Henry Ford - Grabbing History by the Wheel

Henry Ford: The Individual in History

"The best results can and will be brought about by individual initiative and ingenuity - by intelligent individual leadership. Advancement begins within the man himself; when he advances from half-interest to strength of purpose." - Henry Ford

Ford’s actions set important legacies. Among these include the light, personal automobile, the Model T, and the implementation of the assembly line.

The Model T

The Model T was not only light and sturdy, but cost less than $1000, a revolutionary price for an automobile during the early 1900s. This humble price effectively put average Americans behind the wheel. According to Ford,

“I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one--and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces.”

The Assembly Line

Ford's introduction of the assembly line to the auto industry set a legacy for future manufacturers to follow. In fact, by 1914, Ford's company had produced more automobiles than all other American automobile companies combined. Collectively, over fifteen million Model Ts were manufactured, a record number produced that would not be surpassed by any other automobile model until 1972.

Ford’s assembly line minimized workers’ labor and heightened production. By 1914, Ford’s company had produced more automobiles than all other automobile companies combined. Ultimately, Ford’s assembly line left a profound legacy in big business that led to the modern manufacturing process.

During both World Wars, Ford’s assembly line mass produced ships, planes, and tanks, which proved critical to Allies’ victory.

Henry Ford and Anti-Semitism

Many individuals in history have more than one side, and Henry Ford was no exception; Ford was an American innovator and giant in big business, but he also retained anti-Semitic views and ties to Nazi Germany. His newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, published anti-Semitic articles during the 1920s. Additionally in 1938, Adolf Hitler awarded Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest medal awarded by Nazi Germany to foreigners. These less-known actions and legacies of Henry Ford are nevertheless crucial to analyzing Ford as a whole individual in history.

Henry Ford
a preserver of history
Henry Ford
an ardent pacifist
Henry Ford
a champion of education
Henry Ford
a newspaper writer
Henry Ford
an automobile racer
Henry Ford
an aviation pionee r