Made in America: Power

Discover the great innovators from the 18th to 20th centuries who made America a manufacturing superpower.

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Highlights

Maudslay Production Lathe, circa 1804

  Details

Maudslay Production Lathe, circa 1804

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Lathe

Date Made

circa 1804

Summary

The work of Henry Maudslay (1771-1831) is fundamental to the development of industrial precision. This is the oldest industrial capacity precision machine tool in the world. Capable of machining to an accuracy of several thousandths of an inch, it enabled Maudslay's company to manufacture tools and engines to unprecedented standards -- and set the stage for even higher levels of precision.

Object ID

29.702.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth & Company

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Maudslay Production Lathe, circa 1804

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

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  Details

Rotative Steam Engine, 1788

  Details

Rotative Steam Engine, 1788

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Steam engine (Engine)

Date Made

1932

Object ID

32.806.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Rotative Steam Engine, 1788

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Gas-Steam Engine, 1916, Used to Generate Electricity at Highland Park Plant

  Details

Gas-Steam Engine, 1916, Used to Generate Electricity at Highland Park Plant

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Engine (Power producing equipment)

Date Made

1916

Summary

Ford's Model T mass production system would not have been practical without electricity; by 1919 nine of these Ford-designed hybrid internal combustion/steam engines generated the power needed by the Highland Park plant's assembly lines and associated machinery. By 1926 the engines were rendered obsolete when electricity was fed from the power plant at Ford's River Rouge plant ten miles away.

Object ID

30.1200.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ford Motor Company.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Gas-Steam Engine, 1916, Used to Generate Electricity at Highland Park Plant

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Newcomen Engine, circa 1750

  Details

Newcomen Engine, circa 1750

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Steam engine (Engine)

Date Made

circa 1750

Summary

This is the oldest known surviving steam engine in the world. Named for its inventor Thomas Newcomen, the engine converted chemical energy in the fuel into useful mechanical work. Its early history is not known, but it was used to pump water out of the Cannel Mine in England in about 1765. The engine was presented to Henry Ford in 1929.

Creators

Unknown 

Place of Creation

United Kingdom, England 

Object ID

29.1506.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Earl of Stamford Trustees.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Newcomen Engine, circa 1750

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Edison Dynamo Used on S.S. Columbia, 1880

  Details

Edison Dynamo Used on S.S. Columbia, 1880

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Electric generator

Date Made

1880

Summary

For Thomas Edison, successful experimental results were but a prelude to continual improvements that would lead to commercial implementation. This dynamo is from the first lighting system he sold -- installed on a ship, four months after the December 1879 experimental demonstration. Its crude finish, at odds with the highly advanced technology it embodied, suggests Edison's impatient eagerness to move from experiment to market.

Object ID

30.1123.2

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of General Electric Company.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Edison Dynamo Used on S.S. Columbia, 1880

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Test Tube, "Edison's Last Breath," 1931

  Details

Test Tube, "Edison's Last Breath," 1931

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Test tube

Date Made

1931

Summary

This test tube was one of several that Charles Edison noticed standing open in a rack in the bedroom in which his father had just died in 1931. The attending physician was asked to seal the tubes, one of which Charles later sent on to Henry Ford who kept it with other Edison mementos at his home, Fair Lane.

Place of Creation

United States 

Object ID

51.13.51.3

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of the Clara Ford Estate.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Made in America

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Test Tube, "Edison's Last Breath," 1931

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Made in America: Power

1916 Gas-Steam Engine

Ford's mass production wouldn't have been possible without the electricity generated by engines like this.  

Gothic Revival Beam Engine

In the mid-1880s, steam power had become so common that it began to incorporate decorative design, in this case, incorporating Gothic design elements.  

Stationary Steam Engine

This early mill steam engine boasts decorative detail and vibrant color.  

American Marine Beam Engine Model

Many American steam-powered ships used walking beam engines.  

Generate Power

Kids learn how to use power to generate electricity.