Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 as the first son of William and Mary Ford's six children. His father had a prosperous family farm in Dearborn, Michigan. At an early age, Henry showed an interest in mechanical things and pursued industrial work. In 1879, sixteen-year-old Ford went to nearby city of Detroit and worked as an apprentice machinist. After, three years as an apprentice, he returned to Dearborn and divided his time between operating or repairing steam engines, doing occasional work in a Detroit factory, and over-hauling his father's farm implements, as well as lending a hand with other farm work. He married Clara Bryant in 1888 and went into running a sawmill.
In 1891, Ford joined as an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. He was promoted to Chief Engineer in 1893. He devoted considerable time to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of a self-propelled vehicle-the Quadricycle. The Quadricycle had four wire wheels that looked like heavy bicycle wheels, was steered with a tiller like a boat, and had only two forward speeds with no reverse.
The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 with Henry Ford as vice-president and chief engineer. The company produced very limited number of cars a day at the Ford factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies.
Henry Ford focused on producing an automobile that was reasonably priced, reliable, and efficient and introduced the Model T in 1908. This vehicle initiated a new era in personal transportation. It was easy to operate, maintain, and handle on rough roads, immediately becoming a huge success.
By 1918, half of all cars in America were Model Ts. To meet the growing demand for the Model T, the company opened a large factory at Highland Park, Michigan, in 1910. Henry Ford created in 1913, a continuous moving assembly line. Workers remained in place, adding one component to each automobile as it moved past them on the line. Delivery of parts by conveyor belt to the workers was carefully timed to keep the assembly line moving smoothly and efficiently. The introduction of the moving assembly line revolutionized automobile production by significantly reducing assembly time per vehicle, thus lowering costs. Ford's production of Model Ts made his company the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.
The company began construction of the world's largest integrated industrial complex along the banks of the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan, during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The massive Rouge Plant included facilities to produce many components and materials needed for automobile production: a steel mill, glass factory, and automobile assembly line. Iron ore and coal were brought in on Great Lakes steamers and by railroad, and were used to produce both iron and steel. Rolling mills, forges, and assembly shops transformed the steel into springs, axles, and car bodies. Foundries converted iron into engine blocks and cylinder heads that were assembled with other components into engines. By September 1927, all steps in the manufacturing process from refining raw materials to final assembly of the automobile took place at the vast Rouge Plant.
Mr. Ford retired as active head of the Ford Motor Company in 1918, at the age of 55, turning over the presidency to his son, Edsel.
Henry said and took step to realize it. "As long as I live I want to pay the highest wages in the automobile industry. If the men in our plants will give a full day's work for a full day's pay, there is no reason why we can't always do it. Every man should make enough money to own a home, a piece of land and a car."
He died on 7 April 1947
Autobiography by Henry Ford - My Life and Work
New York Announcement of Death of Henry Ford