The Unbelievable Story Of Ford Motor Company

Published on 05/05/2019
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Henry Ford made a name for himself as one of the pioneers of the automobile industry. He was only 40 years old when he started the Ford Motor Company, which went on to become one of the largest automobile companies in history. In 1903, it opened its doors in Detroit, Michigan with only 12 staff members. The automaker has definitely experienced plenty of ups and downs over the 116 years since then. Ford has introduced multiple innovations to the production line and made iconic vehicles like the Mustang. We bet you will be surprised when you hear the twists and turns the company has undertaken to reach its current status. For one thing, there is no way you would have believed that the Model T initially had an $850 price tag!

The ”Perfect Machine” Was How They Described The Model A

What you are looking at is the first car built by Henry Ford. In 1896, he made it in Dearborn, Michigan. It was basically a gas-powered buggy equipped with an 8-hp engine. It was presented as Model A and marketed as “the most perfect machine on the market, which even a 15-year-old boy is able to drive”. In the following years, Ford started naming its models with the use of the Latin alphabet letters A to S. They experimented a lot over the years, though many of the products were not intended for mass reproduction or sale to the general public.

The "Perfect-Machine” Was How They Described The Model A

The “Perfect-Machine” Was How They Described The Model A

The Assembly Line Drew Inspiration From An Odd Source

Ford Motor Company’s plant in Highland Park, Michigan was launched on October 7, 1913. It marked the first moving assembly line in history. The photo below demonstrates how the vehicle bodies were brought down with a wooden ramp before they were taken to the chassis. Ford was first when it came to mass production of vehicles. The production line setup was cost-effective and allowed the regular Joe to purchase a vehicle. The business also revolutionized the way factories operated and organized, which made Henry Ford a pioneer in the industry. Without his ideas, automobile production would not be the same. He apparently drew inspiration to create an assembly line like this after paying slaughterhouses a visit!

The Assembly Line Drew Inspiration From An Odd Source

The Assembly Line Drew Inspiration From An Odd Source

The Model T Became One Of The Most Popular Vehicles Ever

You are looking at Ford employees as they worked on a Model-T engine in the factory assembly line back in 1914. Ford came out with the Model T AKA Tin Lizzie in 1908. It went on to become one of the most popular vehicles in the world! Initially, they put an $850 price tag on what was later referred to as the “Car of the 20th Century”. After the production of over 15 million of these, Ford decided to stop production of the model in 1927. By the end of the first year of production, they sold 10,660 units. You will find the model in the top ten of lists with vehicles amounting more than 15 million sales. In the following pages, you will learn about the friendship between Thomas Edison and Henry Ford!

The Model T Became One Of The Most Popular Vehicles Ever

The Model T Became One Of The Most Popular Vehicles Ever

Ford Made The First Peanuts Live Animation Appearance In A Commercial

Charles M. Schulz was the illustrator who was responsible for creating all the lovable characters of Peanuts. The comics attained the peak of its popularity during the ‘60s and appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers. Around 355 million readers from 75 countries around the world read the comic strips, so it makes sense for Henry Ford to participate in the race. In 1963, he boosted the popularity of the main characters by making a commercial featuring them. This was actually the first time the gang had a live animation! Later that same year, A Charlie Brown Christmas was aired on television.

Ford Made The First Peanuts Live Animation Appearance In A Commercial

Ford Made The First Peanuts Live Animation Appearance In A Commercial

Ford Changed The Lives Of Many With Higher Wages And Shorter Workday

Take a look at these workers as they finished the upholstery on the Model T Ford seats back in 1915. January 5, 1914 was the date that they started to offer employees the rate of $5 per day for their eight-hour workday. This was easily twice the current salary on the job market at the time! Previously, employees were compensated $2.34 for a nine-hour shift. Although Ford had only 3,000 available jobs at its Highland Park plant, they saw 15,000 applicants! The salary, shortened workday, and profit sharing were too attractive for most job seekers. The employee turnover stayed low and helped with the expansion of the middle class. Henry Ford has always claimed that he wanted his employees to have a “life” instead of simply making a living.

Ford Changed The Lives Of Many With Higher Wages And Shorter Workday

Ford Changed The Lives Of Many With Higher Wages And Shorter Workday

Ford Kept The Final Breath Of Thomas Edison Inside A Test Tube

Before he entered the world of automobiles, Henry Ford was working for Thomas Edison as an employee of the Edison Illuminating Co. in Detroit. He worked as a chief engineer there and the businessman-inventor served as his friend and mentor. At the time, Ford started to become interested in gas-powered cars and thought of a horseless carriage. Below, you can see the two of them posing for a photo in 1921. After Edison’s death in 1931, his child Charles was at his bedside. According to the younger man, he followed Ford’s instructions and used a test tube to capture his final breath. Ford asked for this because he wanted a memento to remember his best friend by.

Ford Kept The Final Breath Of Thomas Edison Inside A Test Tube

Ford Kept The Final Breath Of Thomas Edison Inside A Test Tube

Ford Motor Company Also Made Airplanes

You are looking at an automobile parked beside a Ford Tri-Motor Airplane. Ford Motor Company started building aircraft during the First World War. There were many reasons for this interesting business move. First of all, Henry Ford liked to work with anything mechanical. However, it was also his way of doing his part to support the country in the trying time. There was even a point when the United States Centennial of Flight Commission considered him a pioneer in the field of aviation. Sadly, the airplane business did not prove very lucrative and he shut it down by 1933.

Ford Motor Company Also Made Airplanes

Ford Motor Company Also Made Airplanes

Bonnie and Clyde Used a Ford Flathead As Their Getaway Car

Bonnie and Clyde made a name for themselves as criminals back in the Great Depression. Their choice of a getaway car was none other than a 1934 Ford Flathead with a 21-stud V-8 engine. Clyde even sent a letter to Ford to tell him how much he adored the vehicle: “While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have driven Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble, the Ford has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8.”

Bonnie and Clyde Used a Ford Flathead As Their Getaway Car

Bonnie and Clyde Used a Ford Flathead As Their Getaway Car

Bonnie and Clyde Met Their Doom Inside a Stolen Ford DeLuxe Fordor

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met their demise. The criminal duo was ambushed by police officers as they were driving through a country road somewhere in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. At the time, they were riding a 1934 Ford DeLuxe Fordor. It was a stolen car that was the property of Jesse and Ruth Warren of Topeka, Kansas. A month later, they were shot dead. Reports say that the policemen shot 130 rounds at them, killing each with dozens of gunshot wounds. The vehicle was bullet-ridden and later displayed in different locations. If you want to see it, you should go to Primm, Nevada as it is currently on display at the Whiskey Pete’s Casino.

Bonnie And Clyde Met Their Doom Inside A Stolen Ford DeLuxe Fordor

Bonnie And Clyde Met Their Doom Inside A Stolen Ford DeLuxe Fordor

The Edsel Was An Overhyped Flop

Below, you are looking at Edsel Ford’ three sons at the national press induction of Edsel. To be specific, they are Vice-President in Charge of Product Planning and Styling William Clay Ford, Vice-President and Chairman of Dealer Policy Board Benson Ford, and President of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford II. Unfortunately, the Edsel proved to be a flop during the time it was produced from 1958 to 1960. Ford put a fortune into this model as he promoted it to be the car of the future. Sadly, customers found it ugly, expensive, and overhyped. The public was not attracted by the vehicle, and only a few units were sold. The company lost more than $250 million on this model.

The Edsel Was An Overhyped Flop

The Edsel Was An Overhyped Flop

They Once Used A Ton Of Manure To Power The Factories

Henry Ford was always ahead of his time, especially when we are talking about eco-friendliness. Ford Motor Company factories in the United Kingdom and the United States initially used animal and human waste to fuel their facilities. We know that it does not sound appealing, but it was still a useful practice. They reported burned 2,000 pounds of manure every week. Of course, the smell was rather gross. Despite this, it was an innovative green practice in a time when no one else worried about our effects on nature. They chose to discontinue doing this in 1939 when cheaper alternatives became available.

They Once Used A Ton Of Manure To Power The Factories

They Once Used A Ton Of Manure To Power The Factories

The Company Wanted To Build An Atomic-Powered Car

Ford thought of the concept behind the Nucleon in 1957. The atomic-powered vehicle was meant to become their version of the car of the future. The designers wanted it to be a package deal in which consumers had the freedom to choose the horsepower. They wanted the rear to come with the atomic car, which would be recharged periodically and eliminate the need to go to service stations. The Nucleon was about to be powered by uranium fission and steam engine, not unlike those found in nuclear submarines. Ford created a scale model, and you can even see it when you visit the Henry Ford Museum located in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Company Wanted To Build An Atomic-Powered Car

The Company Wanted To Build An Atomic-Powered Car

Ford Put A Mustang Above The Empire State Building

What you are seeing is a 1965 Ford Mustang. In addition to a pair of other models, the convertible and the hardtop, the fastback was introduced. They first launched the Mustang during the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964. The year after that, Ford put a prototype atop the Empire State Building! They disassembled the car by tearing it down into four separate pieces. Workers then moved this beauty of a car with the use of resident elevators and took it to the top of the skyscraper. There, they reassembled the vehicle and a helicopter was used to photograph it. They then worked to reassemble the Mustang inside the building prior to its disassembly and only removed it from the building after five months.

Ford Put A Mustang Above The Empire State Building

Ford Put A Mustang Above The Empire State Building

Jim Morrison Was The Proud Owner Of A Now Missing 1967 Shelby GT 500

Jim Morrison, best known as the singer of the Doors, allegedly owned only one car in his whole life: a blue 1967 Ford Shelby GT 500. Babe Hill, the musician’s friend, even called it “The Blue Lady”. Unfortunately, the car was reported missing in 1969 and no one has any idea where it went. The Mustang has made a name for itself as one of the most famous cars in history. Ford sold more than a million units during the first two years they were producing it. It is one of the few car models that have not slowed down ever since it first hit the market. One of the priciest Mustangs sold had been a 1967 Ford Shelby GT Super Snake with a price tag worth a whopping $1.3 million.

Jim Morrison Was The Proud Owner Of A Now Missing 1967 Shelby GT 500

Jim Morrison Was The Proud Owner Of A Now Missing 1967 Shelby GT 500

Henry Ford Coined This Adage That We All Use

We are sure this a phrase that you have used yourself once or twice in the past. When someone describes something that costs “an arm and a leg,”, this means that it was expensive. Apparently, Ford is the person responsible for coining this! The automaker never had problems giving his money away to people in need, and often said he would rather lose cash than body parts. This was the exact quote attributed to him: “Money is like an arm or leg — use it or lose it.” Upon his death, most of his wealth went to the Ford Foundation. He also left other family members in charge of running the company.

Henry Ford Coined This Adage That We All Use

Henry Ford Coined This Adage That We All Use

Ford Launched This Famous Two-Seat Convertible To Go Head-To-Head With The Corvette

In 1955, Ford launched the Thunderbird. Meant to compete with the Chevy Corvette, it was a comfortable and stylish two-seat V8 convertible. A couple of years after this, the company added four seats to their vehicles and ultimately created what we now know as the personal luxury car. This refers to the vehicles that are focused on driving convenience and comfort over high-speed performance and handling of sports cars. Ford produced the Thunderbird from the years 1955 until 1997 and then from 2002 until 2005. Overall, they made 11 models of it! Even though it was boxy and does not look particularly aerodynamic, Bobby Allison won 13 races during the late ‘70s and ‘80s while driving a Thunderbird.

Ford Launched This Famous Two-Seat Convertible To Go Head-To-Head With The Corvette

Ford Launched This Famous Two-Seat Convertible To Go Head-To-Head With The Corvette

The Pinto Was A Problematic Car Known For Fires And Rear-End Collisions

This is a Pinto that Ford Motor Company lent to a newspaper company so they can conduct consumer testing. You can see from the photo that the car caught fire thanks to faulty wiring as a photographer was shooting it for some automobile supplement. The subcompact vehicle was in production from 1971 until 1980. It was a controversial vehicle because of the fuel tank design. The result had been rear-end collisions, deadly fires, and ruptured fuel tanks. The fatal crashes earned the automaker two lawsuits. In 1978, the company recalled 1.5 million Ford Pintos and Mercury Bobcats, which accounted for the biggest automotive recall back then.

The Pinto Was A Problematic Car Known For Fires And Rear-End Collisions

The Pinto Was A Problematic Car Known For Fires And Rear-End Collisions

The Country Squire Station Wagon Was Another Popular Model

This is a 1978 Country Squire Station Wagon. They were in production for an impressive 41 years, from 1950 all the way to 1991. It is considered a premium model and comes with a signature woodgrain body trim design. This station wagon reached the height of popularity among Ford fans. The Country Squire and its production run had only been bested by the Thunderbird with its 46 years of production and the Mustang with its 55 years of production and counting. The early models came with the option to install an AM/FM cassette stereo and a two-way CB radio. There was also the option to have a magnetic checkers board installed near the rear seats!

The Country Squire Station Wagon Was Another Popular Model

The Country Squire Station Wagon Was Another Popular Model

Ford Recently Decided to Drop Its Passenger Car Lines And Focus On Trucks Instead

Ford has clearly established itself in the world of passenger cars with entries such as the Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, and Thunderbird. In 2018, they made an important decision. The announcement relayed that the company will no longer make passenger cars in North America for the next four years, with the sole exception of the Mustang. This was the result of the lower demand and lack of profit. Interestingly, this provided quite the contrast with the F-150 pickup truck, which is the bestselling vehicle in the country since 1982. That is certainly impressive when you consider that the first generation came out in 1948! Auto Week reported that Ford sold over 450,000 of the F-series line from January all the way through June 2018.

Ford Recently Decided to Drop Its Passenger Car Lines And Focus On Trucks Instead

Ford Recently Decided to Drop Its Passenger Car Lines And Focus On Trucks Instead

Ford Owned Stakes In Aston Martin, Mercedes, Land Rover, And Other Premium Brands

We cannot deny that Henry Ford was a visionary. The businessman-engineer had to make important decisions to grow his company and expand operations to the rest of the world. During the mid-‘60s, he tried to buy out the Ferrari brand, but the plan was not meant to be. Still, he did not give up on his dreams. The Ford Motor Company has long owned stakes in Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercury, Mazda, and Volvo. Nowadays, Ford sells vehicles under Lincoln as well! Despite this, the members of the Ford family still have the voting power, with the exception of minority ownership.

Ford Owned Stakes In Aston Martin, Mercedes, Land Rover, And Other Premium Brands

Ford Owned Stakes In Aston Martin, Mercedes, Land Rover, And Other Premium Brands

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