Henry Ford
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Henry Ford—Automobile Manufacturer

(1863-1947) July 30, 1863, Dearborn, Michigan, 7:00 AM LMT (Source: biography by Allan Nevins, Ford, The Time, The Man, The Company.) Another time of  1:45 PM, LMT is given. (Source: Lyndoe in American Astrology, October, 1960) Died, April 4, 1947, Dearborn, Michigan.

(Ascendant, Virgo or Scorpio; Sun, Mercury and Mars in Leo; Moon Aquarius; Venus in Virgo; Saturn and Jupiter in Libra; Uranus in Gemini; Neptune in Aries; Pluto in Taurus)

Henry Ford, more than any other individual, is responsible for the assembly line production of the automobile, making it economical enough and sufficiently available to reach the average citizen. He was a great “captain of industry” with sufficient will, tenacity and intelligence to fulfilled his vision of “mass production” for the automobile. Although he was undoubtedly conditioned in one aspect of his nature by the first ray, it is in the technological/industrial field of the fifth ray that he made his greatest contribution to society. Note that Leo (Ford’s sun sign) transmits both the first and the fifth rays.

His contribution also utilized the third and seventh rays (Master R’s Department) in his development of “mass production” and the use of standardized parts which could be put together quickly by unskilled workers. Thus, he was responsible for major increases in efficiency within the automotive industry.
(Check Ford’s character)

Any color as long as its black, speaks to the Scorpio, Ascendant. LMR calls him a Plutocrat—another indication.           

Automobile manufacturer who developed the mass-produced Model T car and sold it at a price the average person could afford. Sold more than 15 million cars from 1908 to 1927. Began as a machinist; built a gasoline engine, 1893; organized Ford Motor Co., 1903


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Henry Ford

Henry Ford, born July 30, 1863, was the first of William and Mary Ford's six children. He grew up on a prosperous family farm in what is today Dearborn, Michigan. Henry enjoyed a childhood typical of the rural nineteenth century, spending days in a one-room school and doing farm chores. At an early age, he showed an interest in mechanical things and a dislike for farm work.

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 or 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.

In 1891, Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. This event signified a conscious decision on Ford's part to dedicate his life to industrial pursuits. His promotion to Chief Engineer in 1893 gave him enough time and money to devote attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines.

These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of his own self-propelled vehicle-the Quadricycle. The Quadricycle had four wire wheels that looked like heavy bicycle wheels, was steered with a tiller like a boat, and had only two forward speeds with no reverse.

Although Ford was not the first to build a self-propelled vehicle with a gasoline engine, he was, however, one of several automotive pioneers who helped this country become a nation of motorists.

After two unsuccessful attempts to establish a company to manufacture automobiles, the Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 with Henry Ford as vice-president and chief engineer. The infant company produced only a few cars a day at the Ford factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies.

Henry Ford realized his dream of producing an automobile that was reasonably priced, reliable, and efficient with the introduction of the Model T in 1908. This vehicle initiated a new era in personal transportation. It was easy to operate, maintain, and handle on rough roads, immediately becoming a huge success.

By 1918, half of all cars in America were Model Ts. To meet the growing demand for the Model T, the company opened a large factory at Highland Park, Michigan, in 1910. Here, Henry Ford combined precision manufacturing, standardized and interchangeable parts, a division of labor, and, in 1913, a continuous moving assembly line. Workers remained in place, adding one component to each automobile as it moved past them on the line. Delivery of parts by conveyor belt to the workers was carefully timed to keep the assembly line moving smoothly and efficiently. The introduction of the moving assembly line revolutionized automobile production by significantly reducing assembly time per vehicle, thus lowering costs. Ford's production of Model Ts made his company the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

The company began construction of the world's largest industrial complex along the banks of the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan, during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The massive Rouge Plant included all the elements needed for automobile production: a steel mill, glass factory, and automobile assembly line. Iron ore and coal were brought in on Great Lakes steamers and by railroad, and were used to produce both iron and steel. Rolling mills, forges, and assembly shops transformed the steel into springs, axles, and car bodies. Foundries converted iron into engine blocks and cylinder heads that were assembled with other components into engines. By September 1927, all steps in the manufacturing process from refining raw materials to final assembly of the automobile took place at the vast Rouge Plant, characterizing Henry Ford's idea of mass production.

1863 Born July 30 in Greenfield Township, Michigan.
1879 Leaves family farm for Detroit to work in machine shops.
1888 Marries Clara Bryant of Greenfield Township and moves to 80-acre farm in what is today Dearborn.

1891 Secures position as engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company; returns to Detroit.
1893 Edsel Bryant Ford, only child of Henry and Clara Ford, born.
1896 Completes his first automobile, the Quadricycle, and drives it through the streets of Detroit.
1899 Ends eight years of employment with the Edison Illuminating Company to devote full attention to the many manufacture of automobiles. Made chief engineer and partner in the newly formed Detroit Automobile Company which produced only a few cars.
1901 Henry Ford Company organized with Ford as engineer. Ford resigns over dispute with bankers in 1902 and the company becomes the Cadillac Motor Car Co.
1903 Ford Motor Company is officially incorporated. Ford's first Model A appears on the market in Detroit.
1908 Ford begins manufacturing the famous Model T.
1910 Begins operations at factory in Highland Park, Michigan.
1913 Introduces first moving automobile assembly line at Highland Park.
1914 Announces his plan to share the Ford Motor Company's profits with workers, paying them $5.00 for an eight hour day.
1915 The Oscar II, Ford's "Peace Ship," sets sail for Norway on a pacifist expedition to end World War I.
1917 Begins construction of industrial facility on the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan.
1918 Loses his bid for the U.S. Senate.
1919 Edsel B . Ford, son of Henry Ford, is named president of Ford Motor Company
1921 Ford Motor Company dominates auto production with 55 percent of industry's total output.
1926 Focuses on air transportation and develops the Tri-Motor airplane.
1927 Transfers final assembly line from Highland Park plant to the Rouge. Production of the Model T ends, and the Model A is introduced.
1929 Dedicates his Edison Institute of Technology and Greenfield Village with a celebration of 50 years of the electric light.
1932 Builds first V-8 Ford car.
1933 Successfully resists first efforts to unionize workers at Ford plants.
1937 "Battle of the Overpass" occurs between Ford security staff and United Auto Workers union organizers. As a result, the court orders Ford not to interfere with union activity.
1941 Ford Motor Company signs a contract with UAW.

1943 Edsel B. Ford dies at age 49.

1947 Henry Ford dies at age 83, at Fair Lane, his Dearborn home

Automobile manufacturer (1863-1947)
Born in Dearborn, Michigan, he enjoyed tinkering with machinery from a young age. While working for the Edison Illuminating Co., he experimented with internal combustion engines and "gasoline buggy" designs. In 1899 he left Edison to enter the nascent automobile industry. After his initial venture folded, he formed the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and soon made it the undisputed industry leader. While other manufacturers saw cars as luxury items for the wealthy, Ford stressed efficient mass production of sturdy, affordable vehicles for the growing middle-class market. In 1908, he introduced the Model T, which dominated the industry for over a decade. In the 1920s, however, Ford fell behind its competitors in both technological development and consumer savvy (most famously, by its refusal to offer the Model T in any color but black). The introduction of the Model A in 1928 improved the company's standing, though it never regained the overwhelming market dominance of earlier years.

Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Ford's rags-to-riches career made him a capitalist folk hero to many. He reveled in his celebrity and pronounced his views on the great issues of the day. In 1915, he organized the "Ford Peace Ship," a group of pacificist who sailed to Europe in a vain attempt to mediate between the warring nations. In 1918, he lost a campaign for the Senate. In the 1920s, he published virulently anti-Semitic articles in company newspapers, and in the 1930s expressed admiration for Hitler. Ford also took an innovative approach to labor relations, paying significantly higher wages than competitors but also fiercely, often violently, resisting unionization. By 1940, Ford had amassed a fortune in excess of one billion dollars, much of which he gave to charity through his philanthropic foundations.

Henry Ford
This article is about the founder of the Ford Motor Company; for articles on other people named Henry Ford, see Henry Ford (disambiguation).
Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 - April 7, 1947) was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and one of the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the mass production of affordable automobiles. This achievement not only revolutionized industrial production, it had such tremendous influence over modern culture that many social theorists identify this phase of economic and social history as "Fordism."

Ford was born on a prosperous farm owned by his parents, William and Mary Ford, immigrants from County Cork, Ireland. He was the eldest of six children. As a child, Henry was passionate about mechanics. At 12, he spent a lot of time in a machine shop, which he had equipped himself. By 15, he had built his first internal combustion engine.
In 1879 he left home for the nearby city of Detroit to work as an apprentice machinist, first with James F. Flower & Bros., and later with the Detroit Dry Dock Co. After completion of his apprenticeship, Ford got a job with the Westinghouse company working on gasoline engines. Upon his marriage to Clara Bryant in 1888 Ford supported himself by running a sawmill.
In 1891 Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company, and after his promotion to Chief Engineer in 1893 he had enough time and money to devote attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of his own self-propelled vehicle named the Quadricycle, which he test-drove on June 4th that year (this was also the first automobile he ever drove).
After this initial success, Ford left Edison Illuminating and, with other investors, formed the Detroit Automobile Company. The Detroit Automobile Company, however, went bankrupt soon afterward because Ford continued to improve the design instead of selling cars. Ford raced his vehicles against those of other manufacturers to show the superiority of his designs. With the interest in his race cars, he formed a second company, the Henry Ford Company. During this period, he personally drove his Quadricycle to victory in a race against Alexander Winton, a well-known driver and the heavy favorite on October 10, 1901. Ford was forced out of the company by the investors, including Henry M. Leland in 1902, and the company was reorganized as Cadillac.

Ford Motors
Henry Ford, with eleven other investors and $28,000 in capital, incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903. In a newly-designed car, Ford drove an exhibition in which the car covered the distance of a mile on the ice of Lake St. Clair in 39.4 seconds, which was a new land speed record. Convinced by this success, the famous race driver Barney Oldfield, who named this new Ford model "999" in honor of a racing locomotive of the day, took the car around the country and thereby made the Ford marque well-known throughout the U.S. Henry Ford was also one of the early backers of the Indianapolis 500.
The Model T
In 1908, the Ford company released the Model T. From 1909 to 1913, Ford entered stripped-down Model Ts into races as well, finishing first (although later disqualified) in an "ocean-to-ocean" (across the USA) race in 1909, and setting a one-mile oval speed record at Detroit Fairgrounds in 1911 with driver Frank Kulick. In 1913, Ford attempted to enter a reworked Model T in the Indianapolis 500, but was told rules required the addition of another 1,000 pounds (450 kg) to the car before it could qualify. Ford dropped out of the race, and soon thereafter dropped out of racing permanently, citing dissatisfaction with the sport's rules and the demand on his time by the now booming production of the Model T.
Racing was, by 1913, no longer necessary from a publicity standpoint—the Model T was famous, and ubiquitous on American roads. It was in this year Henry Ford introduced the moving assembly belts into his plants, which enabled an enormous increase in production. By 1918 half of all cars in America were Model Ts. The design, fervently promoted and defended by Henry Ford, would continue through 1927 (well after its popularity had faded), with a final total production of fifteen million vehicles. This was a record which would stand for the next 45 years. Ford said "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black."

Henry Ford had very specific thoughts on relations with his employees. They were expected to work an eight-hour day, and in 1913 were paid a handsome $5 per day. The pay rate increased to $6 per day at the peak of Model T production in 1918; such a sum for laborers was, at the time, almost unheard-of. Ford also offered his employees an innovative profit-sharing plan.

Conversely, Ford was adamantly against labor unions in his plants. To forestall union activity, he hired Harry Bennett, titularly the head of the Service Department, who employed various intimidation tactics to squash union organizing. A sit-down strike by the United Auto Workers union in 1941 finally admitted collective bargaining at some Ford plants, but it was not until Henry Ford and Harry Bennett left the company for good in 1945 that it would fully unionize.

On January 1, 1919, Henry Ford turned the presidency of Ford Motor Company over to his son Edsel, although still maintaining a firm hand in its management—few company decisions under Edsel's presidency were made without being approved by Henry, and those few that were, Henry often reversed. Also at this time, Henry and Edsel purchased all remaining stock from other investors, thus becoming sole owners of the company. This began a period of decline for Ford Motor Company, since the stock buyout caused them to borrow heavily just before the postwar recession hit the country.

In about 1920, Ford purchased a vast tract of land in Brazil, Fordlândia, to grow rubber for his car tyres in. It proved a financial disaster and by the time he sold in in 1945, he had lost a fortune.
By the mid 1920's, sales of the Model T began to decline, in part because of the rise of consumer credit. Other auto makers offered payment plans through which consumers could buy their cars, which usually included more modern mechanical features and styling not available with the Model T. Despite urgings from his son Edsel, the company president, Henry Ford steadfastly refused to incorporate new features into the Model T or to form a customer credit plan (the former to keep prices low and affordable, the latter because he believed such plans were bad for the economy).

The Model A and later
By 1926, flagging sales of the Model T convinced Henry Ford of what Edsel had been suggesting for some time: a new model was necessary. The elder Ford pursued the project with a great deal of technical expertise in design of the engine, chassis and other mechanical necessities, while leaving it to his son to develop the body design. Edsel also managed to prevail over his father's initial objections in the inclusion of a hydraulic brake system and sliding-shift transmission. The result was the highly successful Ford Model A, introduced December, 1927 and produced through 1931, with a total output of over four million automobiles.

Henry Ford long had an interest in plastics developed from agricultural products, especially soybeans. Soybean-based plastics were used in Ford automobiles throughout the 1930s in plastic parts such as car horns, in paint, etc. This project culminated in 1942, when on January 13 Ford patented an automobile made almost entirely of plastic, attached to a tubular welded frame. It weighed 30% less than a standard car of the same size, and was said to be able to withstand blows ten times greater than could steel. The design never caught on.

On May 26, 1943, Edsel Ford died, leaving a vacancy in the company presidency. Henry Ford advocated the spot be taken by Harry Bennett. Edsel's widow Eleanor, who had inherited Edsel's voting stock, wanted her son Henry Ford II to take over the position. The issue was settled for a period when Henry himself, at the age of 79, took over the presidency personally. The company saw hard times during the next two years, losing $10 million a month. President Roosevelt considered a federal bailout for Ford Motor Company so that wartime production could continue.

The Dearborn Independent
Henry Ford devoted much of his semi-retirement from Ford Motor to the publication of a newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which he purchased in 1919. The paper ran for around eight years, during which it introduced to the United States a work (not written by Ford himself) called "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," which has since been discredited by virtually all historians as a forgery. The American Jewish Historical Society describes his ideas during this period as "anti-immigrant, anti-labor, anti-liquor and anti-Semitic".

Ford also published, in his name, several anti-Jewish articles for the Independent which were released in the early 1920s as a set of four bound volumes, cumulatively titled "The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem." Denounced by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the articles nevertheless explicitly condemned pogroms and violence against Jews (Volume 4, Chapter 80), preferring rather to blame incidents of mass violence on the Jews themselves. These articles were written by several authors, including Ford's personal secretary of 34 years, Ernest Liebold. None were actually penned by Ford, though since he was the paper's publisher they required his tacit approval.

Ford closed the Dearborn Independent in December 1927 and later retracted the International Jew and the Protocols. On January 7, 1942, Henry Ford wrote a public letter to the ADL denouncing hatred against the Jews and expressing his hope that anti-Jewish hatred would cease for all time. Some claim that Ford neither wrote or signed this letter and have called the sincerity of his apology into question. His writings continue to be used as propaganda by various groups, often appearing on anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites.

Henry Ford and Nazism
There is some evidence that Henry Ford gave Adolf Hitler financial backing when Hitler was first starting out in politics. This can in part be traced to statements from Kurt Ludecke, Germany's representative to the U.S. in the 1920s, and Winifred Wagner, daughter-in-law of Richard Wagner, who said they requested funds from Ford to aid the National Socialist movement in Germany. However, a 1933 Congressional investigation into the matter was unable to substantiate one way or the other that funding was actually sent.

Ford Motor Company was active in Germany's military buildup prior to World War II. In 1938, for instance, it opened an assembly plant in Berlin whose purpose was to supply trucks to the Wehrmacht. In July of that year, Ford was awarded (and accepted) the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle (Großkreuz des Deutschen Adlerordens). Ford was the first American and the fourth person given this award, at the time Nazi Germany's highest honorary award given to foreigners. Earlier the same year, Benito Mussolini had been decorated with the Grand Cross. The decoration was given "in recognition of [Ford's] pioneering in making motor cars available for the masses." The award was accompanied by a personal congratulatory message from Adolf Hitler. [Detroit News, July 31, 1938.]

The Ford Foundation
Henry Ford, with his son Edsel, founded the Ford Foundation in 1936 as a local philanthropy in the state of Michigan with a broad charter to promote human welfare. The Foundation has grown immensely and by 1950 had become national and international in scope.[1]

The final days
At the end of the war, the elder Henry, in ill health, ceded the presidency to his grandson on September 21, 1945 and went into retirement. He died at the age of 83 at Fair Lane, his estate in Dearborn, and is buried at the Ford Cemetery in Detroit.

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