Henry Ford was a driven individual passionate about the internal combustion engine and the automobile. At a very young age Ford began to experiment with the mechanical side of everyday products. For example, he built his own watch. Ford often dreamed of making watches available on the market for a dollar each. Ford looked to his heroes for inspiration. Thomas Edison became an influential person in Ford's life. After many years of experimentation, Ford finally came up with the right tools for success. With $28,000 of investors money Ford began the Ford Motor Company. Ford began to roll the cars off of the assembly line at record speeds.
During the late 30's and early 40's Ford was sought out by countries to produce planes for the war effort. The British government contracted Ford to begin to make their airplanes engines. This was not all the war effort that Ford would get into. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ford Motor Company completely changed the Willow Run plant into a B-24 bomber manufacturing facility. Ford created an assembly line one mile long. At one point during the war effort Ford Motor Company was producing one plane every one hour. "By the end of the war, ford had built 86,865 complete aircraft (Grudens)."
Ford Motor Company did not limit themselves to airplane manufacturing during this time. They built four-wheeled canteens, four wheel drive trucks, grenades, bombs, and engine powered landing craft. Ford reached a level of production during the war that was unprecedented. Henry Ford was able to learn and apply the lessons of the wartime production to the automobile factories after the war. Ford was a defining factor in helping the United States win the war.
Grudens, Richard. "Henry Ford in WWII," WWII Magazine Jan 1997. http://www.historynet.com/wwii/blhenryford/ (6 April 2006). [continues]
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