Henry Ford was an American captain of industry and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly lines technique of mass production. Although Ford didn’t invent the automobile or the assembly line, he developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle-class Americans could afford. Take a look below for 30 more fascinating and interesting facts about Henry Ford.
1. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry.
2. As the owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world.
3. He’s credited with “Fordism”, which is the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers.
4. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace.
5. Ford’s intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents.
6. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently.
7. He was widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I, and for promoting antisemitic content, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent and the book The International Jew.
8. He was gifted a pocket watch by his father during his early teens. During that time, he dismantled and reassembled the watch, as well as the watches of several of his friends and relatives.
9. After the loss of his mother in 1876, his father wanted Ford to take responsibility and work on the farm. However, he Ford didn’t like this and said that he wasn’t interested in farm work.
10. Even though he didn’t like farm work, he turned to farming at the age of 25, once he was married, as he had to support his family.
11. In 1878, by the time he was 15 years old, Ford built his first steam engine.
12. In 1891, Ford joined the Edison Illuminating Company and got promoted as a Chief Engineer in 1893. At this time, he had enough money and time to pursue his curiosity and talent, and started working on gasoline engines.
13. In 1896, he made his first horseless carriage, called the Quadricycle. He sold the vehicle to support the development of his next vehicle.
14. In his teens, he learned the trade of watch repairman by working on his friend’s watches.
15. In 1879, Ford became an apprentice machinist in Detroit with James Flower and Brothers and then with Detroit Dry Dock.
16. In 1882, he returned to the where he learned to operate the Westinghouse portable steam engine.
17. Ford studied bookkeeping at Goldsmith, Bryant and Stratton Business College in Detroit and was hired by Westinghouse to service their steam engines.
18. Ford resigned from Edison and on August 5, 1899, he founded the Detroit Automobile Company with the financial backing of William H. Murphy, but the company closed in January 1901.
19. Ford designed, built and raced a 26 horsepower car in October 1901 and on November 30, 1901, he and some of his previous stockholders formed the Henry Ford Company.
20. Ford Left the Henry Ford Company, which later became the Cadillac Automobile Company, and on June 16, 1903, founded the Ford Motor Company.
21. Ford showed off his new car, which set a new land speed record of 91.3 miles per hour.
22. Race car driver Barney Oldfield advertised the Ford Company brand by demonstrating their new car around the country.
23. The Ford Model T was introduced in 1908 at a price of $825, but by the 1920s, the introduction of assembly line production into his plants had lowered the price to $360 and virtually every American driver had driven one.
24. The very first Ford sold was to Dr. Pfennig in 1903, for a total of $850. The Model A had a 2 cylinder engine, and could reach a max speed of 30 miles per hour.
25. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were lifelong friends. As requested by Ford, Thomas Edison’s son captured Edison’s last exhale in a test tube and sealed it with a cork. Ford kept the tube as a memorial to Edison’s “life and breath.”
26. Ford’s signature blue, oval logo wasn’t introduced until 4 years after the company had already been in production.
27. In 1914, Ford offered its employees double the current market average, creating Henry Ford’s $5 a day. The new salary, accompanied by a shorter working day and company profit sharing, minimized employee turnover, and was significant in growing the middle class and fair wages movement. Henry Ford was quoted saying he wanted to help his workers to a “life” not just a “living.”
28. In 1918, Ford was convinced by President Woodrow Wilson to compete for the seat of a senate as a Democrat. However, he disapproved of spending money for the election campaigns and lost by only 4500 votes.
29. Ford founded the Ford Airline Company during World War I due to his interesting in aviation. However, lackluster sales prevented the company from becoming successful.
30. Ford has 161 unique patents to his name. He was fascinated by science and inventions in particular. He never stopped being a scientist and as an inventor, he believed that he could have a significant impact on the world.