to "History of Cars"
manufacturer Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on his family's farm in
Dearborn, Michigan. From the time he was a young boy, Ford enjoyed tinkering
with machines. Farm work and a job in a Detroit machine shop afforded him
ample opportunities to experiment. He later worked as a part-time employee
for the Westinghouse Engine Company. By 1896, Ford had constructed his
first horseless carriage which he sold in order to finance work on an improved
Ford incorporated the Ford Motor
Company in 1903, proclaiming, "I will build a car for the great multitude."
In October 1908, he did so, offering the Model T for $950. In the Model
T's nineteen years of production, its price dipped as low as $280. Nearly
15,500,000 were sold in the United States alone. The Model T heralds the
beginning of the Motor Age; the car evolved from luxury item for the well-to-do
to essential transportation for the ordinary man.
revolutionized manufacturing. By 1914, his Highland Park, Michigan plant,
using innovative production techniques, could turn out a complete chassis
every 93 minutes. This was a stunning improvement over the earlier production
time of 728 minutes. Using a constantly-moving assembly line, subdivision
of labor, and careful coordination of operations, Ford realized huge gains
In 1914, Ford began paying his employees
five dollars a day, nearly doubling the wages offered by other manufacturers.
He cut the workday from nine to eight hours in order to convert the factory
to a three-shift workday. Ford's mass-production techniques would eventually
allow for the manufacture of a Model T every 24 seconds. His innovations
made him an international celebrity.
Ford's affordable Model T irrevocably
altered American society. As more Americans owned cars, urbanization patterns
changed. The United States saw the growth of suburbia, the creation of
a national highway system, and a population entranced with the possibility
of going anywhere anytime. Ford witnessed many of these changes during
his lifetime, all the while personally longing for the agrarian lifestyle
of his youth. In the years prior to his death on April 7, 1947, Ford sponsored
the restoration of an idyllic rural town called Greenfield Village.
Henry Ford Trivia
On January 12, 1900, the Detroit
Automobile Company released its first commercial automobile - a delivery
wagon - designed by Henry Ford. This was Ford's second car design - his
first design was the quadricycle
built in 1896.
On May 27, 1927, production ended
for the Ford
Model T - 15,007,033 units had been manufactured.
On January 13, 1942, Henry Ford patented
a plastic-bodied automobile - a car 30 percent lighter than metal cars.
In 1932, Henry Ford introduced his
last engineering triumph: his "en block", or one piece, V-8
Research Information/Photos Library
Important disclaimer information about this About site.