In 1847 at the height of the great famine in Ireland, a man left Ballinascarthy, near Bandon in County Cork in search of a better life for himself, his wife and family for United States of America. It was a decision which would have a far reaching affect on the world of transport in the form of the motor car we know today.
The man’s name was John Ford who subsequently bought a farm in Dearborn, Michigan. One of his sons William was employed in a nearby farm owned by another Corkman named John Ahern. In time, William married John’s foster daughter and on 30th July 1863, a son was born to the couple and named Henry.
Henry did not express a great interest in farming and when he was 16 took his first job as an apprentice machinist in Dearborn. During his weekend visits home, he set up a small machine shop where he did various mechanical repairs.
In 1876, Henry saw a traction engine for the first time. He said later it was that engine which took him into the world of automotive transportation. In 1896, after much experimentation, Henry built his first successful car – a quadricycle.
On 16th June 1903, Henry founded the Ford Motor Company.