From Horses to Cars | The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation


– We all take it for granted,
but we live in a time when there are so many ways to get around: planes, trains, spaceships,
cars that show up when you hit a button on your phones. But if you go back just
about 130 years ago, people weren’t thinking about
hoverboards or jetpacks. They just wanted faster horses. And that dream of a more powerful horse eventually turned into horsepower. Sorry, I got nothin’. (bright music) Innovation starts with a dream,
then technology catches up. Innovators introduce change,
then society catches up. The transition from the horse and carriage to the automobile was no different. I met up with The Henry
Ford’s Matt Anderson to talk about the change
that brought about the motorized marriage
of horse and carriage. Was there a time where the horse and buggy and the automobile shared the road? – There was a lot of time. In fact, it’s surprising
how long that overlap was. It wouldn’t be unusual to
see a horse-drawn vehicle on streets into the 1920s,
particularly in rural areas. – [Mo] Consider that the
first automobile in the U.S. was built in about 1896. That means these modes of transportation shared space for about
one-quarter of a century. – [Matt] There were some
arguments against the automobile when it first introduced. The first ones weren’t all that reliable. You had to do a lot of work on them; you had to clean the valves; you had to lubricate them all the time. The odds were pretty good that
it might break down on you if you’re going for a drive. – [Mo] So what role did
cost play in the transition from horse-driven vehicles to automobiles? – It played a big role. It could cost up to $200
to feed a horse for a year, but you could drive a
car on $35 worth of gas. – Finally, the real turning
point comes with this, the Model T, and soon
after, the assembly line. The assembly line is
sort of the death knell for the horse-drawn carriage
and horse and buggy? – The assembly line is the
final nail in the coffin. When the Model T appears in
1908, now you have a quality car that is priced fairly inexpensively. And when the assembly line
comes into play in 1913, 1914, prices for the Model T
continue to drop dramatically, and cars are now here to stay and outselling horse-drawn vehicles. – And that sends the
buggy to the glue factory. The buggy, not the horse! – Correct. – Cars also offered a certain sort of environmental cleanliness
that horses did not. I was gonna ask, really,
and I’m not being cute here, the olfactory dimension of this. – Absolutely. People were concerned
that horse-drawn vehicles were causing all kinds of noise, causing all kinds of noxious smells, causing diseases in some cases. – [Mo] And even though
the automobile took over as the favored form of
transportation of the day, some sectors held tightly to the past. – Interestingly, horse-drawn vehicles remained popular for delivery runs, particularly if you think
of the milk delivery person coming to your doorstep,
leaving the bottles of milk. – [Mo] And one day, too, cutting-edge automotive
technology of today will be supplanted by
something as futuristic as the car once was to the carriage.


2 Responses

  1. Michael Valente

    April 22, 2019 9:36 am

    Its looking like another transition is on the horizon. Over a hundred years ago it was horses to cars. Now its gas cars to electric cars. Its about time we need a change. Just think if the electric car was introduced in the 1980s how far we'd be now


Leave a Reply