• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What Influence Did Henry Ford Have On 1920s America?

Extracts from this document...


Simon Addison

What Influence Did Henry Ford Have On 1920s America?

Henry Ford was born in Dearborn, Michigan on July 30th, 1863. His family were farmers, but from a young age Ford was driven by ideas of the American Dream and industrialisation, and so left school at 16 and moved to Detroit to become a machinist’s apprentice. During his time as a mechanical engineer he became interested in the idea of automobiles, and by 1893, after much experimentation, he completed his first motorcar. In 1903, Ford founded his own company, the Ford Motor Company at Highland Park in Detroit (which would later become known as “motor city”).

By 1908, Ford was producing 100 cars a day by basic mass-production methods used in many industries. Ford had teams of 12 men, each attaching a part to a car in order to make a finished model. Ford had released a new model of car, the Model T, but believed his current production methods were inefficient, and wanted a new system to go along with the new car. Even by 1913, when Ford was producing 500 cars a day, each car took 121/2 hours to make. He had to hire workers who were semi-skilled, or at least trained in many areas of car production, and so was forced to pay them higher wages than he would have liked. He also thought that too much time was wasted with workers moving around to do different jobs. In 1913, Ford visited the factory of Swift and Co.

...read more.


Ford showed cunning not only in understanding the most efficient means of production, but also in understanding what people would want from a car, and in taking control of his industry. Model Ts used standardised parts, meaning if a car should break, the owner could simply order a new part and continue using the car. Ford made a great deal of money simply from the sale of spare parts. Ford let his workers buy cars at reduced prices, and set up credit plans for people who could not afford cars. He also expanded his business, setting up factories in Asia, Australia, Canada, South Africa and South America to cater for foreign demand. On top of this, he bought and set up companies in the industries that provided the raw materials for his cars; including steel works and glass factories.

Henry Ford’s achievements brought success and prosperity to the whole of America, and the influence of both his products and his ideas were huge upon 1920s America. By making cheap, affordable, reliable automobiles, Ford brought cars to the common people who would never have been able to afford them before. This meant that normal people could make short-distance journeys easily and conveniently. As a result, people could drive to work or the city centre without living nearby. People chose to escape the rush of inner-city living, and began to live on the outskirts of cities, within driving distance. Suburbs quickly sprang up and expanded.

...read more.


The success of Ford, and entrepreneurs like him, made only him rich. While Ford increased workers’ wages, they were still horribly disproportionate to the huge profits the big companies were raking in. This made the rich/poor divide wider, with many workers living in horrible conditions. Combined with this was the simple fact that Ford’s huge production rate on served to over-saturate his market. Everyone who could afford a car soon had one, and those who could not would take out loans or credit plans in order to buy one. This increased debt, and when the market saturation eventually brought industry to a stand-still, many people were in serious problems. This can be seen as one of the largest contributing factors to the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Henry Ford’s influence on the industrial state of affairs and the nature of life for common city workers in 1920s America is huge. Many people at the time recognised his influence with slogans like “When Ford’s sneezes Detroit catches a cold”. The problem was, Ford’s soon did sneeze, and it was not just Detroit, but the whole of America that caught the cold. A lack of foresight from the American people threw their country into a depression, and while this may have limited the influences of Henry Ford’s products to be temporary only, it is his methods that live on. The ideas of assembly lines and mass standardised production are still used today by almost every company in every industry in the world.0

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Gary's (and other) Car Sales section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Gary's (and other) Car Sales essays

  1. Used Cards - find which factors will influence the price of a second hand ...

    Ford Cougar 19990 4470 9 10000 160 Ford Focus 12000 4615 7 10000 169 Ford Explorer 26070 4715 10 10000 150 Ford fiesta 9450 5050 5 10000 165 Ford Puma 12295 7560 5 10000 175 Ford Cougar 21980 7985 6 10000 149 Ford Galaxy 2000 25597 8990 7 10000 179

  2. Used second hand cars

    But because we can see that the car which is ten years old has a lower price than the cars aged 1, 2, and 4 and so on. To make sure that I get an accurate figure of how the price depreciates per year, I have found out the percentage depreciation.

  1. Ford Motor Company

    (Business Week, 3860) 2.2.3 Reduce internal costs Ford has carried out a drive to drastically cut fixed costs. 2000 workers were made redundant in mainland Europe, part of the aim to reduce the workforce by 10%. Several production plants have been closed and Fiesta production has been outsourced to Mazda in Spain.

  2. Maths - statistical driving test

    I am now going to investigate further by dividing instructor B's students into two separate scatter graphs, one to explore males and the other females performance levels, again looking at the number of lessons and mistakes. As before I will be looking for negative correlation.

  1. Factors affecting price of Used Car

    Orion Vauxhall Vectra Fiat Tipo Rover 623 GSi Ford Focus Vauxhall Astra Fiat Bravo Rover Metro Ford Escort Vauxhall Calibra Fiat Uno Rover 623 Gsi Ford Fiesta LX Vauxhall Nova Fiat Bravo Rover Club Ford Fiesta Vauxhall Tigra Fiat Tempra Rover Metro Ford Escort Duet Vauxhall Astra Fiat Punto Rover

  2. Maths coursework - car prices

    I will make predications from the line of best fit, which I will then conclude the scatter graph and refer back to my predications. Method on removing outliers To remove my outliers of my second hand car I will use quartiles to find out the outliers of my second hand

  1. Mathematics course work

    The BMW with the lowest age is the BMW 330i with the age of 2. From these 5 cars the car that have the lower age will cost more then the car with the highest age, my hypothesis was right.

  2. Ford Motor Company

    Company, new CEO of Ford, William C Ford, adopted the 2 1/2 year turnaround plan adopted by Ford Europe as 'the blueprint for repairing the No. 2 carmaker's core auto operations' (Business Week, 01/12/03) The architects of the Ford business strategy were Ford Motor's International boss David W.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work