What if there never was a Henry Ford and the Model T??
Do you think someone/something else would come along to have the same impact on the face of this planet like the man and the car did in the same ways they did?
I would be saying Marty who???
See you at OCF. Maybe I can help with the fire truck again this year.
I would have been able to get by with a much smaller garage.
I would have more money.
Good question, Marty.
By the end of the 19th century, the ability to bore a round hole, and turn a round shaft had become commonplace.
Manufacturing methods were continuing to improve; however, transportation and distribution had become stagnant since the railroad expansion had peaked.
The time was right for something to break rail monopoly.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, my guess is that if neither Henry nor the T had ever existed, someone would have created something similar.
Likely would have been Ransom Eli Olds.
He was much like Ford, from farmer life early, went into steam, then created his famous CDO that was hot seller in 1902.
He left his co. in fight with business partner Frederic Smith, the latter would form the main attack against Ford's early business as president of the Selden group.
Had all that energy not been made due to an absent Ford, the Selden groups which were lead by Oldsmobile would have taken the market, both large and small cars.
I agree with Bill E. If not Henry and his T someone and something else would have filled the void. The time was right....
I would say Dodge or Chevrolet except, Dodge might not have gotten their car off the ground because of their early involvement making Ford parts. There were a lot of other cars that took their investment from Ford and got in to the automobile field. H Ford was only part of the whole picture, there were a lot of people besides him involved in how big Ford became. You also would have to look at how H Ford affected car production around the world and think about what/who would have taken his place.
How about Steve Jeff
Never heard of him.
Makes one wonder, if the Dodge Brothers didnít exist, how that have affected the Ford Motor Co.?
If Henry chose another machine shop the Dodge brothers wouldn't have made the millions that they did and probably wouldn't have made their own car. Chevrolet was taken over by GM so it wouldn't have been them. Cars would have continued to be just for the wealthy for years to come.
Steve, Why do you have to go to Hackney for eggs??
Modern history would have you believe the world would have been a better place.
What would the Ford Motor Company been like if Henry was not a bigot?
No, no, no. That's Juan. Herbie was Rot and I was Arnie on KWAV.
Our producer was The Late Juan Garcia. He's always the one who has to go to Hackney to eat eggs.
Tim, if Henry hadn't been a bigot maybe he wouldn't have hired Albert Kahn ?
See what I mean?
Oh yeah, Ford and Kahn were buds. They were often seen holding hands on their way to temple on Saturday...
(Message edited by Antique_iron on July 25, 2018)
See what I mean?
With all the small cottage industry and research by Ford,maybe Inventing the middle class could we get a break from the word bigot?? It was a very different world in Henry's time which he was a product of!
Sam Walton came out of a group of retailers using clever methods. Henry Ford came out of a group auto developers and manufacturers by selling an item best sold in volume. Every generation has someone who exceeds and comes out a group. James Cash Penny was one who did, but when t he company became public, if slowly sank away. Ford could have failed after WWII if it was not for Henny II (Hank the Duce) Ford who strong armed the company and built a great group of (The Wiz Kids) leaders to run the company. Others faded away (Packard, Sudebaker, Hupmobile, Woolworth, Ben Franklin & others who were mismanaged). Henry and the Ford Company, 1903 to present stands out from the rest.
Steve, I looked up your Rot and Arnie, I always new you were a celebrity with in our Forum group, but now I find out you are a celebrity in a much larger scale. You have lived a fascinating life.
Dean I like to say I'm probably the only person on the planet who has shaken hands with Count Basie and Donald Segretti, bought beer from Karen Valentine, and sat on a couch between Fibber McGee and the Great Gildersleeve. Just call me Forrest Gump. The young folks can Google all those names.
So you have personally meet Jim Jordan? I regularly listen to those shows at night on Youtube...
(Message edited by Antique_iron on July 25, 2018)
If Henry ford hadn't done things we'd probably not have the internet to discuss this on. And the newspapers would all print the exact same headlines..Oh wait they already do.
Dallas, yes! Thanks and see you there. Please say HI1
Steve, okay, no we REALLY have to talk. Fibber and Molly (and Don Quinn) are my absolute favorites!!!
Good answers (well, most of them). How about some in-depth speculation?
Fibber McGee and Molly and the door to the closet. Two men acted as the Great Gildersleve.
Tim, yes. I used to attend Nostalgia Night in the basement of Home Federal Savings (now Chase Bank), which is on the site of the old NBC studios at Sunset & Vine. It was a delight meeting the faces behind the voices of my childhood. Some of the folks who were often there were Parley Baer (Chester Proudfoot), Hal Peary (Gildersleeve), Brett Morrison (The Shadow), Les Tremayne (Mister First Nighter and many other shows), Fran Allison (Aunt Fanny), Harry Von Zell, Alice Reinheart (Life can Be Beautiful), etc., etc.
Oh, hello, is that you Myrt?
Marty, the Don Quinn story I remember was told by Phil Leslie. Some woman in Mississippi took offense at something on the show and wrote an irate letter stating that she would never listen again and would never buy the sponsor's product (Johnson's Wax). Quinn wrote back saying, "We didn't know you were listening, so we won't miss you. And as for not buying the sponsor's product, well, Johnson's Wax isn't meant for dirt floors." Jim Jordan used to say, "I said every word he ever wrote."
Henry was meant to be. The good, the bad and the ugly of that fella.
Marty was meant to be. Great voice (I know it's better than my own). :-)
Who knows what might've been back then. We could be wallowing in L&A Chevrolet, David Dunbar's or Metz parts today. :-)
Steve J was meant to be. Hahaha! :-) That's cool Steve!
Duey_C was meant to be? I dunno. The only radio I ever did was one add and another for the 'net. I host amateur wrestling for fun now.
Trying to get away from the go karts but we are an odd few ain't we?
We were all meant to be here. People fiddle with and drive 100 year old cars? Ahh, yep.
The body on one of mine was 100 last July. Drives pretty daang good!
Mark O's 23 T Runabout will be 100 in just a few years.
It's late and I've lost my mind.
I don't miss it too much. :-)
Among my many favorite subjects for many years. It is amazing how speculating "what might have been" can lead to anger, hurt feelings, or outright surprise. A sad fact is that we as human beings cannot see into the future. We cannot really KNOW what the result of any action WILL be. However, we can look back with great clarity if we try. And the truth is, that nearly every mistake we CAN make, has been made many times before. This means us as individuals, and the greater us as a society. And looking at those mistakes in the past, DOES give us a pretty good insight into what the future results will LIKELY be if we make the same mistakes again.
These are very good reasons why studying, and understanding history is very important.
Speculating about what might have been IF this or that is a fun, and often productive, sideline to the study of history.
There are many people, with bizarre reasoning why they believe many things. However, I think you would have to look long and hard to find an intelligent person with a good knowledge of history that would not agree that Henry Ford was one of the most influential and important people of the last past century. Whether they love him? Or hate him? Very few people at any time in history had the huge impact that he had.
Nearly every major technological development in human history was developed by more than one person. Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz both developed nearly identical cars, only a few hundred miles apart, and at nearly the same time. Benz beat Daimler by only about a month and was declared the father of the modern automobile. Thomas Edison had Nikola Tesla as his counterpart. Alexander Graham Bell had Elisha Gray (I had to use google to get that name!) with patent fights over decades.
The automobile, was both a cause, and an effect, of its time. Clearly, by the early 1890s, the automobile was on our horizon, and on its way. Early experiments had been going on for a full hundred years, numerous companies in Europe and England were producing significant automobiles based upon the Benz and Daimler ideas. And American inventors were beginning to close in. For American inventors, 1893 was the big year. Fully five American inventors had a crude gasoline powered car in marginally running shape that year. In another "photo finish", the Duryea brothers are credited with being first, by barely a month. Haynes, Apperson, Black, and maybe even Lambert close on their heels.
By the end of the 1890s, Haynes and Apperson in their on again off again partnership as well as Alexander Winton were manufacturing and selling significant numbers of gasoline powered automobiles. Numerous other companies were producing even larger numbers of electric powered cars for both commercial and individual users, as well as a solid number of steam powered cars lead by the Stanley twins and Locomobile.
Whether Henry Ford had stepped up (or given a push by his friend and employer Thomas Edison!) or not? The automobile was here, and probably for the long term. Henry Ford, however, was unique. Truly, he was a mechanical genius. HIS efforts, more than anyone else in that first decade of the 1900s, moved automobiles ahead faster than it likely would have gone without him. But, most of those developments would have been made by others, even if a few years later. Henry Ford was a gifted engineer, with an innate sense of what would work. He found more solutions we take for granted today than almost anybody else building automobiles in those early days. Henry Ford truly was the RIGHT man, in the RIGHT place, at the RIGHT time. I have always found that to be VERY interesting. Henry was also older than most of the other automobile developers of his day (interestingly except for Ransom Eli Olds). Had he been born even a few years earlier? Or development before Henry been delayed just a few years? Henry may have still been the right man? But he would have been at the wrong time. And we today probably would not be discussing him at all. At most, he might have been a footnote in a history celebrating someone else.
Ransom Eli Olds. If anyone of the many known people of early automobiles were to have taken Henry's place? Ransom would be the most likely. Ransom, unlike Henry, was born of some privilege. He had access to machine facilities, exposure to modern (for the day) mechanical technologies, and a desire to experiment and develop new ideas. His first effort to build an automobile was in the 1880s (1888 if I recall correctly), well before Henry's first serious efforts. Ransoms first "car" was a steam powered wagon, and not very successful. But it was an idea he continued to play with. Ransom's second car was also before Henry's first one, an electric in 1895. It was fairly successful. He also tinkered with a gasoline powered car at that time.
Now, one thing that must be known about Ransom Olds' family. Their business, in the 1890s, was manufacturing and selling gasoline powered engines for stationary and industrial uses. And engines for automobile use were being designed by Olds well before Ransom ever heard the name Henry Ford. In the late 1890s, the Olds Motor Works split off an experimental subsidiary to design and manufacture automobiles, this about when Henry completed his second automobile. Whether Henry had ever lived or not? Olds was on his way.
Whether Ransom had the drive, or even enough vision, to have filled the space that Henry eventually occupied? We'll never know. However, Oldsmobile built and sold his first thousand automobiles about the time the Ford Motor company was formed. His vision included mass production which he began in 1902. And for a short time, before Henry outpaced him, Oldsmobile built more cars than anyone else in the world.
There are many parallels between Olds and Ford. Both fought with their backers over the direction the company should take. Both had to sell out of their first company and form a new one in order to do what they wanted to do. And both had as their ultimate goal to produce automobiles for the everyman. If Henry had not gotten there better and faster? We can only speculate what Ransom might have accomplished.
There are at least a dozen other names. Jonathon Maxwell, Alanson P Brush, even Charles Metz (was manufacturing the Orient by 1903), and the empire builders like William Durant and the Briscoe brothers among them that had similar aspirations very early. If Henry Ford had missed the boat? I think someone else would have filled much of that void. Probably not with quite as much style! Probably not quite as quickly. And maybe not as much controversy, but that we will never know.
That is my take on the question.
Thank you Wayne for an informative answer.
Dan Treace and Wayne Sheldon talked about this, and it might have been Ransom Olds that had the impact of Henry Ford, but ten or so years would have been lost in auto development until after the Selden patent expired in 1912 and maybe longer if a patent attorney could generate large profits by just holding said patent and not producing anything.
See the Automotive News, 6/16/2003, story on the Selden Patent case.
Wayne, nice answer! Well thought out and well written.