The Ford Heritage Vault Takes You Deep into Automotive History


Photo credit: Ford

Photo credit history: Ford

  • The Ford Heritage Vault helps make some of the automaker’s archival information out there to the general public.

  • The Vault spans from 1903 to 2003 and handles brochures, illustrations or photos, and other documents.

  • The Ford Heritage Vault is offered for cost-free and will offer additional content as the internet site continues to establish.

Right after about 100 several years in business enterprise, you’d be suitable to believe Ford’s historic archive is dense. But the scope of what Ford experienced stored absent in its Dearborn archives is mainly unfamiliar mainly because the enterprise hasn’t really leveraged its historical files. In its place, the corporation has seemed at just preserving its background and moving ahead. Very well, many thanks to the tough operate of a smaller army of Ford workforce, retirees, and Wayne State University learners: you can recognize it, also.

Ford digitized over 5,000 paperwork spanning 100 several years of its operation. Readily available on the searchable Ford Heritage Vault web page, these files vary from car images to comparatively obscure optional equipment brochures. Say, if you wished to see the brochure for your rare accessory steering wheel, a couple of keystrokes into the search bar on the Ford Heritage Vault web site will generate the entire brochure for your reading through enjoyment.

You may possibly expect the individuals at Ford to throw this powering some obscene subscription support, or lock paperwork driving a paywall—this do the job wasn’t totally free, immediately after all. Effectively, there is even greater news: It may well be difficult to visualize, but all of these documents, and the website that hosts them, are available free of charge of charge. That signifies you can thumb by (and obtain) a electronic duplicate of your 1969 Ford Mustang 429 Boss’s unique revenue brochure.

Photo credit: Ford

Photograph credit rating: Ford

But hold out, there’s extra. Ford states it will keep on to increase to its database, which should be welcomed information for any Ford lover and preservationist. We’re assured Ford has additional treasure to share from its archives.

The Heritage Vault undertaking was not just about scanning documents and uploading them to a web page. No, Ford suggests the aim was to make this program commonly accessible: The paperwork had been built compatible with display visitors and translators that help persons with particular demands to obtain the data. Ford also has incorporated a button on its website to request more available documents for these good reasons. “These property have been born analog, and we have labored really hard to convey them to the digital earth,” said Ciera Casteel, a processing archivist for the undertaking. “But digitizing is not enough. It was crucial to us that the Heritage Vault is available for everybody to enjoy.”

If you’re curious about when Ford began its archive, that’s a story itself. According to Ford, the archives begun in advance of the company’s popular 50th anniversary in 1953. Kicking off in 1951 at the Ford Honest Lane estate (crafted by Henry and Clara Ford as their residence in 1915), the archive moved to the prolonged-missing Rotunda in 1957. Right after the Rotunda burned, the archival details bounced close to until finally landing at its present resting location at the Ford Engineering Laboratory in 2015. This facility holds more than 2 million negatives, 16,000 cubic toes of paper paperwork and nearly 51,000 shifting belongings that span Ford’s world wide operations.

These weather-controlled archives are off limits, but you can check out the Ford Heritage Vault right now on the web. The internet site is stay and complete of attention-grabbing historical paperwork. But be warned, you might have to have a good volume of time: This can speedily consider you into the Ford rabbit gap.

Do you feel much more automakers ought to adhere to Ford’s components and make its digital archives open up to the public? Let us know your views underneath.


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