This paper examines the five-dollar day compensation policy instituted by the Ford Motor Company in 1914 in light of recent developments in wage-determination theory. The new wage was above the opportunity cost of the labor employed. Yet various efficiency wage theories, by which high wages increase output, are shown to provide an implausible explanation. The particular (and epochal) technical change that occurred at Ford and the attitudes and beliefs of relevant actors suggest instead a rent-sharing theory driven by the threat of collective action by labor. This confluence, not the money, marks the episode as a watershed.