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The History of Automobiles

Aug 30, 2008
Cars have been a part of American life since circa 1914 because of one man; Henry Ford. He revolutionized the production process of motor vehicles that was created by Ransom Olds, the owner of the Oldsmobile factory, which was debuted in 1902. The Ford production line was the predecessor to all other large-scale production lines that shell out different products such as airplanes, ships, trains and all types of electronics.

The Ford assembly line was so successful that it produced vehicles at a record pace; one car came off of the line every 15 minutes. This is in 1914, when developments in technology were still being discovered and tested across not only the United States but also the world. The only thing that was holding Ford back in production was waiting for the variety of colors to dry. So, he noticed that the black paint they were using dried quicker than the variety of other colors. Ford made an executive decision to use only black paint from that moment forward, hence the reason why all of the vehicles in the country at the onset of vehicular travel were black in color.

Ford's first car was the Model T and it cost an assembly line worker only four months of pay to purchase the vehicle in 1914. Ford also instituted groundbreaking safety features and groundbreaking management strategies. Ford assigned each assembly line worker to a specific position so there would be less wandering throughout the line which would result in fewer injuries to his workers. If he had as many healthy workers as possible then the production work would be completed faster and faster.

The other groundbreaking idea that Ford had was how to effectively manage a work force. He paid higher wages, which resulted in higher production efficiency. This is known today as "Fordism." Ford's assembly line developments and management developments were only baby steps in the progression of automobiles in the lives of Americans.

Another name in the history of American automobiles is Alfred P. Sloan. Sloan came up with the idea that each individual company that manufactures cars should also offer different models to sell to their customers. Ford sold only the Model T at first but then added other models to his assembly line. This allowed the American people to purchase more luxurious cars as they moved up the class ladder of society.

Taking a jump a couple of decades to 2002, the last time a vehicle survey was conducted, there were an estimated 590 million vehicles on the roads worldwide. The world has become more and more populated since Ford's 1914 assembly line advancements, with worldwide population hitting the 6 billion mark during the last census in 2000. This of course means more vehicles on the roads for more licensed drivers. Cars have become ingrained in American society in this technology-driven world. They help people get from home to work, work to ballgames and anywhere in between. Cars have also caused damage in the ozone of the Earth and high amounts of pollution in the air from their exhaust fumes. Despite all of this cars are still Americans' main mode of transportation.
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