At times, a trial and error method can work wonders. However, success demands courage, dedication, perseverance and relentless hard work. As a teenager, Henry Ford apparently believed in the similar thought and dismantled the watch presented to him on his birthday to explore how it functioned and then reassembled it. Tinkering with things and an interest in machines at an early age was encouraged by his parents.
Date of Birth: July 30, 1863
Died: April 7, 1947
The steam engine captured Ford’s attention when he was indulging in engineering activities and staying away from farming. His interests resulted in his building a gasoline engine at home mounted on the kitchen sink. On the 152nd birth anniversary of the founder of Ford Motors, we revisit some interesting facts about the man.
- Born near Dearborn, Michigan, ford looked up to Thomas Edison as his role model and personal hero. When Edison heard of Henry’s idea of building a four wheeled contraption he endorsed his idea and this in turn galvanized Henry’s thoughts and instilled confidence in him to proceed further.
- Most of the middle class Americans owe gratitude to Henry, for an amazing yet affordable invention to cater to their commutation needs. The Model T car of Ford was termed as “Car of the Century,” by Global Automotive Elections Foundation, as it was game changer and transformed the rich man’s luxury into an innovation serving millions of the common populace. Though, the car was noisy, unattractive and uncomfortable within five years of manufacturing around half a million vehicles were on the road. Henry Ford himself jested on the car’s color stating “any customer can have any car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.”
- Henry Ford was inducted into the “Automotive hall of fame,” to stand among the few automotive great personalities since its inception in 1939 in Dearborn.
- In 1896, he unveiled a Quadricycle, the first self-propelled vehicle. The wheels of this were similar to heavy bicycle wheels and the steering looked like the tiller of a boat. The vehicle could only move forward but not backward. He came up with a second car in 1898 and succeeded in persuading a group of people to invest. On July 16, 1903, he came up with the third automotive venture—the Ford Motor Company and the new Model T car came into the market creating records. Today, Ford in the US alone, has sold 225,647 vehicles.
- Henry Ford and his team collected ideas from several industries from bicycle makers, gun makers, and meat packers to get the best from each industry and utilize the apt ones in the motor industry. The moving assembly line set-up was adopted from the meat industry in 1913 and it has retained its place in the company even after 100 years of its introduction. In January 1914, Ford took the other bold decision of doubling the wages to $5 per day of 53,000 people per year. Now Ford Motors employs 187,000 employees with a market cap of $63.6 Billion as on May 2015.
- Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, he built some schools that imparted education through traditional classroom technique along with practical experience or “learning through doing.” Even today the firm reserves a third of its funds for education through scholarships. “Operation Better World,” initiated by the Ford community aims at involving the local Ford dealers to implement hunger relief and health care programs.
- During the World War II, Henry Ford backed the US army by helping them with jeeps, bombers, and tanks.
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs” these words of Henry Ford aptly showcase his life, research, and his love for invention. He breathed technicality throughout the life and explored a new path to lead a proficient life. On this day, we salute this amazing mind who presented a new version of the automobile industry.