Last Updated on January 15, 2020
Born on July 30, 1863 in Greenfield Township, Michigan, Henry Ford is regarded as one of America’s leading businessmen. In 1908, Ford created the Ford Model T car. He then developed an impressive assembly line of vehicles, which revolutionized the automobile industry.
As a result, he sold millions of vehicles and became a world-renowned CEO. And though the company had lost its dominance in the industry, it still has a lasting influence on other technological and engineering advancements in the US.
Henry Ford was born to William Ford, an Irish descendant, and Mary Litogot Ford, a child of Belgian immigrants. He had two sisters, Margaret and Jane, and two brothers, William and Robert. As a child, Ford was outgoing, smart, and curious.
When he was a teenager, William Sr. gave him a pocket watch. Soon after, he disassembled and reassembled the piece on his own. Time and time again, he would do the same thing on the watches of his friends and neighbors. Soon enough, he became a popular watch repairman in his neighborhood.
When his mother passed away in 1876, Ford was left devastated. Contrary to what his father believed, he wanted to leave their farm. He did so three years after his mother’s death. He went to Detroit and worked as an apprentice machinist. He stayed there for three years and then went back to Michigan in 1882.
Back at home, Ford did farm chores. He soon became skilled at running the Westinghouse steam engine. He was so good at it, he was hired by the company to handle their portable steam engines.
His skills in mechanics as well as his innate talent to learn things fast resulted in his appointment as a night engineer, then a chief engineer, for the Edison Electric Illuminating Company. While doing his daily work, he also began working on a side project he has always been fascinated with: building cars.
Ford partnered with some friends to create a self-propelled automobile, the Quadricycle. Thomas Edison approved of his creation. Inspired, Ford continued to improve his project automobile. In 1898, he finished his second vehicle.
At that point, Ford resigned from his job and started his own company. In 1899, he established the Detroit Automobile Company. Alas, the cars manufactured by the company failed to do well in the market. And much too soon, Ford was compelled to shut his company down.
Ever resilient, Ford continued working on vehicles. In 1901, he successfully ran a 26-horsepower auto. In November of the same year, Ford rallied the Detroit Automobile Company’s stockholders and founded the Henry Ford Company. But problems arose between him and the other stockholders. In the end, Ford resigned from the company.
Unconcerned by yet another business failure, he carried on chasing his dream of becoming a successful vehicle manufacturer. Jobless, he used his time to design and make numerous racing cars, which included the promising “999” racer.
Ford Motor Company
In 1903, Henry Ford, along with several investors, founded the Ford Motor Company. During that time, the “999” was driven all over the US by Barney Oldfield, a famous race car driver. That made the automobile brand well-known throughout the country. In 1908, the Ford company unveiled the Model T, which had the steering wheel positioned on the left. The concept was soon replicated by other auto companies.
The Model T became remarkably successful since it was cost-effective, driver-friendly, and low-cost to repair. It came to a point where Ford Motors had to significantly expand their production to meet the increasing demand of the public.
In 1913, Ford, together with the company engineers, manufactured a moving automotive factory for automobiles. The company also designed strategies for mass production, which allowed them to considerably boost their output.
By 1918, half of the vehicles in the US were Model T’s. On the same year, Henry Ford resigned as the president of the company. His son, Edsel Ford, took over, although the older Ford remained to have the final say on important company matters.
When the clamor for the Model T had begun to decline, the company launched the Ford Model A. It sold profitably from 1927 to 1931. However, the company underwent a revenue drop in the 1930s, so much so that by 1936, Ford Motor Company dropped to third place on the list of the best US auto manufacturers.
During World War II, although Ford was against the country’s participation, his company became one of the major American military suppliers. Ford Motor Company provided the government with engines, tanks, and jeeps.
In 1943, Edsel Ford died of cancer. The aging Ford took over the presidency of the company once more. However, the absolute power wasn’t his anymore. His failing health didn’t help as well. Ultimately, Henry Ford II, his grandson, was appointed as the new company president.
On April 7, 1947, Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 83.
To get you inspired, here are 80 of the best Henry Ford quotes.
Henry Ford Quotes
- “Faith without action is delusion. Faith does not wait for miracles but produces them. Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
- “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
- “Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.” – Henry Ford
- “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford
- “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
- “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford
- “Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain” – Henry Ford
- “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford
- “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” – Henry Ford
- “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” – Henry Ford
- “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it…” – Henry Ford
- “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford
- “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” – Henry Ford
- “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” – Henry Ford
- “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford
- “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” – Henry Ford
- “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” – Henry Ford
- “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
- “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Henry Ford
- “If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” – Henry Ford
- “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” – Henry Ford
- “One of the greatest discoveries a person makes, one of their great surprises, is to find they can do what they were afraid they couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford
- “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” – Henry Ford
- “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” – Henry Ford
- “You say I started out with practically nothing, but that isn’t correct. We all start with all there is, it’s how we use it that makes things possible.”
- Henry Ford
- “The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” – Henry Ford
- “There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.” – Henry Ford
- “You can’t learn in school what the world is going to do next year.” – Henry Ford
- “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” – Henry Ford
- “Success is 99 percent failure.” – Henry Ford
- “I see no advantage in these new clocks. They run no faster than the ones made 100 years ago.” – Henry Ford
- “Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.” – Henry Ford
- “There are three things that grow more precious with age; old wood to burn, old books to read, and old friends to enjoy.” – Henry Ford
- “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford
- “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
- “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford
- “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement”.” – Henry Ford
- “To do more for the world than the world does for you – that is success.” – Henry Ford
- “There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.” – Henry Ford
- “The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already.” – Henry Ford
- “Money doesn’t make us anyway it just unmasks us.” – Henry Ford
- “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” – Henry Ford
- “There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “Genius is seldom recognized for what it is: a great capacity for hard work.” – Henry Ford
- “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford
- “An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.” – Henry Ford
- “I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.” – Henry Ford
- “We try to pay a man what he is worth and we are not inclined to keep a man who is not worth more than the minimum wage.” – Henry Ford
- “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford
- “Givers have to set limits because takers rarely do.” – Henry Ford
- “As long as we look to legislation to cure poverty or to abolish special privilege we are going to see poverty and special privilege grow.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “New York is a different country. Maybe it ought to have a separate government. Everybody thinks differently, they just don’t know what the hell the rest of the United States is.” – Henry Ford
- “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”
- Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “Money is like an arm or leg – use it or lose it.” – Henry Ford
- “I am looking for a lot of men who have and infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” – Henry Ford
- “To see a thing clearly in the mind makes it begin to take form.” – Henry Ford
- “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford
- “That the Devil finds work for idle hands to do is probably true. But there is a profound difference between leisure and idleness.” – Henry Ford
- “Experience is the thing of supreme value.” – Henry Ford
- “Do you want to know the cause of war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars. Take away the capitalist, and you will sweep war from the earth.” – Henry Ford
- “As we serve our jobs we serve the world.” – Henry Ford
- “It is not usual to speak of an employee as a partner, and yet what else is he?” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.” – Henry Ford
- “Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.” – Henry Ford
- “The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debt.” – Henry Ford
- “Being greedy for money is the surest way not to get it, but when one serves for the sake of service—for the satisfaction of doing that which one believes to be right—then money abundantly takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish or arrogant or greedy, the money brings that out, that’s all.” – Henry Ford
- “Speculation into thing already produced that is not business” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “It ought to be the employer’s ambition as leader to pay than any similar line of business, and it ought to be the workman’s ambition to make it possible” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “The natural thing to do is to work—to recognize that prosperity and happiness can be obtained only through honest effort.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we made today.” – Henry Ford
- “Power and machinery, money and goods, are useful only as they set us free to live.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
- “It is probably true that the commonest real cause of anti-Semitism is the action of the international Jew who is often unknown and always secure, but innocent victim of it is the poor Jew.” – Henry Ford, The International Jew – The World’s Foremost Problem
- “That the earth produces, or is capable of producing, enough to give decent sustenance to everyone – not of food alone, but of everything else we need. For everything is produced from the earth.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “It is easier to make money from money than it is to make money from business. Don’t take the acumen of bankers as any guide for business, all they know is money.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “Edsel is the artist in our family. Art is something I know nothing about.” – Henry Ford
- “Don’t cheapen the product; don’t cheapen the wage; don’t overcharge the public. Put brains into the method, and more brains, and still more brains – do things better than ever before; and by this means all parties to business are served and benefited.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “I cannot say that it was hard work. No work with interest is ever hard. I always am certain of results. They always come if you work hard enough. But it was a very great thing to have my wife even more confident than I was. She has always been that way.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work
- “The ability to know how to get the information is more important than using the mind as a garage of facts.” – Henry Ford