Friday, May 25, 2007

Henry Ford's Machine Men (1924)

The evening edition of the December 5, 1924 State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) ran a short article about Henry Ford's automated vision for the future. It was titled "Machine Men," and the author laments the hustle and bustle the automobile has produced. The author calls "pish-posh" on Mr. Henry Ford and his projections of life with less work.

The article is transcribed below in its entirety.

Where is Henry Ford going to land us? asks Arthur Train in The Forum. His ambition is to build and market a hundred million automobiles so that every child will have one. His "vision" is for a world where everything is done by machines. His perfect man would press a button by the side of his bed and find himself automatically clad, fed, exercised, amused, and put to bed again. Thirty minutes' work for each of us a day would be enough, he says, to keep civilization going. Pish-posh, Henry! Does anybody suppose you would stop until you'd eliminated the necessity for all work whatsoever? Of course you wouldn't! When you rearranged everything so that the human "robot" can sit on his front porch and talk to another "robot" friend a thousand miles away on his eye glass string, mow his farm in Mongolia and milk his reindeer in Nova Zembla by wireless, hear and see what is going on upon the other side of the world by looking at a shirt stud, transport himself thru the air on a broomstick, and kiss his wife and best girl by radio - will he be any better off? Before we had motors in New York I used to go down town in a rattling old surface car that took half an hour; but now in your cabriolet, even if you've reduced the price $590.65 F.O.B. Detroit, it takes an hour. Have I gained anything? Somehow I feel as if I'd lost a little of my liberty. I don't want a nickel-plated stomach or an oxydized liver. I don't want to sit in one place and be artificially respirated and exercised, in order to keep my blood in circulation. I like to work. I like to earn my bread by the sweat of my brow because it makes me hungry to do it that way. For if, Henry, everything is done for us, what eventually are we going to do?

See also:
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)

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