Henry Ford (1863-1947)


Inventor Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Henry Ford was an American captain of industry and businessman born in Wayne County, Michigan, in 1863. He is the founder of the Ford Motor Company and credited with developing and manufacturing the first affordable automobile. He also contributed to a more efficient method of producing automobiles through the assembly line technique when mass producing goods to consumers.

Born to William and Mary Ford, young Henry was given a pocket watch from his father. At 15, Ford dismantled the timepiece repeatedly and was soon able to repair watches easily. In 1879, he left home to apprentice in Detroit with machines. While in Detroit, he also studied studio bookkeeping. Three years later, he returned home and was later hired by George Westinghouse.

In 1891, Ford became an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company. After a couple years he was promoted and was granted mpre research time to experiment on gasoline engines. Such experiments bore the Ford Quadricycle, a self propelled vehicle. Five years after working at his company and rising through the ranks, Ford met Thomas Edison. Edison approved of Ford’s research and this inspired the young designer to create another vehicle. In 1899, he was able to gain enough financial capital to leave Edison’s company and begin his own.

With the backing of Childe Harold Wills, Ford designed yet another vehicle, an 26-horsepower automobile. The success that followed that invention led to the formation of the Henry Ford Company in 1901, with Ford being appointed to the position of chief engineer. He left the company in 1902, eventually bringing in a new group of investors and reincorporated at the Ford Motor Company mid 1903.

Ford married and fathered one child, Edsel Ford. Edsel passed away in May of 1943; the older and ailing father Henry decided to assume the vacant position. He served as president for two years and eventually ceded the company to his grandson, Henry Ford II . Ford died in 1947, aged 83. He had a public funeral and was buried in the Ford Cemetery in his hometown of Detroit.