Several small automobile manufacturers were making cars in the early 1900s, but American Henry Ford helped popularize the idea that anyone could own a car. Ford successfully challenged the Selden patent in court, opening the door for increased automobile manufacturing. Ford achieved initial success by making cars in large quantities to reduce costs and by making them simple enough so many consumers could easily operate them. Ford standardized parts and reorganized factory production to maximize efficiency.
Ford made the sturdy, black Model T using mass production, the most economical way to make the maximum number of similar copies of the car. He understood that efficient mass production would lower car prices, making cars affordable for the average person, thus generating a huge market. From 1910 to 1924, Ford cars decreased steadily in price as they improved in quality. The Ford Model F in 1904 weighed 630 kg (1,400 lb), had a two-cylinder motor, and sold for $1,200. By 1924 the Ford Model T touring car was heavier at 680 kg (1,500 lb), had a more powerful four-cylinder motor, and included a top and windshield—yet it sold for only $290. Ford made only minor changes to the Model T for nearly two decades, and more than half of the cars sold in the United States were Model Ts during many of those years.