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Henry Ford: The machine that changed the world

            When asked to think about the beginning of the automobile industry many people believe that Henry Ford's 1908 Model T was the first automobile designed and made. However, it is not the case, back in the 1880's they were other companies designing and building automobiles, but no one remembers them as well. The reason Henry Ford and his Model T get the recognition is due to the process in which the Ford Company went about building their automobiles.
             The first automobiles were being designed and built as early as 1887 by a Paris machine-tool company, Panhard et Levassor. Today P&L is only remembered by classic car collectors, however in 1984 it was the leading car company. It started in 1887 when Emile Levassor, met Gottlieb Daimler. Levassor negotiated a license to manufacture the new "high-speed" gasoline engine produced by Daimler. By the early 1890's, P&L could build several hundred automobiles in a year. The simple car with the engine at the front, passengers in rows behind and the motor driving the rear wheels. P&L's workforce was composed of skilled craftsmen who carefully hand-built every car. Every panel was hand shaped, every seat hand sewn. Every automobile was basically a prototype. By 1905, not even twenty years since P&L produced the first commercially successful automobile, hundreds of companies across Western Europe and North America were building automobiles in small quantities using special craft techniques. However, this technique of constructing automobiles couldn"t last as the demand for cars become larger and the skill levels of the craftsman dropped in the hurry to produce the automobile faster. .
             It was then in 1908, that Henry Ford came along and changed the manufacturing process for ever. "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise.

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