COLUMNS

On the Lighter Side: Inventions that changed America

Joe Guilbeau

Henry Ford is widely regarded as one of the fathers of modern automation, and many of his ideas built the United States into one of the world’s great industrial powers.

Ford (1863-1947) raised the minimum wage to $5 a day for his employees 22 years and older. This rate was twice more than twice what most wage earners received.

Joe Guilbeau

He also reduced the workday from nine to eight hours.

Workers flocked to Ford assembly plants in search of jobs, and Ford could choose the hardest-working and smartest. To encourage productivity, Ford introduced a profit-sharing plan that set aside part of the company’s profits for its employees.

The Model T changed very little from year to year until 1926. It came in only one color – black.

Through the years and now, many automobile brands came under the banner of Ford Motor Co. Ford introduced many legendary automobile models, including the Thunderbird, Falcon, Continental, Fairlane, Maverick, Mustang, Zephyr, Edsel, Pinto, Taurus, the first V-8 engine and others.

Ford Motor Co. ranks among the giants of American industry. Besides automobiles, it manufactures trucks, tractors (Ford-Ferguson tractors), farm machinery, and industrial engines. The company also manufactures products for space industry and military use.

Ford has 65 assembly and manufacturing plants across the United States. The largest plant is the Rouge Complex near Detroit.

The Rouge Plant covers 1,200 acres and employs 35,000. The Rouge Plant has its own docks for lake firefighters.

Ford also has manufacturing and assembly subsidiaries in Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Austrailia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and others.

In World War I, Ford landed a contract to build submarine chasers. He also built a Model T to serve as a battlefield tank.

In World War II, Ford made M4 tanks, antiaircraft gunnery amphibious vehicles that grew out of the Jeep Project. Military jeeps were used around the world.

When the United States entered World War II, Ford announced that he could build a plant that could produce one B-24 Liberator bomber an hour and made those bombers until the end of the war.

Henry Ford was a great man, an iconic industrialist, an inventor and one of America’s greatest patriots and philanthropists.

The Ford Foundation is the world’s largest foundation with assets of more than $6 trillion. It gives grants for education, research and development and scholarships to thousands of individuals and organizations.

He is one of the greatest Americans of all time.