Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry with his assembly line method of production, making cars much less expensive and more available to the masses. But the auto industry wasn't Ford's only passion. He had lots of ideas about the future -- some proving to be remarkably prescient, but others not. An excerpt from The Post of Sept. 20, 1925:
The time is coming when Americans will grow their own fuel and American cities will be heated by electricity, Henry Ford is quoted as saying during his stay at his Wayside Inn in Sudbury, in an interview published by the Christian Science Monitor.
"The fuel of the future," he said, "is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road or from apples, weeds, sawdust -- almost anything. There's fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the field for a hundred years.
"Electricity will heat American cities in the future. I think that's what we're going to use more and more in place of coal. Why not convert coal into electric power by burning it underground and sending it to the city from the mine without ever bringing it to the surface? That's what they'll do in the future.
"When the time comes, ways will be found to dam up necessary water for condensing the steam.
"We have a `lake' on the roof of one of my Michigan factories now just for that purpose. I'm beginning to send power by wire instead of by freight load."
Turning to an explanation of his plans at the grist mill which he is having built not far from the inn, Mr. Ford said:
"I'm experimenting now with a new kind of flour. We're not ready to make an announcement yet, but it's going to consist of flour made entirely of the so-called `germs' of the wheat alone; in other words, from the most nutritious part, which is now entirely discarded by bakers."
He spoke of his purpose in preserving the Wayside Inn, made famous by Longfellow.
"I intend," he said, "to make this whole place an object lesson for the future, of the times and surroundings in which the American pioneers lived. People can visualize conditions here in a minute when they see them, which they could not learn in a year from textbooks alone."
He said he intended to lease the inn on a self-perpetuating basis, remarking:
"Things that don't pay their way aren't generally worth much."
Incidentally he is going to replace the present asbestos roofing of the inn with shingles now being made by hand by expert woodsmen. The shingles will be exact duplicates of early designs.