Throughout them, and learn how they work. Ford

Throughout the past, in America, inventors and innovators took the world by storm as they came up with new ideas that shaped the world as people see it today. Arguably the most influential and important person in the early developing American society was Henry Ford. Born on July 30th, 1863, Henry Ford grew up as a farm boy in Springwells Township, Michigan, located nine miles outside of Detroit. As a young boy Ford was always fascinated with how things worked, and instead of taking broken clocks and such to the local tinkerer, Ford took it upon himself to fix them, and learn how they work. Ford would also gather up the other boys in his small town to build basic steam engines and water wheels. Ford’s parents William and Mary were simple farmer immigrants from Ireland that taught Henry all they could, but determined by the lack of excitement in his life Henry set off for Detroit to pursue his dream. Ford shows his genius early from his childhood as he continues to experiment with broken appliances around the house rather than letting a professional fix them. It’s from these early memories that made Ford interested in the way that things work, and instead of going on to become a farmer like his humble parents he decided to try his hand in the city of Detroit and pursue his interests in mechanics. “There was too much hard hand labour on our own and all other farms of the time. Even when very young I suspected that much might somehow be done in a better way. That is what took me into mechanics—although my mother always said that I was born a mechanic.”(Ford, 10). It came from hard work but Ford realized that there had to be an easier way to do work in this world where inventions were popping up left and right. Ford also in his early years shows certain characteristics that would soon shape the way he swept America off its feet, Ford developed a knack for learning by trial and error, the ability to take leadership, and was a natural born mechanic. In the early years Ford struggled to get momentum as his first few jobs he worked at terminated him within the first few weeks. After going from job to job Ford decided to try his hand in business and attended a few classes at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business University in Detroit this was Fords only business education in his entire career. After it led nowhere he finally found a stable job making brass valves on a milling machine, and became a married man to Clara Bryant. Clara was a simple farmer from Greenfield township, a few miles northeast of Ford’s homestead. Clara supported Ford’s ideas and tried to help the best she could, but Ford had even more of his time taken away when they decided to parent the child, Edsel Bryant Ford. After two years of trial and error, spending his minimal freetime in his shed and the basement underneath his job making brass valves, Ford finally revealed his first project which took to the streets in June 4th, 1896, and was named the Quadricycle. This first invention no matter how crude, sparked the beginning of something new. This first invention of Henry Ford’s was just the first to come of many that would revolutionize America. The Quadricycle is important because it almost symbolizes Ford’s drive, his initiative to keep going no matter the task, up until this point no one gave Ford the time of day, but Ford knew from the beginning that even through failed attempts he would keep going until he succeeded “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”(Henry Ford Quotes). Ford continuously throughout his life learns from his mistakes, and pushes on to innovate more and excite. Ford got plenty of interest from investors and potential clients after the reveal of the Quadricycle. Ford was ecstatic, yet still felt like he needed to go bigger he got to work on a second more refined model, and after a 60 mile car ride with his most potential investor, lumber merchant William Murphy, Ford convinces him to start the Detroit Automobile Company with Ford as an engineer. After quickly failing Ford wastes no time, and starts to rebuild his reputation through racing and by beating well known racer Alexander Winton in his very first race. After years of Ford rebuilding his reputation a second company is eventually founded called the Henry Ford Company with him as the head engineer. This new company after just three short months was utterly a failure due to his time being consumed by racing, and the fact that they couldn’t produce cars fast enough to keep up with competitors. Two years later the Ford Motor Company is created and even without investing as much as a dime into the company Ford is made the vice president. Before the year is up Ford Motor Company produced the Model N which was an American best seller, and even with the success that came with it Ford knew he had to go bigger, better, and cheaper. “The ‘motorcar for the great multitude.’ Working with a hand-picked group of employees he came up with the Model T, introduced on October 1, 1908.”(The Henry Ford). Showing another side of Henry Ford is his continuous attempts at making a more innovative, and better machine that not only would be cheaper but would make vehicles more accessible for the common American.  He had already had a successful model that was targeted towards the higher class, so this was seen as a new concept because from the last two decades prior to this new model T release, “horseless carriages” were seen as rich playthings that no common American could afford. Also most models of cars at the time were only suited for relatively flat gravel roads, so Ford making an effort to make this affordable automobile easy to drive, and able to handle on rough roads, made him highly appraised by the lower class. Not only that though, rough roads were more frequently seen in the countryside allowing a farmer to buy a car, not just city folk which was unheard of at this time period. This pushed America forward by turning the automobile from a fantasized luxury in someone’s life to something that was attainable. Around the end of the progressive era perhaps the most revolutionary idea that was proposed by Ford Motor Company was the assembly line. In an effort to make the new thriving model T more affordable this new method of creating cars was born that was called the assembly line, which could produce 50 cars by the time the previous method could produce one. This further decreased the price of the Model T to as low as $360 during 1916 allowing virtually everyone in the country to own a car. Not only does Ford lower the price significantly, but after getting numerous complaints from employees that work on the assembly line was bland, and after having to hire 55,000 people a year to cover only 18,000 jobs, Ford decided to raise the minimum pay at Ford Motor Company to $5.00 an hour almost doubling the current minimum wage at the time. This stopped worker complaints, and made it so the workers could actually buy the cars they manufactured which was a first in history.   The automobile was not invented by Henry Ford nor was the assembly line that was produced by the brilliant minds in his company, but Ford can be held responsible for turning the unknown invention of the automobile into the single most innovative invention that gave shape to the 19th century, and continues to impact our lives today. Ford decided that cost would not influence the way he did things and it was only seen as a minor problem that could be adjusted for, which could be another reason that a person like him was so famous and influential because he complied with the common people. “Our policy is to reduce the price, extend the operations, and improve the article. You will notice that the reduction of price comes first. We have never considered any costs as fixed. Therefore we first reduce the price to a point where we believe more sales will result. Then we go ahead and try to make the price. We do not bother about the costs. The new price forces the costs down. The more usual way is to take the costs and then determine the price, and although that method may be scientific in the narrow sense, it is not scientific in the broad sense, because what earthly use is it to know the cost if it tells you you cannot manufacture at a price at which the article can be sold? But more to the point is the fact that, although one may calculate what a cost is, and of course all of our costs are carefully calculated, no one knows what a cost ought to be. One of the ways of discovering what a cost ought to be is to name a price so low as to force everybody in the place to the highest point of efficiency.” (Ford, 61). This shows Ford’s willingness to do whatever he thinks is best even when the price outweighs the profits. Ford understands that in order to have progress there needs to be change, so he continues to drive prices down until suppliers of raw materials are forced to reduce prices. After 30 years in the business Ford had revolutionized the average life of an American. After running his competitors into the ground with his low prices, and multiple bestseller models, Ford started to slow down, yet the work he had already done was noticed among the people, and he came to be one of the most respected individuals of his time. It was his views that got him to the top, the mistakes he made in the past, and his expectations of the not so distant future. It didn’t matter what the cost was or how much money was made, because as Henry Ford once said “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”(Henry Ford Quotes).