Some insist that Henry Ford believed, “if I’d asked people what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” In “My Life and Work” (Henry Ford in collaboration with Samuel Crowther. 1922) Henry Ford provided information critical to dispelling the myth of the ‘faster horses’ attribution.
Associating Henry Ford with “faster horses” is not consistent with his perspectives.
“It was life on the farm that drove me into devising ways and means to better transportation. I was born on July 30, 1863, on a farm at Dearborn, Michigan, and my earliest recollection is that, considering the results, there was too much work on the place. That is the way I still feel about farming.” (Ford. Page 22)
“My ‘gasoline buggy’ was the first and for a long time the only automobile in Detroit. It was considered to be something of a nuisance, for it made a racket and it scared horses.’ (Ford. Page 33)
Henry Ford knew a lot about horses and his potential customers.
He documented his vision of the future:
“I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.” (Ford. Page 73)
Deaths from Horse-related Accidents
Perhaps the most compelling information to dismiss the possibility that Henry Ford considered ‘faster horses’ a desirable outcome comes from the Antique Automobile Club of America. When the Model T production was beginning to scale in 1909,
“The American death toll in horse-related accidents is 3,850-more than in motor vehicle accidents”
A go-to-market strategy of “faster horses” would have been problematic.
This post is a companion to the “The truth about ‘any color so long as it is black’” post.