Henry's vivid imagination led him to many fields
A look at some of Henry Ford's far-ranging interests, from Beyond the Model T by Ford R. Bryan.
Tractors: On July 27, 1917, the Henry Ford & Son co-partnership was reorganized as a Michigan corporation. Fordson tractors continued to be built in the United States until 1928, and 737,977 were sold.
Shipbuilding: During World War I, Ford Motor Co. began building a submarine chaser, the Eagle. A prototype was completed June 24, 1918.
"At the time of the Armistice, 28 keels had been laid at the Rouge, 12 boats had been launched, and seven commissioned by the Navy," according to Beyond the Model T.
and Model T production gradually was shifted there from Highland Park, Mich.
Aircraft: "The introduction of commercial planes made of metal instead of wood and fabric can be attributed to a large extent to Ford pioneering," says Beyond the Model T.
In July 1925, Henry Ford bought Stout Metal Airplane Co. "In 1927 the Ford Tri-Motor and the Ford Air Port attracted Charles Lindbergh, who came with his Spirit of St. Louis and gave Ford his first ride in an airplane."
The Ford Tri-Motor got the attention of Charles Lindbergh, who gave Henry Ford his first ride in an airplane. PHOTO: From the Collections of The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co.
Railroads: On March 4, 1921, Henry Ford became president of the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad. Ford's railroad was profitable when he sold it just before the Great Depression.
Land ownership: By 1947, Henry Ford owned almost 26,000 agricultural acres in lower Michigan, for which he had paid about $14 million. He also owned 400,000 acres of timber and iron-mining land in northern Michigan.
He also acquired 75,000 acres of timber and rice land at Richmond Hills, Ga.; and 2.5 million acres of tropical forest in Brazil for the production of rubber.
"This does not include farmlands in Florida, New England as well as Old England, nor his coal, dolomite, lead and railroad properties, and many worldwide factory sites," according to Beyond the Model T. "The total acreage must have reached more than 3 million, the equivalent of 4,700 square miles, or roughly the size of Connecticut."