Tag Archives: Detroit

Henry Ford And The Model T

Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 near Dearborn, Michigan on his family’s farm. At the age of 15, Ford took apart and reassembled the pocket watch his father gave him. This impressed his friend and family so much that they brought Ford all their broken clocks and watches so he could fix them. However Ford was not satisfied with this life so a year later he moved to Detroit. In Detroit at the age of 16, Ford became an apprentice machinist for James F. Flower & Bros. In the following years Ford learned bookkeeping and how to operate and service steam engines. Ford was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illumination Company in 1891. Two years later in 1893 he was promoted to chief engineer because of his natural talents.  While working at Edison Illumination Company, Ford developed plans for a horseless carriage that would run on a gasoline engine. In 1896 Ford built his first model and called it the Ford Quadricycle. At a meeting the same year, Ford presented his automobile plans to Thomas Edison. Edison was so impressed that he encouraged Ford to build a better automobile. After building a few test cars, Henry Ford in 1903 founded the Ford Motor Company. Five years later on October 1st 1908, Ford introduced the Model T.  The company prospered after the release of the Model T and for several years the company made 100% gains on the previous year. Ford in 1914 built the moving assembly line technique so he could build more cars faster and much cheaper. However this presented a problem he had to overcome. His employees were quitting because their job was too monotonous. With the assembly line an employee would do the same repetitious  work for 8-10 hours a day. In one year he had to hire over 53,000 workers because of the huge turnover he experienced. To combat this problem he introduced the $5-per-day wage( $120 dollar in today’s dollars). The wage was double the going rate.  With this wage he could keep his workers loyal to his company. The Model T was such a success that by 1916 the price of a Model T had dropped from $825 dollars ( $17,676 in 2013) to $360 dollars ( $ 7,714 in 2013) and sales reached 472,000. In the late 1910s  and early 1920s over half of the cars in America were Model Ts. People loved the Model T’s because they were simple to drive and cheap to repair. Henry Ford was a real entrepreneur. He brought a product that previously only the rich could buy and enjoy and made it affordable to the masses. He earned his wealth because he brought a product that the people wanted for a much lower price then his competitors. “Service to others is rewarded.” This is why Henry Ford was a successful entrepreneur. In today’s currency Henry Ford would be worth $188 billion dollars.
 Disclaimer: I don’t agree with many of his views, however his entrepreneurial skills are worth noticing. How from a machinist he became a billionaire.