132 Facts About Henry Ford


Henry Ford was an American industrialist and business magnate.


Henry Ford was the founder of Ford Motor Company, and chief developer of the assembly line technique of mass production.


Henry Ford was born on a farm in Michigan's Springwells Township, leaving home at age 16 to work in Detroit.


Henry Ford officially founded Ford Motor Company in 1903, after prior failures in business but success in constructing automobiles.


Henry Ford is credited with "Fordism", the mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers.


Henry Ford was among the pioneers of the five-day work week.


Henry Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace.


Ford was widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I In the 1920s Ford promoted antisemitic content through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent, and the book, The International Jew.


Henry Ford turned over the company to his grandson Henry Ford II in 1945.


Henry Ford died in 1947 after leaving most of his wealth to the Ford Foundation, and control of the company to his family.


Henry Ford was born July 30,1863, on a farm in Springwells Township, Michigan.


Henry Ford's father, William Ford, was born in County Cork, Ireland, to a family that had emigrated from Somerset, England in the 16th century.


Henry Ford's mother, Mary Ford, was born in Michigan as the youngest child of Belgian immigrants; her parents died when she was a child and she was adopted by neighbors, the O'Herns.


Henry Ford finished eighth grade at a one room school, Springwells Middle School.


Henry Ford never attended high school; he later took a bookkeeping course at a commercial school.


Henry Ford's father gave him a pocket watch when he was 12.


At 15, Henry Ford dismantled and reassembled the timepieces of friends and neighbors dozens of times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman.


At twenty, Henry Ford walked four miles to their Episcopal church every Sunday.


Henry Ford's father expected him to take over the family farm eventually, but he despised farm work.


Henry Ford was later hired by Westinghouse to service their steam engines.


Henry Ford stated two significant events occurred in 1875 when he was 12.


Henry Ford then started a second car in 1896, eventually building three of them in his home workshop.


Henry Ford married Clara Jane Bryant on April 11,1888, and supported himself by farming and running a sawmill.


In 1891, Henry Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit.


Also in 1896, Henry Ford attended a meeting of Edison executives, where he was introduced to Thomas Edison.


Henry Ford then demonstrated a newly designed car on the ice of Lake St Clair, driving 1 mile in 39.4 seconds and setting a new land speed record at 91.3 miles per hour.


Henry Ford was one of the early backers of the Indianapolis 500.


Henry Ford created a huge publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and ads about the new product.


Henry Ford was always eager to sell to farmers, who looked at the vehicle as a commercial device to help their business.


In 1913, Henry Ford introduced moving assembly belts into his plants, which enabled an enormous increase in production.


Henry Ford turned the presidency of Ford Motor Company over to his son Edsel Ford in December 1918.


Henry Ford retained final decision authority and sometimes reversed the decisions of his son.


Henry Ford resisted the increasingly popular idea of payment plans for cars.


Henry Ford pursued the project with a great deal of interest in the design of the engine, chassis, and other mechanical necessities, while leaving the body design to his son.


Subsequently, the Henry Ford company adopted an annual model change system similar to that recently pioneered by its competitor General Motors.


Not until the 1930s did Henry Ford overcome his objection to finance companies, and the Henry Ford-owned Universal Credit Corporation became a major car-financing operation.


For 1932 however, Henry Ford dropped a bombshell with the flathead Henry Ford V8, the first low-price eight-cylinder engine.


The flathead V8, variants of which were used in Ford vehicles for 20 years, was the result of a secret project launched in 1930 and Henry initially considered a radical X-8 engine before agreeing to a conventional design.


Henry Ford did not believe in accountants; he amassed one of the world's largest fortunes without ever having his company audited under his administration.


Also, at Edsel's insistence, Ford launched Mercury in 1939 as a mid-range make to challenge Dodge and Buick, although Henry displayed relatively little enthusiasm for it.


Henry Ford was a pioneer of "welfare capitalism", designed to improve the lot of his workers and especially to reduce the heavy turnover that had many departments hiring 300 men per year to fill 100 slots.


Henry Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage, which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers.


The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant employee turnover, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Henry Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs.


Henry Ford announced his $5-per-day program on January 5,1914, raising the minimum daily pay from $2.34 to $5 for qualifying male workers.


Henry Ford's policy proved that paying employees more would enable them to afford the cars they were producing and thus boost the local economy.


Henry Ford viewed the increased wages as profit-sharing linked with rewarding those who were most productive and of good character.


Henry Ford had decided to boost productivity, as workers were expected to put more effort into their work in exchange for more leisure time.


Henry Ford believed decent leisure time was good for business, giving workers additional time to purchase and consume more goods.


Henry Ford explained his views on unions in Chapter 18 of My Life and Work.


Henry Ford thought they were too heavily influenced by leaders who would end up doing more harm than good for workers despite their ostensible good motives.


Henry Ford believed that productivity gains that obviated certain jobs would nevertheless stimulate the broader economy and grow new jobs elsewhere, whether within the same corporation or in others.


Henry Ford believed that union leaders had a perverse incentive to foment perpetual socio-economic crises to maintain their power.


However, Henry Ford did acknowledge that many managers were basically too bad at managing to understand this fact.


Sorensen recounted that a distraught Henry Ford was very close to following through with a threat to break up the company rather than cooperate.


Henry Ford complied with his wife's ultimatum and even agreed with her in retrospect.


Overnight, the Henry Ford Motor Company went from the most stubborn holdout among automakers to the one with the most favorable UAW contract terms.


The Smithsonian Institution has honored Henry Ford for changing the aviation industry.


In 1985, Henry Ford was posthumously inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame for his impact on the industry.


Henry Ford opposed war, which he viewed as a terrible waste, and supported causes that opposed military intervention.


Henry Ford became highly critical of those who he felt financed war, and he tried to stop them.


In 1915, the pacifist Rosika Schwimmer gained favor with Henry Ford, who agreed to fund a Peace Ship to Europe, where World War I was raging.


Henry Ford talked to President Woodrow Wilson about the mission but had no government support.


Henry Ford's group went to neutral Sweden and the Netherlands to meet with peace activists.


In 1915, Henry Ford blamed "German-Jewish bankers" for instigating the war.


Henry Ford's company became a major supplier of weapons, especially the Liberty engine for warplanes and anti-submarine boats.


In 1918, with the war on and the League of Nations a growing issue in global politics, President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, encouraged Henry Ford to run for a Michigan seat in the US Senate.


Henry Ford was defeated in a close election by the Republican candidate, Truman Newberry, a former United States Secretary of the Navy.


Henry Ford remained a staunch Wilsonian and supporter of the League.


When Wilson made a major speaking tour in the summer of 1919 to promote the League, Henry Ford helped fund the attendant publicity.


Henry Ford had opposed the United States' entry into World War II and continued to believe that international business could generate the prosperity that would head off wars.


Henry Ford "insisted that war was the product of greedy financiers who sought profit in human destruction".


Henry Ford continued to do business with Nazi Germany, including the manufacture of war materiel.


Henry Ford was a prominent early member of the America First Committee against World War II involvement, but was forced to resign from its executive board when his involvement proved too controversial.


When Rolls-Royce sought a US manufacturer as an additional source for the Merlin engine, Henry Ford first agreed to do so and then reneged.


Henry Ford "lined up behind the war effort" when the US entered in December 1941.


Henry Ford broke ground on Willow Run in the spring of 1941, B-24 component production began in May 1942, and the first complete B-24 came off the line in October 1942.


At its peak in 1944, the Willow Run plant produced 650 B-24s per month, and by 1945 Henry Ford was completing each B-24 in eighteen hours, with one rolling off the assembly line every 58 minutes.


Henry Ford produced 9,000 B-24s at Willow Run, half of the 18,000 total B-24s produced during the war.


When Edsel Ford died of cancer in 1943, aged only 49, Henry Ford nominally resumed control of the company, but a series of strokes in the late 1930s had left him increasingly debilitated, and his mental ability was fading.


Henry Ford was increasingly sidelined, and others made decisions in his name.


Henry Ford was controlled by a handful of senior executives led by Charles Sorensen, an important engineer and production executive at Ford; and Harry Bennett, the chief of Ford's Service Unit, Ford's paramilitary force that spied on, and enforced discipline upon, Ford employees.


Henry Ford grew jealous of the publicity Sorensen received and forced Sorensen out in 1944.


Henry Ford's incompetence led to discussions in Washington about how to restore the company, whether by wartime government fiat, or by instigating a coup among executives and directors.


Henry Ford was reportedly infuriated, but had no choice but to give in.


Henry Ford was a conspiracy theorist who drew on a long tradition of false allegations against Jews.


Henry Ford claimed that Jewish internationalism posed a threat to traditional American values, which he deeply believed were at risk in the modern world.


In 1918, Henry Ford purchased his hometown newspaper, The Dearborn Independent.


Henry Ford later bound the articles into four volumes entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, which was translated into multiple languages and distributed widely across the US and Europe.


Henry Ford is the only American mentioned favorably in Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf.


On February 1,1924, Henry Ford received Kurt Ludecke, a representative of Hitler, at home.


Ludecke was introduced to Henry Ford by Siegfried Wagner and his wife Winifred, both Nazi sympathizers and antisemites.


Up until the apology, a considerable number of dealers, who had been required to make sure that buyers of Henry Ford cars received the Independent, bought up and destroyed copies of the newspaper rather than alienate customers.


On January 7,1942, Henry Ford wrote another letter to Sigmund Livingston disclaiming direct or indirect support of "any agitation which would promote antagonism toward my Jewish fellow citizens".


Henry Ford's philosophy was one of economic independence for the United States.


Henry Ford's goal was to produce a vehicle from scratch without reliance on foreign trade.


Henry Ford believed in the global expansion of his company.


Henry Ford believed that international trade and cooperation led to international peace, and he used the assembly line process and production of the Model T to demonstrate it.


Henry Ford opened Ford assembly plants in Britain and Canada in 1911, and soon became the biggest automotive producer in those countries.


In 1912, Henry Ford cooperated with Giovanni Agnelli of Fiat to launch the first Italian automotive assembly plants.


In 1929, Henry Ford made an agreement with the Soviets to provide technical aid over nine years in building the first Soviet automobile plant near Nizhny Novgorod.


Henry Ford sent his engineers and technicians to the Soviet Union to help install the equipment and train the workforce, while over a hundred Soviet engineers and technicians were stationed at Henry Ford's plants in Detroit and Dearborn "for the purpose of learning the methods and practice of manufacture and assembly in the Company's plants".


Henry Ford's image transfixed Europeans, especially the Germans, arousing the "fear of some, the infatuation of others, and the fascination among all".


For many Germans, Henry Ford embodied the essence of successful Americanism.


In My Life and Work, Henry Ford predicted that if greed, racism, and short-sightedness could be overcome, then economic and technological development throughout the world would progress to the point that international trade would no longer be based on colonial or neocolonial models and would truly benefit all peoples.


Henry Ford maintained an interest in auto racing from 1901 to 1913 and began his involvement in the sport as both a constructor and a driver, later turning the wheel over to hired drivers.


Henry Ford entered stripped-down Model Ts in races, finishing first in an "ocean-to-ocean" race in 1909, and setting a one-mile oval speed record at Detroit Fairgrounds in 1911 with driver Frank Kulick.


Henry Ford dropped out of the race and soon thereafter exited racing permanently, citing dissatisfaction with the sport's rules, demands on his time by the booming production of the Model T, and his low opinion of racing as a worthwhile activity.


In My Life and Work Henry Ford speaks of racing in a rather dismissive tone, as something that is not at all a good measure of automobiles in general.


Henry Ford describes himself as someone who raced only because in the 1890s through 1910s, one had to race because prevailing ignorance held that racing was the way to prove the worth of an automobile.


Nevertheless, Henry Ford did make quite an impact on auto racing during his racing years, and he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996.


When Edsel Ford, President of Ford Motor Company, died of cancer in May 1943, the elderly and ailing Henry Ford decided to assume the presidency.


Henry Ford's health failing, Ford ceded the company presidency to his grandson Henry Ford II in September 1945 and retired.


Henry Ford died on April 7,1947, of a cerebral hemorrhage at Fair Lane, his estate in Dearborn, at the age of 83.


The Grand Lodge of New York confirms that Henry Ford was a Freemason, and was raised in Palestine Lodge No 357, Detroit, in 1894.


In 1923, Ford's pastor, and head of his sociology department, Episcopal minister Samuel S Marquis, claimed that Ford believed, or "once believed," in reincarnation.


Henry Ford published an anti-smoking book, circulated to youth in 1914, called The Case Against the Little White Slaver, which documented many dangers of cigarette smoking attested to by many researchers and luminaries.


Henry Ford had a long-held interest in materials science and engineering.


Henry Ford had a long-standing interest in plastics developed from agricultural products, particularly soybeans.


Henry Ford cultivated a relationship with George Washington Carver for this purpose.


The project culminated in 1942, when Henry Ford patented an automobile made almost entirely of plastic, attached to a tubular welded frame.


Henry Ford was interested in engineered woods ; corn as a fuel source, via both corn oil and ethanol; and the potential uses of cotton.


Henry Ford was instrumental in developing charcoal briquets, under the brand name "Kingsford".


In 1927, Henry Ford partnered with Thomas Edison and Harvey Samuel Firestone to create the Edison Botanic Research Corp.


Henry Ford was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 US patents.


Henry Ford had a vacation residence in Fort Myers, Florida, next to that of Thomas Edison, which he bought in 1915 and used until approximately 1930.


Henry Ford had a vacation home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, which is a private community.


Henry Ford started buying land in this area and eventually owned 70,000 acres there.


In 1936, Henry Ford broke ground for a beautiful Greek revival style mansion on the banks of the Ogeechee River on the site of a 1730s plantation.


Henry Ford converted the 1870s-era rice mill into his personal research laboratory and powerhouse and constructed a tunnel from there to the new home, providing it with steam.


Henry Ford contributed substantially to the community, building a chapel and schoolhouse and employing numerous local residents.


Henry Ford moved the schoolhouse supposedly referred to in the "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme from Sterling, Massachusetts, and purchased the historic Wayside Inn.


Henry Ford repeated the concept of collecting historic structures with the creation of Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.