Henry Ford And The Invention Of Kingsford Charcoal

By | July 26, 2018

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Photo Henry Ford With His Model T, circa 1921 (Photo By Getty Images)

Everyone associates Henry Ford with the automobile and the invention of the assembly line, but you also have the American businessman to thank for your backyard cookouts. An avid outdoorsman and early environmentalist, Henry Ford found a way to solve two problems…waste from his sawmill and cooking fuel source for camping trips…with the invention of Kingsford Charcoal.

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From left to right: Harvey Firestone, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Edward Kingsford posing in Dearborn MI, circa 1930.

Henry Ford Needed Wood to Make His Model T Cars

Henry Ford was experiencing phenomenal success with this assembly-line produced Model T Fords. By 1919, his company was producing a million cars a year. About 100 board feet of wood went into each car…in the steering wheel, dashboard, and other parts. Ford wanted his own source of wood so he wasn’t at the mercy of other suppliers and inconsistent costs. So he contacted his cousin’s husband, Edward G. Kingsford, a Michigan real estate agent, to help him find and purchase timberland. He found just want he needed in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Ford built a sawmill there to cut the wood for shipping to Detroit.