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Posts Tagged history outside the box

White book cover with text on orange background and pattern of orange fleur-de-lis and blue asterisk-like stars
The Henry Ford’s first edition of Julia Child’s consummate classic
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1964. / THF621455

On the first Friday of every month, the collections experts of The Henry Ford share items from our archives and library collections on our Instagram account as part of our History Outside the Box virtual program. Though the Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours, we share them afterwards as videos so you can catch up on what you missed. For March, Librarian Sarah Andrus shared a sampling of the wide array of cookbooks, recipe booklets, and handwritten recipes that have found a home in our collections. Check out her selections below.

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History Outside the Box, by Ellice Engdahl, by Sarah Andrus, recipes, books, food

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

Page with text and image of car underneath large fancy red and yellow bird against peacock-blue background
1928 Lincoln Four-Passenger Coupe Advertising Proof, "Every Lincoln Body is a Custom Creation of Some Master Body Builder" /
THF113063

One hundred years ago this month, Henry Ford purchased the Lincoln Motor Company from Henry Leland. The Henry Ford joined in the centennial celebration on our website, where we published a new Popular Research Topic outlining key Lincoln assets from our collections; on Facebook and Twitter, where we shared social posts featuring artifacts from our collections; and on Instagram, where Reference Archivist Kathy Makas shared a Lincoln-related story. Kathy’s story was part of our History Outside the Box monthly series on Instagram, featuring interesting or noteworthy items from our archives.

If you missed the live version of our Instagram story, you can check it out below to learn how Edsel Ford, as president of Lincoln, brought a design eye to the company and how design at Lincoln evolved. You’ll also discover a few of the famous celebrities who owned Lincolns, take a look at some Lincoln publications, and more.

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Ford family, History Outside the Box, Ford Motor Company, Edsel Ford, design, cars, by Kathy Makas, by Ellice Engdahl

Woman works at machine set up with many spools of yarn
Woman with Machine Spinning Soybean Fiber into Soylon Thread, March 1943 / THF272609


One of The Henry Ford’s main collecting areas is agriculture and the environment. Last fall, Processing Archivist Hilary Severyn shared highlights from our archives around women in agricultural work and research as part of our History Outside the Box program on Instagram. If you missed it, you can check out her selections, which range from women working on soybean research to the Women’s Land Army to Rachel Carson’s fight against pesticides, in the video below.

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archives, History Outside the Box, Rachel Carson, soybeans, environmentalism, women's history, agriculture, by Ellice Engdahl, by Hilary Severyn

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.


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

Three men in suits, one in middle holding hat, pose for a photo in front of large equipment or machinery
Edsel Ford, Charlie Chaplin, and Henry Ford Touring the Ford Motor Company Highland Park Plant, October 1923 / THF134659

Every month, staff from our library and archives select some interesting items from our collections to showcase on The Henry Ford’s Instagram account. In our every-first-Friday History Outside the Box offering, our collections experts share photographs, documents, and other artifacts around a given theme. Last summer, Reference Archivist Kathy Makas showcased some celebrity sightings from our archives—actors, actresses, and other luminaries visiting Ford Motor Company’s factories, World’s Fairs, and The Henry Ford’s own campus; showcasing their cars; and more. If you missed the Insta story, you can check out the presentation below.

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actors and acting, world's fairs, History Outside the Box, Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Ford Motor Company, cars, by Kathy Makas, by Ellice Engdahl, archives

Looking out the window at snowy Michigan probably had any Ford Motor Company engineer, researcher, or scientist thinking that developing and researching space systems, air cushioned vehicles, and computer components in sunny Newport Beach, California, was the way to go.

Aeronutronic Systems, Inc. was formed as a subsidiary of Ford in 1956 under the leadership of G.J. Lynch. The group was originally organized to develop and manufacture products for military purposes in the fields of Complete Weapons Systems, Aeronautics, Electronics, Computers, and Nucleonics and Physics. By 1959, the group was a made a division of Ford and had expanded into research and development beyond military purposes.

Low, modern glass and concrete building with patio, columns, and pool outside, pictured at dusk
Lobby, computer products building. / THF627413

The division was headquartered in Newport Beach, California. Brochures for the division flaunted its cutting-edge research facilities, testing laboratories, research library, and proximity to deep-sea fishing, sailing, skiing, and the fact that the temperature rarely dropped below 44 or rose above 75.

Page with text and aerial map drawing
Aeronutronic campus map. / THF627410

The groups within the division worked on a variety of projects. The Space Systems group completed projects including the Blue Scout vehicle, which tested equipment in space; a lunar capsule, designed to land on the moon with scientific testing equipment to gather data on the lunar environment; and a design for a space station.

Black-and-white photo of four women with large, round component with wiring; also contains text
Group of women who worked on the Blue Scout project. / THF627401

Satellite or other spacecraft among the stars with a planet in the background
Artist's rendering of lunar capsule built by Ford Motor Company Aeronutronic Division, 1960. / THF141214

Space stations/vehicles, including one capsule-shaped with "breakaway" to show interior with rooms and person, one smaller and triangular, and one top-shaped with tubing around it
Space station concept drawing. / THF627416

In Weapons Systems, they worked on several missile projects, including the Shillelagh Guided Missile for the Army Missile Command, and ARTOC (Army Tactical Operations Central), which was a mobile command post for the Army Signal Corp.

Silhouette of person holding pointer to topographic map with pink, blue, and white projected notations on it
ARTOC command board. / THF627406, detail

The Electronics and Computers division worked on BIAX computer components, as well as MIND (Magnetic Integration Neuron Duplication), an electronic neuron that duplicated the function of live nerve cells, among other things.

Metal panels covered in complex, multicolored wiring
Computer elements. / THF627414

Research projects included surface tension tests; developing thin films solid state components; manufacturing the FLIDEN Flight Data Entry Unit, which was used as part of the FAA air traffic control system; and developing an air cushioned vehicle.

Black-and-white photo of woman working at boxy console with keyboard; also contains text
FLIDEN unit, demonstrated by Ellen Arthur. / THF627397

Two men in suits sit at a table, looking at a model of a truck-like vehicle with white fringe below body
Air-cushioned vehicle concept. / THF627420

The employees at the Aeronutronic division had fun too, with an employee newsletter to keep them up to date on company happenings as well as their many recreation leagues, which included bowling, basketball, and baseball among other sports, as well as chess and bridge clubs.

Man in bowling shirt and shoes and black pants rolls a bowling ball toward the camera; also contains text caption
Fred Ju, team captain, bowling in the Men’s Bowling League. / THF627399

Black-and-white photo of four people sitting around a table playing cards; other similar tables of people visible in background
Members of the Bridge Club / THF627395

Aeronutronic continued to change with the times. In 1962, it became a division of the Ford subsidiary Philco, and in 1976 became Ford Aerospace and Communication Corporation, before being sold by Ford in 1990.


Kathy Makas is Reference Archivist at The Henry Ford. This post is based on a December 2021 presentation of History Outside the Box on The Henry Ford’s Instagram channel. Follow us there for new presentations on the first Friday of each month.

space, technology, computers, Ford workers, Ford Motor Company, History Outside the Box, archives, by Kathy Makas

Blue page with text and image of road visible through car dashboard as man in suit and hat drives"The Road Ahead, the Exciting Story of the Nation's 50 Billion Dollar Road Program," 1956 / THF103981

Last June marked the 65th anniversary of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which initiated a program to plan and fund an interstate system. In recognition of this milestone, Reference Archivist Lauren Brady selected some items from our collections that show how the highway system changed the American way of life. She shared these artifacts as part of our monthly History Outside the Box series on Instagram, which showcases items from our archives.

If you missed her presentation or would like to see it again, you can check it out below.

 

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archives, History Outside the Box, by Ellice Engdahl, by Lauren Brady, roads and road trips

Group of seven men in suits play instruments on a field with people in the background
Ford Novelty Band Playing at Ford Baseball Team Game, 1941 / THF271722


Every month, we feature some items from our archives in our History Outside the Box program. You can check the new story out on The Henry Ford’s Instagram account on the first Friday of the month, but we’re reposting some of the stories here on our blog as well. In May 2021, Reference Archivist Kathy Makas shared photographs, articles, and other documents ranging from the 1910s through the 1950s that detail how employees at Ford Motor Company spent their leisure time. Learn more about Ford’s musical groups, sports teams, gardeners, and social/service clubs in the video below.

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sports, gardening, music, archives, Ford workers, Ford Motor Company, by Ellice Engdahl, by Kathy Makas, History Outside the Box

Red and yellow book cover with text "Mother Goose" and image of person in purple hat and clothing reading a book to three children and a goose
Mother Goose Rhymes, 1920–1940 / THF278523

How much do you know about children’s books? Earlier this year, The Henry Ford’s librarian, Sarah Andrus, shared some highlights from our children’s book collection on our Instagram channel as part of our History Outside the Box series, which features material from our library and archives. If you missed that installment, you can watch it below, as Sarah discusses everything from Mother Goose and Aesop’s fables to Horatio Alger and Disney books.

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History Outside the Box, by Ellice Engdahl, by Sarah Andrus, childhood, books