Expert Sets

The experts at The Henry Ford have carefully created these sets. Explore a specific topic or use these as a foundation for building your own collection.

The experts at The Henry Ford have carefully created these sets. Explore a specific topic or use these as a foundation for building your own collection.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections

Created 01.24.2016 | 19 artifacts

Browse selected artifacts recently added to The Henry Ford's digital collections. These are just a handful of the more than 400 new items digitized in July 2017.

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Diesel-Electric Locomotives

Created 09.06.2017 | 9 artifacts

The diesel-electric locomotive offered many advantages over its steam-powered counterpart. It needed less maintenance, used less fuel and could be operated with a smaller crew. It also didn't require expensive support structures like roundhouses, coaling towers and water tanks. After World War II, the "dieselization" of American railroads was rapid. Of the 21,000 new locomotives bought between 1945 and 1955, fully 95 percent were diesel-electric.

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The Wrights: Wowing the World

Created 09.05.2017 | 20 artifacts

After their first flight at Kitty Hawk in December 1903, the Wright brothers spent five years in relative seclusion, testing, tweaking, and trying to patent their Flyer. While the brothers’ secrecy foiled copycats, it also led to doubts of their success. Skeptics were silenced when Wilbur Wright piloted the Flyer in a series of spectacular public demonstrations near Le Mans, France, in 1908.

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Ford Tri-Motor: Promotional Use

Created 09.05.2017 | 10 artifacts

Early American airlines embraced the Ford Tri-Motor. It was rugged, built of metal rather than wood and fabric. It was reliable, able to land safely with just one of its three engines. And it was versatile. Tri-Motors flew passengers and freight for public carriers, and served as executive transports, traveling showrooms and aerial delivery vans for private companies. Ford built nearly 200 Tri-Motors from 1926 to 1933.

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Ford Tri-Motor: Passenger Travel

Created 09.05.2017 | 17 artifacts

Early American airlines embraced the Ford Tri-Motor. It was rugged, built of metal rather than wood and fabric. It was reliable, able to land safely with just one of its three engines. And it was versatile. Tri-Motors flew passengers and freight for public carriers, and served as executive transports, traveling showrooms and aerial delivery vans for private companies. Ford built nearly 200 Tri-Motors from 1926 to 1933.

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Ford Tri-Motor: Production

Created 09.05.2017 | 13 artifacts

Early American airlines embraced the Ford Tri-Motor. It was rugged, built of metal rather than wood and fabric. It was reliable, able to land safely with just one of its three engines. And it was versatile. Tri-Motors flew passengers and freight for public carriers, and served as executive transports, traveling showrooms and aerial delivery vans for private companies. Ford built nearly 200 Tri-Motors from 1926 to 1933.

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Growing Up Wright

Created 09.05.2017 | 26 artifacts

Milton and Susan Wright raised their children to value learning, embrace hard work and trust family above everyone else. These traits served their youngest sons, Wilbur and Orville, well in their methodical work to invent, refine and patent the first airplane. The brothers’ bicycle shop provided income and insight for their research. Katharine, their younger sister, offered unfailing support and encouragement at every step.

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Amelia Earhart: The Iconic Aviatrix

Created 09.05.2017 | 15 artifacts

Amelia Earhart, with encouragement from her husband and publicist George Putnam, endorsed a number of commercial products. These arrangements not only enhanced Earhart’s fame, they also helped finance her flying. Earhart’s clothing line, launched in 1933, included slim-fitting sportswear pieces with aviation-influenced designs. Her branded luggage, introduced the same year, continued to sell for decades following Earhart’s 1937 disappearance.

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Pitcairn Autogiro: Making News while Breaking News

Created 09.05.2017 | 26 artifacts

The autogiro is just what it looks like – a technological halfway step between the airplane and the helicopter. The engine only powers the front propeller. The overhead rotor spins freely, but that autorotation generates significant additional lift. The Detroit News used its 1931 Pitcairn-Cierva autogiro to rush reporters and photographers to breaking stories, and to take aerial photos. Most of these photographs show this aircraft in action.

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On Your Way with Triple A

Created 08.24.2017 | 11 artifacts

In 1902, nine regional automobile clubs joined together to create a national motoring organization called the American Automobile Association (AAA). The earliest goal of AAA was to lobby for road improvements. Since then, AAA has devoted itself to all matters that concern American motorists--including driver safety, emergency services, and ensuring the best possible experiences for automobile travelers.

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