In the early days of Ford, only a few cars were assembled per day, and they were built by hand by small groups of workers from parts made to order by other companies.
With the introduction of the Model T in 1908, Ford succeeded in his mission to produce an affordable, efficient and reliable automobile for everyone: within a decade, nearly half the cars in America were Model Ts. The sensational demand for the “Tin Lizzie” led Ford to develop mass-production methods, including large production plants, the use of standardized, interchangeable parts and, in 1913, the world’s first moving assembly line for cars.
In 1914, to further improve productivity, Ford introduced the $5 daily wage for an eight-hour day for his workers (up from $2.34 for nine hours), setting a standard for the industry.
During the late 1910s and early 1920s, Ford began construction of a massive industrial complex along the banks of the River Rouge in Dearborn, Michigan.
The plant combined all the components necessary for auto production, including a glass factory, steel mill and assembly line.
When Ford Motor’s other stockholders resisted the idea of building the River Rouge plant due to its enormous costs, Henry Ford (who as early as 1906 owned 58.5 percent of the company) bought them out, installing his son Edsel as president of the company in 1919.
The elder Ford retained full control of the company’s operations, however, and returned to the presidency briefly after Edsel died in 1943, before handing it over to his grandson, Henry Ford II, in 1945. Two years later, the legendary automaker died at his Dearborn home at the age of 83.
Our favorite Ford ever is the famous Ford GT40. The GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times, from 1966 to 1969 including a 1-2-3 finish in 1966. It was built with the sole purpose of embarrassing Ferrari.
The Henry Ford Company was Henry Ford's first attempt at a car manufacturing company and was established on November 3, 1901. This became the Cadillac Motor Company on August 22, 1902, after Ford left with the rights to his name. The Ford Motor Company was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 (equivalent to $844,000 in 2021) in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). The first president was not Ford, but local banker John S. Gray, who was chosen in order to assuage investors' fears that Ford would leave the new company the way he had left its predecessor. During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue and later at its factory on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car, assembling it from parts made mostly by supplier companies contracting for Ford. Within a decade the company led the world in the expansion and refinement of the assembly line concept, and Ford soon brought much of the part production in-house (vertical integration).
Henry Ford was 39 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world's largest and most profitable companies. It has been in continuous family control for over 100 years and is one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world.
The first gasoline-powered automobile had been created in 1885 by the German inventor Karl Benz (Benz Patent-Motorwagen). More efficient production methods were needed to make automobiles affordable for the middle class, to which Ford contributed by, for instance, introducing the first moving assembly line in 1913 at the Ford factory in Highland Park.