Dean 1Brandon DeanMs. BennettBritish Literature16 September 2011 The History of the Ford Motor Company When people think about the vehicle, they do not think about the person who made it--anything they just get in and drive. The person who invented the vehicle is Henry Ford, and if itwere not for him we would not have the concept of the car. Henry Ford saved people fromwalking everywhere and he made it so people could go places faster and not have to stop inbetween. Think about it: wouldpeople want to walk from the house to the mall or to the store tobuy food. People need to realize and be thankful for Henry Ford and his accomplishments andtake time to learn about his life, foreign affairs, and the Model-T Ford. Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863 and he was the sixth child of Mary and William Ford.He grew up on his family farm in Dearborn, Michigan. He was a typical nineteenth-century kid.He spent his days in a one-room school and doing chores around the family farm. At an early agehe strayed away from farm work and showed an interest in mechanical things. When he wassixteen he left the family farm and went to the nearby city of Detroit. He worked as an apprenticemachinist and from time to time returned to help on the family farm. Over the course of the nextfew years Ford spent his time repairing steam engines and finding occasional factory work inDetroit. When Ford married Clara Bryant in 1888 He supported himself and his wife by runninga saw mill (The Henry Ford: The life of Henry Ford).
Dean 2 Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit in 1891.When he did this, he signified a great decision on his part to dedicate his life to industrialpursuits. Henry was promoted to Chief Engineer, which gave him enough time and money togive attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines. His experiments cametogether in 1896 when he completed his own self-propelled car called the Quadricycle. It hadfour wheels and looked like a heavy bicycle. The Quadricycle was steered with a tiller like a boatand had only two forward speeds and no reverse.Ford was not the first to build a self-propelledvehicle that ran on gasoline, but was one of the automotive pioneers that helped this countrybecome a nation of motorists (The Henry Ford: The life of Henry Ford). Ford tried two times to get his company up and running to manufacture automobiles, buthe was unsuccessful. In 1903 the Ford Motor Company was finally incorporated and he wasvice-president and chief engineer. The Ford factory would only produce a few cars a day and itwas located in Detroit. Groups of two to three men worked on each car. Ford realized that hisdream had come true when he introduced the Model-T in 1908. Half of America owned a Model-T by 1918. His life was not all about cars, though; in 1918 he lost his bid for U.S. Senate. Healso helped in the World War I effort by sending his “peace ship” which would help the effort toend the war. By 1919, Henry’s son Edsel B. Fordwas named president of the Ford MotorCompany. The Ford Motor Company focused on air transportation in 1926 and developed theTri-Motor airplane (Fascinating Facts about Henry Ford). In 1927, the production of the Model-T had ended and the Model-A was introduced. By1932, the Ford Motor Company introduced the first ever V-8 car. Ford resisted the workersefforts to be unionized, but in the “Battle of the Overpass”, because fights broke out betweenFord security staff and United Auto Workers’ or The Union and the courts ordered Ford to not
Dean 3interfere with union activity. In 1943, tragedy struck; at the age 49, Ford’s son Edsel B. Fordpassed away. A few years later in 1947 Ford passed away at the age 83 in fairlane at hisDearborn home(Fascinating Facts about Henry Ford). DuringWorld War II, the Ford Motor Company had dealings with Germany and Englanduntil Ford ran into some problems with Germany, because of the war and the third Reich. By thetime nationalism was established in Germany, Ford had problems out of the country.When a newplant was constructed in Cologne in 1931, the business received a bad name, because its ownerswere Fords American company and England’s company. The Nazi government gave Fordproblems with their nationalist sentiments in Germany. The company became alarmed by thefalling sales and responded by trying to make matters up with the Nazi government (The FordMotor Company and the Third Reich). Even though the company was alarmed, it remained an isolated and marginalizedbusiness, despite Hitler’s personal regard forthe anti-Semitism of Henry Ford, and the massproduction capacity Ford had made famous. Ford’s foreign affairs meant that the companylacked credibility like other businesses that had credibility. Ford also lacked the size that theGeneral motors’ subsidiary had or the credibility that the other companies had. The Germangovernment treated Ford as “the producer of the last resort” when it came to governmentcontracts. Ford’s existence in Nazi Germany was threatened by low sales to the nationalisticgeneral public and the threat that government would confiscate his place of business(The FordMotor Company and the Third Reich). In the 1930’s the manager of the Ford subsidiary in Germany felt so threatened by theThird Reich that the company consistently sought to flatter itself with the Nazis in order to keep
Dean 4the company operable. In 1936 Ford was denied certification as a national producer, and thecertification was needed to be awarded government contracts for manufacturing. Denial ofcertification was a major blow to the German subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. Thesubsidiary knew that the road to economic liberation meant submitting to the Nazi government’sdemands even if that meant limiting the contract of the Dearborn office or taking away from theDearborn office. The company also feared for the existence of their own jobs (The Ford MotorCompany and the Third Reich). The company officials were scared that political appointees did not do their jobbut, themanagement in Cologne calmed the Nazis concerns about their company’s loyalties in at leastthree ways. The first way was the introduction of a racial criterion for the hiring of newemployees. Foreign and Jewish members were removed from the subsidiaries’ managementboard despite the opposition of Henry Ford. In 1936 the first Jewish manager was removed butFord himself was able to successfully reverse the decision. In 1940 control of the subsidiaryshifted to Cologne, and Ford was unable hold up further dismissals (The Ford Motor Companyand the Third Reich). The second way to gain the company loyalties was that the Nazi government, before thewar even started, wanted to increase the import of raw materials that were in short supply. Theshort supply also limited Ford’s raw materials by taking away the rubber for his tires. Ford triedto relieve the Nazi regime and relieve the Nazis own shortages by importing as much rawmaterial as possible. To end the plan, the Nazis needed currency to fund the purchase of rawmaterials. Ford responded by maximizing the export of its finished products. Ford negotiatedwith the U.S. and the U.K. in order to secure export markets. The German managers hoped thatthese plans would help the company, and the German government would look upon their
Dean 5business more gracefully and that the success would help save their jobs(The Ford MotorCompany and the Third Reich). From 1909 to 1927, the Ford Motor Company produced more than fifteen million ModelT cars. Without a doubt Henry Ford transformed the economic and social fabric of the Twentiethcentury. The first assembly of the Model-T Ford in 1909 was at the Piquttee Avenue Plant inDetroit on October 1, 1908. Over the years few changes were made to the basic design. By 1926the Model-T design could not compete with competitors like Chevrolet. 1927 was the last yearfor Henry Ford’s production of the Model-T (The Model-T Ford). Henry Ford’s Model T would change the world forever. In 1906, he built a secret spot tobuild his cars and the first concept was the Model-N. Ford spent over two years designing theModel T. In 1909, for $825 a Ford customer could purchase the reliable car and Ford would sellover ten thousand Model-T cars in the first year. Ford applied the assembly line to his factoriesin late 1913. Due to the success of the Model-T he made different versions of the Model-T forexample, the coupe and couplet. The Model T will forever be known as the first reliable and leastexpensive car (A Timeline of Ford Motor Company). Henry Ford’s life was full of excitement from the invention of the Model T to the foreignaffairs over in Germany. He never stopped living his life to the fullest and made himself a namethat will live on forever. People get in their cars in drive, never thinking about who made them orwho came up with the idea well next time; think about where the world would be if Henry Fordhad never existed.