The Most Significant Person of the 20th Contury: Henry Ford

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Henry Ford, born on July 30, 1863, is the most significant person in the 20th century. The main reason for this is his inventing, developing, and processing of the world famous Model T. The Model T was an innovation for its time, not only was it durable and dependable it was also affordable by the common working household. At one time more than half the automobiles on the streets of America were Model Ts and a total of 15 million, exactly, were sold.

Henry Ford grew up a farm boy in Springwells township (now part of Dearborn), Michigan. He lived there for seventeen years working on the farm for his parents. He later said that he hated farm work but he loved mechanics. In his spare time he would tinker around in their tool shed for hours thinking of new ways to do things and this and that. When Ford was seventeen he left his family farm to work in Detroit as an apprentice at the Flower Machine Shop.

He quickly grew tired of working there and found a job at the Detroit Docking Company where he helped fix ship engines. By 1882 he was a certified mechanic and was hired by the Westinghouse Company to set up and fix steam engines in southern Michigan. In 1888, Ford went back to his family farm to marry Clara Bryant. They settled down on a 40-acre farm given to him by his father. It was in 1891 that Ford finally designed a small internal-combustion engine, powered by gasoline. With his job that he acquired at the Edison Illuminating Company as chief engineer he constructed his first engine in 1893. He attached the motor to a four-wheeled cart and rode it around, he began selling them soon after. He quit his job at...