Henry didn’t invent the automobile but he developed the first practical and marketable automobile. At the same time the nation was starving for some means to connect east to west and north to south, the automobile accomplished that by putting the country on wheels. The industrial giants of the time were gearing up to take advantage of the nation’s huge iron deposits and turn it into steel. Henry came along and bought it by the ton to build his millions of automobiles. The steel industry infused the burgeoning railroads with new energy as they shipped iron ore and coal for the smelting furnaces and Henry shipped automobiles all over the country. More cars meant the country needed more roads and the city, state and federal road system was built, making more room for more automobiles.
Henry had it going for him in regards to the demand for his product, the hard resources available to produce them and the industries to refine and transport them. Ford figured out quickly how to make it all work for him and his fledgling industry.
Ford also figured out how to make human resources work for him. He doubled the daily wages of his plant workers and gave them a day off each week. This was unheard of at the time. Henry’s strategy was brilliant; he knew that the workers would be terrified of losing such a lucrative job in an economic climate where people were lined up outside all day long waiting for a job to come available. His employees worked harder and faster than ever before as the newly mechanized mass production machinery moved the autos through the assembly line at an ever increasing rate.
There was another part of his strategy as well; Henry knew that each employee could now afford a car and would buy a Ford, putting their wages back into his pockets. At the same time their jobs became even more valuable to them to pay for their new purchase.
This environment allowed Henry to become dictatorial to his employees and members of his working family. He used every means at his command to further his goals, whether they were anti-Semitic, anti-union or strong-arm tactics against competitors. He formed The Service Department, an in-house force of thugs and toughs to carry out campaigns of violence and intimidation against the unions and newspapers.
Henry Ford possessed the brute strength of will and purpose to supply automobiles to the world.