"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." - Henry Ford
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
Few Americans have a reputation and legacy anything like Henry Ford's, the man whose name is still associated with one of the world's most famous car companies. Ford is unquestionably one of his country's most famous industrialists, and his use of an assembly line to mass produce automobiles was not only innovative but also made it possible for Americans to own cars en masse. To this day, Ford Motor Company's Model T is a household name more than a century after they were manufactured, not only because they were famous cars but because they represented affordable purchases that revolutionized the way people traveled across the country. Cars would never be a luxury item only for the wealthy again.
Although Ford's use of an assembly line meant human labor was not as necessary as it would otherwise be, he became known for advocating on behalf of labor rights, including offering an unprecedented $5 work day (the equivalent of $120 today), which doubled how much his workers were previously making and helped ensure his company would be both popular and a destination for workers.