The quote, at once a tribute to the man’s practicality as well as his cantankerousness, lives on because it’s such a quintessential a sign of both the man’s life and times that it seems quaint today.
In our own age, the shift is becoming complete, radical even. Design, once a nice touch, is emerging as the product itself. Where once nations scoured the earth looking to import raw materials in order to manufacture products, the future will belong to those who can generate the most powerful ideas.
Henry Ford, of course, didn’t exist in a vacuum, but was a product of his age. In 1900, few had indoor plumbing, the average life expectancy was 46 and even the concept of the atom was still controversial. Life was, by contemporary standards, nasty, brutish and short.