Saturday, July 14, 2012

Post-fordism

C. Harold Wills
One of the greatest engineers in the auto industry receives a $1.5 million severance from Henry Ford -- Description DS, signed “Henry Ford,” and “Edsel B. Ford”,” four pages, 8.5 x 13, August 6, 1919. Financial agreement between C. Harold Wills and Henry Ford after Wills had left the company. In part: “Memorandum of release and agreement…between C. Harold Wills…first party and Henry Ford…second party…Whereas, the first party quit the service of Ford Motor Company on or about the 15th day of March, 1919, and has not since rendered any service to said company…Whereas, it has heretofore been unsettled and undetermined whether first party was entitled to any payment from the second party on account thereof; the first party claims $1,474,567.03, plus $117,561.36 as interest…be due him on account…Whereas, the first and second parties have been associated in the work of the Ford Motor Company for many years and they have had numerous relations together; Whereas it is desired to settle and adjust all matters of every and any nature existing between the parties…Witnesseth; That for and in consideration of the payment by the second party unto the first party of the said total sum of $1,592,128.39 this day made, the first party hereby releases and discharges the said second party of and from any and all claims and demands.” Signed on the third page by Wills and Henry Ford, and signed on the fourth page again by Wills and Henry Ford, and also signed by Edsel Ford. Binding staples to top edge, expected folds, and some scattered light toning and creases, otherwise fine condition. When Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903, Childe Harold Wills, a friend and associate at the Detroit Automobile Company, joined him as the chief designer and metallurgist. Wills could not afford to buy stock in the new company, but Ford offered him 10% of his own dividend because he was such a valuable asset. In his first several years there, he worked hand in hand with Ford on the early models, making several enormous contributions. Not only did he design integral parts of the cars themselves (the lightweight alloys required for mass production, the planetary transmission and the detachable cylinder head on the Model T), but he also designed the calligraphy of the iconic scripted “Ford” logo that is still in use today. In 1919, as Ford began buying out shareholders to gain complete control of his company, Wills decided to leave, reminding Ford that he was due a portion of his dividends. This incredibly rare document is Wills’s copy of the contract in which Ford agrees to pay him over $1.5 million severance. We have only offered one document signed by both Edsel and Henry Ford in the past: this piece is not only signed by both, but it also holds a second Henry Ford signature and the signature of Wills, one of the greatest engineers in the auto industry, making it by far the finest Ford document we have ever offered for sale. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA. RR Auction #198 Henry and Edsel Ford MB $2500 Now at $10454 Next Bid $11500 16 Bids Thirty Minute Rule Begins: The Evening of July 18th at 7 PM ET

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