History: American/Henry Ford, Inventor of the Model T …

In 1936 Ford hosted meetings of the Farm Chemurgic Council in Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan; 1,000 people attended, as against 400 the previous year. One entire section of the program was devoted to the soybean, which stole the show. Six papers were presented and speakers included Mr. E.D. Funk, Sr. and Clark Bradley. On 12 October 1936 magazine stated: "The No. 1 U.S. soybean man is Henry Ford."

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Henry Ford was the founder of modern American industrial mass production methods, built on the assembly line and the belt conveyor system, which no less an authority than Marshal Josef Stalin testified were the indispensable foundation for an Allied military victory in the Second World War.

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Henry Ford's Passing and Legacy. On 7 April 1947 Henry Ford died at age 85 in his home at Dearborn, Michigan. The young man who dropped out of school at age 15 had gone on to become the creator of modern assembly-line mass production, the man who "put America on wheels." Ford epitomized that sort of old-fashioned American pragmatic inventiveness that is America's special genius. He was and remains an American folk hero. And because soybeans and soyfoods were one of his special interests, they basked in the light of his reflected glory. Ford's chemical and media alchemy had totally transformed the once lowly soybean into a subject of great interest to millions of people. Boyer later recalled, "Back in the 1930s, many people thought our work with soybeans was crazy." But Ford was smart enough to see the potential long before most others. For years he would drive the five miles from his home, "Fairlane," to be in Boyer's office by 8:00 A.M. to check on latest developments. He gave Boyer carte blanche with money and supported any project Boyer wanted to pursue. Boyer had tremendous admiration for Ford and deeply enjoyed working with and for him. Their joint experiments greatly enhanced the dignity of the once lowly soybean, and as the new "noble bean" began to make headlines, the world began to take notice. Over the years, Ford spent an estimated $4 million on soybean research plus an additional $10 million on physical plant and equipment to make soy products. Ford's interest in and cultivation of the soybean proved an important stimulus to expansion of soybean acreage. Although Ford's free-ranging predictions on other subjects were often wide of the mark, his frequent assertion that "soybeans will make millions of dollars of added income for farmers . . . and provide industry with materials to make needed things nobody even knows about now" has been proved correct by the passage of time. In 1947, when Ford died, American farmers were producing about 200 million bushels of soybeans. By 1980 they were producing over ten times that many (2.2 billion bushels). Numerous writers have commented on Ford's contribution to soy:"

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When he retired Mr. Ford was in excellent health, but turned over the management of the vast empire to his grandson. Henry Ford 2d, because, he said, he wanted to devote more time to personal interests.

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DETROIT, April 7--Henry Ford, noted automotive pioneer, died at 11:40 tonight at the age of 83. He had retired a little more than a year and a half ago from active direction of the great industrial empire he founded in 1903.

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Death came to the famed industrialist at his estate in Fairlane, in suburban Dearborn, not far from where he was born in 1863. At the Ford Company news bureau offices it was said that the exact cause of death would not be known until Henry Ford 2d, his grandson, could reach the family home, perhaps within an hour.