In the summer of 1904, as the Piquette Avenue plant was being constructed, Henry Ford led a quiet, simple life. Henry, his wife Clara, and their son Edsel, lived in a little home within several blocks of the plant. They paid $16 a month in rent.
Their social circles were generally limited to family, some old friends and a few Ford dealers and agents.
When operations were underway, Henry Ford spent most of his time at the plant. He was frequently at work before eight and would return after supper, often laboring late into the night on mechanical problems. He avoided regular office hours, and came and went as he wished.
Visitors to the Piquette plant might find Ford in the shop, the experimental department, the drafting room or the power plant. But he was rarely in his office. He paid only casual attention to his mail and his desk was often stacked with unopened checks, bills and important letters. Soon Edsel, who was twelve in the fall of 1905, sometimes came in after school to help with the mail.
Henry Ford could concentrate on a simple idea easily. Co-workers credited Ford for his wonderful vision and his ability to steadfastly focus on hammering out his plans. Such a quality was a real asset in the early stages of a chaotic and fumbling auto industry.
Co-workers also found Henry Ford a friendly man. No one was afraid to approach him. In fact, nothing made Ford happier than playing practical jokes. He was known to electrify a doorknob to give some co-worker an unexpected shock. He'd also enjoy nailing down a hat or two. On one occasion, after a brief discussion at the plant with a young industry friend, they were both on the floor wrestling!
In the summer of 1904, Henry Ford had just turned 41. His goal of "putting America on wheels" was about to take shape.