Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines used in mass production. His introduction of the Model Tautomobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. He was a prolific inventor and was awarded 161 U.S. patents. Though better known for his contributions to industry, his obscure views as an anti-semite and publications under his name continue to stain his achievements as an innovator. As owner of the Ford Motor Company he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world.
He is credited with “Fordism“, that is, the mass production of large numbers of inexpensive automobiles using the assembly line, coupled with high wages for his workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. Ford did not believe in accountants; he amassed one of the world’s largest fortunes without ever having his company audited under his administration. Henry Ford’s intense commitment to lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put a dealership in every city in North America, and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation but arranged for his family to control the company permanently.
Nikolaus August Otto (14 June 1832 – 26 January 1891) was the German inventor of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber. Although other internal combustion engines had been invented (e.g. by Étienne Lenoir) these were not based on four separate strokes. The concept of four strokes is likely to have been around at the time of Otto’s invention but he was the first to make it practical.
George Stephenson (9 June 1781 – 12 August 1848) was an English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public railway line in the world to use steamlocomotives and is known as the “Father of Railways”. The Victorians considered him a great example of diligent application and thirst for improvement, with self-help advocate Samuel Smiles particularly praising his achievements. His rail gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches (1,440 mm), sometimes called “Stephenson gauge”, is the world’s standard gauge.
Otto Lilienthal (23 May 1848 – 10 August 1896) was a pioneer of human aviation who became known as the German Glider King. He was the first person to make repeated successful gliding flights. He followed an experimental approach first established earlier in the century by Sir George Cayley. Newspapers and magazines in many countries published photographs of Lilienthal gliding, favorably influencing public and scientific opinion about the possibility of flying machines becoming practical reality after ages of idle fantasy and unscientific tinkering.
Well, I have stepped over a controversial threshold.Â I received a Kindle for Father’s Day.Â As a book reader and a technical consumer itÂ may seem like a no brainer but it will still be a difficult commitment.Â I am old enough that for most of my life information was books.Â There were no options.Â Â Then when computers came along, although it got pretty fuzzy pretty quickly, you had a choice as to where you wanted to grab your information.Â I, and I think most of us really, made a choice to accept working with small bits of information on the computer but, when it came to digging into a great amount of written material, we stillÂ preferredÂ Ol’Â Gutenberg’s book.Â Â There were electronic book programs, and even a couple of e-book reading devices, but they all had the drawback of forcing us to try reading on some form ofÂ electronic, pulsating video screen.Â Â I stayed with books.Â
But now there is really an option.Â Â The Kindle display is calm, clear and simple.Â Easy on the eyes but still with the advantage of word search and annotation.Â The book files are generally lower priced than their printed counterpart and very easy to download.Â I did find some that were more expensive than I expected and, actually, I couldn’t find several booksÂ ( I think most of them were older books).Â On the whole, however, there is a great selection.Â A lot of books are free and, if you get your free books elsewhere, .txt and .doc files can be converted and loadedÂ onto the Kindle.Â The new Kindle 2 even has a text to voice option.
But I haven’t made up my mind yet.Â IÂ will have to overcome my loss of the book itself.Â A proprietary digital file just can’t match up I’m afraid.Â I will let you know when I have spent enough time to really know.Â For now, I did buy my first book which,Â IÂ thinkÂ we can all agree, Â isÂ trullyÂ the nature of the beast.