(born July 30, 1863, Wayne county, Mich., U.S.died April 7, 1947, Dearborn, Mich.) U.S. industrialist and pioneer automobile manufacturer. Ford worked his way up from a machinist's apprentice (at age 15) to the post of chief engineer at the Edison Company in Detroit. He built his first experimental car in 1896. In 1903, with several partners, he formed the Ford Motor Company. In 1908 he designed the Model T; demand became so great that Ford developed new mass-production methods, including the first moving assembly line in 1913. He developed the Model A in 1928 to replace the Model T, and in 1932 he introduced the V-8 engine. He observed an eight-hour workday and paid his workers far above the average, holding that well-paid labourers become the consumers that industrialists require, but strenuously opposed labour unions. As the first to make car ownership affordable to large numbers of Americans, he exerted a vast and permanent influence on American life. Ford Foundation.