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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Posts Tagged by jim orr

Assistants in yellow sports jackets assist people into convertible cars on two sets of tracks in a large room; more people queue on either side, waiting their turn
Loading Area for the Magic Skyway Ride at the Ford Pavilion, New York World's Fair, 1964-1965 / THF701306

On the first Friday of every month, our staff present interesting stories from our archives on The Henry Ford’s Instagram account as part of our “History Outside the Box” series. Earlier this year, Image Services Specialist Jim Orr took our followers on a virtual trip through time, back to the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. Particularly, Jim demonstrated what a ride on the Magic Skyway, an attraction designed by Walt Disney for Ford Motor Company’s Wonder Rotunda, would have looked and felt like. Take a quick trip to the Fair below!

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New York, 1960s, 20th century, world's fairs, History Outside the Box, Ford Motor Company, Disney, cars, by Jim Orr, by Ellice Engdahl, archives

NASA’s first attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon was the unmanned Ranger 3, launched on January 26, 1962.

Illustration of satellite in space with planet Earth in the background
THF141214

Ranger 3 carried a 25-inch “Lunar Facsimile Capsule,” developed by Ford Motor Company’s aerospace division, Aeronutronic, located in Newport Beach, California.

Page with typewritten text
THF141217

Aeronutronic described the capsule as “a 300-pound ‘talking ball’ containing a seismometer to record moon quakes, temperature recording devices and other instruments.” The data these instruments collected about surface conditions on the moon would be important for planning later, manned missions.

Testing began in 1960. The capsule would need to withstand the extreme heat of lunar day and the extreme cold of lunar night. A special vacuum test chamber was used, which could be cooled by liquid nitrogen to minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 196 degrees Celsius).

Man stands in large metal tube holding shiny sphere next to large vat
THF141211

The small capsule was encased in an “Impact Limiter,” a larger ball made from carefully cut segments of balsa wood, which would protect the capsule and its delicate instruments from damage during its rough landing on the moon.

Photo from above of person in lab coat or apron working at table with hollow sphere in two pieces and various conic sections
THF700675

The lunar landing sphere was mounted on a retrorocket that would decelerate the spacecraft to 80–100 mph (130–160 kph) as it impacted on the moon.

Man in lab coat kneels, working on a piece of equipment with stands, a dome-shaped middle portion, and a sphere at the top
THF700681

The retrorocket was made from “Spiralloy,” a glass fiber composite. The retrorocket itself weighed only 15 pounds (7 kilograms).

Black-and-white photo of smiling woman holding contraption with cone-shaped bottom section and dome-shaped top section
THF700666

Unfortunately, Ranger 3 malfunctioned and flew past the moon on January 28, 1962.

Scrap of typewritten text
THF700679, detail

Aeronutronic built two more lunar capsules, launched later in 1962 aboard Ranger 4 and Ranger 5. Ranger 4 was destroyed when it crashed into the far side of the moon on April 26, 1962. Ranger 5 missed the moon on October 21, 1962. It joined Ranger 3, trapped in orbit around the sun, where it remains to this day.

Following these failures, the Ranger spacecraft was completely redesigned for later missions in 1964–1965. These spacecraft would no longer carry a lunar landing sphere; instead, they would photograph the moon as they approached. Ranger 7, Ranger 8, and Ranger 9 successfully took over 17,000 thousand high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface.


Jim Orr is Image Services Specialist at The Henry Ford. This post is based on a July 2019 presentation of History Outside the Box.

design, space, History Outside the Box, Ford Motor Company, by Jim Orr

Dark background containing white line drawings, notations and text

By the early 1950s, Ford Motor Company’s engineers had made over one million technical drawings of the parts used to make Ford cars and trucks. In 1949 alone, they used 13 million square feet of blueprint paper!

Large room full of tables, some of which have men standing near, leaning on, or lying on them with pencils or pens in hand
Ford Motor Company engineers at work, circa 1952. / THF125069

The drawings were being stashed away wherever room could be found. Since many of the drawings were for parts that were still in production, there was concern that the company’s operations would come to a halt if drawings were lost to a fire, a flood, or worse. Plans were made to microfilm the drawings so they could be stored more securely.

Sheet with text that notes among other things “top security for its records in the event of a bombing attack”
Paragraph from a 1951 brochure detailing the microfilming project. Cold War tensions were running high. / detail from THF135511

Three women in room with small filing cabinets along the walls and desks in the center
Eleven fireproof storage safes, holding one million microfilmed drawings, 1951. / THF123713

To save space, most of the original paper blueprints were destroyed after the drawings were copied onto microfilm. But a few can still be found in our Miscellaneous Ford Motor Company Blueprint and Drawings Collection.

Blueprint with blue background containing line drawings with notations and text
Blueprint showing part TT-7851-R for a Ford Model TT Truck. / THF138486

Dark background containing white line drawings, notations and text
70 mm microfilm copy of the same drawing. / THF406917

The Ford Motor Company Part Drawing Collection consists of over one million Ford engineering drawings from 1903–1957, on 70 mm microfilm. Each piece of film measures approximately 2.625 x 3.5 inches, and is in a manila envelope that shows the part number and the drawing’s latest revision date.

Manila envelope with handwritten numbers and red check mark
Envelope for drawing TT-7851-R, dated August 25, 1926. / THF406916

As of this writing, about 3,000 Ford part drawings can be seen on our Digital Collections website. Only 997,000 to go!

So, why don’t we “just” digitize them all?

The first challenge is the size of the film. Most high-speed scanners on the market now are not equipped to hold 70 mm film. And because each frame of film was cut from its roll and placed in a separate envelope, the film cannot simply be run through a machine.

We image the film using an Epson Perfection V850 Scanner with built-in Transparency Unit (a light inside the lid that allows it to scan film). Each piece of film measures just under 3 x 4 inches, so a scanning resolution of 1200 dpi (3600 x 4800 pixels) will usually suffice … but we go higher if a drawing looks like it will be difficult to read.

Three sheets with intricate drawings, notations and text
Larger blueprints, like this one for a V-8 Cylinder Block, were microfilmed in segments. / THF401366

After the film has been scanned, the images are straightened and cropped, and adjustments may be made to the brightness and contrast. If the film is a negative, we also create an additional, positive version of the digital image.

Line drawings, notations and text on light background
This version of the digital image can be printed without using as much toner. / THF406918

However, the bigger challenge is the data entry. Even the best digital image is useless if nobody can find it. To that end, it is necessary to transcribe the part number, the date of the drawing, and the title of the drawing from each piece of film. And many of the drawings include more than one part number!

Handwritten text reading in part “A-18254-B” followed by “A-18255-B”
If parts are symmetrical opposites, there is only one drawing for the pair. / detail from THF400831

Handwritten text in tabular format with numbers, dates, and initials
The revision history appears in the upper right corner of each drawing. This drawing is dated December 3, 1930 … but earlier versions may also exist. / detail from THF400831

If you are interested in researching the Ford Motor Company Part Drawings Collection, our Popular Research Topics page includes an FAQ and information about how to get started. Inquiries can be sent to research.center@thehenryford.org.

The Henry Ford is facing unprecedented financial challenges due to the impact of our 16-week closure and reduced operations. We need your help in securing our future. Love the Henry Ford? Please support all that we treasure—including our digitization program. Longtime supporters of The Henry Ford will match your donation dollar for dollar, so your contribution will have double the impact.
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20th century, Ford Motor Company, drawings, digitization, cars, by Jim Orr, archives, #digitization100K, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford

Though the various series and movies of Star Trek are set in the future, those crews and characters sometimes ended up crossing paths with historical figures familiar to those of us stuck here in the 21st century.  Image Services Specialist (and Trekkie) Jim Orr shares some objects from our collection that tie to those notables, and explains each Star Trek connection as we continue to celebrate our latest exhibit in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, "Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds."

lincoln
Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln by Clark Mills

In the 1966 Star Trek episode "The Savage Curtain," Captain Kirk and Commander Spock become unwilling participants in an alien experiment to determine which is stronger—good or evil.  Their allies included a doppelganger of Kirk's hero, President Abraham Lincoln.

supper
Relief Plaque of "The Last Supper"

In the 1969 Star Trek episode "Requiem for Methuselah," Kirk encounters an ancient, immortal being who claims to have been many notable figures from history, including Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.  Another version of Leonardo da Vinci would appear in the 1997 Star Trek: Voyager episode "Concerning Flight," in which alien arms dealers steal the U.S.S. Voyager's holographic equipment.

jack
Bookplate of Jack London, circa 1905

In the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow," Lieutenant Commander Data finds himself stranded in the year 1893 after an encounter with time-traveling aliens.  There, he befriends hotel bellhop (and aspiring writer) Jack London.

twain
Portrait of Mark Twain, by Edoardo Gelli, 1904

While attempting to rescue a time-traveling Data from 1893 San Francisco in the 1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow," the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise accidentally returns with author Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain).

newton
Book, "Opticks: or a Treatise on Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light," by Sir Isaac Newton, 4th ed., 1730

Data played a hand of poker against holographic representations of "three of history's greatest minds" in the 1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Descent."  Sir Isaac Newton's works include Opticks: or a Treatise on Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light.

einstein
Ford Motor Company Executive Ernest G. Liebold with Albert Einstein, 1941

Data's poker game with "three of history's greatest minds" also includes a holographic representation of Albert Einstein.  Ford Motor Company executive E.G. Liebold posed for this photograph with the real Albert Einstein in 1941.

earhart
Amelia Earhart Speaking at the Elks Air Circus, July 11, 1929

Amelia Earhart's mysterious fate has figured into the plots of TV shows ranging from Night Gallery to The Love BoatStar Trek: Voyager featured Earhart in the 1995 episode "The 37's," explaining her 1937 disappearance as—what else—an alien abduction. (Thanks to Curator of Transportation and fellow Trekkie Matt Anderson for this contribution!)

Jim Orr is Image Services Specialist at The Henry Ford and has seen all 732 episodes (and counting) of every series of Star Trek.

space, popular culture, TV, by Jim Orr, Star Trek

Toys That Fly!

December 19, 2018 Archive Insight
Sure, trains may still be the classic holiday transportation toy (thank you very much, Polar Express), but some children still look to the skies when putting together their wish lists. We’ve got any number of pilotable playthings in our collection, but here are a few of our favorites.

“Mystoplane” Toy Airplane Set, 1946-1947 (2008.23.1)
“Mystoplane” Toy Airplane Set, 1946-1947 (2008.23.1)

“It’s scientific! It’s educational! It’s thrilling!” So claims the Mastercraft Toy Company about Mystoplane. This little airplane flies through the air without rubber bands or batteries, but with the wave of a magic wand. In reality, the Mystoplane is an extremely thin piece of foil, and the wand’s mystical power is plain old static electricity. Rub the wand against the included cloth and the resulting static charge causes the foil airplane to float near the wand’s tip. It’s low-tech fun at its best.

P-51 Mustang Model Airplane Kit, 1970-1980 (2016.107.1)
P-51 Mustang Model Airplane Kit, 1970-1980 (2016.107.1)

North American Aviation’s P-51 Mustang ranked among the pre-eminent fighter airplanes in World War II. With its powerful engine and its efficient wing and fuselage design, the Mustang flew faster and farther than other Allied fighters. Mustangs escorted B-17 and B-24 bombers on raids deep into German territory. When fitted with external drop tanks to increase its fuel capacity, a Mustang could make it all the way from Britain to Berlin and back. The P-51D version, equipped with a Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 engine, topped out at more than 430 miles per hour. This balsa wood model doesn’t have quite the range or speed – but how much can you expect from a rubber band?

Star Wars Play Set, Millennium Falcon, circa 1979
Star Wars Play Set, Millennium Falcon, circa 1979 (2002.60.7)

Part of Kenner Products’ line of action figures based on the original Star Wars films, this Millennium Falcon spaceship didn’t technically fly…but in the hands of an imaginative kid (or kid at heart), she’ll make point-five past lightspeed, carrying Han Solo and Chewbacca (sold separately) on adventures across the galaxy.

The level of detail, functionality, and compatibility with the popular 3.75” action figures made this the definitive Millennium Falcon toy for the first generation of Star Wars fans.  Updated versions of the toy produced from 1995 to 2005 reused many of the original design elements.  She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.

Star Wars Vehicle Play Set, Darth Vader TIE Fighter, 1979-1980
Star Wars Vehicle Play Set, Darth Vader TIE Fighter, 1979-1980 (2002.60.5)

An antagonist for Kenner Products’ Millennium Falcon, the evil Darth Vader’s ship featured a battery-powered “laser” light and sound effect, and – spoiler warning for a movie released in 1977 – a button-activated “exploding” action that made this toy fly apart

Spin Master “Air Hogs Hyper Stunt Drone,” 2016 (2016.114.1)
Spin Master “Air Hogs Hyper Stunt Drone,” 2016 (2016.114.1)

Static electricity and rubber bands were fine for the 20th century, but today’s toys are a bit more complex. This Air Hogs micro drone runs on two AAA batteries for the remote control and a USB-rechargeable battery in the drone itself. The little flyer is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, with a basic “beginner” mode and a set of shields that allow it to bounce off of obstacles. (“Crash and keep going.” If only everything in life was so simple!) Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can switch over to “advanced” mode, remove the shields, and fly as high as your confidence – and your ceiling – allows.

Never underestimate the power of play. You never know what inspiration a toy might spark – even years after the fact. You may have heard the story of the two brothers whose father brought home a rubber band-powered toy helicopter. They played and played with the little gadget and, when it broke, built versions of their own. Years later, they remembered those toys as they experimented with a new, larger project in the dunes near Kitty Hawk…

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford, and Jim Orr is Image Services Specialist at The Henry Ford.

childhood, by Jim Orr, by Matt Anderson, toys and games

Henry Ford used wireless radio to communicate within Ford Motor Company (FMC) starting after October 1, 1919. This revolutionary new means of communication captured Ford’s interest because it allowed him to transmit messages within his vast operation. By August 1920, he could convey directions from his yacht to administrators in FMC offices and production facilities in Dearborn and Northville, Michigan. By February 1922, Ford’s railroad offices and the plant in Flat Rock, Michigan were connected, and by 1925, the radio transmission equipment was on Ford’s Great Lake bulk haulers and ocean-going vessels. Historian David L. Lewis claimed that “Ford led all others in the use of intracompany radio communications” (The Public Image of Henry Ford, 311).

Ford Motor Company also used radio transmissions to reach external audiences through promotional campaigns. During 1922, FMC sales branches delivered a series of expositions that featured Ford automobiles and Fordson tractors. An article in Motor Age (August 10, 1922) described highlights of the four-month tour of western Oregon:

“The days are given over to field demonstrations of tractors, plows and implements, while at night a radio outfit that brings in the concerts from the distant cities and motion pictures from the Ford plant, keep an intensely interested crowd on the grounds until the Delco Light shuts down for the night.”

The Ford Radio and Film crew that broadcast to the Oregon crowds traveled in a well-marked vehicle, taking every opportunity available to inform passers-by of Ford’s investment in the new technology – radio – and the utility of new FMC products. Ray Johnson, who participated in the tour, recalled that he drove a vehicle during the day and then played dance music in the evenings as a member of the three-piece orchestra, “Sam Ness and his Royal Ragadours.”

THF134998
Ford and Fordson Power Exposition Caravan and Radio Truck, Seaside, Oregon, 1922 . THF134998

In 1922, Intra-Ford transmissions began making public broadcasts over the Dearborn’s KDEN station (call letters WWI) at 250-watts of power, which carried a range of approximately 360 meters. The radio station building and transmission towers were located behind the Ford Engineering Laboratory, completed in 1924 at the intersection of Beech Street and Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn.

THF134748
Ford Motor Company Radio Station WWI, Dearborn, Michigan, March 1925. THF134748

Staff at the station, conveying intracompany information and compiled content for the public show which aired on Wednesday evenings.

THF134754
Ford Motor Company Radio Station WWI, Dearborn, Michigan, August 1924. THF134754

The station did not grow because Ford did not want to join new radio networks. He discontinued broadcasting on WWI in early February 1926 (The Public Image of Henry Ford, 179).

Ford did not discontinue his intracompany radio communications. FMC used radio-telegraph means to communicate between the head office in Dearborn and remote locations, including, Fordlandia, a 2.5-million-acre plantation that Ford purchased in 1927 and that he planned to turn into a source of raw rubber to ease dependency on British colonies regulated by British trade policy.

Brazil and other countries in the Amazon of South American provided natural rubber to the world until the early twentieth century. The demand for tires for automobiles increased so quickly that South American harvests could not satisfy demand. Industrialists sought new sources. During the 1870s, a British man smuggled seeds out of Brazil, and by the late 1880s, British colonies, especially Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) and Malaysia, began producing natural rubber. Inexpensive labor, plus a climate suitable for production, and a growing number of trees created a viable replacement source for Brazilian rubber.

British trade policies, however, angered American industrialists who sought to establish production in other places including Africa and the Philippines. Henry Ford turned to Brazil, because of the incentives that the Brazilian government offered him. His goals to produce inexpensive rubber faced several hurdles, not the least of which was overcoming the traditional labor practices that had suited those who harvested rubber in local forests, and the length of time it took to cultivate new plants (not relying on local resources).

Ford built a production facility on the Tapajós River in Brazil. This included a radio station. The papers of E. L. Leibold, in The Henry Ford’s Benson Ford Research Center, include a map with a key that indicated the “proposed method of communication between Home Office and Ford Motor Company property on Rio Tapajos River Brazil.” The system included Western Union (WU) land wire from Detroit to New York, WU land wire and cable from New York to Para, Amazon River Cable Company river cable between Para and Santarem, and Ford Motor Company radio stations at each point between Santarem and the Ford Motor Company on Rio Tapajós. Manual relays had to occur at New York, Para, and Santarem.

THF134693
Map Showing Routes of Communication between Dearborn, Michigan and Fordlandia, Brazil, circa 1928. THF134693

Ford officials studied the federal laws in Brazil that regulated radio and telegraph to ensure compliance. Construction of the power house and processing structures took time. The community and corporate facilities at Boa Vista (later Fordlandia) grew. By 1931, the power house had a generator that provided power throughout the Fordlandia complex.

THF134711

Generator in Power House at Fordlandia, Brazil, 1931. THF134711

THF134714

Power House and Water Tower at Fordlandia, Brazil, 1931. THF134714 

Lines from the power house stretching up the hill from the river to the hospital and other buildings, including the radio power station. The setting on a higher elevation helped ensure the best reception for radio transmissions.

THF134717
Sawmill and Power House at Fordlandia, Brazil, 1931. THF134717
 

Workers built the radio power house, which held a Delco Plant and storage batteries, and the radio transmitter station with its transmission tower. The intracompany radio station operated by 1929.

THF134697
Radio Power House, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929.
 THF134697 

THF134699
Radio Transmitter House, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929. THF134699

THF134701
Storage Batteries in Radio Power House, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929.
THF134701

THF134703
Delco Battery Charger for Radio Power House, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929. THF134703 

THF134705
Radio Power House Motor Generator Set, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929.
THF134705

The radio power house is visible at the extreme left of a photograph showing the stone road leading to the hospital (on an even higher elevation) at Fordlandia.

THF134709
Stone Road Leading to Hospital, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929. THF134709

THF134707
Radio Transmitter Station, Fordlandia, Brazil, 1929. THF134707

Back at FMC headquarters in Dearborn, Ford announced in late 1933 that he would sponsor a program on both NBC and CBS networks. The Waring show aired two times a week between 1934 and 1937, when Ford pulled funding. Ford also sponsored World Series broadcasts. The most important radio investment FMC made, however, was the Ford Sunday Evening Hour, launched in the fall of 1934. Eighty-six CBS stations broadcast the show. Programs included classical music and corporate messages delivered by William J. Cameron, and occasionally guest hosts. Ford Motor Company printed and sold transcripts of the weekly talks for a small fee.

On August 24, 1941 Linton Wells (1893-1976), a journalist and foreign correspondent, hosted the broadcast and presented a piece on Fordlandia.

THF134690
Program, "Ford Summer Hour," Sunday, August 24, 1941. THF134690

Linton Wells was not a stranger to Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village, he and his wife, Fay Gillis Wells, posed for a tintype in the village studio on 2 May 1940.

THF134720
Tintype Portrait of Linton Wells and Fay Gillis Wells, Taken at the Greenfield Village Tintype Studio, circa 1940. THF134720

This radio broadcast informed American listeners of the Fordlandia project, in its 16th year in 1941. Wells summarized the products made from rubber (by way of an introduction to the importance of the subject). He described the approach Ford took to carve an American factory out of an Amazonian jungle, and the “never-say-quit” attitude that prompted Ford to re-evaluate Fordlandia, and to trade 1,375 square miles of Fordlandia for an equal amount of land on Rio Tapajós, closer to the Amazon port of Santarem. This new location became Belterra. Little did listeners know the challenges that arose as Brazilians tried to sustain their rubber production, and Ford sought to grow its own rubber supply.

By 1942, nearly 3.6 million trees were growing at Fordlandia, but the first harvest yielded only 750 tons of rubber. By 1945, FMC sold the holdings to the Brazilian government (The Public Image of Henry Ford, 165).

The Ford Evening Hour Radio broadcasts likewise ceased production in 1942 after eight years and 400 performances.

Learn more about Fordlandia in our Digital Collections.

Debra A. Reid is Curator of Agriculture and the Environment; Kristen Gallerneaux is Curator of Communication and Information Technology; and Jim Orr is Image Services Specialist at The Henry Ford.

Sources

  • Relevant collections in the Benson Ford Research Center, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan.
  • Grandin, Greg. Fordlandia: The Rise and  Fall of Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City. Picador. 2010.
  • Lewis, David L. The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 1976.
  • Frank, Zephyr and Aldo Musacchio. “The International Natural Rubber Market, 1870-1930.″ EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. March 16, 2008.

Fordlandia and Belterra, technology, radio, Michigan, Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company, communication, by Kristen Gallerneaux, by Jim Orr, by Debra A. Reid

Our collections include Presidential artifacts and memorabilia, from George Washington to Barack Obama, but Henry Ford actually met several Presidents of the United States himself. In honor of Presidents' Day, here are snapshots of those encounters.

taft-ford

President William Howard Taft spoke to the Detroit Board of Commerce in 1910. Taft also visited Henry Ford’s office at the new Highland Park plant, which opened that year (THF96601).

wilson-ford

Henry Ford rode with President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson during a visit to the Highland Park Plant. Wilson encouraged Henry to run for the United States Senate in 1918 (THF113675).

wilson-ford

President Warren Harding joined Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone (“the Vagabonds”) on a camping trip in Maryland in 1921 (THF105486).

harding-ford

Henry Ford and the Vagabonds visited President Calvin Coolidge's farm in Vermont in 1924. Coolidge presented Henry with a bucket used in collecting maple syrup (THF108551).

hoover-ford

President Herbert Hoover visited Greenfield Village with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison for Light’s Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of Edison’s incandescent light and the dedication of the Edison Institute, in 1929 – just days before the stock market crash (THF98981).

roosevelt-ford

President Franklin Roosevelt toured the Willow Run Plant with Henry Ford and production manager Charles Sorensen in 1942, as B-24 bomber production began. They rode around the factory in the Presidential limousine, the "Sunshine Special," which was also used by President Harry Truman (THF93105).

Jim Orr, Image Services Specialist at The Henry Ford, and Mr. Ford have met a combined total of six United States Presidents.

photographs, presidents, Henry Ford, by Jim Orr

Industrialist. Outdoorsman. Race car driver. Henry Ford did a lot, and we have photos to prove it - lots of photos.

Here are 10 more of my favorites... The first is our main image, posted above.

henryadded2

Henry Ford driving his Quadricycle, Detroit, Michigan, 1896 (THF206457).

henryadded3

Henry Ford driving his "Sweepstakes" race car against Alexander Winton, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 1901 (THF94819).

henryadded4

Henry Ford feeding a deer, circa 1912 (THF97195).

henryadded5

Henry and Clara Ford birdwatching at “the bungalow,” the future site of their Fair Lane estate, Dearborn, Michigan, 1910-1915 (THF96013).

henryadded6

Henry Ford, lacing his boots during a camping trip, 1919 (THF96265).

henryadded7

Henry and Edsel Ford with a player piano during a camping trip in Maryland, 1921 (THF96578).

henryadded9

Henry Ford operating a Westinghouse portable steam engine, Dearborn, Michigan, 1922 (THF96847).

henryadded10

Henry Ford and George Washington Carver at the Tuskeegee Institute, Alabama, 1938 (THF213775).

henyradded11

Henry Ford and chemist Robert Boyer unveiling the “Soybean Car,” a prototype with a plastic body, Dearborn, Michigan, 1941 (THF98874).

Jim Orr, Image Services Specialist, forgot to pack the player piano the last time he went camping.

archives, photographs, Henry Ford, by Jim Orr

Not only was Henry Ford one of the most famous industrialists in the world, he was also one of the most photographed.

Our collections include thousands of photos of Henry’s activities and encounters, taken by friends, relatives, the Ford Motor Company, and other photographers.

Here are just 10 of my favorites...

Henry Ford

Henry Ford, then an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company, with his bicycle and his moustache, Detroit, Michigan, 1893 (THF95021).

Henry Ford

Henry Ford parking his Quadricycle, built in 1896, in New York City, 1910 (THF96913).

ford-kulick

Henry Ford and race car driver Frank Kulick seated in a Ford Model T during a flood, circa 1916 (THF97215).

Henry Ford and the Vagabonds

“The Vagabonds,” Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone during a camping trip near Lead Mine, West Virginia, 1918 (THF105476).

Henry Ford With a Fiddle

Henry Ford playing one of his “fiddles,” circa 1920 (THF108028).

Henry Ford and Model T

Henry Ford with a Model T, Buffalo, New York, 1921 (THF104072).

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison at the dedication of the Menlo Park Glass House in Greenfield Village, 1929 (THF109769).

Henry Ford Tests Bumper Strength

Henry Ford demonstrating the strength of plastics made from soybeans, 1940 (THF91634).

Henry Ford and HG Wells

Henry Ford and author H. G. Wells touring the Cotswold Cottage in Greenfield Village, 1931 (THF108521).

Henry Ford and Celebrities

Edsel Ford, Henry Ford, actor Mickey Rooney and movie studio head Louis B. Mayer aboard the Ten-Person Oriten Bicycle in Henry Ford Museum, February 8, 1940 (THF109784).

Jim Orr, Image Services Specialist, would have gone around that puddle.

by Jim Orr, photographs, Henry Ford

Introduced in the United States in 1984, the Transformers have been among the most popular toy lines ever since. They were robots who could change into sportscars, jets, spaceships, and dinosaurs.  The appeal was obvious.  Cartoons and comic books established a storyline about the heroic Autobots protecting Earth from the evil Decepticons. The above sales brochure was included with boxed Transformers toys in 1984.

The Henry Ford has a small collection of some of the early Transformers. Most of the toys in our collection have a single image as part of their catalog records, but we wanted to be able to show these “robots in disguise” in all of their configurations.

Powermaster Optimus Prime (1988) changes from a truck into a robot, and he combines with his trailer to form a larger robot. (THF152304-152306)

Each configuration needed to be lit differently, because the shadows and reflections would change as the toy’s parts were moved. As many as eight different light sources were used for each shot.

Dinobot Sludge (1985-1986) changes into a mechanical “brontosaurus.” His reflective chrome surfaces were especially tricky to light. (THF152316-152317)

We also found that some of the robots’ joints had become extremely tight from age, making them difficult to transform. Other joints had become loose, making the robots difficult to stand.

Decepticon Triple Changer Blitzwing (1985-1986) changes into a tank and a fighter jet. In robot mode, he topples over easily. (THF152313-152315)

This is just one example of how having a little insider knowledge (in this case, of the geekier kind) can help better document and display a collection item.

The rest of the Transformers can be viewed on our collections website.

Jim Orr did not offer to help photograph the Transformers as a way to spend an afternoon playing with some of his favorite toys.

 

20th century, 1980s, toys and games, popular culture, photography, digitization, by Jim Orr