Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
A three-story brick building with late Victorian-style architecture. A row of telephone poles are on the right and a historical marker is next to the front door.
Exterior view of the Piquette Avenue Plant
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located in Michigan
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located in the US
Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
Location 461 Piquette Street
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates 42°22′09″N 83°03′56″W / 42.369107°N 83.065467°W / 42.369107; -83.065467
Built 1904
Architect Field, Hinchman & Smith
Architectural style Late Victorian
Visitation 18,000 (2016)
Part of Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District (#04000601)
NRHP reference # 02000041
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 2002
Designated CP 2004
Designated NHL 2006
Designated MSHS 2003

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is a museum and former factory located within the Milwaukee Junction area of Detroit, Michigan, in the United States. Built in 1904, it was the second center of automobile production for the Ford Motor Company. The company assembled several car models at this factory, including the Ford Model T, which was created there and first produced there starting in 1908. Early experiments using a moving assembly line to make cars were also conducted there. It was also the first factory where more than 100 cars were assembled in one day. While it was based at the Piquette Avenue Plant, Ford Motor Company became the biggest US-based automaker, and it would remain so until the mid-1920s. The factory was used by the company until 1910, when its car production activity was relocated to the new, bigger Highland Park Ford Plant in Highland Park, Michigan.

The Piquette Avenue Plant was sold in 1911 to Studebaker, which used the factory to assemble cars until 1933. Studebaker sold the building in 1936, and the former car factory went through a series of owners for the remainder of the 20th century before becoming a museum in 2001.

The Piquette Avenue Plant is the oldest, purpose-built automotive factory building in the world open to the public. The museum, which was visited by 18,000 people in 2016, has exhibits that primarily focus on the early years of the United States automotive industry. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, became a Michigan State Historic Site in 2003, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

History

Ford period

An open room with a wooden floor and a brick wall. The room's wooden ceiling is held up by wooden beams and wooden supports. A large sliding door is open, revealing similar rooms beyond.
The Piquette Avenue Plant's interior. Note the sliding fire doors at each firewall.

Henry Ford, Detroit coal merchant Alexander Y. Malcomson, and a group of investors formed the Ford Motor Company on June 16, 1903, to assemble automobiles.[1]:10–11[2] The company's first car model, the original Ford Model A, began to be assembled that same month at the Ford Mack Avenue Plant, a rented wagon manufacturing shop in Detroit, Michigan.[1]:11–12 Ford Motor Company quickly outgrew this facility, and on April 10, 1904, the company bought a parcel of land off of Piquette Avenue in Detroit in order to have a larger factory built.[1]:12 The land was located in the Milwaukee Junction area, whose name is derived from a railroad junction within it, where three railroad lines interconnect.[1]:4, 12 Construction of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant started on May 10, 1904.[1]:12 Ford Motor Company began to occupy its new factory the following October.[1]:13

The Piquette Avenue Plant was designed by Detroit-based architectural firm Field, Hinchman & Smith.[1]:9, 12 It was modeled after New England textile mills, and is an example of late Victorian-style architecture.[1]:7[3] The building is three stories high, 56 feet (17.1 m) wide, and 402 feet (122.5 m) long.[4][5] Its load-bearing exterior brick walls contain 355 windows, and its maple floors, supported by square oak beams and posts, cover 67,000 square feet (6,224.5 m2) of floor space.[1]:7[6] The Piquette Avenue Plant contains two elevator-stairwell combinations, with one located on its northwest corner and the other located on its southwest side.[1]:5, 7 Recalling a fire in March 1901 that destroyed the Olds Motor Works factory in Detroit, Henry Ford and the architects included a fire sprinkler system in the building's design, a rare feature for industrial buildings of the period.[7] This and several other original safety features in the factory, such as its firewalls, fire doors, and fire escapes, are still present.[1]:7[7] Water for the sprinkler system was supplied by a wooden water tank located on the building's roof.[1]:5 A brick powerhouse, measuring 36 feet (11.0 m) wide by 57 feet (17.4 m) long, was the original electricity provider for the factory, and was located near its northwest corner.[1]:4, 12–13 The water tank and powerhouse no longer exist.[1]:4–5

From October 1904 to the end of 1909, Ford Motor Company assembled car models B, C, F, K, N, R, S, and T at the Piquette Avenue Plant.[1]:20[8] The Ford Model B and C were the first car models produced at the factory starting in late 1904, and production of the Ford Model F began the following February.[1]:14 The vast majority of factory tasks were done by men, except for magneto assembly, which was done by women.[1]:20 All of the assembly work was done with hand tools at fixed stations, and the completed components would be brought by hand to the chassis for final assembly.[1]:17–18, 20 Completed cars would be shipped to the company's distributors and dealers by rail, using a spur line connected to a Michigan Central Railroad main line behind the building.[1]:5, 12

In 1905, Ford Motor Company was the fourth-largest car producer in the United States, behind Cadillac, Rambler, and Oldsmobile.[1]:14 In the company's early years, most major components in its cars were manufactured by outside companies, including the "running gear" (the chassis, engine, transmission, drive shaft, and axles), which was supplied by the Dodge Brothers Company.[1]:11 That began to change in early 1906, when the Ford Manufacturing Company, a new, separate company created by Henry Ford and several Ford Motor Company stockholders, started to make engines and transmissions for the upcoming Ford Model N.[1]:15 The Ford Manufacturing Company was based at the Bellevue Avenue Plant, a leased factory off of Bellevue Avenue in Detroit.[1]:15–16 The Bellevue Avenue Plant was utilized until 1908, by which time almost all manufacturing of major components for Ford Motor Company cars was taking place at the Piquette Avenue Plant.[1]:14–15 Production of the Model N began at the Piquette Avenue Plant in July 1906.[1]:14 That same month, Henry Ford bought the Ford Motor Company shares owned by fellow company co-founder Alexander Malcomson.[1]:11, 15 While Malcomson was with the company, he and Henry Ford disagreed over the type of car that the Ford Motor Company should produce.[1]:15 Malcomson preferred expensive cars, like the Ford Model K; while Henry Ford favored inexpensive cars, like the Model N.[1]:15 Once Malcomson was no longer part of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, now with uncontested control, began to focus the company's efforts towards making cheap cars exclusively.[1]:15 By the end of 1906, due to the success of the Model N, Ford Motor Company became the largest automaker in the United States, a distinction that it would hold for twenty years.[1]:14

Beginning in January 1907, in a room located on the northwest corner of the third floor of the Piquette Avenue Plant, the Ford Model T, the car credited with starting the mass use of automobiles in the United States, was created.[1]:10, 18 Much of the design and experimental work for the new car was done by Henry Ford, draftsman Joseph Galamb, engineer Childe Harold Wills, and machinist C.J. Smith.[1]:18 Vanadium steel, an alloy lighter and stronger than standard steel, which was first used sparingly with the Ford Model N, R, and S, was used extensively with the Model T.[1]:17 Plans for the new car were announced on March 19, 1908.[1]:19

During July 1908, a few month's prior to the Model T's introduction, a group of factory employees experimented with the concept of using a moving assembly line to make cars, where the chassis would be moved to the workers for components to be installed.[1]:18 This effort was led by Charles E. Sorensen, the assistant to Peter E. Martin, who was the factory's superintendent.[1]:18[6] Sorensen believed that a moving assembly line would make car assembly faster, simpler, and easier.[1]:18 The experiments consisted of tying a rope to a Model N chassis and pulling it across the third floor of the factory on skids until its axles and wheels were added.[1]:18 The chassis would then be rolled across the floor in notches, where specific components would be attached.[1]:18 At least one Model N was completed at the Piquette Avenue Plant using this process.[1]:18 Although Henry Ford encouraged these experiments, he did not implement a formal moving assembly line at the Piquette Avenue Plant, as all of his attention was focused on getting Model T production started on time.[1]:18 Even without a moving assembly line, the factory was very productive.[1]:18 For instance, on June 4, 1908, aided by several production improvements, including the full adoption of interchangeable parts two years prior, the Piquette Avenue Plant produced 101 completed cars in a single day, an auto industry record at the time.[1]:16, 18

The first production Model T was completed at the Piquette Avenue Plant on September 27, 1908.[6] On May 1, 1909, due to overwhelming demand, Ford Motor Company stopped taking Model T orders for two months.[1]:19 In order to satisfy the unprecedented demand for the Model T, the company moved most of its car production activity to the new, larger Highland Park Ford Plant in Highland Park, Michigan, by January 1910.[1]:14, 22 Ford Motor Company completely vacated the Piquette Avenue Plant by October 1910.[1]:14 The concept of using a moving assembly line to manufacture cars would be fully implemented at the Highland Park Ford Plant, starting on October 7, 1913.[9] Over 15 million Model Ts would eventually be built, and the first 14,000 made in the United States were assembled at the Piquette Avenue Plant.[2][6]

Ford car models assembled at the Piquette Avenue Plant[1]:14–15[2]
Car model Image Engine type Engine power Transmission Wheelbase Lowest sale price Production started Production ended Notes
Model B A green-colored, old-fashioned car with four seats and brass fittings Inline 4-cylinder 24 brake horsepower
(17.9 kW)
2-speed planetary 92 inches
(233.7 cm)
$2,000
(equivalent to $53,311 in 2016)
Late 1904 April 1906 First Ford Motor Company car model with the engine mounted in the front, which was intended to match European-style car designs.[10] Rarest of the company's pre-Model-T car models, with only seven known complete units that survive today.[11]
Model C A red-colored, old-fashioned car with two seats and brass fittings Opposed 2-cylinder 10 brake horsepower
(7.5 kW)
2-speed planetary 78 inches
(198.1 cm)
$800
(equivalent to $21,324 in 2016)
Late 1904 December 1905 The Ford Model AC, produced at the Mack Avenue Plant in 1904, was a Model A that used the engine of a Model C.[1]:12[2] Like the Model A, the Model C had its engine mounted under the seat (its European-style hood was a false hood).[12]
Model F A green-colored, old-fashioned car with four seats and brass fittings Opposed 2-cylinder 16 brake horsepower
(11.9 kW)
2-speed planetary 84 inches
(213.4 cm)
$1,000
(equivalent to $26,656 in 2016)
February 1905 April 1906 Like the Model A, the Model F had its engine mounted under the seat (its European-style hood was a false hood).[13]
Model K A white-colored, old-fashioned car with four seats and brass fittings Inline 6-cylinder 40 brake horsepower
(29.8 kW)
2-speed planetary 114–120 inches
(289.6–304.8 cm)
$2,500
(equivalent to $66,639 in 2016)
Late 1905 1908
(before October)
Wheelbase increased from 114 inches (289.6 cm) to 120 inches (304.8 cm) by 1907.[14] Evidence suggests that this car model's assembly and component production was moved to the Bellevue Avenue Plant by 1908.[1]:17
Model N A red-colored, old-fashioned car with two seats and brass fittings Inline 4-cylinder 18 brake horsepower
(13.4 kW)
2-speed planetary 84 inches
(213.4 cm)
$600
(equivalent to $15,993 in 2016)
July 1906 1908
(before October)
Best-selling car model in the United States at the time, with over 7,000 units produced.[11] Considered the predecessor of the Model T.[11]
Model R A green-colored, old-fashioned car with two seats and brass fittings Inline 4-cylinder 18 brake horsepower
(13.4 kW)
2-speed planetary 84 inches
(213.4 cm)
$750
(equivalent to $19,278 in 2016)
February 1907 1908
(before October)
An upscale version of the Model N.[1]:15
Model S A red-colored, old-fashioned car with three seats and brass fittings Inline 4-cylinder 18 brake horsepower
(13.4 kW)
2-speed planetary 84 inches
(213.4 cm)
$700
(equivalent to $17,992 in 2016)
July 1907 1908
(before October)
An upscale version of the Model N.[1]:15
Model T A red-colored, old-fashioned car with four seats and brass fittings L-head 4-cylinder 22 brake horsepower
(16.4 kW)
2-speed planetary 100 inches
(254.0 cm)
$825
(equivalent to $21,991 in 2016)
September 27, 1908[6] December 1909[1]:19 Declared the Car of the Century by an international jury of auto experts in December 1999.[15]

After Ford in the 20th century

A red-colored, old-fashioned car with four seats and black-colored fittings
Studebaker assembled cars, like this one, in the Piquette Avenue Plant when it owned the building.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant was sold in January 1911 to Studebaker, a major maker of various horse-drawn road vehicles since the 1850s.[1]:22 That same year, when the railroad spur line serving the factory was raised above street level, the loading dock behind the building was replaced with an elevated platform, level with the second floor.[1]:5 Also in 1911, Studebaker acquired the E-M-F Company, which owned a different car manufacturing complex on Piquette Avenue.[1]:22 Studebaker began to put its name on the cars formerly produced by the E-M-F Company in 1912.[1]:22 In 1920, Studebaker built a four-story, reinforced concrete building, known as the Studebaker Detroit Service Building, immediately west of the Piquette Avenue Plant.[1]:5, 22 The Detroit Service Building was connected to the Piquette Avenue Plant's southwest corner on the second and third floors, which created a ground-level, drive-through access point to the court between the two buildings.[1]:5, 22 In 1926, the elevator-stairwell combination on the Piquette Avenue Plant's southwest side was moved slightly northwards to create easier access between the two buildings on their second and third floors.[1]:7 Also in 1926, the equipment in both of the Piquette Avenue Plant's elevators was replaced.[1]:7 Studebaker used the Piquette Avenue Plant for car production until 1933.[16]

In 1936, Studebaker sold the Piquette Avenue Plant to the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.[1]:23 Around 1937, the powerhouse and several other small buildings previously built by Ford Motor Company west of the factory were demolished.[1]:7, 23 In 1968, the Cadillac Overall Company purchased the building.[1]:23[8] The Heritage Investment Company bought the building in 1989 and owned it until 2000.[1]:23 Since the early 1990s, a company named General Linen & Uniform Service has occupied part of the Piquette Avenue Plant's first floor.[1]:23 The Detroit Service Building next door is now used by Henry Ford Health System to store medical records.[1]:23 The openings that previously allowed direct access between the two buildings on the second and third floors are now sealed.[1]:5

Model T Automotive Heritage Complex

An office with a carpet covering a tile floor, a desk and table covered with papers, a birdwatching telescope, and a vault embedded in the wall. Information about the office is printed on signs in the foreground.
The restored office of Henry Ford in the Piquette Avenue Plant. Note the birdwatching telescope on the right.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant was sold in April 2000 to the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, an organization that has been operating the building as a museum since July 27, 2001.[17][18] It is the oldest, purpose-built automotive factory building in the world open to the public.[6][19][20] The museum, located north of Midtown Detroit at 461 Piquette Street, attracted 18,000 visitors from over 50 countries in 2016.[21][22] It contains over 40 early automobiles built by Ford Motor Company and other Detroit-area car makers, as well as recreations of Henry Ford's office and the room where the Ford Model T was designed.[21][23] One of the cars on display is Model T Serial No. 220, which was built at the factory in December 1908, and is one of the oldest-surviving examples of that car model.[24] Although the museum's regular operating days are Wednesdays through Sundays from April through November, it has been open on select days in January in the past.[21][25] These January open days coincide with the annual North American International Auto Show, which takes place at Cobo Center in Downtown Detroit.[25][26]

The Piquette Avenue Plant was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, designated as a Michigan State Historic Site in 2003, and became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.[27] In addition, the building has been a contributing property for the surrounding Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District since 2004.[28] The factory's front façade was fully restored to its 1904 appearance and revealed to the public on September 27, 2008, the 100th anniversary of the completion of the first production Model T.[29] On August 11, 2011, Model T Automotive Heritage Complex membership chairman Tom Genova was honored with a ROSE Award from the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau in the Volunteers category.[30][31] On May 18, 2012, the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex won a NAAMY Award from the National Association of Automobile Museums in the Films and Videos category for Division I (museums with budgets less than $300,000).[32] On November 10, 2015, the Window Restoration Team at the Piquette Avenue Plant received a MotorCities National Heritage Area Award of Excellence in the Preservation category.[33] Around 2016, the National Park Service considered adding the Piquette Avenue Plant to a list of places in the United States eligible for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.[34] It was ultimately not added, because it did not have enough of its original factory equipment, and because of recommendations that its nomination be expanded to include other Detroit-area Ford Motor Company sites, such as the Highland Park Ford Plant and the Ford River Rouge Complex.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo Hyde, Charles K. (June 2005). "National Historic Landmark Nomination – Ford Piquette Avenue Plant" (PDF). National Park Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 22, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kimes & Clark, Jr. (1989), pp. 547–552.
  3. ^ Kurtzman (2014), p. 215.
  4. ^ Rubenstein (2001), p. 14.
  5. ^ "Our History". Model T Automotive Heritage Complex. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Weber, Austin (August 28, 2008). "The Model T Turns 100". Assembly Magazine. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Mulcahy, Marty (August 12, 2011). "Modern Fire Sprinklers Now Guard Ford's Historic Piquette Ave. Plant". The Building Tradesman Newspaper. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Runyan, Robin (March 3, 2016). "Inside the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant". Curbed. Archived from the original on May 5, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100: How It Changed Manufacturing and Society". Daily News. New York. October 7, 2013. Archived from the original on November 30, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ "1905 Ford Model B Touring Car". The Henry Ford. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c "Before the Model T: Henry Ford's Letter Cars". The Henry Ford. September 4, 2013. Archived from the original on August 25, 2016. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  12. ^ "1904 Ford Model C Tonneau". The Henry Ford. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  13. ^ "1905 Ford Model F Phaeton". The Henry Ford. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  14. ^ "1907 Ford Model K Five-Passenger Touring". RM Sotheby's. August 2010. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  15. ^ Cobb, James G. (December 24, 1999). "This Just In: Model T Gets Award". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  16. ^ Tompor, Susan (July 23, 2017). "Volunteers Toil to Save Home of Ford's Model T in Detroit". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Model T Automotive Heritage Complex (T-Plex)". Detroit Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Out of This World - Model T Revisited". Central City Alliance. September 22, 2001. Archived from the original on June 1, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Experience the Original Model T Factory". Model T Automotive Heritage Complex. April 4, 2014. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Ghost Tours Set for Historic Ford Piquette Plant". Detroit Free Press. October 6, 2016. Archived from the original on December 5, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b c "Ford Piquette Avenue Plant – Media Information" (PDF). Model T Automotive Heritage Complex. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 18, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  22. ^ "LTU Students Demonstrate Museum Docent Robot". Lawrence Technological University. April 24, 2017. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Henry Ford's 'Secret' Workplace Birthed Model T". The Detroit News. September 24, 2017. Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Rare Model T Returns to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant" (PDF). Model T Talk. Model T Automotive Heritage Complex. Winter 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 14, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  25. ^ a b Moutzalias, Tanya (January 15, 2016). "Ford Piquette Ave. Plant, Birthplace of Model T, to Reopen for Detroit Auto Show". MLive.com. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Event Overview". North American International Auto Show. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Ford Piquette Avenue Plant". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Archived from the original on June 27, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District". National Park Service. June 15, 2004. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Ford Model T Plant Gets Makeover". MotorCities National Heritage Area. September 27, 2008. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2017 – via PR Newswire. 
  30. ^ "2011 ROSE Award Honorees". Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Hospitality Rock Stars Honored at Detroit Metro CVB Annual Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Awards" (PDF). Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  32. ^ "NAAMY Awards 2012". National Association of Automobile Museums. Archived from the original on June 3, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Awards of Excellence Recipients Announced at Special Ceremony". MotorCities National Heritage Area. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Morin, Bode (2017). "U.S.A.: World Heritage Tentative List" (PDF). TICCIH Bulletin. The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017. 

Bibliography

External links

  • Official website
  • Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Online Exhibits
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ford_Piquette_Avenue_Plant&oldid=803808898"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Piquette_Avenue_Plant
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Ford Piquette Avenue Plant"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA