Unit Overview In this unit you will : • Read about Henry Ford, the father of Ford cars • Learn how to guess meanings of words from context • Take a test in fast reading • Read about Thomas Edison, the inventorKnow something about a great woman scientist
About Henry Ford Henry Ford(1863-1947) was a well-known American industrialist. He was born and also died in Dearborn, Michigan. For five years he served as a machine-shop apprentice in Detroit, built his first car there in 1890-1893 and organized the Ford Motor Company ten years later. In 1909 he perfected the assembly-line technique that enabled the company to mass-produce the first cheap and standardized car, thus revolutionizing the motorcar industry which was now able to expand rapidly. Ford was a social pioneer for he introduced, as early as 1914, an eight-hour day with a minimum daily wage equivalent to one pound and a profit-sharing scheme for all his employees.
About Herr Otto Herr is the German word for Mr in English. Nikolas August Otto(1832-1891) was the German engineer who invented the four-stroke cycle (四冲程) used in most petrol and gas engines today. It was the first practical technique that replaced the steam engine. In the Expo Paris 1867 it won, with further improvement, a gold medal.
About the first assembly line In his efforts to make cars for "the multitude", Henry Ford realized that he would need a more efficient way to produce the car in order to lower the price. He found four principles that would further his goal: interchangeable parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and reducing wasted effort. To improve the flow of the work, it needed to be arranged so that as one task was finished, another began, with minimum time spent in set-up. Inspired by the meat-packing houses of Chicago and a grain mill conveyor belt he had seen, and after making certain study and research , Henry Ford divided the labor by breaking the assembly of the Model T into 84 distinct steps. Each worker was trained to do just one of these steps. In 1913, Ford had the first moving assembly line ever used for large-scale manufacturing put to action, with workers spent less time moving about, the work done in a much more streamlined way, and cars being produced at a record-breaking rate.
Questions • What was Henry Ford’s dream when he was a child? • How did Henry meet his wife? What was their life like? • Who had invented an engine which ran on petrol? • How did Ford get his first petrol engine ready? • What was the first Ford car like? • Did Henry win Detroit’ first motor race? • Why did Ford want to produce cars in large quantities? • What unusual things did Ford do in his days? • Describe Henry Ford’s character.
1. "We want to make men in this factory as well as automobiles," said Henry Ford. What did he mean by these words? By this remark Henry Ford meant that his enterprise would not only produce dependable automobiles, but also train and cultivate reliable people, either assembly-line workers, or office-workers, or management executives. Henry Ford meant his factory to be far above an iron-and-steel workshop or labour-selling sweatshop. It was his ideal that the enterprise of his, while turning out novel vehicles, became a melting-pot or assembly-line in its new sense, from which front-line workers with adequate skills and satisfaction, and shift-heads or managers with rational concepts and human concerns are created.
2. In what sense can Ford’s business principles or strategies be regarded asmodern? First, they are creation-based. The life-line in the enterprise of Henry Ford proved to lay stress on creativity and originality. Never did the father of Ford cars and Ford business stop his efforts in the products improvement or in technical innovation and renovation. Second, they are human-centred. Wanting "to make men in this factory as well as automobiles", Henry Ford clearly realized the important role that manpower plays in the machinery of modern industrial society. His business strategies thus showed the brilliance of humanity and fraternity. Third, they are market-and/or consumer-oriented. When others were eager to make expensive "high-brow" cars and advised Henry Ford to follow the trend, the latter aimed firmly at the absolute majority of potential common car-users. Actually it was Ford's different business concepts that prevented cars from turning into a rarity or something in "Ivory Tower".
Therefore, they tend to establish a healthy cycle of mass-production with low costs, large-market with low-prices, and big-sales with high profits, which is what most nowaday entrepreneurs are driving at. So we have every reason to say that Henry Ford's business experiences and practices can work well as guidance to many present-day businessmen or businesswomen.
About Thomas Edison, The Wizard of Menlo Park Like Ben Franklin, Thomas Alva Edison was both a scientist and an inventor. Born in 1847, Edison would see tremendous change take place in his lifetime. He was also to be responsible for making many of those changes occur. When Edison was born, society still thought of electricity as a novelty, a fad (). By the time he died, entire cities were lit by electricity. Much of the credit for that progress goes to Edison. In his lifetime, Edison patented 1,093 inventions, earning him the nickname "The Wizard of Menlo Park." The most famous of his inventions was an incandescent () light bulb. Besides the light bulb, Edison developed the phonograph and the "kinetoscope," a small box for viewing moving films. He also improved upon the original design of the stock ticker, the telegraph, and Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. He believed in hard work, sometimes working twenty hours a day. Edison was quoted as saying, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." In tribute to this important American, electric lights in the United States were dimmed for one minute on October 21, 1931, a few days after his death.
1)Michael Farady (1791-1867)was a famous British scientist. His scientific work laid the foundation of all subsequent electro-technology. From his experiments came devices which led directly to the modern electric motor, generator and transformer. 2) Western Union: Western Union Telegraph Company was created in 1851 to provide telegraph communications in the united States. The Western Union Telegraph Company was defeated by the Bell Telephone Company in ones of the famous patent cases in Amerian lawsuits.
3)Elsha Gray (1835-1901)was an American inventor, who patented many electrical devices, most of them having to do with the telegraph . 4) A. G. Bell (1847-1922)was an American scientist, the inventor of the telephone. He organized the Bell Telephone Company in July 1877. 5) Morse Code: the system of dots and dashes for letters and numbers in sending telegraphs to ensure secrecy and brevity. 6) A stock ticker: a telegraphic machine which automatically prints news, esp. stock market prices, on paper tapes.
Questions • Why was Edison beaten by his father in front of his neighbors one day? • Why did Edison run out of the school house and never return? • How did Edison’ mother educate him at home? • When did Edison begin his experiments? • Why did the station-manager offer to teach Edison to become an telegraph operator ? • Who made Edison decide to become an inventor? • What was Edison’s first important invention? • How did Edison work after he accepted some jobs from big companies? • Did Edison’s wife undertand his work? What did she do? • Was telephone invented by Edison? Who invented it? • Do you think Edison is a good father and husband? Why?
12. How successful was Edison’s invention of phonograph? 13. What made Edison’s reputation?
1. If Edison had formal schooling, do you think he still would have become a great inventor? What did education have to do with Edison's successful inventions? To the first question, I'd like to say "I'm afraid I don't think so". The reason is that, if Edison had fitted into the structure of formal schooling, then he must have been fairly regular in character in the first place, and then the formal school life might very well have "adjusted" his eccentric, adventurous, and enterprising spirit. But on the other hand, I should say, education had got a great deal to do with Edison's successful career. Without his sponge-like reading in the libraries, and without his industrious self-teaching, there would have been a quite different Edison in history, rather than an extraordinary inventor, whose work shortened the blind search of mankind in darkness for light, for that matter. Actually Edison's driving and inquiring desire made him much better motivated for education, which, in turn, was made much more meaningful and fruitful in his case.
2. Why did all the lights in the country burn low on the day Thomas Edison was buried? Because all the people, realizing the grave loss at the death Edison, wanted to pay their last and greatest respect to this outstanding inventor. But meanwhile, the electric power had become so important a part in the country's life that it was impossible at all to turn it off even for a short time. As a result, all the lights had only to burn low at the burial of Thomas Edison in his honour and memory throughout the United States.
3. Compare Edison with Ford. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had much in common. First, both of them were interested in searching for new things. The unknown and uncharted areas in human knowledge and experience remained so attractive to them. Second, they were both good at making things, with handy skills to turn what was designed in their minds into what were practical workable devices. Third, neither of them was the sort of man to let a difficult or failure to stop him. Both of them were constant and persistent in their efforts. The last but not the least point is that, when it came to dealing with their respective workmen, both of them took an understanding, generous, and scientifically-managing attitude which brought about desired co-orperation and efficiency in team work. Certainly, Edison had less sensitiveness in money managing than Henry, who seemed better in keeping his laboratories and other belongings tidier than Edison.