When Henry Ford was starting out on his remarkable career in Detroit, a bustling town which gave full vent to the creative energies of some amazing innovators, the economy of was showing enormous cracks. But at the time, even the most prescient of fortune-tellers would have had trouble forecasting what was about to happen. Carriage and buggy-whip makers were still turning handsome profits in a growing market, and the few cars on the dusty, unpaved roads were little more than fanciful toys for the adventurous rich. Some of the communications technologies pioneered toward the end of the nineteenth century must have seemed just as esoteric to the leading financiers and industrialists of the day, who were doing fine bankrolling the traditional industries they knew so well. Yet, within a few short years, Ford and others would shape consumer products out of the new technologies that would set in motion an awesome economic transformation.
Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile. Nor did he invent mass production or the assembly line. Ford is famous because he took these existing concepts and incorporated them into a n efficient, large-scale system of manufacturing inexpensive, reliable cars.
“I’m going to democratize the automobile.” Ford said, “and when I’m through, everybody will have one.” (Chase, 1997, 47)
Cars have made a big difference in the way communities have been designed. Street layout, the design of homes, and traffic laws have changed as methods of transportation has changed throughout history.
Automobiles are responsible for more than half the airborne pollution in the western world. Many plans are being developed to control air pollution. Burning cleaner fuel and burning fuel more efficiently both help the environment. Pollution controls devices for cars have also been developed. For example, catalytic systems were installed in many car exhaust systems in the 1980s. These devices change dangerous gases into harmless carbon dioxide and water. They also burn up much of the exhaust with fresh air in a chamber near the exhaust pipe. The car of the future will need new designs which make even better use of the fuel which powers them.
Cars influence the ways communities are developing. Since it is possible to drive great distances rapidly, many people choose to live far away from where they work. Many cities have a downtown core where people work and a suburban area where they live. People may spend a great deal of time commuting through rush hour traffic.
In spite of many problems , it is hard to imagine a society without cars. Cars and trucks have become so important that most people would not want to do without them. They would prefer to see the design and construction of cars changed to accommodate safety and environment concerns. The car has helped created jobs, freedom, convenience and fun as well as pollution, traffic jams and urban sprawl. The challenge facing the auto industry is to keep pace with the changing values of society and to develop the technology to do so.
Biography of Henry Ford
Henry Ford was one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in
creating the automobile assembly line, it was his controversial
characteristics and unorthodox approach towards administrating the
Ford Motor Company which resulted in the conglomeration of one of the
everything was booming! The growth of the economy and stock market
increased the job opportunities as well as morals. As a result of
this industrial revolution, out of the woodwork came a humble yet
driven man, Henry Ford. Between the five dollar/day plan, his
policies on administrating the company, and his relations with his
customers, Ford was often presented as a suspicious character. This
accusations, and the belief that Ford was taking advantage of his
customers, were by far overshadowed by his brilliance and strong hand
in running his company.
Of course, there were not always supporters of Henry Ford. If
fact, there were many critics, critics who believed that Henry Ford
was so controversial that it prevented the potential of Fords from
already the worlds most successful automobile company, but their great
reputation would soon decline. Fords $5/day plan for all employees
signified the overwhelming success of the company. Many believed this
success was short-lived with the new policies dealing with the workers
which soon followed. With the need to increase production and lower
costs, in the mid 30 s Ford cut all Ford worker s wages in half.
Workers were expected to work faster, and harder. Department heads
were ordered to ban all talking and whistling while work was in
progress. All of this was a ploy by Ford to make sure he knew every
move of his workers, he was very possessive. Secondly, Ford began to
fire older workers and hire younger workers. His ideology was that
the younger workers could work more productively and more efficiently.
Which in turn would send more money flowing into his pockets. What
seller in the Detroit area . Older workers tried to disguise their
forced to do what they were told or would be out of a job.
Henry Ford s controversial behavior reflected badly on himself
and on the Ford Motor Company. The Anti-Semitic views expressed by
Henry Ford could never be denied. It was common knowledge in fact
peoples problems. Henry Ford was sued by a man by the name Aaron
Sapiro in the early 1930 s. Sapiro had evidence that Ford threatened
himself with Anti-Semitic sentiments. Ford was recorded as saying,
Sapiro is a shrewd little Jew. The bible says Jews will return to
Palestine, but they want to get all the money out of America first.
Sapiro should be kicked out because he is trash.. The result of the
trial was humiliation for the Ford company and Henry Ford himself.
wrote a lengthy retraction and apologized for his statements. Ford s
was declining in profits and production among the worlds best. All
as a result of Henry Ford s ego. Thus, by 1931 Ford lowered in the
ranks, controlling only 28% of the market 2nd to GM with 31%.
early 1900 s. The development of his River Rouge plant was considered
Cathedral. Hundreds waited month after month in front of the
employment building hoping to be hired. To foreign immigrants it
western Europe country could be represented at the Ford Plant. Like a
part of Ford s policies that were so unusual, yet so brilliant at that
Of the most controversial actions of Ford was his hiring of
criminals. In fact it was said that, thousands of former criminals
were taken on the Fords payroll over the course of the years, all at
Mr. Fords Requests. Not only was this a highly questionnable
decision, but it startled everyone. It was odd, especially when there
was such a demand to work at Fords. Why would Henry Ford want to take
the risk of hiring potentially dangerous felons? Nobody would be able
to answer this question better than Ford s right hand man Harry
Bennett. Bennett has said that Henry Ford was very sympathetic
rehabilitate them. Not only did the new workers please Henry Ford,
but they also helped the company itself. Ford s controversial new
concerning Ford s policies. In effect Ford was receiving free
advertising. Whether it was his intent or not, Ford s ideas,
sometimes eccentric helped market the company for the good.
In 1914 Henry Ford hired John R. Lee to update the companies
labor policies. $5/day was to be split into half wages and half
profits. Ford employees would only receive profits when they met
specific standards of efficiency and were cleared by the sociology
On January 5, 1914 Henry Ford s announcement of the
incredible $5 dollar/day plan swept the newspapers across the nation.
the consternation of manufacturers,, Henry Ford announced on Jan 5,
1914 that a minimum wage of $5 dollars/day would be instituted
immediately in the Ford plants, along with a profit sharing plan for
all male employees.
Not only did Henry Fords new deal shock the nation, it sent a
tremendous number of workers to Detroit. For the next ten years
people would do anything to become a worker of one of Henry Ford s
plants. It was unheard of to be offered $5/day by any automobile
company. In fact the average salary for most was a mere $2.50/day at
GM and Chryslers. But Henry Ford s $5/day plan was truly an
illusion, it allowed for greater control of his workers. It was said
that The 5 dollar/day plan was an important early attempt at
implementing a corporate welfare program. Ford wanted to see his
company prosper, his employees were a part of this company.
The development of the Sociology department would allow Henry
Ford to exploit his employees private lives. Employees were advised
by investigators on how to live in order to receive his/hers share of
the profits. The result of this was a tight knit community with no
corruption. This department also monitored the daily happenings in
the plant. In fact, the department had over 1000 informers who would
notify the department if any stealing or illegal plans were taking
that time that, the intrusion into workers lives, in the minds of Ford
officials, was a small price to pay for increased wages, efficiency,
production, and in the end profits for the Ford Motor Company.
Many felt that this socialist system was infringing upon the
democratic rights of the workers specifically the right to privacy.
Observers claimed that workers were forced to act like robots in order
to keep their jobs, but this was not the case. Henry Ford created the
stability and order that any corporation needed to succeed in the
workers he employed. After all, a father is always harshest to the
ones he cares for most. And that was what Henry Ford was.
The financial success was extraordinary. By 1914 Ford s had
over 600 cars daily rolling off the assembly line. Between 1914 and
1921 earnings soared from 25 million to 78 million. All of Ford s
effort s and expectations came to a pinnacle when, at the close of
1923 there were 6,221 passengers cars in the city of Detroit, one for
every 6.1 persons. Of these 6,221 cars, 41% were Fords.
Henry Ford was not a greedy man, his sometimes unorthodox
behavior and policies epitomized the success of the company.
Throughout the depression he offered a sense of hope for his
employees. By offering jobs to outcasts he became very controversial,
people that could offer The Ford Motor Company loyalty, leadership,
and trust. A result of this was the financial success of the company.
Henry Ford knew what he had to do in order to accomplish his goals.
Ford knew he might not always be accepted in the community, he also
knew that this was the risk he had to take. It was all clear when he
said, We re going to expand this company, and you will see it grow by
leaps and bounds. How amazing that his prophecy has came true!
American Decades 1910-1919 New York: Gale Research Co., 1996.
A contemporary survey on the backround of Henry Ford, and the Ford
A chronological study of the political and financial success of the
Lacey, Robert. Ford, The Men And The Machine. New York: Ballantine
Books Co., 1986. A more personal study of the Ford family and the
contraversy surrounding the success of the Ford Motor Company.
Marcus, Paul: Ford: We Never Called Him Henry. New York: Tom Doherty
Associates Co., 1951, 1987. A primary piece of literature related by
Harry Bennett offering personal insights in the life of Henry Ford,
including conspiracy and controversy.
The Annals of America. New York: Encyclopedia Britannica. Co., 1976.
A primary source referring to the financial success of the Ford Motor
Company as well as the financial policies administered.
presentation offered by past employees of the Ford Motor Company
re-telling the triumphs and demise of the Ford Motor Company.