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Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 3 Iss 3 Page 71

provided the carburetors. Harvey Firestone delivered the tires.

By early January 1907, Mr. Ford had the corner of the third floor walled off for use as his dream team's brainstorming enclave. Among the R&D projects to emerge from the Experimental Room was racecar driver Spyder Huff's work on improvements to the flywheel magneto to deliver high voltage energy efficiently enough to fire spark plugs.

Henry Ford continued to pursue his goal of a simple, affordable "universal car" that could be easily mass produced. That day came when the first Model T rolled off the assembly floor in 1908. Ford produced nine different models between 1904 and 1920, but it was the "T" that put everyday drivers worldwide behind the wheel.

Designed in 1908 by Ford, C. Harold Wills, and Joseph Galamb, the Model T's production run eventually reached 15 million--the first 12,000 of which were assembled on Piquette Avenue.

In the factory's early years, Ford's workers required eight to 12 hours to assemble each car, prompting him to experiment with faster assembly lines. His first major innovation was to use a rope to pull the car frame on wheels past the workers as they attached their assigned parts--rather than having the workers themselves move around the assembly room. Production rates leapt to an astounding 175 vehicles per day.