tv American Artifacts Henry Fords Garage and Childhood Home CSPAN November 19, 2017 10:00pm-10:16pm EST
traveledaff recently to burlington, vermont, to learn more about its rich history. learn more about burlington and other stops at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv all weekend on cspan3. artifactsek, american takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. next, we visit the henry ford museum in dearborn, michigan, to see the garage where ford built his first car, the quadricycle. historic structures curator kym johnson shows us his childhood home, where he was born in 1863. both buildings were relocated to greenfield village, the living history section of the henry ford.
>> my name is jim johnson, i'm the curator of historic structures at the henry ford. we are here with a 1914 multi--- model t. behind me is the bagley shed, this stood behind his house in detroit where he developed his first gasoline engine, eventually his first car in 1896. we will be having a look at his birthplace, which was brought here much later on. this is what we call the bakley shed, it stood behind the duplex where they lived in the 1890's. he was a high-ranking steam engineer at a company in detroit that produced electricity for the city. he also had a big interest in the internal combustion engine and the concept of an automobile, which was a new thing in the 1890's.
his first attempt at an engine was 1893, based on that successful experiment, he put together the car we see behind us here, the quadricycle. it is made up of different parts he collected, including a set of firestone rubber buggy tires. and bicycle wheels. the car itself worked very well. when it was time for its initial run in june ford unfortunately 1896, didn't account for how big the car was. the doorway is much larger. he had to smash the bricks out of the doorway to get the car out. he had a successful run with the car, and had to settle up with the landlord to put the building back together. we are seeing an exhibit put together. it was originally a duplex, there were two sheds divided in half. henry only had access to one side of the shed.
one where we are standing was s shed.ghbor' the house is there, not a very large lot. it would have been directly behind the house that would have fronted on bagley avenue. this would have been a work of several months, a lot of of the machining and things like that would have been done by hand. he would have purchased parts from different people. there's recognizable things on the car, a doorbell, an upholstered buggy seat, bicycle tires. quite a bit was custom-made, especially the engine, which he built from scratch or purchased some engineered parts. for the most part, he would have built it himself. they stayed there not too long, they moved 14 times in the midst of their marriage. their last home being the fairlane estate in dearborn. they would move around from place to place. his first founding of the ford was in 19any
03, a partnership. he eventually would lose control and drift away from it, and the company changed hands and ended up becoming cadillac. the company proceeded on. the second attempt was not a financial success. his third attempt, named the ford motor company, had a lot to do with his success on the racetrack. he built very fast race cars, he proved himself as a worthy automobile engineer and got the backing he needed to found the ford motor company successfully in 1903. and that's the company we know today. we are here in front of henry ford's birthplace, built in dearborn around 1861. henry ford was born here in the upper bedroom in july of 1863. his father was a carpenter.
his grandfather was also a housebuilder and carpenter. henry ford's father worked for ford's that is how henry father met his mother. henry ford's father and grandfather built this house together. it was relocated here to greenfield village very late in henry ford's life in 1944. it was one of the few buildings moved in large pieces. it was built over time, we are representing it in its last iteration. sometime in the 1870's. by that time, it had an addition -- a series of additions but on the back, adding on a kitchen and a wood shed for various reasons. the house itself has grown over time. we are showing those changes to you now. it is a rather plain house. by the 1860's, some houses had more detail to it. it is fairly typical. the furnishings inside are very middle-class.
a few homemade pieces, quite a few mass-produced pieces. carpeting, wallpaper. a lot of people are struck by the fact that maybe the family was wealthy, they were not. furnishings for a house in the middle part of the 19th century. this is part of a farm, about a 250 acre farm or so. the outbuildings were different depending on which time period you are talking about. the 1870's, there would have been buildings off in this direction. across the street, about where it is now, was the family's barn. that was used to hold hay and livestock. the raised a few sheep. they raised a number of different crops, corn, oats, wheat, it was a fairly typical midwestern farm of the time period. henry ford, growing up on a farm, there were a lot of mechanical things to deal with. he was not a fan of the drudgery
of farm work and always looking for ways to make it easier. his father was also of that mind and was into the latest machines, would go to exhibitions to see the latest machines used for the farm. the windmill is an example of something his father would have installed to pump water for the livestock. very early on, he was known for his mechanical abilities. he would repair watches. at a very young age, he was running steam engines that would run sawmills. he was hired out to do that kind of work. he left home to seek other work at a pretty young age at 16. he moved to detroit and found work as a machinist and different things. he started very early in that vein of working with machines. he went through what was typical of farm families, primary education through eighth grade or so.
education was important to him, and several school buildings that he attended were included in greenfield village. the school building was moved. a couple of the other buildings which you can see in this direction was a reproduction of the school that he attended in the 1870's. as the story goes he and his , wife were out in a country drive and they heard some children playing doing a nursery rhyme chant. between them they could not , remember what the next verse was. they remembered it was from one of the mcguffey readers they were raised on. they became obsessed about finding the mcguffey readers, they began to collect. that was their first historical collection. it opened their eyes to this concept of preserving the past. a lot of museums have fine art, fine furniture, we have some of that, as well. he collected things people probably should have thrown away but they kept.
we have a collection of furniture, housework, stoves, appliances, things that were of everyday life in the 19th and 20th century. it begins with the formal room in the front, parlor. it has a number of first-floor bedrooms and second-floor bedrooms. to the back is now what is a dining room, beyond a sitting room. off the back end of the house, the utility and the less utilitarian part with the kitchen. the house is set up for an extended family. eventually, the grandparents lived here. of course, their bedrooms would have been on the first floor. staircase is in the center of the house, and there are three bedrooms up. the young folks would have gone up and down the stairs. the furnishings are all things they would have set up housekeeping with around 1860. they continue up through the time period we represent, the mid- 1870's. >> what is the item on the
floor? >> that's a foot warmer. you would put coals. there is a metal insert inside of it. houses really aren't central heated at this there's a tiny point. stove that would not have been fired up all day long. it would have been fired up toward the afternoon to take the chill off during the night. they were not very large. wasthis is the parlor which the formal room. in restoring the house to what he remembered as a child, henry ford had very specific ideas about what should be in the room, what he remembered. the stoves are an exact copy of those that were in the house. the corsair -- furniture is very similar. this carpet is going to be reproduced again to be even more accurate to the one that was originally put in here. he remembered counting the roses and the floral pattern while he had to sit quietly in the parlor. he knew exactly what the
pattern needed to look like and had it reproduced. in some cases, he upgraded things a little bit. we don't have any evidence there was a musical instrument in the parlor. by the 1870's, there was the pump organ you could get. there are a numbers of original pieces of furniture that were in 1870's a.in the one notable thing is the desk in the front parlor. henry ford father was a justice of the peace and would do activities at the desk like signing marriage licenses and things like that. behind you on the wall is the only image, i think there's an earlier photo, henry ford's mother.
mary ford. the images on the table are kind of interesting. of course, henry ford was warned two or three weeks after the battle of gettysburg. his mother'scles, brothers served with the , michigan 21st, one of the very famous civil war units that served out of michigan. john was killed early in the war, but barney survived the war. this is the dining room, a later addition to the house. through the house's history, the kitchen moved back, to the very back eventually. the stove is a nice story. this is not the one, but the identical model that was in the room. henry ford remembered it so specifically that there was an epic search to try to find one just like it. the little bench by the window
would have been one of the places he would have worked on repairing things, especially watches. ware china is a preproduction, but it was done very specifically off of originals he remembered the family having when he was a kid. we don't cook here a lot, but we do several times a year. through the christmas season, during the fall harvest weekend, and for henry's birthday we cook in here. the stove is an actual stove from the time period, but not the one ford picked out. the one he picked out is preserved, and we have chosen another one because we actually use it. this room has a lot of doors and windows for ventilation to let the heat out.
every room has a set of doors, because in a house without central heating, you had to heat each room individually or rely on another room to supply the heat. we have an interesting collection of buildings, historic structures, workplaces, we were founded in 1929 by henry ford, who more than anything wanted to preserve day to day life as he knew it as a child in the 19th century. the speed of life was changing so fast that as a result, he thought things were being lost so he thought it was important to preserve them. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history.
>> i'm at the historic train station at the shelburne museum, where c-span is learning more about the history. join us as we take a look at the rail history of vermont. chip: here we are at the train station at the shelburne museum, built in 1890 by dr. william stuart webb, a rutland railroad, and service with the central vermont railway as well. it was essentially built to help out with passenger rail service for this region, but perhaps more significantly for the availability of the webbs to be vanderbilts to be able to travel as they wish, to go to their summer