A way to success – Henry Ford


We have chosen 10 successful people who made a difference in engineering and manufacturing industries and every Thursday there would be a new feature under the hash tag #successfulengineerchallenge. This is to show how any one of us can succeed no matter how many obstacles are on the way. Come back to learn a few lessons for yourself!

‘Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently’

Henry Ford

Henry Ford



Henry Ford is a worldwide known founder of the car manufacturer of the same name, whose net worth is calculated in billions. But not many people know that before finally succeeding with a start-up business, Henry Ford failed twice! He definitely knew what being persistent really means.



1st attempt

He started off with a machinist apprenticeship in Detroit at the age of 16 and years later became an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company, gradually escalating the career ladder. Whilst working Ford was developing a horseless carriage, which he later called Ford Quadricycle. This led to an idea of making his own company and after some thinking he partnered with a lumber baron William H. Murphy to create the Detroit Automobile Company. Maybe the ‘baron’ title wasn’t enough to make it, maybe the society wasn’t ready to have cars in every household but the company went bankrupt after a year.

Ford Quadricycle

Ford Quadricycle, Image © Jim Culp

2nd attempt

His next attempt was 2 years later, in 1901, when he created the Henry Ford Company. It resulted from the reorganization of his previous business but despite the good company performance Henry had to leave it due to disputes with the financial supporters. This company however did succeed in the end and was later renamed to Cadillac Automobile Company. So, technically Ford started two of the most successful and wealthy car manufacturing companies in America.

3rd attempt

This leads to his third and final attempt with Ford Motor Company that finally hit it off right. But again nothing was so easy for him. Ford made a partnership with Alexander Malcomson, a coal dealer, and together they started manufacturing automobiles under the name ‘Ford&Malcomson’. A few months later the financial struggles began, which could have led to another failure but Ford’s partner managed to find investors and the duo finally formed the Ford Motor Company the way it still exist in the present time.

Ford Model T

Model T, Image © Ford Europe

And then we all know what happened. Henry Ford designed his first Ford Model T, which turned out to be so successful that almost every American owned it. Next came Model A, brining even more profits to the company than the previous vehicle. All in all, Ford revolutionised the car manufacturing industry and if it weren’t for him who knows when driving a car would have become ‘a thing’. And the lesson to learn here – if you fall once, you have to get up and start walking again!

Cover Image © Don O’Brien

If you like the article please share.

Leave A Reply