Henry Ford was a successful American businessman and entrepreneur who lived from July 30, 1863, to April 7, 1947. He was the architect of the assembly line method of mass manufacturing and the creator of the Ford Motor Company. Ford invented the first car that middle-class Americans could purchase, and his transformation of the vehicle from a costly luxury into an affordable mode of transportation had a significant influence on the 20th century's landscape.
Ford was raised on a farm in Springwells Township, Michigan, and left at the age of 16 to work in Detroit. Ford initially encountered autos a few years prior to this, and in the latter half of the 1880s he started repairing and eventually building engines. In the 1890s, Ford collaborated with a section of Edison Electric. He formally established Ford Motor Company in 1903, following previous economic failures but success in the production of vehicles.
The Model T vehicle, introduced by Ford in 1908, revolutionised both American industry and transportation. He rose to become one of the richest and most well-known persons in the world as the sole owner of Ford Motor Company. Fordism, the mass manufacture of affordable items with high worker salaries, is ascribed to him. Ford was a pioneer of the five-day workweek as well. Ford thought that promoting consumption would lead to world peace. His dedication to consistently reducing costs led to several technological and commercial advancements, including a franchise system that placed dealerships across North America and in significant cities on six continents.
Life And Career
In Springwells Township, Michigan, on a farm, Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863. His father, William Ford (1826–1905), was from a family that left Somerset, England in the 16th century and was born in County Cork, Ireland. His mother, Mary Ford (née Li
togot; 1839–1876), was adopted by neighbours, the O'Herns, when her parents passed away when she was a little kid. She was born in Michigan as the youngest child of Belgian immigrants. Margaret Ford (1867–1938), Jane Ford (about 1868–1945), William Ford (1871–1917), and Robert Ford (1873–1934) were Henry Ford's siblings. At Springwells Middle School, a one-room school, Ford completed the eighth grade. He didn't go to high school, but he subsequently took an accounting course at a business college.
When he was 12 years old, his father handed him a pocket watch. Ford began disassembling and reassembling friends' and neighbours' watches when he was 15 years old, earning him the title of watch repairman. Ford travelled four miles each Sunday to their Episcopal church when he was twenty.
Ford left his home in 1879 to work in Detroit as an apprentice machinist, first for James F. Flower & Bros. and then for the Detroit Dry Dock Co. He went back to Dearborn in 1882 to work on the family farm, where he honed his skills with the Westinghouse transportable steam engine. Later, Westinghouse employed him to maintain its steam engines.
Ford joined the Detroit Edison Illuminating Company in 1891 as an engineer. He had adequate time and resources after being elevated to Chief Engineer in 1893 to focus on his research on gasoline engines. In 1896, after years of research, he finished building a self-propelled vehicle that he called the Ford Quadricycle. On June 4, he gave it a test run. Following several test rides, Ford considered methods to make the Quadricycle better.
Also in 1896, Ford went to a gathering of Edison executives and met Thomas Edison there. Ford's car experiments had Edison's approval. Edison inspired Ford to create a second car, which he did in 1898. Ford left the Edison Company on August 5, 1899, and on the same day he created the Detroit Automobile Company with the financial support of Detroit timber mogul William H. Murphy. But the cars that were built were more expensive and of worse quality than Ford had desired. In the end, the business failed, and it was shut down in January 1901.
Ford also created the 80+ horsepower racer "999," which Barney Oldfield was to pilot to win in a race in October 1902. They collaborated with former professional cyclist Tom Cooper. An old friend and coal trader from the Detroit area named Alexander Y. Malcomson supported Ford. To produce cars, they established "Ford & Malcomson, Ltd." as a partnership. Ford started working on a low-cost car, and the team rented a factory and made a deal with John and Horace E. Dodge's machine company to supply more than $160,000 worth of parts. Sales were weak, and when the Dodge brothers requested payment for their initial cargo, a problem developed.
Malcomson responded by recruiting more investors and persuading the Dodge Brothers to take a stake in the new business. On June 16, 1903, Ford & Malcomson was reorganised as the Ford Motor Company with a $28,000 capital. Ford, Malcomson, the Dodge brothers, John S. Grey, James Couzens, Malcomson's secretary, and John W. Anderson and Horace Rackham, two of Malcomson's solicitors, were among the first investors. Grey was chosen to lead the corporation as president as a result of Ford's instability.
On the ice of Lake St. Clair, Ford then displayed a freshly created vehicle, covering a mile (1.6 km) in 39.4 seconds and setting a new land speed record of 91.3 mph (146.9 kph). Race car driver Barney Oldfield was persuaded by this achievement and gave the new Ford model the designation "999" in honour of the time's fastest locomotive. He then drove the vehicle throughout the nation to popularise the Ford nameplate nationwide. Ford was one of the Indianapolis 500's first sponsors as well.
Ford Airplanes Company
Ford, like other automakers, joined the aviation industry during World War I by producing Liberty engines. After the war, it went back to making cars until Ford bought the Stout Metal Aeroplane Company in 1925.
The Ford 4AT Trimotor, sometimes known as the "Tin Goose" due to its corrugated metal structure, was Ford's most popular aircraft. It made use of a brand-new alloy called Alclad that combined duralumin's strength and aluminum's corrosion resistance. Some claim that Ford's engineers secretly measured the Fokker V.VII-3m plane and then duplicated it since the plane resembled that one quite a bit. On June 11, 1926, the Trimotor made its first successful U.S.
aeroplane that can carry roughly 12 people, but does it in a fairly unpleasant manner. The American Army also employed a number of versions. Ford received recognition from the Smithsonian Institution for his contributions to aviation. Before the Ford Aeroplane Division closed in 1933 as a result of weak sales during the Great Depression, 199 Trimotors had been produced.
Ford's influence on the industry led to his posthumous induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1985.
From 1901 until 1913, Ford continued to be interested in car racing. He first became involved as a constructor and driver before handing the wheel to hired drivers. He won the "Sweepstakes" race on October 10, 1901, and it was because to the victories of this vehicle that Ford founded the Henry Ford Company. Ford fielded bare-bones Model Ts in competitions, taking first place (although they were subsequently disqualified) in a "ocean-to-ocean" race (across the United States) in 1909, and setting a one-mile (1.6 km) oval speed record at the Detroit Fairgrounds in 1911 with driver Frank Kulick.
He attempted to enter a modified Model T in the Indianapolis 500 in 1913, but was informed that the car needed to weigh an additional 1,000 pounds (450 kg) in order to be eligible. Ford withdrew from the race and shortly after announced his permanent retirement from racing due to his displeasure with the sport's regulations, the growing demands on his time from the Model T's burgeoning production, and his low view of racing as a worthy endeavour.
The ill and elderly Henry Ford opted to take over as president of Ford Motor Company when Edsel Ford, the company's president, passed away from cancer in May 1943. Ford was getting close to 80 years old at this time, had suffered many cardiovascular incidents (variously described as heart attacks or strokes), and was basically no longer capable of handling such enormous tasks.