Henry Ford

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Henry Ford

NameHenry Ford
DOB30 July 1863
(Age 83 Yr. )
Died07 April 1947

Personal Life

Nationality American
Profession Industrialist and Philanthropist
Birth Place Springwells Township, Michigan,   USA

Physical Appearance

Height 1.78 m

Family

Parents

Father: William Ford 

Mother: Mary Litogot Ford

Marital Status Married
Spouse

Clara Bryant Ford

Childern/Kids

 Edsel Ford

Henry Ford(July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and business magnate. He was the founder of Ford Motor Company, and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production. Ford created the first automobile that middle-class Americans could afford, and his conversion of the automobile from an expensive luxury into an accessible conveyance profoundly impacted the landscape of the 20th century.

Ford was born on a farm in Michigan's Springwells Township to a Belgian family, leaving home at age 16 to work in Detroit. It was a few years before this time that Ford first experienced automobiles, and throughout the later half of the 1880s, Ford began repairing and later constructing engines, and through the 1890s worked with a division of Edison Electric. He officially founded Ford Motor Company in 1903, after prior failures in business but success in constructing automobiles.

Ford's 1908 introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized both transportation and American industry. As the Ford Motor Company sole owner, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with "Fordism", the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford was also among the pioneers of the five-day work week. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout North America and major cities on six continents.

Ford was widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I. In the 1920s Ford promoted antisemitic content through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent, and the book, The International Jew. After his son Edsel died in 1943, Ford resumed control of the company but was too frail to make decisions and quickly came under the control of subordinates. He turned over the company to his grandson Henry Ford II in 1945. He died in 1947 after leaving most of his wealth to the Ford Foundation, and control of the company to his family.

Early Life

Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on a farm in Springwells Township, Michigan. His father, William Ford (1826–1905), was born in County Cork, Ireland, to a family that had emigrated from Somerset, England in the 16th century. His mother, Mary Ford (née Litogot; 1839–1876), was born in Michigan as the youngest child of Belgian immigrants; her parents died when she was a child and she was adopted by neighbors, the O'Herns. Henry Ford's siblings were Margaret Ford (1867–1938); Jane Ford (c. 1868–1945); William Ford (1871–1917) and Robert Ford (1873–1934). Ford finished eighth grade at a one room school, Springwells Middle School. He never attended high school; he later took a bookkeeping course at a commercial school.

His father gave him a pocket watch when he was 12. At 15, Ford dismantled and reassembled the timepieces of friends and neighbors dozens of times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman. At twenty, Ford walked four miles to their Episcopal church every Sunday.

Ford was devastated when his mother died in 1876. His father expected him to take over the family farm eventually, but he despised farm work. He later wrote, “I never had any particular love for the farm—it was the mother on the farm I loved.”

In 1879, Ford left home to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit, first with James F. Flower & Bros., and later with the Detroit Dry Dock Co. In 1882, he returned to Dearborn to work on the family farm, where he became adept at operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. He was later hired by Westinghouse to service their steam engines.

Ford stated two significant events occurred in 1875 when he was 12. He received the watch, and he witnessed the operation of a Nichols and Shepard road engine, "...the first vehicle other than horse-drawn that I had ever seen". In his farm workshop, Ford built a "steam wagon or tractor" and a steam car, but thought "steam was not suitable for light vehicles," as "the boiler was dangerous." Ford also said that he "did not see the use of experimenting with electricity, due to the expense of trolley wires, and "no storage battery was in sight of a weight that was practical." In 1885, Ford repaired an Otto engine, and in 1887 he built a four-cycle model with a one-inch bore and a three-inch stroke. In 1890, Ford started work on a two-cylinder engine.

Ford stated, "In 1892, I completed my first motor car, powered by a two-cylinder four horsepower motor, with a two-and-half-inch bore and a six-inch stroke, which was connected to a countershaft by a belt and then to the rear wheel by a chain. The belt was shifted by a clutch lever to control speeds at 10 or 20 miles per hour, augmented by a throttle. Other features included 28-inch wire bicycle wheels with rubber tires, a foot brake, a 3-gallon gasoline tank, and later, a water jacket around the cylinders for cooling. Ford added that "in the spring of 1893 the machine was running to my partial satisfaction and giving an opportunity further to test out the design and material on the road." Between 1895 and 1896, Ford drove that machine about 1000 miles. He then started a second car in 1896, eventually building three of them in his home workshop.

Career

In 1891, Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit. After his promotion to Chief Engineer in 1893, he had enough time and money to devote attention to his experiments on gasoline engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of a self-propelled vehicle, which he named the Ford Quadricycle. He test-drove it on June 4. After various test drives, Ford brainstormed ways to improve the Quadricycle.

Also in 1896, Ford attended a meeting of Edison executives, where he was introduced to Thomas Edison. Edison approved of Ford's automobile experimentation. Encouraged by Edison, Ford designed and built a second vehicle, completing it in 1898.[13] Backed by the capital of Detroit lumber baron William H. Murphy, Ford resigned from the Edison Company and founded the Detroit Automobile Company on August 5, 1899.[13] However, the automobiles produced were of a lower quality and higher price than Ford wanted. Ultimately, the company was not successful and was dissolved in January 1901.

With the help of C. Harold Wills, Ford designed, built, and successfully raced a 26-horsepower automobile in October 1901. With this success, Murphy and other stockholders in the Detroit Automobile Company formed the Henry Ford Company on November 30, 1901, with Ford as chief engineer. In 1902, Murphy brought in Henry M. Leland as a consultant; Ford, in response, left the company bearing his name. With Ford gone, Leland renamed the company the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Teaming up with former racing cyclist Tom Cooper, Ford also produced the 80+ horsepower racer "999," which Barney Oldfield was to drive to victory in a race in October 1902. Ford received the backing of an old acquaintance, Alexander Y. Malcomson, a Detroit-area coal dealer.[13] They formed a partnership, "Ford & Malcomson, Ltd." to manufacture automobiles. Ford went to work designing an inexpensive automobile, and the duo leased a factory and contracted with a machine shop owned by John and Horace E. Dodge to supply over $160,000 in parts. Sales were slow, and a crisis arose when the Dodge brothers demanded payment for their first shipment.

Racing

Ford maintained an interest in auto racing from 1901 to 1913 and began his involvement in the sport as both a constructor and a driver, later turning the wheel over to hired drivers. On October 10, 1901, he defeated Alexander Winton in a race car named "Sweepstakes"; it was through the wins of this car that Ford created the Henry Ford Company. Ford entered stripped-down Model Ts in races, finishing first (although later disqualified) in an "ocean-to-ocean" (across the United States) race in 1909, and setting a one-mile (1.6 km) oval speed record at Detroit Fairgrounds in 1911 with driver Frank Kulick. In 1913, he attempted to enter a reworked Model T in the Indianapolis 500 but was told rules required the addition of another 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the car before it could qualify. Ford dropped out of the race and soon thereafter exited racing permanently, citing dissatisfaction with the sport's rules, demands on his time by the booming production of the Model T, and his low opinion of racing as a worthwhile activity.

In My Life and Work Ford speaks (briefly) of racing in a rather dismissive tone, as something that is not at all a good measure of automobiles in general. He describes himself as someone who raced only because in the 1890s through 1910s, one had to race because prevailing ignorance held that racing was the way to prove the worth of an automobile. Ford did not agree. But he was determined that as long as this was the definition of success (flawed though the definition was), then his cars would be the best that there were at racing. Throughout the book, he continually returns to ideals such as transportation, production efficiency, affordability, reliability, fuel efficiency, economic prosperity, and the automation of drudgery in farming and industry, but rarely mentions, and rather belittles, the idea of merely going fast from point A to point B.

Nevertheless, Ford did make quite an impact on auto racing during his racing years, and he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996.

Honors and Recognition

1: In December 1999, Ford was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, from a poll conducted of the American people.
2: In 1928, Ford was awarded the Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal.
3: In 1938, Ford was awarded Nazi Germany's Grand Cross of the German Eagle, a medal given to foreigners sympathetic to Nazism.
4: The United States Postal Service honored Ford with a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) 12¢ postage stamp.
5: He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1946.
6: In 1975, Ford was posthumously inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame.
7: In 1985, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
8: He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996.