Henry Ford changed the course of civilization. He produced millions of efficient serviceable automobiles that changed virtually every aspect of people’s lives. During the course of building automobiles Ford also singlehandedly revolutionized industry with the development of the concept of mass production.
It seems incredible that the son of a farmer, who was born on July 30, 1863 in Greenfield, Michigan, could develop into a man who would change the world, but that is exactly what happened.
While working for the Edison Illuminating Company Ford read publications detailing developments in the internal combustion engine. The internal combustion engine captured his interest and he became obsessed with building such an engine. During this time Ford built and automobile that attracted investment groups and allowed him to start his own company: which soon failed. Each succeeding company he founded failed when the automobile it produced was inadequate and did not sell. This cycle was to be repeated time after time until Ford developed and produced the Model A which proved reliable and sold well. Ford then made the decision to focus on his newly developed automobile – the Model T – which proved wildly successful.
Ford revolutionized production methods around the world when he perfected the process of mass production which cut the assembly time of a Model T from 14 hours to 1 hour 33 minutes. The cost of producing the Model T dropped dramatically and Ford was able to sell his car at one third the previous price. The Model T became the car everyone drove and by 1927 over 15,000,000 of these cars were sold.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ford turned his factories over to the government which continued on to produce over 8,000 Liberator bombers as well as countless other items during the Second World War.
Henry Ford, who changed the world, died on April 7th, 1947.