Henry Ford: The 3 Things That Made Him Famous

BornJuly 30th, 1863
DiedApril 7th, 1947
Famous Quote“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”
Known ForThe first mass-produced car, creating the assembly line, and endowing the arts and humanities.
Region of WorldThe United States, early 19th century.
Further ReadingWalt Disney: The 3 Major Ways He Changed The World and The 7 Greatest Early 20th Century U.S Entrepreneurs

Of all the businessmen in the United States during the 20th century, few had the impact that Henry Ford did. As a result of his impacts, he became a near-overnight sensation and as a result, became incredibly famous.

The 3 things that made Henry Ford famous were his creation of the world’s first affordable automobile and assembly line, his dramatic increase in salary for his employees, and finally his massive endowment of the humanities and social sciences.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 things that made Henry Ford famous.

Creation of the World’s First Affordable Automobile

One of the things that made Henry Ford so famous was the creation of the world’s first affordable car, the Model T.

The Model T was first released to the public in 1908 and over the next two decades would go on to sell over 15 million units.

What made the Model T so special was its price point. In 1916 a Model T only cost $360 ($9,370 today) far below the price of other cars.

This made Henry Ford and his company overnight millionaires as people from around the world flocked to buy one of his new vehicles.

Henry Ford was adamant to never change the model T and to make it as easy as possible to build and maintain. All Model T’s coming out of the factory had only one color, black. This made it easier to mass-produce them.

What made this Model T so cost-effective however was the creation of the world’s first modern assembly line. Ford’s mechanics would spend all day building one individual part and then put it all together.

This drastically speeds up production time while also minimizing overhead and spending. His business competitors became astonished as the Ford Motor Company could mass produce thousands of cars.

Today, all modern factories use Henry Ford’s assembly line production system to streamline manufacturing and cut costs. Further, Ford became a household famous name by giving the average American the ability to buy one of his cars.

Henry Ford Dramatically Increased Pay for Employees

One of the main things that made Henry Ford incredibly famous was to pay every single person who worked for him extremely well by even today’s standards. In 1914 Henry Ford shocked the industrial world by announcing extremely high compensation for all of his workers.

From the first day starting at the Ford Motor Company new employees would be paid $5 a day for an 8.5-hour workday. In today’s dollars, that means that an entry-level employee would make $130 for 8.5 hours or an hourly rate of $15.20 an hour!

Further, after working for the Ford Motor Company for longer than 6 months employees in good standing with the company would be eligible for profit sharing. This further increased their total compensation.

This was a genius move for Henry Ford. Overnight highly trained mechanics would leave the other car companies and start to work at Ford’s. With them they brought networks, skills, and talent that helped to explode Henry Ford’s company.

From 1914 up through the end of the 1920s the Ford Motor Company would see record profits year over year; some years even above 100%!

Almost instantly Henry Ford became incredibly famous across the United States. Mechanics would travel from all over to begin working at the Ford Motor Company.

Today one of the main reasons we know of Henry Ford was because of how well he treated his labor force. During a time when the average pay for a factory worker was around $2.5 a day, Henry Ford shocked the world by giving workers a profit-sharing plan and doubling the average entry-level pay.

Henry Ford Donated Huge Funds to the Humanities and Social Sciences

Within worldwide academia, Henry Ford’s name is synonymous with massive funding through the Ford Foundation.

This massive nonprofit grant funding foundation donates extensively to the humanities and social sciences. Up until the mid-2000’s it remained the world’s largest private endowment with a massive $16 billion.

Several crucial inventions and discoveries have been funded by the Ford Foundation over the past 80 years. Here is a brief list of them.

  • Helping to found the Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
  • Funding several literary artists
  • Establishment of law programs and law clinics
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Fighting the AIDS epidemic
  • $1 billion dollar donation to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.

Because of this massive endowment foundation, Henry Ford continues to be a household name. To this day people from around the world are given the ability to go to school and pursue what makes them happy because of the efforts of Henry Ford.

This is one of the main reasons why Henry Ford has become so famous over the past century. For many people, he remains a symbol of American ingenuity and business.


There you have it; an entire article that goes over the 3 main things that made Henry Ford famous.

Henry Ford lived during a time of struggle and change. He was born into a world where the primary means of transportation were ship and horse. When he died the world changed to having everyone transported by cars and airplanes.

Here at The History Ace, I strive to write the best history articles on the internet. If you like the content like this then feel free to subscribe to the newsletter and share around the internet. I really appreciate it.

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