History Corner

By John Mahoney

Pick-up Trucks

Although pick-up truck styling has been around since the late 1800's, they were known as pick-ups in retrospect only. The first truck to receive the term "pick-up" happened in 1925. Henry Ford took a runabout, or roadster, removed the tail end and made available a cargo bed that was added to the car's body. One could buy this cargo bed for $25.00 at a Ford dealer. Since you were picking up the cargo bed from the dealer, this new vehicle became known as a pick-up truck. You could also have the pick-up bed sent to you, but you had to pick it up at the train depot. Another reason for the "pick-up" terminology.

Goodyear Tires

The Goodyear Tire Corporation is named for Charles Goodyear. But, during Charles' entire life time there was no such thing as a tire. Charles Goodyear was born in 1800 and died in 1860. He invented the chemical process to create and manufacture pliable, waterproof, moldable rubber, also known as vulcanized rubber.

The first rubberized tire was a bicycle tire invented by Frenchman Clement Ader in 1868. In 1869, the Penny Farthing, or high wheeler bike, was developed, and that bike used solid rubber tires. The first pneumatic tire, again a bicycle tire, was made by John Boyd Dunlop in 1887.

The Goodyear Tire Corporation was founded by Frank Seiberling in 1898 in Akron, Ohio.

Assembly Line

Henry Ford is falsely credited with inventing the assembly line. Ransom Olds had an assembly line-of sorts since 1897. Ransom had bins full of parts, and the assembler went from bin to bin, picking out the parts he needed. Luckily, the Curved Dash Oldsmobile didn't have a lot of parts.

Henry Ford observed an assembly line, or rather a disassembly line at a slaughter house. The butchers would start with a whole cow and end up with a hamburger. Henry reversed that procedure by starting out with a bolt, and ending up with an entire car. Henry opened for business in 1903. He built the first Model T in 1908. He had his assembly line operating in December, 1913. What took him so long? Model T assembly went from 12 hours to an hour and 33 minutes. Ford's factory was spitting out Model T's faster than you can say Jack Robinson (whatever the hell that means). Henry was making so many Model T's in a short amount of time, that he realized all of his cars had to be painted black because black paint dried the fastest. So, from 1914 to 1926, all Model T's were painted black, leading to Henry Ford saying, "You can get any color you want, as long as it's not red, yellow, green, brown, or fuchsia." Or something like that.