1. International Driver's License
  2.  / 
  3. Blog
  4.  / 
  5. Ford: how it all started
Ford: how it all started
October 25, 2019

Ford: how it all started

The huge automobile concern whose history began on June 16, 1903, with the personnel numbering more than two hundred thousand employees representing the Ford brand, began with a dream and efforts for its realisation of one and only person – Henry Ford. In this article you will learn about the amazing details of creating this grand automobile company. Sit back, you’ll enjoy the story, and if you are also a Ford fan, it will be doubly interesting, we promise!

Ford Motor Company and its founder

The founding father of the company is Henry Ford, an American born in 1863 in Michigan. He was the eldest among the six children of William and Mary Ford. Henry, like all boys of that time, grew up curious and liked to take risks. The parents’ farm allowed him to go to school and farm, helping adults. Henry was easy with horses and was interested in technology. Once, a ride on a horse ended unsuccessfully – the guy fell off and hurt quite badly. After that, Henry decided to create a kind of transport that would be safe for people. The teenager continued to mess with different pieces of iron in a small workshop which was built by himself. It was there that Henry began his experiments in the design, including the first steam engine.

When he was 16 years old, the guy decided to move to Detroit and get a job there as an assistant driver. At the age of 19, Henry moved again, this time to Dearborn. For five years, the young man was engaged in the repair and construction of steam engines. By the age of 25, Henry became one of the leaders of the sawmill. In 1891, the Edison Illuminating company got a new engineer, quickly moving up the career ladder through perseverance and technical ability.

At the age of 30, Henry Ford got the position of chief engineer of the company. He had a decent income, enough free time to do his favorite thing at leisure – inventions. His goal was to create an internal combustion engine, and he achieved it. Right in the kitchen of his own house, Henry connected the engine parts to the bicycle frame and attached four wheels. The world’s first quadricycle appeared before his eyes, it also became the first Ford car. It happened in 1896.

Three years later, 36-year-old Henry left Edison Illuminating to found his own company, called Detroit Automobile. With the efforts of the founder, in just one year, several models of racing cars appeared. Alas, the new company quickly went bankrupt. However, this didn’t prevent Henry from becoming a participant in several car races, including the one in which then US champion A. Winton participated, and defeat him.

Henry Ford was almost 40 when he organized eleven of his friends to establish a manufacturing facility called Ford Motor Company. In June 1903, twelve partners managed to collect 28 thousand dollars, which became the startup capital of the company. Henry was promoted to Vice President of the company and served as chief engineer. At the same time, his share in the company’s capital was 25%.

To create an automobile manufacturing plant, the company bought a wagon factory Mack Avenue in Detroit and converted it into its own line of business. Ford hired work crews from two or three people, and they produced spare parts to order under his leadership.

Through the efforts of the organizer and other employees, on July 23, 1903 (five weeks after the founding of the company), the world received a gasoline carriage, or “the Model A” with eight horsepower. On the market, it was presented as a simple and affordable car, in which even a 15-years-old teenager can sit behind the wheel. After that, Henry Ford became the main owner and chief president of Ford Motor, the principles of which remained unchanged – cars for people should be affordable, modern and reliable.

Henry Ford was in charge of the common production work. Over the next five years, under his management, nineteen letters were involved from the Model A to the Model S, some of which remained at the initial or research levels and did not reach the level of production and placing on the car market.

History of the Ford logo

Thanks to the first representatives of the company, Schreiber, Thornton, Perry from the UK, in 1907, the Ford logo in the form of an oval was invented. It characterized Ford cars as a symbol of reliability, efficiency, and personified the “brand of the highest standard”. The author of the logo was the chief engineer and designer of Ford, C. H. Wills. The Ford trademark was registered with the U.S. patent office in 1909.

In 1912, the Ford logo took the form of a triangle with wings that were supposed to symbolize speed, lightness, elegance and reliability. The logos were blue and orange.

In 1927, the Model A was the first to show the Ford logo in an oval silhouette on the grille. Most Ford vehicles, until the late 1950s, were produced with a dark blue logo icon, which is now known to many buyers. But, despite the fact that the oval pattern was approved as the official logo of the company, it was not applied to the cars until the mid-70s of the last century. In 1976 and further, the official oval-shaped Ford logo with a blue background and silver letters appears on all car bodies.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Ford in 2003, it was decided to slightly change the design of the well-known blue icon, giving it some features of the first logos (there are eight in the history of the brand). This gives the opportunity to recognize Ford cars anywhere in the world.

Achieving a dream

The year 1908 came. The Tin Lizzy (or the Model T) was born. This model has become the most famous in the history of the automotive industry. The base price of the car was 260 dollars. During the first year of production, eleven thousand Model T cars were sold. Its appearance on the market was seen as a new era or evolution of the mode of transport.

At the same time, Ford cars did not require complex maintenance, they could travel even on rough rural roads, in general, they were simple and unpretentious to drive. As a result, the demand for this car was constantly growing, and it became the object of mass production.

Also, on the main base of the Model T construction, cars of other modifications are produced: vans, ambulance vans, small trucks, small phaeton vans, etc. In addition, a version was made for military ambulance.

With the increase in labor productivity and product quality, consumer demand among buyers also grew. Henry Ford was the first in the world who decided to introduce an assembly line into automotive production. Thanks to it, the worker, staying in one place, performed only one operation, so every ten seconds the completely new Model T rolled off the production line. Assembly-flow production has become one of the most important stages in the revolution of automobile production.

Family business

Meanwhile, Ford’s heir grew up (Henry married, back when working at the sawmill). Edsel was about thirty years old when, in 1919, he and his father bought all the shares of Ford Motor from the other founders of the company for 105 568 858 dollars, after which the company became their family firm, and the Fords – its only owners. In addition, Edsel Ford inherited from his father the post of Chief President of Ford Motor and held this post until he died suddenly in 1943. Later, after the death of his son, Henry Ford had to re-lead the management of the company.

After the Second World War, in 1945, Henry Ford handed his powers as head of the company to Henry Ford II (this was his eldest grandson). In addition, in May 1946, Henry Ford Sr. received the honorary award for services in the field of automotive industry, as well as, at the end of the same year, was awarded the gold medal for services to society by the American Petroleum Institute.

Henry Ford Sr. died on April 7, 1947, in Dearborn, at the age of 83. His death was the end of the initial and turbulent period of Ford Motor and, despite this, opened the door to a new automotive era. The grandson of Henry Ford Sr. is worthy of continuing the work and the dream of his grandfather.

The history of the company founded by Henry Ford continues. Now, Ford produces for sale worldwide more than seventy modifications of cars under different brands. These are Ford, Lincoln, Aston Martin, Mercury, etc. Also, Ford Motor Company has a stake in other companies such as Kia Motors Corporation or Mazda Motor Corporation. Each of these cars finds its owners who prefer the Ford brand. But without a driver’s license, you can’t even drive the Tin Lizzie! We invite you to quickly and easily process an international driver’s license on our website. It won’t take you a lot of time and effort, but this document is useful when driving not only Ford.

Please type your email in the field below and click "Subscribe"
Subscribe and get full instructions about the obtaining and using of International Driving License, as well as advice for drivers abroad