Henry Ford Lesson for Kids: Facts & Biography

Instructor: Abby Federico

Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.

This lesson will teach you about Henry Ford, the creator of Ford Motor Company. You will learn about how he got his start with automobile production and how he forever changed the way things were produced.

Henry Ford's Early Life

If you have ever seen a Ford vehicle, you have Henry Ford to thank! He was the man who started the Ford Motor Company and played a big part in making cars popular for regular people to drive.

Henry Ford was born in Michigan in 1863. He left home when he was just 16 years old and moved to Detroit, Michigan, to learn how to operate machines. Ford married a neighbor, Clara Bryant, in 1888.

Ford worked many jobs, including operating a sawmill and as an engineer with Edison Illuminating Company (owned by Thomas Edison). Ford was also working on the idea of creating a 'horseless carriage.' The horseless carriage would run on gasoline instead of using horses. Ford finally created the 'Quadricycle' in 1896, which was considered the first automobile!

Henry Ford
Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company

In 1903, Ford created the Ford Motor Company, which still exists today. The first car they made was called the Model A. At that time, building automobiles was slow work, so they could only make a couple of cars a day. The workers also had to do everything by hand.

Ford was always trying to things better, and he soon would create the Model T in 1908.

Changing Production and Labor

The Model T (nicknamed the 'Tin Lizzie') was extremely popular and many people wanted to own one. However, it was still taking a long time to build the cars, and Ford knew that he had to come up with a new way to make them faster.

One way he did this was to pay his workers more money so that they would stay loyal. In 1914, the minimum wage was $2.34 a day. Ford decided to double this for his workers and paid them $5.00 a day!

In addition to paying his workers more, Ford figured out that if he used an assembly line he would be able quickly produce vehicles. An assembly line is when there are many workstations that each focus on one part of a whole product. Ford's cars would go through the workstations, with a part being added at each station until it was complete.

This way, the cars were created by mass production, which is when you make very large amounts of a product using an assembly line. This technique allowed Ford to make vehicles quickly and cheaply, which meant more people could then afford the cars. As a result, in 1918, half of all cars used were Model Ts!

Ford Model T
Ford Model T

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