Henry Ford

Biography | Assembly Line | Difference to other automobile manufacturers | Historical Significance | Bibliography Henry Ford, he did not invent the car, but he produced an automobile that was affordable for the masses. While others were content to target a market of the wealthy, Ford developed a design and a method of manufacture that steadily reduced the cost of the Model T. Ford did not set the prices too high, and as a result, Ford Motors sold more cars and steadily increased it's earnings. He transformed the automobile from a luxury toy, to a mainstay of American society.


Henry Ford
Henry Ford

Henry Ford was born on July 30th, 1863, as a son from an Irish immigrant family in Dearborn, Michigan. He grew up in the countryside on a farm. His parents were farmers and he already showed a big interest in technology and machines in young years. By 13 years old, he repaired his first watch.[1]

After he finished High school when he was 15 years old, he went to the Detroit Drydock Company from 1880-1882. Ford was a poor student in school. After that, Ford worked for the Detroit Edison Company. Four years later he became a chief engineer and met Thomas Edison, which became one of his closest friends. In 1903 he founded the Ford Motor Co., with his idea of low-priced cars for the masses. In 1909 he introduced the first large-scale application of Assembly Line. In 1919 he turned the Company over to his son Edsel. Henry Ford died on April 7th, 1947.[2]

Assembly Line

Ford did not create a new era by building an automobile, but inventing the assembly line process. Factory employees would not work in groups to build one car at a time anymore. Each individual was responsible for a specific job. The tasks were often very easy, but you had to do it over and over again.[3]

This allowed to build cars more quickly and efficiently. Ford was producing now one car in 93 minutes. Ford's assembly line invention accelerated the American Industrial Revolution and factories continue to use this concept till today.[4]

Difference to other automobile manufacturers

Henry Ford was different from other automobile manufacturers. He had the idea that, if his workers do not have enough money to buy a car, he will not make profit. Also he was afraid that his workers would go on a strike if they were unhappy and this would stop his production. So he was the first who adopted the eight-hour workday. Moreover he increased the minimum wage of his workers to $5 a day. This kept his workers happy and he prevented strikes.[5]

In addition to that Ford was the first man, that introduced "Installment Buying", which made it affordable for the average American who could not pay the whole amount at once. "Installment Buying" means that the people could pay monthly rates for their automobile, because the "Model T" cost about a half year's income of a worker. That is what made Henry Ford so successful. Also to mention is, that Installment Buying made the U.S. economy to the largest economy in the world.[6]

The famous "Model T"
The famous "Model T"

Historical Significance

Henry Ford might not have invented the car, but he made it affordable for the average American. Ford was the first person that had his workers working in an assembly line, which made it possible to build one "Model T" in less than 6 hours. This was the revolution of the car. Without this topic the 1920s would be way different, because before Henry Ford lowered the prices of his car. An automobile was very expensive and so only the wealthy people could afford a car. Through his revolution, almost everyone could buy a car.



  1. ^ "The Life of Henry Ford", 2003, http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/hf/
  2. ^ Bellis Marry, "Henry Ford", About.com, Inventors,
  3. ^ Charles Sorensen, "Henry Ford - Changes in the world", http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/ford.htm
  4. ^ Jake, "Henry Ford The Creator of the Assembly Line", http://www.kyrene.org/schools/brisas/sunda/inventor/ford/index.html
  5. ^ "Henry Ford: Inventor of the Moving Assembly Line", American Inventors,
  6. ^ Rhode, Steve; "The History of Credit & Debt",