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25 Little-Known Facts About The Ford Motor Company
Since the beginning of the 20th century, there have been a lot of inventions that have changed the way the world functions. None of those inventions are as important as the automobile. It allowed people to do a lot of things that they weren't previously able to do. It allowed them to travel to work and move out of the urban centers and helped to create the suburbs. The companies that arose in the early 1900s have become some of the most influential companies in the world. One of the most important companies that separated itself from the rest was Ford.
The Ford Motor Company has a history that spans 115 years, and there have been a lot of things that they've done that have left their mark on the auto industry. Ford is one of those companies that's a household name, and it's recognized by people all around the world. There are a lot of things that Ford has done that the whole world is aware of, and there are some things that they've been involved in that not many people know about.
Henry Ford and the company that he started has become a worldwide powerhouse and has done things in the industry that have garnered serious respect. There's a lot of history that comes with 115 years of existence, and some of those things are incredible and interesting. Here are 25 things that people around the world probably don't know about the Ford Motor Company.
- Jim Morrison
The Doors is one of the most famous rock groups in music history. The lead singer was Jim Morrison, and he's become an inspiration to many musicians of that time and the generations that were to follow.
Jim Morrison only ever owned one car, and it was a Ford vehicle.
He owned a 1967 Shelby GT 500, which is one of the most famous Mustang models that was ever produced. Jim Morrison died of a heart attack in 1971 in Paris at the age of 27. He's buried in Paris, and his gravesite is one of the largest tourist attractions in Paris to this day.
- Edison Illuminating Company
Before Henry Ford became the great man, we all learned about in history class, he worked for Thomas Edison at the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit, Michigan. He was Edison's chief engineer, and he considered Edison to be his mentor and an inspiration. While he was working at the Edison Illuminating Company, he became intrigued by gasoline-powered vehicles and was working on his dream of creating a horseless carriage. He was working for Edison before he left to go and pursue his dream of building automobiles. Edison was instrumental in Ford going on to be the man he became.
- The Quadricycle
The quadricycle was the first vehicle that Henry Ford ever built, and it was completed in 1896. It was called the quadricycle, and it was built with 4 bicycle wheels, a tiller, a gas-powered 4-horsepower engine, and a gearbox.
When he was working for Edison, he was on call 24 hours a day because he was the guy who was making sure that the electricity in Detroit continued working.
He built the quadricycle in his downtime when he wasn't working. His interest was sparked after he had read an article in the November 1895 issue of American Machinist about gas-powered vehicles.
Henry Ford attempted to create a small "utopian"-type village in the Amazonian jungle of Brazil in 1928. His idea was to create a large rubber plantation the size of a small village that would serve multiple purposes. It would be a place that would supply jobs to the local people while supplying fresh rubber for his factories. It's an incredibly harsh landscape, and setting up the village ended up being a lot more difficult than he had originally thought it would be. It ended up becoming a failed attempt, and the land that it once sat on sits abandoned and uninhabited to this day.
- 24 Hours Of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest active sports car race in the world, and it's held just outside of Le Mans, France. The first race was held in 1923, and it became the race that would let the world know which sports cars were the best sports cars in the world. From 1960-1965, Ferrari had been the car to beat in that race.
In 1966, the Ford Motor Company entered the race with the Ford GT40 and won.
It broke Ferrari's six-year win streak, and Ford would win for four consecutive years ('66-'70). This was great redemption for Ford since the deal to buy Ferrari had fallen through a few years earlier.
The famous monster truck Bigfoot was originally built in 1975. Multiple generations of people throughout the United States have gone to monster truck rallies just so they could watch Bigfoot race and crush cars. The original truck was built on a Ford F-Series truck body. From 1984 to 2007, Ford and Firestone co-sponsored this truck as a fun form of advertising and marketing for their popular brands. When Ford pulled its sponsorship, it picked up Chevrolet as another sponsor because Firestone became the official tire of Major League Baseball, and Chevrolet was the official car.
- Ford Airplanes
During World War I, the Ford Motor Company branched off into building airplanes. There were numerous things that sparked this foray for Henry Ford. He had a love for anything mechanical and wanted to do his part to help out the United States military during the "war to end all wars."
Ford was the type of man who was always into inventing and expanding his reach, and he ultimately held 161 different patents in his life.
Later on, the United States Centennial of Flight Commission recognized Ford as a pioneer in aviation. He shut down the operation in 1933 because of the lack of success, but at least he couldn't say he didn't try.
- Going Green
We live in a time when people are becoming so aware of their effects on the planet and how the choices they make have real consequences. Henry Ford was aware of this long before anyone else was. In the 1930s, some Ford factories were burning human and animal waste as fuel. He was using biofuels before anyone knew what a biofuel even was. He may not have known it then, but he was a man who was wise beyond the times in which he lived. He was setting an example that no one recognized, and it's too bad that no one else picked up on what it was he was doing.
- Pay Increase
The average wage for a factory worker was around $2.50 a day in 1914. In 1914, Henry Ford increased the pay for his employees to $5 a day, which was unheard of for those times. It was a move that would do great things for the company and for the employees who worked for Ford. It was a move the created an atmosphere of satisfied employees. This translated into increased productivity and also a wage that would allow them to buy a car that they had a hand in making. It was a win/win situation for both sides.
- Edison's Last Breath
"The Henry Ford" is the name of the museum that Ford opened to the public as a work in progress in 1933. It was fully completed in the early 1940s. It was created as a way to commemorate not only the Ford Motor Company but also the ideas of American ingenuity and invention. There are also some interesting exhibits, including a test tube that's said to hold the last breath of Thomas Edison, his mentor and friend. It's said that Henry Ford asked Edison's son to capture this breath when he was on his deathbed, and this test tube is on display today in the museum.
- Ford's Part In World War I
Many people don't realize it, but World War I was the first war that utilized motorized vehicles. Before that, supplies and people were moved via horse or man power, and this is one of the reasons why wars lasted so long. This was a major shift in the way that daily functions were carried out in the field and in military technology.
The Ford Motor Company made sure to lend their services to the soldiers of the United States military.
The Ford Model T, one of the most famous cars ever built, was used in a variety of ways. It was outfitted as ambulances, delivery trucks, and artillery transportation.
- Ford's Contributions In World War II
Henry Ford was openly opposed to the United States getting involved in World War II because of his pacifist stance. Despite these feelings, it was hard to say no to generous business opportunities. Even before the U.S. got involved, he did agree to build airplane engines for the British military. Once the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, Ford's stance shifted due to the circumstances. By the end of the war, Ford built B-24 Liberator bombers, over 86,000 aircraft, more than 57,000 airplane engines, over 4,000 gliders, and more than 277,000 armored cars, tanks, and Jeeps, as well as thousands of superchargers and generators for various uses.
- Worldwide Reach
He was always a passionate engineer and an ambitious businessman. He wanted to be as successful as possible and would take his influence all over the world. He tried to buy the Ferrari brand in the early to mid-1960s before the deal fell through (which was disappointing for him and made those wins in Le Mans that much sweeter). At one point or another, the Ford Motor Company had stakes in Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercury, and Aston Martin. Today, the only brand that's owned by Ford is Lincoln. He was the kind of man who wanted to be the biggest name in automobiles and actively tried to expand his reach in the industry.
- It Comes Full Circle
The Ford Motor Company is still controlled by the descendants of Henry Ford, although they're only minority owners. They hold a majority of the voting power in the boardroom but only hold a minority of the money.
The last Ford descendant that held the position of CEO was William Ford Jr. One of the things that he made sure to have was the first Ford that was ever sold.
It was a 1903 Ford Model A that was sold to a Dr. Pfennig in 1903. It was a way for the family to hold onto a piece of their family heritage and the legacy that Henry Ford had built. It's on display in The Henry Ford for all of the world to see.
- International Marketing
Good marketing is one of the most important parts of running a business, especially when you're doing international business. The marketing scheme that a company chooses when they expand to another country is important because it has to appeal to that population and with what they can relate to. In the case of Ford, he used the Mercury brand to appeal to the Canadian populations because of the reputation it already had in Canada. The Ford F series trucks were marketed as Mercury M series trucks in Canada from 1948 to 1968. A good example of this in modern times is Acura in the U.S. being known as "Honda Acura" overseas.
- The F-150
Pickup trucks were made for the hardworking person who needed a vehicle to work just as hard as they do. Many major brands have a line of trucks, and over time, brands that didn't have trucks made them. Many times, when a person or family finds a make or model of truck that they like, they tend to stay loyal to that vehicle for many years. This is the basis of people or families being Ford people for generations. This is reflected in the reputation of the F series pickup trucks because the Ford F-150 has been the bestselling vehicle in the United States since 1982.
- Ford In The United Kingdom
The Ford Fiesta, a subcompact hatchback, was originally introduced to the world in 1976. It's a subcompact hatchback that became one of the most globally successful front-wheel-drive vehicles that have been produced. It was sold throughout the United States from 1978 to 1981, and then, it was discontinued until Ford brought it back in 2009. It was so popular when it first came out that it even broke the Mustang's 1-year sales record. Since then, it's gained popularity overseas, especially in the United Kingdom. It's become the most popular vehicle in the United Kingdom so far this year (2018).
- What Are We Going To Call It?
It's still being debated to this day as to how the Mustang got its name. The possibilities include being named after the P-51 Fighter plane, the Southern Methodist University mascot, or the wild Mustangs of the American West. It's never been cleared up, but it's fun to discuss. This wasn't the only name that was in the running for the name of this model car. Cougar and Torino were also possibilities, but those names would be used for other Ford models. Mustang turned out to be the right choice because it's a car that's loved by many and respected by most.
- Huge Numbers
The first Mustang was the 1964 1/2, and the Mustang has become one of the most popular American cars of all time. In the first two years of production, there were 1 million units sold. It's one of the few models that have been in continuous production since they came out.
It's a car that's loved by car lovers the world over and by the everyday Joe.
They're used as daily drivers by some and weekend hot rods by others. Some enjoy the process of restoring an older car to its past prestige and taking it out to car shows whenever they can.
- Big Money At Auction
Some cars have become worth major money, especially to the right person. Many people go to auctions in order to find the car that they're looking for. Some auctions are places where people spend major money and get the rarest of cars. There are some car auctions like Mecum and Barrett-Jackson that are even televised so that the world can see some of the most pristine cars roll up on the blocks. The most expensive Mustang ever sold at auction was a 1967 Shelby GT Super Snake that sold for $1.3 million. It's the kind of car that all Mustang lovers know and wish they were able to have sitting in their garage right now.
- The Ford GT
There are a limited number of Ford GTs built every year, and no regular joe can go out and just buy one. The GT is Ford's supercar, and they're selective about whom they allow to own them. They're so picky that there's a lengthy application process in order to own one. They want the owners to be people who are global influencers in the world of automobiles. People like Jay Leno, professional baseball player C.J. Wilson, YouTuber Shmee150, Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, and Scottish singer Amy MacDonald are examples of some of the people who are lucky enough to own one.
- Ford Wasn't The First
As instrumental as Henry Ford was in the automobile industry, he wasn't the inventor of the automobile. He was inspired by the man who created the first gas-powered vehicle in Germany. Karl Benz created a vehicle known as the Motorwagen in 1886. It was a 3-wheeled, gas-powered vehicle. It wasn't put into mass production, but it was the ripple that started the wave. Ford was the first company to mass-produce vehicles that were affordable for the everyday person or family. He also revolutionized the way that factories were organized and functioned and was key in the evolution of the automobile.
- The Ford Motor Company Was Created In 1903
The Ford Motor Company was created in 1903 in Detroit, Michigan. It was started by 12 people, including Henry Ford and his son Edsel. He did it this way in order to garner the proper amount of money that it would take to financially support a business to become successful. In the beginning, Henry held a 25.5% stake in the company, but it would definitely not stay that way. In 1919, Henry and Edsel would buy out all the other 10 owners so that the Ford family could gain full control of the company that bore their name. The first Ford facility was located on Mack Avenue in Detroit.
- Tin Lizzie
There are few inventions that people consider to be fundamental in the shaping of the world as we know it. The wheel, the combustion engine, and the moving assembly line (an invention of Henry Ford) are some of the most important inventions that changed human history. One of those inventions include the Ford Model T, also called the "Tin Lizzie," which was sold from 1908 to 1927 for a price, at the time, of $260. In 2000, the Model T was named the "Car of the 20th Century." It also makes it on to the top 10 list of most units ever sold with over 16 million purchased. In the first year that it was in production, the Model T sold 10,660 units.
- The Moving Assembly Line
The moving assembly line was arguably one of the most important things that Henry Ford ever did for the world. It was a revolutionary innovation that changed the way that factories were organized. It allowed for a major increase in productivity. For example, it cut down the time it took to build a car from over 700 minutes to just over 90 minutes. That led to a major boost in the amount of profit that the company could earn. It was an example of how Henry Ford was involved in every part of the process of the building of the cars that bear his name. It probably only seemed like a good business decision at the time, but it turned into an innovation that changed the world.
- Hotcars.com, 7/1/2018