Henry Ford was an American industrialist, famous entrepreneur, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.
By introducing the Model T in 1908, Ford converted the automobile from an expensive luxury item into an affordable means of transportation for the middle class.
In addition, his introduction of the $5 workday in 1914 revolutionized industrial labor practices.
Ford was born on a farm in Dearborn, Michigan, on July 30, 1863. He showed an early interest in mechanics, and by the age of 15, he had built his first steam engine.
After completing his apprenticeship in 1882, he spent a year setting up and repairing Westinghouse steam engines in southern Michigan.
In 1891, he was employed as an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit. He became chief engineer on November 6, 1893. Thomas Edison would become a lifelong mentor and friend to Henry Ford.
In 1896, Ford built his first gasoline-powered automobile, the Quadricycle. In 1899, he left the Edison Illuminating Company to form the Detroit Automobile Company.
The company went out of business after two years, but Ford continued to work on developing new automobile designs. In 1903, he founded the Ford Motor Company with 12 investors.
The Ford Motor Company was an immediate success. The Model A, introduced in 1903, was a popular car, and the company's sales grew rapidly.
In 1908, Ford introduced the Model T, a simple, affordable car that was designed for the mass market. The Model T was an instant success, and it quickly became the most popular car in the world.
Ford's success was due in part to his use of the assembly line technique of mass production. The assembly line allowed Ford to produce cars more quickly and efficiently than his competitors.
In 1914, Ford introduced the $5 workday, which doubled the wages of his factory workers. This move was controversial at the time, but it helped to attract and retain a skilled workforce.
Henry Ford was the son of an Irish immigrant and was always a tinkerer. His father was a farmer, which was drastically changing during the Industrial Revolution. These changes intrigued Henry, who wanted to eventually stop relying on animals for power.
Henry's mother was once a foster child and had a strong love for her children. She undoubtedly gave Henry his relentless personality.
He met his wife Clara at a dance, and it took time to charm her. When he did, they would have a long marriage that would produce one child. Edsel.
Edsel did not see success quickly but always sought to prove himself to his father. He became a pioneer in aviation until his death. His death broke Henry's heart.
Each of Henry Ford's siblings found their own type of success. While they did not come close to his success, they each were independent.
Family Tree Chart
William Ford (1826 - 1905) - He was a hard-working Irish immigrant who put down his roots in Detroit, Michigan. He worked as a farmer to provide for his family. He and his wife had four children.
Mary Litogot (1839 - 1876) - She was a foster child who found a home at three years old. She died young but gave birth to four children.
Clara Jane Bryant (1866 - 1950) - Clara and her husband Henry grew up on neighboring farms. They lived 5 miles apart. They met during the 1885 New Year's dance at Martindale House. Clara's brother William brought her to the dance. Annie Ford, Henry's cousin, introduced them. They would eventually hit it off, and the two would have a long marriage, producing one child.
Edsel Bryant Ford (1893 - 1943) - He was a pioneer in the world of aviation that would eventually lead him to be recruited by the United States government to develop aircraft for World War 2. He and his wife would have three children. He would die surprisingly of stomach cancer that he kept secret due to his work for the country. He never saw his work come to fruition, but his aircraft would help end the war in Europe.
John Ford (1865 - 1927) - He was the younger brother of Henry Ford. He married and had three children. He died prior to his older brother.
Margaret Ford (1867 - 1960) - She married and had one child. She would live longer than her brother and see him change the Farm and Car industry forever.
Jane Ford (1869 - 1906) - She never married and died prior to any of her siblings. She was nicknamed Jennie and loved by her family.
William Ford (1871 - 1959) - He was the youngest brother of Henry Ford, who was determined to make it on his own despite not wanting the notoriety of his brother. He found success in farm machinery. He and his wife had five children together.