Episode 189: Henry Ford: The Birth of Industry
On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the genius, wealth, and impact of Henry Ford. Known for the spread of the automobile, Ford was also a major historical figure for the creation of the modern-day assembly line and the idea of global corporate logistics. His Ford Motor Company eventually became a self-sustaining empire, in which he owned everything in the supply chain from rubber for the tires to steel and wood mills for the car frames.
Born as one of four children on a prosperous farm near Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford had no formal education. However, at thirteen, his father gave him a watch, and he immediately took it apart and put it back together, prompting other farmers to come to have him repair their time pieces and eventually other equipment.
At only sixteen, Ford moved to Detroit to apprentice in a machine shop, and from there, his path was set. He went back and forth between Detroit and the family farm after he was married, but he eventually found work for Thomas Edison’s company. While there, the worked on a side project to design and build a horseless carriage. He wasn’t the first to build such a thing, but he had better ideas than most. He eventually showed his concept to Edison, who convinced him to pursue the ideas, and a few years later, the Model A was born.
Ford got into the car game at the start, and with the massive success of the Model T (half the cars in American were Model Ts by 1918), he had to create a streamlined way to make them. Enter: the assembly line. Ford developed his streamlined method of mass production as well as a shorter work week for almost twice the pay of typical factories, and the loyalty and efficiency of Ford made him one of the wealthiest men in the world. We debate his intentions with his employees and open with the fact that he hated Jews. How wealthy was he? Why did Hitler love him? How much did he hate Jews? Listen, laugh, learn.