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What are some myths about Henry Ford?

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Quick Answer

Ford engineered car parts to fail and he was a liberal champion of the worker are two myths that have been perpetrated about Henry Ford. He was a major figure in the growth of American industry who accomplished many great things, but he was primarily driven by profits.

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Full Answer

Henry Ford dispatched teams of men to scour the junkyards for Model Ts and examine them to see what caused them to fail. The information gathered showed that the cars were well made and most of them had been retired from standard wear and tear. However, on every Model T, it was noted that the kingpin was always in great shape. Ford ordered his design staff to redesign the kingpin to lower standards so it would not outlast the rest of the vehicle and by doing so saved money.

Ford did institute the highest wages in the industry for his workers, but he did it to improve the company's profits. His goal was to stop workers from walking off of the job mid-shift, reduce turnover, increase production and decrease training costs. He did not care about a progressive workplace. In fact, he made workers sign contracts that they would not drink, gamble or let their wives hold jobs, and immigrants had to learn English. Ford dispatched agents to conduct home visits to make sure that his standards were met for his workers' personal lives.

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