Today in World History: July 30th

Henry Ford, the American unrepentant and founder of the Ford Motor Company was born on this day in 1863. Born in Michigan, Ford left his family farm in his twenties to pursue a career in Detroit as an apprentice, where he began to learn about the automotive industry. By the end of the 19th century, Ford was working for Thomas Edison’s company, the Edison Illuminating Company, and with his spare time as Chief Engineer, he began to invent and develop his own cars. With the help and blessing of Thomas Edison, Ford left the company in 1899 to found the Detroit Automobile Company, which collapsed by 1901. Undeterred, with the eventual help of the Dodge brothers, he founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. By 1908, the Ford Model T was introduced. The Model T was revolutionary for the American industry and the future of transportation, as the mass assembly lines of the Ford factories meant that they could sell their cars for a cheaper price than the competition. This brought cars to the middle-class, enabling the widespread usage of cars and the increased development of infrastructure in America, as more people were able to travel longer distances for a cheaper price. This boosted Ford Motors to become a hugely successful company, but their constant reliance on the Model T led to their falling share in the market, and the rise of other, non-American competitors to eventually supplant them as the biggest automobile makers. Henry Ford became hugely successful, passing his company throughout his family, and eventually died in 1947 at the age of eighty-three.

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