Humanities › History & Culture Henry Ford Share Flipboard Email Print Henry Ford with his Model T. Getty Images History & Culture The 20th Century The 20s People & Events Fads & Fashions Early 20th Century The 30s The 40s The 50s The 60s The 80s The 90s American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History Women's History View More By Jennifer Rosenberg History Expert B.A., History, University of California at Davis Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian and writer who specializes in 20th-century history. our editorial process Jennifer Rosenberg Updated March 06, 2017 Who Was Henry Ford? Dates: July 30, 1863 -- April 7, 1947 Henry Ford's Childhood Ford, the Tinkerer Steam Engines It was during this time that Henry met Clara Bryant. When they married in 1888, Henry's father gave him a large piece of land on which Henry built a small house, a sawmill, and a shop to tinker in. Ford's Quadricycle Founding the Ford Motor Company Believing that publicity would encourage people to by cars, Henry started building and driving his own racecars. It was at racetracks that Henry Ford's name first became well known. However, the average person didn't need a racecar, they wanted something reliable. While Ford worked on designing a reliable car, investors organized a factory. It was this third attempt at a company to make automobiles, the Ford Motor Company, that succeeded. On July 15, 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold its first car, a Model A, to Dr. E. Pfennig, a dentist, for $850. Ford continually worked to improve the cars' design and soon created Models B, C, and F. The Model T Since the Model T quickly became so popular that it was selling faster than Ford could manufacture them, Ford began looking for ways to speed up the manufacturing. In 1913, Ford added a motorized assembly line in the plant. The motorized conveyor belts moved the car to the workers, who would now each add one part to the car as the car passed them. The motorized assembly line significantly cut the time, and thus cost, of manufacturing each car. Ford passed on this savings to the customer. Although the first Model T was sold for $850, the price eventually dropped to under $300. Ford produced the Model T from 1908 until 1927, building 15 million cars. Ford Advocates for His Workers Ford also created a sociological department in the factory that would examine workers' lives and try to make it better. Since he believed he knew what was best for his workers, Henry was very much against unions. Anti-Semitism Dearborn Independent The Death of Henry Ford For decades, Henry Ford and his only child, Edsel, worked together at the Ford Motor Company. However, friction between them steadily grew, based nearly entirely on differences of opinion over how the Ford Motor Company should be run. In the end, Edsel died from stomach cancer in 1943, at age 49. In 1938 and again in 1941, Henry Ford suffered strokes. On April 7, 1947, four years after Edsel's death, Henry Ford passed away at age 83.