Edsel was a well-behaved child who grew into an intelligent, handsome man who was respected by all and was never the subject of scandal or controversy.
Some say Edsel was born with a “silver spoon” in his mouth and that would be correct; however, he was also born with wrench in one hand and a screwdriver in the other.
From the day of his birth Henry Ford determined that his son would someday take over the company. Henry immersed his son in the family business as soon as the boy was able to walk and talk. Edsel spent countless hours of his youth tinkering with Model T’s and assembling cars on the production line. He learned the automobile business by washing grease from his hands at the end of long days in the shop working on Model T Fords.
At the age of 22—after attending prep school at the prestigious Hotchkiss School and graduating from the Detroit University School—Edsel became secretary of the Ford Motor Company. He was married in 1916 to Eleanor Lowtian Clay and the union produced four children: Henry Ford 2nd, Benson Ford, Josephine Clay Ford and William Clay Ford. The children were to take an active role in the Ford Motor Company in later years.
As Edsel Ford climbed through the company hierarchy to become President, he tirelessly battled Henry to introduce better engineering and flashier, more modern automobiles to the public. The elder Ford overruled Edsel on every major decision until flagging sales of the Model T forced him to begin Production of the Model A, which was a smashing success.
Edsel worked tirelessly with company designers and engineers to introduce modern innovations to the cars the company produced and is credited with keeping the company current with its major competitors. He also founded the Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company where the Lincoln Town Car was developed and produced.
Edsel Ford was to die at the early age of 43 years in 1949, from stomach cancer. Henry resumed the presidency of the company immediately before it began to lose ground to other automobile manufacturers.