Peter E. Martin

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Peter Edmund (Ed) Martin (born Wallaceburg, Ontario 1888, died Detroit, Michigan, 1944) was a leading early production executive of the Ford Motor Company.

Peter E. Martin was hired by close Henry Ford associate C. Harold Wills on December 15, 1903, and at that time was the fifth employee hired.

He was placed in charge of the Assembly Department at the Piquette Plant in January 1906. On October 17, 1906, when Walter E. Flanders was manager of Manufacturing, Peter was promoted to assistant to Thomas S. Walburn in active charge of all manufacturing departments. In January, 1907 he became superintendent under Mr. Walburn.

On April 21, 1908 Walter Flanders resigned. Henry Ford called Martin and Charles E. Sorensen into his office and told Martin and Sorensen to go out and run the plant (Piquette Plant), Martin as plant superintendent and Sorensen as assistant superintendent. This began a close association between Martin and Sorensen that lasted over 30 years; Sorensen was Martin's second in command at the Highland Park Plant and at the Rouge.

According to an organization chart dated November 1, 1919 Peter E. Martin was General Superintendent. According to Charles E. Sorensen, in 1920 Peter E. Martin was plant superintendent at the Rouge Plant where they both practically lived at the plant. On December 24, 1924 Peter was named Vice President, in charge of Manufacturing.

On May 5, 1926 Peter offered to Mr. Henry Ford and Mr. Edsel Ford his resignation as First Vice President of the Ford Motor Company. His reason was the belief it would result in better coordination of the executives and the officials of the company. His resignation was NOT accepted.

On May 31, 1929 Peter signed a contract between Ford Motor Company and the Supreme council of National Economy of the U. S.S.R. for the purpose of building tractors in Russia. Charles Sorensen was a witness.

According to “Detroit Saturday Night, June 15, 1935” Peter E. Martin was in charge of the Rouge plant.

Time magazine reported in its January 18, 1937 issue that Henry Ford drew no salary, while son Edsel's $100,378 was topped by Ford's Vice President Peter. E. Martin's $128,008 and Charles Sorensen's $115,100. Then in 1939 Time reported Edsel at $146,056, Peter E. Martin at $171,465 and Charles Sorensen at $166,071. Also it was reported that Ford Motor Company had only three company board of directors, Henry Ford, son Edsel Ford and Vice President Peter E Martin.

By 1940 according to Nevins and Hill, Decline and Rebirth p242, Henry Ford listened only to Sorensen, P.E. Martin and Harry Bennett. Edsel, of course would get a hearing.

On July 17, 1941 Peter E. Martin resigned for health reasons ,and the resignation led to Charles Sorensen being named as his replacement. This was the first time Sorensen held an office of the Ford Motor Company. Notably, neither man was known to have complained of the other in over 30 years; however the more outgoing Sorensen became quite famous while Martin is little known.

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