Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 to William and Mary Ford. He grew up in a rich farming household in Dearborn, Michigan. He enjoyed a typical childhood, spending his days in a one-room schoolhouse and doing farm chores. Ever since he was young, he showed an interest for the mechanical aspect of things, and how they worked and functioned. He used to take things apart and put them back together to get an idea of the inner workings of basic mechanical tools (Nevins, 47 - 50). .
In 1879, at a young age of 16, he left his home to travel to the near by city of Detroit to work as an apprentice for a machinist. He occasionally returned home to work on the farm. He remained an apprentice for three years and then returned to Dearborn. During the next few years, Henry divided his time between operating and repairing steam engines, finding occasional work in Detroit factories, and working on his fathers broken down farm equipment, as well as lending an unwilling hand with other farm work. Henry got married to Clara Bryant in 1888 Henry supported himself and his wife by running a sawmill (Collier, 145 - 152). .
In 1891, Henry became an engineer with the Edison Illumination Company. This was an important event in his life because it signified that he had made a conscious career move into industrial pursuits. He was promoted to Chief Engineer in 1893. This gave him enough time and money to devote attention to his personal experiments on internal combustion engines (Lacey 13 - 14).
The high point of this research came with the completion of his own self-propelled vehicle, the Quadricycle. This bike had four wire wheels and was steered with a tiller, like a boat. It had two forward speeds, and no reverse. Although this was not the first self-propelled vehicle, it set Henry Ford as one of the major pioneers whom helped this nation become one of motorists (Head 22 - 24).
Ford decided that he wanted to become an automobile manufacturer.