Henry Ford was the leading manufacturer of American automobiles in the
early 1900's. He was the founder of the Ford Motor company which revolutionized
the assembly line method of production. Henry Ford was born in 1863 and died in
1947. I chose to write about Henry Ford because I feel that he was a smart man
who had the great ideas and looked after his workers. He wasn't one of those
money hungry monsters of the time.
Ford was born on a farm on what is now Dearborn Michigan, on July
30,1863, and was educated in district schools. He learned at an early age he didn't
like the farm life. He was interested more toward how things worked and what
made things happen. One example of this is when he asked his dad what would
happen if he plugged up the openings on the steam kettle. Not satisfied with his
dads answer he did it any way and it exploded and sent scalding water every where
and sent shrapnel that cut his cheek.
His father was all for Henry's interest in mechanical things but his siblings
ridiculed him. When Henry was thirteen his mother died of illness after she lost
her ninth child in delivery. He blamed the illness on his father for most of his life.
Once Henry had enough money saved he asked Clara to marry him and
immediately she said that she would and the wedding took place on April 11, 1888
and on November 6, 1893 they had their first child named Edsel. When Henry was
young he became interested in automobiles and he built his first successful gas
engine in 1893 and his first automobile in 1896.
Henrys first car was a sleek streamlined, light weight machine compared to
the Duryes brothers vehicle. Henry, when in one of his mischievous moods he
would chase people who didn't get out of the way quick enough and this got him
the nickname "Crazy Henry."
Detroits mayor William Maybury had become acquainted with Ford and his
work and he issued Henry with a drivers License (More of a reward than a
necessity) and also began getting backers for a commercial venture. On August 5,
1899 the mayor and some friends put up $15,000 to form the Detroit Automobile
Company with Henry as "Chief Engineer" and partner. A prototype of the Detroit
Automobile Company's vehicle was ready on January 12, 1900. The vehicle was
named a "Delivery Wagon" and eventually donated to the local postmaster for mail
runs. Although Ford wasn't satisfied. He felt that the assembly was too slow with
each car being built by hand and needing many adjustments so that it was virtually
custom-made and Ford wanted room to experiment with the perfect assembly
process but his backers only cared about the immediate sales. In November Henry
resigned and the company folded.
Henry decided to make himself a house-hold name by building a race car.
although Henry thought it was an improper use of the automobile. Henry thought
"If an automobile were going to be known for speed, then I was going to be known
wherever speed was known."
The prize for the race was $1,000 and a crystal punch bowl. It was a twenty-
five mile race and some of the contestants were forced to pull out. It was Henry
Ford against Alexander Winton. In the start Winton took-off quickly with Henry
starting off slowly, swinging wide in the turns but pulling up in the straights. For
over half of the race Henry trailed then he began to pull-up finally passing Winton
and roaring out ahead to cross the finish line first.
The race advertised him far and wide and many people were throwing
money at Ford. On November 30, 1901 a group of backers headed by William H.
Murphy who saw the race and he got $30,000 total from himself and the backers to
start the Henry Ford Company. The company wasn't going anywhere and Ford felt
that he hadn't been given adequate stake in the business and Henry held-back.
Henry wanted to build another race car but Murphy said that the backers wanted a
car for production. Although Henry and a friend Barthel worked nights to draw up
the idea of the race car. Annoyed at Fords stubbornness the investors brought in
Henry Leland (a famed Detroit engineer) in march 1902. Soon after that Henry
resigned and as part of the settlement he got $900, the blueprints for his racer and
an agreement that they couldn't use his name. Later Leland took over the