The Five-Dollar Day —Jump-starting The Middle Class

100 Years, 1914-2014

In 1913, Henry Ford’s team reinvented manufacturing by introducing the moving assembly line. It worked well, but workers hated the jobs. They quit almost as quickly as they were trained.

On January 5, 1914, the company announced it would double worker’s pay and shorten the workday. Instead of $2.34 for nine hours, most workers would make $5.00 for eight hours.

Manufacturers said it was crazy and socialist. It would cost Ford 10 million dollars that year alone! But the very next day, 10,000 people flocked to Highland Park clamoring for jobs, and turnover dropped drastically.

From the collections of The Henry Ford

Workers entered the middle class, and could afford to buy the cars they built. Henry Ford became a hero to millions.

And eventually, other manufacturers had to follow suit.

The 100th anniversary of the five-dollar day arrives in 2014. Celebrate its far-reaching impact and its relevance to our world today with events, tours, and other activities.

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