Harry Bennett

Harry Bennett (1892-1979) was head of Ford’s Service Department, or internal security. He ruled the Rouge Plant, and some say Henry Ford himself, through threats and intimidation, arguably becoming more influential than Edsel Ford, Henry’s son and the company’s President from 1919 to 1943. He first worked in Ford’s art department in 1917, but his “tough guy” manner got him appointed head watchman, and eventually he supervised over 3000 reputed crooks and retired policemen in the Service Department. “The Battle of the Overpass,” Ford’s 1937 response to attempts at unionization, was led by Bennett. Ford fought unionization until 1941. While rumor had it that Ford wanted Bennett to replace him as president, that job went to Henry Ford II, who fired Bennett in 1945.

Harry Bennett (left) with Henry Ford (center) and John Corlisle (right) at Camp Legion in Dearborn, MI, June 19, 1939.

Images From the Collections of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.71965

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