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A timeline of the life of Henry Ford from the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentary "Henry Ford."
Read an interview with Professor Hasia Diner on Henry Ford's anti-Semitic views and the impact of his public expression of them.
A happenstance discovery of a modest gravestone deep in the Rust Belt serves as a reminder of religious prejudices alive today.
Thomas Edison was Henry Ford's hero. In 1896, shortly after building his quadricycle, Henry Ford had the chance to meet the famous inventor at a convention in New York. Edison, who was convinced the future lay in electric powered cars, encouraged Ford to "keep at it." In 1907, Ford was on the brink of releasing the Model T. The inventors forged a friendship that lasted their whole lives.
In the 1920s, many Americans were listening to Jazz and learning the Charleston. Henry Ford preferred the country dances he learned as a boy - quadrilles, gavottes, the schottische, the polka and the chorus jig were his favorites. Later in life he hosted dance lessons in Dearborn twice a week to teach what he believed was the correct, old way of dancing.
For many years, Henry Ford took annual camping trips with the "vagabonds" - his close friends Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs - with an entourage of servants, photographers, friends and family often in tow. On several occasions a president even joined along - President Harding in 1921 and Coolidge in 1923. Here, the group dined around a giant lazy Susan during their 1923 trip.
In early 1907, Henry Ford walled off a corner of his Piquette Avenue factory to be used for automotive development. Ford thought nothing of joining his workers on the factory floor to experiment with new engine ignition designs or suspension systems. Every few months, Ford released another automobile in his alphabet line, each improving upon the last.
Five Ford employees share stories, ranging from the factory floor to the hiring office, that illuminate the Henry Ford years in Detroit, Michigan.
To reduce costs and increase production of his most successful automobile -- the Model T -- Henry Ford borrowed a tactic from the meatpacking industry and implemented the assembly line in his manufacturing plant. It would revolutionize the auto industry as would Ford's groundbreaking Five Dollar Day wage for an eight-hour shift.
The United States has seen its share of industrial titans. Which of them do you think had the greatest impact on our country and our world? Henry Ford, whose automobile changed our lives? Andrew Carnegie, the richest man in the world? Or Rockefeller, who competed with Carnegie in a battle of philanthropy. Or perhaps you think it is someone else? Share your story with American Experience.