美國100位歷史名人榜(14)Henry Ford

 

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 April 7, 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and f

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Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. He was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 U.S. patents. As owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with "Fordism", that is, the mass production of large numbers of inexpensive automobiles using the assembly line, coupled with high wages for his workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. Ford did not believe in accountants; he amassed one of the world's largest fortunes without ever having his company audited under his administration. Henry Ford's intense commitment to lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put a dealership in every city in North America, and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation but arranged for his family to control the company permanently.

Career
In 1891, Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. After his promotion to Chief Engineer in 1893, he had enough time and money to devote attention to his personal experiments on gasoline engines. These experiments culminated in 1896 with the completion of a self-propelled vehicle which he named the Ford Quadricycle. He test-drove it on June 4. After various test-drives, Ford brainstormed ways to improve the Quadricycle.

Also in 1896, Ford attended a meeting of Edison executives, where he was introduced to Thomas Edison. Edison approved of Ford's automobile experimentation; encouraged by him, Ford designed and built a second vehicle, completing it in 1898.[8] Backed by the capital of Detroit lumber baron William H. Murphy, Ford resigned from Edison and founded the Detroit Automobile Company on August 5, 1899. However, the automobiles produced were of a lower quality and higher price than Ford liked. Ultimately, the company was not successful and was dissolved in January 1901.

With the help of C. Harold Wills, Ford designed, built, and successfully raced a 26-horsepower automobile in October 1901. With this success, Murphy and other stockholders in the Detroit Automobile Company formed the Henry Ford Company on November 30, 1901, with Ford as chief engineer. However, Murphy brought in Henry M. Leland as a consultant. As a result, Ford left the company bearing his name in 1902. With Ford gone, Murphy renamed the company the Cadillac Automobile Company.

Ford also produced the 80+ horsepower racer "999"; Barney Oldfield to drive it to victory in a race in October 1902. Ford received the backing of an old acquaintance, Alexander Y. Malcomson, a Detroit-area coal dealer.They formed a partnership, "Ford & Malcomson, Ltd." to manufacture automobiles. Ford went to work designing an inexpensive automobile, and the duo leased a factory and contracted with a machine shop owned by John and Horace E. Dodge to supply over $160,000 in parts.Sales were slow, and a crisis arose when the Dodge brothers demanded payment for their first shipment.

 

Ford Motor Company

In response, Malcomson brought in another group of investors and convinced the Dodge Brothers to accept a portion of the new company.Ford & Malcomson was reincorporated as the Ford Motor Company on June 16, 1903, with $28,000 capital. The original investors included Ford and Malcomson, the Dodge brothers, Malcomson's uncle John S. Gray, Horace Rackham, and James Couzens. In a newly designed car, Ford gave an exhibition on the ice of Lake St. Clair, driving 1 mile (1.6 km) in 39.4 seconds, setting a new land speed record at 91.3 miles per hour (147.0 km/h). Convinced by this success, the race driver Barney Oldfield, who named this new Ford model "999" in honor of a racing locomotive of the day, took the car around the country, making the Ford brand known throughout the United States. Ford also was one of the early backers of the Indianapolis 500.

$5 day
Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage, which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. (Using the consumer price index, this was equivalent to $111.10 per day in 2008 dollars.) The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs. Ford called it "wage motive." The company's use of vertical integration also proved successful when Ford built a gigantic factory that took in raw materials and shipped out finished automobiles.

Model T
The Model T was introduced on October 1, 1908. It had the steering wheel on the left, which every other company soon copied. The entire engine and transmission were enclosed; the four cylinders were cast in a solid block; the suspension used two semi-elliptic springs. The car was very simple to drive, and easy and cheap to repair. It was so cheap at $825 in 1908 (the price fell every year) that by the 1920s, a majority of American drivers had learned to drive on the Model T.

Ford created a massive publicity machine in Detroit to ensure every newspaper carried stories and ads about the new product. Ford's network of local dealers made the car ubiquitous in virtually every city in North America. As independent dealers, the franchises grew rich and publicized not just the Ford but the very concept of automobiling; local motor clubs sprang up to help new drivers and to encourage exploring the countryside. Ford was always eager to sell to farmers, who looked on the vehicle as a commercial device to help their business. Sales skyrocketed—several years posted 100% gains on the previous year. Always on the hunt for more efficiency and lower costs, in 1913 Ford introduced the moving assembly belts into his plants, which enabled an enormous increase in production. Although Henry Ford is often credited with the idea, contemporary sources indicate that the concept and its development came from employees Clarence Avery, Peter E. Martin, Charles E. Sorensen, and C. Harold Wills.

Sales passed 250,000 in 1914. By 1916, as the price dropped to $360 for the basic touring car, sales reached 472,000.[16] (Using the consumer price index, this price was equivalent to $7,020 in 2008 dollars.)

By 1918, half of all cars in America were Model T's. However, it was a monolithic block; as Ford wrote in his autobiography, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black". Until the development of the assembly line, which mandated black because of its quicker drying time, Model T's were available in other colors, including red. The design was fervently promoted and defended by Ford, and production continued as late as 1927; the final total production was 15,007,034. This record stood for the next 45 years. This record was achieved in just 19 years from the introduction of the first Model T (1908).

President Woodrow Wilson asked Ford to run as a Democrat for the United States Senate from Michigan in 1918. Although the nation was at war, Ford ran as a peace candidate and a strong supporter of the proposed League of Nations.

Henry Ford turned the presidency of Ford Motor Company over to his son Edsel Ford in December 1918. Henry, however, retained final decision authority and sometimes reversed his son. Henry started another company, Henry Ford and Son, and made a show of taking himself and his best employees to the new company; the goal was to scare the remaining holdout stockholders of the Ford Motor Company to sell their stakes to him before they lost most of their value. (He was determined to have full control over strategic decisions). The ruse worked, and Henry and Edsel purchased all remaining stock from the other investors, thus giving the family sole ownership of the company.

By the mid-1920s, sales of the Model T began to decline due to rising competition. Other auto makers offered payment plans through which consumers could buy their cars, which usually included more modern mechanical features and styling not available with the Model T. Despite urgings from Edsel, Henry steadfastly refused to incorporate new features into the Model T or to form a customer credit plan.

Model A and Ford's later career
By 1926, flagging sales of the Model T finally convinced Henry to make a new model. Henry pursued the project with a great deal of technical expertise in design of the engine, chassis, and other mechanical necessities, while leaving the body design to his son. Edsel also managed to prevail over his father's initial objections in the inclusion of a sliding-shift transmission.

The result was the successful Ford Model A, introduced in December 1927 and produced through 1931, with a total output of more than 4 million. Subsequently, the Ford company adopted an annual model change system similar to that recently pioneered by its competitor General Motors (and still in use by automakers today). Not until the 1930s did Ford overcome his objection to finance companies, and the Ford-owned Universal Credit Corporation became a major car-financing operation.

Ford Airplane Company
Ford, like other automobile companies, entered the aviation business during World War I, building Liberty engines. After the war, it returned to auto manufacturing until 1925, when Henry Ford acquired the Stout Metal Airplane Company.

Ford 4-AT-F (EC-RRA) de L.A.P.E.Ford's most successful aircraft was the Ford 4AT Trimotor — called the “Tin Goose” because of its corrugated metal construction. It used a new alloy called Alclad that combined the corrosion resistance of aluminum with the strength of duralumin. The plane was similar to Fokker's V.VII-3m, and some say that Ford's engineers surreptitiously measured the Fokker plane and then copied it. The Trimotor first flew on June 11, 1926, and was the first successful U.S. passenger airliner, accommodating about 12 passengers in a rather uncomfortable fashion. Several variants were also used by the U.S. Army. Henry Ford has been honored by the Smithsonian Institution for changing the aviation industry. About 200 Trimotors were built before it was discontinued in 1933, when the Ford Airplane Division shut down because of poor sales during the Great Depression.

Later career
When Edsel, president of Ford Motor Company, died of cancer in May 1943, the elderly and ailing Henry Ford decided to assume the presidency. By this point in his life, he had had several cardiovascular events (variously cited as heart attack or stroke) and was mentally inconsistent, suspicious, and generally no longer fit for such a job.

Most of the directors did not want to see him as president. But for the previous 20 years, though he had long been without any official executive title, he had always had de facto control over the company; the board and the management had never seriously defied him, and this moment was not different. The directors elected him, and he served until the end of the war. During this period the company began to decline, losing more than $10 million a month. The administration of President Franklin Roosevelt had been considering a government takeover of the company in order to ensure continued war production, but the idea never progressed.

個人經歷
亨利·福特(HenryFord1863730—194748日),美國汽車工程師與企業家,福特汽車公司的建立者。他也是世界上第一位使用流水線大批量生產汽車的人。這種新的生產方式使汽車成為一種大眾產品,它不但革命了工業生產方式,而且對現代社會和文化起了巨大的影響,因此有一些社會理論學家將這一段經濟和社會歷史稱為福特主義  亨利·福特出生於美國密西根州韋恩郡的史普林威爾鎮(SpringwellsTownship,WayneCounty,MI.),該鎮是今日德寶市(Dearborn,MI.)的一部份,他在1947年時逝世於故鄉德寶的自宅中,享年83歲。  福特的父母威廉和瑪利·福特是來自愛爾蘭的移民,福特出生在他父母擁有的一座農莊上,他是六個孩子之長。他從小就對機械感興趣。12歲時他花了很多時間建立了一個自己的機械坊,15歲時他親手造了一台內燃機。  

1879年他離開家鄉去底特律做機械師學徒工,學成後他進入西屋電氣公司。1888年他結婚1891年福特成為愛迪生照明公司的一個工程師。當他1893年晉升為主工程師後,他有足夠的時間和錢財來進行他個人對內燃機的研究。1896年他製造了他的第一輛汽車,他將它命名為四輪車Quadricycle)。  

此後他與一些其他發明家離開愛迪生照明公司,他們一起成立了底特律汽車公司。但這家公司很快就倒閉了,因為福特一心只想研究新車而忽視了賣車。他讓他的車與其他公司的車比賽來證明他的車的優良性。他的第二家自己的公司,亨利·福特公司的主要產品是他的賽車,19011010日他甚至親自開車獲勝。但不久他的資助者就迫使他離開了亨利·福特公司,此後這家公司被改名為凱迪拉克。  

福特與11位其他投資者和2.8萬美元的資金于1903年建立了福特汽車公司。他新設計的車只用39.4秒就開過了一英里,當時的一個著名的賽車運動員將這輛車命名為福特999型,並帶著它周遊美國。這樣一來福特在美國就出名了。1908年福特公司推出了福特T型車。從1909年至1913年,福特的T型在多次比賽中獲勝。1913年福特退出了比賽因為他對比賽的規則不滿。這時候他也沒有必要參加比賽了,因為T型已經非常出名。同年福特將流水線引入他的工廠,從而巨大地提高了生產量。1918年半數在美國運行的汽車是T型。福特非常注意倡揚和保護T型的設計。(福特說:任何顧客可以將這輛車漆成任何他所願意的顏色,只要它保持它的黑色。)這個設計一直被保持到1927年。到1927年福特一共生產了1500T型車。此後45年內這將是一個世界記錄。  

福特非常注意他與他的雇員的關係。他的雇員每天工作八小時。1913年時每天的薪金是5美元(對當時來說相當可觀)。1918T型的頂峰時期薪金被提高到每天6美元。對當時的情況來說這是前所未聞的。此外福特還獎勵雇員的發明創造,讓他們分享他們的發明帶來的贏利。另一方面福特絕對反對工會。為了制止工會在他的工廠中活動他特別雇人研究防止工會的方法。一直到1941年在福特的工廠中才發生了第一次罷工,但一直到1945年福特離開他的公司時工會才真正能夠在他的工廠中立足。  

191911日,福特將公司總裁的位置讓給他的兒子埃茲爾·福特。儘管如此他依然是公司裡的一號人物。在埃茲爾的任期內很少有沒有過問過亨利就下的決定,而且這些沒有過問過他的決定後來還往往被他取消了。此時,福特開始將其他投資者手中的股份買回,這使他和他的兒子成為公司的唯一擁有人。但這個決定給福特汽車公司帶來了一定的打擊。此時一戰後的蕭條迫使福特借钜款來買回他的股票。  1920年福特在巴西買了許多地來種橡膠樹,目的是為他的汽車生產輪胎。但這個行動的結果是一個大失敗。1945年他將這些地賣出時他蒙受了巨大的損失。  1920年中T型車的銷售量開始減小。原因之一是其他汽車商引入了貸款購車的體系。而且其他車中的新型的機械系統是T型車所不具有的。儘管他的兒子埃茲爾·福特一再企圖說服他,亨利·福特倔強地拒絕在T型車中加入新的系統(因為新系統使車價上漲,這樣一來顧客就買不起車了),也拒絕引入貸款的體系(因為福特認為這個做法對經濟不利)。  

1926T型的出售量劇減使亨利·福特認識到他兒子一直在堅持的主意是對的:他們需要一個新的車型。亨利·福特主要從事發動機、車體和其他機械裝置的設計,在這些方面他有豐富的技術經驗。他的兒子主要進行外形的設計。埃茲爾·福特也克服了他父親一開始的反對引入了液壓刹車系統。這個合作的結果是非常成功的福特A型車。1927年十二月被引入,到1931年就已生產了400萬輛A型車。亨利·福特一直對塑膠很感興趣,尤其對大豆製成的塑膠非常感興趣。1930年代中大豆塑膠在福特車中處處可見。1942113日福特報了一輛幾乎全部由塑膠組成的車的專利。它比一般車要輕30%,據說可以承受一般車10倍的衝擊力。但這輛車從未被生產出來。1943526日埃茲爾·福特逝世,公司總裁的職位無人佔領。亨利·福特與埃茲爾·福特的遺孀在誰繼承這個職位的意見不一。最後亨利·福特親自當職。此後兩年中福特公司的情況非常困難,每月的損失達1千萬美元。美國總統佛蘭克林·德拉諾·羅斯福甚至考慮聯邦出錢資助福特度過難關,來保證戰時的生產。

 

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