What Kind Of Education Did Henry Ford Obtain?
Not too much is known of Henry Ford’s early academic schooling. What is certain is that he was not too interested in academics and his real interest lay in mechanical engineering. He is said to have attended the local public school and a private grammar school, but left at age 16 to become a machine shop apprentice.
He worked at the Edison Electric Company and climbed his way up to become Chief Engineer. During this period, in 1893, he designed and built an internal combustion engine. Ford left Edison Electric in 1899 to join Detroit Automobile Co., which was building cars one at a time, as was the prevailing practice.
Ford’s thinking was ahead of the time and he visualized standardization of parts and an assembly line manufacture. Ford’s foray into automobile manufacturing commenced with racing cars. He was successful enough to attract partners along with whom he started the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
In 1908 he began mass production of the Model T in which he incorporated all his visionary concepts of mechanization. In 1908, the car sold for $825. By 1916, with improved manufacturing methods the cost dropped to $360. Till 1927, when the last Model T rolled off the assembly line, a record 15 million cars were manufactured.
Ford had other concepts in management philosophy, well ahead of his time. He raised the minimum wage, almost doubling it, to an unprecedented $5 per day in 1914. He also commenced the 8 hour 5 day week (somewhat in debate). Labor turnover at Ford plants, with these incentives, dropped to negligible levels.
Ford died at age 83 in 1945 at his home in Dearborn, Michigan. Despite having a limited education, he went on to script a new line in engineering history. Ford was the epitome of a self-made man.
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