Superb Essay - CAR
In the 1920s, the automobile industry was being quickly innovated by companies coming out with new cars, very quickly. In 1901 the new Detroit factory burned down and the only automobile to be rescued from the flames was a gasoline powered runabout, the “curved dash” Oldsmobile. Also in 1901, there was a discovery of a seemingly “inexhaustible” supply of oil near Beaumont, Texas. These rich deposits of petroleum made gasoline readily available and gave added impetus to the internal combustion engine in its competition with steam and electric power. In March, fires destroyed most of the Olds Plant and the only car that was saved was the Curved Dash olds. Olds rebuilt immediately and put all the production resources into the little Curved Dash Olds, the “Merry Oldsmobile”. A car was envisioned which weighed 500 pounds and could be sold for $500. Actually, when the famous Curved-Dash Oldsmobile runabout car was finished, it weighed 700 pounds and was sold for $650. Between 1901 and 1904, over 12,000 Oldsmobile cars were built and sold. This was the first volume production car in the world. Speedometers appear first on Oldsmobile. To serve as an advertisement, a Curved Dash Olds was driven from Detroit to New York. This was the longest automobile trip that had been made in the U.S. until that time. Later, in about 1923, standard equipment included four wheel brakes, foot-controlled headlamp dimmer switches, and power operated windshield wipers.
On Feb. 2, "Ethyl" gas was first put on the market. The lowest priced T was the runabout, selling at $265. 1908 October 1, Henry Ford put the first of his T's on the road. The 4-cylinder, 20-horsepower T was available in two styles. The runabout sold for $825, the touring for $850. During the last three months of 1908, the Ford Motor Company sold 6,000 cars. William C. Durant sold 9,000 Buick’s during 1908. The Ford Motor Company greatly outpaced its competitors in reconciling state-of-the-art design with moderate price. Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal called the four-cylinder, fifteen-horsepower, $600 Ford N (1906-1907) "the very first instance of a low-cost motorcar driven by a gas engine having cylinders enough to give the shaft a turning impulse in each shaft turn which was well built and offered in large numbers." Deluged with orders, Ford installed improved production equipment and after 1906 was able to make deliveries of a hundred cars a day. Encouraged by the success of the N, Henry Ford was determined to build an even better "car for the great multitude." The four-cylinder, twenty-horsepower T, first offered in October 1908, sold for $825. Its two-speed planetary transmission made it easy to drive, and features such as its detachable cylinder head made it easy to repair. Its high chassis was designed to clear the bumps in rural roads. Vanadium steel made the T a lighter and tougher car, and new methods of casting parts (especially block casting of the engine) helped keep the price down. Committed to large-volume production of the T, Ford innovated modern mass production techniques at his new Highland Park, Michigan, plant, which opened in 1910 (although he did not introduce the moving assembly line until 1913-1914). The T runabout sold for $575 in 1912, less than the average annual wage in the United States. By the time the T was withdrawn from production in 1927, its price had been reduced to $290 for the coupe, 15 million units had been sold, and mass personal "auto mobility" had become a reality. The entire car industry and all of this history changed the life of Americans completely. Time of travel was shorter, people could go farther with ease, and people therefore were able to live further and further away from towns, from their workplaces, etc. Automobiles made rural living feasible again. Cars in the 1920s were not fast, nor powerful, yet they worked for people. Car companies were always making upgrades and trying to make the cars better. People adapted to what they were given, and bought what they wanted. Car sails went up, and automobiles became a magnificent business in the United States.