On this day in 1903, Henry Ford gathered with 12 future stockholders in Detroit to sign the official paperwork to create the Ford Motor Company. A month later, the first Ford car was assembled in Detroit.
Ford had made two previous attempts to start an automotive manufacturing company before, but both were ultimately unsuccessful. Working as the chief engineer for the main plant of the Edison Illuminating Company, he had built the "Quadricycle" — his first gas-powered vehicle in a workshop behind his house seven years before Ford Motor Co. was incorporated.
When the company first began, only a few cars could be assembled each day. The introduction of the Model T in 1908 presented an "affordable, efficient and reliable automobile for everyone." Nearly half of the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts within a decade of its creation.
Because of the high demand the Model T created, Ford developed numerous methods for mass-production, including the revolutionary moving assembly line. Ford also set another standard for the industry by introducing a $5 daily wage for 8-hour shifts as compared to the previous $2.34 for a 9-hour shift.
In the late 1910s to early 1920s, the company began constructing a massive industrial complex in Dearborn, MI. to combine all the necessary parts for the prodcution of cars — a glass factory, a steel mill and the assembly line. The stockholders were skeptical about the construction costs, but Ford bought them out and moved forward with the plant.