By 1907, Ford is the largest manufacturer of automobiles in the world. As mentioned in the article below, in April of 1907, Ford is reported to have a work force of only 315 men. By comparison, Packard has over 1400, Cadillac over 1,000, and Olds, REO and Buick report more employees than Ford.
This Detroit Free Press news article supports the Wilson body company numbers, including the plan to build 15,000 bodies for Ford:
This article quoting FMC Vice-President John Dodge in 1908 says Ford has a workforce of 1500 men:
My "theory" is evolving to the idea that while Dodge brothers Horace and John owned their company, "Dodge Bros.," they were truly one of the Ford factories, and their employee count is included in the number quoted for this article.
Originally I thought of Dodge as an "outside supplier," even though the brothers had ownership in Ford Motor Company. As time goes on, my opinion is becoming one that the Dodges were truly business partners with Henry Ford, and their shop operated as one of the Ford factories, along with Ford Manufacturing. This helps explain why the Dodge's had ownership in other enterprises with Henry Ford, including Ford of Canada and Ford Manufacturing. It may also help explain how Ford could reach it's status as the world's largest producer of motor cars while listing a small work force.
Something to ponder on a Sunday evening in November.....
This brings up another question I have wondered about for many years.
The body builders, wheel companies, as you mention the Dodge Brothers Company, and dozens of other companies that supplied parts and materials to the Ford Motor Company, and all their employees? Did they get the benefit of the five dollar day, eight hour shifts, and health clinics that Ford Motor Company employees later got?
Clearly, there were a lot more people involved in building these cars than the official Ford company records showed. Before the Highland Park plant was open and operating, Ford Motor company did mostly two things. Experimentation and design, and the final assembly and selling of the completed cars. Most of the actual making of all the parts of the cars was done by dozens of mostly smaller companies. And several companies supplying to Ford probably had more employees than Ford did. Wilson, and Beaudette body companies as well as the Dodge Brothers Company come to mind.
Before 1910, much of the Great Lakes area, certainly Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio was deep into supplying and providing for manufacturing in general and automobile production in particular.
Thank you again Rob, for all this wonderful research and the articles you find. I always enjoy it.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
You can take what I call the "snowball affect" and add to the additional people that were employed as a result of Ford building cars.
The lumber industry not only supplied wood for cars but for the homes the carpenters built for the Ford employees. The lumberjacks, and railroad that shipped the lumber, The hardware industry that supplied door latches for cars also supplied them for the homes the workers lived in, clothing that the workers wore, food stores, schools and school teachers, steel industry, bearing manufactures the list is endless because each of the suppliers also had the same affect on their towns so I guess you could say Ford employed the nation. I understand that other car manufactures did too but Ford did it on a grand scale.
Iron mines, ship builders, maritime employment to transport ore and finished cars, dealerships, mechanics, and on and on.
The 5 dollar day?? It took years before everyone at Ford got it much less industry wide? Bud.
How many? As few as possible it seems.
That's a difficult thing to put into perspective when you look at things like Henry Leland's role in Cadillac, which originally outsourced to Leland and Faulconer just as Ford did to Dodge, and a few years later L&F wound up rolling their ready workforce directly into Cadillac. Then there's also the factor of how many man-hours went into making a Cadillac vs. a Ford. Lots of variables in that formula.