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 Henry Martyn Leland

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Henry Martyn Leland

Birth
Barton, Orleans County, Vermont, USA
Death 26 Mar 1932 (aged 89)
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section G, lot 119
Memorial ID 616 View Source
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Automobile Magnate. Henry Leland earned degrees from the Universities of Michigan and Vermont. After graduation, he began working as a machinist, then worked as a toolmaker in the United States Arsenal during the Civil War. He learned engineering and precision machining in the Brown & Sharpe plant at Providence, Rhode Island. He entered the automobile business in 1890, and immediately began utilizing his expertise to help the emerging industry. He gained a reputation as a quality toolmaker, and later served as a supplier to Ransom E. Olds. His knowledge of machining, mass production, and metallurgy helped him realize the importance of quality manufacturing techniques and the advantages of parts interchangeability. He was reputedly a demanding but highly-respected employer who set new standards of precision, quality, and performance. In 1902, he was hired to help appraise the assets of the Henry Ford company, which was liquidating. After appraising the company’s assets, he suggested that the remaining investors should reorganize and continue manufacturing automobiles using a single-cylinder engine he had designed for Oldsmobile. The investors agreed, and formed the Cadillac Automobile Company. He applied numerous modern manufacturing principles at Cadillac, resulting in the first car to utilize interchangeable parts in 1904, and also worked with Charles Kettering to develop the first electric self-starter. His insistence on precision manufacturing helped Cadillac become synonymous with excellent build quality. He sold Cadillac to General Motors in 1909 for $4.5 million, but remained an executive until 1917. He would leave GM after a disagreement with William C. Durant, a noted pacifist, who refused a request from the U.S. Government to produce aircraft engines for WWI. He and his son Wilfred formed the Lincoln Motor Company in 1917 to build Liberty aircraft engines and, after WWI ended, began building luxury automobiles. The company became insolvent in 1922, and was bought out by Henry Ford. He and his son initially remained part of Lincoln, but relations between them and Ford continued to deteriorate, and both eventually resigned.

Bio by: Pete Mohney


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 616
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/616/henry-martyn-leland : accessed ), memorial page for Henry Martyn Leland (16 Feb 1843–26 Mar 1932), Find a Grave Memorial ID 616, citing Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .