Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WHAT WITH his putting America on wheels, paying his workers enough to aspire to those wheels (albeit controlling the workers’ private lives as well), being strongly anti-war, but also notoriously anti-Semitic, Henry Ford was certainly complex.

I offer two charming anecdotes of the man.

The first comes from the article “Fat Cats and Vagabonds,” by Peter Carlson, in American History magazine, August 2013. See for an online version.


Henry Ford, in cowboy gear, clowns with his pal Thomas Edison in 1923. Image from American History, August 2013.

The American History article details camping-buddy friendships of inventor Thomas Edison, tire magnate Harvey Firestone, nature writer John Burroughs and Henry Ford. It concludes with the following tale.

Ford was driving home from one of these road trips when he came upon a farmer with a broken-down car—not a Ford. Ford brought out his tools and some spare parts, and proceeded to fix the farmer’s car.

“What’s the charge?” the farmer asked.

“Nothing,” Ford said.

The farmer insisted, but Ford refused, saying “I have all the money I want.”

“Hell,” said the farmer, “you can’t have that much if you drive a Ford.”

Author Carlson concludes with “It’s a good story. It might even be true.”

The other tale comes with veracity of late friend, car and aviation authority Jonathan Thompson.

Jon grew up in the post-World-War-II Detroit area and remembered fondly an aunt living next door to a woman who had a pristine Model A Ford in her garage. Jon recalled being allowed to sit at the wheel of the Model A and pretend he was driving.

At the time, his aunt told Jon the Model A had been a gift to the woman from another neighbor, Henry Ford, thanking her for cutting his grass.

Years later, when Jon was deemed sufficiently grown, his aunt confided that her neighbor hadn’t just cut Ford’s grass. She had “entertained” Mr. Ford. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2013

One comment on “HENRY FORD LORE

  1. steve andri
    February 23, 2021

    Well, We followed this thread from the origins of Road and Track magazine. “We” being Steve and Colin. Proud employees of a local General Contractor in charge of resurrecting the concrete structure at 1499 Monrovia. We’ve remodeled several buildings and have a steep appreciation for past stewardship. I’ve personally revived old movie theaters (after several gyrations of remodel), Beverly Hills Porsche dealerships, old Volkswagen dealerships and even a mortuary or two….
    We are now officially breaking ground at 1499 Monrovia and the new contemporary future looks bright for Pacifica Christian High School. My first comment when seeing the original 1967 drawings for Mr. Bond was ” lets put a 3rd floor on this building for pennies on the dollar”. Which was later confirmed in your past article that that was the original intention…
    Please let us know if you’d like to come over some time and “kick the tires” on the new digs….
    Pardon the pun. I build buildings not paragraphs….

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