Henry Ford was a legend in the automobile industry. It was in 1863 when he built the first gas-powered carriage, which he called the Quadricycle. He was an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company. As a resident of Detroit, Michigan, he created the first Model T in 1903. The demand was overwhelming, and by 1913, he had to develop new methods to mass-produce the vehicle. While he was a legend, he was also widely criticized because he was anti-Semitic and had a conciliatory stance during World War I.
Ford was born in 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan. He found a job as a machinist at the age of 16, and he moved to Detroit. He married Clara Bryant in 1888. To support his family, he ran a sawmill. The Edison Illuminating Company hired him in 1891, where he moved up the ladder to chief engineer. It was during this time that his only son, Edsel Bryant, was born.
His prototype, the Quadricycle, was sold for more than seven years, and it had the backing of many financial investors. However, the investors wanted something they could put an entire family in, and they grew weary of Ford’s design. They always pushed him to develop and create more, so in 1902, he ended his employment. Once he was gone, the business was reorganized, and it was called the Cadillac Motor Car Company. However, Ford didn’t let that get him down. The following year, he created his own business, which we know today as the Ford Motor Company.
The first plant ever owned by the Ford Motor Company was on Mack Avenue in the city of Detroit. They rolled out their first car known as the eight-horsepower Model A the same year. Production was slow as they could only churn out a couple of cars each day. However, he was dedicated to producing a reliable vehicle. In October of 1908, the Model T was debuted. The “Tin Lizzie,” as it was called, was a smashing success. The orders were too high for his small company to fill. So Ford had to change production to meet the demand.
Henry Ford revolutionized the American industry with his mass production techniques. It decreased the time it took to make a car, and the moving assembly line employed many men. Workers were only making $2.34 an hour before this new method of production was in place. After undergoing significant changes, their wages increased to $5.00 per hour. It was a new day for the employees of the automobile industry.
Sales for the Tin Lizzie never slumped. Demand continued. By 1918, almost half of all the cars on the road were Model Ts by the Ford Motor Company. In 1919, Edsel became the president of his dad’s company, though Henry kept full control. In 1920, he was taken to court by Horace and John Dodge, who later formed the Dodge Motor Company.
Ford bought out all the minor stockholders and moved his company to his hometown of Dearborn. The new plant was far superior to anything he had in Detroit. It was time to add a second car to the Ford company. The Model A was released in the latter part of 1920. As the most significant automotive manufacture in the world, they began to open plants across the globe. He had produced over 15 million Model T cars and was setting new precedence with the Model A.
Ford returned to his company as CEO when his son died in 1943. In 1945, he handed the company over to his grandson, Henry Ford II. Ford was 83 years old when he died in his home in Dearborn. He is a prodigy in the automotive industry that established both the location and manufacturing methods that are still in use today.