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1917 biography by Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968). Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 - April 7, 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. He was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 U.S. patents. As owner of the Ford Company he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with "Fordism," that is, the mass production of large numbers of inexpensive automobiles using the assembly line, coupled with high wages for his workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace.