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Ford

Henry Ford built his first automobile, which he called a quadricycle, at his home in Detroit in 1896. His first company called Detroit Automobile Company, founded in 1899 but failed soon. On June 16, 1903, the Ford Motor Company was incorporated. During its early years, the company produced a range of vehicles designated, chronologically, from the Ford Model A (1903) to the Model K and Model S of 1907. In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T.

By 1913, Ford introduced the world's first moving assembly line that year, which reduced chassis assembly time from 12 1⁄2 hours in October to 2 hours 40 minutes (and ultimately 1 hour 33 minutes), and boosted annual output to 202,667 units that year. By 1920, production exceeds one million a year.

Turnover of workers was very high. In January 1914, Ford solved the problem by doubling pay to $5 a day, cutting shifts from nine hours to an eight-hour day. It increased sales: a line worker could buy a T with less than four months' pay, and instituting hiring practices that identified the best workers, including disabled people, considered unemployable by other firms. Employee turnover plunged, productivity soared, and with it, the cost per vehicle plummeted. Ford cut prices again and again and invented the system of franchised dealers who were loyal to his brand name.

Wall Street had criticized Ford's generous labor practices when he began paying workers enough to buy the products they made.
Ford Motor Co., Lincoln at Capitol, [Washington, D.C.]
1899
1899
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1970
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1970
567 Media in collectionpage 2 of 6

Ford Motor delivery department

Photograph shows a fleet of Ford motorcars in rows ready for delivery inside plant.

Ford Motor Co. Ford display room

Photograph shows room of different model Ford automobiles and trucks on display; body frame of unfinished automobile sits in the center of the room.

Watch the Fords go by / A.M. Cassandre 37.

Painting for advertising poster for Ford V-8 showing a large eye with V8 in the pupil.

Inspecting of landing wheel of the transport planes at Willow Run

Photo shows the Willow Run manufacturing plant, run by the Ford Motor Company near Ypsilanti, Michigan, which made the B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009)

Inspecting of landing wheel of the transport planes at Willow Run

Photo shows the Willow Run manufacturing plant, run by the Ford Motor Company near Ypsilanti, Michigan, which made the B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009)

Installing one of the 4 motors on the transport plane at Willow Run

Photo shows the Willow Run manufacturing plant, run by the Ford Motor Company near Ypsilanti, Michigan, which made the B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009)