Henry Ford’s childhood was fairly normal. He was the first of six children, brought up on a family farm in Dearborn, Michigan after he was born July 30, 1863. Henry’s father encouraged Henry to grow up to own and operate that farm with a family of his own one day, given that it was usually the custom. Ford however, showed different interests as a child than farming that his father was none too happy about. He actually got his friends and other boys together to build and operate rudimentary water wheels and steam engines, almost like the assembly line concept method that we would live by in later years to come. Not only that, but one of his favorite things to do was to tinker with watches. He would take them apart simply to put them together again.
He loved seeing how things worked. He was so good with watches in fact, that other boys from nearby would bring him theirs to fix. Ford’s true passion was machines, which is why at seventeen, he left the farm for an apprenticeship in Detroit.
1882 was a big year for Henry. He met his future wife Clara Bryant and finished up his apprenticeship, earning the title of a full- fledged machinist. During the summers, Henry would work for Westinghouse, operating their steam engines. In the winter, he would reside back at home, working hard on his own projects and helping keep up the farm. Clara Bryant became Mrs. Clara Ford in 1988 when Ford asked her to marry him. As a wedding gift to Henry, even regardless of the strained relationship between he and his father, his father gave him a large piece of land on which Henry and Clara built a house, a sawmill, and a personal workshop. It was only three years after that however, that Ford and his new wife, left the farm life behind to move back to Detroit so that Ford could have more opportunities to pursue what he loved.
So that he could learn more about electricity and how it worked, he got a job at Edison Illuminating Company. In between shifts at the company, Ford was working on his own project, a gasoline engine, actually ignited by electricity. This was a huge deal because this wasn’t too common, especially built by a single man with not as many resources as other inventors and innovators had. It was June 4, 1896 that Ford completed his first successful carriage that needn’t be pulled by horses. He named his contraption, “the quadricycle.” Ford’s quadricycle began to develop its own success when people actually began buying it. Although its looks give off the impression of cheap and unsteady materials when compared to later automobiles, at the time this was not a passing thought. The majority of buyers of this vehicle were wealthier people. They thought of these machines as toys. It was after this that Ford decided on making even better automobiles to sell to the public.
Before finally succeeding in finding a worthy investor, Ford had to go through a couple that didn’t necessarily work out. They wanted to make a car for rich people, whereas from the beginning, Ford’s goal was to make a car for the common man. Ford only succeeded in finding a good investor once he began building and racing his own cars on the track. It was truly the publicity from him winning, which got him his first break.