Henry Ford: Engineer turned Entrepreneur

 

Today, the renowned ‘Ford Motor Company’ has a net worth of nearly $70 billion, selling their vehicles across every country known. But all this fame didn’t come the easy way. The founder of this company, Henry Ford, is still credited as one of the top industrialist America has ever had. His ideas were one of the key reasons which contributed to the revolution in American industries.

“Hard knocks have a place and value, but hard thinking goes farther in less time,” he once quoted.

Henry Ford was born on July 30,1863 in Greenfield Township, Michigan, into a farmer’s family. During his teenage years, he decided to work as a machinist because farm work did not satisfy him. Later, he returned to the farm and started working as a steam engine operator. In 1890, Ford was hired as an engineer for Detroit Edison Company. In 1892, Ford built his first gasoline-powered buggy which had two-cylinder, four-horsepower engine. After being promoted as chief engineer, Henry Ford constructed his first model car, ‘The Ford Quadricycle’ in 1896 which he presented in front of Thomas Edison. The lighting genius encouraged Ford to build a second better model.

By 1898, Ford was awarded with his first patent for a carburetor. Later, he quit Edison Company to pursue his car-making business full time. His determination led to the establishment of ‘Ford Motor Company’ in 1903. After launching few cars, the company launched the famous ‘Model-T’ in 1908 with a steering wheel on the left side. This idea was later copied by other companies. The car was simple to drive and cheap to afford. ‘Model-T’ was a great success in American markets and almost every middle class man owned one.

In pioneering a car affordable to nearly everyone, Ford increased the minimum daily wage of his time, essentially creating a middle class, and changed forever the way the automotive industry produced and distributed cars. His stunning success didn’t occur because of a masterful business sense; he was more of an entrepreneur—an idea man. But his unconventional ways took his company to the top.

There after, the models started getting better and the company flourished. Henry Ford always believed that the most important part of his industry were his labours. And so t,o speed up the production and ease the manual work, he launched the first moving assembly line in 1913. The introduction of moving belts led to its use in every sort of industries in America.
During WWI, Ford also entered the aviation business by launching the ‘Ford Airline Company’. He also developed automobiles for racing sports. But these ventures didn’t go as planned!

Nearing old age, he passed on the presidency of his company to his only son, Edsel Ford. But Edsel could not cope with the pressure from the industry due to his health issues and he eventually died of cancer in 1943. Then his elderly and ailing father, Henry Ford decided to assume the presidency again. After a few years, due to his failing health, Henry Ford ceded the company’s presidency to his grandson.
Henry Ford died of cerebral hemorrhage in April 7,1947 in his Dearborn estate, Fairlane, thus completing the circle of life.

-Sneha Lokare

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