Ford Model T, 1926

The National Museum of American History has a strong collection of early automobiles. The collection documents the great diversity of the early industry. It includes electric-, steam-, and gasoline-powered vehicles and runs the gamut from unique one-offs like the Duryea to mass-produced vehicles like this 1926 Ford Model T.
When Henry Ford got into the car business in the late 19th century, he was one of a slew of inventors and entrepreneurs trying to break into the business. In the 1900s, there were hundreds of small companies making small numbers of cars for rich Americans. While large numbers of these early companies went out of business, the Henry Ford Motor Company dominated the U.S automobile market. More than 15 million Model T's were sold during its years of production (1908–1927), making it the most popular automobile of the time.
The Model T was cheap by comparison to other early automobiles and that, coupled with its availability, made motoring an option for many who had been initially priced out of the market. Price, and quantity of vehicles produced, reflected Ford's adoption of the moving assembly line and mass production techniques. The company's well-publicized success influenced the ways large American manufacturers produced goods of all kinds in the 20th century. Still, though Ford was a production leader, it was not an innovative marketer. In the 1920s, General Motors—afraid that the automobile market was hitting saturation point—introduced the annual model change, designed to encourage buyers to regularly trade in their cars for new ones. The strategy was successful and General Motors sales soared as Ford's plummeted. The company stopped producing Model Ts in 1927.
Object Name
Date made
founder of Ford Motor Comapny
Ford, Henry
Ford Motor Company
overall: 66 in x 66 1/2 in x 141 in; 167.64 cm x 168.91 cm x 358.14 cm
place made
United States: Michigan, Detroit
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Industry & Manufacturing
Road Transportation
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Road Transportation
America On The Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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