Imagine a world with no cars. All you have for transport is your own feet or a horse. If you have the money you can travel like the kings and queens of Europe in a carriage. Indeed, all that may be true if you were born in the 19th century or earlier. The horse was the center of transportation. Reason enough why horsepower has remained a unit of measure for power today.
At the turn of the 20th century, however, the world was changing at a frenetic pace. One visionary named Henry Ford dreamt of building a carriage driven not by a horse but by pure mechanical power. And ever the perfectionist, Ford would even streamline the processes to make a car. And so was born the assembly line, a method of production that has become the gold standard in today’s manufacturing plants. Today, the “horseless carriage” has come of age. And with it comes all sorts of new advancements that would make a young Henry Ford proud.
The Making of the Horseless Carriage
The horse was certainly the principal mode of transportation for centuries. From the time of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) to the kings and queens of Europe, the horse carried humanity. Those that mastered horseriding gained much from it. The conquering hordes of Genghis Khan, founder of the great Mongol Empire, is a classic example of this. The Khan’s warriors were so adept in shooting arrows while riding horses that their armies nearly swept the Muslim faith off the face of the Earth.
But the horse even with all its might has its limitations. You really can’t work the horse all day. The animal has to rest. And so a young engineer named Henry Ford (1863-1947) took it upon himself to make his dream of a “horseless carriage” for every American family come true.
The idea is like a wireless phone. You use old technology to describe a new one. And it shows the way of thinking of people in that era.
Ford encountered so many problems with the designing process it took him years to perfect them. But his never-say-die attitude prevailed even with all the adversity. It helped also that Henry once worked with the great inventor, Thomas Alva Edison.
For one, Henry Ford’s financers left him in 1902. Seeing how much time the young inventor spent tinkering and improving his designs, these moneyed individuals got impatient and pulled out their investments.
So Henry decided to form his own company in 1903. It took him another 5 years to roll out the Model T, a market success. But as soon as demand picked up, meeting the overwhelming demand became an issue. To tackle this, Ford masterfully introduced the assembly line, a mass production technique that allowed him to produce cars at a faster rate.
And that’s how Henry Ford became a legend. He made the horseless carriage a reality. More importantly, he made it a commercial success.
The Many Ways Cars Operate Today
Thanks to the brilliance of Henry Ford, America is teeming with all sorts of automobile transportation. To a large degree, these are versions of the original “horseless carriage”, the early name for an automobile.
All this makes America easier to explore and travel around. You can go to another location without having to really sweat it out. You just have to drive. Or have someone drive your car for you.
Of course, cars have gone a long way since Ford envisioned it. For one, thanks to the Internet of Things, we now have driverless cars and even driverless trucks. These self-driving vehicles can send you home or wherever you want to go without you touching the steering wheel.
In hindsight, there are cars that carry cars today and not passengers. This is the idea behind car shipping services. Such a convenient way of transporting transfers your car without you having to drive it yourself. Through this, a bigger truck piggybacks your car along with many other cars sending them all to a pre-agreed location. This spells greater convenience for you.
Then there’s the thing about fuel. While horses will need food to function, cars need gasoline and other petroleum products to deliver. Thanks to companies that focus on electric cars like Elon Musk’s Tesla, you can use electric power from home to charge and get your car up and running in no time.
The prospects of a horseless carriage for every American family is closer to reality than ever before. There are over 273.6 million vehicles registered in America in 2018 alone. With a population of 328.2 million, it sure looks like every family in the United States is taken care of. All because a man named Henry Ford never ever give up on his dream.