Henry Ford: Sociological Department
17 artifacts in this set
Ford workers disliked the new assembly line methods so much that by late 1913, labor turnover was 380 percent. The company's announcement to pay five dollars for an eight-hour day compared to the previous rate of $2.34 for a nine-hour day made many workers willing to submit to the relentless discipline of the line in return for such high wages.
Ford's $5 Day was huge news across the country. Never before had any employer offered this much money for unskilled work. The plan came with numerous strings attached, including rather intrusive company investigations to insure that workers would not spend their money on riotous living (as defined by Ford Motor Company) but workers accepted the intrusion because the money was so good.
In 1914, Henry Ford took the radical step of paying workers $5 per day for a 40-hour work week; he called this compensation "profit-sharing." Ford's turnover problem disappeared. In addition, Ford workers could buy the cars they produced, benefitting the company. However, profit-sharing required employees to conduct their lives in a certain manner. The requirements are outlined in this pamphlet.
Part of Henry Ford's attempt to Americanize immigrant workers, this book describes the code of good conduct that Ford expected of his workers and their families -- including suggestions for appropriate housing. In fact, as soon as white auto workers could afford it, they happily purchased one of the new bungalows located away from the noisy, grimy factory.
A publication called Facts from Ford created by the Ford Motor Company's Sociological Department kept Ford employees informed about their place of employment. This 1920 issue highlighted the ethnic diversity found at the Highland Park Plant and included photographs of sixty workers, all with different nationalities. Ford tried to keep the number of foreign-born employees proportional to Detroit's foreign population.
Henry Ford asked Episcopalian Reverend Samual S. Marquis, whom he is pictured with here, to head Ford Motor Company's Sociology Department. Following the announcement of the Five Dollar Day in 1914, the department oversaw social benefits for Ford employees and offered workers assistance in maintaining the lifestyles, habits, and housing that Ford deemed worthy of a full wage.
Founded in 1914, the Ford English School taught foreign-born Ford Motor Company employees to read, write and speak English. The instructors were foremen, clerks and workmen from Highland Park Plant who volunteered their time to teach their co-workers. The school began with 20 students and one instructor and grew to more than 2,200 students and nearly 150 instructors by 1916.
In 1914 Ford Motor Company established the Ford English School, where the automaker's diverse immigrant employees could learn the English language and take civics lessons in preparation for becoming U.S. citizens. At the graduation ceremony, students wearing clothing from their native countries descended into a large "American Melting Pot" and emerged wearing homogenous suits and waving American flags.
Document Noting Living Conditions of Ford Motor Company Employees, According to Nationality, as of January 12th, 1917
Ford Motor Company's Sociological Department, established in 1913, sent investigators to make unannounced visits, evaluating the cleanliness and safety of an employee's household. Investigators that entered worker's homes took notes, filled out forms, and compiled statistics based on their findings. The document pictured here, organizes living conditions by employee nationality and gives ratings of "Good," "Fair" and "Poor" conditions.
Language and Citizenship of Ford Motor Company Employees, According to Nationality, as of January 12th, 1917
This document is from the publication "Educational Statistics Home Plant, As of January 12th, 1917." It classifies employees by nationality as English-speakers and American citizens. The document was produced by the Ford Sociological (or Educational) Department which ensured that employees were responsible with their pay. Ford required workers to learn English in order to earn the $5 per day wage.
The Quality of Habits of Ford Motor Company Employees, According to Nationality, as of January 12th, 1917
After the announcement of the $5 day in January 1914, Ford wanted to ensure that employees did not squander their money. To this end, the Ford Sociological (or Educational) Department was created to investigate and monitor employees' personal and work lives. In order to be considered a good employee, workers needed to be sober, thrifty, and maintain a positive attitude.
This document is from the publication "Educational Statistics Home Plant, As of January 12th, 1917." It was produced by the Ford Motor Company Sociological (or Educational) Department, and rates employees' neighborhoods, organized by nationality. The department was created to ensure that employees used their $5 per day wages wisely, for instance to escape cheap, ramshackle tenement houses crowded with boarders.
Beyond revolutionizing America's industrial production, Henry Ford and other managers at Ford Motor Company instituted a wide-reaching corporate welfare program that opened up the most intimate and personal details of employee's personal, family, and financial life to investigators from the Sociological Department. After the announcement of the $5 per day profit sharing plan in January 1914, Henry Ford wanted to ensure that employees, many of...
Founded in 1914 to address the language needs for Ford's ever-expanding immigrant labor force, the Ford English School used this method of language training to quickly give students a basic and functional vocabulary of English words to help them integrate into American society. In addition to English, the school also taught students, many attending classes before or after their regular shifts, the requirements needed to pass citizenship tests...
This pamphlet covers topics about Ford Motor Company and highlights the Ford Sociological Department. The Department was created to ensure that employees, many of whom were non-English speaking immigrants, did not squander their $5 per day wages. Investigators monitored the personal and work lives of employees. In addition, the Department provided hygiene instruction, financial and legal advice, and an English school.