Henry Ford created the Model T car and the automobile assembly line. More importantly, perhaps, he was one of the principal architects of the U.S. consumer mass market. To some other businessmen, Ford seemed crazy to offer his employers a higher wage and shorter hours, but he knew what he was doing. The Ford Motor Company continued to earn big profits and Henry Ford became one of the richest men on earth. His example inspired many foreign leaders of that period.
This book contains the text of an interview which Henry Ford gave to Samuel Crowthers in 1926 as his plants were converting from the production of the Model T to production of the Model A. Ford also decided to introduce the 5-day workweek at this time. The interview gives his reasons for doing so.
Basically, Henry Ford believed that working people needed more leisure to have more time to find uses for consumer products. As he said, a workman would have little use for a car if he had to be in the factories all the time.
Ford’s vision, articulated in this interview, was that reduced working hours would put pressure on business to increase its efficiency and this would lead to lower costs and lower prices and then to greater production, sales, and profits. The important thing is that Ford, as sole owner of the Ford Motor Company, was in a position to put his theories into practice.
An additional feature of this book is a letter which William McGaughey, Jr. received in 1983 from Henry Ford’s grandson and successor, Henry Ford II, commenting on his grandfather’s ideas. The younger Ford was not in favor of reducing work hours further, at least not at that time. He, too, gave reasons.