The Henry Ford Foundation

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Henry Ford did not invent the first automobile, he simply made it better by producing the Model T in which was more affordable and simpler. Ford had a vision in which he believed that consumerism was the key to peace. His strong commitment to his vision led to a franchise system that put dealerships in most of North America, as of today there are multiple thousand Ford dealerships spread across America. Ford’s ability to maintain the low-cost production of the car was largely due to the assembly line since prior before that everything was crafted by hand and thanks to the process, the assembly of the Model T was halved (Henry Ford changes the world, 1908). Henry Ford revolutionized transportation in America by introducing the Model T automobile in which made automobiles affordable for practical Americans and in doing so changed the American Industry.

Looking into Henry Ford’s early life he was one of eight children born on July 30, 1863, on the family farm in Michigan (Gelderman). When ford was not helping his father with the farm, he attended a one-room school for eight years and at the age of sixteen, he went to find his work in machine shops. After he discovered the internal combustion engine ford built a small tractor that he made by creating a homemade steam engine. Ford married his wife Clara Bryant who lived not far from fords in 1888 to which she had given birth to their first child in 1893. In just no time Ford was promoted to chief engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant where he was responsible for maintaining electric service in the city twenty-four hours a day. Because of his irregular schedule, ford could experiment as much as his heart desired to where he built his first working gasoline engine.

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In 1896 Ford created the ‘Quadricycle’ which was a frame mounted on four bicycle wheels, Ford sold the quadricycle instead of keeping the invention to himself, unlike other automotive inventors. The next few years Ford started the Detroit automobile company which will later become the Henry Ford company but he was always trying to improve on the models he was working on instead of putting them on the market and in return, his colleagues were frustrated and many left. He built the ‘999’ race car and set several new speed records (Gelderman). In 1903 Ford Motor Company was incorporated with only twenty-eight thousand dollars but ford was later in the risk of being put out of business because he was not licensed manufacture.

In the year 1908, the creation of Model T was one of Ford’s greatest inventions. Around the span of twenty years, he sold around seventeen cars million which amounted to half the auto output of the world (Gelderman). This amounted to millions of ordinary people traveling wherever they wanted at a faster rate. It removed the need for horses as well as making farmers less isolated as well as creating the highway system. It made urbanization much more possible as well as making buildings and cities spread out more creating more freedom as people now weren’t limited to just one place or city. Model T changed the lives of people and history very rapidly.

Ford and his engineers had built a new plant in Highland Park, Michigan around 1914 which had precise timing that made the main assembly move at a constant pace not needing to stop (Gelderman). This was a major improvement because it made building the Model T at seven times faster rate which increased the production rate of the car. This allowed Ford to pay workers at a minimum wage of five dollars a day which at the time had a current minimum wage of a little over two dollars which was a major increase. He also reduced the work hours from nine hours a day to eight. The price of Model T dropped to as low as $290 in 1927, and the company could eventually create a model every 24 seconds (Gelderman). The innovation of the Model T changed society.

Ford constructed the Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Sadly, one of the greatest American inventors passed away in 1947. By inventing the Model T he opened a brand new chapter to America making traveling easier, faster, cheaper he turned the rich man’s life affordable for everyone. As well as creating a higher minimum wage for the workers and reducing work hours. He later invented the Model A which was a lesser success but no doubt also a great invention. Even though Henry Ford was stubborn in many cases that did not stop him from being one of the greatest. His holdings in stock went to the Ford Foundation when he passed away to keep family control over the firm.

The Henry Ford Foundation. The son of Henry Ford (Edsel) established the Henry Ford foundation were in its early days operated in Michigan where it was controlled by family members. The Foundation uses its resources for scientific, educational and charitable purposes (Ford Foundation). After his death, Edsel’s eldest son commissioned a blue-ribbon panel where he and the trustees made decisions on where to put its increased resources to use. In 1953 the Foundation decided to be based in New York where sixteen members lead. The foundation makes five hundred million dollars in grants around the world every year (Ford Foundation) and is led by Darren Walker.

On the Ford Foundation website, there is a ‘Work’ tab in which you can see what works the foundation is currently working towards ranging from technologies to Civic Engagement. On the same tab, you can see the foundations grants. The foundation is currently worldwide in which there is a tab for that where you can see their locations and explore what they are working on in different parts of the world. There is a ‘Learning’ tab in which there are three categories, program evaluations, Learning reflections, and Research reports. You can post and read other people’s ideas and works and see what the website is all about in more detail on the ‘About’ tab. Overall the Foundation is working on a multitude of issues and advancing us into a better future.

If one man changed the world its Henry Ford from the Model T to the Henry Ford foundation his legacy keeps living on. There are dozens of works that the foundation is covering but we will focus on Natural Resources and Climate change through the global south. The foundations goal is to, ‘foster agency among rural communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Indonesia—helping them to secure land rights and have their say in the planning of projects,’ (Ford Foundation). The contact information can be found on the Ford Foundation website at the bottom of the page. The Henry Ford foundation is about making a change from cars to technology, people, and most importantly the future. 

Works Cited

  2. Later Years Carol Gelderman –


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