Saturday, March 18, 2017

It Cost How Much...?

Sometimes even the rich folks get stuck with a bill they have trouble with. This story is about one such bill and a man named Henry Ford.

Ford Disliked Experts

Photo credit: Richard Arthur Norton

Ford greatly disliked experts and refused to employ them. In his 1924 book, My Life and Work, he said, “I never employ an expert in full bloom. If I ever wanted to kill opposition by unfair means, I would endow the opposition with experts.”

As a consequence, Ford Motor Company did not have any employees with advanced engineering or design engineering skills. In fact, it did not even have a proving ground and instead opted to test cars on public highways.

This lack of experts on-site often proved financially disastrous. One time, for example, when Ford’s electrical engineers couldn’t solve a problem with a massive generator, they employed the electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz (pictured above) to help them. On-site, Steinmetz rejected all help and solved the problem in two days with the aid of a notebook, a pencil, and a cot.

On the second night, Steinmetz climbed on top of the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace 16 windings from the field coil. Once that was done, the generator performed perfectly—to the delight of Ford.

But his delight only lasted until a bill for $10,000 came. Flabbergasted, Ford requested the bill to be itemized. Steinmetz responded to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator: $1
Knowing where to make mark: $9,999

I hate to say it, but this makes perfect sense to me! Gonna dance...gotta pay the piper!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are going up to 79 !


Momlady said...

Served Ford right. Weather is crazy this year.

JO said...

I would have fallen over dead at that price way back then well even these days. I wonder how much a new generator would have cost instead.

70's sound wonderful to me we have been in the 90's already not happy at all.

HermitJim said...

Hey Momlady...
That is certainly the case around here...crazy weather!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
Gotta remember this was a commercial generator, but still that was a big bill! Especially back then!
Thanks for dropping by today, sweetie!