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Henry Ford

The automobile manufacturer Henry Ford is credited with having revolutionised the industrial production industry by introducing the assembly line that is still used in car manufacturing today. The pioneering company founder also raised wages for staff and cut the price of his cars to turn the Ford Motor Company into a thriving business that has survived for more than a century.

On 16th June in Michigan, Detroit, Ford was founded by Henry Ford who was 39 at the time. The American industrialist is regarded as having been responsible for developing today's mass production industry, using innovative assembly line techniques that had never been seen before.

By reducing his cars' prices, he produced the first automobile that middle-class Americans could afford. Prior to his assembly line technology, the automobile was something of an oddity - and far too expensive for most people on an average income to purchase.

His invention turned the car into a practical mode of transport - not only did it revolutionise the motor sector, it also changed industry in general, as today’s production lines are used for many different manufacturing industries. Ford's foresight made him one of the most famous people in the world, as well as one of the richest.

Henry was born in July 1863 in Greenfield Township, Michigan. He loved tinkering with all things mechanical from an early age, after his father gave him a pocket watch when he was 15. He taught himself how to dismantle and reassemble it and was soon repairing watches for friends and neighbours.

In 1879, his first job was as an apprentice machinist for James F Flower and Brothers' machine shop at the age of 17. He went on to work for Detroit Dry Dock Company in 1881, where he learned about heavy industry. His family owned a farm and he learned how to operate their Westinghouse portable steam engine.

His superior knowledge of mechanics led to Henry being employed by Westinghouse to service their steam engines. He always had a keen head for business and learned bookkeeping at business college at the same time. He designed his first vehicle, which he called the Ford Quadricycle, in 1896.

Henry then formed his own company with a friend, Alexander Malcomson, to manufacture automobiles - Ford and Malcomson Ltd. This led to the launch of Ford Motor Company, thanks to backing from investors in 1903. Henry's new methods of carrying out large-scale automobile manufacturing, using an industrial workforce and moving assembly lines, was a brand new concept that had never been experienced anywhere before.

He paid good wages to his workforce to keep satisfaction and productivity high and as a result of his management skills, the brand became one of the largest auto manufacturers of the 20th century, acquiring UK subsidiaries Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.

Today, Ford is a global giant of the motor industry with ventures in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand and Russia. It is the second-largest automobile manufacturer in America, with global revenues of $118.3 billion. More than 5.5 million vehicles roll off the production line every year, with 213,000 employees working at 90 plants across the world.

Modern day production lines commonly rely on conveyor belts to provide a cost-effective solution for product handling, assembly lines and manufacturing. Coruba stocks a large range of modern conveyor belts to help streamline your business. Please contact us for further information.

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