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Old 11-14-2020, 06:31 PM   #1
ericr
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Default Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

I suppose some of you have seen this one before. I imagine it was posed, I
don't know in what context it appeared. Looking at them, I would guess it was taken in the late '30s.
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Old 11-14-2020, 07:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Nice photo. Obviously a player piano and Edsel is not really playing.
Agree late '30s. We inherited my maternal Grandmother's player piano that looks similar to this one. They bought it in 1934.
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Old 11-14-2020, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Too bad their relationship was not as warm as the photo suggests. The old man was pretty tough on Edsel.
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Old 11-14-2020, 09:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

I have what is purported to be “ Edsel’s open cab pickup “.
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Old 11-15-2020, 07:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

In my opinion, I see more of Edsel in the design of the Model A than Henry. It has more style than what I would expect from Henry. Although there is a lot of carryover from the Model T in the mechanical aspects.



What do the other forum member think?
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

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Edsel approved all designs by that time. He couldn't change much but he had a large affect on design. Henry was kind of an engine and chassis man and he seldom saw a reason to change any of that. Edsel's main job was to be able to make pleasing designs fit the chassis that was available. Most major changes were granted in times of very low sales figures but they were welcome whenever Edsel could get them.

Despite the treatment that his father dealt out to him, Edsel deeply loved and respected his father and that says a lot about the man. He did so much and so well despite the ill treatment. Edsel was an amazing man.
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Old 11-15-2020, 09:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Edsel's story is one of the tragedies of modern business. A brilliant and talented individual. It's a crime that Henry couldn't accept him for what he was.
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Old 11-15-2020, 10:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

All father and son dynamics are multilevel.A strong willed father attempting to steer his son is not uncommon,the canvas their lives were painted on is.

Al Esper in his oral history cites Edsel Ford behind bringing in the tri motor engineers in to raise the A engine horsepower when Sheldricks team couldn't get it above above 27 on the dyno..What interesting is the engine they used for experimentation was a T engine,and they got it up to 44 on the brake..the discoveries were then used on the A design.Edsels position put him involved with all aspects of design and production,he was by all accounts a good man to work for.,he had a knack of putting the right man in the right job and letting him go..Bob Gregorie and Harold Hicks to name a few..where his father commanded,Edsel delegated..

Edsel Ford was also considered one of the top ten best dressed men in America,at a time men actually dressed out..
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

"he was by all accounts a good man to work for.,he had a knack of putting the right man in the right job and letting him go..Bob Gregorie and Harold Hicks to name a few..where his father commanded,Edsel delegated.."

Hallmarks of a good manager.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

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Originally Posted by mhsprecher View Post
"he was by all accounts a good man to work for.,he had a knack of putting the right man in the right job and letting him go..Bob Gregorie and Harold Hicks to name a few..where his father commanded,Edsel delegated.."

Hallmarks of a good manager.
In ways I would say his father resented that skill,if not, it shows the differences between the two. I have a problem with book writers and history folks when it come to Fords,just about all of them know it sells books to have juicy family gossip,the interplay between father and son overshadows the mankind changing achievements they made..its a shame from my view,just reading the oral histories tells a different tale,one of human accomplishment and innovation.I guess it has to do with resentment,the writer feels no one man should possess such power..fact is they earned it. Everyone of them criticizes Mr Ford for sticking with the model T,long after marketshare started falling..what most don't consider is that he could have built the T for the rest of his life,marketshare be damned..he made so much money with it.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford



This photo you show, of Henry and Edsel Ford, is part of a series of photos taken on one of the several famous "Vagabonds" camping trips. This photo was taken in 1921 as Henry and Edsel Ford (and others including Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs, etc) were on vacation at a remote campsite in Maryland. They were supported with an extensive caravan of vehicles, full service staff, specially designed cooking and electrical equipment, etc, etc, etc and a player piano. The piano was hauled in from nearby Hagerstown, MD to liven things up!

Note also the cat sitting on Henry Ford's lap.


Brad in Maryland

PS: ....and if you zoom in on the piano rolls on top of the piano, you can see that Edsel has his favorite tune loaded in the piano :
No, never mind.....can't be already in 1921!
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

"the interplay between father and son overshadows the mankind changing achievements they made."

But think of what they could have accomplished if Henry had let Edsel do more? That is part of the tragedy of the two of them. Edsel might have died too soon anyway, but Henry didn't help.
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

We can speculate that alot of things would have been different given a shared helm..
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

You can see Edsel's hand in the Model A, and Henry's. Compare the Model A to the Model T. The Model A and the subsequent V8's saved the company. When the Model A's came out, the Model T's mostly disappeared from the roads overnight.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Ford did not turn a profit from 1929 to 1946...and they still had millions to develop the '49..the A was a failure from a business perspective,it never covered development cost..the V8? Only a company flush with cash could afford the years of development getting it right..in '32 the V8 had a 96% casting rejection rate..Im not a T guy from a car perspective,I am from a business perspective,it made Ford rich beyond imagination
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

I'm not sure that I would agree with the idea that the model A didn't make a good profit for Ford Motor Co. They made near a million cars per year in those four years. Even at an average price of $500, that still comes out to near 2 billion bucks and that's during the depression years. This doesn't count a lot of other things that Ford was manufacturing and selling during that time frame either. Tractors, airplanes, Lincoln cars were also being manufactured and sold. Ford owned a good stake in Canadian Ford, and Ford UK plus all the other manufacturing plants that were building vehicles around the world.

They sold off the rail road for a good profit and they started selling off some of the branch assembly plant properties. They leased a good portion of the old Highland Park plant to Briggs Body. The company was so large that it always had a way to keep cash flow going strong. Charles Sorensons book outlines a lot of things they did during his time there.
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

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Even at an average price of $500, that still comes out to near 2 billion bucks and that's during the depression years. This doesn't count a lot of other things that Ford was manufacturing and selling during that time frame either. Tractors, airplanes, Lincoln cars were also being manufactured and sold.
Never equate sales volume with profitability. Controlling costs is key in almost every business. I'm not saying Ford was or was not profitable on the Model As. I have no idea. I'm just saying sales volume is not by itself an indicator.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Fords habit of completely shutting down his manufacturing plants didn’t help much either, doing this with both the Model A and 1932 V8 . Edsel Ford is a tragic figure, definitely responsible for the styling of Fords ,Lincoln, and Mercury of that era. I still think the 1941 Continental was the most attractive car Ford build.
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Old 11-16-2020, 07:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

my understanding is that the Company always lost money on Lincolns because the sales volume was never high enough, though since the Company was privately owned I doubt that information was ever released publicly with certainty. no denying the Lincolns of the late '20s were gorgeous cars.

I read once that each Lincoln was shipped wrapped in a cloth bag.
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Old 11-17-2020, 12:02 PM   #20
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Default Re: Charming Photo of Henry and Edsel Ford

Every major manufacturer had their status cars. Most status cars were not built to make money as much as they were for prestige. Henry bought Lincoln for two reasons. He wanted to give Edsel something else to do instead of constantly asking for changes to things he didn't want changed. Edsel had complete control of Lincoln and it showed in all the designs they came up with while Bob Gregorie was head of his design department. Make no mistake, if Edsel didn't like the designs, he kept them working on it till he found it to be acceptable. Henry's other reason for purchasing Lincoln was to get even with Henry Leland for what he felt was a slight in the take over of the 1st Ford plant that became Cadillac Motor Co in those very early years of the 20th century. While Ford likely didn't make a lot of money on the Lincoln cars, they probably didn't lose much money either.

Henry Ford always put a lot of the profits back into the company to increase the capability to make more and more of the product in house. By the end of the 1930s, the company had much less sub contract work than they did at the beginning. When you see what the company was capable of building, you can see where the money went. Henry's major problem in the late 30s was the auto unions and that near killed him.

When Ford started building the Willow Run bomber plant on Ford land near Ypsilanti, most of that project was paid for by the government after the plant was built so that they could set it up in their own way of assembly line manufacturing. Henry had been accused of profiteering during WWI so he wasn't going down that slippery slope again. They leased the property back from the government until production ceased. They had the option to buy it back but that never happened. The company went on to build the B-24s, the R2800 engines, the T-16 universal carrier, the M4A3 Sherman tank variants with the big overhead cam V8, the M-10 tank destroyers, as well as many thousands of jeeps and trucks for the war effort and this doesn't count Canada or the UK. They may not have made much profit during the war but they didn't lose much of anything.

Edsel had his hand in the war effort from 1940 till he died and he was key in getting the right people to do a lot of the work to get this massive effort cranked up. It's just too bad he didn't live to see it through. Henry had his first stroke in 1938 so there was no way he could have handled the daily grind of all that effort. He was in effect superseded by his own family by bringing in Hank the Deuce to take the reins after his father died.

I will always look at Edsel as one of the true American Heros that against all odds, made the important things happen. Ford Motor company would have faded away into obscurity if it hadn't been for Edsel Ford. Some folks consider his life a tragedy but he did a lot in that short life of his and I'm sure a lot of it was well lived despite the obstacle course his father put him through at work. He triumphed in the end because he never gave up the good fight.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 11-17-2020 at 01:01 PM.
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