A couple of weeks ago we took a little car tour, as car people often do, happy for the dry roads and a chance to “exercise” the horsepower after a never ending winter. We ended up at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
A major portion of the collection in the Henry Ford Museum does have to do with cars, and being that both the hubs and I are from car-centric families and grew up in Michigan there were plenty of items to wax nostalgic over. As I walked throughout, other ideas and questions took my mind on different roads. Part of the fun of going to museums is saying, “I remember…” as your mind floods with memories one couldn’t normally conjure up without inspiration. Or maybe this means we are getting old? I hope not. For the record, there were more things older than me than in the I remember category.
Traveling the Open RoadThe days of neon signs are all but in the rear view mirror of life. A few are still around, like this Holiday Inn sign, but with their recent re-branding this insignia is now vintage. How about this room vignette? I can totally remember these. The matted, stinky, multicolor shag carpet was a common theme, though not a luxurious one. I’ve seen some of these rooms in recent years, have you? This metal car maintenance record is pre-Lisa by a few years but I still remember having to keep track of things. It wasn’t that long ago they put window stickers on the inside of the car for the oil change.
Whaaat?! Our cars are new, the computers tell us what to do. Not quite a steel-belted radial, but this early accessory for tire blow-outs is a hoot! Interesting this strap-on fix is made of natural colored or maybe it was white leather. Okay, I know early tires were white becasue of the zinc used as an additive to add durability to natural rubber, but I wasn’t around back then to remember. So matchy-matchy even back then.
Electric Cars Are Nothing NewMade to look like a carriage, this 1901 Victoria had every typical carriage accoutrement but the horse. Wealthy owners would still be driven, however, this car was electric.
It makes one ponder; do we really innovate or just improve upon the past? Wait, let me back up. Do we even innovate? There was no moaning and groaning over where do we get batteries, over seas shipping costs and charging stations back in 1901. Maybe the real question is, was simpler better?
More Horsepower But You Have to FinishScrew being driven, as the years progressed horsepower became an addictive pastime. Yes, even Ford had a boattail. At the Indy 500 in 1935, four of these Harry Miller designed cars started the race, but none finished. Have we learned not to rush to meet a deadline?
Henry Ford was an inventor and innovator. The Henry Ford Museum celebrates the most industrious time in America and makes for a great day trip if you are close by or a worthwhile excursion if your are not. For more, check out my previous post on Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House. Museums are full of lessons if one cares to take the journey.