Monday, July 30, 2012

Henry Ford - Biography

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

Corn Flakes - Will Keith Kellogg

In 1894,  Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was superintendent of a famous hospital and health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, was the business manager. The hospital stressed healthful living and served  its patients  a diet that eliminated caffeine, meat, alcohol, and tobacco.
To achieve that objective, the brothers invented many foods that were made from grains, including a coffee substitute and a type of granola, which they forced through rollers and rolled into long sheets of dough.

One day, after cooking some wheat, the men were called away to some other work and when they finally returned, the wheat had become stale. Still, they decided to force the tempered grain through the rollers anyway. The grain did not come out in long sheets of dough. Instead each wheat berry got  flattened and came out as a thin flake. The brothers baked the flakes and were delighted with the taste of flakes.  They realized they had discovered a new and delicious cereal. Will Keith Kellogg eventually opened his own cereal business, and it is a famous product even today.

Many of the history today lists credit 30 July 1898 as the day, the corn flake was invented.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Laroy S. Starrett - Inventor of Micrometer

Laroy S. Starrett was born on April  25, 1836, to Daniel D. and Anna Elizabeth Starrett.

He developed interest in mechanics and bought machines for his farm. He obtained a patent for  a meat chopper(May 23, 1865). After arranging for its manufacture, he sold it personally throughout the state of Maine. The venture proved so successful that he made a contract with the Athol (Mass.) Machine Co. to manufacture his meat chopper and other inventions of his own, among which were shoe studs and hooks, patented Jan. 28, 1868, and now used with slight modification the world over.  Subsequently, he established a business of his own and  began the manufacture of a combination square, consisting of a try-square with a movable head that may be clamped in any desired position along the blade, in Athol, Massachusetts, in 1880. First patented Feb. 26, 1879, his combination square  has become a most useful tool in the building trade. Gradually he added steel rules, surface gauges, screw pitch gauges and other small tools to his list.  The success and growth of the business have been continuous and  the plant at Athol, Massachusetts became  the largest in the world devoted exclusively to the manufacture of small tools and hacksaw blades, containing over five acres of floor space and employing over 1,000 hands. The factories are equipped throughout with machinery of the highest class and with every up-to-date appliance for the accurate production of fine mechanical tools. In 1912 the company was incorporated as the L. S. Starrett Co. with capital stock of $3,500,000 and of which Mr. Laroy S. Starrett was president until his death. 

It manufactured a large line of carefully adjusted rules, measures, gauges, squares, protractors, slide rules, calipers, dividers, pliers, hacksaws, wrenches, screw drivers and levels, all of which were originated or perfected by Mr. Starrett himself. He received over 100 patents for his inventions, the most important of which, besides those mentioned, were a center try-square designed to find the exact center of a circle, patented June 29, 1880; a surface gauge, patented Mar. 21, 1882; a beveling instrument, Aug. 7, and Dec 4, 1883; screw thread gage, May 19, 1885; calipers and dividers, Dec. 27, 1887; micrometer caliper square, Mar. 5, 1889; micrometer gauge, July 29, 1890; bevel protractor, May 10, 1892. 


The L.S. Starrett Company was founded 1880 in Athol, MA, which is still the Company’s World Headquarters. Our founder, Laroy S. Starrett invented the combination square in 1877. He started the company to manufacture this product. The company grew rapidly with a broadening product line, additional employees and penetration into an increasing number of markets. 

Today, the company employs about 1,800 people worldwide. Most precision tools continue to be manufactured in the Athol plant.

Precision Tools, Gages and Instruments

The broad Starrett product line includes precision measuring tools (micrometers, calipers, rules, etc.), levels, electronic gages, dial indicators, gage blocks and granite surface plates and custom engineered products. The company offers metrology equipment including optical measuring projectors, vision systems and multi-sensor measuring systems, many of which are custom engineered. The precision group also includes M1 lubricant, precision ground flat stock and drill rod. Starrett hand measuring tools and other precision products are used by manufacturing companies of many types and sizes to ensure the quality of their products.

Saws & Hand Tools

Starrett is also a major, worldwide manufacturer of saw blade products. The saw blade product group includes three categories. Band saw blades are used primarily in manufacturing facilities. The Power Tool Accessories and Hand Saws group include hole saws, jig and reciprocating blades and hacksaw products. The jobsite and workshop group includes tape measures, levels, protractors and other tools used primarily on construction jobsites and workshops.

Starrett products are sold throughout the United States and worldwide through distributors, dealers, and retailers and online. In recent years, the Company has broadened its product offering through acquisitions and innovative product line expansion.

Today, Starrett has eight manufacturing locations worldwide: Brazil, The U.K. and China and five in the United States. See Manufacturing Facilities Worldwide for more detailed information. Annual sales of the company are in the vicinity of $250 million and the company is traded publicly on the NYSE.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Brick-road-laying Machine - Tiger Stone

Henk van Kuijk, director of Dutch industrial company Vanku,  invented the Tiger Stone paving machine. The road-wide device is fed loose bricks, and lays them out onto the road as it slowly moves along. A quick going-over with a tamper, and you’ve got an instant brick road.

According to Vanku, a machine with two operators can pave at least 300 square meters (3,229 sq.ft.) of road per day, whereas a single conventional paver on their hands and knees manages between 75 and 100.