A multi-paragraph essay that summarizes and explains at least three ways Ford impacted American life.
You must include at least three pieces of textual evidence. A thesis, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Must use evidence from these 2 sources below. It can be either from passage 1 or 2. Passages are below.
“The Boy Who Took Things Apart”
There once was a boy named Henry who liked to disassemble things to understand how they worked. Once he dismantled a friend’s watch and then put it back together. It worked perfectly. When Henry became an adult, he once said, “Every clock in the house shuddered when it saw me coming.”
Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on his family’s farm near Dearborn, Michigan. He was always fascinated with mechanical devices. His preoccupation with mechanical things prompted him to travel to nearby Detroit, Michigan. Detroit was a growing industrial city, and Henry had no problem finding work at the Detroit Dry Dock Company. There he saw the type of engine he would later use to manufacture automobiles. When he was 28, Henry Ford went to work at Thomas Edison’s Detroit Illuminating Company as a mechanical engineer. He was soon promoted to chief engineer, but he had loftier goals.
In his spare time, he tinkered with gasoline-powered engines and bicycle parts. His tinkering paid off in 1896 when he completed his first vehicle. He called his invention a “Quadricycle.” The vehicle ran on four bicycle tires powered by a two-cylinder gasoline engine. Onlookers, some of whom said it looked like a baby carriage with an engine, came to see Ford’s invention on its first test-drive. Unfortunately, the Quadricycle broke down after a short run. This minor failure did not discourage Henry Ford.
Ford began again. By 1899, he completed another vehicle that resembled a motorcar. It had high wheels, a padded bench, brass lamps, and mudguards. The same year he introduced his improved Quadricycle, he established the Detroit Automobile Company. In 1901, he raced his new Quadricycle against what was then the world’s fastest automobile. Before a crowd of 8,000 people, Henry Ford easily won the race.
Building on the publicity received from his victory, Ford was able to secure financing for facilities in which to refine his ideas. By 1903, he began his own company called The Ford Motor Car Company. By January of the following year, he had sold 658 vehicles. When he opened The Ford Motor Car Company, he said, “I will build a car for the great multitude.” He did so by offering the Model T at an affordable $950. During the nineteen years the Model T was in production, 15,500,000 were sold in the United States alone.
Henry Ford is remembered for more than affordable automobiles. He modernized manufacturing methods. As a boy, he took apart a $3 watch and examined the parts, figuring out that the watch could actually be made at a cost of thirty-seven cents each if the manufacturer would produce thousands of the same watch at one time. Based on this thought, he set up what became known as the “assembly line,” where a worker performed the same operation on each automobile as it moved past him on a constantly moving apparatus. Using this method, production time to build a basic automobile was reduced from 728 minutes to 93 minutes.
Another innovation of Ford’s was to design the workplace with the worker in mind. Ford cut the workday from nine hours to eight hours and converted the factory to a three-shift workday. He also began paying employees $5 per day, nearly twice the amount paid by other companies.
When World War II began, Ford received government contracts to build airplanes. Production began in 1942 at a huge Ford plant at Willow Run, Michigan. By the end of the war in 1945, this plant had produced more than 8,000 airplanes.
Henry Ford saw to it that his success benefited many. In 1919, he built the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit for his employees. Then in 1936, he established the Ford Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic trusts in the world, whose goals are to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Since its establishment, the Ford Foundation has issued numerous grants worldwide to further these causes.
Henry Ford did more than improve the automobile industry; he improved the city of Detroit and the lives of the many people he touched through his many causes. He is a man to be remembered.
From PBS Online:
Henry Ford’s parents left Ireland during the potato famine and settled in the Detroit area in the 1840s. Ford was born in what is now Dearborn, Michigan. His formal education was limited, but even as a youngster, he was handy with machinery. He worked for the Detroit Edison company, advancing from machine-shop apprentice to chief engineer. In 1893, Ford built a gasoline engine, and within a few years, an automobile, still a novelty item of the rich or do-it-yourself engineers.
In 1899 Ford left Edison to help run the Detroit Automobile Company. Cars were still built essentially one at a time. Ford hoped to incorporate ideas from other industries — standardized parts as Eli Whitney had used with gun manufacturing, or assembly line methods George Eastman tried in photo processing — to make the process more efficient. This idea struck others in his field as nutty, so before long, Ford quit Detroit Automobile Company and began to build his own racing cars. They were good enough to attract backers and even partners, and in 1903, he set up the Ford Motor Company.
He still met resistance to his ideas for mass production of a car the average worker could afford. But he stuck to his goal and finally in 1908, began production of the Model T. Ford gradually adapted the production line until in 1913, his plant incorporated the first moving assembly line (Links to an external site.). Demand for the affordable car soared even as production went up: before Ford stopped making the model T in 1927, 15 million had been sold, and Ford had become the leading auto manufacturer in the country. In addition to the moving assembly line, Ford revolutionized the auto industry by increasing the pay and decreasing the hours of his employees, ensuring he could get enough and the best workers. During the Model T era, Ford bought out his shareholders so he had complete financial control of the now vast corporation. He continued to innovate, but competitors (growing more powerful though fewer in number) began to cut into Ford’s market share.
Ford became interested in politics and as a successful and powerful business leader, was sometimes a participant in political affairs. In 1915, he funded a trip to Europe, where World War I was raging. He and about 170 others went — without government support or approval — to seek peace. The war lasted another three years. After the war Ford ran unsuccessfully for the Senate on the Democratic ticket. He never ran again, but was always outspoken on political subjects. He violently opposed labor organizations and actively worked against the United Auto Workers trying to unionize his plants. His criticism of Jews and a certain tolerance of German nationalism during World War II have left him with the reputation of an antisemite.
Ford and his family spent a good deal of time and money on charitable work. They set up an historical museum in Greenfield Village, Michigan, and most notably set up the Ford Foundation, which provides grants for research, education, and development.
“A bore is a fellow who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it.”
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