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American Innovation: 13 Born-in-the-USA inventions

- Geoff JohnsonContributor, Leigh MontgomeryStaff

Ford Model T

Henry Ford spent his early years in Dearborn, Mich., experimenting with machinery and engines, repeatedly dismantling and rebuilding them. He eventually built his own vehicle designs while working for the Detroit power company. Automobiles, in development in Europe since the 19th century, were rare and only for the extremely wealthy. After conceiving a boxy carriage on bike-like tires, he realized the right balance of economical production, design, and affordability. After his first two companies failed, in 1903, he started the Ford Motor Company. In 1908, the first Model T Ford was produced. It could transport a family, was economical to buy, and famously - black. With its simple design, an assembly line was devised for its 5,000 parts. Within 20 years, millions of ‘Tin Lizzies’ were on their way to transforming mobility.

Source: Michigan Historical Museum


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