This Week's Story

Henry Ford: a born mechanic sees an astonishing vehicle

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

The Master Mechanic, part one

“Come bossie; come bossie! You could move faster. You’ve done nothing today but chew grass and swat flies.” The cows continued moving slowly towards the barn as Henry called them for milking.

His dad shouted, “When you’re finished I want those chicken nest boxes cleaned and eggs gathered.”

Henry thought, No problem doing that. I’d rather gather and line the boxes tonight with fresh straw, than put my hand tomorrow morning into a broken-egg covered with poop.

When he went into the kitchen, his mom was standing by the new iron cooking stove. Henry smelled biscuits and gravy. “Yum-um!”

“Mother, every day you work hard. Don’t you get tired?”

“I don’t think about it. If you are interested in what you are doing, you don’t think about being tired.”

“Mother, there are too many chores on this farm and all the farms around us. We work with our hands and do the same things over and over. There must be better ways to do our work.”

“Henry, you’ve been making things since you were six. You’re a born mechanic. Maybe you can make some better tools to help farmers.”

She smiled to herself. Goodness, what thoughts Henry has and he’s still in grade school!

Each day that Henry Ford attended his one-room red schoolhouse, he was learning wise sayings. They kept popping into his mind, words like Proverbs 26:17: “Yanking a dog’s ears is as foolish as interfering in someone else’s argument.” or Proverbs 26: 15: “Some people are so lazy that they won’t lift a finger to feed themselves.”

Henry’s hands and mind were rarely, if ever, lazy. If he had an idea, he wanted to see how it worked. A favorite place for him to see tools being made was the village blacksmith’s shop in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry watched the blacksmith heat horseshoes in the intense heat of a forge. When a standard-sized horseshoe was almost white hot and sparks were flying, the blacksmith would shape it to fit one specific horse. He had no opportunity to try it first on the horse.

Sometimes Henry was allowed to pump the bellows keeping the fire hot. He might take tongs and hold a horseshoe in the forge’s flames. The blacksmith shop was a service station with a master craftsman in charge.

At home Henry learned to work with wood. The men he knew repaired their own homes and built their furniture. He made a small workshop and tools for himself. He built a forge and bellows, and had an anvil. Soon he was repairing tools and machinery. Men on the farms around him said, “Get that young Henry Ford to repair your equipment. He can fix most anything.” The work made Henry feel good. If he was paid, he bought more tools and materials.

The biggest event of his twelfth year came when an astonishing vehicle appeared. Henry and his father were travelling on their horse-drawn farm wagon when they saw the vehicle moving down a road by itself with no help from horses.

It was a portable steam engine. A chain connected the engine and rear wheels of its frame. A boiler sat on top of the frame. The contraption was like a mini volcano with coal burning in the engine, and shooting heat into the boiler’s water to produce sizzling steam. Henry jumped off his family wagon and began asking the driver questions.

The same night Henry began building a model of the road engine.

“The Master Mechanic” will soon return. I invite you to check out and never-ending accounts from American history and the Bible.

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