Father of the twentieth century American motor Industry, Henry Ford made a mark in history that is truly remarkable. He revolutionized the automobile industry by manufacturing a car that even the middle class could afford. He became one of the wealthiest people of the world as owner of ‘Ford Motor Company’.
Henry Ford was born on 30th July 1863 in Dearborn near Detroit, Michigan. His family owned a prosperous farm which he despised working on. Instead he loved tampering with the machines. His love for mechanics was very obvious since his childhood. At the age of fifteen he was able to dismantle and assemble the timepieces of his friends and family giving him a reputation of a watch repairman. In 1879 he left for Detroit to work as an apprentice for James F. Flower & Bro. and then with Detroit Dry Dock Co. for a short time although he often returned to his family to lend a reluctant hand in farm work. In 1891 he got a job at the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit where his passion for industrial work soon got him a promotion as the chief engineer. This provided him with the opportunity to work on internal combustion engines. He also worked at Westinghouse Engine Company as a part time job. In 1896, Ford made his first ‘Quadricycle’.
He founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. The company had a humble beginning with only few employees and very less production. However soon with Ford’s skills and perceptiveness he accomplished his dream of a car that was affordable, efficient and reliable. The Model T car which was introduced in 1908 started a whole new era of personal transport. The simplicity of its operation, maintenance and handling on the rough roads made it a huge sensation of the time. Ford sold the car for $980 marking the beginning of the Motor Age. Cars that were once considered a luxury became an essential transportation for the ordinary man. In a few years almost every other car on the road was the T model by Ford. The company had to open a factory to meet the high demand for this car. In the early 20s Ford decided to build a large industrial complex in Dearborn that would include all the components required for the production of cars. By 1927, cars were being mass produced at the rate of one car per 93 minutes at the ‘Rouge Plant’.
Ford completely changed the American society with his Model T car. As more and more Americans bought this affordable necessity development patterns began to alter. Gas stations were built, roads became finer and gradually the entire system became better with the creation of the national highway system, the progression of suburbia and the realization that it was possible to go anywhere at any time. It was Ford’s vision that led to a better lifestyle.
Ford finally decided to diversify and so the Ford Model A was introduced in 1927 which was also a success.
In the late 1930’s because of Ford’s strict policies regarding smoking inside the premises and labor organizers, he had to face internal labor problems that resulted in a huge strike in 1941. The company faced a lot of turmoil however Henry Ford II managed to rescue his father’s legacy. Henry Ford died in 1947 as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage.