When was Ford Founded? What is the oldest car company? Ford Motor Company (commonly known as Ford) is an American multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, United States. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand, and luxury cars under its Lincoln brand. Ford also owns a 32% stake in China’s Jiangling Motors. It also has joint ventures in China (Changan Ford), Taiwan (Ford Lio Ho), Thailand (AutoAlliance Thailand), and Turkey (Ford Otosan). The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family; they have minority ownership but the majority of the voting power.
Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines; by 1914, these methods were known around the world as Fordism. Ford’s former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover, acquired in 1989 and 2000, respectively, were sold to the Indian automaker Tata Motors in March 2008. Ford owned the Swedish automaker Volvo from 1999 to 2010. In 2011, Ford discontinued the Mercury brand, under which it had marketed entry-level luxury cars in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East since 1938.
When was Ford Founded?
Henry Ford built his first experimental car in a workshop behind his home in Detroit in 1896. After formation of the Ford Motor Company, the first Ford car, the original Model A, was assembled at the Mack Avenue plant in July 1903.
Five years later, in 1908, the highly successful Model T was introduced. Demand for this car was so great that Ford developed new mass production methods in order to manufacture it in sufficient quantities. In 1911 he established the industry’s first U.S. branch assembly plant (in Kansas City, Missouri) and opened the company’s first overseas production plant (in Manchester, England); in 1913 he introduced the world’s first moving assembly line for cars; and in 1914, to further improve labour productivity, he introduced the $5 daily wage for an eight-hour day (replacing $2.34 for a nine-hour day).
Assembly-line production allowed the price of the Model T touring-car version to be lowered from $850 in 1908 (equivalent to about 18 months salary for an average wage) to less than $300 in 1925 (equivalent to about 4 months salary for an average wage).
The company’s first international sales branch opened in Paris in 1908. By mid-1914 there were more than 500,000 Model Ts on the roads of the world, by 1923 the company was producing more than half of America’s automobiles, and by the end of the 1920s Ford had more than 20 overseas assembly plants in Europe, Latin America, Canada, Asia, South Africa, and Australia.
Ford had become the world’s most familiar make of car, with 15 million Model Ts having been produced. In 1927 the last Model T and the first new Model A were produced, followed in 1932 by the first Ford V-8. In 1922 Ford had acquired the Lincoln Motor Company (founded 1917), which would produce Ford’s luxury Lincolns and Continentals. In 1938 Ford introduced the first Mercury, a car in the medium price range between Ford and Lincoln.
Henry Ford was Born on July 30th
Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863, and grew up on his family’s prosperous farm in Springwells Township about seven miles due west of Detroit. He attended school through the sixth grade and in 1879 at age sixteen, without his father’s consent, walked into Detroit and obtained work at the Michigan Car Company Works where streetcars were built.
Henry’s father then arranged for Henry to become an apprentice machinist at the James Flower & Brothers Machine Shop. In 1881, Ford was working for the Detroit Dry Dock Company where he learned a great deal about heavy industry. By 1882 he was back on the farm operating a small steam traction engine for a neighboring farmer, and soon after repairing such engines built by the Westinghouse Company.
Henry Ford accepts a position with Edison Power Plant
Henry, however, had no intentions of farming the land as his father would have expected. Instead, Henry spent the next two years using a steam engine to cut wood off his land and that of his neighbors. After having built a “honeymoon” cottage on their farm, it was rather shocking to Clara to find Henry, in September 1891, wanting to move to Detroit to accept a $40 a month position as night operating engineer at a substation of the Edison Illuminating Company.
The position at Edison appealed to Henry because he would be learning electrical engineering. By October of 1892, Henry was called upon to take charge of maintenance of steam engines in the main downtown Edison Illuminating Power Plant at $75 per month.
60 mile demonstration ride, July of 1899
During that same summer, Henry was invited by his boss, Alexander Dow, to attend a meeting of Edison Illuminating Company executives at Manhattan Beach in New York. At the meeting Ford had an opportunity to discuss his gasoline automobile with Thomas Edison. Surprisingly, Edison, who usually advocated electric vehicles, told Ford that with his gasoline engine he was headed in the right direction. Edison’s remarks were a tremendous stimulant to Ford.
Dow, however, a strong advocate of electricity for motive power, wanted no hazardous gasoline on his property. While still employed by Edison and working on an improved vehicle, Ford began thinking seriously of manufacturing gasoline automobiles. A second Ford vehicle was completed in 1898. Ford found he needed considerable financial help if he were to go into the business of building automobiles.
Henry’s friend, [Detroit] Mayor William C. Maybury, introduced Henry to many of the notables in Detroit. In July of 1899, Ford had an opportunity to drive wealthy Detroit lumber merchant William H. Murphy on a 3-1/2 hour, 60 mile demonstration ride to Farmington, Pontiac and back to Detroit thus gaining his first strong financial backer.
The “Sweepstakes ” racer of 1901, with Henry Ford at the wheel and Ed Huff on running board
Henry Ford still had friends in Detroit. Some of the former stockholders of the Detroit Automobile Company retained a portion of the Cass Avenue plant so Henry could build a car of his choice. Ford had been thinking of a racer. His specialty was engines and he was convinced that racing would attract the attention necessary to establish himself in the automotive field.
With part-time help from his friends, Ed (Spider) Huff, Oliver Barthel, and C. Harold Wills, he worked around the clock. A lightweight 2-cylinder racer of 26 horsepower was finished in mid-1901. This vehicle is said to have cost about $5000 to build, with much of the cost again covered by Murphy.
Ford drove the racer at the Grosse Pointe equestrian track on October 10, 1901, besting Alexander Winton’s 40-horsepower machine in a ten-mile race. Ed Huff hung on to a running board, balancing the car on the curves, as speeds reached close to a mile a minute. Ford received a $1000, a cut-glass punch bowl, and much publicity for his victory.
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