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The Surprising Life of Henry Ford: Part 2

2012-10-01 | 🔗

In this second episode with CarStuff's Scott Benjamin, we pick up at the height of Ford's success: The Model T is revolutionizing America. But he also obsessively controls his employees, becomes a noted anti-Semite and capitalizes on wartime contracts.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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new. I series this time tomorrow, presented by team above a business, join me as one option am, I cursed car price as we walk you through the true revolution in mobility that will change the way we interact with the world around us. Join and here just how close we are getting to a more collective future time tomorrow is now available on the eye. Hot radio app- Have you listen to broadcasts? Look into stuff, you missed in history class from has outworks dot com hello welcomes the fact that I am very daddy, and I am again joy by fellow countrymen about the guy is the coast have car staff and we ve been talking about Henry Ford, one of the automotive great.
And we really covered most of his early career in our first episode. Sort of the farm boy starts tinkering with engines, machines and that coming up with the model t and we even sort of went over. Why them He was such a revolutionary car. Yet lips were written. Where are you know we ve gone past? The point worries bees. Then it needs successful. At this point react what he does without success at another story, because I can it goes off the deepen yeah, where we left off, for it was ripping apart a prototype car his own hand, exactly. I hear he had decided that the prototype within the engineers and develop without his knowledge, sort of an upgrade of the model, t exactly and greater step up and multi, he was heavenly part of that and I ended in a dramatic fashion. He literally ripped the model apart piece by piece with his bare hands
it still metal. If this was a movie, what I've just freeze framed unfired, ripping apart the car exec in this absurd we're gonna really wrong, that and and go to the stranger side, afford to take hard left turn here into some of the other. More eccentric behave, weird territory exactly, and I think that story really epitomizes that the obsessive control that forward on his company in obeying, fell against upgrades so it's his engineers doing, some out him that he would physically ripped apart a car but that control really does extend to other aspects of its business and one of those aspects with materials in this sense and away because his his assembly line was so high functioning the five times he would run out of a material because his suppliers couldn't keep up
They had a shortage, then that we're gonna slow him down. Sure, though his first way to deal with that was to stockpile things like you know, we're talking about. ST things like that that he was not actively making just stock pilot and if their production at least till have it, but he said to think well, I'm through that's why don't I control all of these policies? Romish. Also he bought a railroad. He bought coal mines, he bought acres of timberlands glass works, extreme example of this is, of course, for Latvia, which I know you love Katy and I have done and apathy on it. For those of you who, don't listen to that episode. He creates his own. a model village afford type for it in the end, in the middle of the Amazon. Rainforest in to control over production. It doesn't play out that way, but just the eye yeah that be the preferable fully
that places huge. It's five thousand square miles as the size of Connecticut that he purchase. that he purchased, and if you look at the map I mean you could do just a quick Google search and type in for land. You get it get a map and it points to the middle of nowhere in and results, the guy way down there in the middle of Brazil. I think this Even if you get to the nearest provincial town is still an eighteen our boat ride to get to for landing and the crazy. Maybe I can see the greatest cause, this evening's crazy about it This is a good idea in in general, but it just never no. He never visited. You never visited the place, he's never been, and that was pretty bad for morality. I would bet of wood because the people there are expecting for the show up and run this place ranks of their thinking that you know they're gonna, be among you know the chairs.
And for them to work with the american elite, rail and, as other there at this plant, that since just an idle plant at night or village in and people live there in people live there now, which is crazy. You can You can go there and visit and the people. Apparently For some reason, I still think that there is a possibility, may be forward. Will Ford will fire up thing up again? simply going to produce. At some point in history, even though farm driver in I think all except in Asia has proved pretty and paused in his place was abandoned in eighteen, forty five, there was visually liking on just were done with it for a kind of new washstand loathing so stream example of trying to control material. Anyone or a small example before we go on because he bought up smaller in Michigan to do so thing with wood, because he was producing outwood station wagons and he was using somewhere on the order of like, and it was too
three million board feat of Lumber every year. Something like that is an enormous amount would, without one minute supply Why did you not with the forests of Michigan and the same thing will happen for landing. They built this. This great compound in OZ is like how many city so standing in some ways and then just idle We should give some examples of this working though this idea of buying up related industries and to make them work for you one example I found when their river Rouge plan opened in eighteen, twenty seven or that had been taken from his mind and shipped down would enter one of would enter the plan and then come out as the car. Only twenty hours later in a power coming from coal. That was, from his mind, everything coming from afford owned property and turning into a car such a short of I'd. Like you to clarify something. I said that this is a good idea. When I mention for lady, I meant something like that.
Self sustained company, the middlemen, exactly I mean the house. Would you say that that's a tremendous savings for him and in the long run, but when you were vast millions and millions of dollars into the jungle. Brazil and never go there and its never used, that's wasteful. Think about your own railroad, another two by the jungle property like mine on railway perfectly sane radio, in over a guy like Floyd yeah. I guess so that those toys read through control, though, really extends beyond material is over we're. Just hang about materials. You can understand a cereal, let in an industrial ass like for wanting to control his materials, it's a little less thievery Somebody tragedy that with people in the region under the weird area here we are not already there so here we are nineteen fourteen nineteen fifteen somewhere in their afford, offer the five dollar workday and this
I'll plays into the somehow I'll tell you a second the five dollar working and that just blows people they can't imagine making five dollars a day out of production. Job like this, it's twice as much weight he I'll be expected to make yet other autumn automobile manufacturers, a pain, half that price and hey. There is often that much and it's only in our work to instead of nine hours instead of a nine, our David, it's, but it is initially its offered at six days you workin eight eight hours. six days a week, which was then cut back to five days weeks or forty hour week, but. We regard that it drew people like you couldn't believe I mean people came from all over, while probably the world, but at least the United States there flocking to Ford. This five dollar live opportunity may five hours a day now, for it a different way. He said
obvious five dollars a day and expect this much work out of you and that's fine, but it also gave him or what he thought Kenneth it broke down the boundaries He thought it was such a generous salary that it gave him the right to control non working aspects of his employees, but Y know please it's almost like, purchasing the people it is it is it s kind of like that, it's more like indentured servitude, and this is that this is really and so he he forms now does the name is funny the Ford, sociology department, little disturbing, yet associated apartment. Now the socio Department originally head about thirty investigators, and these instigators to gaiters. Now, remember you make five hours days. You got expect this raid cordon afford they would your house, and they would take notes on every aspect of your daily life, everything your whole family, not just you.
is the people you live with. What you do where you live, how you conduct your business home? What you know Anything and everything about your personal life was exposed to have an that that's one thing you could maybe expect our aid the guy's coming over tonight. Let's clean up the house make sure we're on our best behaviour. People are gonna, be at work too There were gonna, be in format, spies all working for Ford, so if he were maybe to comply, the level that twenty or coworkers, maybe if you took a break for a minute from the assembly line, you can expect all of that information to get back to work. That that's amazing to me. Plus, you know health issues drinking. looms gambling issues. Anything like that. It's not a b, even if it doesn't interfere with your work? It's going and so for five years. today. He felt that this did this purchased the right to have
I guess, install this, this bizarre monitoring of his employees daily lives. I mean everything every aspect there like this. the only story the thing that he had a strange department. I think that he formed. I came across another one, I just recently read about. I knew that the care, while braided know that those call this He also had another division Mccall at that he did. He called the Afford service department and the Foreign Service it sounds like something you don't like. They work on car exhaust. You drive to the service Department today in Gujarat. Oil changed rain, not sin I, in Moses, from like nineteen, thirty, two about nineteen, forty, seven one for died. He he hired a guy named Parents are Harry Bennet bodyguard exactly this is this is for its personal bodyguard. He hired him to be second in command at Ford basically, and he pray. He ran Ford with an iron fist. Now they say that you know Ford was
I'm in charge, of course, but Bennett was a who's. The guy he's been forced their ease, the presence and better Bennett to hire employees to work under him. Guess we hired here hired the worst of the worst I mean he hired Pro Exercise he hired wrestlers, he higher on, he heard thugs yard hoodlums people from the underworld that that you would normally a voice, Erin Old, not to say that you know that, but these are people that you are on the other. The edges assigned me were hired, not because they were reform from now. No, no! No, because they were very much in you is recommended. I look up picture young one of these incidents involving the service department and the battle of the over saddle overpass the guys look plague. They
we're out of work has Capone was in jail or something it doesn't. Look like every gangster movie of everyday look like you're stereotypical gangster and they look like they are spoiling for trouble and those are re balance men and he higher. He had a year an entire army of these goons that would go out and they were the they were the union busters. These are the guys that if there was a threat of union strikers, Ford hated Unions, he hated every aspect of he couldn't stance of your online marching watch out for better guns, because they're they're coming there's no about a third of either in some way, and they didn't care who was watching because the battle the over happened right in front of reporters amorous they and it still cameras in advance They had a lot more than what you ll see. If you do a search for this, I kurdish people go looking ass. The whole time If you do, a search for battle of the overpass you'll see the photos that exist from this most
voter grass were destroyed by bennets men. Are they? attack the the organizers of the event, Walter Ruther and Richard Frankenstein, I think, is his name who they are They then turned on reporters that were recordings and even lady, through their handing out pamphlet, yeah, the when you say tat they they beat them up. I mean they're, taking them in punching them and dragging them down iron steps, and you can see photos of these guys just blackened black and blue in full and bloody afterwards. The only way that these photographs got out is is an amazing story. One of the photographers actually walked to the edge of the over around the edge of the repairs and dropped his camera into a passing convertible and the can. set off with it with the camera. You know this is the plan right out of a moving exactly the plan to get the photographs actually knew what to expect, and, of course they reporters, you know, probably be silly. Yeah. So when we talk, I mean that goes through
new contacts to talking about the spies and inform too, is there not just trying to figure out what your life is like they're to figure out? you have union sympathies and see what happens if you deal and what's so to me in all this is that you know by this, Ford had allowed some of their company control to go to his fun. At all. But that was really nominal control and that's not. His answer was an incompetent. Manager and incompetent executive. It's because this father really didn't trust him. judgment didn't want to relinquish control and ethical was thinking a little or no in a more modern way about this thinking. Will we did make a deal with the union's? We should come to some sort of agreement, while Violence is happening that is supported by his father. S was but more sympathetic than than Henry. Of course I mean it far more by the problem, was you know given control of former company to excellent nineteen eighteen. throw till the early on in the same right having he had in. Actually, given up Control
it's hard to believe, but Henry Head still commanding rights. He had yet. I e the ability to veto any decision that Ethel made any often did that to me, It says were wise s leave and there is almost like a different chinese visit, a figurehead, but you know he's Henry's trying to give him some some freedom- Will he sees gathered iron fist grip on him? I'm just not aligned, it happened, can imagine other made. It will feel not. And I mean he he died pretty young in it sounded like he had a difficult life on under that iron thumb of of his father work in his father's company. We'll talk a little bit more about the next generation a little later, but you know everything next thing we have to address here. We ve talked about forward in the union's and and spying his aunt, amateurs boy. When your car breaks down dude
to a train mechanic with years of experience. Or do you take it to a celebrity, then? Why are you doing the same thing with your house? I'm Tom HOLLAND and I have a brand new podcast called thickness. Disruptive, a groundbreaking showed a deep amongst the most common exercising nutrition myths once and for all with science, I'm an exercise physiologist with a masters degree and emphasise science and sports psychology, and I have over thirty years experience in the fitness industry. I mentally hinderance athlete having completed twenty six, I may attract the lawns and over seventy marathons and ultra marathons around the earlier interviews with the best in the business the talk doctors, nutrition is professional athletes and in each episode of fitness disrupted, I will give you actionable advice. They can begin to use right away, no more wasted time and money following bad advice was in a fitness disrupted at apple, podcast, Iheart, radio, app or wherever you listen upon cast an lorries. They gone, and I spent the last decade reporting on technology and introduce the world to companies like Instagram manoeuvre when they were just a handful of people and an idea. Interviewing founders like Mark Zuckerberg, Inject Dorsey, as their companies quite literally changed the world. But now I want to show you my Silicon Valley. It's a new weekly pack has serious personal contact. Loisaida first contact will give you what I like to call the dinner table: access, detect leaders, how I see them human nuance and sometimes emotional conversations about us humans and technology and will tackle ethical issues of the future, because these not complicated really quickly from engineers coating thoughts to surf the dating adds to enter my conversations with tech leaders. First contact will bring you rare access to the billion airs and also the people on the fringes of the ones that you make holier
called the future: listen first contact with lorries evil. That's me on Iheart Radio out on Apple pie, chasms or wherever you get your podcast and really goes beyond just his his own personal opinions to the works quite hard to broadcast them. He thought Jewish international bankers were responsible for world where one in its strange, on the one hand, that belief manner, did in some surprising pacifism on for its part in eighteen fifteen. He travelled to you, in this attempt to stage some peace. Then it was all aboard the ship called the peace ship which got him a lot of criticism, but he also bought a newspaper. He bought the Dearborn Independent here I was specifically take to use as a platform against Jews. Editorial comments, are these editorials columns that he would write that that women were
writers, went with its Bosley, he was reviewing all his editing this this decide. This newspaper, I suppose, later, he would deny it but had v a very strong anti semitic statements in the mom. You know I am just to go back, I mean Henry. He blamed everything on the Jews many right down to the other, the world, both world wars with the second Lusitania. He was one that kind of bought into that conspiracy. Theory that in I was sunk on purpose and that's what started this whole thing. But these these were just filled with aunt medic views viewpoints that this is. Should we until now the european part of this right now this has, I think we can go without mentioning. Ok, here's this is so bad for Henry, This time in bed. You know he's doin putting us out their solely with the report and I guess these. These anti smoke viewpoints. Made their way over to Germany.
to a certain individual named Adolf Hitler agree, wild or to Germany? This is this is prior to Hitler being the chancellor, but on four lay Hitler kind of gravitated too his views and said denied. I liked waiters, He thinks the successful american industrialist with views that seem similar yeah equally, and so this is bad news for Henry he's doing so well here in the states united having gone gone, just fine, more or less Hitler picks up on these things actually has the stuff translated into german and distributed. Yet a series of articles on the quote international too, and in their quite popular in Germany, do there's a book called the International Jew in its it's really just the clippings from the dear was a Dearborn given independent Dearborn Independent, and this is so unfortunate for Henry because there is a lot of water parallels barely any are off terrible enough that the other
was between Hitler and at sorry, Hereford. And I'm not saying and before it is a Nazi and anyway I'm saying that Had these anti semitic views Hitler like these views and then, if you call remember, we said that You know what happened with worried that the whole matter some discipline in Germany, but I'm going actually the every man car there is also something that Hitler kind of patterned after Henry for answer, after Henry Ford and said I want in every man car for Germany, the way the Ford made one for the United States and it's gonna be the Volkswagen Beetle and This whole story about that too, but so here in this It's you can imagine what this is doing. Two hundred for its reputation, it's just it's getting worse and worse and worse every day, I've with more comes out about Hitler and what kind of policies he's instant in Pre were Germany with the onset of the war. Oh, my gosh just pushed over the edge in and made him a view.
Unpopular character and Ford contrary to back out of things, you know he you you had mentioned that eventually he he said. Oh, I wasn't that involved in the paper. He did retract some of his statements, but according to buy If you magazine, he also didn't try to stop the publication of the international do until the middle of weren't until things were clearly beyond bad that you know it says, is my outrageous outrageous views. I mean the stuff that you'll reader you'll hear about this. As is amazing, I mean and is paid This group I mean it goes that he blamed everything on him. He blamed news. Gone them. He thought movies were were sinful than you know. Very Henry Puritan Veer, puritan aspect about then he didn't like dancing. He didn't like music. He felt a wise damned thing. He would stage dances where you know anything
this is like the twenties or something for people are doing. Dance was like the Charleston. He would stage dances where you do the poker Virginia and but here's the interesting thing like he would ass little newsreels wouldn't have a with Ford Motor Company being mere problem