In the 1920s the US industrialist wanted to found a city based on the values that made his company a success – while, of course, producing cheap rubber. The jungle city that bore his name ended up one of his biggest failuresDrew Reed, Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford's utopian city in the Amazon, The Guardian (19 August 2016). [more inside]
From 1914 to 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and nature writer John Burroughs took off every summer to "rough it" (shaving was forbidden), camp on the roadside, and visit the country's most beautiful places by automobile, creating a media sensation and kicking off the tradition of the Great American Road Trip. [more inside]
On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
King Camp Gillette is remembered for an empire built on giving away one half of his product to increase sales for the other half, but the year prior to moment of inspiration that lead to disposable razors, Gillette published a book with a larger scope: The Human Drift. The work of Utopian social planning was focused on a nation-city called Metropolis, to be powered by Niagara Falls. Gillette followed the first book with a second in 1910, World Corporation, which was a revised vision for a better world, now focused as a corporation formed in the Arizona Territory that would grow to encompass the world, with former President Theodore Roosevelt to head up as corporation president. Roosevelt declined the position, and Gillette's Utopian dreams faded. [more inside]
On October 1, 1908, the first Ford Model T rolled out of the factory on Piquette Avenue in Detroit. Many people today wonder why Henry Ford started his nomenclature with the letter "T." Short answer: He didn't. [more inside]
"Happiness is thought to depend on leisure; for we are busy that we may have leisure, and make war that we may live in peace." Aristotle
In the 1930's, Henry Ford transplanted a tiny piece of America—complete with picket fences, fire hydrants, poetry readings, square-dancing, and English-language sing-alongs—into the Amazon rain forest. Fordlândia was to be the largest rubber tree plantation on the planet (over 70 million rubber tree seedlings) providing material for the millions of tires Ford Motor Company needed. It flopped. So he tried again, downriver a bit, with Belterra. It flopped, too. By 1945, Ford threw in the towel having lost over $20 million, or roughly $200 million in modern dollars.
Auto baron Henry Ford was a great entrepreneur and a peacemaker during the World World I era. In fact, he loved just about everyone. Everyone, that is, except for the Jews. Read his book and find out how Anti-Semitism isn't just for white trash anymore.