Henry Ford (County Wayne, Michigan, United States, July 30, 1863 – Dearborn, Michigan, United States, April 7, 1947). Inventor, Engineer and Industrialist of American origin, recognized for being the creator in 1908 of the Ford Model T car, which became the most popular in the USA at the time.
Henry Ford was also the founder of the Ford Motor Company, which went on to become one of the world’s leading automotive industries. As an inventor, he went on to register more than one hundred and sixty-one patents, being a prolific inventor.
However, the invention for which it is most remembered is the implementation of the assembly line mode in the manufacturing process, which revolutionized the mass production industry, which is why it is also considered one of the most influential entrepreneurs of the history.
Henry Ford was born in Dearborn, Michigan, United States, on April 7, 1863, to an agricultural family, one of the second children of William Ford and his wife Mary Litogot.
In 1876, when he was only thirteen, he demonstrated early his talent for mechanics, when his father gave him a pocket watch, which he was able to disassemble and assemble quickly, obtaining the request of the neighboring farmers, to fix their watches. At the same time his mother passed away.
In 1879, at the age of sixteen, he left for Detroit, and began as an apprentice machinist, where he served at the James F. Flower & Bros, as well as the Detroit Dry Dock. Two years later, in 1882, he was back in Dearborn, Michigan, where he was hired by the Westinghouse company, as a machinist for his steam engines.
In 1888, he married Clara Ala Bryant, with whom he would have a son whom they named Edsel.
In 1891, Henry Ford began working at the Edison Illuminating Company, Thomas Edison’s electric company, who would become one of his best friends. His great talent made him worthy, in 1893, to be promoted to Chief Engineer.
By this time, Henry Ford had already conceived the idea of inventing a carriage that would move without the need to be pulled by horses. In 1896 he managed to build his first prototype, which he named the “Ford Quad” quad bike. A few months later, he shared his invention with Edison, who encouraged him to continue his research.
The Ford Motor Company
In 1903, Henry Ford founded his automotive company, which he named Ford Motor Company. After years of trial and error, Ford managed to produce a prototype that met his expectations.
In late 1908 he introduced to the public his Model T, which revolutionized the market for its power and ease of handling and repair, becoming the most popular vehicle in the UNITED States, where at least 50% of families owned a Model T. The Ford Motor Company received million-dollar profits, quickly positioning itself as a major company.
However, the only revolutionary thing about Ford’s creation was not the Model T, but its way of manufacture and the Ford Motor Company’s business policy. On the one hand, in 1914, Ford designed an assembly line for the manufacture of its cars, where each employee had a specific function, causing the vehicle to be assembled as it advanced through that line.
His invention facilitated and lowered production costs, paving the way for mass production, and writing a new chapter in the world of manufacturing.
Likewise, for his company he set strict measures for the selection of his workers, prohibiting the hiring of workers with inclination of drinking, bad manners or gambling, making sure to hire only skilled workers, who in addition offered one of the highest salaries of the moment, in order to earn its loyalty and exclusivity.
In 1914, the Ford Motors Company offered its workers five dollars a day, which would currently be one hundred dollars a day. In this sense it also offered participation in the company’s profits to those who remained in the company for six months.
Fame and admiration for Henry Ford quickly grew as an example of the American dream, as the citizen of peasant origin, who became a great businessman thanks to his talent. Even in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson personally asked him to run for Senator for Michigan for the Democratic Party.
Ford passed the company’s presidency to his son, even though he retained his power over important decisions.
As a politician he opposed the war that was breaking out at the time, opting for peace, although paradoxically he supported anti-Semitic ideas, eventually going so far as to support the publication of an anti-Jewish newspaper, called The Dearborn Independent.
Similarly, during World War II, he tried to venture into the aviation business, during which time he manufactured Liberty engines. In 1925 he became the owner of the Stout Metal Airplane Company, manufacturing the Tin Goose aircraft, in which it became a real industrial success.
In 1926 sales of the Ford Motor Company came down. Henry Ford concluded it was time to introduce a new model. In 1931, the Ford A was released, from which four million cars were manufactured.
In 1943 he had to face the death of his only son, Edsel Ford, who died of stomach cancer. Finally, on April 7, 1947, at the age of eighty-three, Henry Ford died of a brain haemorrhage. Today, in his country, he is considered one of the people who have contributed the most to the economy.
Image source: prensalibre.cr
July 31, 2019