On the Road with The Henry Ford
16 artifacts in this set
The Huffman Manufacturing Company traces its roots to 1892 in its hometown of Dayton, Ohio. The company's one millionth bicycle, built in 1947, included features typical of the era, like a motorcycle-inspired faux fuel tank and fender-mounted headlight. It also received a special upgrade to commemorate the production milestone -- 14-karat gold plating! The bicycle is now back in Dayton, on loan to Carillon Historical Park.
Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs embarked on a series of camping trips from 1916 to 1924. These self-named "Vagabonds" camped in style accompanied by support staff who set up and took down camp, cooked, and maintained cars and equipment vehicles. In 1922, this camp truck became part of the Vagabond's caravan. It is currently on loan to the Lincoln Motor Car Foundation in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
Long before becoming part of The Henry Ford's collection, this horizontal steam engine powered the Fairfield Rice Mill on the Allston Plantation located on the banks of the Waccamaw River in South Carolina. It can now be viewed at Tannehill Ironworks Historic State Park in McCalla, Alabama.
Elijah McCoy developed the hydrostatic lubricator, a mechanical way of delivering oil to the many moving parts of a steam locomotive, in 1872. This improved model from around 1920 is part of the exhibit Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
The technology that formed the basis of Thomas Edison's electric pen eventually contributed to the development of the mimeograph and the tattoo needle. Instead of a nib, the pen had a needle powered by an electric motor -- the needle poked holes into a stencil, which was then used to copy the document. Since 2017 this artifact has been part of the Museum of the City of New York's exhibit, New York at its Core.
In 1928, the German-made Junkers W33 Bremen became the first aircraft to fly non-stop from Europe to North America. The east-to-west crossing, made against the prevailing winds, was more difficult than the flight from North America to Europe. The airplane returned to Europe after many years on display at The Henry Ford. If you are passing through the airport in Bremen, Germany, take time to find this historic airplane.
In the 1930s, Sarah Cooper Hewitt donated the contents of the carriage barn at her family's rural New Jersey retreat, Ringwood Manor, to The Henry Ford. Recently, staff at Ringwood State Park -- which encompasses the former estate -- made renovations to the barn and added an interpretive exhibit using selected materials from The Henry Ford. This registration tag was a sort of "license plate" for horses.
Owls formed part of the Hewitt family's coat-of-arms. Owl appliques like this one could be found on materials such as horse blankets and livery uniforms used at Ringwood Manor. This is just one of the many artifacts on loan to Ringwood State Park to support the recent renovation of the Ringwood Carriage Barn.
The Henry Ford also lent horse mannequins to Ringwood State Park. Mannequins, such as this one, were originally used by shop owners to help sell saddles, harnesses, and tack in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Today, they display the same material and help shed light into the lives of those living and working on this Gilded Age summer estate.
Charles Lindbergh donated his personal automobile, this 1928 Franklin Airman, to The Henry Ford in 1940. Currently, the elegant car can be seen at Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, where it has been on loan since 2002.
Elizabeth Parke Firestone, wife of tire magnate Harvey Firestone, amassed an exquisite assemblage of couture during her lifetime. In 1989, The Henry Ford acquired a substantial portion of her fashionable apparel. Pieces from this collection are often requested for loans. This beautiful evening dress is currently touring internationally with the Victoria & Albert Museum's exhibition, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, until 2020.
Thomas Edison achieved his first success with his electric lamp experiments in October 1879. Subsequent development by Edison and his colleagues continued as they sought more durable materials, better production methods, and more convenient features. This lamp is the earliest type produced in quantity at Menlo Park. Since 2009 it has been on view as part of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry's permanent exhibition, Science Storms.
Underwood Standard Typewriter, No. 5., Used by George Washington Carver at the Tuskegee Institute, 1930-1933
The Underwood No. 5 manual typewriter was commonly found in offices and laboratories throughout America during the early 20th century, but this typewriter has special significance. It was used by George Washington Carver, the famed American botanist and inventor, when he worked at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Today, the typewriter is on exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
In 2013, Monroe County Community College in southeast Michigan partnered with local electric utility DTE Energy to create an exhibit on the history of Fermi I, a prototype fast breeder reactor. This model depicts a typical nuclear power plant and is one of the artifacts featured in the display.
Early automobiles were required to have some sort of device to alert pedestrians to their approach. This serpentine bulb horn with the fearsome visage of a boa constrictor served that purpose and provided stylish adornment. This and several other early models of automobile horns can be viewed on exhibit at China's Shanghai Auto Museum.