Year
1927

Last day of Model T production at Ford

On this day in 1927, Henry Ford and his son Edsel drive the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production.

More than any other vehicle, the relatively affordable and efficient Model T was responsible for accelerating the automobile’s introduction into American society during the first quarter of the 20th century. Introduced in October 1908, the Model T—also known as the “Tin Lizzie”—weighed some 1,200 pounds, with a 20-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. It got about 13 to 21 miles per gallon of gasoline and could travel up to 45 mph. Initially selling for around $850 (around $20,000 in today’s dollars), the Model T would later sell for as little as $260 (around $6,000 today) for the basic no-extras model.

Largely due to the Model T’s incredible popularity, the U.S. government made construction of new roads one of its top priorities by 1920. By 1926, however, the Lizzie had become outdated in a rapidly expanding market for cheaper cars. While Henry Ford had hoped to keep up production of the Model T while retooling his factories for its replacement, the Model A, lack of demand forced his hand. On May 25, 1927, he made headlines around the world with the announcement that he was discontinuing the Model T. As recorded by Douglas Brinkley in “Wheels for the World,” his biography of Ford, the legendary carmaker delivered a eulogy for his most memorable creation: “It had stamina and power. It was the car that ran before there were good roads to run on. It broke down the barriers of distance in rural sections, brought people of these sections closer together and placed education within the reach of everyone.”

After production officially ended the following day, Ford factories shut down in early June, and some 60,000 workers were laid off. The company sold fewer than 500,000 cars in 1927, less than half of Chevrolet’s sales. The Model A’s release beginning in select cities that December was greeted by throngs of thousands, a tribute to Ford’s characteristic ability to make a splash. No car in history, however, had the impact—both actual and mythological—of the Model T: Authors like Ernest Hemingway, E.B. White and John Steinbeck featured the Tin Lizzie in their prose, while the great filmmaker Charlie Chaplin immortalized it in satire in his 1928 film “The Circus.”

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Montana Territory created

Anxious to create new free territories during the Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs an act establishing the Montana Territory. However, as Montana was on the unstable frontier, it did little to add to the integrity of the Union, and Sidney Edgerton, the territory’s ...read more

President Johnson acquitted

At the end of a historic two-month trial, the U.S. Senate narrowly fails to convict President Andrew Johnson of the impeachment charges levied against him by the House of Representatives three months earlier. The senators voted 35 guilty and 19 not guilty on the second article of ...read more

Pequot massacres begin

During the Pequot War, an allied Puritan and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, burning or massacring some 500 Indian women, men, and children.As the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay spread further into Connecticut, they came into ...read more

Czar Nicholas II crowned

Nicholas II, the last czar, is crowned ruler of Russia in the old Ouspensky Cathedral in Moscow.Nicholas was neither trained nor inclined to rule, which did not help the autocracy he sought to preserve in an era desperate for change. Born in 1868, he succeeded to the Russian ...read more

Dracula goes on sale in London

The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops on this day in 1897.A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at ...read more

North Vietnamese seize Snoul, Cambodia

In Cambodia, an estimated 1,000 North Vietnamese capture the strategic rubber plantation town of Snoul, driving out 2,000 South Vietnamese as U.S. air strikes support the Allied forces. Snoul gave the communists control of sections of Routes 7 and 13 that led into South Vietnam ...read more

Australian troops depart for Vietnam

Eight hundred Australian troops depart for Vietnam and New Zealand announces that it will send an artillery battalion.The Australian government had first sent troops to Vietnam in 1964 in the form of a small aviation detachment and an engineer civic action team. They were ...read more

Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings, but loses

On this day in 1959, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose the game on a two-run double by Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock in the 13th inning. It was the first time a pitcher threw more than nine perfect ...read more

Coolidge signs Immigration Act of 1924

On this date, President Calvin Coolidge signs into law the Immigration Act of 1924, the most stringent U.S. immigration policy up to that time in the nation’s history. The new law reflected the desire of Americans to isolate themselves from the world after fighting World War I in ...read more

John Wayne is born

John Wayne, an actor who came to epitomize the American West, is born in Winterset, Iowa.Born Marion Michael Morrison, Wayne’s family moved to Glendale, California, when he was six years old. As a teen, he rose at four in the morning to deliver newspapers, and after school he ...read more

The British Invasion has an odd beginning

If you’d told a randomly selected group of American music fans in the spring of 1962 that a British act would soon achieve total dominance of the American pop scene, change the face of music and fashion and inspire a generation of future pop stars to take up an instrument and ...read more

Sidney Pollack dies

On this day in 2008, the film director, producer and actor Sidney Pollack, whose string of hits included Tootsie, Out of Africa and The Firm, dies of cancer at his home in Los Angeles, at the age of 73.After high school, Pollack left his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, to study ...read more

Plane crashes in Thai jungle

On this day in 1991, a Boeing 767 crashes into the jungle near Bangkok, Thailand, and kills all 223 people on board. The plane was owned and operated by the Austrian company Lauda-Air was the nation’s largest charter operation and famed race car driver Niki Lauda’s first foray ...read more

Murder charges dropped against Marine

On this day in 2005, a U.S. Marine general drops murder charges against 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, a Wall Street trader and former Marine who had rejoined the service after the attacks of September 11. Pantano had been accused of the premeditated murder of two suspected Iraqi ...read more

United States charges Soviets with espionage

During a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge charges that the Soviet Union has engaged in espionage activities at the U.S. embassy in Moscow for years. The charges were obviously an attempt by the United States ...read more