Let’s go back in time to July 30th, 1863. This marks the day that the man who may have changed life as we know it was born. Son of William and Mary, Henry Ford was born in Greenfield, Michigan. During his teen years he was quite fond of dismantling and reassembling watches. By age 16, he left home for the big city of Detroit to be an apprentice mechanist. Despite his feelings towards farm life, he returns to his hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. In the course of his stay he became adapt at operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. Soon, he was hired by the Westinghouse Company. As he approached his 25th birthday he married Clara Ala Bryant. Together, they had a son, Edsel. In 1891, Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. After his promotion as Chief Engineer, he had enough time and money to devote to his personal, entrepreneur endeavors. The first self-propelled vehicle which Ford built named the, “Ford Quadricycle” and was completed in 1896. As if 1896 wasn’t a big enough year for Henry Ford; he also had the privilege to meet Thomas Edison.
On August 5th, 1899, Detroit Automobile Company was founded. Due to cost and quality the company was dissolved in 1901. Along the way of many trial and errors with improving the Ford Quadricycle, Ford met up with Alexander Malcomson who was a Detroit coal dealer. Together, the two formed, “Ford & Malcomson, Ltd.” With the desire to design an efficient and affordable means of transportation, the two paired up with John and Horace Dodge. As the company struggled, it was reincorporated as the, “Ford Motor Company” on June 16, 1903. Original investors included: Henry Ford, Alexander Malcomson, John Gray, James Couzens, John Anderson, and Horace Rackham. Now let’s get to the good stuff and learn about how life as we know it came together. October 1st, 1908 marks the day on which the iconic Model T was first introduced. A few of the soon to be known well known features which today’s cars ensure are: steering wheel, enclosed transmission, and a suspension including springs.
In spite of what you may think, the car was rather reasonably priced. In 1908 it was $825 dollars which translates to $21,340 in today’s market. Not only that, but as time went on the price decreased. Always on the hunt for a more efficient and more affordable way of doing things, Ford introduced moving assembly lines into his plants to increase production. Because of this, by 1914 sales passed 250,00 units and as 1916 approached, you could buy yourself one of those nifty Model T’s for only $360 dollars. That means that in today’s market, you could buy yourself a Model T for only $9,312. By 1927, however, production ceased of the Model T forever. Don’t worry too much, approximately a third of the 15 million that were produced are still around today and will only put around a $35,000 dent in your wallet. Courtesy of Henry Ford, you are able to light up you Weber grill and use Kingsford Charcoal. Due to the extra pieces of wood laying around the factories and Henry Ford’s policy of not wasting anything he formed E.G. Kingsford in the mid 1920’s.
Because all this car information can become a bit tedious and boring at times; we’re going to fast forward to the later career of Henry Ford. As you should remember, Edsel was the only child of Clara and Henry. Tragically, he died at the age of 49 of stomach cancer. At this time Mr. Ford was 80 years old and even though he had many medical issues, he was forced to become president once again of his beloved car company. Until the end of World War II he remained president and also managed to force the company to lose almost $10 million dollars a month. Thankfully, by 1945 he passed the company on to grandson Henry Ford II. Two years later he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 83. A public viewing was held at Greenfield Village where up to 5,000 people per hour walked past the casket. The funeral was held at Detroit’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul and he was soon laid to rest in the Ford Cemetery in Detroit. Unfortunately, this is where our story ends. However, let me leave you with this, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” –Henry Ford.