Tin Lizzie was the nickname for the Model-T Ford. Lizzie is short for Elizabeth, a common name for horses at the time. To people who had never seen anything like it, the Model-T was a "metal horse."
The Model T, according to Henry Ford, was available "in any color you choose, so long as it's black." This may be Ford's most famous statement about his most famous car, but it is not the most telling. The comment that most accurately reflects the nature of Ford's gift to the world is a little-known remark he made in October 1908, on the occasion of the birth of the Model T: "I will build a motor car for the great multitude."
That is exactly what the Model T was. With that vehicle, Ford revolutionized not only the automobile industry but American society, and arguably all of Western culture. With the introduction of the Model T, automobiles became available to everyone, not just the well-to-do.
Although the "Tin Lizzie," with its four-cylinder motor, magneto ignition, and planetary transmission, was a technically advanced automobile, it was by no means technically revolutionary. Rather, it was Ford's manufacturing process that revolutionized the industry. He was not the first to build a car on an assembly line, but he perfected the system. After Ford opened his new Model T plant in 1913, he produced one Model T every 93 minutes, a remarkable reduction from the 728 minutes per car that was previously required. By the time the last Model T was built in 1927, the company was producing an automobile every 24 seconds. In part because of this efficiency, the Model T's price dropped from its original 1908 cost of nearly $1,000 to under $300 in 1927. This was possible in spite of the fact that, beginning in 1914, Ford paid assembly-line workers $5.00 per day at a time when prevailing wages averaged about $2.35 per day.
Ultimately, this combination of efficiency and high wages led to the fulfillment of Ford's prediction. The Model T was, indeed, a motor car for the masses. Not only was it cheap, but thanks in part to Ford's wage scales, ordinary workers for the first time had the disposable income necessary to purchase one. With the Model T, the automobile, which had once been an expensive plaything for the wealthy, began its transformation into an everyday necessity.
By Neil Kaminar on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 09:36 am:
3,000 Year Old Model T Ford Found
API, Cactus City, Arizona
Dr. Froggy Digumup announced today that his archeological team unearthed a 3,000 year old automobile, believed to be a Model T Ford from the early 20th century. The car was produced by the American Civilization during the early Fossil Fuel Era. Dr. Digumup stated that the car was found in an underground tomb, with the body of the apparent owner, believed to be a past president of the Model T Club, a Mr. Drivesit Daily. The car was in remarkable condition, having been preserved by something called Cosmoline. Dr. Digumup stated that it took several years to remove the Cosmoline. The car started right up on synfuel after adjusting the coils, installing a fresh battery, and cleaning out the carburetor. However, the tires were cracked and had to be replaced. Fortunately, several decades ago, the original molds for the tires were found in the former country of Vietnam. Historians are at a loss to explain how or why the molds were in Vietnam.
Historian Dr. Harry Bookworm explained that Model T Fords are rare today because the original owners refused to quit driving them, even after gasoline was unavailable and automobiles switched over to electric batteries for power. Dr. Bookworm goes on to explain that the Model T used a primitive form of power produced by exploding an air-gasoline mixture. The original owners would substitute something called “white light’n,” a form of mostly ethyl alcohol. All the Model T’s in museums disappeared when parts for these cars became scarce.
Dr. Digumup states that the car is extremely fun to drive and he is planning to use the car on a daily basis. The GAOA (Grumpy Automobile Owners Association) has launched a protest saying that the car is not safe and would be a hazard on the highways. Dr. Digumup says that he will only drive the car around town and on the secondary roads. Dr. Bookworm explains that the Model T Ford will only go 40 miles per hour while today’s speed limit is 1,400 mph.