Henry Ford was a mechanic and a machinist who was born on July 30, 1863 in Michigan. Henry had 4 siblings and lived on a farm, to which his father expected to take over when he was older. As a child, Henry had a hobby of playing and tinkering around with machines. When his mother died, he went against his father’s expectations and moved to Detroit in 1869.
During him living in Detroit, he became a mechanist for multiple companies. In 1891, he started working for Edison Illuminating Company, and in 1893 became Chief Engineer. He would also be tinkering with automobile inventions on the side. In 1896, he met Thomas Edison, and had a meeting in which Edison gave Ford approval to keep working on his automobiles.
He worked on them for a while, until on July 4 1896, he completed his first automobile, the Ford Quadricycle.
After going on a successful test drive with it, he looked to start his own automobile company. With finical backers, in 1899, he started the Detroit Automobile Company. The company was unsuccessful, so Ford started looking into building race cars.
Cars back then usually went only less than 30 mph (~48/kmh), But Ford set a record of 91.3 mph (~146/kmh). With this, he created the Ford Motor Company, and his name started going around the country. In 1908, Ford introduced the Model T, which was his greatest success, selling over 15 million by 1927.
The Model T was a major success due to it not only being fast, but also sold for $825, which was very affordable to the average American at the time. The price also help distinguish the Ford Motor Company from other car companies.
It didn’t end here for Ford, though. He wanted to cut costs, but he needed to keep up with the increasing large demand of his cars. So, with the help of his employees, he invented the first moving assembly line.
Ford was also kind to his employees, always trying to improve their lives. He raised the lowest wage in his factories to be double of the national minimum. Working in the factories was no fun job, it was tedious and the work was difficult, but thanks to Ford’s efforts, employees didn’t really feel the need to turnover.
He later retired due to his decreasing health and made his son, Edsel Ford, the president of the Ford Motor Company. But when his Edsel died of cancer in 1943, he reassumed presidency, despite many of the directors of the company disproving of this. His health made him in no way fit for the position of president anymore, yet he reassumed.
When his health declined even further, he ceded presidency of the company to his grandson, Henry Ford II. He then retired in 1945. On April 7, 1947, Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage.