Henry Ford

By: Mandy Leonard

One of the great innovators of the automotive industry and father of the assembly line, Henry Ford was born to a prosperous family on July 30th, 1863. From an early age he displayed a keen interest in mechanics and in 1879 a sixteen year old Henry went to work as an apprentice machinist in Detroit. By 1893 he was promoted to Chief Engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company, giving him the time and money to focus on his personal experiments on gasoline engines. The culmination of these experiments  resulted in the Quadricycle.

It was in 1903 that Henry Ford would make history by forming the Ford Motor Company. Workers were offered $5 an hour, twice the usual salary. This enticed some of the most qualified mechanics from Detroit, lowering training costs and reducing staff turnover, a move that Ford called "Wage Motive".

The new Ford company soon produced the Model T, fulfilling Henry's dream of producing a car that was reasonably priced, efficient and reliable. By 1918 half of all cars in America were Model T's, helped by the introduction of the assembly line, allowing cars to be manufactured faster and with more precision.

It was this innate ability for innovation, coupled with the ability to attract and retain the best workers that allowed Ford to become a National giant until Henry's death in 1947.

Since then Ford has spread internationally continuing on in the tradition of efficient, reliable and cost efficient vehicles.