Today's motorcar has evolved from the horse-drawn carriage of old, by substituting the horse for: first a steam engine, then, for a short while, an electrical engine and finally the gas-driven motor.
The first automobile produced for the masses in the US was the three-horsepower, curved-dash Oldsmobile; 425 of them were sold in 1901 and 5,000 in 1904--this model is still prized by collectors. The firm prospered, and it was noted by others, and, from 1904 to 1908, 241 automobile-manufacturing firms went into business in the United States. One of these was the Ford Motor Company which was organized in June 1903, and sold its first car on the following July 23. The company produced 1,700 cars during its first full year of business. Henry Ford produced the Model T to be an economical car for the average American. By 1920 Ford sold over a million cars.
A historian has said that Henry Ford freed common people from the limitations of their geography. The automobile created mobility on a scale never known before, and the total effect on living habits and social customs is endless. In the days of horse-drawn transportation, the practical limit of wagon travel was 10 to 15 miles, so that meant any community or individual farm more than 15 miles from a city, a railroad, or a navigable waterway was isolated from the mainstream of economic and social life. Motor vehicles and paved roads have narrowed the gap between rural and urban life. Farmers can ship easily and economically by truck and can drive to town when it is convenient. In addition, such institutions as regional schools and hospitals are now accessible by bus and car.
Before the automobile, people both lived in the city and worked in the city, or lived in the country and worked on a farm. Because of the automobile, the growth of suburbs has allowed people to live on the outskirts of the city and be able to work in the city by commuting. New jobs due to the impact of the automobile such as fast food, city/highway construction, state patrol/police, convenience stores, gas stations, auto repair shops, auto shops, etc. allow more employment for the world's growing population.
The Horseless Carriage Collection of Otto serves to represent the different American automobile eras; standing as testimony to the capitalist ideals, industrial “know-how” and innovation which makes the United States of America the most prosperous country in the world!
Otto is also the founder of Blue Ash Tool & Die Co., Inc. located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit www.batd.com for more information on the family’s 50 year-old manufacturing business.