As there is a disconnect in the Henry Ford Records for cars manufactured in the 1920's because of the 1970's fire, what happen to the duplicate records that may have been transcribed at the various branch assembly plants?
I would like to find branch records too, if they exist. Possibly some records survived at branch locations and were moved to local or state historical societies?
There are some branch plant records at the Benson Ford Research Center but these are mostly in highly aggregated data in the form of monthly production records by body type. There are also some dealer records, mainly in the form of road agent reports on the dealers they visited. This is interesting stuff, but there is nothing on individual cars and body types.
I don't believe the branch production duplicate records were ever sent to the Ford Archives (as it was known in the 1950's and 1960's. There are some branch production reports on cars that followed the Model T, but other than the microfilmed shipping invoices that begin in1909 and go through the end of the summer of 1911, I have not been able to find anything else.
I sleep better at night knowing the stacks are protected by a sprinkler system.
Thanks Trent. Any idea if pre 1909 branch documents are at Benson?
'I sleep better at night knowing the stacks are protected by a sprinkler system.'
I would hope the "sprinkler system" is a gaseous fire suppression system using an inert gases and chemical agents to extinguish a fire. Water, ink, paper and silver based photographs do mix well.
1- The DODGE BROTHERS lawyer had a paper copy of everything in the Ford vaults up to the time of the major shareholder suit as part of the discovery and due diligence for the suit. Rather than trash it after the court part was settled, the law firm DONATED it in entirety to the Detroit Free Library. I have heard conflicting reports that the DFL still has it in uncatalogued form, I have heard other reports that DFL gave it to the Archives pre-fire and all was lost in the fire, and I have read reports about current researchers who say that with a stack pass for backroom thesis work they from time to time find a box at DFL that apparently was from the lawsuit era collection. I don't know who is right or even close to correct...but short of a look-see in person over weeks, by someone, we may never know...unless Trent actually does know already?
2 - Concerning the Branch records, if we look at Louisville being 'typical' (maybe yes/maybe no), the building was sold with all paper in place and NOT returned to Dearborn. I personally know the guy that bought Louisville branch...he said it was loaded with papers/stuffed file cabinets/even tool and fixture drawings when he took actual possession. He was also at the time a Model A guy who then went home with thoughts of sugar'plums in his head, and when he went back 3 weeks later the paper storage area was broom swept clean already by his contractor who claimed it all went to the dump...(but maybe is still sitting in the contractor garage attic??) Wishful thinking, it probably went to the dump.
George you are probably right as to what eventually happened to a lot of Fords records in general.
Items that are of any historical value that are paper goods, books and etc, unfortunately are the least valued at the time of dispersal or salvage. Old photographs come next and then physical, mechanical items.
The average contractor and his workers would have saved car parts, and maybe some other items.
Unless somebody made it really clear what to save, it probably was trashed.
The Minneapolis Ford Plant that was built around 1915 and assembled Model Ts until early 1925 is still in existence. It was used as a ware house and was cleaned up in about 1942 for use by Minneapolis Honeywell. I knew a local person who helped clean it up and he said there was still Ford items in desks and cabinets. He did not save any and all probably went to scrap and a dump.