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To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out, Henry Ford!

Henry Ford is probably the most famous name in the history of the automobile. He and a group of investors formed the Ford Motor Company in June 16, 1903 with investments of $28,000. The Model T was introduced in October, 1908 for a sticker price of $825. 

Ford's greatest innovation was the introduction of the assembly line which allowed for the mass production of automobiles and continually dropping costs. By 1916 the price of a touring car dropped to $395 and, by 1918, half the cars in America were Model T's. Ford offered his mass produced Model T in three colors - black, black, and black. He wrote in his autobiography that "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black". This was not always true, as Model T's were available in a variety of colors, including red, in the early days before the assembly line. Black became the sole choice, after the assembly line was introduced, as it was the fastest drying color and speed on the assembly line was essential.

Well, while all this was going on in Detroit, the Pharo brothers, Archelius Pharo Sr. and T. Franklin, of Tuckerton, were hard at work. Their ingenuity and mechanical craftsmanship produced a fine automobile in 1902, a year before the formation of the Ford Motor Company and six years before the introduction of the Model T. 

[ Photo and caption from the 11/30/1966 Tuckerton Chronicle]

Archelius Pharo Sr. assisted in the building of the engine of the 1902 Pharo automobile. (Photo courtesy of the Tuckerton Historical Society.)

The Pharo car was steam driven, so did not have to depend on an internal combustion engine which runs on gasoline. The photo caption does not mention fuel, but it is likely to be wood during this early period. Imagine, where we would be, today, had we followed the Pharo Brothers rather than Henry Ford. I'd be buying a cord of wood or chopping my own, instead of depending on gasoline. It also would have changed the whole geo-political history of the twentieth century, especially the United States relationship to the oil rich Middle East.

Emma Scattergood Pharo, on the right, is the wife of Albert Pharo, a brother to T. Franklin and Archelous Pharo who built the car. Emma and her granddaughter, Elizabeth, are true pioneers in the sport of Race Car driving. Imaging motoring through Tuckerton at 60 miles per hour with no sides, roof, and wind shield on the car and not wearing a seat belt or helmet. I doubt that the road was even paved at that time. Talk about courage! They make today's NASCAR sissies pale in comparison.

Pete S

PS- Anyone out there have any photos and/or of old cars from this area? I sure would like to see or hear them.


  1. "The Model T was introduced in October, 2008 for a sticker price of $825."

    Is that in 2008 dollars?

  2. No, that should be 1908. I had a typo of 2008 there. Sorry about that. It's corrected, now.

    Can anyone out there figure out, if the model T cost $825 in 1908, what would that be in 2009 dollars? I have a feeling that $825 was not cheap back then.

    Pete S

  3. Just wanted to let everyone know that I added a photo of Archelius Pharo Sr. to the above Blog entry on Wednesday, February 11th.

    Pete S

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