Henry Ford (1863-1947)

American automotive engineer and industrialist. Born on 30 July 1863 in Springwells, Michigan USA. The father of Edsel Bryant Ford (1893-1943).

At the age of 16 he began an apprenticeship to become a machinist and worked for a number of different companies. By 1891 he had become chief engineer to the Edison illuminating company.

He constructed a one-cylinder petrol engine in 1893 and went on to build his first car in 1896, joining the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899. He left there in March 1902 and with some financial backing formed the Ford Motor Company on 16 June 1903. In 1908 his Model-T first appeared. By 1928 he had sold 15 million of them.

Production of the Model-T popularised the car as a means of transport and had a huge economic and social impact on society. It was one of the first cars to be made using assembly-line techniques. In 1914 Ford became the first employer of mass labour to introduce a five-day working week and to pay five dollars a day minimum wage to all employees who met certain basic requirements.

He gave up presidency of the Company to his son Edsel in 1909, but when Edsel died in 1943 Henry Ford resumed presidency of the company. In 1945 he retired handing over control of the company to his grandson. Henry Ford died in Dearborn, Michigan on 7 April 1947.