1 – Henry Ford Founded Cadillac
Now, Henry Ford and the Ford brand that carries his name both have their share of interesting facts about them and to start off our list let’s take a moment to acknowledge the man behind the manufacturer. Intrepid in his business sense, and forward thinking in his penchant for looking forward and imaging what could be today, Henry Ford is responsible for a number of companies that many would easily overlook.
Among the heavy list of accomplishments under his belt, and taking our spot as the first thing you probably didn’t know about Ford we present to you the fact that he left during a dispute with his investors back in 1902 and started Cadillac Automobile Company on August 22nd, 1902.
2 – Never Really Retired
Even at an early age Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, was encouraged to take part in the planning and activities and went on to become the sole heir to his father’s business. Tragically, and for a number of complications that were somewhat out of his control, the automotive industry tends to look back on Edsel and remember him for numerous failures. A highlight or silver lining in an otherwise black-marked career it should be recognized that he was a big part of the development and launch of the Model A. Under his guidance, it was a commercial success, having sold over four million vehicles in just four years of production.
There were blunder, though, including some made after the acquisition of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, itself, remembered for designing the Zephyr and Continental models. Unfortunately, we focus all too often on the negative if it should in any way or even slightly unbalance the scale of success and that said and done, has earned Edsel fame from the numerous blunders along the way. This is perhaps most poignantly emphasized by the founding of the Edsel division in 1957, a company that was discontinued shortly after 1960. For reasons like the apparent ineptitude of his won, Henry Ford was always a presence within his companies, ensuring that where others failed there would be success elsewhere.
3 – Owned a portion of the Amazon the size of Delaware
In the 1920s Henry Ford was one of the richest men in the world and, with his immense wealth sought to increase production of plastic by setting up plantations in the Amazon Jungle, calling it Fordlândia. With an area of 10,000 km squared it was as strange a business decisions as it was a social experiment, noting that Ford forbade the presence of alcohol, tobacco and women inside the town.
In the end, after problems, revolts, disease and other complications, Henry Ford II, his grandson, sold the property for a loss that would translate to over 208 million dollars today.
4 – His Great-Grandson was Briefly in Charge
The lasting legacy of the Ford name is hard to miss when you look at even the modern business-scape. And, interestingly, even William “Bill” Ford Jr. found himself in the hot seat of the Ford Company in 1979, holding various positions across the corporate structure.
5 – An Inspiration That Helped Develop Toyota
In the same way Henry Ford is often regarded as the man who started the American Industrial Revolution, he has an interesting counterpart in the form of Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese businessman and inventor.
The similarity does not end there, either. Sakichi, recognizing the quality of Ford manufacturer had his son, Kiichiro sent to the United States to take notes and recognize Ford’s operating procedures. These learnings were paramount in the development of the Toyota brand.
6 – Ford is the Only Member of the Big 3 that didn’t need Government Bailout
When the market softened in the early turn of the millennium the North American automotive industry took a huge hit. Many of the larger manufacturers were forced to request government subsidies to ensure they could continue operating. So, while GM, FORD, and CHRYSLER found themselves on rough terrain, thanks to the business sense that has long followed the Ford name, the company remained steady in a time of turmoil.
7 – Henry Ford is Often Credited with Starting the Industrial Revolution
There are a lot of qualities that make Henry Ford a man worthy of admiration, and adding to this list there is considerable evidence that his concept of welfare capitalism was paramount to the development of the middleclass as well as the creation of worker loyalty that has persisted into modern day.
This was accomplished by an introduction, back in 1914, of a 5 dollar workday – roughly 120 dollars today – a move that grew the company and kept on workers in a time when turnovers were incredibly high. He expanded this model with profit-sharing for employees who had worked with the company for over six-months. It wasn’t all sunshine and bottled rainbows, but the effect Henry Ford and the Ford Company has had on modern economies and work conditions is undeniable.