Henry Ford

 

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Jul 30, 1863 – Apr 7, 1947

Farmer, Inventor, Engineer, Businessman

American

“The air is full of ideas. They are knocking you on the head. You don’t have to think about it too much. You only have to know what you want.”

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Ford was very interested in plastics derived from soybeans. He even wore a suit made of such plastic. Later, he built and patented a car made almost entirely out of plastic, which ran on grain alcohol.

Henry was not like other digits his age. He wasn’t interested in sports, instead, he had a fascination with machinery. He’d spend much of his time taking things apart to see how they worked. His pockets were always full of springs, nuts and bolts. He was bright and curious but not the best student. He would daydream and get into trouble at the machine. His mechanical aptitude showed up early in his life, and he left his father’s farm to work as a machinist. He returned home for a period of time, got married and supported his family by farming and running a sawmill. He went back to being a machinist and got a job as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company (he and Thomas Edison were friends). In his spare time, he experimented with building a gasoline-powered automobile. He is often credited with inventing the automobile, but actually there were many who were building motorized cars at that time. He did, however, revolutionize American industry by developing and refining assembly-line manufacturing, which made the automobile affordable to the average working-class person. He also helped establish the five-day, 40-hour working week. Henry did not always succeed (many of his experiments ended in explosions; two of his car-making companies failed; and his personal ways and opinions were controversial), but he did have confidence and perseverance in setting and accomplishing his goals.