Henry Ford was a brilliant American industrialist. He is the founder of ford motor company and chief developer at the assembly line technique used in mass production. He was not the inventor of automobiles. But he created the first automobile that was affordable to the American middle class. His production converted the automobile history from expensive and less affordable priced travel machines into an accessible conveyance of the majority. In actual words, he changed the shape of mankind’s history from the very beginning of the 20th century.
Who is Henry ford?
Henry Ford was born July 30th, 1863 on a farm in Springwells Township, Michigan. His father was William ford (1826 to 1905) from county Cork, Ireland. His mother was meri food (1839-1876).
He has loved mechanics since his early childhood. His father gave him a pocket watch in his early teens. He used to dismantle and reassemble it. Later he expanded his work to his neighbors by gaining the reputation of an excellent on watch repair at age of 15.
Ford was heavily Devastated when his mother died in 1876. His father asked him to take over the family farm, but he refused.
In 1879, Mr. Ford left his home to work as an apprentice machinist in James f flower and Bros In Detroit. After that, he moved to Detroit dry dock company.
In 1882, Ford returned to Dearborn to work on the family farm. There, he mastered operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. Later he was hired by Westinghouse company to service their steam engines.
In his farm workshop, he built a steam wagon/ tractor and a steam car. But it was not safe and suitable for light vehicles due to the danger of the boiler.
In 1885, Ford repaired an otto engine. In 1987 he built a four-cycle model with a one-inch bore and three-inch stroke. In 1890, he started to work on a 2 cylinder engine and completed his first motor car powered by a 2 cylinder for horsepower motor. During 1895- 1896, he drove that car about a thousand miles.
Marriage and family
Ford married Clara Jane Bryant on April 11th 1888. They had only one child named Edsel Ford.
The career of Henry Ford
In 1891 Ford joined with Edison illuminating company in Detroit as a designing engineer. He was promoted as chief engineer in 1893. Ford had a good time there with good money and adequate time to spend on his experiment on gasoline engines. As a result in 1896, he completed his self-propelled vehicle “ford quadricycle”. He did the test drive on June 4th, 1896. The same year, Ford got an appointment to meet Thomas Edison to present his new invention and Thomas approved Ford’s experiment. with Edison’s encouragement to build his second vehicle and completed in 1898.
In 1898, Ford resigned from Edison’s company and founded Detroit automobile company on August 5th, 1899. It was failed and dissolved in January 1901.
Henry Ford built a successful 26 horsepower automobile in October 1901. Then, he started Henry Ford company with Murphy and other stockholders in Detroit automobile company on November 30, 1901. In 1902, Ford left the Henry Ford company and Murphy renamed it as Cadillac automobile company.
In 1902, Ford built his famous 80 plus horsepower racer 999 automobiles. The famous Bernie Oldfield drove to victory in a race in October 1902. After this Ford made a partnership with Alexander Malcomson and started Ford and Malcomson limited to manufacture automobiles. They contracted with a machine company named Dodge brothers for machine parts. But Ford had to face a financial crisis when the Dodge brothers asked for a payment in their first shipment. As a response, Ford and Malcomson incorporated as Ford motor company on June 16, 1903. Other investors of the new company were the Dodge brothers and few others.
Fore demonstrated his newly designed car on the Ice of Lake Saint Clair. He drove this new car model 1.6 kilometer distance in 39.4 seconds. This was a new land speed record, 146.9 kilometers per hour. Bernie Oldfield ( the famous racer) named this new model 999. Then he drove this new car throughout the United States.
On October 1st, 1908, Ford presented his famous model T to the world. The automobile with the steering wheel on the left was copied soon by other companies because of its fascinating appearance and features. The whole engine and transmission were enclosed. It was simple and easy to drive and maintain. It cost about 825 dollars in 1908. By the 1920s, the majority of American drivers had learned to drive it. By 1918, half of all castes in the United States were model T. Ford company manufactured model T until 1927. The total production was 15,007,034 cars in number. That was a record for the next 45 years unbroken.
In December 1918, Hindi food appointed his son Edsel Ford as the new president of Ford motor company. Then Ford started a new automobile company named Henry Ford and son. The aim was 2 scare the other stockholders of Ford motor company and buy back their stocks. It was a success. Ford bought all the stocks and finally, Ford motor company became a Ford family property.
In 1921, Henry Ford purchased Lincoln motor company from Cadillac founder Henry Leyland and his son.
During the mid-1920s, General Motors was becoming a leading automobile manufacturer in the United States. General Motors offered an automobile for every purse and purpose. But Ford had no interest in anything outside the low-end market. Ford refused to replace the model T for 16 years. He also resisted the ideology of payment plans for automobiles. Because of these reasons, General Motors was popular and successful ahead of Ford.
Finally, Ford’s Model T sale started to decline. He had to go for a new model. The result was model A. It was introduced in December 1927. This new model production was continued until 1931. The total output was more than 4 million in number. Here, Ford did an annual model change system following General motors. But, Ford still resisted adopting new technologies to his cars such as hydraulic brakes, all metal roofs.
No account branch audits for decades
Henry Ford did not trust accountants. He ran his companies without auditing. He didn’t have an account in departments. so he had no idea how much money was taken in and spent each month. Instead of auditing, he weighed the company bills and invoices on a scale each month. Can you believe that?
Ford’s labor philosophy
Ford followed the principle of welfare capitalism. He designed and improved the quality of his workers to reduce the heavy turnover of automobile manufacturers. He did this by increasing efficiency by hiring and keeping the best workers in the region. He offered a $5 per day wage which was double the routine for those days. It was profitable. He selected the best mechanics in Detroit for his company and converted them to human capital and expertise. He raised the production and lowered the training cost with that principle.
He announced a $5 per day wage program by increasing routine 2.34 dollar into $5 per day for qualified male workers.
5 day work week
He introduced a new reduced workweek in 1926. It was five 8-hours days giving a 40 hour week. for boosting the productivity of his workers by giving them more leisure time in an exchange for their heavy working hours.
However, Ford was strong against labor unions. During the Great depression on march 7 1932, unemployed Detroit auto workers did a Ford hunger march to present 14 demands to Henry Ford. Dearborn police department Ford security guards opened fire on workers leaderboard 25 dates and more than 60 people injured. This union fought only in 1941 when 4 signed a contract that was more favorable to United automobile workers contract terms.
By 1932, Ford was manufacturing one-third of the world’s automobiles. His river Rouge plant was the world’s biggest industrial complex. He has Ford plants in Australia Britain Argentina Brazil Canada Europe India South Africa Mexico and the Philippines.
Force philosophy was one of the best economic independence for the United States.
Ford’s later career and death
Edsel Ford died of cancer in May 1943. Henry Ford assumed the presidency of Ford motor company in his 80s. However, he had several heart attacks and strokes meantime. He was mentally inconsistent and no longer fit for such a huge responsibility. He served his company until the end of the second world war. Ford’s company began to decline by a loss of more than 10 million dollars a month. President Franklin Roosevelt decided to take over the company to the government to continue machine production. But it was never executed.
With Ford’s bad health, he ceded the company’s presidency to his grandson Henry Ford II in September 1945. Henry Ford died on April 7th, 1947 of a stroke and cerebral hemorrhage in Dearborn at age of 83 years. His remains were buried in Ford symmetry in Detroit.
“Don’t find fault, find a remedy, anybody can complain” – Henry Ford
Read more article here.