5 Things You Didn't Know About Henry Ford

On July 30, 1863, the American automaker Henry Ford, was born in Dearborn Township, Michigan, and grew up to found the Ford Motor Company. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Henry Ford...


Ford Worked for Inventor Thomas Edison Ford was only 20 when he became the chief engineer for the Thomas Edison Illumination Company at Detroit’s main electric plant. This was quite a feat for such a young man, especially since this power plant provided all of the electricity for a big city the size of Detroit. Six years later, Edison encouraged Ford to follow his dreams of creating an affordable, reliable, gasoline-powered automobile.

He Ran for Public Office in 1918 Ford had many powerful friends, including President Woodrow Wilson, who convinced him to run for the United States Senate in 1918.  He only lost by 4,500 votes, even though he didn't spend a dime on his campaign. Truman H. Newberry won in part by accusing Ford of being antisemitic and a pacifist as well as for his efforts to keep his son, Edsel, from having to go into the military during World War I.


The Henry Ford Museum Displays Some Strange Objects The museum, located in Dearborn, Michigan, contains a strange collection of objects in addition to the expected display of motor vehicles. One of the museum’s prized possessions is a glass test-tube that has Thomas Edison’s last breath inside and a talking doll by Edison from around 1899 that would give author Stephen King nightmares with its garbled version of a child’s nursery rhyme. The museum also houses a plaster cast mask of Abraham Lincoln, which was made only several months before his assassination and a toy coffin with a doll in it.

One of Ford’s Invention Is Used by Barbecuers All Around the Nation Among Ford's many inventions over the years is a summertime staple: the compressed charcoal briquette. With Ford plants turning out the Model T, which featured many parts made of oak, Ford found himself awash in wood scraps. Ford's Brother-In-Law E.G. Kingsford suggested they create a charcoal manufacturing plant. The charcoal briquettes were named Kingsford Charcoal, in honor of his brother-in-law, and the company is still a top producer of briquettes to this day.

One of Ford’s Airplanes Appeared in a Harrison Ford Movie During World War I, Ford took to the skies when he founded the Ford Airplane Company. While the company didn't achieve the success Ford had hoped, it did create the sturdy and now-iconic Ford Tri-Motor airplane, which was produced between 1928 and 1933. A Ford Tri-Motor even appears in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."