Reading Production Line

1. What is Henry Ford's greatest achievement?
2. Why did Henry Ford's cars become cheaper every year?
3. How quickly were new cars made on Henry Ford's production line from 1908 till 1927? Plot the figures on a graph.
4. Why do you think all Model T's were black?
5. What did Henry Ford mean by saying that you could have any color you want, as long as it was black?

2. Cromer

The numbers were flashing past in front of Cromer's face: 16... 15... 14 ... He had to be absolutely accurate ... 13 ... 12 ... 11 ... No other day would be right ...8 ...7 ... 6th July 1907. 7 ... 8.30 a.m. The numbers stopped moving. Cromer sat forward and opened the door. The smell of trees and grass rushed into the small cabin. Cromer breathed deeply. He hadn't smelled trees like this for a long time.
The machine was standing in a small wood, exactly where he had planned. He could see the factory through the trees. There was the sign: Ford Motor Company. Cromer walked quickly towards it. Men were working in the factory. There were cars everywhere: half-built cars, finished cars, brown cars, blue cars, green cars.
'Is Mr Ford in?' he asked a man.
'Sure. He's in the office. Go right in,' answered the man.
Cromer walked over to the small office in the corner of the factory. He knocked on the door.
'Edsel? Is that you?' called a man's voice.
'No, Mr Ford. Can I come in?' Cromer opened the door.
Ford was sitting at a large desk. There were plans and blueprints in front of him.
'Good morning, Mr Ford. My name is Cromer Statham. I have been looking for you.'
'Take a seat. What can I do for you? I'm a very busy man ... and I don't want to buy any insurance!'
1. Why would no other day be right for Cromer?
2. How big was Cromer's cabin?
3. What does the phrase 'Men were working in the factory' mean in comparison to the phrase 'Men worked in the factory' and 'The men were working in the factory'?
4. Why does the author use the phrase 'I have been looking for you' but not 'I have looked for you' nor 'I looked for you'?
5. Are blueprints used nowadays? Why not?
6. Why do you think Mr Ford took Cromer for an insurance company agent?

3. Mr Ford

'I'm not selling anything,' said Cromer. 'I wanted to show you this. It's a design for a new speedometer.'
'Speedometer?' said Ford. 'I'm trying to make my automobiles more simple. I don't reckon people need speedometers.'
'I understand that, Mr Ford, but please look at it.'
Cromer put the round instrument on the desk. Ford picked it up, and at once lights began to flash. He stared at it without moving for a few moments.
Cromer stood up and walked round behind him. He spoke softly and gently.
'I have come to help you. You have plans for a new automobile, the Model T, and you have plans for a production line, is that correct?'
'That's correct,' said Ford in a low voice.
'You want to make a cheap simple automobile that everyone can drive. One model, one color, made in huge numbers on a production line. These plans will not work. If I were you, I would forget all about them. You should continue to build different models, and these automobiles must not be built on a production line. You will also forget that you have ever seen me.'
Cromer took the instrument from Ford's hand, and the lights stopped flashing. Cromer picked up the plans and blueprints and smiled to himself. Part one was over. Now for part two.
1. What does the phrase I'm not selling anything mean in comparison to the phrase I do not sell anything?
2. What kind of device was the round instrument? Was it a speedometer? What was it if not one?
3. Say any word first in a low, then in a gentle, and then in a soft voice.
4. Why did Cromer want Mr Ford not to build his cars on a production line?

4. The Beautiful Woman.

The machine stopped in a small grove of orange trees. Cromer had never eaten an orange, he had only seen pictures of them in books. He reached out towards a tree ... but there was no time. He had to hurry. The small workshop was only a short distance away. Cromer hurried towards it. He waited for a moment outside, then quietly pushed the door open a little and looked in. There was only one automobile here, and it was standing in the middle of the workshop. Two people were standing next to it. They hadn't seen Cromer. He stayed where he was and watched. The woman was beautiful. She had long black hair. Cromer touched his own head. He had hair like that, too.
'I don't care, Josh,' she said. 'I'm not interested in money - you know that.'
'But we can't get married unless I get some more money,' said the man.
1. What does the phrase Cromer had never eaten an orange mean in comparison to the phrase Cromer never ate the orange?
2. Does the phrase Cromer hurried towards it mean that he intended to come into the shop right away?
3. Why do you think Cromer stayed outside the shop and watched the two people inside?

5. Mr Statham.

'Business is terrible. No one wants Statham automobiles any more. We can only make five or six a year, and they're just too expensive. Oh, I love you, Christine. You have to believe that, but I've got to make some money. Maybe Orlando's the wrong place for an automobile factory. All the others are in the north. That's where the people are, not down here in Florida.'
The woman had tears in her eyes. 'But I like it here, Josh. The sunshine, the orange trees ... Money isn't everything, you know. Anyway, I'll see you later.'
She came out of the workshop and smiled when she saw Cromer.
'Hello, there,' she said. 'If you're looking for Mr Statham, you'll find him in the workshop.'
Cromer watched her as she walked away. Then he went into the small dirty workshop. The man turned round.
'Who are you?' he asked.
'I've come to show you a speedometer, Mr Statham,' said Cromer.
1. What does the phrase You have to believe that mean in comparison to the phrase You must believe that?
2. What people do you think Mr Statham imply by the phrase That's where the people are, not down here in Florida.
3. Why did the woman have tears in her eyes?
4. What did Cromer want to do by watching the woman as she walked away?
5. Finish this episode.

6. Outside.

The numbers were flashing past again. 2054 ... 2055 ... 2076 ... 2082 ... 2095. Suddenly they stopped. A loud noise was screaming in Cromer's ears. Lights were moving everywhere. Something had gone wrong. But what? He felt sick. Then the door began to open. But where was he? Pink and yellow lights shined into his eyes. He could see a long silvery room. At the end of the room a man and a woman were looking at him. The Time Police! Cromer breathed deeply. There was nothing he could do. He went over to them.
'Cromer Statham?' asked the woman.
'I think you know who I am,' said Cromer.
'You have broken the First Law of Time, Cromer Statham. You have been into the past, and you have tried to change things.
1. What does the word sick mean in this passage: worry, tired, nauseated, or ill?
2. What difference is between the words silver and silvery?
3. What does the phrase You have been into the past ... mean in comparison to the phrase You were into the past...?
4. What do you think happened to Cromer?
5. Describe the time policepeople.

7. Time Police.

Time machines are for observing the past, not for playing games with it. Guilty or not guilty?'
'I think you know the answer to that, too,' said Cromer.
'This is the most serious crime in the universe,' said the man. 'It is a crime that cannot be forgiven.'
Cromer looked at them. 'Before you judge me,' he said, 'will you answer one question?'
'What is it?'
'Did it work? I mean, did I change things in the past?'
'You did,' said the man. 'And, as you realize, you have also changed the present. Oh, yes, your plan worked. The Statham Model C was the best-selling car of all time. He made 25,000,000 of them, all in one color.'
He looked at Cromer. 'Every one of them was pink. Was that a joke?'
Cromer looked at the floor.
1. Why do you think changing things in the past, if possible, would be "a crime that cannot be forgiven"? How is it interconnected with both individual and social responsibility and safety?
2. Why was the Statham Model C pink? Was that a joke?
3. What does the phrase Cromer looked at the floor mean? Does it convey direct or indirect idea of looking at the floor? Which is the switch of the direct/indirect implication?

8. Time Machine.

The man continued, 'Statham became the biggest car manufacturer in the world. In our time we have Statham electric cars, Statham hovercopters, and we are now in a Statham T78 Time Machine.'
'Is that all?'
'No. Orlando is a huge dirty town with old empty industrial buildings everywhere. Disney World is just outside Detroit.'
'I didn't want to hurt Henry Ford. What happened to him?'
'He was all right. He made aeroplanes for a few years, then in 1923 he invented the television set. He died a very rich man. Not as rich as Joshua Statham, of course.'
'Joshua Statham became rich?'
'The richest man in the world. We know that he was your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Cromer Statham. His family are still very rich. That was your plan.'
Cromer laughed, 'It did work. I knew it! But how will you punish me?' The woman stepped forward.
'We shall not punish you at all. You have already punished yourself enough.'
'What do you mean?' 'You remember the woman with black hair?'
1. Why do you think changing things in the past, if possible, would be "a crime that cannot be forgiven"? How is it interconnected with both individual and social responsibility and safety?
2. Why was the Statham Model C pink? Was that a joke?
3. What does the phrase Cromer looked at the floor mean? Does it convey direct or indirect idea of looking at the floor? Which is the switch of the direct/indirect implication?

9. Mistake.

'Christine? How could I forget? She was my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother.'
'That's the problem,' said the woman. 'You see, when Joshua became rich, he became a different person. Christine didn't love him any more. The beautiful orange groves were covered with factory buildings. The blue skies of Florida were filled with black smoke. His workers hated him. And she never married him.'
'I don't understand,' said Cromer. 'How did I...?'
'How did you get here? Is that your question?' The woman put her hand on his arm. 'I'm afraid that you didn't get here. Joshua married someone else. You see, Cromer Statham, when you leave your time machine, you will cease to exist. You will not die ... you just won't ever have lived.'
'So I must spend the rest of my life in my time machine?'
'It's worse than that, Cromer Statham. You also forgot one very important thing. You were in a Ford Q35 Time Machine ...'
But Cromer was already fading away. She could see through him. A moment later he was gone.
1. Do you think this story has a happy end? How would you change the story to have a happy end? Does this story need one?
2. Why did Cromer want to change the past? Was he aware of the bad and dangerous consequences for himself?
3. What could Cromer have managed to achieve his goal and stay alive?
4. Why do you think people are interested in time machines and time warping?
5. Do you think that some day scientists will make time machines? What would they be used for?