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Henry Ford

Founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford (1863-1947) is better known for his hand in creating the American middle class.

He managed this by applying the concept of assembly line manufacturing to the mass production of affordable cars, promptly revolutionizing industrial production.

Born to Irish immigrants, Henry was the eldest of six children. He left home at 16 to work as an apprentice machinist, married, tried a bit of farming, ran a sawmill, experimented with internal combustion engines and eventually formed the Detroit Automobile Company with a few other investors.

When the company went bankrupt, he formed the Henry Ford Company, but was forced out by investors. He returned with the Ford Motor Company.

Even if you aren't a fan of the fabulous Model T, here's something everyone should thank Ford for. In 1926, he instituted the five-day, 40-hour work week. And the modern weekend was born.

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