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All About Michigan

Henry Ford

Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863. He grew up on a farm in what is today Dearborn, Michigan. He was the oldest of six children. He went to a one room school house and did farm chores. At an early age he became interested in mechanical things and found out that he didn’t like to do farm work.

At the age of sixteen in 1879, he left home and went to Detroit to work as an apprentice machinist. He was an apprentice for three years before returning to Dearborn. Once back in Dearborn, he operated and repaired steam engines, overhauled his father’s farm implements and occasionally worked in a Detroit factory. In 1888, he married Clara and made his living running a sawmill.

In 1891, Ford became an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. He was promoted to Chief Engineer in 1893 which gave him enough money and time to devote his attention to personal experiments on internal combustion engines.

These experiments came to a head in 1896 when he completed his self-propelled vehicle called the Quadricycle commonly called the “gasoline buggy”. It had four wire wheels, was steered with a tiller and had only two forward speeds. Ford was not the first to built a self-propelled vehicle with a gas engine but one of several pioneers. He drove it around for two years and it drew a crowd everywhere he went.

The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 with Ford as vice-president and chief engineer. They produced only a few cars a day at the factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit...

Learn more about the history of Henry Ford in today's All About Michigan!

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