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Henry Ford

            Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863 in Wayne county, Michigan. He was the son of two Irish immigrants, William and Mary Ford. William and Mary Ford were settled on a farm in Dearborn at the time of the birth. Ford helped his father with the harvest and also attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. At age fifteen he left school to work on his father's farm full time. Ford disliked school and farm life, so at age 16, he walked to Detroit in search of employment.
             Ford found a job in a machine shop. Here he learned about the internal combustion engine. To help him survive on his low wages he spent his evenings repairing clocks and watches. He worked for about seven years and then returned home to his family and their farm. When he returned his father gave him 40 acres to start his own farm. He disliked farming and spent much of the time trying to build a steam road carriage and a farm locomotive. While at home Ford found a job working part-time for the Westinghouse Engine Company. After a few years Ford set up a small machine shop on the farm and began tinkering with engines and machines. During this time, Ford fell in love with Clara Bryant, who he married in 1888 (World Book Encyclopedia: Henry Ford).
             Several years later, Ford and his wife moved back to Detroit where Ford was made chief engineer at the Detroit Edison Company. During this period Ford read an article in the World of Science about how the German engineer, Nicholas Otto had built a internal combustion engine. Ford now spent his spare time trying to build a petrol-driven motor car. All though his job as chief engineer required him to be at work 24 hours a day, his schedule allowed him time to experiment (Kerman pg 23). He experimented with gasoline-powered vehicles and horse-less carriages for several years. Finally after many years of trials and failures, Ford invented his first working vehicle in 1896. It was built in a little brick shed in his garden.

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