Lizzie” came to be, cars might have had their steering wheel located on the left. right, or center of the vehicle. Thanks to Ford’s standardization, Americans undoubtedly know which side of the car the driver should enter.

The Model T brought great change and progress to the american car industry, allowing the common man, not just the wealthy one, to own a quality vehicle.

 

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Lufkin High School's online student newspaper
The Game-Changer