Henry Ford

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Henry Ford was a genius in many aspects or life. He changed industry, production, and everybody’s lifestyle. Many people know about him because of the way he changed the automobile industry. He advanced technology and made life easier for the average American.


Henry Ford was born on July 0, 186 on a farm a few miles from Dearborn, Michigan (Marriam-Webster 7D). His mother died when he was only 1 years old. As a boy Henry was very creative and liked working with tools. He helped on the family farm in the summer and attended a one-room school during the winter. Watches and clocks fascinated him. He went around the countryside doing repair work for free, just for the chance to tinker with machinery (Compton’s). But he hated doing chores and always wanted to make things easier to do in life. This was Henrys motto, to make things easier.


At 16 Ford walked to Detroit and apprenticed himself to a mechanic for $.50 a week. His board was $.50 a week, so he worked four hours a night for a watchmaker making $ a week. Later he worked in an engine shop and set up steam engines used on farms. In 1884 he took charge of a farm his father gave to him. He married and seemed to settle down, but after two years he went back to Detroit and worked as night engineer for the Detroit Edison Company.


By 18 Ford had built his first engine, and by 186 he had completed what he called a quadricycle (Wiley). He built his first car in a little shed behind his house. It had a two-cylinder gas engine over the rear axle that developed four horsepower. A single seat fitted in a box like body, an electric bell for a horn, and a steering lever instead of a wheel finished it off (Compton’s). Fords horse less carriage chugged along the streets of Detroit, and terrified horses ran at its approach. The police tried to curb this nuisance by forcing Ford to get a license. His quadricycle ran for several years and he sold it for $00 dollars (Wiley). Ford had finished a second car by 188, which was lighter and stronger than most cars around during that time. ”Young man, you have the right idea. Keep up the good work” is what Thomas Edison told Ford after he seen the car he built. Many automobile companies were looking for somebody like Ford to help get their company going.


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In 18 Ford helped organize the Detroit Automobile Company, which built cars for order. Ford wanted to build in quantity at a price within reach of many. His partners objected, so Ford withdrew. Ford didn’t build his own car company yet, he went into automobile racing. Ford’s years in automobile racing was his way to improve the car and a chance to test it under competition. Soon though, he would get out of racing by a tough-minded and ambitious James Couzens, who developed plans for a car company.


Couzens was able to start out the company with $8,000 in cash, and $1,000 in notes. One investor put just $,500 into Ford’s venture. He drew more than $5,000,000 in dividends, and received more than $0,000,000 when he sold all his holdings to Ford in 11 (Compton’s). The Ford Motor Company came out with the Model A, the Model B, and the Model K in their beginning years. However, most of these cars were too expensive for the common man. So Ford decided that he would make a car that was affordable to the ordinary worker. For a few years, Ford and his Technicians began building their next and most important car in history. In 108, Ford brought out for the first time the Model T. It was an ugly car, seven feet high with false doors and a crank. Even though it was ugly and simple, I was modern and affordable.


Actually the Model T was ahead of its time. The car could generate it’s own electricity for ignition and it had a planetary transmission which allowed women and children to drive it (Compton’s). It was easy to operate and had the most efficient gas gauge of its time. The greatest thing that came out from the Model T was its influence on all of America. Since the Model T was the first affordable car, which reached a low of only $0 in 15, (Wiley)it allowed the average American to won a car now. The Model T even helped with the improvement or roads. With more people out on the roads, many roads were now being paved, and highways and bridges were being built for cars. Even farmers saw the Model T as a good tool. Soon the rural population was brought into the mainstream of technology. It was such a popular car that over 15 million were sold all over the world (Gordon 40). However the most important thing the Model T did was its impact on connecting the people of America.


Bridges, roads, and highways were starting to be built for cars. Women were starting to leave the house more often because of the ease of driving a Model T. Families could now go on trips and see America. Access to places was easier now, which led to the building of more stores, restaurants, and companies. This car was such a great impact that the lifestyle we know today was created by one automobile. The Model T was the most affordable car of the time, but how Ford was able to make it so affordable was by his production ingenuity. The one greatest invention in the industry was the assemble line. Henry had a theory that if cars were manufactured all alike than they could be turned out in larger numbers at lesser cost. That is why the Model T came out only in black and they were all built the same way (Compton’s). Ford had the whole thing figured out. If they produced cars more inexpensively this would make them available to other people. Which would lead to more cars being bought. This would require better roads and create more customers, which would lead to more cars being sold and lower prices.


Early automobile manufacturers merely bought automobile parts and assembled the cars. Ford’s objective was to make every part that went into his cars. He acquired iron and coal mines, forests, mills, and factories to produce and shape his steels alloys, his fuel, wood, glass, and leather. He built railroad and steamship lines and an airplane freight service in order to transport his products (Comptons). Mass production was Ford’s main idea, and he replaced men with machines wherever possible. Each man was given one task, which he did repeatedly until it became automatic. To cut shipping costs, parts were shipped from the main plants in the Detroit area and assembled into cars at branch plants.


Even though his assemble line was fast he wanted to make it faster and less expensive. He decided to install a moving belt (Compton’s). This allowed more than one man to try to put together a part for the car. As the belt moved along one man would have a certain job to do for that part, then it would move on to the next person. Conveyors brought the job to them men instead of the of having the men waste time going to the job. For example, the magneto would take one man twenty minutes to assemble but with the moving belt it would take five minutes. Their first attempt to assemble an entire car by the assembly line was done by putting the frame on skids and pulling it from one end of the building by rope. As man-hours were reduced from 15 1/ to 1 1/ hours. This fascinating process in the industry led to the affordability of the Model t and the process in almost every industry, to produce their products quicker and easier. Ford’s ingenuity in industry was greater than just his inventions, but also his business-type approach to the workers. Ford knew that in 11 there was growing tension from the 1,000 employees at Detroit.


Ford figured out a way to win their affection, he would buy it. On January 5, 114 Ford announced his five-dollar a day wage for the workers, the reduction of the workday to eight hours, and a five-day week (Sahlman). The average worker in 114 made less than two dollars a day. Many big industrialists thought he was dangerous and crazy. The publisher of the New York Times said, “He’s crazy, isn’t he? Don’t you think he’s crazy?”. Ford argued that good pay makes good workers, and well-paid workers could buy more cars. Soon millions of men poured into Detroit to try and get a job (Comptons).


Ford had the most effective way to keep his workers happy and still keep his company prosperous. He showed many industries how to run their company in a new style without losing any profits and the ability of increasing production. Henry Ford was one of the most creative and determined people in the world. He had an attraction for the common people, to make their lives easier and simpler. Ford did all this by the invention of the Model T.


Ford had many other accomplishments too. He built a hospital in Detroit with fixed rates for service and physicians and nurses on salary. He created the Edison Institute, which includes Green field Village and the Edison Institute Museum and trade schools. Independence Hall, Thomas Edison’s early laboratory, and other famous old buildings were reproduced in the village, which is open to the public (Compton’s).


During World War I Ford headed a party of pacifists to Norway in a failed attempt to end the war. During World War I and World War II his company was a major producer of war materials (Compton’s). In 145 Ford gave his presidency of the company to his 8-year-old grandson, Henry Ford II. Ford died on April 7, 147, at the age of 8 (Wiley). Most of his personal estate valued at about $05,000,000, was left to the Ford Foundation, one of the worlds largest public trusts.


Henry Ford has changed the perspective of industries around the world. His invention of the assembly line and his five-dollar a day wage for the average worker brought a totally new change in factories. Ford helped America become more prosperous in the 100’s. Its amazing how one mans creativity and determination changed the lives of the common man, and even the whole world. Even though the Model T wasn’t the first car built, it was the most revolutionary car ever built.





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