Henry Ford is often incorrectly thought of as the inventor of the automobile. (That distinction belongs to Karl Benz of Germany.) Henry Ford was an innovative man who revolutionized the automobile industry. Ford was born on July 30, 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan. As a child he worked on the family farm. In his spare time, he experimented in the farm's machine shop. At the age of 17, Ford left the family farm and moved to Detroit where he worked in continued his work in machine shops, specifically with steam engines. In 1882 Henry Ford became a certified machinist and was hired by Westinghouse Company to set up and repair steam engines.
In 1891 Ford designed a small engine that burned gasoline. Thomas Edison then offered Henry Ford a job and Ford became the chief engineer for Edison Illuminating Company. Three years later, Ford built a gasoline-powered car known as the "horseless carriage". He quit his job with Edison to pursue interests with cars. Over the next few years, Henry Ford continued to develop his car designs, including the Model A and the Model T. He increased both speed and fuel efficiency. Efficiency was a trademark of Ford. He developed the assembly line to help produce cars quickly and economically. It was Ford's goal to make cars available to average Americans. During both World War I and World War II, the Ford plant was used in the war effort to build equipment. During the last portion of Henry Ford's life, he served as chairman of the Ford Foundation, a charitable organization. Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947.