Arago: 12-cent Ford & Model T

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12-cent Ford & Model T

Henry Ford (1863–1947), the subject of the 12-cent stamp of the series, once said, “I will build a motor car for the great multitude.” The mass production process introduced by Ford in the manufacture of automobiles revolutionized the machine age. In 1908 Ford introduced assembly line production with the Model T automobile, a single model with a standardized chassis constructed of interchangeable parts.

In 1914, eleven years after establishing his first automobile factory, Ford doubled the daily wage of most of his workers. In doing so, he enhanced loyalty and productivity; he also increased the buying power of his workers, a key to his goal—building cars for the masses.

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.”

The black 12-cent Henry Ford stamp was issued in Dearborn, Michigan, on July 30, 1968. It was produced as a sheet stamp printed from plates of four hundred and sold in panes of one hundred stamps with gauge 10.5 x 11 perforations. The stamp was designed by Norman Todhunter based on a Ford Motor Company photograph in the book "Ford-Decline and Rebirth" by Nevins and Hill. The stamp’s background pictures a 1909 Model T Ford touring car. Edward R. Flever (vignette) and William R. Burnell (lettering) engraved the stamp. This was the first time Henry Ford appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.

The 12-cent Ford stamp paid two times the domestic first-class letter rate, the third-class single per two-ounce and later the foreign surface postcard rate. The stamp was also used in combination with other denominations to cover existing rates.


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