Born on July 30, 1863 in Greenfield Township, Michigan and American industrialist, sponsor of the assembly, organizer of the assembly line and founder of Ford Motor Company Henry Ford manufactured the first automobile that middle class citizens might manage to pay for. He converted the automobile from an expensive oddity into practical transportation that changed the face of the twentieth century. He became one of the most famous and richest entrepreneurs in the world.
When Ford introduced the Model T American industry was revolutionized. He taught Americans how to mass produce inexpensive goods with high wages for employees. Ford had a big picture; consumerism was the way to total peace. He was commitment to lowering costs which resulted in technical innovations. He worked on a franchise system that put dealerships on the map. He left his extreme wealth to the Ford Foundation and his family manages the foundation to this day.
Ford was a pacifist during WWI and he published anti-Semitic books, The International Jew. In 1879 Ford apprenticed as a machinist in Detroit with Flower & Bros and at the Detroit Dry Dock Co. He returned to Dearborn in 1882 to work on the family farm and began operating the portable steam engine. He was hired by Westinghouse to take care of their steam engines. He learned accounting at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business College.
Ford and Clara Ala Bryant married in 1888 and they ran a saw mill plus a farm. Edsel Ford was their only child. Ford worked with Edison Illuminating Company as an engineer. It was not long before Ford saved enough time and money to experiment on gasoline engines. In 1896 these experiments produced the first self-propelled vehicle which was the Ford Quadricycle.
Ford Motor Company suffered many growing pains, but from these pains grew the Dodge, the Cadillac and ultimately the Ford. Barney Oldfield took the first Ford around the country and the Ford name became known. On October 1, 1908 the Model T was introduced with the steering wheel on the left. Ford enclosed the engine and transmission and the suspension had two semielliptical springs. It was cheap at $825.
The Model A was introduced in 1927 and Ford adopted an annual model change system. He formed Universal Credit Corporation to finance cars. He offered his workers a $5 per day wage which keep good workers in his plants. He set a reduced work week and employees started working 40 hours a week.
Ford's next enterprise was the Ford airplane Company and included corrugated metal construction and a new alloy. Ford revolutionized the airline industry, but his sales feel off during the Depressions and the airplane plant closed. Ford was a supporter of the Indianapolis 500, hiring black, women and the handicapped. He took over the company again after Edsel died of cancer in 1943. Ford's grandson Henry Ford II took over the company in 1945. Henry ford died in 1947 of a cerebral hemorrhage at 83.
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