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The Invention of the Automobile
The Automobile Comes to America By 1900, Europeans had been making cars for fifty years Americans began to produce cars in the 1890’s The first car that was produced on a large scale was the Oldsmobile In 1901, Oldsmobile sold 425 cars In 1905, they sold over 5,000
Henry Ford and The Assembly Line In the early 1900’s, the automobile cost thousands of dollars, and only the rich could afford it Henry Ford invented the assembly line method of producing cars The assembly line had two important effects: 1. It reduced the price of the car to $600 in 1908 2. Factory workers were paid $5 a day, enough to save and buy their own car The Ford Assembly Plant, Highland Park, Michigan
A Car for the Masses Henry Ford introduced the Model T for $800 Millions of these cars sold by 1920
Life Changes in America Before the automobile, a horse-drawn carriage could only travel up to 10 miles a day The automobile allowed people to travel much farther, so they could go to nearby towns and cities to buy supplies they needed People could go to regional hospitals and attend schools in town by travel in a car or a bus People no longer needed to live near railroad lines, so small towns grew larger
Highways With cars came the need for paved roads and highways States started to charge a fuel tax in order to pay for the new roads The Road Aid Act was passed by Congress in 1916 to build Highways 1, 40, and 66—all roads that would eventually cross America Federal Highway Plan for North Carolina in 1918 (from NC Maps)
New Jobs for Americans People began to commute to the cities for jobs rather than having to find work at home Having automobiles increased the demand for other new employment, such as: Fast food Police/highway patrol Auto repair shops Gas stations and convenience stores
A New Travel Age By the 1920’s, President Roosevelt was encouraging Americans to get out and see their country The automobile allowed people to travel easier and farther than with horses Vacationing and camping became a renewed trend
Autocamping People even used their cars to camp in
Of course, the automobile didn’t fix every problem!
The invention of the car changed life. Can you think of how your life would be different if no one in your town had a car?