Sunday, May 31, 2009


The last Model T automobile rolled off the assembly line on this day in 1927. Ford had produced 15,007,003 of them. Henry Ford was 64.

He'd formed the Ford Motor Company when he was 40. Ten years later he began building the Model T on an assembly line modeled after the disassembly line that Armour & Co. used to turn hogs into canned hams. In 1914 Ford began paying his workers the preposterous wage of $5 per eight-hour day. The auto worker was suddenly able to afford to buy what he made; as revolutionary an idea as the assembly line itself. The other nice thing about the Model T was it ran forever.

Henry Ford appears seven times in A Book of Ages. We first see him walking to Detroit to look for a job. His last appearance is at age 78 when he finally allows his employees to unionize. We see him on vacation with his friends Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. He is also a collector of antiques, and, in 1922, a large contributor to a new political party in Germany. A grateful and admiring Mr. Hitler hangs Ford's picture in his office.

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