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article number 735
article date 09-13-2018
copyright 2018 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
A Look at Two Famous Inventors, Edison in Retrospect and Ford in Futurespect, 1922
by Various Popular Science Magazine Writers

The Napoleon of Invention

By all odds the best customer the United States patent office ever had is Thomas Alva Edison. In 54 years Edison has taken out more than 900 patents. His score on January 1, 1903, was 791 patents, an average of more than one a fortnight for 30 years, costing him $51,000 in patent office fees. After that he showed more respect for the speed limit.

Edison started on a career of research and discovery when he was five years old. Told that hens set to hatch chickens, he undertook to save labor by sitting on an extra large nestful himself. Results were discouraging.

Further research when he was a railroad peanut peddler set fire to the baggage car. The conductor gave him a blow that made him deaf for life.

His first patent, October 11, 1868, when he was just over 21, was for a vote recorder. It brought no money.

After a few years as a wandering telegraph operator, renowned as a practical joker, he landed in New York City in 1870 at the age of 23, penniless. Getting a job with a company trying to operate a crude stock ticker, Edison made improvements that saved the business.

A few months later he invented a stock ticker he thought might bring $5000. Not daring to ask so big a sum, he “stalled,” until the president offered $40,000 and paid the money before Edison “came to.”

That vast sum started Edison on his career in a little shop in Newark, New Jersey. Soon he produced the quadruplex telegraph, which saved millions in line construction.

In 1876 Edison established a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where with a staff of young enthusiasts he entered on a wild debauch of discovery and invention that made him world famous and his laboratory America’s great show place. Often, in desperate pursuit of an idea, he would go 48 and even 72 hours without sleep, eating little.

One such spree produced the phonograph.

Another led to the invention of the incandescent light, the first one of which was placed in circuit October 21, 1879, and burned for 40 hours.

Two years of steady plugging enabled Edison, at the age of 35, to complete and put in operation in 1882 the world’s first life-sized experimental electric railroad.

Edison’s activities have covered a wider range than those of any other inventor. More than 750,000 men are employed in industries based on Edison’s inventions.

The Edison of yesterday with his machine for taking dictation.

Look Fifty Years Ahead with Edison

Inventor Talks on Radio and Science for SCIENCE M0NTHLYS Fiftieth Anniversary

WHAT is the future of the radiotelephone?

What are likely to be the great scientific miracles of the coming half century?

Read what the most famous inventor of the past half century has to say.

Popular Science Monthly—celebrating this month the fiftieth year of its march, step by step, with the marvelous progress of science—asked Thomas A. Edison, the most famous of all inventors—the man who knew E. L. Youmans, founder of Popular Science Monthly, and who says he treasures in his library the bound volumes of the magazine—to comment on the 50-year period of science that has just passed, and on the possibilities of the greater era to come. What he has to say will interest every reader.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST PROJECT ever conceived for America’s future prosperity?

Thomas A. Edison, in an interview for POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, on the occasion of the magazine’s fiftieth anniversary, gave the credit for it to Henry Ford, and said that the idea itself lay in Ford’s proposal to establish all over the country numberless little industrial centers, wherever a stream furnishes water power.

“In these semirural industrial regions, made possible by the great scientific achievements of the 50-year period you are now celebrating,” Mr. Edison explained, “the men who work our farms in the summer will go into the shops during the other months and so remain producers, in season and out. They will earn money the year round for the education of their children and the upkeep of their homes, while contributing more than ever to the national wealth.”

It was only the other day that Mr. Edison celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday, amid a shower of tributes and congratulations from all over the world.

Thomas A. Edison as he looks today. At the age of 75 he still works occasionally 24 hours on end in his laboratory.

To-day POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY is celebrating its fiftieth birthday, marking a period of service in the cause of popular science to within three years since Thomas A. Edison secured his first patent. This half century that has just closed has been history’s greatest era of invention, and Mr. Edison himself tops the list of its most famous inventors.

It was, then, to the outstanding figure of the world’s most brilliant period of scientific progress that POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY turned for comments on the achievements of science during its own lifetime, and on possible new triumphs to come.

“Expect just as startling advances in the next 50 years as you have seen in the past,” said Mr. Edison. “And when you stop to think how different the world today has been made from that of 1872 by the inventions of the last half century, you will realize more vividly what the year 1972 may see in communication, transportation, and living conditions.

Each of the achievements of the past 50 years—inventions such as the telephone, automobile, motion-pictures, the electric light—has helped to bring greater pleasure, convenience, or education to us all.

It is bosh to say that they have made us luxury-loving or materialistic. Civilization, after the past 50 years of phenomenal progress in invention, is on the right track and will continue to make more rapid strides along it.

“There is no limit, for instance, to the possibilities of the radiophone’s development. The most minute sounds, thanks to amplifying devices, may be made audible across the continent. A fly’s footsteps may be heard, or the dropping of a pin in New York may be heard in San Francisco.

"Imagination can hardly compass the practical possibilities of these developments. They mean the spread of information and entertainment on a hitherto unparalleled scale, drawing nearly every home in the land into the radio-phone’s educational influence.

“I believe that the government should strictly license and control all who are engaged in broadcasting; but we should leave as much of the field as possible open to amateurs.

“I approve of Will Hays’ project of developing the Post Office into a department of communications, with a complete system of broadcasting stations that will keep the government in constant vocal touch with the great majority of American homes.

“When it comes to the radio transmission of power, I must say I can’t see it as a possibility near enough to talk about.

"And the same holds true about that other glowing promise that some prophets have been making with reference to new energy resources—the liberation of atomic energy. I can’t see the way to that, yet. Nevertheless, some fellow may come along and do it tomorrow.

“Thus we may expect increasingly dramatic possibilities from the next few decades of science, because of the activities of numberless patiently plodding research workers in almost infinitely specialized fields, any one of whom may have startling surprises in store for us that may help to make over the entire framework of civilization.

“We may confidently expect that intensified aeronautical research will increase the safety and convenience of flying until present-day dreams of transcontinental travel in great airliners may be realized.

“The demand for new brains to push forward along these lines, to carry on the ever more complicated processes of research, invention and industry, will be so enormous as to warrant a greater proportion of young men going into science and engineering than ever before.

“To those of you who stand at the threshold of a scientific career, let us say, ‘If you have real industry and ability, you are wanted at the top.’ The good ones are so rare! I know only too well how badly they are wanted, and how few they are!

“As the basis of all preparation for success in science and invention, take up physics. Physics and chemistry stand right at the bottom of everything else. My son writes me from college that courses in physics are dodged like the plague by the very men who presumably are planning to enter scientific pursuits.

"But college is too late. Education must be intensified at earlier ages. Ninety per cent of our education should be attained between the ages of six and 14 years.

“Research men of ability must have imagination. Rarely do we see a man with this great power rightly developed. Between the ages of six and 14 a large percentage have strong imagination, but our system of education allows it to atrophy. After 14, if imaginative organs have atrophied, the boy is hopeless.

Edison as he appears today in his West Orange, N. J., plant, standing before his dynamo that lit the first electric lights.
Young Edison in 1877, with the machine that reproduced the human Voice—a sheet of tinfoil on a cylinder turned by hand.

“When you attempt to look ahead into what the coming years may bring, don’t forget that man himself hasn’t changed for a thousand years. In our happier, more comfortable environment, we have the same old defects, the same old weaknesses.

"You mustn’t ask me to predict any Utopias 50 years or 200 years hence. No doubt there is a small increment every year of better and nobler persons alive than in previous years. But the percentage is so small that it takes centuries to make any startling difference.

"The upward sweep is going on all the time. With each generation we see more humanitarians in every country—more idealists.

"And not withstanding our great commercial push, there are to-day more idealists in America than in any other country. But the increase at its best is slow.

“The thing most at fault, in a material way, today, is our method of interchange of commodities. Some people have too much and some too little, as a result of imperfections of our economic system. We need more even distribution.

"That is one reason why I endorse Henry Ford’s water power idea so highly. The scientific and inventive progress with which your magazine and its readers are chiefly concerned have been yearly making Ford’s vision more practicable.

"All of these things we have talked about—the automobile, the telephone, the motion-pictures, radio, the airplane—are breaking down forever the isolation of rural regions. The scientific progress to which we look ahead in the next few decades may complete this work.

"The city will no longer have a monopoly of the comforts and luxuries of life. The attraction of the farm may be again greater than that of the city, and we shall be drawn back to the soil in increasing numbers.

Henry Ford’s Great Program

“And here is where Henry Ford’s great idea plays its part. He sees the nation, far and wide, simply dotted with little centers of water power development. Wherever there is a stream, a waterfall, a rapid river, there will be a hydroelectric plant, surrounded by the health and beauty of the open country.

"Then fewer of us will live in the slums and soot of the city. More of us will be tilling the soil, raising crops, and earning money in between times in the local factories.

“Thus, first of all, the inventions of the past half century have been bringing to the country the conveniences and attractions of the city. Then, secondly, industrial organization, under a great humanitarian’s project, may bring shops and factories back to the country, too, so that the division of interest between farmer and city dweller dwindles.

"Those two great curses, unemployment in cities and unproductive seasons on farms, tend to vanish, and national solidarity to increase; because a greater proportion of our population falls into the same group—producers of wealth in the fields during part of the year, in the shops the rest.

“Ford’s is a marvelous program. It is one of the greatest I have ever heard of. There is no vision of America’s future, as affected by invention, past and possible, which I think more appropriate than this for discussion in the anniversary issue of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.”

Shall We Trust America to Henry Ford?

By Searle Hendee

A Vivid Word Picture of the Master Mechanic, Who Will Tell, in Next Month’s Issue, of His Vast Water Power Plans

IN the past year Henry Ford, the man, has become nearly as significant in national affairs as the Ford automobile had previously been. When you read Ford’s amazingly far reaching industrial program, outlined by Ford himself in the next issue of Popular Science Monthly, you will be glad to have been previously introduced, in the article herewith, to Henry Ford as he is today.

This extraordinarily gripping picture of Ford’s life and power reveals a restless genius who, given a few tools like Muscle Shoals, might indeed make himself master of America’s industrial future and the prosperity of its citizens.

VISUALIZE a spare, angular, yet singularly graceful man standing slightly less than six feet high; a man about 60 years old who has the alertness and enthusiasm of a boy; a man oblivious of the past and intensely engaged with the present—and you catch a faint glimpse of Henry Ford.

He Can’t Be Pigeonholed

Talk with Mr. Ford for five minutes and you will be impressed by the fact that he does not represent a type. Chat with him for an hour, study his various reactions to questions, his movements, his answers and his assertions, and it will dawn upon you that he defies casual analysis.

You cannot readily classify and pigeonhole Henry Ford. You cannot say that he is this or that—for he is neither, and he is both.

To expect a word portrait of Mr. Ford to be definite, clear, and true to life would be like expecting a cubist painting to be realistic. Whatever Mr. Ford may seem to be one minute, he is likely to prove himself not to be the next. And, after all, this is perhaps the key to Henry Ford. He is not cut to a pattern, physically or mentally.

He does things not by rule or pre-established plan, but by setting out and doing them. Therefore even the panorama of his activities fails to disclose a definite picture of the real man.

In wealth, publicity, industrial leadership, and perhaps even popularity, Mr. Ford occupies a foremost position in America—if not in the world—today. Twenty years ago he was an unknown farm-bred mechanic who was tinkering with a gas-engine and occasionally getting press mention as being a “promising young chauffeur.”

A Marvel of Brain Power

A few years ago it was common belief that Mr. Ford’s success was attributable to the “brains” in his organization. The light of recent events has shown this to be ridiculous . . .

. . .
• tearing his organization to shreds in the hour of crisis,
• outwitting Wall Street,
• turning raw materials into money by working his vast plants 24 hours a day when the wheels of industry were gathering rust and cobwebs the world over,
• accumulating a bank balance of $150 million so quickly that it made his enemies’ heads swim, . . .

. . . and at the same time
• experimenting with bread formulas,
• tinkering with a 1 1/4-horsepower hydroelectric outfit with which to interest neighborhood boys in water power development,
• designing a new dual power locomotive unlike anything ever before seen,
• superintending his 5000-acre farm,
• completing the largest and most modern blast furnaces in America,
• contesting the Newberry election,
• expanding his activities in Europe,
• laying plans for the development of Muscle Shoals,
• experimenting in the commercial production of alcohol,
• vacationing with Harding and Edison in the Cumberlands,
• inspiring a weekly magazine,
• receiving an endless procession of world notables at his Dearborn, Michigan, estate . . .

. . . doing all these and other things far too numerous to itemize, without even having an office in which to transact business or a memo pad to remind him what to do next, Mr. Ford has shown the Ford industries to be the greatest one-man organization in the world.

Simplicity, Plus Power

In the light of these dazzling achievements, it is amazing to find in him a man of manifest simplicity who outwardly seems to shoulder no more responsibility or care than a boy of 14 tinkering with his first watch.

A man of national prominence in a recent interview confidentially referred to Henry Ford as being drunk with power and careening toward destruction. “Ford is obsessed with the same mania that brought ruin and disgrace upon the German kaiser,” he asserted.

To me, after seeing the man as he natively is, no characterization could be a greater libel.

It is true that Mr. Ford is one of the most powerful men in the world today. He is perhaps the only man in America capable of pulling the country up by its boot-straps and rousing it from its present commercial coma. He might even be referred to as an industrial czar, for he exercises an influence vastly greater than is enjoyed by the rulers of many principalities.

Yet Henry Ford the individual, as you meet and chat with him, impresses you as being as human and unassuming as it is possible for a man in any walk of life to be. By this I do not mean to imply that Mr. Ford is only partially conscious of his power, or his ability, to do almost anything that can be done through the use of brains, energy, and great wealth.

He recognizes no limitation, the “impossible” means only the unaccomplished, and conventional obstacles only serve to encourage achievement.

Ford at the age of 30 in his first “horseless carriage,” which he developed during spare hours in his home workshop.

He’s the Boss of His Shop

This phase of his make-up may be illustrated by a trait that is well known in the engineering department of the Ford Company. Frequently Mr. Ford has a “bright idea.” He instructs his engineers to do something which past experience has shown to be an “impossibility.”

For a few days, or possibly a few weeks, much hard work is devoted on an “utterly useless task.” But eventually the engineering staff comes through with what Mr. Ford wants. The “impossible” elements have been circumvented.

Usually it is the history of a big business that its founder gives way to new blood when a certain point is reached. Practically every great commercial and industrial Institution—the Standard Oil Company, as one example—bears this out.

Mr. Ford, however, is breaking the time-honored rule. He is demonstrating that he is as big as, and can grow fast enough to keep a little bigger than, the institution he has built.

Two circumstances make this apparent. First, Mr. Ford is the “boss” of his “shop.” He is father of practically every move the firm makes. He is the Ford Company’s inventor, director and financier.

It is because of this that he has never surrounded himself with great men. He insists upon doing his own thinking. Therefore the company has always developed its own talent.

Men prominent in the organization have grown up on the inside. Experts are never called in—they are never needed. In fact, it is one of Mr. Ford’s convictions that amateurs are better than professionals anyway, because they have the habit of going ahead and doing things through ignorance of the “fact” that they can’t be done.

The second point is that vast and complicated as are the Ford interests, they are so completely under Mr. Ford’s thumb that they neither bewilder nor burden him.

In becoming possibly the world’s richest man, in making himself one of the world’s most talked of figures, in building a motorcar plant that annually manufactures more automobiles than all other American factories combined, has Mr. Ford realized the ambition of his youth?

Put this question to him and he will answer by telling you that he is going to build 1 million farm tractors a year when he gets “set,” or that he is working on a new locomotive.

In my case, he invited me to see the locomotive. And after all, what more significant an answer could he give? In Mr. Ford’s mind, the work he has thus far accomplished is preparatory to what he is going to do.

“Where Are We Going?”

Just what is Henry Ford getting ready to do? This question may naturally follow. And imagine the start one receives, after putting this very question to Mr. Ford, to have him reply by asking in turn: “Where are we going?”

I do not think Mr. Ford was consciously quoting Gerald Stanley Lee. Nevertheless to hear these words issue from his lips makes the query far from enigmatic.

In Mr. Ford’s success there is much to inspire any one whose bent lies along mechanical, industrial, or scientific lines. His beginning was neither in poverty nor affluence.

As a farm boy he was the son of plain people of moderate circumstances. His interest, however, was not in following a plow hour after hour, or in doing other characteristic farm labor that offered no opportunity for exercise of the brain.

So, in a small barn on the Dearborn, Michigan, farm, he began working on a “farm locomotive.” This led to the development of the present Ford motor-car and tractor.

Concentrating on the Tractor

Realizing that the automobile must prepare the way for the tractor, he concentrated his attention on it. And now, after having built the world’s largest motor car plant, and after constructing some 200,000 farm tractors and placing them in service, he is “getting ready to manufacture” tractors.

With these facts in mind, I asked Mr. Ford to outline briefly some of the points in his life which he considered significant. The conversation in its brevity and wording is entirely characteristic of Mr. Ford when replying to questions of purely personal nature.

“The past doesn’t mean anything now. Today is what we are concerned with.”

“But,” I remonstrated, “in your early ambitions and struggles, and in the way you overcame your problems, there must have been much that would be significant to many a young fellow today. What single thing would you impress today upon the minds of young men who are apt to make a fairly determined fight for success during the next generation?”

“I’d tell them to spend their money on themselves.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that this savings bank idea is fine for the bankers, but no good for any one else."

By this time Mr. Ford was getting restless. He likes a “snappy” interview, and this one was dragging out. He walked into his experimental laboratory, stepped up crosswise to the seat of an armchair, settled down grasshopper fashion on his heels and gazed into the transmission case of a Ford motor resting on a block in front of him.

“What is money good for, anyway?,” he continued. “It is no better than the use made of it. And you are not making use of it if you stow it away in a bank so that some other fellow makes money loaning it to a third person who puts it to work.

With dreams of his youth realized, Henry Ford, at the age of 60, contemplates the descendant of his early “farm locomotive” on the lawn of his old home near Dearborn, Mich.—and dreams still more—this time of the future production of 1 million farm tractors a year.

Money for Happiness

“Tell the young fellow to spend his money on himself. Get that last.”

“For instance!”

“If a boy wants a book and has the money with which to buy it, he should go ahead and get what he wants.”

“You mean that he should use his money for self improvement and advancement.”

“And happiness. Don’t forget that! That’s the only way to get ahead. If a boy’s old suit makes him look like a failure, he needs a new one a whole lot worse than he does a $50 savings account.”

“When should he borrow?”

“Always borrow when you don’t need money.”

“Thereby building up credit?”

How to Keep Out of Debt

“No. If one never borrows except when he doesn’t need money, he will never get in debt, because he will never borrow.”

“Then you don’t believe in the plan of ‘saving’ by making instalment payments apply on an investment.”

“You are referring to a young fellow buying a home. Well, if he makes it a practice not to buy anything until the necessary money is in hand, the home can be purchased by the time he needs it.”

You will recall that during a certain famous trial Mr. Ford asserted that he had never spent time studying history because history deals with the past, whereas he is concerned with the present. In general conversation he has a way of pushing aside references to past experiences as being irrelevant. And therefore it is not surprising to find him consistent to the point of feeling that his own history can be of little help to the coming generation.

Mr. Ford’s early life is more or less an open book, however, and there is no doubt that as much, if not more, of real interest is to be found in the man of today as in the boy of yesterday.

Among men associated with him it is difficult, if not impossible, to find any one who will admit that he “knows” Henry Ford. Seek such a man and you will be convinced that few men have a deep insight into Mr. Ford, whereas Mr. Ford apparently has the faculty of “knowing” practically every one he meets.

His power of remembering detail is well illustrated by an incident that occurred early in his life and that has a direct bearing on his present activities. As a youth he spent much time reading semi-technical publications. In fact he still does, and shows a preference for magazines of the type of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

In one of these publications he found an illustrated article that described the Ott (illuminating gas) engine—at that time a new invention. A few years later one of these engines was imported from Europe by a Detroit man. After it had been in operation a short time, something went wrong and no one could be found who was able to start it.

Finally Henry Ford was called upon. Although he had never seen such a contrivance before, his memory retained so vividly what he had read that he “knew” the motor before he touched it. In a few minutes the engine was running smoothly. Shortly afterward he began experimenting in the development of a gasoline motor—with the result we all know.

Old timers around Dearborn have a Ford gas-engine story for every occasion. And if these tales are authentic they show a remarkable affinity between Henry Ford and gasoline engines. Balky motors, motors that simply won’t run, motors that have defied expert mechanics for hours, begin purring as melodiously as a family cat when Mr. Ford lays a hand on them.

It is said that he rarely seems to do more—that to all appearances he does nothing at all—but that a motor is always full of life when he turns it over.

It is well known that My. Ford is a man of strong likes and dislikes. If a thing is distasteful to him, it is very distasteful. This phase of his character has caused the impression to go forth that at times he manifests pronounced vindictiveness. The word is misused.

When Ford Revolts

For instance, there are certain established systems in political, commercial, and social fields against which Mr. Ford revolts. Manipulation, exploitation, and similar terms are not pleasing to him.

And when he makes up his mind that a condition or movement is wrong, he is likely to let some one know about it.

For this reason Mr. Ford shows little love for a certain class of bankers, professional financiers, professional politicians, and certain big interests.

There is good lingness to take over the Muscle Shoals reason to believe, indeed, that in his wilproject, Mr. Ford is animated not entirely by a strong personal desire to control the enterprise.

There are interests, however, for which Mr. Ford has contempt, and in order to prevent their plans of exploitation he would give almost anything to gain control.

Concerned for the Public

I was with Mr. Ford when he first learned that a movement had been launched which might lead to the state of Alabama taking over and operating Muscle Shoals.

“That’s a fine idea,” instantly shot back Mr. Ford. “We are for that. We are ready to help any plan that will save Muscle Shoals to the people.” He then began to unfold an interesting plan whereby the state might finance the venture.

Incidents of this sort frequently cause Mr. Ford to be referred to as a humanitarian and benefactor. Such terms annoy him. He is in the habit of doing what seems to him at the moment to be the right thing to do—the thing that fair-dealing and straightforwardness seem to demand.

To summarize briefly these few sidelights on America’s outstanding industrial leader: Mr. Ford has no office, no job, no working hours. He is everywhere at once, thoroughly aware of everything that is going on in his plants and elsewhere—a man whose mind is a veritable pinwheel of worth while ideas, a man who makes play of his work, who abhors waste, idleness, dirt, and drudgery.

Farm Mechanic to the Richest Man in the World!

A SCAR on the face of Henry Ford, caused by a jagged piece of a bursting teakettle, remains today as the badge of an inveterate tinkerer, with boundless curiosity and imagination, who has conceived and developed the most amazing industrial organization of our time.

The youthful, gray-haired Henry Ford, who at the age of 60 is reaching out to dominate America industrially, is the same exploring Henry who as a 10-year-old boy plugged up the spout of an earthenware teakettle with rags and paper, tied down the lid, and watched intently to see what would happen. He got results then with a vengeance, just as he gets them now.

By gagging the kettle, Henry learned the power of steam.

Henry Ford has been a tinkerer ever since he was old enough to wear trousers. In early childhood he delighted in taking watches, clocks, and other machinery to pieces, studying the mechanism and putting them together again.

His desire to experiment often led him into trouble. On one occasion, Henry, aided by schoolmates, built a dam across a brook near the school to obtain power for a water wheel. When the water backed up above the dam and flooded farmlands, the schoolmaster ordered the young engineers to destroy the dam.

“When this is done,” he told them, “Henry, who is your ringleader, can remain with me after school each day until I tire of his company.”

His first power site on the creek angered the farmers.

That episode was one of the beginnings of Ford’s keen interest in water power that has grown into his present far reaching plans for rural water power and industrial development.

Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863. His father, William Ford, who had emigrated from Ireland, was a farmer living between Dearbornville and Fort Wayne, Mich., about 10 miles from Detroit.

At the age of 17, a year after completing the eighth grade of school, young Ford went to Detroit and obtained a position with the Flower Manufacturing Company, makers of steam engines. He served his apprentice ship, studying mechanical engineering in his spare time.

After nine months he secured a more responsible position with the Drydocks Engine Company, makers of marine machinery.

The illness of his father compelled him to return to the farm, where in leisure hours, he repaired watches, clocks, and farm machinery and worked on the development of a horseless vehicle. In the winter of 1887 he built his first farm tractor from an old wagon body and odds and ends of discarded farm machinery.

The following spring he married Clara Bryant, the daughter of a farmer.

After three years on his own farm, Ford went to Detroit to perfect his horseless carriage. He obtained a position with the Edison Illuminating Company and spent his spare time in his home workshop, where he completed his first model in April, 1893.

After a successful trial, a company was organized in Detroit with Ford as chief engineer. Ford built a racing car which he named “999.”

In the summer of 1902 a new company with larger capital was organized. This company sold its first commercial car that year and 165 cars the following year. Orders came in faster than they could be filled and the factory was enlarged. In 1905 the company began to pay 6 per cent dividends.

From that time the Ford enterprise developed rapidly. At present, 4000 cars and tractors are turned out daily, or about one every 20 seconds.

In addition to the three big plants at Highland Park, River Rouge, and Dearborn, which employ more than 66,000 men, Ford owns iron and coal mines, blast furnaces and steel works, a railroad system and more than 30 assembling plants in the United States and abroad.

His works have their own power, heating and lighting plants, fire department, telegraph and telephone exchange, freight offices, hospital, motion-picture studio, athletic field, schools, stores and newspaper.

During the war, Ford, although an outspoken pacifist, devoted his gigantic plant to the manufacture of material needed by the Government for war purposes. His profits, aggregating $29 million, he returned to the Government.

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