June 16, 1903, Henry Ford and 11 investors created the company that would go
on to produce the first mass-produced car and establish Ford as the
best-selling motor brand in the USA and the second-largest automobile-maker
in the world.
As its creator
memorably put it, the Model T was available in any color as long as it was
black. Black paint dried the quickest, reducing production time and
therefore helping to pass on unbeatable savings to customers.
By the mid-1920s
more than 10 million Ford cars had been built, and the company’s reputation
as the leading international manufacturer of vehicles for the masses was
The thought of
receiving more than twice your salary for a shorter working day would be an
idle daydream for most people. But Henry Ford turned wishful thinking into a
reality in 1914 when he decided to increase the daily wage at his Highland
Park Model T plant from US $2.34 for nine hours to US $5.00 for eight.
Overnight, staff turnover was slashed dramatically and the company became
inundated with eager job applicants.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Henry Ford was born and raised on a farm in Dearborn, Michigan, where Ford
Motor Company is based today. He was the first of six children born to
William and Mary Ford.
Ford’s first car
was the Model A. The company worked through the alphabet producing new
models and experimental vehicles and, in 1908, Ford reached the now famous
pioneered the introduction of the moving assembly line after observing how
meat moved down the line from butcher to butcher in a meat packing plant.
When Henry Ford
doubled the pay of factory employees to US $5 a day in 1914, some business
and political leaders predicted social unrest and a global recession.
More than 15
million Model T Fords were made in 19 years.
In 1945, Henry
Ford II was elected president of the company at age 28. He put together a
management team dubbed the ‘whiz kids’ and introduced some of the company’s
most famous nameplates, including the ’49 Ford, Thunderbird, Falcon, and the
Henry II was also
responsible for the legendary GT40, the company’s most successful racing
car. In 1966 the GT40 came first, second and third in the 24-hours Le Mans
endurance race, and went on to win the competition for the next three years.