Henry Ford – The Early Years Part 1

The car market of today has many offerings for the public covering many sectors across the spectrum. Disabled cars, Ford Commercial Vans and luxury vehicles all offer something for prospective buyers. Where the motor industry stands today is a massive leap from when Henry Ford established himself a pioneer in the trade. Not even Mr. Ford himself could have foreseen the diversity of the car market today.

This two part blog post is to highlight the rise and success of Henry Ford, from his humble beginning to owning one of the most successful companies (even by today’s standards).

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Henry Ford was born on 30th July 1863 in the United States of America. Son to William Ford (1826-1905) who came over from Ireland and mother Mary Litogot Ford (1839 – 1876) born in Michigan.

It seems that Henry was inquisitive by nature and enjoyed finding out how things worked and improving them. Henrys father gave him a pocket watch in his early teens. At the age of fifteen, Ford dismantled and reassembled the watches of friends and neighbors many times, gaining the reputation of a watch repairman. It was this curiosity that was the start of something big.

1879 saw Henry leave home to work as an apprentice machinist Detroit City at first with the James F. Flowers & Bros company and then with the Detroit Dry Dock Comapany in 1882.

Henry Ford then went on to marry Clara Ala Bryant in 1888 and supported himself and his family by running a sawmill and undertaking the task of farming. They then decided to have a single child which was a baby boy named Edsel Bryant Ford.

1891 Henry Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company and was promoted to chief engineer with in two years of working at the company. This enabled him to have enough money and time to attend to his desire of experimenting with gasoline engines. His ongoing testing led him to complete work on a self propelled vehicle know as the Ford Quadricylce which was test driven on the 4th June by Henry Ford himself. Ford continued to develop this idea and evolve the project whilst working and keeping a family.

In 1896 Ford was asked to attend a meeting with Thomas Edison. Edison approved of Fords work which in turn encouraged Ford to carry on with his passion. Ford then went on to complete a second vehicle which was backed by William H. Murphy a Detroit businessman. Ford then went on to leave the Edison Company and founded the Detroit Automobile Company on 5th August 1899. Unfortunately the company was only producing vehicles that where of lower quality and higher cost, something that Henry Ford wanted to avoid. Two years later the company folded.

In co-operation with C. Harold Wills, Henry Ford designed, built and successfully raced a twenty six horse power automobile in October 1901. From the back of this success Henry Ford then went ahead with other stock holders and formed the Henry Ford Company on November 30th 1901. Ford became the chief engineer but Henry M. Leyland was brought into the company and Henry Ford left the company in 1902 and the company was renamed the Cadillac Automobile Company. Ford then responded by setting up the Ford Motor Company on June 16 1903.

This concludes the first part of the early years of Henry Ford. The second part will be available online soon so feel free to check back or subscribe to not miss out on any of our future updates.

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