I know the basic story about Fords transfer of the drawings/blueprints to microfiche. The Benson Ford Research Centers web site states the following…
“During the 1940s, Ford Motor Company copied all of their parts drawings onto microfiche and destroyed the blueprints.”
Based on a preliminary search online, it looks like the Research Center has a couple in Accession 181. Does anyone know how many original Model T drawings or blueprints they have? Does anyone know of any that exist outside of the Research Center?
Tod, I have purchased many original plans and other parts documents from Ford Benson Research for my TT's. FBR has quite a few plans that they have to search for using the Part number. I have not been able to get all that I have asked for but many of what I did get were very informative and sometimes were not the same as the modern understanding of certain parts. This can be just the beginning of your journey.
Start here at their Site.
Fred, I'm sorry but I think you misunderstood my question. The Benson Ford Research Center has thousands of Model T parts drawings.... on microfiche. You can order a copy of any of these drawings from them.
They apparently also have a very limited number of the "original" paper (linen paper or blueprint) drawings that the microfiche copies were made from. These original paper drawings, that were made and used during the production of the Model T, are what I am asking about. Apparently, most all of these paper originals were destroyed when the microfiche copies were made.
One thing I would like to know is if anyone knows how many the Benson Ford has. I have sent them an email with this question, among others, but they will not be back in until Tuesday to even get the email at this point.
The more important question I have is if anyone knows if any of these original, produced at Ford, during the production of the Model T, ink on linen paper drawings or original paper blueprint drawings, exist outside of the apparent few at the Benson Ford Research Center?
I have never heard of any but that doesn't mean much.
Tod if your talking about the full size working drawings that were glued to sheets of aluminum I doubt that any exist. If you are talking about the original Brown lines these were destroyed because of the room they took up after they were photographed. I don't remember the year this happened. May I ask why you are looking for these?
If anyone there is like me, they took home a few for posterity when they were supposed to be destroyed. Working at a company that had been in business for more than 150 years, I was tasked with redesigning a part for a parts order that we could no longer make (Was a casting. We no longer had raw castings or even the pattern on the shelf. I redesigned the part as a welded assembly). The original drawing was ink on linen. Not 'linen paper'. Doped linen, like a fabric covered airplane. It had been drawn in 1937 and was a work of art. Additionally, I had once worked with the man who drew it. He was with the company for over 60 years and retired in his 80's. Our standard practice in situations like this was to destroy any old prints when a new one had been redrawn. If you think I destroyed that print, you're crazy. Took that baby home.
I left that company for 9 years but recently went back to work there. I missed it the whole time I was gone. Glad to be 'home'.
You are correct that orig. drawings and films
were copied then destroyed. A few years ago I was provided with a DVD copy of the Arps Co. advertisement film From 1930, It was saved only by someone dumper diving also was given copies of orig. drawings from 1926 drawn by Mr. B.F.Arps.
Its a shame but it happened and is still happening
today. If you have positives on Mylar or linen just try to find someone with a Ozlid (SP)(Blue print or brown line printer) now days.
How do we find things that went home with these people?
I was told by highly placed staff at THF that the reason for making all the microfiche, then destroying the originals (during WWII) was for preventing sabotage. I fail to see how Hitler getting his hands on, say, the drawing for the water pump engine block would have saved the Third Reich, but what do I know.
I am sure it was space. Many of the original items given the THF by the Ford Motor Company were stored at the Fairlane estate before space was made at THF museum building. The original research area was above the old main entrance. When the Benson Ford family funded the new research center, the material was moved into the new building. I have heard that the Ford Company kept some original material in their own archives. I have always hoped that some original material that was discarded after photographed was taken by a "dumpster diver" I have some great material from the Minneapolis School system from the 1870s-1900s that I found in a dumpster by a school building when I was visiting the school for an art exhibit.
The reason I am asking is because I just acquired a pair of (what I believe to be) "original" engine assembly blueprints. I was hesitant to say this at the start because I think most Model T people will think I have been running the T in the garage with the doors shut too long (probably true anyways). I was very skeptical when I first purchased them, but did so anyways. It seemed so improbable that I would run into these.
I am just starting into the research on these but Hal's story pretty much hits it right on the head as to how these managed to survive.
You are correct about the original drawings of that time being done in ink on linen. I believe the correct term for the product is "Drafting linen". If I had described it as just linen, most people would not understand unless they had experience with it.
When Ford sold Louisville to Mead, all file drawings and even local vellums were simply abandoned in place. While the Director of Engineering for Mead was deciding what to do with them (He was even a Model A guy) they all had just vanished with the locals. Source: John Donahue, Milford Ohio former Director of Engineering Mead Containers and Packaging
Perhaps other branches had the same fate?
That's interesting Tod, so these would have come from three likely places I think. Ford engineering in Dearborn , Highland Park or the Rouge where engines were built.
Next question, who is shown as drawing the plans and checking them? What are the drawing dates? This might be a clue that would help. Anyway thanks for sharing this..Fred
There should be dates and names of some type that were the final checker's on them.
Ink and linen was used in mapping in a large scale then reduced by copy cameras and color separated, made many service station state hwy. maps like that in the 60's.
Great find and thanks for sharing.
Any chance of copying the titleblock on your drawing and posting it here?
I took some photos of the revision data and initials recorded in the corners of the drawings. Some of the initials are hard to read. These drawings do not have a modern type of title block on them.
I will post photos of the complete drawings as soon as I figure out how to watermark the images. Call me paranoid but I don't want to make it easy for our Nigerian friends or anyone else with an internet connection and no conscience, to copy them and scam someone.
I've seen several of the chassis drawings floating around at work. From time to time, someone collars me and shows one to me.
What you have is definitely a print off a linen. I'm not sure how old the linen itself was when the copy was made. I have seen a few photographic mylars off linens that keep the grain of the linen when someone blueprints or van dykes (sepia) them. Regardless, keep it out of direct sunlight. Once you watermark it and show the body of the drawing, I might be able to say more.
Here are the two engine assembly blueprints that I acquired.
I just love these drawings. They are in fantastic condition for their age with only a couple of very small holes from wear and insects. They are also a joy to look at for a Model T nut and a motor head like myself.
The drawings are of the 1926-27 version of the engine and trans. It is interesting to see the faint lines of the pre-1926 design, that were erased when the original drawing was updated to the 26-27 design. It is also interesting to find the things that did not get changed and are incorrect for the 26-27 design.
These were part of the estate of an engineer that worked for Ford by the name of Ray Ensinger. I do not yet know when he started, but I did find a reference in a book that identified him as one of the four engineers that were working in secret on the development of the flat head V8, starting in 1928.
Probably didn't need to do the watermark on these since the upload file size is limited to 200KB. At that resolution, they loose a lot of their detail anyways.
Where do you work? Ford? Are the chassis drawings you talked about original drawings and/or blueprints from the era?
Rather neat to have those for the Improved engine.
And note the rev date from "9-15-21" initialed "M.F."
Perhaps only coincidence, but this drawing was in article pub. in Ford Owner by Murray Fahnestock. Its about a '21 engine view I think
Those two blue prints are nice and complete, lots of detail too. I could draw that whole damn engine from those. Is there a third one? An assembly like that would almost have to have one more sheet as an overall. Now that would be a fun project!!!
I sent you a PM.