The Ford Model T

This is a fun post.

The other night I lost a $100 bet (not yet paid), when playing children’s Trivial Pursuit with the family.  I claimed that the model T was the first Ford production car, in  contrast to the game card answer that it was the model A.

Ford model T  model T

One of our family Googled the question  and got confirmation that model A was correct.

Ford model Amodel A

Without going back down that track, my present defence was to ask my search engine, ‘infoplease’, which tells me the following:

Henry Ford

The Inception of the Ford Motor Company

Ford showed mechanical aptitude at an early age and left (1879) his father’s farm to work as an apprentice in a Detroit machine shop. He soon returned to his home, but after considerable experimentation with power-driven vehicles, he went (1890) to Detroit again and worked as a machinist and engineer with the Edison Company. Ford continued working in his spare time as well, and in 1896 he completed his first automobile. Resigning (1899) from the Edison Company he launched the Detroit Automobile Company.

A disagreement with his associates led Ford to organize (1903) the Ford Motor Company in partnership with Alexander Malcomson, James Couzens (who devised and oversaw the company’s successful early business and accounting procedures), the Dodge brothers, and others. In 1907 he purchased the stock owned by most of his associates, and thereafter the Ford family remained in control of the company. By cutting the costs of production, by adapting the conveyor belt and assembly line to automobile production, and by featuring an inexpensive, standardized car, Ford was soon able to outdistance all his competitors and become the largest automobile producer in the world. He came to be regarded as the apostle of mass production. In 1908 he guided his chief engineer Harold Wills in the design of the Model T; nearly 17 million cars were produced worldwide before the model was discontinued (1928) and a new design—the Model A—was created to meet growing competition. Highly publicized for paying wages considerably above the average, Ford began in 1914—the year he created a sensation by announcing that in future his workers would receive $5 for an 8-hr day—a profit-sharing plan that would distribute up to $30 million annually among his employees. [My bold emphasis]

In other words, it appears that I am correct!

My answer was from experience (Australian), from recalled knowledge and visual recollections of model A Fords which were far more advanced in style, function  and comfort than the model T. (At that time I was a car enthusiast in my teens in the early 50’s).

Sure the model T was innovative, with a steering gearbox and a cyclic gearbox but it did not have a starter motor.

So, here is the question for readers:

How come the Trivial Pursuit  game and a ‘googled response’ claims the model A to be the first Ford production car?

Please advise me what is the reason for this confusion?

Do I owe the rest of my family $100?


About Ken McMurtrie

Retired Electronics Engineer, most recently installing and maintaining medical X-Ray equipment. A mature age "student" of Life and Nature, an advocate of Truth, Justice and Humanity, promoting awareness of the injustices in the world.
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3 Responses to The Ford Model T

  1. Maree McMurtrie says:

    I wouldn’t pay either Ken!!!!

  2. Interesting that no one bothered to try to correct me.
    From this Wikipedia entry we read – ( )
    “There were several cars produced or prototyped by Henry Ford from the founding of the company in 1903 until the Model T was introduced. Although he started with the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S,[10] an upgraded version of the company’s largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A (rather than any Model U). The company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A.”
    So we have the answer – 2 different Model A Fords.
    A model A did precede the Model T but it was debatable that it was a production model.
    “Although he started with the Model A, there were not 19 production models (A through T); some were only prototypes.”
    On the grounds that it was a trick question with a very shaky basis for their answer being correct, I plead the bet to be made void.
    2 different model A’s eh! If the question stated “a model A” as distinct from “the model A” technically I was wrong, but then only if the word “production” was appropriate for the first model A.
    Small things amuse small minds?
    Don’t like being wrong!! 🙂 .

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