What do Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd have to do with Ford Motor Company? (Well, besides the fact that Ford cars appear in a number of their films) The Ford Motor Company Safety Department. It’s strange to think of these two physical comedians as poster boys of safety, but through weekly films on safety issues the Safety Department used innovative techniques to prevent accidents by showing the right and wrong way of performing jobs and using machines and tools, often using Keaton and Lloyd films as comic examples of unsafe behavior. Safety, however, was taken very seriously at Ford and was seen as so important that early on in the 1910s the role of safety engineering and inspection was removed from the Medical Department and set up as a separate department.
Headed up by Robert Shaw, the department was established in 1914 and was responsible for machine safety, job safety, as well as hygienic safety (the full title of the department was the Safety and Hygiene Department). The first safety committee included P.E. Martin, C.E. Sorensen, C.W. Avery, the minutes stated: “it is the aim of the Safety Committee to reduce the number and serious nature of accidents. The assistance of every Ford man is needed in this work.” And assistance they got. By 1922, the department had around thirty inspectors, some general and some specialists, it also included a bacteriologist who examined areas in the factory to help stop the spread of disease, and a range of cleaners who sanitized, scrubbed, and scoured every inch of the factory to make sure the environment was as germ-free and clean for the workers as a factory could be.
Of the inspectors, some were general, and some specialized in specific areas or machines in the factory. John Wagner, who joined the department in 1922, worked on punch presses and noted when he started workers were losing an average of 16 fingers a month on press punches alone. Wagner designed several guards and safety mechanisms for machines, noting, “we never designed a guard like a pair of handcuffs that would pull men's hands back. I never approved of them. The men resented that type of guard. The sweep guard was not resented.” Shaw also noted that “we never liked harnessing a man to a machine.” Every machine in the factory was inspected and new guards or devices installed as necessary, any new machines had to be approved by the department, and they were consulted when new machines were being designed.
Shaw worked not only to fix machines that caused accidents, but also to heighten awareness of unsafe behavior and correct problems before they caused injury. Weekly safety bulletins were published, posters were posted, articles appeared in the Ford Man, and safety slogans and tips were printed on the back of each man’s timecard. Safety statistics for each department would be compiled monthly and distributed to all the departments for contests with departments competing against each other for the best safety record. The department hosted safety sessions where they showed movies, performed skits, and gave talks designed for individual departments and the safety hazards they faced. Safety rallies, parades, and picnics were hosted at different plants and branches in Detroit with the Ford Motor Company Band entertaining the crowd.
The department created safety cards for each job, which men has to read, sign, and turn in to the foreman who then carried them and used them to coach employees when they didn’t follow safety rules. Each new man was trained in safety procedures for his job before he started and was held accountable for complying with regulations. If a man was caught in violation of a safety regulation, such as running in the factory (with or without scissors), cleaning a machine while it was running, or using mushroom head tools that could catch and pull a man into a machine, they were sent up to the safety office to read through the safety bulletins and look at photos of industrial accidents from the plant. In rare cases of severe violation, a man was suspended, and if even more rarely, they were laid off for repeat safety offenses.
The pamphlet, Factory Facts from Ford noted in 1917: “Safety work concerns not only the loss of fingers and injuries of this nature, but undertakes to protect the health of the men as well.” To this end the hygiene side of the department pumped in washed air “at just the right temperature for comfort and efficient work,” provided filtered and cooled water in drinking fountains that were sanitized multiple times a day, placed dust collection systems in dusty work areas, and scrubbed the floors at least once a week, boasting that cleaners swept “even the spaces which the average housewife passes over.”
Shaw extended the Ford safety program outside the company as well and was a founding member of the Detroit Industrial Safety Council. The council was composed of various Detroit area manufacturers and focused on reducing accidents through increased awareness, better machines and guards, and improving factory policies and environment.
Kathy Makas is a Reference Archivist for the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford. The Benson Ford Research Center is open Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00. Set up an appointment in our reading room or AskUs a question here.
If you’ve walked through “With Liberty and Justice for All” in Henry Ford Museum, you’re familiar with the long and complicated history of social transformation, including civil rights and race relations, in America. Some artifacts, like the Rosa Parks Bus, are primary sources in this story, but we also hold collections that offer a more oblique take, such as about 100 photo negatives we’ve just digitized relating to five days of civil unrest in Detroit in July 1967.
The images come from Detroit Edison, which was charged with the very normal work of restoring electricity under very abnormal conditions. While the photos primarily document the power company’s work in the wake of the unrest, the events of the preceding days and their aftermath are omnipresent, as you can see in this image. We undertook this digitization project as part of our participation in “Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward,” “a multi-year community engagement project of the Detroit Historical Society that brings together diverse voices and communities around the effects of an historic crisis to find their place in the present and inspire the future.”
Early next year, we’ll be sharing more collections-based stories related to the complex roots of, and reactions to, Detroit 67, in keeping with our mission to inspire people to help shape a better future. For now, visit our Digital Collections to browse all of the July 1967 Detroit Edison images.
Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.
For the past two years The Henry Ford has had the privilege of honoring a select group of educators who demonstrated the ability to teach their subjects in innovative ways, inspiring their students to think creatively. They accomplish in their classrooms what we at The Henry Ford strive to accomplish every day with our guests; conveying innovation concepts and practices.
Now, The Henry Ford and Litton Entertainment are proud to sponsor a third year of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Awards so that another crop of educators can be honored. Just as The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation seeks out the stories of forward-looking visionaries and innovators each week, we are looking for teachers who showcase an original and creative approach to teaching, inspire innovation in their students, exhibit resourcefulness, engage students, and are making a positive impact on not only their classroom but their community, colleagues, administrators, school, and/or district.
Twenty teachers in total will receive prizes, with the top ten grand prize winners receiving a week-long “Innovation Immersion Experience” at The Henry Ford. Winners will be announced in June.
Nominate yourself or a teacher you know by completing the online submission form (click on the “apply now” button). Tell us what innovation means to you and show us how you teach it to your students. Be sure to include supporting materials that show an innovative teaching methodology, curriculum, and/or model in action. All entries must be submitted by theFebruary 28, 2017 deadline.
Please be sure to read our official rules carefully before nominating. For more details about the awards or the television show please go here.
We look forward to learning how teachers across the country are innovating in their classrooms.
Frederick Rubin is the Engagement and Learning Coordinator at The Henry Ford
No, this little number isn’t a masterpiece from Mr. Warhol, but the iconic artist was surely the inspiration for its recognizable print.
Back in the mid to late ‘60s, disposable apparel made of paper was all the rage, and everyone was doing it, from paper towel producers and pie makers to Hallmark and the Campbell Soup Company. For a couple of Campbell’s veggie soup labels and one buck, you could mail order the Souper Dress.
Too long? Just get your scissors and cut. Needs mending? Just grab the transparent tape, and pull, tear and repair. Stubborn stain? Just throw the dress away, tuck another dollar in an envelope and mail away for your next fashion fix. Most paper dresses made in the ’60s were actually 93 percent cellulose and 7 percent nylon.
By 1968, the paper fashion fad had fizzled, and the polyester leisure suit was next in line to pop.
Elon Musk thinks big. The mission of his car company, Tesla Motors, is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” while his commercial space travel business, SpaceX, aims “to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”
In June 2008, The Henry Ford visited SpaceX’s Hawthorne, California, campus to interview Musk about these lofty goals, a trip that resulted in a lengthy oral history now available online in both video and transcript format as part of The Henry Ford’s Visionaries on Innovation series. At the time the interview was conducted, Detroit photographer Michelle Andonian also documented the whole experience, taking many pictures of the facility, the museum staff who participated, and Musk himself. We’ve just added nearly 200 of these images to our Digital Collections, including this photo of Musk hard at work at his desk.
In 1990, a partnership was formed between The Henry Ford and Wayne-Westland Community Schools that would revolutionize the way The Henry Ford looked at community outreach. High School students would spend the first half of their days in the classroom, then be transported to The Henry Ford in taxis where they would spend the remainder of their school day working alongside full-time employees learning vital work skills, forming positive relationships, and creating memories that would last a lifetime.
Twenty-six years later the foundation of the program remains the same. Students from the district continue to make the daily commute to The Henry Ford (although in school buses rather than taxis) where they work in placements ranging from the William Ford Barn, Firestone Farm, Institutional Advancement, banquet kitchens and restaurants, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. They now have the opportunity to obtain additional academic credits by completing online courses, and participate in community engagement by practicing service learning with second-grade classrooms at an elementary school in the district on a weekly basis. Service learning allows our students to give back to their communities, and realize the impact they can have on the lives of others.
The students we serve have been identified by their counselors and principals for being at-risk for graduation. Academic struggles usually stem from a multitude of underlying issues such as an unstable home life, mental/physical health issues, or perhaps just lacking a sense of belonging in this world. People learn in different ways and normal schooling isn’t for everyone; the Youth Mentorship Program provides an atmosphere where students can succeed in an environment different from the traditional classroom.
The Youth Mentorship Program is a source of pride here at The Henry Ford. It’s one of the clearest ways weinspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future, as our mission statement proudly states. Unlike most programs at The Henry Ford, the Youth Mentorship Program caters to a smaller group; approximately 12-15 students per semester. The students have the ability to participate in the YMP for a semester or longer, depending on what their schedule allows. Although small in numbers, we believe the YMP is a program that runs ‘an inch wide and a mile deep.’ Although we have a great desire to reach all youth in need in our community, small group size allows for more one-on-one opportunity as well as an overall intimate atmosphere. A quote we hear amongst our students year after year is how the YMP is truly like a family.
It’s incredibly inspiring to watch these students learn their place in the world and become good and successful citizens of their community. Whether it’s passing classes and earning credits, serving The Henry Ford’s guests in a banquet kitchen or restaurant, shearing sheep at Firestone Farm, or walking across a stage to grab their high school diplomas, the Youth Mentorship Program opens the eyes of students to opportunities they may never imagined with overwhelming cheers of support. It truly has deep and lasting impact on the students it serves each semester, as well as the students’ families, The Henry Ford staff, and the Wayne-Westland community.
Help us continue making our community impact by making a donation to the Youth Mentorship Program this Giving Tuesday. How can your donation help?
$10 can provide a semester's worth of school supplies for a student
$30 will help uniform one student
$50 supplies a month's worth of meals for a student
$200 pays for one online course for a student to complete to earn credit
$2,500 provides transportation for one student for the year
Learn more about this year's Giving Tuesday program at The Henry Ford and make your gift here.
The Henry Ford is a very active collecting institution, which results in hundreds to thousands of new artifacts of all types and sizes added to our collections every year. From among these, our curators select a subset for near-term digitization, while the rest go into the queue to be digitized as the need arises.
One just-digitized item collected by Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson is the glove worn by Janet Guthrie when she became the first woman to race in the Indianapolis 500 in 1977. Visit our Digital Collections to see more artifacts either acquired or “discovered in collections” in the last year—or explore tens of thousands of racing-related artifacts. Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.
The copy in this ad references Americans’ voluntary reduction of food consumption during World War I. THF131084
Hot chocolate just might be the perfect drink. The scientific name for the chocolate tree—Theobroma cacao—means “food for the gods.” And for good reason. When mixed with hot liquid and sugar, chocolate has been known to stimulate, to calm, to improve digestion, to enhance the mood, to combat stress, and to promote long life. All that, and it tastes great and smells divine!
Although a hot beverage using chocolate had originated in the New World with the ancient Aztecs—who consumed it during sacred ceremonies—it came to the American colonies by way of Europe. By that time, it was already a sweet creamy drink, popular with wealthy aristocrats who could afford the expensive imported sugar and spices that went into making it. In early America, it became a popular substitute to tea after the colonists rejected British tea with its high import taxes (the response that brought on the Boston Tea Party).
The famous image on this recipe booklet cover, adopted by the company in 1883, was based upon an earlier painting of a waitress in a Viennese chocolate shop. THF131089
Small-scale chocolate mills sprang up in early America to process cacao beans into chocolate, making the price more affordable than importing the chocolate either from Europe or the West Indies. In 1765, Dr. James Baker, an American physician, and immigrant Irishman John Hannon converted an old gunpowder mill in Dorchester, Massachusetts, into a mill for manufacturing chocolate. The hardened “cakes” of chocolate that the firm produced lent themselves well to the sweetened chocolate drink Americans loved. Baker’s Chocolate would go on to become an American empire. Distinctive packaging and extensive newspaper advertising spread its popularity as far west as the 1849 California Gold Rush.
Through the late 19th century, Baker’s Chocolate was arguably the largest chocolate manufactory in the United States. Its famous logo could be seen everywhere—on billboards, streetcar signs, grocery store placards, and recipe booklet covers. The company thought it had it made.
Hershey, a Pennsylvania Quaker, began his candy business producing caramels. At the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he became intrigued by a display of German chocolate-making machinery. He bought the machines and, after a few years of experimentation, came up with a smooth, creamy milk chocolate candy bar. Soon he was mass-producing chocolate candy bars that, at five cents, virtually anyone could afford. Despite European critics who claimed that Hershey’s chocolate was inferior to the centuries-old chocolates produced in their own countries, Hershey’s acquired such a loyal customer base that many Americans thought Hershey’s chocolate was chocolate.
As a result of Milton Hershey’s innovations, Americans would soon favor eating chocolate over drinking it. But chocolate-drinking did not die out. It simply took on new forms and appealed to new audiences.
These young “flappers” are enjoying Baker’s Cocoa during a late-night sleepover party. THF131083
Cocoa powder (a processed component of chocolate)—easy to carry and prepare—became a popular field ration for soldiers during both the first and second World Wars. Women emerged as major new consumers of chocolate beverages, for parties and get-togethers. Hot cocoa was also considered a healthful, life-enhancing food for invalids.
For the first time, despite warnings from critics about tooth decay, acne, and weight gain, chocolate drinks were promoted as a nutritional health food for children—a good way to get more milk into their diets while also giving them increased zest for life. Bosco, a chocolate syrup first produced in 1928 in Towaco, New Jersey, was advertised as a healthful “milk amplifier” for children.
By the mid-20th century, chocolate beverages reflected Americans’ on-the-go lifestyle with the introduction of “instant” cocoa powder and chocolate-powdered flavoring mixes. Nestle’s Quik, produced in the United States although the company originated in Switzerland, was advertised as “the only chocolate milk that makes itself!”
Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa Mix, whose name and packaging were intended to evoke chocolate’s “Old World” roots, became so popular as an easy-to-prepare airline beverage in the 1950s that it soon became available at grocery stores.
These and other “instant” chocolate drinks lent themselves perfectly to advertising through the new medium of television. What Baby Boomer does not remember the “I Love Bosco” jingle from the 1950s and early 1960s? And Quicky the bunny, famous for inhaling Nestle’s Quik at record speeds, debuted in commercials in 1973. At the same time that these commercials promoted chocolate beverages as fun and delicious for kids, they reminded Moms that these drinks were also healthful and nutritious.
After centuries of preferring chocolate beverages that were increasingly easier, faster, and cheaper, Americans today are turning to a new appreciation for Old World and more traditional forms of chocolate and the beverages using this chocolate. Maybe this is a permanent trend or maybe it’s just a temporary respite from our fast-paced lives. Whatever it is, Milton Hershey was certainly on target when he declared: “Chocolate is a permanent thing.”
Donna Braden is Curator of Public Life at The Henry Ford.
Agriculture is an important collecting focus for The Henry Ford, so we’re very honored to have the Michigan Farm Bureau join us as a partner. Catherine Tuczek, our curator of school and public learning, sat down with Education Specialist Amelia Miller to talk about the importance of agriculture in today’s classroom.
Why does it make sense for The Henry Ford and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture and Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom to partner together? The Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom program strives to provide educators with standards-based lessons which teach about local agriculture through classroom subjects such as science, social studies, English language arts, math and more. To partner with The Henry Ford allows us a direct link to put these lessons in the hands of the teachers. With the historical agriculture exhibits and The Henry Ford’s focus on innovation, it makes sense to showcase modern agriculture, showing the progression in agricultural technologies throughout time. Where do most people learn about agriculture these days? Knowledge of food and agriculture is no different than any other topic. Consumers today turn to social media for information about their food and the way it’s raised. 63% of Michigan consumers say they prefer to purchase products grown and raised in Michigan. Today’s consumer expects transparency between farmers, food processors and consumers. About half of U.S. consumers want to learn about food safety and the impact of food on their health directly from food labels; while about 40% want to learn about animal well-being, environmental impact and business ethics from company websites. (source: Center for Food Integrity)
What are common misconceptions children have about agriculture? Many students (and parents!) draw conclusions from their immediate surroundings. Less than 2% of the U.S. population live on farms or ranches, with this disconnect comes misconceptions. Often, students guess their milk comes from a grocery store cooler rather than a dairy cow. Careers in agriculture don’t just mean working on a farm, from sales and marketing to plant science to animal health jobs are available in business, biology, mechanics, and more. Today’s agriculturalists are very technology-savvy people. Farmers utilize advancements in plant breeding and genetics to grow more food on less land while utilizing less water, fertilizer and pesticides than ever before. 98% of Michigan farms are family owned rooted in the tradition of raising plants and animals in our Great Lakes state. No matter the size of the farm, these farmers are working to take care of the land, animals, plants and the environment.
How can agriculture enrich traditional curriculum like science, social studies, math or English Language Arts? Agriculture can be the tangible subject which brings any content area to life. With educational trends focusing on inquiry-based learning, agriculture provides a living platform to ask questions or present scenarios. Beginning in preschool, students explore basic plant science through growing seeds, labeling plant parts and drawing conclusions that some plants produce edible fruits or vegetables. Similarly animal science can be integrated into cell biology, nutrition or physiology. When we think about advanced science, we also think about math.
These two foundational concepts go hand in hand as students progress in physics, chemistry and biology all of which are necessary in plant, animal and food science. Agriculture, food and natural resources is Michigan’s second largest economic sector, easily connecting to third and fourth grade social studies. The Mitten State’s unique geography creates many microclimates which allow our state to be the second most diverse food producing state in the nation, growing more than 300 different agricultural commodities. Not to be forgotten, English Language Arts (ELA) can tie all these subjects together. Particularly at elementary levels, reading and ELA is of a primary focus. Utilizing recommended Agriculture Literacy texts and their partnering lesson plans, teachers can pair ELA standards with connecting science standards within one lessons.
How can agricultural education enrich children’s personal lives? There is great reward in seeing the fruits of our own labor. Learning to care for the land or animals is one of our most basic life skills. With trends focusing on unplugging from our electronic device toting society and theories about “Nature-Deficit Disorder” creating the “No Child Left Inside” movement, agriculture education encourages children to learn from the environment. Hands-on lessons focusing on growing plants, caring for animals or studying natural resources gets students out of the classroom. Agriculture education easily caters to all learning styles providing visual, kinesthetic and auditory teaching methods.From early on, society encourages children to consider “what they want to be when they grow up.” While many answers are simple, familiar responses such as firefighter, teacher or doctor, those are just three of the wide world of careers available, each requiring varying levels of post-high school training. Between 2015 and 2020 we expect to see 57,900 average annual openings for graduates with bachelor’s degrees or higher in agriculture. A farmer or veterinarian may be popular career choices amongst children, but reality is agriculture needs scientists, engineers, business managers, marketing professionals, graphic designers, agronomists, animal nutrition specialists, food processors, packaging engineers, mechanics, welders, electricians, educators, and government officials. (source: USDA, AFNR Employment Opportunities) What are the most important components in agricultural education? There are five basic groupings of agricultural literacy lessons: Agriculture and the Environment; Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber and Energy; Food, Health and Lifestyle; STEM; and Culture, Society, Economy and Geography. These National Agricultural Literacy Outcomes developed by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization focus agriculture learning and assist in aligning lessons with national education standards. If K-12 teachers utilize these groupings when incorporating agriculture into curriculum, students will effectively gain an understanding of agriculture in their daily life.
Some time ago, The Henry Ford’s digitization team started a project to digitize selected photographs of Greenfield Village buildings. More than 2800 photos and two years later, we have finally completed this project, a celebration marked by the team with mini-cupcakes and commemorative coasters featuring some of our favorite images from the project.
While all the buildings have a strong relationship to Henry Ford—the majority were selected by him and added to the Village under his watch—the final building we imaged is one of the most important to Henry’s story: his birthplace. We imaged over 175 photos of Ford Home, including this November 5, 1920 shot of the house on its original site.
Visit our Digital Collections and search on any building name to see more—or see some staff favorite photos in our Expert Set. Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.