Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Ford Model T

Hungary, the United States and Canada are among nations which have issued stamps to honour the Model-T, the greatest  automobile of the 20th century. This post explains why the the Model T was such a remarkable vehicle, and why Hungarians and Canadians are proud of their connection to the car.


 Model T

 Henry Ford did not invent the automobile but he did develop a car that was affordable, reliable, and could be maintained easily. The Model T sold for $850 when it was introduced in 1908,  but improvements in design and production reduced the price to $260. Ford's breakthrough was the moving assembly line which was first introduced at the Highland Park, Michigan plant in 1913. Before the assembly line., cars were built one at a time and remained in place until finished. Production time for a single vehicle  with the assembly line fell from 12 hours and 30 minutes to five hours and 50 minutes. By 1914, the time required for assembly was reduced to 93 minutes.

Workers stationed along the assembly line attached parts to the chassis as it moved along the production line. 

The Hungarian Connection

Hungarian-born engineer József Galamb directed the mass production of the Model T in 1913.
 Henry Ford appointed József Galamb chief engineer, then director. 

 Canadian Production

 Ford Walkerville, Ontario plant

In 1904, the Walkerville Wagon Company signed a contract with Henry Ford to establish a branch factory in Canada. The Canadian company was given the sole rights in the British Empire and became the second largest automobile producer in the world from 1918 to 1923. The Model T was introduced in 1909 and continued in production until 1927. Unlike the American Model T, the Canadian Model T was available in blue.

Model T : Car of the Century

By 1921, Model Ts accounted for 56.6 percent of global auto production. More than 15 million Ford Model Ts were sold worldwide until production ended in 1927. On Dec. 18, 1999, the Model T was named Car of the Century, and Henry Ford was named Automotive Entrepreneur of the Century, by Car of the Century International.

Model T and Philately



The first stamp featuring a Model T was issued by Hungary in 1970. The 2.50 forint colourful commemorative showed the car driven by a cowboy accompanied by a cowboy on a horse.


The Hungarian Post Office issued a set of stamps in 1972, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Hungarian Autoclub. The 1908 Model T Touring Car was shown in front of two U.S. landmarks, the Washington Capitol and the Statue of Liberty.


The Hungarian Model T connection is shown on the 2013 commemorative honouring József Galamb. Hungarian-born Galamb was the engineer who directed the mass production of the Model T in 1913.

(Not in author's collection)
(Not in author's collection)

United States

The United States has issued two stamps featuring the Model T. 

1968 : Prominent American Definitive Stamp
In releasing the Henry Ford stamp, it was said, “His methods of mass production were responsible for transforming the automobile from a luxury for the rich to and affordable necessity for the common man. In doing so, he profoundly influenced the mobility and lifestyle of generations of Americans.” Arago

Henry Ford and Model T

1998 : Celebrate the Century Commemorative

The Postal Service issued the Celebrate The Century: 1900s souvenir sheet, on February 3, 1998, in Washington, DC. The Model T was one of 15 stamps chosen to celebrate the 1900s.

(Not in author's collection)


From 1993 to 1996,  Canada Post issued a series of souvenir sheets commemorating historic land vehicles. Personal vehicles were the subjects of first issue on August 23, 1993 which pictured the Model T (1914) on the 49 cent stamp.

1914 Ford Model T - Open Touring Car
The Canadian Model T was available in blue

  •  Jozsef Galamb Biography (Hungarian)