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This Week in HistoryThis Week in History: Week 24 (16 June 1903)

Henry Ford Founds The Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford founds a company that will revolutionize industrial production methods.

In 1903, Henry Ford and 11 business associates signed the Ford Motor Company's articles of incorporation. Established with just $28,000, the company sold its first car, a "Model A Ford", a month later to a doctor in Detroit. In 1913, the company developed a new production method called the "assembly line". It had each worker staying in one place and performing the same task on each car as it passed by. This revolutionary new production method greatly improved efficiency and was soon being used in factories around the world.

found (verb): create or start something new
revolutionize (verb): change (something) completely and fundamentally
industrial production (noun): the making or manufacture of things on a large scale
business associate (noun): a person who is connected to another in a certain line of work
assembly line (noun): line of people doing parts of a job to make a finished product
efficiency (noun): how well something works

Video transcript: Henry Ford was the leading manufacturer of American automobiles in the early 1900s. He revolutionized a young automobile industry by developing the assembly-line method of production. By manufacturing his own parts and developing a huge system of conveyors to bring the parts to the assembly line, Ford reduced the cost of manufacturing automobiles. And Ford passed on much of the savings created by assembly-line production to his customers. In 1908, when the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T, it cost 850 dollars. By 1924, assembly line innovations helped reduce the price of a Model T to 290 dollars. An automobile was now within reach of the average family.

Test your understanding:


1. The Ford Motor Company sold its first car

a) for $28,000
b) to a doctor in Detroit in 1913
c) a month after it was founded

Show answer

c


2. Each worker on Ford's assembly line performed

a) many tasks on one car
b) one task on many cars
c) many tasks on many cars

Show answer

b


3. If a new production method revolutionizes manufacturing, it

a) changes it slightly
b) changes it slowly
c) changes it completely

Show answer

c


Contributor: Matt Errey