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Henry Ford

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The birth of the automobile was truly something special. Once a far fetched dream is now what many people believe to be the back bone of the American economy. When people think about the automobile the name that comes to mind is most usually Henry Ford. Although he is not credited with the invention of the automobile, Henry Ford played a crucial role in the development of mass production. The automobile was first invented Europe in 1771 with a top speed of 2.3 miles per hour. A man by the name of Gottliech Daimler produced what was known as the milestone car in 1889, this vehicle traveled at 10 miles per hour (Brown, 105). Not more then a handful of these cars were produced over seas. Not many people had ever seen one, let alone had one. It wasn't until Henry Ford invented the assembly line, that anyone knew what a car was. Henry Ford and the invention of the assembly line altered the American economy and revolutionized travel everywhere.

Henry Ford was born in Michigan and was the first of William and Mary Ford's six children. With his great imagination, he was fascinated by technology and spent lots of time inspecting watches and trinkets to see how things worked. (Auto 2). Henry began constructing things at a very young age since he did not have much interest in school. Ford learned at a young age the importance of money but since he was so young he failed to understand that staying in school and getting a degree would get you a good job and in turn get you money. Ford thought that if he did not attend school during the day he could work and make more money. Although this is different from what many people think when they hear one of the biggest and most largely known entrepreneurs but it is true. Ford dropped out of the school at the age of fifteen and began working at a relative's farm. In 1879, sixteen-year-old Ford left home for the nearby city of Detroit to work as an apprentice machinist, although he did occasionally return to help on the farm. He remained an apprentice for three years and then returned to Dearborn. During the next few years, Henry divided his time between operating and repairing steam engines, finding occasional work in a Detroit factory, and over-hauling his father's farm implements, as well as lending a reluctant hand with other farm work. Upon his marriage to Clara Bryant in 1888, Henry supported himself and his wife by running a sawmill. Since 1891 Ford has been putting car parts together. In 1908 Henry Ford had constructed the Model T; the time it took him to create this automobile was 13 days. Now eager to achieve more, Ford knew that he needed a place to construct these cars. He also knew that to sell mass amounts he would have to sell cheap, and buy parts and supplies even cheaper (Douglas, 25). The construction of the first Ford Motor plant used the world's only conveyor

belt. This was part of the Fords plan to build fast, when he constructed the assembly line cars were pumped out in as fast as 15 minuets, this was down from 19 days. Ford was able to make the automobile a car for everyman, a working man with a family.

America was truly revolutionized by the invention of the assembly line, with the Ford Motor Company able to mass produce these cars people could drive anywhere and everywhere. Fords invention also created many jobs. With higher wages and fewer hours Henry Ford basically created a middle class for the American Society. At this period of time no other company had a shorter work day. As Ford produced and sold more cars he raised the wages. The American economy began to strengthen as more work became available to the people. Roads needed paved and gas stations needed attendants. With the automobile becoming an everyday car people began to travel, the hotel industry began to boom and the market for tourism had evolved. Business owners all over America began to love Henry Ford; for his invention was bringing them in more money then they had ever hoped. The reason the car became so popular was because the price did not raise and it was very affordable. Ford was able to sell the Model T for only 293 dollars (Douglas 34). More and more investors wanted to back Ford's invention but Henry Ford bought all of his investors out. Overall the United States felt the greatest and most significant impact from the invention (Brown, 10). The United States also kept with the development and strengthened its popularity. By 1912 there were over 7,000 Ford Motor Company Dealers across the country, just four years after the car was released. Production finally stopped on the Model T in 1927 over 15 million cars had been sold. Henry Ford didn't produce another model until the Model A in 1928. Henry Ford's role model as an inventor was Thomas Edison. Both men were alike in there futuristic designs and ambition to go further with their inventions (Laccoce, 189).

The automobile has come a long way since its beginning in 1771. Cars now are able to reach top speeds of over 400 miles per hour. Concept cars have 1000 horsepower, and racing cars has become a sport (Parks,



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