Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Lunch at Ford Motor Company

January 20, 2022 Archive Insight

Four women with beverages sit at a counter
Women at Lunch Counter, Willow Run Bomber Plant, 1943 / THF114414

Lunch is a part of most people’s workday, but how much do you know about what lunch was like at Ford Motor Company in the first half of the 20th century? Reference Archivist Kathy Makas tackled this topic earlier this month as part of our monthly History Outside the Box series on Instagram. If you missed the Insta story, you can check out the replay below to find out more about the decline of the lunch bucket, the rise of the “sanitary box lunch,” employee cafeterias, and much more, all illustrated with photographs and documents from our archives.

Our January 2022 History Outside the Box presentation on lunch at Ford Motor Company. / Instagram

If this whetted your appetite (pun intended), you can check out our Digital Collections for more artifacts related to lunch or to Ford workers. You’ll also find artifact sets related to lunch wagons and Greenfield Village’s own Owl Night Lunch Wagon, and blog posts related to Ford Motor Company, Ford workers, and of course, food. You can also contact the Benson Ford Research Center via AskUs (or phone, e-mail, or mail—contact info available on the AskUs page).

Kathy Makas is Reference Archivist and Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections and Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

food, archives, Ford workers, Ford Motor Company, History Outside the Box, by Ellice Engdahl, by Kathy Makas

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