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Folks Of Interest Henry Ford : American Experience on PBS

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by slddnmatt, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. slddnmatt
    Joined: Mar 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,679

    slddnmatt
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    I just happened to stumble across it, said it was new. Very interesting to watch and amazing to see the machines and assembly line in action.
     
  2. Erwin
    Joined: Dec 4, 2007
    Posts: 205

    Erwin
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    Some of them jobs must have been brutal not being able to use air tools,even. Enjoyed watching "American Experience." Lots of historic film.
     
  3. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,770

    BLAKE
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    That was a great doc... very well done. I found myself looking for transcripts of the questions he had to answer in the famous libel suit which proved him to be 'ignorant'.
     
  4. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
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    from BC

    Coming on next week here, waiting for it. Did anyone see the documentary about the camping trips he used to take with Harvey Firestone and Edison? Not really much HAMB related stuff, but interesting insight into his life.
     
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  5. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,485

    5window
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  6. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 3,866

    Truckedup
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    In Rochester NY at the George Eastman house is often on display many photographs of Ford,Edison and Eastman on camping trips.Camping with a legion of porters and wood floor tents.....
    Three men who took the toys of the rich and made them available to the working stiff.
     
  7. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,446

    BrerHair
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Enjoyed it. Uneducated does not equal unintelligent. Ignorant does not equal dumb.

    Sort of a Steve Jobs (on steroids) . . .sheer genius innovator & entrepreneur, nasty human being.

    Having lived in Georgia for 3 decades, I always knew about his plantation in Richmond Hill, GA. Curious how many other such estates he had.
     
  8. C. Montgomery
    Joined: Dec 18, 2003
    Posts: 1,010

    C. Montgomery
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    I saw it last night. Very interesting.


    Posted from the TJJ App for iPhone & iPad
     
  9. 34fordchop
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 244

    34fordchop
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    from California

    I also stumble across it .. Very interesting...
     
  10. bronco gasser
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
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    bronco gasser
    BANNED
    from GB WI

  11. Blakmerk
    Joined: May 15, 2002
    Posts: 313

    Blakmerk
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    from St.Joe MO

    Just finished watching this, thanks for a great show. I've been uniformed on this subject for many years.
     
  12. Thunderroad312
    Joined: Nov 18, 2012
    Posts: 159

    Thunderroad312
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    I thought it outright sucked. Henry is at the top of my list as an american hereo, his contribution to american industry and life is huge. While the video footage was great, the supposed "historians" did nothing but paint the picture of the evil megalomaniac tyrant. I know the man was eccentric and had some ways that may not have been palatable to some, one must aknowledge the true self taught genius he was. Typical of PBS they just can't contain their socialist slant by portraying an american hereo as an evil capitalist.JMO.
     
  13. I on the other hand thought it was the most correct documentary ever done on Ford. Most everything on the show is backed by facts easily provable.
    I think Ford was a genius in the factory.
     
  14. Kustom Komet
    Joined: Jun 26, 2007
    Posts: 624

    Kustom Komet
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    That's not entirely fair. They repeated many times that he didn't like and shunned the rich, that he didn't like being told what to do by investors, and that he really wanted to improve the lives of his workers with the five dollar/day wage which was unheard of in the teens. Not exactly the picture of an evil capitalist. All the negative things mentioned were true, and omitting them wouldn't be telling the whole story. But they certainly did acknowledge his genius and audacity in going from the Quadricycle to River Rouge.

    -KK
     
  15. Whatever fits your narrow minded narrative.

    I have read many books on Henry Ford and quite frankly, PBS did a very fine job. As others have stated, he detested the wealthy elites and he was most comfortable being around machinists and engineers. Henry was a genius, visionary, and a damn good engineer. Just as PBS described him many times. Try doing a little more research before you post lame, uninformed, opinions like this.

     
  16. Troublemaker427
    Joined: Jun 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,833

    Troublemaker427
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    I also thought it was very well done. Mr. Ford is one of my hero's but he did have a very bad side and they showed that. It's not like they made up the bad things. Several years ago I toured his Fairlane Estate in Dearborn. The tour guide told us the story about Edsel initiating the Administrative Building expansion at Highland Park. It is very true he left the foundation hole for all to see to prove his point to Edsel. We were also told Edsel's wife and Clara blamed Henry for Edsel's stomach cancer and his resulting death.

    Henry also is one of the only Americans mentioned in Mein Kampf.

    I feel the documentry showed the numerous sides of Henry, not just those sides that we car people would like to see. You definitely need to take the good with the bad with this man.
     
  17. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,770

    BLAKE
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    Well said. It's ironic how he ultimately hated the society he helped create.
     
  18. Bigchuck
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 1,139

    Bigchuck
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    Exactly. Our whole country and society is based the automobile. That couldn't have happened without electricty and steel. So, you had Ford, Westinghouse, Edison, Tesla, Carnengie, all sort of coming together with their ideas at the same time. They all also seemed to want monoplies, and seemed to be willing to do anything to attain that goal. It is also interesting to me how some things never change. Ford treated his workers like shit-he would have had slaves if it was not illegal. Now big business just outsources to be able to abuse and damn near enslave workers in other countries. I found it very sad they way Henry treated Edsel- especially after Edsel died and Henry said he just wanted Edsel to get mad. Maybe Henry was lucky Edsel had a heart and didn't get mad-
     
  19. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    ago
    Member
    from pgh. pa.

    Henry Ford had control over the complete automobile he was building, owned mines and raw material supplies ,ships, railroads ,steel mills ,power plants everything. He didn't want anybody to hold him hastage on raw materials. But he also had a dark side, he was stubborn to say the least. If he wouldn't have come along someone else would of later on. Look at technology today, not as many big advancements in 20 years. War time always advances technology. Maybe if there was not WWII the need for nuclear weapons would have been too expensive to pursue. So it goes.



    Ago
     
  20. Henry needed workers for adding a third shift so he could run 24 hours a day. The five dollar day was a plan to get workers, not because he wanted to share the wealth. The workers had to last five years to get the five bucks a day, 90% left way before that. But, he gladly took the accolades for the publicity that he recieved.
     
  21. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,937

    jimdillon
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    I agree that it was possibly the first portrayal into some of the truth behind Henry Ford. As a kid I idolized him so much that I wanted to read more and more. I have always liked research and went to the main library in downtown Detroit where I found out some not so nice things written about him. The more I read the less I liked him as a person. It is impossible to not admire some of his achievements, although admittedly the word that comes to my mind moreso than genius is “shrewd”.



    On the other hand I am a huge Edsel fan and enjoy occasionally going to his house in Grosse Pointe. If Henry had listened to Edsel when they acquired Lincoln I believe they could have kept larger market share. I have read also that Edsel deserves the credit for the catalog custom which became more prevalent in the thirties with Lincoln and other fine automakers (where you could order a custom bodied car from the Lincoln dealer’s catalog and Lincoln delivered the car as opposed to taking a chassis to a custom body company yourself). Edsel knew that to be successful you had to appeal to a wider clientele. Henry was stubborn.


    It was good to see that PBS at least touched on the $5 a day wage and that it was a necessary move to keep enough people on the line. That is a topic that would take considerable debate, but I believe a fair review would show it had more to do with making sure he had enough workers to handle the ramping up of production that was required at Highland Park and the moving assembly line, than any magnanimous gesture on behalf of his employees. He was a shrewd businessman who knew how to make the difficult happen. It was not happenstance that he became one of the richest men in the world as a result of that edict to pay $5 a day.


    PBS dealt with Henry’s hatred for his investors but they did not deal with the topic in any depth. Several years ago I wrote an article on the formation of Cadillac for the Horseless Carriage Gazette. As many of you may know, Cadillac was formed in autumn of 1902 with what was left of the Henry Ford Co. In doing my research, I researched the Detroit Automobile Company and Henry’s involvement, the dissolution and then the new company they formed being the Henry Ford Company. The study of these investors could make a pretty riveting documentary as well. The Detroit Automobile Company formation was led more than likely by William Maybury, mayor of the City of Detroit who knew of Henry and the quadricycle. I believe the money man was William Murphy who was very wealthy. Henry put no money in and really produced nothing other than a stack of bills. It was a failure but Henry did work on his first racecar, Sweepstakes, and when he ran that against Winton that brought him some pretty good ink. Based on that, Murphy and three others gave Henry another chance and they used the picture of Sweepstakes on their letterhead. Henry was making no progress with the new concern and Murphy brought in Oliver Barthel. When he discovered Barthel was working on the design for new racecars(999/Arrow) then Murphy thought it best that Henry move on. Murphy put Barthel in charge for awhile and then within a few months they changed the name to Cadillac and that firm took off.



    All of this took place in the same Cass Avenue plant. One of the renters at Cass Avenue was the Wilson body company and they made the first bodies for Cadillac and when Ford incorporated his new Ford Motor Company in a few months he also had Wilson make his bodies (Wilson was not the only concern that made the numerous bodies-just the first for both Cadillac and Ford). The 1903 Cadillac and 1903 Ford had the same bodies and look virtually (not identically but pretty close) the same. Cadillac had a one cylinder and Ford a two cylinder opposed engine. The investors for the new and successful Ford Motor Company was led by Alexander Malcomson. Malcomson brought in a pretty good group to make it work, including his secretary/bookkeeper, James Couzens (my brother and I ended up living in Couzens mansion on the corner of Longfellow and Second in Detroit for one summer in the sixties and I gained appreciation of him). The racecars were not forgotten but Malcomson was pretty shrewd as well and kept up the pressure so that cars did make it to market and Ford was off and running. Long story short, if the investors could speak from the grave, I believe they may claim that were it not for the investors, Ford would have been little more than a footnote, as an inventor who took his quadricycle for a midnight ride in 1896 in the City of Detroit. Hundreds of auto companies were formed and only a handful succeeded. The investors and those that Henry hatred were as responsible as the inventors and engineers-it took a good mix.


    After watching the program the Men Who Built America (which I enjoyed) I was thoroughly disappointed in the segment on Ford. This PBS program on Ford did an admirable job and hopefully has started some dialog away from so much of the disinformation that has been written about Henry Ford. Pretty good program all in all and I believe more than favorable to Henry. If they wanted to make him look bad there is more stuff out there. For all of his flaws, he did change the country with all of the effects of placing the car in the hands of the masses. He certainly had talent and good points but this program correctly pointed out he was not quite the man that so much of “history” had recorded. Good program.-Jim
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  22. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,142

    hugh m
    Member
    from ct.

    Great documentary. Always dissapointing to find out these supposedly "Great" men have some pretty dispicable flaws...But old Henry wasn't near as bad as J Edgar Hoover, for instance. The old footage was really neat to see.
     
  23. Well put Hugh. We all have are flaws and larger than life people seem to have theirs magnified. I dvr'd the program and liked it, very interesting. Made me glad I pushed my kids to be what they wanted to be.
     
  24. Damm! I'm block at work. We look again at home.
     
  25. jazzfidelity
    Joined: Sep 19, 2011
    Posts: 371

    jazzfidelity
    Member

    I don't doubt Thunderroad for one second, PBS has really become more slanted in their portrayals of business leaders and I generally will not watch them.. true, he had many faults and was very eccentric, as many geniuses are, but now I'm glad I missed it!
     
  26. hotrod40coupe
    Joined: Apr 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,559

    hotrod40coupe
    Member

    I had recorded it on my DVR and had the opportunity to view it last night. I thought it was a fair representation of Henry, both good & bad. He was most certainly a control freak which helped to get the company started. His treatment of Edsel was deplorable and karma is a bitch. Edsel was briliant in his own right and gave us some of the most iconic cars of the earlky years. Henry was stubbord, bull headed and set in his ways but he was also a very brilliant man. After all, he changed America.
     
  27. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    It is possible to be a jerk and a mechanical genius at the same time. If Ford didn't start out that way it is what he became. He's not alone with that. The process of attaining great success can make a person that way. As often happens with highly successful individuals, Ford gets credit for a lot of things he didn't actually think of or figure out. No doubt there were others who tried to be Henry Ford and could have been as good or better at it. The one most successful isn't necessarily the best. But right or wrong, agree or not, Henry Ford had some attributes that served him well. Unfortunately, what works well in one circumstance can be counterproductive and self-defeating in another. Few people are able to change their perspective to suit every situation. Ford was smart, worked hard, didn't give up, and like many sucessful people, had a flair for self-promotion. Those things and some good luck worked out very well for him. Ford's business outgrew him and the world passed him by. It happens to a lot of people. Isn't this forum is about holding on to and reliving the past?
     
  28. The American Experience documentary was balanced and thorough. I've appreciated Henry's genius since my first car ('29 Model A coupe), and now understand that much of that appreciation should go to Edsel, who saved the company by pushing it toward succeeding the T with the A. We should all have the patience Edsel displayed, and it appears internalizing his frustration may have led to ulcers and his ultimate demise. Too bad his name is associated with a vehicle now denigrated. Edsel deserves better.
     
  29. big bad john
    Joined: Aug 11, 2010
    Posts: 4,727

    big bad john
    Member

    Great program....He was a real hard man to get along with....looks like his family really suffer
     

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