Alexander Y. Malcomson - Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Malcomson knew Henry Ford when the latter had worked at the Detroit Edison Co. In 1902, with his involvement in the Henry Ford Company coming to an end, Ford approached Malcomson to bankroll a new automotive company. Malcomson, although overextended with his other investments, was able to raise $3000 With this capital, Malcomson and Ford agreed to form a company, Ford & Malcomson, to develop a new automobile. Details of the partnership were written down and signed by each man, and witnessed by C. Harold Wills. With Malcomson's backing, Ford designed the Model A, an inexpensive car designed to be sold for $750. In 1903, the firm moved to a new building on Mack avenue, and soon Ford and Malcomson ("doing business as the Ford Motor Company") agreed to purchase over $160,000 in parts from John and Horace Dodge; additional purchases for smaller amounts were made from numerous suppliers.

However, the young firm quickly had trouble making payments to the Dodge brothers due to slow sales. Malcomson turned to John S. Gray, president of Detroit's German-American bank. Gray agreed to invest $10,500 in the automobile firm. Malcomson also convinced his young clerk, James J. Couzens, to invest, as well as the law partners John W. Anderson and Horace Rackham; in all, Malcomson brought a total of $28000 cash to the company. On June 16, 1903, Ford and Malcomson was officially re-incorporated as Ford Motor Co., with Gray as president and Ford as vice-president. Ford and Malcomson each owned 255 shares of the company (25.5% apiece), while Gray, Rackham, Anderson, Couzens, and other investors received shares proportional to their investment. The Dodge brothers each received 10% of the shares in the new company in return for materials provided.

Both Malcomson and Gray had larger businesses to run than Ford Motor Co. To keep Henry Ford in check, Malcomson installed his clerk James Couzens (also a shareholder) at Ford Motor in a full-time position. In any case, the company was an immediate success. Earnings in the first six months were over $100,000, and the company declared a 100% stock dividend; in the first year, the company made over $250,000 profit. Malcomson wanted to increase profits, and, believing luxury cars were the most attractive sector of the automobile market, directed Ford to design and build the larger and more expensive Model B and Model K. Ford was reluctant, but Malcomson was backed by his majority coalition on the Board, and Ford capitulated.

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