thumbnail of Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; They put the world on wheels
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Through the facilities of the station and the National Association of educational broadcasters Michigan State College presents a pathway to progress. By means of a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation radio station WKRN by recording brings you the Great Lakes pathways to progress. Hear this song. The Great Lakes region hosts a dynamic
composed by the labors of millions of people working together in a component of all the diverse songs of business activity. The beauty of nature and the utilization of natural resources. Bring. Glorious past promising future. At last pictures I. Saw of the Great Lakes region. As ways to progress. The Great Lakes city is humming capitals of busy
American and history where the coal miner is neighbor to the lake sailor then a belt of a blower Mellor melons and into the lumberman auto worker to the gas station operator. The copper miner and the chemical Tycho. Here in the richly diversified region of the inland sea as we find the automobile capital of the word. Motor City birthplace of the renowned the Tin Lizzie proving ground of modern mass production Detroit. How absurd they are. The Great Lakes area. Carriage may go to the word. Detroit where the automobile industry was in the Great Lakes region the heart. There are more cars on the highways of America than any other
country in the world. Cars and Americans go together like how much legs for cars of every style every color every type everywhere. The automobile is a part of our daily lives. Familiar commonplace. Taken for Granted a necessary part of the scene. Touching every facet of our life sometimes industry business transportation farming family life and personal habits all day is all right adjusted to the age of the auto and age of remarkable progress covering a period of little more than 50 years. The story of automobiles is a classic chapter in the saga of American industry an epic of achievement dear to the hearts of Americans and the story is still unfolding here today as the lions of new cars stretch out of the factories onto the highways in an endless procession rolling upward in every direction all over the world a world which were hundreds of years. I used to land travel to the speed of that faithful and noble animal the horse.
Men started looking for an improvement on the horse. A long time ago one of these was Nicholas Joseph of Coolio of France who devised a horseless carriage in 1778. Think we could. Look up he's not going to kind of. Separate the good kept as it has been effected by the curtain rod. Such noise and what is on that small. Team from the stands. Good news I think. Good news going on. The steam wagon was wrecked turning the curve at a speed of 3 miles
per hour and mankind continued its long association with the noble chorus yet entirely content with the arrangement and only on the 19th century Great Britain tried out steam automobiles. I say valves and what do you think of these new fangled steam buddies running around the countryside these days. Nonsensical Reginald Ab-Soul you know nonsensical foolish you know dangerous and noisy nuisance besides. Yes yes quite. And there seemed to be a good many people using the things you know. Well they're balmy if you ask me. Something should be done about the Russians because I'm at my very first Johns the British passed restrictions that ended the use of steam carriages on the roadways. Many people are experimenting with steam or electric powered vehicles during the 19th century but the real arrival of the horse's motive power position
came in the form of the internal combustion engine. About 1885 the German inventors Carl bands built the first gasoline powered vehicles the forerunners of the modern automobile. The brothers Frank built the first horseless carriage in the United States. It would chug through the streets of Springfield Massachusetts in 1893. It was a strange fantastic sight. A buggy without a horse steered with a tiller driven along by a sputtering smoking gasoline motor. By the next year there were four gasoline buggies in the country. The vehicle a car built by Henry Ford another made by a person of Kokomo Indiana and a Benz from Germany imported from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. But the horseless carriage was still decidedly an oddity in 1896. The Barnum and Bailey Circus lot. Big
sensational attraction. Yes from this century. But the growing numbers of auto makers were emerging in the towns and cities of eastern and Midwestern America. Not long after nineteen hundred automobile factories were operating through the length and breadth of the land from Kokomo Indiana to York Pennsylvania Michigan Atlanta Georgia from Los Angeles California to Brooklyn New York a gas buggy fired the American imagination and a new social institution was on the
way. Today in the United States Michigan State the Great Lakes Michigan's Motor City Detroit America's highway but back in 19 hundred It appeared that the eastern part of the nation is necessary to become the prime auto manufacturing area more people on the market for cars. More miles of good roads more money. But the big bankers who control that money were on the conservative side as ransom when he tried to raise capital for an auto plant. No no absolutely no. I'm sorry to disappoint you Mr.
OLDS but we can't grant you a loan for building automobiles. The auto is really nothing but a toy for the idle rich. And that means a very poor financial investment as far as we're concerned. And the answer is No I'm afraid. Good day Mr. OLDS out in the growing Midwest however a strong pioneer spirit still prevailed and there were men with fortunes from lumber and copper who were not on willing to take a risk a little gamble now and then. Such a man was S. L. Smith of Detroit a retired lumber and copper tycoon. Yes what is it sir. I would like to say Mr. Smith if he's at home. I am Mr. Smith Mr. Smith I'm runs a mole's from Lansing. I'm on my way back from out east. Ransom olds from Lansing. Yes that's right Mr. Smith. So here you are the fellow who built that gasoline buggy up there. Why yes. Have you heard
about it. Have I heard. About it. My my two sons hardly talk of anything else. Automobiles morning noon and night. I'll be pleased as punch to meet you Mr. OLDS Come in come in. Just come back from out Easter. Yes sir. That's right. You see I couldn't raise enough capital in Lansing to establish a factory so I tried to get some financial backing from Boston on New York. But I couldn't raise a nickel. Hell I'm not surprised. You know those eastern bank boys are pretty choosy about what they'll put their money into. I've had a few brushes with them myself. Let's get down to business. First off how much do you need. Quite a goodly sum. About one hundred and fifty thousand to build a plant and install the proper equipment. That's a lot of money. Let me explain to you what I've done so far. I tried a steam powered buggy before I built my guess.
So it sounds to me like it's worth a gamble. I'll put up the major share of the money you need if you agree to build your plant here in Detroit and take Fred and Angus and your company with you. Wonderful Mr Smith. I certainly will accept that proposition fine and will back you all the way. Motor Works was the first automobile factory and Detroit in the first year on the highway. The company built and sold some 400 cars at a loss of $80000 in the price of their car was twelve hundred fifty dollars. A tough price to get when compared with the top horse and buggy cost of $400. The fire destroyed the factory in nineteen one the only thing saved from the flames was a tiny model of the compact
Oldsmobile runabout with a curved dice board a model of an early car dusting to become internationally famous. Olds and his associates concluded there was more of the richer and less expensive cars and decided on production of one model the runabout at a price of $600 variety and drove a runabout from Detroit to New York seven and a half days to display it at the second New York automobile show runabout stole the show and rodeo and a New York auto dealer ordered a thousand of them to sell in his area. That order launched quantity production of low prized autos in America. Oldsmobile runabout soon was able to boast distinguished honors it was the first auto owned by the queen of Adelaide and Sir Thomas Lipton the British TV tycoon. The runabout was available at a price others besides the rich could afford to pay and the factory could fill 2500 Oldsmobile were manufactured and marketed in 19 to
4000 and 3 gave some contracts to the company of Detroit four thousand one cylinder engines for 2000 transmissions. Any metal working and machine shops in the experienced first contact with the auto industry by supplying parts. Meanwhile the capital was invested in amazing and richly rewarded. They were buying an early stake in the future. Fortune smiled in Detroit when the motor company was established their good fortune gave the Motor City other advantages favorable to the development of auto manufacturing advantages of a strategic location on the Detroit River. When Gibraltar of the Great Lakes right in the heart of a thriving steel industry
in the heart of an area with a growing population to provide customers for autos and bandages and being surrounded by a goodly number of horse carriage and wagon factories made wheels and buggies and vehicle bodies and employed many skilled mechanics advantages of a readily available raw material supply in the lake region. But the truck needed one more ingredient to assure leadership in the young auto industry guiding genius to carry on where are you on this move left off droids good luck held out for such a man already was there and the hard work of building motor cars is named Henry Ford. You then understand. Yes mother. I'm fixing up this Harold is right you can't raise farm grabs in the tool shed. But if I can improve the tools we use it it should improve the farming. You may be right son but. The farmer has to make hay while the sun shines.
Dad that's something I've been wanting to tell you about. Don't get mad at me for saying this but I don't really want to be a farmer. I want to be a mechanic mechanic can't say I'm surprised. Well I'm not angry as a man has a right to decide his own future. Then I can go all right I can go to Detroit. Oh yes you can go. Only just remember one thing you're going to always come back if you want to. En Route 16 is Greenfield homeland. And he secured two jobs to keep one job for the other for even. Months and years were filled with work. Henry Ford grew under Henry Ford. It was 22 years old in 1885 the year of the major and
compelling interest standard his life one of the internal combustion engine. The other interest well that began at a little country party with Henry Ford mechanic attended. OK he's all right over there. I want to talk to him. Haven't seen you. So you know you're going for you in the big city. Pretty good Lord. Work on gasoline engines lately. Go over there in the empty set in this room right now and laugh. Seems like an awful big smile. Never seen it before. I
think she was right when you know what you're doing. What's your last name. Is there something wrong. How do you do. Well. No not right now.
But I came from here in the first place. That's nice. I'm glad you came back to the party. I guess you can call me Henry if you want to. With of the some of Henry Ford's boyhood hall and took on a new attraction that night the young mechanic soon moved back to his father's farm. For three years he industrious Les courted Miss Bryant believing all the time he would certainly win her hand. Henry Ford was right. He had Claire O'Brien were married on April 11 and the next year they returned to Detroit. Ford went to work as an engineer for the Detroit Edison Company might he work in a little shop that is holed up in their last explanation Clara.
My first automobile. It's beautiful Henry. Open the door moved right out. Step aside here and I'll push it out. Oh it's too big to go out the door. What are you going to do. I want to knock out the section of the workshop wall that's what I'm going to do. There I would she go wait till I get my umbrella. I want to watch you hurry up I'm going to start the motor. My horse was. A little gas but I gave bounced along over the rough cobblestones of the alley. Mrs. Ford stood on the back steps and umbrella overhead the. Crowd following her husband's amazing creation as it chugs stoutly along on its own power.
Your Kazan was one of the most significant in American industrial history. It was the maiden trip of the first Ford automobile the first of millions to come here in the year 1893 was the beginning of an era of which the world would honor with a familiar slogan watch the Fords go by. Henry Ford's first two benches were unsuccessful. The Detroit automobile company was formed in 1899 with Henry Ford as manager and Ford left the company after three years on a boat who agree with his associates on motor design. In nineteen one he launched another enterprise the Henry Ford Automobile Company which also met with failure of old went back to his shop and he built a racing car. I have a huge vehicle with a roaring exhaust
designed for power and speed. And Ford named it where the numbered car I have an idea this new car will change our luck. I'll call it the 999 if the motor noise means anything honey. It should be a very powerful auto as it is rather loud isn't it. And it's powerful and fast. And by the way I've got a driver for the racer glad you had the bicycle racer. That's the one regular dare devil of a fellow. His name is Barney Oldfield. Henry Ford built his car for the great multitude. Introducing in 1988 one of the greatest motor cars of all time. The famous volatility. Other automakers have laughed at the new Ford car with its four cylinder steering wheel on the left side. Mileage of up to 25 miles per gallon of gasoline and space for five passengers. Ford geared up for mass production he figured he could sell an awful lot of Model T is. And Henry Ford was right. The Model T you became a symbol of a new America going everywhere and automobiles
were seen everywhere on American highways and became affectionately known as the Tin Lizzie. The only automobile to earn a place in American folklore. By 1999 Ford had manufactured more than 15 million Model Ts is company it was the biggest in the automotive field. His investors had realized profits as high as 300000 percent. His plan said revolutionized manufacturing with the adoption of the moving assembly line system of mass production. He rocked the industrial world in 1914 by inaugurating a $5 workday for all his employees at a time when 250 was the top for skilled workers. He explained his action in these words industry mismanaged to keep wages high and prices low otherwise it will limit the number of one's customers one's own employees should be one's best customers. The ensuing expansion of America's economy proved Henry
Ford was right again. Many tributes have been rendered to this great man who more than any other single person made Detroit the auto capital of the world. One of the most penetrating eulogies to his genius came from a source not given to a general practice of raising industrialists International Workers of the world. Jason Blair an organizer and editor for the I.W.W. once wrote about Henry Ford agitators from the Babis Earl Browder made a lot of noise but accomplished little social change comes about by the acceleration of energy conversion. The man most responsible for social progress is Henry Ford. Be Eliminated distance and rock city and country dwellers and a close communication. The automobile is rich with the names of man a great man
William S. Durand organizer of General Motors William as a pioneer in assembly line methods Walter Kreisler who once worked for five cents an hour and later founded one of the top three auto companies. Charles f Kettering mastermind of money bunch and including the electric self-starter and high compression engines. John and Horace dogs from Niles Michigan the expert mechanics whose skills helped create the auto industry. John M. Studebaker. Charles W. Nash Alexander Sultan. These are just a few of the many Americans who followed the fascinating calling of tinkering with gas buggies a calling destined to become a basic American occupation. From 1890 to the present time more than fifteen hundred makes of autos have roads from the shops of American mechanics the automobile is today every man's carriage and necessary tattle of almost every family.
The teenager's dearest goal the workers ride to and from the job the epitome of progress the basic means of travel in modern society. And the automobile long ago relieved it's a lustrous predecessor when mass production of buggy failed tractors finally became a reality in man's hard working and ever faithful servant of man a century the horse went out with as G for good as long job was done. Mankind had found his replacement the new and stronger music of motors fills all the air in the Great Lakes region motors in the making motors on the move cars and trucks and tractors and more than 90 percent of the automobiles produced in the United States and Canada are manufactured in Great Lakes cities. The auto industry is indispensable in the overall economy of America. Ten million workers earn their livelihood in the industry our jobs directly related to auto making. The centralization of the auto industry in the Great Lakes is one of the region's finest accomplishments.
Here the auto makers found new pathways to the future. Here the labor is on the vision of man built the auto capital of the world where horseless carriages would be built by the hundreds of thousands the millions here in the Great Lakes region. They put the world on the wheel. Listening ear will hear music like in the living light in the vast arena of nature's amphitheater stirring and inspiring in its vitality and blending every note every voice into an isolation into the promise of the future. Cadences arise and the tempo changes. Anywhere. Anytime. It returns and continues forever. All the. Way. You have just heard pathways to progress a series of programmes devoted
to the Great Lakes and the people who have made this region such an outstanding area. Pathways to progress is written by Alec wire directed by Dave Kirshner original music was composed and directed by Norman Kimmel Tom Raper is heard as the voice of the Great Lakes. This program was recorded in the studios of W.K. are on the Michigan State College campus and is presented by means of a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. This is the end of the tape network.
Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes
They put the world on wheels
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-cj87n24x).
Episode Description
This program looks at automobiles, their history, and the close connection between the Great Lakes region and the growth of the automobile industry.
Series Description
A 13-part documentary drama about the economic impact of the Great Lakes region in the United State.
Broadcast Date
Ford, Henry, 1863-1947.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Director: Kushler, Dave
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Researcher: Honsowetz, Duane
Writer: LaGuire, Al
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-33-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:21
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; They put the world on wheels,” 1955-11-13, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2024,
MLA: “Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; They put the world on wheels.” 1955-11-13. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 27, 2024. <>.
APA: Pathways to progress: The Great Lakes; They put the world on wheels. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from