“If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you are right.”
Henry Ford (1863-1947)
The quintessential American industrialist, Ford got his start as an engineer with the Edison Illumination Company, eventually rising to Chief Engineer and beginning to experiment with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Ford is credited with the development of assembly line manufacturing and the franchise system which allowed him to produce and sell a car that the middle class could afford. He also believed in paying his employees much higher wages than average so that they could help fuel an upward capitalist spiral. He thought increased international commerce would lead to peace and was only a reluctant supporter of the US war effort, although at its peak his Willow Run plant was building one B-24 bomber every hour. Ford’s reputation as a philanthropist was enhanced by the vast wealth he left to the Ford Foundation, but sullied by his life-long anti-Semitism.