Henry Ford, the father of America’s most famous automobile and the first affordable car, was passionate about cars since the age of 16. Working in machine shops, Henry Ford was thinking about creating an affordable and efficient car, which suits every American.
Not until 1908 America saw its first commercial automobile.
The creation of Model T
Ford created his first automobile in 1896. It was the gasoline powered car he called “Quadricycle.” Ford succeeded in constructing a car, but he wanted more- an auto cheaper, with changing parts, a car which will not consume much time for production. Ford sold his first invention to fund his future experiments.
He spent seven years in development, attracting other enthusiasts. Ford launched his company in 1903 with 12 investors and moved on immediately on constructing the first car-Model A. Model A was launched on the market, and the company sold limited quantities, using the money for the creation of the next two models- Model S and K.
However, Henry Ford still hasn’t succeeded with the creation of commercial car. The next four years Ford spent in developing the new model with custom parts ordered. He stayed in a rented property, hiding his plans until the perfect car was ready.
Ford launched the Model in 1908 with starting price $825. The car had huge success with nearly 18 000 pieces sold in the first year. Soon the price dropped, and Model T became America’s only affordable car for the middle-class citizens.
The assembly line
The introduction of the assembly line was a necessary step. Ford needed a fast and efficient method to assemble the automobiles faster. By lowering the production time, his company could finally reach mass production.
Until the assembly line workers used to move from chassis to another to assemble the car. They had to fetch the parts, which meant slow process. Ford started to experiment to optimize the process, chasing the idea of parts coming to the worker. When Henri Ford introduced and installed the assembly line in 1913 that was remarkable innovation- a mechanized movement saving time, but also changing the work routine. Ford needed to train his workers to concentrate on a particular part. He decided to divide the full car construction into steps.
His workers used to a lot of movement in their previous work started to complain of the speed and back pains. Ford needed to increase the payment. Thus he became the first to double the day payment to $5. It was an excellent stimulus for the workers.
What Ford did was to decrease the production time from 12 to just 2 hours. Before moving forward to another model, Ford sold 10 million cars and managed to drop the price to $390.
The expansion project on River Rouge
Henri Ford decided to buy the rest of the company from his partner investors in 1920 when he reached the idea of building large scale automobile complex. He put his son Edsel on the position of President but kept the control over the business. His company needed to be able to produce everything required on “home ground.” The River Rouge project anticipated vast industrial space, including mill, assembly line and glass factory. Moving forward Ford put his efforts into developing the previous Model A.
Post War times
The years between during and after the WWII were controversial for the Ford Motor Company. They lost their first place in America, while Chrysler was gaining popularity. His son Edsel died in 1943, and the leadership was taken over by Ford’s grandson Henry Ford II. Significant changes and renovations needed to be done to their facilities, but Ford II made brave decisions.
Henry Ford died in 1947 leaving an automobile giant, which will continue to rule the car scene in the States.
Henry Ford’s legacy will remain as one excellent example of passion, knowledge, and innovations in the world of automobiles.