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Henry Ford Death Date

About Henry Ford / June 7, 2017

Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford.

Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford.



(Originally published by the Daily News on April 8, 1947.)

DETROIT, Tuesday, April 8 — Henry Ford, pioneer of the automobile industry who developed a horseless carriage into a billion-dollar empire, died last night in his suburban Dearborn home. He was 83.

Announcement of his death came early today 90 minutes after he passed away.

Ford, ailing and frail for many months apparently died unexpectedly. His successor as president and guiding hand in his giant Ford Motor Co. — Henry Ford 2d, a grandson — was called from his bed to the Ford home.

Death came to Ford at his modest Fairlane estate in Dearborn where he was born July 30, 1863. He spent virtually all his life there, seat of an industrial fortune so vast that it cannot be estimated within millions of dollars of its actual value.

Widow, Grandchildren Survive.

His widow, Clara Bryant Ford, whom he married in 1887, and four grandchildren — Henry 2d, Benson, Billy and Josephine — are the only immediate members of the family surviving. Edsel, the couple’s only son, died May 26, 1943.

New York Daily News published this on April 8, 1947.

(New York Daily News) (New York Daily News) (New York Daily News)

Announcement of his death, from a spokesman for the Ford Motor Co., said simply:

“Henry Ford died in his home at Dearborn at 11:40 P.M. (New York Time) Monday, April 7.”

Charles E. Carll, head of the Ford News Bureau, said he had only the bare information that Ford had died. He did not know the circumstances, nor who was at the bedside.

Henry Ford’s Life A Poor Boy’s Saga

The saga of Henry Ford’s rise from farm boy to the world’s richest man — head of a billion-dollar company — reads like one of the novels of Horatio Alger who was one of Ford’s favorite authors.

Ford remained on the farm near Dearborn, Mich., where he was born July 30, 1863, until he was 17 when he quit both farm and school to fulfill his boyhood ambition to be a machinist or a watchmaker. He became a machinist by day and a watchmaker by night, working 15 hours a day for a weekly wage of $5.50. He planned to make watches for 37 cents to retail at 50 cents but a sudden call from his father summoning him back to the farm prevented him from undertaking this enterprise.

Three distinguished visitors through the World's Fair Grounds. From left to right, Al Smith, Henry Ford and Mayor LaGuardia.

Tinkered With Engines.

His second departure from the farm marked the beginning of his career as a maker of horseless vehicles, although it was some years later before he made his first motor car. Meantime he tinkered with engines, ran a sawmill and finally went to work for the Detroit Edison Co.

He married Miss Clara J. Bryant, daughter of a farmer neighbor, in 1888.

Seven years later he finished the first Ford car, a vehicle built along the lines of a buggy and equipped with a two-cylinder engine developing four horsepower. The engine had no reverse.

In 1899, Ford gave up his connection with the Edison Co. and staked his fortune on the automobile industry. Local investors, merchants of Detroit, organized the Detroit Automobile Co. to make and sell Ford cars. Ford was allotted one-fourth of the capital stock of $50, 000 and became chief engineer at a salary of $100 a month. In 1902, Ford resigned from the original company and the following year incorporated the Ford Motor Co.

Son Bought In.

Henry Ford, the Detroit motor magnate, was the referee of the 500-mile speed classic at Indianapolis, Ind.

Ford became the majority stockholder of the company in 1906 and in 1919 those shares not in his possession were purchased by his only son, Edsel, who on Dec. 31, 1918, had become president of the company. Although Ford stepped down from the helm of his vast company, he continued to direct operations from behind the scenes.

Construction of a huge factory at Highland Park in 1909 had marked the beginning of an expansion of Ford interests which eventually reached the four quarters of the globe. In 1917, Ford brought out his Fordson tractor and in 1922 took over the Lincoln Motor Car Co. To provide fuel, metal and transportation facilities, he bought up coal and iron shares, steel mills and railroads.

His greatest international gesture, which resulted in his being heaped with both ridicule and praise, was the dispatch of a peace ship to Europe in 1915 to “get the boys out of the trenches by Christmas.” The leaders, despite their pacifism, could not agree and Ford finally abandoned the crusade.

When the United States became embroiled in the war Ford abandoned his pacifism and turned over his River Rouge plant to making torpedo boat destroyers and other implements of war.

Ford was boomed for the Presidency in 1916, 1920 and 1924 but his candidacy never assumed serious proportions.

Set New Wage Scale.

This image released by The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company shows a 1924 Model T Assembly Line.

(-/AFP/Getty Images)

The inventor of the flivver inaugurated many innovations in the industrial wage field. In 1914 he created a sensation by setting a $5-a-day minimum wage for his employes and in 1926 he established an eight hour day, five day week.

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