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HENRY FORD

In 1908 Henry Ford's motor company was mass-producing small, cheap cars. Ford had succeeded in his ambition to build 'a motor car for the great multitude'.

Ford developed mass production in order to make motor cars more cheaply. He used standardized parts, which could be put together quickly by unskilled workers; and he began to build cars along a moving assembly line, with each worker repeating one small job. This cut the production time of a car from several days to 12 hours or less. His production techniques have since been copied across the world. Ford founded his motor company at Detroit in 1903. Five years later the Model T was introduced, which was tough, reliable, and cheap to buy. It heralded a revolution in transportation. By 1914 Ford had 45 factories producing cars on continuous assembly lines in the United States and abroad. By 1920 half the cars in the world were Model T Fords. 'They can have any colour as long as it's black', Ford said.

In 1908, fewer than 200,000 people in the United States owned cars; by 1927 production of the Model T had ceased, but not before over 15 million had been sold at home and abroad. People had a mobility unknown to even the very rich 50 years before. The Model T assembly line was adapted and improved for the Ford Hudson in the 1920s.

Ford was also an innovative employer. In 1914 he introduced a basic wage of five dollars for an eight-hour day, and brought in profit-sharing schemes for his employees.



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