Born on May 26th, 1874, as the son of wealthy British parents in Paris, he first dedicated himself to cycling and quickly became a successful racer. He switched to motorsport, first with Darracq and then Panhard-Levassor. He drove the latter at the Paris Madrid and Gordon Bennett elimination runs. His racing career ended in 1905 with a serious accident.
In 1907 he became interested in aviation. Together with his brother Maurice, they bought a plane from Gabriel Voisin. After some conversions, he was able to fly the plane more than one kilometer – the first man to do so. Later he operated a flying school. The Farman brothers set up a company to produce airplanes in 1912 which were used by the Allied forces in great numbers.
After WW1 Henri and his brothers returned to the field of cars and built luxury cars until 1936, when the company was nationalized. He died in Paris on July 18, 1958.