I Invented the Modern Age – Photos


Henry Ford at twenty-three in 1886, the year he met his wife, Clara. His first car is still ten years in the future.


He built his first successful automobile in the woodshed behind his house on Bagley Avenue in Detroit. Here's how he reconstructed his workshop for his great museum. What he called the Quadricycle is at the rear, up on blocks.


A family vacation in Atlantic City in 1905. Ford has every reason to turn a cartwheel: he is forty-five now and his company is thriving. His wife, Clara, sits beside him while their son, Edsel, digs in the sand.


Every part in the Model T. The Ford Motor Company issued this cross-section in 1913, assuring customers that "the better you know your car, the better you will enjoy it."


Model T's come of the line in the Oklahoma City plant, 1913.


A thousand Model T chassis, here marshaled outside the main Highland Park factory, represented the production of a single nine-hour shift in 1913.


The tools that made them. This is the machine shop at Highland Park. When it was going full tilt, it horrified one visiting journalist, who wrote that the racket t made was like that of "...a million monkeys quarreling, a million lions roaring, a million pigs dying, a million elephants smashing through a forest of sheet iron...[and] a million sinners groaning as they are dragged off to hell."


Henry and Edsel take a final ride in 1927, just before the end of the Model T's two-decade run.


Ford's production techniques go to war: B-24 Liberator bombers come down the assembly line at the enormous Willow Run plant.


Henry Ford sits beside Clara at the tiller of his Quadricyle in June 1946 on the fiftieth anniversary of its inaugural run. The car is on a quiet street in Ford's museum village; beyond the farmhouses and their picket fences, a remade world clamors along the thoroughfare its inventor built.