Educator Brings UK’s Academic Race to the United States

Huntsville Center for Technology team Formula 24 car crosses the finish line.

Huntsville Center for Technology team Formula 24 car crosses the finish line.

Greenpower goes global
When high school drafting design instructor Mike Evans discovered Greenpower, the academic electric car competition, he had no idea how far it would take him and his students. In less than three years, the team from Alabama’s Huntsville Center of Technology’s (HCT) went from drafting Solid Edge models for the UK based competition, to becoming the first international high school team, and now starting the competition in America.

“It started with an introduction from Mike Brown who oversees Siemens’ mainstream engineering global academic programs,” said Evans. “We had a long relationship with Siemens so he asked us to reverse engineer the F-24 kit car in Siemens Solid Edge software for Greenpower’s UK CEO Jeremy Way. When Jeremy saw the students’ models he invited us to build a car and enter the race.”

Greenpower started back in 1999 with a dream of supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Building and racing the electric cars inspires and engages students of all ages to pursue STEM subjects. Continue reading

Remembering George DeAngelis

George DeAngelis sits at the tiller of his Quadricycle replica in 1963. He’s on Detroit’s Bagley Avenue, where Henry Ford built the original car in 1896.

George DeAngelis sits at the tiller of his Quadricycle replica in 1963. He’s on Detroit’s Bagley Avenue, where Henry Ford built the original car in 1896.

George DeAngelis, a long-time Ford Motor Company employee and devoted student of Henry Ford and his automobiles, passed away on December 14, 2014. Mr. DeAngelis is remembered for his published works on the Ford Model A and the Ford V-8, as well as Henry Ford’s early 999 and Arrow race cars. Here at The Henry Ford, though, we especially remember him for a pair of three-dimensional contributions: his incredible 1963 and 1991 replicas of Henry Ford’s first car, the Quadricycle.

Regular visitors to Henry Ford Museum know that the Quadricycle – the original car built by Henry Ford himself – occupies a prominent place in our Driving America exhibit. While the original car was used frequently during Henry Ford’s life – indeed, he posed with it less than a year before he died – it was retired to Henry Ford Museum by 1963, the centennial of Henry Ford’s birth. DeAngelis set out to build a working replica for the celebration. DeAngelis had the perfect background for the task. He possessed the skills of a tool and die maker, but with the careful eye of an artist. He had a genuine love for antique automobiles, to boot.

There were no blueprints of the Quadricycle, so DeAngelis gathered every written description and photograph he could find. Of course, he also had the original Quadricycle as a pattern. The historic car sat in an enclosed display case, so DeAngelis estimated his initial measurements through the glass. Amazingly, when the original Quadricycle was removed for confirmation, DeAngelis found he had made only one error – and of just 5/8 of an inch!

What DeAngelis thought would be a one-winter project turned into three years of nights and weekends. He was able to source some of his parts from lawn mower catalogs, and some from antique shops, but most he made himself. While the replica stayed remarkably true to the original, DeAngelis made a few concessions to safety and reliability. Most notably, he gave his replica a brake – something Henry’s Quadricycle never had. The work was finished by June 4, 1963, when DeAngelis drove his replica along the same route Henry Ford took during the original Quadricycle’s first drive on June 4, 1896.

George DeAngelis rides in his 1963 Quadricycle replica at Old Car Festival in 2012.

George DeAngelis rides in his 1963 Quadricycle replica at Old Car Festival in 2012.

When the festivities ended, The Henry Ford purchased the replica from George DeAngelis. Over the years, the 1963 copy became a staple of our annual Old Car Festival, thrilling visitors each year as museum staff drove it through Greenfield Village. In a neat coda to the story, we commissioned DeAngelis to build a second Quadricycle replica nearly 30 years later. DeAngelis’s 1991 replica now sits in the reconstruction of Henry Ford’s Bagley Avenue shed in Greenfield Village.

Read more about George DeAngelis’s Quadricycle replicas in our April 2004 “Pic of the Month.” You can read about the building of the 1963 replica – in DeAngelis’s own words – in the June 1963 issue of Popular Science. You can watch DeAngelis drive the replica through Greenfield Village in this film clip.

Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Apple 1

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There are only 64 known Apple 1 computers in the world, and only about a quarter of these are operational.  One of the latter is now in the collections, both digital and physical, of The Henry Ford.  It is not only significant in the early history of one of the most well-known technology companies in the modern world, but also speaks to human-computer interaction, design, and miniaturization of technology.  As Curator of Communication & Information Technology Kristen Gallerneaux notes in an upcoming post on our blog: “The acquisition of an Apple 1 represents The Henry Ford’s commitment to documenting the material nature of technology. It is an observable artifact with visual appeal. It has a clear sense of purpose and an honesty expressed through its exposure of internal workings. It could even be considered as a piece of ‘electronic folk art.’”  We are very excited to have this incredibly significant artifact in our collections.  Visit our collections website to view multiple images of the Apple 1, along with photos documenting its arrival and unpacking at The Henry Ford, or to browse all of our digitized collections relating to computers, and check back soon for Kristen’s blog post to learn more about the history and significance of this artifact.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

The Center of Attention:  Epergnes and Centerpieces in American Entertaining

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During the Holiday Nights program in Greenfield Village, we strive to recreate authentic interiors and seasonal celebrations of the American past.  With the holidays rapidly approaching we are setting our dining tables for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and think it is a good time to examine the evolution of festive table settings in times past. Of course, the focus of table decoration is the centerpiece and these have a long and interesting history. Continue reading

Free Printable: Christmas Tree Ornaments

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ornaments on tree-1It’s time to trim the Christmas tree in honor of Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village! Our own designer Caitlin Stott created this year’s holiday printable offering, a set of paper ornaments inspired by the holiday postcards found in our collections.

To create your ornament, start out by downloading the ornament sheet PDF. (You can download the file here.) Next, cut out the artwork. Punch holes in tops of each ornament and tie onto your tree with ribbon or twine.

For an added holiday touch, use the stencils on the second page of the PDF file and cut out on glittery card stock. Glue the card stock to the back of the ornament. Finish by adding ribbon or twine for hanging.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Toast the Holidays with the Help of Eagle Tavern

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If you’ve looked through this year’s holiday gift guide, you might have noticed a few new products from the artisans at our pottery shop in Greenfield Village. Our Tavern Tankard and Eagle Tavern Inscribed and Sculpted mugs, inspired by the folk art the time period Eagle Tavern represents, are some of the latest handcrafted products to hit our stores’ shelves, just in time for holiday celebrations with family and friends. I had a chance to pay a visit to the Pottery Shop last month and learn more about these soon-to-be stoneware classics. Continue reading

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Classical Violins

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mcaca_logo_finalThe classical violins in the collections of The Henry Ford get around.  In 2011 and 2013, we had them CT scanned at Henry Ford Health System; in February 2013, Sphinx Laureate Gareth Johnson played one at the National Day of Courage; and in October 2014, they were featured on Episode 5 of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, they are moving out of collections storage and into the Henry Ford Museum, in a display that is planned to go live by February 1, 2015.  The violins themselves will be accompanied by a digital kiosk, where visitors will be able to explore additional related artifacts from our online collections. One example of these related artifacts that we’ve just added to our digital collections is the “Badger Gavotte” sheet music for Henry Ford’s Early American Dance Orchestra. Visit our collections website to view other objects related to the Orchestra, dance, and the violins themselves, and plan to visit us next year to see the new exhibit.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

Genealogy of a Classic: Finding the History of Your Mustang

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Process Photograph for 1965 Ford Mustang Advertising (Object ID: 68.300.1031.9).

The Mustang, America’s original pony car, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  When the first generation Mustangs were being built, no one anticipated that they would become American classics and popular vehicles for restoration.

We have many cool pieces of Mustang history here at The Henry Ford, from… Continue reading

2014 Holiday Activity Book

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If you’re not able to join us in person for Holidays in Henry Ford Museum, you can experience some of the fun digitally with this year’s children’s activity book. From coloring pages to puzzles, the book features some of our most well-known artifacts. You can download the book here.

Lish Dorset is Social Media Manager at The Henry Ford.

Just Added to Our Digital Collections: Pixar Image Computer II

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In October, we announced that The Henry Ford has acquired a functioning Apple-1, a major milestone in the history of computing.  However, in September, we acquired another significant computer, and we’ve just added it to our collections website.  When Pixar began as a department within Lucasfilm in 1979, it started developing its own computer system to support graphics and visualization.  The Pixar Imaging Computer became commercially available in 1986, and was adopted by other organizations with intensive graphic arts and animation needs, such as the Walt Disney Company and the United States Departments of Defense and Forestry.  Curator of Communication & Information Technology Kristen Gallerneaux notes about the P-II: “One of our goals at The Henry Ford is to document computing as applied to creative and expressive activities. The Pixar Image Computer II (P-II) is of particular interest not only as a graphics rendering tool … but also as a hugely significant element in the thread that connects the Apple-1 computer to the finely designed and engineered computing devices we all carry with us every day.”  See the P-II, as well as the rest of our digital collections related to computers, on our collections website.

Ellice Engdahl is Digital Collections & Content Manager at The Henry Ford.

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