Henry's Attic: Some Fascinating Gifts to Henry Ford and His Museum
Ford R. Bryan
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Henry's Attic provides fascinating documentation of some of the one million artifacts in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The items represent both Henry Ford's passion for collecting Americana and the astonishing array of gifts-some of great historic value and others of a distinctly homegrown variety-that account for almost half of the museum's collections. It was the quantity of these gifts and the unusual and even unique nature of many of them that provided the inspiration for this book.
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, which Ford established in Dearborn, Michigan in the late 1920s, was intended to recreate the slow-paced, rural character of America before the advent of the automobile. The purchases he made and the gifts he was given reflect his desire to document and preserve the lifeways of common people and to emphasize middle-class rural history, as represented by the tools of agriculture, industry, and transportation.
attracted more attention than the Packard." AUTOMOBILES AND TRUCKS 115 Ace. 37.220.1. Neg.B.55987. Winton Automobile Alexander Winton, a natural-born publicist from Cleveland, Ohio, was a leader in the U.S. automotive industry almost from the moment he turned from bicycle making to automobile manufacture in 1897. He attracted nationwide attention in 1899 when he made a record run between Cleveland and New York City in one of his single-cylinder cars, completing the trip—over atrocious and
carriage; the White House did not get its first automobiles until 1909 when William Howard Taft entered office. Looking much like the fashionable horsedrawn Victoria carriage, the Mark V had large boxes over its front and rear axles to carry the storage batteries. The driver sat at the rear overlooking the passenger compartment; the rear seat could also accommodate a footman. Weighing a hefty 3,250 pounds, the Mark V had a speed of about twelve miles per hour, and if traveling on flat terrain, it
Electric Automobile Ace. 30.328.2. Neg. B.60195. 118 HENRY'S ATTIC In 1895, when the national craze for bicycles was at its peak, Walter C. Baker established the American Ball Bearing Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Baker sold his ball bearings not only to bicycle manufacturers but to shipbuilders, carriagemakers, and manufacturers of electric motors and streetcars as well. His company was soon also making automobile axles and other car components. Baker was of an inventive turn of mind, and,
that reached its full fruition in 1927, when the Rouge plant began producing the second Model A. Not only did Henry soon find owning a railroad a profitable business; it also suited his idea of fun and relaxation. Instructing his chauffeur to drive until they caught up with one of the D.T. & I. trains, Henry would flag it down, climb aboard the coal tender, and with his chauffeur driving down the road alongside the tracks, he would play his Jew's harp—a tiny instrument he carried about in his
equipment and supplies, to pay workers, and to cover the costs of the unending patent-infringement lawsuits—was a constant concern. Showing a profit was also a way of attracting investors. Edison made his profits not only by selling the manufacturing rights to his patented inventions but also by forming his own companies to make and sell Edison products. Although most of his 1,093 inventions were the result of teamwork, the patents were in his name—a fact that did not seem to bother his