Henry Ford: A Life in Brief


Henry Ford grew up on a small farm near Dearborn, Michigan. As Henry
grew up, he spent most of his free time tinkering, and finding out exactly
how things work. A pastime that developed thinking and logic abilities.
But being a farmer\'s boy, he had little spare time, for there were always
chores to be done. By twelve years of age, Henry was doing a man\'s work on
the farm and had begun repairing machinery for neighbouring farmers. His
father pleased when Henry would repair a harness, reset a tool handle, or
make some hinges for furniture but he was not pleased however, when his son
repaired things for neighbours, as he often did, without charging them a
cent. It was one day when Henry saw a steam engine powering a farming
machine that he dreamed that one day he would build a smaller engine that
would power a vehicle and do the job that horse\'s once did.

Shortly after Henry turned thirteen, his mother died. Henry became
very discontent with living on the farm but he stayed for another three
years. When he was sixteen he finished his studies at the district school.
Against his father\'s will, Henry moved to Detroit, ten miles away.

In Detroit, Henry worked eleven hours a day at James Flower &
Brothers\' Machine Shop for only $2.50 a week. As this was not enough to
pay for board and room, Henry got an evening job at Magill\'s Jewelry Shop
for $2 each week, at first only cleaning and winding the shop\'s large stock
of clocks. Soon though, he was repairing them also.

After three years in Detroit, and ceaseless persuasion from his
father, Henry moved back to the farm at the age of nineteen. Farm work was
no more appealing than before. Henry did enjoy the birds and the wildlife
in the country, and he liked operating and repairing a steam threshing
machine so he stayed. At a dance on New Year\'s Eve in 1885, Henry met a
dark-haired young woman, Clara Bryant, who lived only a few miles away. In
1888 Henry and Clara were married. As a gift, Mr. Ford gave Henry and his
bride forty acres of wooded land. Henry built a small cottage and they
lived off the land. Henry\'s father thought Henry was content and had
settled down for life, but this was not to be so. All of Henry\'s spare
time was still spent on engines. Three years after their marriage, Henry
saw an internal-combustion gas engine in Detroit. He decided that this is
the engine that he would have to use on his car. He had to move back to
Detroit.

For two years Henry worked nights as a steam engineer for the Edison
Illuminating Company. He worked every night from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. and
earned $45 a month. After working hours he experimented on his gas engine.
His wages barely paid for living expenses and for tools and materials for
his tinkering. But his wife was cooperative and did not complain but
rather, encouraged him.

In November, 1983, a son was born to Henry and Clara, they named him
Edsel. A few weeks later, just before Christmas, Henry had completed his
engine. A successful testing of the engine excited Henry and he decided to
build one with two cylinders. Slightly over two and a half years later,
Henry had built his first horseless carriage with four bicycle wheels and
seat. His contraption would not fit out of the workshop so he simply
knocked out a portion of the wall. The car tested successfully, but was
very impractical as someone on a bicycle had to ride ahead to warn the
people with horses as the car startled them.

Henry quit his very promising job at the Edison Illuminating Company
on August 15, 1989. He was to head the new Detroit Automobile Company.
Instead of producing any cars though, Henry spent the money on improving
his design. The experimental models that he produced cost a great deal of
money and a little more than a year later, the Detroit Automobile Company
had failed. To gain supporters, Henry built a racing car. If he could win
a race, he could get backers and form his own company. Henry did
successfully win a race in October, 1901 and acquiring backers became no
longer a problem.

On November, 1901, the Henry Ford Company was formed. This company
fared no better than the previous. Ford still wanted to build a low-priced
car that ordinary people could afford to buy and drive. Ford would