Review: American Time and Timepieces at The Henry Ford

We always find something new to see and experience at The Henry Ford Museum (of American Innovation, if we use the new, fuller name). On our last trip, we found this permanent timepieces exhibit:

Timepieces Sign

Personally, I feel we have become slaves of time. I hope for a day when we can enjoy a slower pace without the heightened sense of urgency that almost everything has these days.

But I digress. On to the timepieces in this exhibit:

Timepieces Wall Clocks

No. They don’t play Dixieland music.

One of the first truly American clock designs coming from the early 1800’s.

Timepieces Eagle

Gallery Clock: 1800-1805

This brass clock would have been displayed in a church or public building, as most common people of the day would not have had personal timepieces. It features 8-day weight-powered movement. And… it has an eagle!

Timepieces History 1

The railroad was one of the major reasons people needed a more exact way to tell time. If you were late, the train would leave without you! We got the time zone system because of the need for standardizing time between cities, and to avoid disastrous collisions due to time discrepancies.

Timepieces History 2

Enlarge and read the many reasons why New England became a major clockmaking center.

Timepieces Pendulum

Pendulum swing like a pendulum do!

Someone should put that line to music. Did you know that Galileo helped to develop the pendulum? The test above is designed to show that no matter where you start the swing of the pendulum, it will take about the same time to swing back and forth. I tried it and it’s true!

COOL FACT: Christian Huygens was the first to use pendulums to regulate clocks in 1657.

Timepieces Mechanism

Inside that Grandfather Clock

This featured an 8-day weight-powered movement and was used in a variety of tall clocks. It also had an hour strike and a quarter chime. The example pictured was manufactured between 1682 and 1709.

Timepieces Hourglass

Telling time old-school

This one only lasted 5 seconds (I guessed 6 seconds).

COOL FACT: Signage for this item also mentioned that our inner sense of time is not as accurate as many animals.

Timepieces Info 2Timepieces Info 1

More Cool Facts

This exhibit also covered sundials and many other traditional forms of timepieces. Even one digital alarm clock that many of us may still punch every morning. Love that snooze feature!

I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to The Henry Ford Museum. It can be found at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Michigan.

Please enjoy these other posts featuring THF exhibits such as American Style and Modern Glass.

Collecting Toys Magazine: February 1996 Issue

1996 Nostalgia. Who can resist it? We are ready again to revisit the days of our youth and remember the carefree days when the worst problem we faced was which toy to play with! In this post you will find another issue of Collecting Toys Magazine.

I was reunited with more of my old toys as I turned the pages of this issue of Collecting Toys:

Toys Cover 96

Slot Cars Rule!

Let’s have a look at some of the contents of this issue from 1996:

Toys New Stuff

What’s New?

From an Extreme G.I. Joe action figure to the superhero The Tick, 1996 was ready to kick some serious butt! And there were diecast model cars, too!

Toys Bond

Bond. James Bond.

“No, Mister Bond. I expect you to DIE!” Sorry, I just had to add one of my favorite Bond villain quotes from the Sean Connery days (bonus points if you know the Bond film this is from). Although I have to say that Pierce Brosnan is probably my second-favorite Bond! And he was trending in 1996.

Toys Action Figures

Action Figures

Don’t call them ‘dolls’ or Batman will beat you up! I had a few characters from this line, but I remember Spiderman the most. I also had The Lone Ranger and Tonto and Evel Knievel, complete with stunt bike! Man, I miss those toys.

And if you feel boys can play with dolls, not just action figures, check out this newer product called the Wonder Crew that I reviewed from the Chicago Toy Fair.

Toys Soldiers

Toy Soldiers

I had dozens of the traditional green toy soldiers but had never seen these Blue and the Gray versions. Must have been an American thing.

Toys Show

Antique Toy Show

Toy shows and Antique fairs are amazing places to visit! I zeroed in on this one because of the monster in the bottom right corner. We have Super 8 footage of this guy rolling around our living room back when my sister and I were quite young. This battery-operated toy was the Great Garloo by Marx and measured in at a whopping 23″ tall! The 1960’s were all about the science fiction monsters.

Toys Zoo

Zoo. In. Spaaaaaaaaaace!

Where else would you put a zoo that had metal animals? Think this sparking dog is weird? Just try to imagine the whale and the elephant!

So there we have a look back into the toys of our past. I hope you enjoyed some nostalgic moments!

Collecting Toys Magazine: February 1995 Issue

1995 Nostalgia. Who can resist it? We all love to revisit the days of our youth and remember the carefree days when the worst problem we faced was which toy to play with! Collecting Toys Magazine is a great source to find those old toys we loved so much but parted with as we grew older.

I was reunited with some of my old toys as I turned the pages of this issue of Collecting Toys:

Collecting Toys Cover 95

Japanese Robots

What I like about finding these vintage magazines is the wealth of relevant information they still contain. From manufacturing information to variants to seeing the collections of others, the only information not relevant is the values. But even outdated values can be interesting!

Let’s have a look at some of the contents of this issue from 1995:

Collecting Toys New Stuff

What’s New?

This spread is fun because it shows what was new in 1995, over 20 years ago. New then, vintage now!

Collecting Toys 3 Wheeler

Three-Wheeled & Ready to Roll

My family is originally from England so vehicles like this have a soft spot in my heart. European cities traditionally have narrow streets so 3-wheeled vehicles like this model are very common. This model is of a truck produced in Japan, where they have the same problem. I wish I had one here in Canada! A real one and a model.

Collecting Toys Robot

Behold: GIGANTOR

Can we just agree that Japanese metal robot toys are about the coolest toys in creation?!? Although plentiful, these toys still command a high price from collectors!

Collecting Toys Rollercoaster

1930’s Chein Roller Coaster

This is a good example of how manufacturers worked in the past. They would have one style of toy and simply stamp different characters or scenes onto it to make a new toy. So this roller coaster (above) is identical to the one I have, except mine has a Disney theme. Check the version I have by clinking the link here.

Collecting Toys Soccer

Soccer or Football?

Either way, this game by Subbuteo scored big with kids of all ages. You played with your fingers and could choose from multiple teams, just like the standard table hockey games.

Collecting Toys Hot Wheels

HOTWHEELS Are Good!

No toy collecting magazine would be complete without a spread about Hotwheels, perhaps the most famous slot racing company around. If you were a boy in the 1980’s you had dozens of these little metal cars!

Collecting Toys Pee Puppy

Please Control Yourself!

It’s bad enough to have a real puppy wetting all over the house, I can’t imagine a parent buying a child a fake puppy to water the remaining dry areas of the family home! Each to his or her own, I guess. And I really didn’t need to see where the pee comes out!

So there we have a look back into the toys of our past. I hope you enjoyed some nostalgic moments!

Memorabilia from the 1964/65 World’s Fair

I have always wished that I could have attended the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. This was a special fair for Disney fans as Walt Disney, along with his Imagineers, created many of the most memorable attractions! Today, I share some memorabilia I found from this fair.

Memorabilia World's Fair

From the Collection of The Henry Ford Museum

While visiting The Henry Ford recently I noticed these great souvenirs from the 64/65 New York World’s Fair.

Memorabilia Attraction Book

Magic Skyway for FORD

So it’s not surprising to find a booklet remembering the Magic Skyway in The Henry Ford Museum due to the obvious Ford car tie-in!

Memorabilia Glass

Drinking Glass

This is the first time I’ve seen one of these! Obviously there must have been countless of them sold during the fair, but one wonders how many would have survived to today unbroken.

Memorabilia Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. with Children

This was fun to see. Many famous people visited the fair and rode the various Disney attractions.

Memorabilia Brochure

GM Promotional Pamphlet – Futurama II

This pavilion depicted life 60 years into the future. It was one of the fair’s most popular exhibits and attracted some 26 million people. So Disney wasn’t the only designer who could put on a good show!

Memorabilia Tires

Ferris Wheel Ticket

This huge attraction was installed by the U.S. Rubber Company. Now I’m not normally a big Ferris Wheel fan but I would have loved a spin on this one! Interestingly, it was installed along the I-94 near The Henry Ford Museum in 1966. How cool is that?

These items are why I love memorabilia so much and do all I can to add new pieces to my own collection. But in this case, it seems The Henry Ford has beaten me to some really special pieces of history!

For another piece of memorabilia from this fair (that I got to first!) check out my earlier post entitled Official Guide – New York World’s Fair. And also I have a book review of Design – Just for Fun by Imagineer Bob Gurr, who worked on many of the exhibits for the fair.

Attractions Review: Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour

After years of having annual passes to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, we finally availed ourselves of one of the extended attractions offered. Apart from enjoying Greenfield Village one can also take a walking tour of the Ford Rouge Factory.

The tour started for us with the payment of a member discounted ticket for just $14.50 US ($17.00 for non-members). Seniors and child tickets are cheaper. We boarded the free shuttle bus and were taken quickly from The Henry Ford Museum to the Ford Rouge Factory.

Up front I’ll say that the staff for this attraction are top notch! Friendly and knowledgeable and obviously in love with their jobs. We were greeted at the door and given a brief overview of what we were to experience and then shown into the first of two theaters. Let’s begin your vicarious tour with the attractions:

Legacy Theater

Archival Footage of the Rogue – Featuring rarely-seen historic footage from The Henry Ford archives, you’ll learn about the triumphs and tragedies that took place at the Rouge and how Henry Ford’s soaring ideas became actualities and helped define American manufacturing and industry. The music you’ll hear was written and performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

I personally liked this presentation, but those who aren’t big on sitting in a seat for 15 minutes or so watching instead of doing… maybe not so much! But you will learn things you never knew about Ford.

Approximate time: 13 minutes

Manufacturing Innovation Theater

Manufacturing Process Up Close – Celebrating the engineering ingenuity behind the production of the award-winning Ford F-150 truck, this multisensory film experience comes complete with vibrating seats, gusts of wind, and winking robots. With jaw-dropping special effects, from “floating” 3D laser projection mapping and high-energy audio to a breathtaking behind-the-wheel finale, you’ll see the manufacturing process up close, from concept to highway.

This was much more entertaining than the first visual presentation. As far as attractions go, this one had some very cool features! Especially interesting was the use of the F-150 model as it was modified from basic shape to full-fledged running vehicle.

Approximate time: 10 minutes

Observation Deck

Bird’s Eye View of the Rouge – You’ll also get a bird’s-eye view of Ford’s famous “Living Roof.” This eco-industrial wonder – the largest living roof in the world – blankets the top of the final assembly building. Two interactive exhibits help explain the environment features in view.

Not much to see here really. You look out the windows and see buildings. If you’re into reading though, this is the place for you!

Approximate time: 5-15 minutes
Assembly Plant Walking Tour

View F-150 Assembly – The elevated walkway, a 1/3 mile journey, provides you with a unique bird’s-eye view of the plant’s final assembly line. You’ll see firsthand the complex web of equipment, robotics, parts delivery and skilled workers that come together to build one truck per minute at full line speeds.

The tour gives you glimpses of the trim lines for cab, box, and door as well as final testing. You’ll see the F-150 come into the plant as an empty shell and leave as a fully tested F-150 ready for you and me. I’ll take mine in red, please!

FUN FACT: We were told that it was rare to see a Raptor pick-up go by on the line. Why? It may have something to do with this trim lines price tag being upwards of $75,000 US!

The only thing I could nit-pick about this part of the tour is that you start near the end of the process and finish near the beginning as you walk the main plant area. You do then go out to see the finished vehicles being checked and driven away. I thought it might have been better to bring you in from the other side of the building.

Approximate time: 30-45 minutes

Legacy Gallery

attractions car

Historic Rouge-made Vehicles – Take a journey through time and see some of the most famous Ford vehicles made at the Rouge. The cars on display inside the Legacy Gallery include:

  • 1929 Model A
  • 1932 Ford V8
  • 1949 Coupe
  • 1955 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1965 Ford Mustang
  • 2015 Ford F-150

Explore the stories and engineering behind this vehicle in the Truth About Trucks kiosk. Go deeper into The Henry Ford’s collections with the Collections Explorer kiosks that include interactive educational games, Expert Insight videos, curated collection highlights, and complete access to thousands of digitized artifacts.

Basically, you look at six vehicles and read some more.

    Factory PinFactory Pin Back

Of course, no trip to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour would be complete without a visit to the Factory Store located next to the Legacy Gallery.

Factory Pin Close Up

We picked up this commemorative pin for just $5.99 US at the Factory Store on our way out.

Approximate time: As long as it takes!

Buses leave for The Henry Ford Museum every 20 minutes or so. We finished our tour and boarded the bus for the trip back. One hitch came when we were dropped off at the final tour stop. The doors into the museum were closed because we came back close to closing time. So we had to walk to the front entrance. If it had been raining this would not have been good! The bus could have pulled forward and let us off closer to the front entrance as it had to exit the property via that route anyway.

Cool Rating: 4.5/5

I would highly recommend the Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour along with the other attractions offered at The Henry Ford Museum! That said, it is basically a one-time experience, as things won’t likely change quickly unless Ford radically redesigns the F-150 or updates the manufacturing process.


For full details, check out the Official Website here.

Fashion at The Henry Ford: American Style and Spirit

We enjoy the revolving exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum in Deerborn, MI. Every few months or so a new temporary exhibit arrives. The latest has to do with fashion and is called American Style and Spirit and focuses on one family’s journey through the generations as told by their clothing and fashion.

Interesting, eh? I won’t add a lot of commentary but suffice it to say that these are definitely beautiful Things to behold and each show a great deal of creativity in their design!

Note the differences in design cues for the garments as we travel through the years (some dates are approximate). Let’s have a look:

Worn by Jane Prindle Colton Gammon – 1856

This was her wedding dress that was made in the United States out of silk gauze.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1929

This afternoon dress was also made in the United States and is fabricated with pina fiber and silk taffeta. The main fabric used is actually woven out of pineapple leaves!

Worn by Catherine Sarah Prindle – 1908

This is her wedding dress which was again made in the United States. Made of cotton net organza, silk satin ribbon, chemical lace, and silk embroidery. The original lining was silk taffeta.

A point of interest in the design is the princess style, shaped by seams from the shoulder to hem, rather than a seam at the waistline.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1932

Made again in the good old U.S. or A. using silk taffeta and milliner’s velvet. I thought this evening gown was particularly striking!

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1934

This day dress was likely made by a family member and is Rayon and sheared beaver with a metal accent belt. It was likely inspired by French designer, Jean Patou, as it resembles a Patou coat found in a catelogue in the ladies home.

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1914

This day dress was sold by Marshall Field & Company, Chicago, IL. It is made from silk, silk corded applique, embroidery, soutache braid, and net with cotton lace.

So far I think we can see that the earlier the dress the more detailed and ornate it is. In later years dresses came to have plainer designs but with bolder cuts and colors.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1968

This dress was designed by Averardo Bessi and sold by Bonwit Teller. It is a silk jersey.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1928

This evening dress was made by Adele & Cie of Paris, France, and is made of silk chiffon and silk crepe with rhinestones.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1945

Designed by Samuel Kass and sold by the Weathered Misses Shop of Chicago, IL. It consists of Rayon and cotton. The fabric for this day dress was made by Onondaga Silk Company to promote a Spanish perfume called Tuya (‘for you alone’).

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1895

This dress was made in the United States with silk chiffon and cotton lace. It was updated in 1910 to have leg-of-mutton sleeves changed into long fitted ones, more in fashion at the time. In this way one could save a favorite dress by bringing it into style while saving money!

fashion

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1933

Made in the United States using cotton lace, silk velvet, and silk crepe back satin, this evening dress was worn for her 25th wedding anniversary.


And there you have a look at women’s fashion through dress styles over the years with the added treat of having every garment on display coming from the same family! I hope you enjoyed exploring creativity as it is found in dress design and the world of fashion.

For more posts involving fashion, check out this one on hats and this one that features men’s ties.

Thomas Alva Edison’s 73rd Birthday Light Bulb

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. 73 years later on February 11th,  1920, a party was thrown in honor of this event, and a very special object was given to each person that attended: A very special light bulb.

The first practical incandescent light bulb was created by Thomas Edison and his team of researchers in Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. They tested more than 3,000 designs for bulbs between 1878 and 1880. In November 1879, Edison filed a patent for an electric lamp with a carbon filament.

The Henry Ford Museum in Deerborn, MI., has an extensive collection of Edison artifacts including the interesting one eluded to in the sign below:

The souvenir light bulb from this event is very rare as the picture of Edison on the bulb itself was made of a very fragile material that deteriorated quickly when exposed, ironically enough, to light. Apparently some guests even used the bulb as a bulb causing the picture to fall or burn off! Maybe they kept the box, at least?

The Henry Ford Museum has a few examples, the best surviving one is shown in this post.

Edison died on October 18, 1931, leaving behind a much more illuminated world!

Trip Report: Walt’s Birthplace in Chicago, IL

Do you have a Disney Bucket List? So far we’ve managed to visit both North American parks, we’ve taken a Disney cruise, attended a Disney press event (and saw John Lasseter), and now we have been able to add a special item to our list. Walt’s birthplace!

We just visited the birthplace of Walt Disney at 2156 N. Tripp Ave. in Chicago, IL:

walts-birthplace-002

Corner of N. Tripp Avenue & E. Palmer Street

It was raining off and on when we pulled up but we made the best of it and even managed to do a couple of live Facebook feeds.

walts-birthplace-003

From opposite corner

The outside renovations seem to be done and the sign out front indicates a finish date of December 5th, 2016. According to the official website fundraising is still underway to help with completion of the interior.

walts-birthplace-001

Exterior Sign

I took the time to walk around the place, which didn’t take too much time, as the piece of property it’s on is very small.

walts-birthplace-004

Side and rear

I noticed the two colors of siding and the different facing material on the rear. I read once that this building has had a few additions over the years. So it is likely that the yellow portion represents the original house built by Elias Disney and the rest representing subsequent renovation efforts.

walts-birthplace-005

walts-birthplace-006

Garage and small back yard

The city of Chicago tried to designate this property a heritage site but a previous owner blocked the effort. The present owner has worked hard with a dedicated team to make sure that this building will be around for years to come! In their words, the dream is that this property ‘becomes a portal to new approaches in early childhood development and helps to inspire future Walts and Roys.’

walts-birthplace-010     walts-birthplace-009

Front porch detail

So now we can cross another item off our Disney Bucket List. And just to make sure that there is no dispute:

walts-birthplace-030

Yup. I was really there!

walts-birthplace-025

And so was Karen!

 And now you’ve been there, virtually, too!

Disneyland Dedication Plaque: Welcome to This Happy Place

dedication-plaque

DISNEYLAND – JULY 17, 1955

“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past… and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America… with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

What more can you say?

Book Review: Flying Cars – The True Story

When you first heard the lyrics “Off we go, into the wild, blue, yonder! Off we go…” you probably weren’t thinking of doing so in flying cars. Standard airplanes are the vehicles of choice for the sky! But that was not always the plan.

flying-cars-book-1

Publisher: Clarion Books

ISBN: 978-0-618-98482-4

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 118

Price: $17.99 US

Andrew Glass has put together an interesting chronological listing of flying cars starting from 1901 to the present. He accompanies the facts with little asides about the inventors and the times they lived in, their successes and oft-times spectacular failures.

flying-cars-book-4

How could you not want one of these?

Famous people like the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and famous classical conductor Leopold Stokowski (of Fantasia fame) all followed the progress of the technology with the last two names actually ordering their own flying cars! Unfortunately, the models they ordered were never put into production. In fact, no flying car has ever been put into production.

But that hasn’t stopped inventors from continuing to design and build prototypes right down to our day.

flying-cars-book-3

If you can drive, why not fly?

The thing that stood out for me in this book is just how close North America came to having flying cars in every garage. Plans were made to position runways next to major highways so commuters could take off and land right next to their freeway exit. One visionary even claimed that rush hour traffic would be eliminated as more and more motorists took to the skies!

I guess no one envisioned traffic jams in the clouds.

flying-cars-book-5

Claims were made that flying one of these babies was as easy as driving your family car. After you learned how to attach and detach the wings and flying controls of course!

I first became aware of flying cars while watching the Disney/Pixar movie Planes which featured a German flying car named Franz Fliegenhosen. He is rendered to be a German 1954 Taylor Aerocar:

aerocar

Real or ‘invented’ by Pixar?

Below is a picture of an actual Aerocar from 1949 designed by Moulton B. Taylor:

flying-cars-book-2

Real. But Pixar gussied it up a bit for the movie

What is the same between this real flying car and the one Pixar ‘invented’ is that the Aerocar was the only flying car to carry its plane components behind it on a trailer, like Franz does in the movie. All other models were designed to leave the fuselage behind at an airstrip.

So there you go. For over 100 years inventors have been working on a way to get your Hyundai airborne. The book is chock full of freaky-tiki examples, including my favorite idea, the flying Ford Pinto (it crashed. The idea was abandoned.)

To see more examples of real cars used in Disney/Pixar movies, check out our earlier post entitled Disney Cars for Real.

Review: I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars but perhaps only 4 Stars for the average reader. It is basically just a chronological look at flying cars, so if you are not interested in the subject matter, you won’t likely be entertained. However, Glass does find the humor in flying cars, if you can imagine that.

My conclusion after reading the book? I. Want. A. Flying. Car.