Today we celebrate one of the automotive industries greatest contributors, Henry Ford. Along with several master minds of their time, Ford was part of an inspiring, innovative group of peers that lead the way in revolutionizing the American Industry.
EARLY LIFE: Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm near Dearborn, Michigan. When Henry was 15, his father gifted him a pocket watch, which the young boy promptly took apart and reassembled. Friends and neighbors were impressed and requested that he fix their timepieces too.
Unsatistfied with farm work, Ford left home the next year, at age 16, to take an apprenticeship as a machinist in Detroit. In the years that followed, he would learn to skillfully operate and service steam engines, and would also study bookkeeping.
EARLY CAREER: In 1888, Ford married Clara Ala Bryant and briefly returned to farming to support his wife and son, Edsel. But three years later, he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. In 1983, his natural talents earned him a promotion to Chief Engineer.
All the while, Ford developed his plans for a horseless carriage, and in 1896, he constructed his first model, the Ford Quadricycle. Within the same year, he attended a meeting with Edison executives and found himself presenting his automobile plans to Thomas Edison. The lighting genius encouraged Ford to build a second and better model.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY: After a few trials building cars and companies, in 1903, Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company. Ford introduced the Model T in October of 1908, and for several years, the company posted 100 percent gains.
However, more than for his profits, Ford became renowned for his revolutionary vision: the manufacture of an inexpensive automobile made by skilled workers who earn steady wages.
In 1914, he sponsored the development of the moving assembly line technique of mass production. Simultaneously, he introduced the $5-per-day wage ($110 in 2011) as a method of keeping the best workers loyal to his company. Simple to drive and cheap to repair, half of all cars in America in 1918 were Model T’s.
Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 7, 1947, at the age of 83, near his Dearborn estate, Fair Lane.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”
“If you think of standardization as the best that you know today, but which is to be improved tomorrow; you get somewhere.”
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do. “