Galamb, József

(Makó, February 3rd, 1881 – Detroit, December 5th, 1955)

Galamb, József

A talented man of international reputation in the field of automobile construction, his best-known design was the Model-T Ford.

He began his studies at the Vocational School of the Wood and Metal Industry in Szeged and continued at the State Vocational Secondary College of Budapest.

After graduating in 1901, he began to work in a wagon factory and later joined the biggest Hungarian automobile factory in Arad, Transylvania (now in Rumania).

In 1903, he set out on a study trip to Germany; he began to work as a skilled worker at the Federracht Shipyard in Bremen from where he went to the Adler Car Factory in Frankfurt am Main. At the end of this year, he went to America to see the Automobile World Exhibition held in Saint Louis. On the basis of experiences obtained there he decided to settle in the United States of America.

He joined the Ford Motor Company Web link as motor constructor in 1905 where later, as a chief constructor and chief engineer, he became world famous.

Ford produced his first experimental gasoline powered tractor in 1907, under the direction of Joseph Galamb. It was referred to as an "automobile plow" and the term tractor was not used. After 1910, gasoline powered tractors were used extensively.

Henry Ford charged him with redesigning the cooling system of the N-model and, within a short time, recognising the Hungarian engineer's excellent capabilities, appointed him to the post of Chief Constructor of the factory. Ford's Model-T became the first mass-produced car in the world. In the course of the 20 years following its premier in 1908, more than 15 million were produced. A significant part of the new constructional solutions making possible the mass production of the Model-T came from József Galamb. The extraordinary success of the Model-T was due to its relative low price, reliability and, last but not least, the fact that it was easy to drive.

During World War I, he designed ambulance vans and light tanks, prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines.

József Galamb's two designs in the Model-T, an improved and significantly simplified ignition device and the planetary gearbox one of his most brilliant inventions, turned out well. The latter is highly appreciated by those studying his career because it was a design that worked well even under bad road conditions.

He designed the A-model and the small racing car that beat the Blitzen Benz. During the First World War he constructed military equipment for the army, such as a submarine finder.

He designed prototypes of the world-famous Fordson tractors, which were produced in great numbers in the USA. For a certain time, József Galamb was charged with the management of the newly built tractor factory.

In 1927, he designed the new and elegant Model A to replace the Model T.

From 1937 till his retirement in1945, he also managed the Ford car-body production division. He completed the design of a six-cylinder car on the basis of Ford's idea. This type was used in England even in the 1950's.