Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
Henry Ford was born in Michigan in the year 1863. As a child he always had a craving for small mechanical gadgets to tinker with. His interest in mechanical gadgets became evident in his teen when his father gifted him a small pocket watch. He used to dismantle and reassemble it. Not just that, he used to do the same with the watches of his neighbors. Soon he gained the reputation of a ‘watch repairman’.
In his early career, he worked as an engineer with Edison illuminating company. Though he was working there full time, he found enough time for his personal experiments. He was working on a gasoline engine. His efforts culminated into what is famously called as Ford Qadricycle. It had a very slim frame. The four wheels used in this vehicle were essentially bicycle wheels which were mounted on the frame and the engine was powered by ethanol. But with this modest beginning in terms of design expenditure, this young man was going to change the landscape of motor vehicle industry in the years to come.
By late 1890s, Ford started his venture by founding Detroit Automobile company. Though he put everything in the company, the vehicles produced in the company could not compete in the market. Essentially due to their poor quality. It led to the dissolution of the company in the year 1901. For a brief period after 1901, Ford partnered with Murphy who was one of the stockholders in Detroit Automobile company. But their partnership didn’t last long and differences arose between them.
Finally, his engineering venture took a turn when he partnered with former racing cyclist Tom Cooper and designed a 80 horse power engine which later became famous as model ‘999’. Ford Motor company was officially founded on June 16, 1903 with about $30,000 as capital. One of the main investors in this venture was Malcomson, who was a coal dealer in the Detroit area.
Ford’s first successful model was ‘Model T’. The success of this model can easily be gauged by the fact that by 1916 half of the cars in America were Model T and the sales figure by this year was 4,72,000. The domination of Ford in the automobile sector can be attributed to the simple design technique he adopted along with the post sale service offered.He was a visionary and understood the importance of post sale service if you want to reach out to the hearts of your customers and not their pockets. He worked hard in creating a network of dealers and almost captured the north american automobile market with his unique leadership qualities. He was committed to lowering the price of the vehicle and his innovations certainly achieved that. The price of the basic touring car was slashed to $360 in the year 1916.
But like all true successful Entrepreneurs Henry Ford was also a philanthropic man. He founded the Ford Foundation in 1936 with the mission of human welfare with special emphasis on economic empowerment human rights and education.