Henry Ford is the father of the modern automobile, but he is also credited with the creation of some of the most useful tools is manufacturing today. Ford was born on July 30, 1863, in Greenfield Township, Michigan. At 15, his father gave him a pocket watch which he dismantled and reassembled. He continued this activity with his friend’s watches and became known as a watch repairman.
Ford left home and traveled to Detroit where he became a machinist’s apprentice. Henry Ford married Clara Ala Bryant in 1888, and supported his family by farming and running a sawmill. The couple had one daughter, Edsel Bryant Ford.
He joined the Edison Illuminating Company in 1891, as an engineer. When he was promoted to Chief Engineer, in 1893, Ford was making enough money to experiment with gasoline engines. All his experimenting paid off on June 4, 1896, with the first test drive of a self-propelled vehicle called the Ford Quadricycle. That year he was introduced to Thomas Edison. Edison was pleased with the Quadricycle and encouraged him to produce a second vehicle.
Ford’s second vehicle was finished in 1898 and with the backing of Edison and the William H. Murphy. Ford created the Detroit Automobile Company. Henry left the company and the company was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company. Ford found a partner, in 1902, and created Ford & Malcomson, Ltd. The company soon became Ford Motor Company. Ford became a well known brand throughout America in the next few years.
Henry ford changed the industrial world in 1914 when he offered employees a $5 a day salary. This was more than double the common wage. Today that would equal about $112 per day. The Model T was introduced in 1908. The Model T was the first car with the steering wheel on the left, the engine and transmission enclosed and a solid block engine.
By 1926, America needed a new model and Ford created the Model A. The Model A was introduced in 1927. From 1927 to 1931, Ford sold four million Model A cars.
Ford continued to keep his employees in mind and in 1922; he gave all his employees an eight-hour work day and six-day work week. In 1926, Saturday was dropped and each employee had a five day work week. This caught on and is still used in the majority of industries today. Profit sharing was also offered to employees who were employed for more than six months.
The assembly line and mass production are also credited to Henry Ford. These two ingenious ideas allowed most manufacturers to produce more products cheaper. Henry Ford died April 7, 1947 and left most of his wealth to the Ford Motor Company with his family controlling the company.