1 March 2014 - HENRY FORD


G'day guys,
Today I feature a very famous man who made an enormous impact on society - HENRY FORD.  So, who was he?

Born in: Greenfield Township, Michigan, U.S.

Died on: 07 April 1947 AD

Spouse: Clara Ala Bryant (m. 1888–1947)

Children: Edsel Ford

Education: Detroit Business Institute

Founder/Co-Founder: Ford Motor Company

Works & Achievements: Ford Quadricycle, Inventor and Owner of Ford Motors Company, Model T cars and production of several other automobiles.


1928 - Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal

1938 - Nazi Germany's Grand Cross of the German Eagle

 Henry Ford, a renowned industrialist in America, was the founder of the Ford Motor Company. He also sponsored the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Ford's launching of the Model T refashioned transportation and American automobile industry simultaneously. As a proud owner of the Ford Motor Company, he grabbed the status of one of the wealthiest and most famous person in the entire world. 

He was highly deemed for his concept 'Fordism' - which involved huge production of cheap goods paired with higher pay to workers. Ford had a universal perception with consumerism as the root to peace. His earnest commitment to orderly decreasing costs came out in numerous innovations related to technical and business. These discoveries also included a franchise system under which a dealership was established in each city of North America and also on the main cities in six continents. 

In 1920s, Ford was recognized globally for a "Fordism System" that was looked to guarantee modernity, high salaries and inexpensive consumer goods but Ford's "Anti-Semitism" led to controversy in the same time period.

Henry Ford Childhood and Early Life

Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 on a farm in Greenfield Township close to Detroit, Michigan to William Ford and Mary Litogot. His father was born in Ireland but belonged to a family of Western England’s origin. His family migrated to Ireland when the plantation was created by English. His mother was from Michigan whose parents died when she was quite young and was then adopted by her neighbors. When Henry was in his teens, his father gifted him a pocket watch. At the young age of 15, he dissolved and reunited the timepieces of neighbors and friends many times and gained a status of a watch repairman. 

In 1876, Ford was highly depressed by the demise of his mother. His father wanted him to take over the family farm over the course of time but he denied telling his father that he loved the farm just because his mother was there. In 1879, Ford left home and started working as an amateur machinist in Detroit city. He started with James F. Flower & Bros and later with the Detroit Dry Dock Co. But in 1882, he returned back home to work of the family farm and became adroit at operating the Westinghouse portable steam engine. Ford was eventually appointed by Westinghouse Company for steam engines servicing. Simultaneously, he also studied bookkeeping at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business College in Detroit.


Henry Ford was hired as an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in 1891 and later became chief engineer after his promotion in 1893. He then had a lot of time to dedicate to his personal experiments on gasoline engines. These experiments ended up in 1896 when he completed his self propelled vehicle and named it Ford Quadricycle. On June 4, he test drove the vehicle several times and came out with various methods to improve the vehicle. Ford was introduced to Thomas Edison in 1896’s meeting. The latter agreed of Ford’s automobile experimentation, which encouraged him to further experiment. Thus in 1898, Ford designed his second vehicle. With the support of the capital of Detroit lumber baron William H. Murphy, he resigned from Edison and established at Detroit Automobile Company on August 5, 1899. But the automobiles produced in this company were of poor quality and expensive. For the same reason, the company got dissolved in 1901.

In 1901, C. Harold Wills supported Ford to design and built a 26-horsepower automobile. With the ultra success of this automobile, Murphy and other stockholders in the Detroit Automobile Company came together to form the Henry Ford Company on November 30, 1901. Ford worked as a chief engineer. But when Murphy brought Henry M. Leland as a consultant in the company, Ford left it bearing his name in 1902. Afterwards, Murphy renamed the company as Cadillac Automobile Company. Ford then teamed up with the former racing cyclist Tom Cooper and produced the awesome 80+ horsepower racer "999" which was driven to victory in a race by Barney Oldfield in the late 1902. 

Ford Motor Company

Ford with the support of an old acquaintance, Alexander Y. Malcomson, a Detroit-area coal dealer, established an automobile manufacturing company named "Ford & Malcomson, Ltd”. Ford designed a cheap automobile and both the partners leased the factory. They finalized a contract with a machine shop owned by John and Horace E. Dodge to give over $160,000 in parts. The sales were very slow which gave birth to a crisis when the Dodge brothers asked for the payment of their initial shipment. With the response, some more investors were brought in by Malcomson, drawing the Dodge brothers to take a portion of a new company. On June 16, 1903, “Ford & Malcomson” was reabsorbed as the Ford Motor Company with the capital of $28,000. Ford and Malcomson, the Dodge brothers, Malcomson's uncle John S. Gray, Horace Rackham, and James Couzens were some original investors in Ford Motor Company. Ford organized an exhibition of a newly designed car on the ice of Lake St. Clair. He drove a mile in only 19.4 seconds, establishing a new land speed record at 91.3 miles/hour. The race driver, Barney Oldfield seeing the success of this vehicle gave a name to this model “999” honoring racing capabilities. He took the new automobile around the country which made Ford, a well known brand all around the United States. Henry Ford was also among the initial backers of the Indianapolis 500.

Model T

On October 1, 1908, the Model T was introduced which came out with some innovations like steering wheel on left, enclosed engine and transmission, solid black was given to four cylinders, etc. The car was very easy to operate and drive, simultaneously it was cheap accompanying with inexpensive repair. In 1908, it was sold at $825 only. Amazingly, the price of the car felt down every year. By the same, Ford grabbed excessive publicity in Detroit ensuring that each newspaper must have stories and advertisement about this new vehicle. Eventually, the car was known all over the North America. Ford’s views to come out with efficient and cheap products made him introduce moving assembly belts into his plants in 1913, especially for farmers enabling huge increment in production. With the passing of the days, sales kept on increasing and by 1918, every second car in America was Model T. The final total production was an amazing 15,007,034.

In December 1918, Ford passed his presidency of Ford Motor Company to his son, Edsel Ford but the final decision authority was with Henry himself. Afterwards, Ford established another company called “Henry Ford and Son”. He just enacted as if he were about to take his best employees to the new company but the actual goal was to frighten the rest of the holdout stockholders of the Ford Motor Company so that they sell their stakes to him, before their value is lost. The trick worked and Henry and his son purchased all the shares from the stockholders and thus, making the family the sole owner of the company. But as a result of increasing competition, the sales of Model T declined horribly by mid 1920s. Though Edsel urged Henry to make changes in Model T so that it could be in sync with the newer models offered by the other companies, the latter denied.

Later Career

By the year 1926, Henry realized that he could not go longer just remain solely dependent on his Model T and thus, evolved Model A. While Henry looked after the technical aspects of the car, such as the design of the engine, chassis and so on, his son Edsel worked on the exterior body of the vehicle. In the December of 1927, Ford Model A finally hit the road and was much appreciated and applauded by the mass. By 1931, more than 4 million of Model A cars was produced. Following that year, Ford Company adopted an annual model change system.

Ford Airplane Company

During World War I, Ford stepped in the aviation business and built Liberty engines. Although post-war the company went back to manufacture automobile but in 1925, it took the Stout Metal Airplane Company. Ford’s aircraft, 4AT Trimotor (Tin Goose) gained great success. The plane was very similar to Fokker's V.VII-3m. The Trimotor took its first flight on June 11, 1926 accommodating 12 passengers at a time. Ford was later honored by the Smithsonian Institution for changing the aviation industry. After producing about 200 trimotors, the production stopped in 1933 because of poor sales.

International Business

Ford always believed in the company’s global expansion. His views were also that the international trade and cooperation led to global peace. In 1911, he established Ford assembly plants in Britain and Canada. In a short span of time, the company became the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Ford, in collaboration with Agnelli of Fiat, introduced the first Italian automotive assembly plants in 1912. In 1920s, first plant was launched in Germany, Australia, India and France and by 1929, Ford had dealerships on six continents. Ford also experimented taking a commercial rubber plantation in the Amazon jungle known as Fordl├óndia but it failed. Ford agreed on Joseph Stalin's invitation to build a model plant at Gorky. The Ford Motor Company had a policy under which the company could do business in any country where the United States had diplomatic relationships. By the year 1932, Ford became one-third manufacture of automobiles all over the world. Most of the people insisted that Fordism illustrated American capitalist development and the automobile industry was the key to studying the economic and social relations in the United States.

Later Career

Edsel Ford died of cancer in May 1943, following which Henry assumed the presidency of the Ford Motors Company. But by this time Ford was elderly and ailing. He also had some cardiovascular problemsand was mentally unfit, therefore not suitable for the post responsibility. The directors of the company nevertheless elected him, but he served the position until the end of the war only. During this time span, the company faced a huge decline and lost more than $10 million a month. The administration of President Franklin Roosevelt also considered that the company should be taken over by the government but this consideration never progressed.

Personal Life

Henry Ford married Clara Ala Bryant in 1888 and had only one child, Edsel Ford, who, in turn, died of cancer in May 1943.


During the ill health of Henry Ford, he surrendered the presidency to his grandson Henry Ford II in September 1945 and then went into retirement. In 1947, Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage in FairLane, his Dearborn estate. A public viewing was organized at Greenfield Village where almost 5000 people per hour filed past the casket. His funeral service took place at Detroit’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Henry Ford was buried in the Ford Cemetery in Detroit.

Awards & Honors

1928: Was awarded the Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal.
1938: Ford was presented the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, which happens to be the highest medal awarded by Nazi Germany to foreigners.
1999: Was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, from a poll conducted of the American people.
1965-78: United States Postal Service honored Ford with a Prominent Americans series.

Clancy's comment: Go, Henry! Don't ya just love people with vision and passion? I sure do. Vision is sadly lacking today.

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28 February 2014 - MORE WISDOM


G'day folks,

Here are some more wise comments from various folks ...

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G'day folks,

Here are some interesting pointers that might help you to improve your writing skills, courtesy of Melissa Donovan.

"When we talk about writing skills, we usually think of the basics: the ability to write sentences and paragraphs correctly with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But a lot more than that goes into writing well.

Ambitious writers strive to consistently produce better writing. We study the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation and we work at expanding our vocabularies. We memorize literary devices and storytelling techniques. We develop a distinct voice.

There’s a lot to learn, but over time, we learn to write prose and verse that captivates readers.

From learning how to comprehensively use tools, like writing software, to mastering concepts that are specific to form and genre, a professional writer needs to build skills that go far beyond the basics.

 But the basics are where we begin.

Basic Writing Skills

Ideally, every high school graduate would possess basic writing skills. Unfortunately, a lot of people enter college or the workforce without knowing the difference between they’re, their, and there. An astonishing number of smart or educated people don’t know the difference between an adverb and an adjective and can’t identify a subject or an object in a sentence. Plenty of people go through life never mastering these basics and that’s okay—because they’re not writers.

It’s not that writers have to acquire knowledge of language and orthography that rivals that of lexicographers. But language is our primary tool and we should have a fundamental grasp of how it works and how to use it.

Yet that basic understanding of language—a comprehensive working knowledge of grammar, spelling, and punctuation—coupled with the ability to write decent sentences and paragraphs are only the first skills that a writer acquires. Those skills are sufficient for beginner writing. When we want to move past the ability to write sufficiently and strive to write professionally and with excellence, we must acquire a broader set of writing skills.

Nothing ruins a great story like weak words and poorly structured sentences that don’t make sense. Nothing derails a poem like poor word choices and clumsy rhymes. And nothing destroys a piece of creative nonfiction like a disorganized narrative.

There are some elements of writing that must be developed over time and with practice. It’s difficult to know why one grammatically correct sentence simply sounds better than another or why one word works better than another word that has the same meaning. The ability to write the better sentence or choose the better word does not come from a book, the way grammar can come from a book. It comes with experience.

With grammar, you can study the rules, memorize them, and then apply them to your writing almost immediately. The subtler aspects of writing can be learned, but they are usually learned over time through a combination of reading, studying the craft of writing, and practicing.
But we can still develop these skills by training ourselves to watch for opportunities to experiment with them. We can look for them in the works we read and the projects we’re writing.

Comprehensive Writing Skills

Below is a list of comprehensive writing skills and best practices that you should consider when assessing a piece of writing and in developing your own writing abilities. While this is not an exhaustive list (there are infinite ways to improve and strengthen your writing), it will give you a good start:
  • Word choice: Choosing the right words to describe what’s happening in a piece of writing can be challenging. The best words accurately capture the sentiment that the author is trying to convey. If something doesn’t sound right, if a word isn’t accurate or precise enough, then it needs to be replaced with a better word. Why refer to a “loud noise” when you can call it a roar, din, or commotion? The more specific the words are, the more easily readers will understand what you’re trying to communicate. Choose words that are as concise, precise, and vivid as possible.
  • Vocabulary: Nothing makes a sentence sing like words that are clear, specific, and concrete. Expand your arsenal by building your vocabulary. Read a lot and look up words you don’t know. Peruse the dictionary. Sign up for a word-of-the-day newsletter. Keep a log of vocabulary words and spend a minute or two each day adding to it and studying your new words.
  • Sentence structure: Sentence structure is even more critical than word choice. A weak word is like a missed beat, but a weak sentence is total discord. It breaks the flow, confuses readers, and pulls them out of the narrative. Read sentences aloud to see how they flow.
  • Rhythm: Make sure to vary sentence length; when all your sentences are the same length, the writing drones on.
  • Paragraph structure: Each paragraph contains a single idea. In fiction, each paragraph contains one character’s action and dialogue. Extremely long paragraphs tend to bore readers. If you write long paragraphs, try to alternate them with shorter paragraphs to give balance and rhythm to your structure.
  • Transition: Sentences and paragraphs should flow seamlessly. If you must jump from one topic to another, use headings or transitional phrases to separate them. Place transitional phrases and sentences within chapters to move smoothly between scenes.
  • Word repetition: Nothing deflates a piece of writing like the same descriptive word unnecessarily used over and over. She had a pretty smile. She wore a pretty dress. She lived in a pretty house. This kind of repetition robs a story of its imagery, making it two-dimensional. There are many ways to say that something or someone is pretty.
  • Thesaurus: A thesaurus helps you build your vocabulary and provides a workaround for repetition. Some writers avoid using the thesaurus, believing that reliance on it constitutes some writerly weakness. But your job is not to be a dictionary or word bank; it’s knowing how to find the perfect words for your sentences.
  • Concept repetition: Repetitive words are one problem; repetitive information is another—or it can be a good thing. Repeat concepts when you’re teaching because it promotes retention. But don’t tell the reader what day of the week it is three times in a single scene.
  • Simplification: Run-on sentences and short sentences strung together with commas and conjunctions create a lot of dust and noise in a piece of writing. In most cases, simple, straightforward language helps bring the action or ideas to center stage.
  • Concise writing: Concise writing is a matter of style, but it is overwhelmingly preferable for contemporary readers who don’t appreciate long passages of description or long-winded sentences and paragraphs that drone on and on. With concise writing, we say what absolutely needs to be said and we say it in as few words as possible, using the simplest and most direct language available. That does not mean the writing can’t have flair or be colorful. It certainly can! Shave off any excess and focus on the juicy bits.
  • Organization: A poorly organized manuscript is a nightmare to read. Thoughts, ideas, and action need to flow logically. Similar ideas should be grouped together. Outlines are ideal for planning and organizing a complex piece of writing.
  • Consistency: If you use italics for thought dialogue, always use italics for thought dialogue; don’t alternate between italics and quotation marks. If you use a serial comma in one sentence, use it in all sentences that could take a serial comma. Make sure your headings and titles have the same formatting. Be consistent!
  • Literary devices: Some literary devices are particular to form and genre, but most can be used across all forms and genres. Literary devices range from techniques for making word choices (like alliteration or assonance) to methods for infusing prose with vivid imagery. Studying these devices and using them in your work will be a huge asset to your writing skills.
  • Filler words: Filler words are vague, meaningless, and unnecessary. Consider the following examples: very skinny, really tired, just going to the store. Words like very, really, and just usually do nothing more than emphasize the words they modify. Remove filler words or replace them and the words they modify with single words that are more vivid: bony, exhausted, going to the store.
  • Passive vs. active voice: Passive voice comes off sounding formal and old-fashioned. When used in contemporary dialogue, it can sound unnatural. In passive voice, we say The car was driven by her. Active voice is more natural and direct: She drove the car. When in doubt, go with active voice and use passive voice only if you have a good reason to do so.
  • Filter words: A common bad habit in narrative writing is framing one action within another: He started walking or I thought the car was too fast. Characters don’t start walking: they walk. In first-person narrative, everything represents the narrator’s thoughts, so it’s sufficient to say the car was too fast; readers understand that this is the narrator’s thought.
  • Redundancy: Redundancy is unnecessary repetition or stating the obvious. I suspect it occurs when we’re writing and trying to sort through our own thoughts, so we say the same thing in various ways. Here’s an example: I am taking my car to the shop tomorrow, so I won’t be able to go anywhere because my car will be in the shop. The sentence is redundant. Here’s a replacement sentence: I won’t be able to go anywhere tomorrow because my car will be in the shop.
  • Formatting: A writer should know how to format a piece of writing—not just properly, but well. For example, we don’t use italics or quotation marks to tell readers where to place emphasis on words in a sentence.
  • Pronouns: Make sure every pronoun is clear, so the reader knows what it represents. Don’t refer to this or that if they are abstract concepts. Don’t use he, she, him, or her three times in a sentence if two or more people or characters are in play."
Check out Melissa's website for more great tips and ideas:


Clancy's comment: Thank you, Melissa. You have provided some very good reminders.

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