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Who said: “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, ... finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell ... whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Henry Ford Quotes

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Henry Ford
(30 Jul 1863 - 7 Apr 1947)

American inventor and automobile manufacturer who first experimented with internal combustion engines while he was an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company. He designed and built an early automobile. The Ford Motor Company he started in 1903 revolutioned the car manufacturing industry.


Science Quotes by Henry Ford (19 quotes)

Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.
— Henry Ford
Remark made while announcing (1909) that production was being switched to only one model, the Model T. As quoted in Henry Ford and Samuel Crowther, My Life and Work (1922), 71. Often seen as a shorter paraphrase, such as “You can have any color as long as it's black.”
Science quotes on:  |  Black (42)  |  Car (71)  |  Color (137)  |  Customer (9)  |  Long (790)  |  Want (497)

History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.
— Henry Ford
As quoted in interview by Charles Wheeler, Chicago Tribune (25 May 1916). Often misquoted, and misunderstood out of context, as “History is bunk”. There is much important context needed to interpret what Ford really meant by it. Articles have been written on that subject, for example, Roger Butterfield, 'Henry Ford, the Wayside Inn, and the Problem of “History Is Bunk”', Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society (1965), 3rd Series, 77, 53-66.
Science quotes on:  |  History (673)  |  Live (628)  |  More (2559)  |  More Or Less (68)  |  Present (619)  |  Today (314)  |  Tradition (69)  |  Want (497)  |  Worth (169)

I know two people who have found it [the secret of success]. … Getting ready. Getting prepared. There were Edison and Lindbergh,—they both got ready before they started. I had to find that out too. I had to stop for ten years after I had started; I had to stop for ten years and get ready. I made my first car in 1893, but it was 1903 before I had it ready to sell. It is these simple things that young men ought to know, and they are hardest to grasp. Before everything else, get ready.
— Henry Ford
From Henry Ford and Ralph Waldo Trine, The Power that Wins (1929), 147. Often seen paraphrased as “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success,” for example, in Connie Robertson (ed.), The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations (1998), 129.
Science quotes on:  |  Both (493)  |  Car (71)  |  Thomas Edison (84)  |  Everything (476)  |  Find (998)  |  First (1283)  |  Grasp (61)  |  Hard (243)  |  Know (1518)  |  Charles A. Lindbergh (24)  |  People (1005)  |  Prepare (37)  |  Ready (39)  |  Secret (194)  |  Sell (15)  |  Simple (406)  |  Start (221)  |  Stop (80)  |  Success (302)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Two (937)  |  Year (933)  |  Young (227)

I will build a motor car for the great multitude … constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise … so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one—and enjoy with his family the blessing of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.
— Henry Ford
(1909). In My Life and Work (1922), 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (459)  |  Blessing (24)  |  Build (204)  |  Car (71)  |  Construct (124)  |  Design (195)  |  Engineering (175)  |  Family (94)  |  God (757)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1574)  |  Invention (369)  |  Low (80)  |  Making (300)  |  Man (2251)  |  Material (353)  |  Modern (385)  |  Motor (23)  |  Multitude (47)  |  Open (274)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Price (51)  |  Salary (7)  |  Space (500)  |  Will (2355)

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Big (48)  |  Build (204)  |  Character (243)  |  Develop (268)  |  Endure (20)  |  Experience (467)  |  Grief (18)  |  Hard (243)  |  Help (105)  |  Learn (629)  |  Life (1795)  |  March (46)  |  Must (1526)  |  Onward (6)  |  Realize (147)  |  Series (149)  |  Setback (3)  |  World (1774)

Mistakes are a source of experience; and it is the essence of experience that we call wisdom.
— Henry Ford
From Henry Ford and Ralph Waldo Trine, The Power that Wins (1929), 25-26.
Science quotes on:  |  Call (769)  |  Essence (82)  |  Experience (467)  |  Mistake (169)  |  Source (93)  |  Wisdom (221)

Mr Edison gave America just what was needed at that moment in history. They say that when people think of me, they think of my assembly line. Mr. Edison, you built an assembly line which brought together the genius of invention, science and industry.
— Henry Ford
Henry Ford in conversation Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone (1931), quoted as a recollection of the author, in James Newton, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh (1987), 31. The quote is not cited from a print source. However, in the introduction the author said he “kept a diary in which I noted times and places, key phrases, and vivid impressions.” He also “relied on publications by and about my friends, which jogged my memory.&rdquo. Webmaster has found no earlier record of this quote, and thus suggests the author may have the gist of what Ford said, but is not quoting the exact words uttered by Ford, although quote marks are used to state Ford's remark.
Science quotes on:  |  America (127)  |  Assembly (13)  |  Assembly Line (3)  |  Thomas Edison (84)  |  Genius (284)  |  History (673)  |  Industry (137)  |  Invention (369)  |  Moment (253)  |  People (1005)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Think (1086)  |  Together (387)

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Eye (419)  |  Frightful (3)  |  Goal (145)  |  Obstacle (42)  |  See (1081)  |  Thing (1915)

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Afraid (21)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Do (1908)  |  Find (998)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Man (2251)  |  Surprise (86)

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Doing (280)  |  Looking (189)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Quality (135)  |  Right (452)

Tell Selden to take his patent and go to hell with it.
— Henry Ford
(1903). Ford fought the monopoly caused by George Baldwin Selden’s internal combustion engine patent (which was based on George Brayton’s engine). Ford won in 1911, after eight years in court. In American Science and Invention: A Pictorial History (1954), 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Invention (369)  |  Monopoly (2)  |  Patent (33)  |  Tell (340)

The economic and technological triumphs of the past few years have not solved as many problems as we thought they would, and, in fact, have brought us new problems we did not foresee.
— Henry Ford
In 'Henry Ford on What’s Wrong With the U.S.', U.S. News & World Report (1966), 60, 24.
Science quotes on:  |  Bring (90)  |  Economic (81)  |  Economy (55)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Foresee (19)  |  New (1216)  |  Past (337)  |  Pollution (48)  |  Problem (676)  |  Solve (130)  |  Technological (61)  |  Technology (257)  |  Thought (953)  |  Triumph (73)  |  Year (933)

The land! That is where our roots are. There is the basis of our physical life. The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity. From the land comes everything that supports life, everything we use for the service of physical life. The land has not collapsed or shrunk in either extent or productivity. It is there waiting to honor all the labor we are willing to invest in it, and able to tide us across any dislocation of economic conditions.
— Henry Ford
Advice during the Great Depression, placed in an advertisement, 'Henry Ford on Self-Help', Literary Digest (29 Jun 1932), 113, No. 12, 29, and various other magazines.
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Thinking is the hardest work there is. Which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Engage (39)  |  Hard (243)  |  Probable (20)  |  Reason (744)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Why (491)  |  Work (1351)

Wealth is nothing more or less than a tool to do things with. It is like the fuel that runs the furnace or the belt that runs the wheel—only a means to an end.
— Henry Ford
From Henry Ford and Ralph Waldo Trine, The Power that Wins (1929), 13
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Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Right (452)  |  Think (1086)

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.
— Henry Ford
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Build (204)  |  Do (1908)  |  Reputation (33)

[Edison] definitely ended the distinction between the theoretical man of science and the practical man of science, so that today we think of scientific discoveries in connection with their possible present or future application to the needs of man. He took the old rule-of-thumb methods out of industry and substituted exact scientific knowledge, while, on the other hand, he directed scientific research into useful channels.
— Henry Ford
In My Friend Mr. Edison (1930). Quoted in Dyson Carter, If You Want to Invent (1939), 110.
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[The secret of success is] … Before everything else, get ready.
— Henry Ford
From Henry Ford and Ralph Waldo Trine, The Power that Wins (1929), 147. Often seen paraphrased as “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”
Science quotes on:  |  Everything (476)  |  Ready (39)  |  Secret (194)  |  Success (302)



Quotes by others about Henry Ford (2)

I said that there is something every man can do, if he can only find out what that something is. Henry Ford has proved this. He has installed in his vast organization a system for taking hold of a man who fails in one department, and giving him a chance in some other department. Where necessary every effort is made to discover just what job the man is capable of filling. The result has been that very few men have had to be discharged, for it has been found that there was some kind of work each man could do at least moderately well. This wonderful system adopted by my friend Ford has helped many a man to find himself. It has put many a fellow on his feet. It has taken round pegs out of square holes and found a round hole for them. I understand that last year only 120 workers out of his force of 50,000 were discharged.
As quoted from an interview by B.C. Forbes in The American Magazine (Jan 1921), 10.
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Thinking, after a while, becomes the most pleasurable thing in the world. Give me a satchel and a fishing rod, and I could hie myself off and keep busy at thinking forever. I don't need anybody to amuse me. It is the same way with my friends John Burroughs, the naturalist, and Henry Ford, who is a natural-born mechanic. We can derive the most satisfying kind of joy from thinking and thinking and thinking.
As quoted from an interview by B.C. Forbes in The American Magazine (Jan 1921), 86.
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See also:

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

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- 90 -
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- 40 -
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