Early Automotive History – Henry Ford’s Legacy

Born in 1863 on a family farm in Michigan, Henry Ford showed great talent for machinery repairs early on in his life. Mainly attempting to make daily farm life easier for his family, he studied every possible mechanical angle of farm machines and tools. At the age of 16, Henry started working as an apprentice machinist studying how to operate and repair steam engines for the next three years.

While nurturing his natural abilities and developing engineering skill, Henry Ford supported his family by running a sawmill. Soon enough, Edison Illuminating Company spotted the young talented man and offered him a job as an engineer. It proved a wise decision on their behalf, since he became Chief Engineer shortly after and gave a new impulse to the entire company. At that time Henry Ford had sufficient money and security to follow his dreams and explore internal combustion engines.

Most of the vehicles of the era were handcrafted, expensive and unreliable. As a result, the majority of the people relied on traditional horse and carriage methods of transportation. After spending years of studying latest trends, Henry Ford finally started in 1903 the Ford Motor Company. The future giant of American automotive industry began producing cheap, efficient and reliable cars which sparked a genuine revolution in transportation. Mass production allowed control over the costs, along with multiplying the production numbers. In 1908 Henry developed Model T, also called Tin Lizzie, a model that stands as a symbol of industrial revolution in automotive industry.

Edsel Ford

Henry Ford wasn’t alone in his efforts to create something unique. Many great minds of the time tried to match his accomplishment, but only one could be the market leader. The truth is that as the competition grew, people began looking for more than just efficient cars. They began to look for style and early automotive industry adapted to the trend. Here another Ford came into the picture, a natural successor of Henry – his son Edsel Bryant Ford.

Edsel grew up tinkering on cars, watching his father assembling, testing and approving engines. He understood the vehicle mechanics and made his own prototype sketches. At the University School Detroit, young Edsel wrote numerous essays about cars. Taking charge for sales, purchasing, advertising and other business aspects of the Ford Motor company, he learned the importance of styling and marketing.

Different visions often led to conflicts in the Ford family, but love for each other always prevailed. Edsel managed to create his vision in Lincoln Continental, one of the most beautiful classic cars ever built. The model was sold in around 5,000 units with many innovations at the time.

Strong foundations live on

It is hard to imagine a life without cars. Ford Motor Company grew at a tremendous rate in the early few years, as demand greatly exceeded supply. Father and son managed to combine their ideas in a way that allowed the company to keep sound principles of affordable cars for every market segment. There are many who also deserve a reputable place in the Ford Motor company history. Time has brought many changes since, but Henry and Edsel will remain forever remembered as the pioneers and founders of early American automotive industry.