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Henry Ford, "Father of the 20th century American car industry" – This file photo shows Henry Ford pictured with a Model T in Buffalo, New York, in 1921.
The Darkroom offers Facebook and WordPress commenting in the hopes of fostering constructive conversation among our users. ABOUT THE DARKROOMThe Darkroom, the photography and video blog of The Baltimore Sun, shines a light on visually captivating stories of our past and present. During the reign of Edward VII, and for several years beyond, some of the world's richest people lived in Britain. Whereas Victoria was well known for her piety, restraint and hate of excess, Edward VII enjoyed a good time. Pastel, floral wallpapers in leaf green, lilac and grey, replaced the dark greens and heavy purples. Women modelled their behaviour and appearance upon the 'Gibson Girl' drawings, by illustrator Charles Gibson. The sick and unemployed were even worse off.Even the hardworking servants of the rich were better off than the labourers who worked in poorly paid industries, or the sick and the unemployed. The 1906 general election saw a landslide victory for the Liberal Party, bringing to an end 20 years of rule by the Conservative Party. Electric light and the telephone became more common and, in 1908, WH Hoover produced the first electrically powered upright vacuum cleaner. In 1903, the first electric trams began running in London and motorbikes were becoming more common and more like the designs we would recognise today. This month marks the 106th anniversary of one of the most innovative and life-changing products in history, the Ford Model T. When Ford introduced the Model T, it started at $825, a price that was much cheaper than anything else on the market. So why did Ford decide to lower the price of his product while increasing the salary of his employees when common sense says otherwise? Ford knew that if he were able to lower the price of the Model T, then more people would be able to afford it and sales would increase.
And before Ford raised the wage of his workers, he was having serious employee retention problems. Ford was responsible for one of the most influential products of our time, in large part, because he wasn’t afraid to take risks. So happy anniversary to the Model T, and let’s all make it a goal to take more (smart) risks!
1830s – Scottish inventor Robert Anderson is credited with inventing the first crude electric carriage powered by a non-rechargeable battery.
1859 – French physicist Gaston Plante invents the first rechargeable lead-acid battery.
1891 – American William Morrison of Des Moines Iowa invents the first successful electric automobile.
1907 – Electric Vehicle Company, which had bought out several other small electric car manufacturers, suffers a fatal blow from a bank crash. 1975 – The US Postal Service buys 350 all-electric delivery Jeeps from AMC to be used in a test program. 2006 – Tesla Motors announces their all-electric Tesla Roadster at the San Francisco International Auto show.
Since the 80s, electric cars have been kept alive thanks to the efforts of regular guys converting vehicles at home rather than by the half-hearted efforts of the major manufacturers. There is new hope for electric cars on the horizon with Tesla swooping in and quite frankly making the EV effort put forth by the big 3 over the last 2 decades look silly.
Because electric cars more or less ceased to exist between the 1920s and 1970s (save for a few exceptions), electric cars missed out on a key period in automotive development.

First introduced on October 1, 1908, the Ford Motor Company went on to produce close to one million Model T's in 1921 alone. First introduced on October 1, 1908, the Ford Motor Company went on to produce close to one million Model T’s in 1921 alone. It showcases the exciting work of our staff, offers tips in the craft, and highlights the emerging community of independent media makers. Many of these were part of a new wealthy elite that were not afraid to show their wealth or to spend it. Hence, during the Edwardian period, things became more light-hearted and a taste for the exotic arose.
The men of trade and industry loved to show off their wealth and enjoyed all the pleasures their money could buy. In the evenings, they would be entertained with music, parlour games and enormous banquets. From 1910, suffragettes influenced fashion and clothes became more practical, with designs copied from men's clothing. Some servants were ladies' maids and helped the woman of the house dress and arrange her hair in elaborate styles.
Magic lanterns projected the results onto massive screens in London's Trafalgar Square and on the Embankment. Political papers, such as the Clarion, published articles written from a socialist perspective. New plays were written for the theatre by playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw and Harley Granville Barker. Popularity of sports tended to follow class divisions, with tennis and yachting popular amongst the very wealthy and association football (soccer) favoured by the poorest. In 1910, Scott and his team left for their ill-fated scientific expedition to the South Pole.
There were mass produced typrewriters, the first elevator rides, electric food mixers and air conditioners. For the first time in a war, civilians were targeted, when German bombs fell on parts of Britain. Of course, the Model T wouldn’t have been the success that it was without the leadership and business acumen of its creator, Henry Ford.
Not only did they have a huge price tag, but they were also expensive to maintain and repair. In 1914, he decided to offer $5 a day to employees that met certain criteria, which was double the average wage at the time (Just imagine Walmart deciding to pay its employees $18 an hour!). Because one of the skills that made him such an innovative leader was his ability to see the big picture. But what’s more, he had the business acumen to take the right risks, or as we like to say, strategic bets.
In idea he first heard from Stephen Covey (Begin with The End in Mind) and then Eben Pagan this is a topic which is critical to launching products your customers will love.   I like to talk about building out product and sales funnels a lot and this is a way of approaching these tasks that will increase your chances of success. Others may be sure that the electric car can trace it’s roots to the hippy dippy tree-hugging movement of the 60s and 70s. The consensus seems to be however that American Thomas Davenport was responsible for inventing the first viable electric vehicle in 1835 – a small locomotive. It’s interesting to note that even as far back as the mid-1800s, the major component holding back mass adoption of electric cars was a viable battery pack. Built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia, they were used as taxis in New York City1899 – Believing that electricity will power the future of transportation, Thomas Edison begins his quest for a long-lasting, powerful battery suitable for use in commercial vehicles. This car has a profound effect on the American automobile market and is the beginning of the end for production electric cars.

Built by Vanguard-Sebring, it boasts a top speed of just over 30mph and a respectable warm-weather range of 40 miles.
The law is repeatedly challenged and weakened to reduce the number of fully electric cars required.
It has a range of over 100 miles, a top speed of 90mph and a battery pack that can be quick-charged to 80% in 30 minutes.
In the late 90s it seemed that some of them were going to take EVs seriously for a while, and then they all cancelled their EV programs. Tesla, as a new manufacturer has managed to develop and build two commercially viable all-electric cars in the last 8 years, and become profitable in the process (well, sort of). If companies had been investing their research and development dollars into electric vehicles all through the 20th century as was happening with gasoline vehicles, EV technology would be much farther than it is today. They were expected to go about their work efficiently and quietly and never question their 'betters'. It also championed the right to leisure for the working classes and spawned a network of social clubs for working men and women.
Ford saw huge potential in the future of the automobile and was determined to build a vehicle that fit the budget of the middle-class. When a company is considering ways to lower the price of its products, doubling employee salaries certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. By raising wages, Ford was actually saving money as he attracted top talent and retained that talent longer. Guess what the main thing holding us back from mass adoption of EVs today – an affordable battery pack capable of a respectable range. Although his work resulted in improvements on the battery technology of the day, he ultimately abandoned his quest a decade later. The US Department of energy funds efforts to try and produce a cost-effective electric car. Nissan works to set up charging networks in several countries to support charging for the LEAF. One effect was to increase support for the Labour Party, many of whose early founders supported votes for women.
Of the 65 million men who were called to fight worldwide, more than 10 million were killed and more than 20 million wounded. Glasgow became the most important centre for this, with the creations of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his circle. In addition to this, most of the major concerns about gas cars had been addressed by this time.
Even though the reviews for the EV1 were almost universally positive, when the leases were up, General Motors took back every unit without offering the leasers an opportunity to buy the car.
Gearboxes were becoming less complicated and easier to use and gasoline was widely available by the 20s. Really, the issue with electric cars was the same as it is now, people wanted to be able to drive as long as they wanted, and fill up their car quickly. Some electric car enthusiasts have argued that GM never intended the EV1 to be a serious commercial venture.

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