Henry Ford: the Greatest Testament to the American Dream

When you think of the Ford Motor Company you probably think of three things.  Henry Ford.  The Model T.  The assembly line.  It was thanks to Mr. Ford that cars became a possibility instead of a pipe dream in every American home.  While making cars available to the masses might be his biggest legacy, Henry Ford was much more than the Model T and the optimization of the assembly line.  It could be said that he was responsible for the Golden Age of American industrialization.  He was born into a farmer’s life but from a young age you could tell that would not be his fate.  A tinkerer from a very young age Henry Ford was always curious about how things worked.  It was this obsession that led him to gain some knowledge into mechanics and feel passionate about this field.

Model T Museum_ford_patrick dwyer_History of American Financial Titans
Image courtesy of Mike Boening Photography at Flickr.com

Determination that led to fulfilling a dream

Ford had one goal early on in his productive life.  It was a goal that he would cling to through all his jobs.  First at the Michigan Car Company in 1879.  Then it was at the Edison Illuminating Company a few years.  After two failed business ventures into the sprawling automotive industry his dream was still alive and kicking.  He was perseverant and believed in his dream; that much cannot be denied.  Failure was never a deterrent for Ford.  It was rather a motivator and a conviction of what his life’s work was meant to be. Ford wanted to give the grand population an opportunity to drive a car without having to cost them an arm and a leg.

He had a knack for detecting and convincing talented people that fulfilled everything Ford wanted out of someone who could help him fulfill his dream.  After many years of hard work with his investors, his dream finally came together and was ready for the world.  It would revolutionize the auto industry all together.  The Model T, Ford’s pies de resistance, was launched in 1908.  What was so special about this car?  Cars at the time went for an average of $2,000 dollars and the Ford Model T sold initially for just $850 bucks.  At that price, Ford’s baby became the preferred choice by Americans, quickly rising to the top of sales.  Through the years, Ford kept looking for a way to make the cars even more accessible to the public and after seeing how meat packers in Chicago worked in a line to cut meat from a carcass.  This would inspire him to apply the assembly line concept to his production.  From then on workers would be given one task to work on and the car would be built in stages.  This allowed the price of the model T to drop and become even more affordable to the masses.  Ford’s dream came true; a quality car for the masses and excellent pay for those responsible of putting it together.

The Henry Ford Museum_patrick dwyer_History of American Financial Titans
Image courtesy of Jasperdo at Flickr.com

A tribute to the everyday American

Henry Ford’s curiosity towards how things work led him to collect a number of artifacts that would later become part of the Edison Institute which would later become the Henry Ford Museum.  He wanted to show the true history of America as told by those who worked every day to make the country great.  He wanted to make sure that the world was not made thanks to kings, presidents or other high ranking names, but rather by common people who made contributions every day.

Huge impact on a small town

Richmond Hill, Georgia is a place most people would probably not associate with Henry Ford or his wife Clara.  It turns out it is one of the Ford’s’ greatest philanthropic lessons.  Henry and Clara decided to establish a winter home in coastal Georgia and explore other business ventures along the way.  Once they arrived in Richmond Hill, they made an impact on the community.  Businesses were established by the Fords and they needed people to run them.  They raised a saw mill, a fire station, schools, a courthouse, and several churches.  The town still has many buildings that were set up by the Fords and their contribution is greatly valued still today by the small coastal town.  The town recently celebrated Clara Ford’s 150th birthday.

The farmer’s son who changed a country

Henry Ford’s origins as a farmer’s son and the values he learned as a result were always present in everything he did.  As a matter of fact, the Model T was made with farmers’ best interests in mind.  His work was always focused on how to improve the common man’s way of life without them having to spend all their life savings.  Henry Ford’s contributions to the United States’ legacy as an industrial powerhouse could still be seen today and they will surely never go away.  Henry Ford truly represented the American dream: hard work, perseverance, and belief in oneself will eventually pay off.


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