Henry Ford was born on July 30, 1863 on a well-to-do farm in Michigan near today's city of Dearborn. Although latter nineteenth century America mostly rural, from an early age Ford was not interested in farm work, but rather showed a curiosity about mechanical things. When he was only sixteen, he left the family's farm to go to Detroit for work as an apprentice machinist. After three years, he returned to the farm. With his apprentice training, Ford ran and repaired steam engines and occasionally worked in a Detroit factory. Putting in some time with farm work, he also spent as much time as he could repairing and overhauling his farther farm machinery. In 1888, Ford married Clara Bryant and ran a sawmill to support the two of them.
In 1891, Ford took a job as an engineer with the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. He took this job to make a break with farming and become more involved in the growing industrialization of businesses and society. His first experiments with the internal combustion engine which was to be the foundation for the cars produced by the Ford Motor Company business he would later found came in 1893 when he was promoted to Chief Engineer. In 1896, he completed his experimental work on the Quadricycle, a self-propelled, one-person vehicle. This Quadricycle had four wheels resembling heavy bicycle wheels and a tiller-like lever for steering. It had two forward speeds with no reverse. Ford's Quadricycle was not the first self-propelled vehicle using a gasoline engine. But it put him in the small group of engineering pioneers developing such a vehicle and gave him the knowledge and experience for later founding the Ford Motor Company.