I am really enjoying listening to Bill Bryson read his book "One Summer America 1927". When I listen to a book, I have to move through it at the speed of the reader. No jumping ahead and no skimping. I suspect that careful and detailed research might turn up interesting events for any year in the history of the US but this book certainly lists a string of interesting ones for the summer of 1927.
Henry Ford was mentioned in an uncomplimentary way in the post linked above. But for all his shortcomings, there is no question that the man changed not just America but the whole world. When was the last time you were in a moving car? When was the last time you drove? Do you have your own car? The gift of convenient travel by auto is the result of ideas and efforts and successes by many people but Henry Ford is definitely one of them. Thanks, Henry!
The Model T, which was the car that changed America, partly through the miracle of down payments and regular payments thereafter, was not very convenient by today's standards:
The Model T, like Ford himself, was an unlikely candidate for greatness. It was almost willfully rudimentary. For years the car had no speedometer and no gas gauge. Drivers who wanted to know how much gas they had in the tank had to stop the car, get out, and tip back the driver's seat to check a dipstick located on the chassis floor. Determining the oil level was even trickier. The owner, or some other compliant soul, had to slide under the chassis, open two petcocks with pliers, and judge from how fast the oil ran out how much and how urgently more was needed. For shifting, the car employed something called a planetary transmission, which was famously idiosyncratic. It took much practice to master the two forward gears and one reverse one. The headlights, run off a magneto, were uselessly dim at low speeds and burned so hot at high speeds that they were inclined to explode. The front and rear tires were of different sizes, a needless quirk that required every owner to carry two sets of spares. Electric starters didn't become standard until 1926, years after nearly all other manufacturers included them as a matter of routine.
Bryson, Bill (2013-10-01). One Summer: America, 1927 (Kindle Locations 3594-3602). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
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