30 July-Henry Ford

Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. His father William Ford emigrated from Ballinscarthy near Clonakilty County Cork, Ireland to America in 1846. Henry Ford became one of America’s foremost industrialists. He revolutionized assembly-line modes of production which led to the automobile becoming available to a person on an average income.

Henry Ford was born on a farm in Greenfield Township near Detroit, Michigan in 1863. He left home at the age of 16 and began working in machine shops in Detroit. By 1893 he was working as chief engineer with the Detroit Edison Company which was supplying electricity to the city. During his time with the Edison Company he began to build a gasoline powered vehicle. When it was completed in 1896 he called it the ‘Quadricycle’. He established the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and in 1908 the first Model T was produced.

The Model T made possible relatively cheap travel and brought about a revolution in transportation. Demand for the car led Ford to begin the mass production of the ‘Model T’. The assembly line as a method of production in the motor industry had been first introduced in 1901 by Ransome E Olds. He used the method to build the first mass produced car which was known as the Oldsmobile Dash. Henry Ford introduced a similar method to mass produce the Model T. He succeeded in developing and improving the method to the stage where it took only 93 minutes to fully assemble a car. Production of the Model T continued for nineteen years and by 1917 it accounted for over half of all the cars in the world. By 1925 over 2 million units of the Model T were being sold annually.

Henry Ford and his son Edsel paid a visit to his father’s home place in Ballinscarthy in 1912. He returned to Ireland again in 1917 and established a plant in Cork City producing Fordson Tractors. It was the first manufacturing plant built by Ford outside the USA. The plant in Cork later produced Ford cars such as, the Prefect, the Cortina and the Sierra. Members of the Ford family continue to visit Cork.

Henry Ford became one of the wealthiest and best known people in the world. As owner of the Ford Motor Company he expanded the business throughout North America and to several parts of the world. He consistently sought ways to reduce costs and increase production. When he retired his son Edsel became president of Ford. When Edsel died in 1943, Henry returned for a time as president of the company. However he was suffering from ill-health and died at the age of 83 on April 7th 1947.

Henry Ford was born in the year 1863 On This Day.

Henry Ford on innovation by Cea. on 2011-03-31 21:28:12

1927 Ford Model T by dok1 on 2007-09-16 13:10:09

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