Why Did Henry Ford Popularize the Automobile?

by Rob WagnerUpdated September 26, 2017

Henry Ford founded the Detroit, Michigan-based Ford Motor Company in 1901. He is credited today as the father of the assembly line, which mass-produced the Ford Model T car. The Model T gave Americans a quality vehicle at an affordable price. As the son of a farmer, he had no love for farming, but grew up with a farmer’s egalitarian sense and wanted to contribute to the cause of the working man.

Early Influences

Ford’s mechanical talent was developed as a boy when he received a pocket watch from his father. He learned its mechanics by dismantling and reassembling it many times.

Hated Farming

Ford’s father expected him to take over the family farm, but Ford hated the hard work and few rewards of farming, and refused.


Ford wanted the working man to avoid the grinding life of hard labor by developing a means for a more productive, yet easier, life.

Rejected Limits

Through his period of developing a self-propelled vehicle, he routinely rejected limits imposed on him by investors, and followed his vision to build an affordable and reliable automobile.

Model T

The introduction of the Model T in 1908 accomplished his dream of a car that could be adapted to any environment, including conversion to farming use.

Global Vision

While Ford’s politics changed dramatically over the years, due in part to the violent Ford plant labor strikes of the late 1930s, his basic philosophy of equal opportunities for the common man remained unchanged.

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