An Introduction to the Life of Henry Ford

Topics: Henry FordLife

To almost everyone the word Ford means an Automobile. It s not surprising, because the man who gave his name to the car led the way in creating the modern automobile industry. Henry ford did more than that, by introducing mass-production methods he helped make manufacturing what it is today. Henry Ford, was born on July 30, 1863, he was the first of six children, he grew up on a farm with his family in Dearborn Michigan. He spent most of his childhood days in a one room class room and doing farm chores.

At an early age he showed an interest in mechanical things and a dislike for farm work. At the age of sixteen Ford went to Detroit to work as an apprentice machinist. During the next few years he divided his time between operating or repairing steam engines, finding work in factories and working on his dad s farm equipment. In a few years he had become very good.

He even became chief engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit.

In 1888 he married Calara Bryant, who lived near Ford s family in Dearborn. She took an active roll in her husbands experiments, many prototypes were made in the kitchen and she would help by checking the oil level and other things. Steam engines were then the most common type of engine, but Ford was interested in the newly invented internal combustion engine. This engine had already been used in Europe and in the United states. He set out to build his own version of the engine in 1896.

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He mounted the engine in a four wheel carriage, it didn’t look very impressive, but it was a start. It was powered by a two cylinder engine and shook the carriage when it was running. It was steered by a lever instead of a lever. After making his first car he was determined. His car wasn’t that great but it was good enough to get some of Fords friends to advance him a little money to go on experimenting. By 1899 he had build a much better machine.

He then quit his job with the electric light company and became superintendent of the Detroit Automobile Company, which was one of the many companies rushing into the automobile industry. When he was still an apprentice machinist, Ford had earned extra money by cleaning and repairing watches. He had dreamed of producing a cheap dollar watch that anyone could afford. He had similar ideas about the automobile, which he knew would replace the train as the main form of transportation. He had his mind on a cheap car almost anyone could afford, but he wasn’t the boss. The company that he was working for went under trying to sell the few boring and expensive cars it succeeded in building. Now he was on his own and needed to get his name known. He began making racing cars. One of his cars beat the then fastest car around, the 70 hp Alexander Winton s machine.

After that new money became available to start the Ford Motor Company, in 1902. First as a partnership with Alexander Malcolmson, a Detroit coal dealer. And then as a corporation in 1903. During the first year 1,708 of the cars (the model A) were produced. It sold for $850. But his main goal was to produce an even cheaper car. For about the next five years or so he made some fairly successful cars, and one that his partners made him make, the Model K. It was the most expensive car that ford had made, it was a heavy, six cylinder, gas hog that sold for $2,800. Until he hit the jackpot with the famous model T . On October 1, 1908, the most maligned and the most praised, the most reliable and the most cantankerous, the ugliest and the most functional of all cars was born- the model T. Ford had achieved his goal, selling a car that almost anyone could afford. It only sold for $550.

The car could be made cheaply because of the methods that Ford used. Ford bought factories and made his own parts. To keep his factories supplied with steel, he bought his own iron mines and steel mills, He got his own railroads and ship lines to transport his materials and products. The Model T popularly known as the tin lizzie became the most famous car in automobile history. Over 15,000,000 model T s were sold, and the Ford motor company was well on it s way to becoming the industrial giant it is today. In 1913 Ford began using standard interchangeable parts and assembly-line techniques in his plant. Ford did not originate the assembly line but he did make it more common. He is responsible for the great expansion of American industry and the raising of the American standard of living. By 1914 the assembly line increased productivity and resulted in a labor turn over of 40 to 60.

As the quota s went up the workers had to work harder and harder at there already boring repedative jobs. Ford took care of this problem by raising the daily wage to about 5 dollars a day from about two and a half dollars a day. And it worked, more of his workers were staying with the company and working harder. His main goal was to produce more and more of his cheap cars. Ford is quoted after saying that, you could get your T in any color as long as it was black. This is not because he wanted all the cars to look the same, but because the black paint was the only paint that he could find that would dry quick enough to match the numbers of cars being produced. And during the war he at first got the right to make parts for the bombers, and later whole planes. He started a plant to manufacture the planes in Willow Run, in Mich. He had a few technical difficulties, but by the time the war was over he had produced over 8000 planes.

Also before the war he sent a ship with his cars on it over to Europe to try to promote peace. After the war started, he backed the war efforts. Henry Ford was defiantly a positive contributor to American citizens. He accomplished his main goal in life and that was to produce a car that the common man could own. For a while half of all the cars on the road in America were Fords. Not only did he provide a product, but also provided jobs for many Americans who at the time were in desperate need. And finally he contributed to the war effort, and popularized the use of assembly lines and better daily wages. If I lived in that time I would think of him as a Hero.

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An Introduction to the Life of Henry Ford. (2022, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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