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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford completed the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile in 1896.

Ford Motor Company was founded at Detroit on June 16, 1903, with Henry Ford appointing himself chief engineer.

The Ford Motor Company sold its first car on July 15, 1903 to a Chicago dentist named Pfennig. An $850 two-cylinder Model A automobile with a tonneau (or backseat), the car was delivered to Dr. Pfenning just over a week later.


A Miss Rosetta Couzens bought one share in the Ford company in its very early days for $100. That investment bought her a profit of $355,000.

The first production of the Ford Model T automobile was built at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan on September 27, 1908. It had the steering wheel on the left, which every other company soon copied. The entire engine and transmission were enclosed; the four cylinders were cast in a solid block; the suspension used two semi-elliptic springs.

Piquette Avenue Plant as it appeared during its occupancy by Ford with a Model N in the foreground

The Model T was very simple to drive, and easy and cheap to repair. It was so cheap at $825 in 1908 ($21,650 today) (the price fell every year) that by the 1920s, a majority of American drivers had learned to drive on the Model T.

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, which first operated on December 1, 1913; by 1914 these methods were known around the world as Fordism.



Ford Motor Company proudly announced on January 5, 1914 that it would pay a "living wage" of at least US$5 for a day's labor and a (shortened) eight-hour work day.

In 1914, the production line for Model T Ford cars took only 93 minutes to assemble a car.

Ford assembly line, 1913. The magneto assembly line was the first

In the early 1920s half the cars in the world were Model T's.

Henry Ford produced the model T only in black because the black paint available at the time was the fastest to dry.


Henry Ford's initial offer for the Model T was "any color you like as long as it is black." In 1925 he recanted and offered a choice of colors.

On September 25, 1926, the Ford Motor Company instituted a five-day, 40-hour work week for its automotive factory employees. They were one of the first companies in America to adopt this. The policy was extended to Ford’s office workers the following August.

Henry Ford had a "Sociological Department" that would show up at employees' homes unannounced to make sure it was clean and the kids were going to school.

The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on May 31, 1927 after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.

1925 Ford "New Model" T Tudor Sedan

Ford introduced the Model A on December 2, 1927, the first car with safety glass in the windshield.



The Ford River Rouge Complex is a 1,100-acre automobile factory complex located in Dearborn, Michigan, along the Rouge River. Construction began in 1917, and when it was completed in 1928 it had become the largest integrated factory in the world.

The Ford Popular, Britain's first £100 car was introduced in 1939.

In the period from 1937 to 1941, Ford was the only major car manufacturer in the Detroit area that had not recognized any labor union as the collective bargaining representative of employees. At hearings before the National Labor Relations Board Henry Ford was found guilty of repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act. The findings against him were upheld on appeal to the federal courts.

Henry Ford patented a plastic automobile on January 13, 1942. It was 30% lighter than a regular car.

The Ford Thunderbird began life in February 1953 in direct response to Chevrolet's new sports car, the Corvette. Production of the Thunderbird began the following year with the car beginning sales as a 1955 model on October 22, 1954.

The Ford company went public in 1956 but the Ford family, through special Class B shares, still retain 40 percent voting rights

After turning down 18,000 names, the Ford Motor Company decided to name their new car the "Edsel," in 1956 after Henry Ford's only son.

The Ford Motor Company produced its 50 millionth automobile on March 16, 1958, averaging almost a million cars a year since the company's founding. The 50 millionth was the popular 1958 model of the Ford Thunderbird.

1958 Ford Thunderbird

With the Edsel, The Ford Motor Company had expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler. However, the Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. On November 19, 1969  Ford announced the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel.

A 1958 Edsel Corsair, registered in Bottrop, Germany photo by Michael Kistinger
Robert McNamara was named president of Ford Motor Co on November 9, 1960, the first non-Ford to serve in that post. A month later, he resigned to join the administration of newly elected John F. Kennedy.

Robert McNamara

The first Ford Mustang rolled off the show room floor on April 15, 1964, two days before it is set to go on sale nationwide.


1965 Ford Mustang photographed in Alexandria, Virginia, USA

The 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A.

Ford Motor Company celebrated the production of its one millionth Mustang, a white convertible, on March 2, 1966.

Ford unveiled the sports saloon, the Capri in 1969.

The very last Ford Thunderbird ever made emerged from a Ford factory in Wixom, Michigan on July 1, 1970.

In 1971 Ford launched a ‘Pinto’ range. The car struggled to sell in Brazil as the word is slang for male genitals.

Both David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser in the cop show;Starsky & Hutch (1975-79) drove Fords. Hutch had a Galaxie 500 – but it was Starsky’s ‘Striped Tomato’ that had its own fanbase. It was so popular that it played a key role in the 2004 movie.

The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citro├źn DS, and Volkswagen Type 1,



The Ford GT broke the crushing machine used in the “roof crush” safety test because it’s so strong.

Sources Encarta Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

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