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Subject: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines

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Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 04-11-2010 at 08:45:13 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Many people don't know the impact that Henry Ford played upon the world of manufacturing after he established his car company. He invested his own profits back into building his company by purchasing thousands of acres of timber forests in Michigan's Upper Penninisula and also iron mines and railroads as well. Recently I was on a trip to the Keewenaw Peninsula, Michigan's furthest north boundary, to Calumet where my dad was born and raised. The area was the boom of the copper mining industry and many of the old mines still stand. Along the journey on US-41 are towns that Henry Ford established and built into model self-sufficient communities complete with housing, schools, hospitals, and more. These towns provided jobs for tens of thousands of people who would come from several ethnic backgrounds for those jobs. Our stop was at the Alberta sawmill where I snapped a few photos shown below. Built in 1935, the sawmill was one of the few that suplied wood for Ford products- this is where the WOODY got its wood! Though not much if any wood products are used on tractors, I thought I'd share as part of the Henry Ford history. Other mills and iron mines are only short drives around the area and Henry had his summer bungalow built right on Lake Superior in the town of Pequaming. He was known to entertain his friends like Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone there. He would drive up there from Dearborn while Clara preferred to take the boat so she'd usually ride on one of the ore freighters going to or from. The summer getaway is still standing, available for tours, and is available for guests to reserve the entire property. Henry's mining adventures and most of the mills are no longer - Alberta being owned by Michigan Tech University now and the buildings still stand pretty much as they did in 1935. A little south on M-95 past Iron Mountain you come to Kingsford- home of the famous charcoal briquettes that were made from burnt wood the used in ovens. Again, testimonial to the fact that Henry wasted nothing! The FORD logo sits on the west bank of the mill pond/lake across US-41 from the mill and, yes, those are snowflakes you see falling and on the ground. We ran into 4" of snow as we got into Marquette, but snow is not unusual for the UP. I was once at a Fouth-Of-July parade in Calumet and it was cold and rainy. The rain turned to slushy snow! True story. Note the picture of the window of the mill and the size of the saw blades inside. OSHA shut down the mill in the 80's but tours are still given in the summer. Enjoy...

    Tim Daley(MI)

    *9N653I* & *8NI55I3*

    Keith    Posted 07-18-2012 at 11:19:32 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Tim, I know this was started awhile ago, thanks for the pics and info. Around 1972 or so I worked with an older gentlemen, Fred who at one time worked for Ford Motor in Detroit. He and his dad both worked in maintence there and got to know Henry somewhat on a prefessional basis. He said Henry would walk the grounds and plants looking for ways to improve allmost everythng going on. One day he came in the plant and questioned why so much black smoke was coming out of the furnace stacks (chimneys). He told the maintenance crew to look into it and get back to him on it. (This was in the days long before the EPA was even thought of). Henry went on to say that if there was black smoke coming out of the stacks then the fuel used in the furnces was not burning properly which meant there was waste going up the stacks and that could not stand. Another thing he told me was that the spokes and other wood items of the early auto's were built "Up North" and that Henry had the crates and pallets to ship these items built to a certain spec so that when they reached the assembly plant they could be broke down and used for floor and running board and other items not so critical in appearance to be used in the manufacture of his automobiles and trucks. There was a movie made several years ago on Henry Ford called "Ford, a man and his machine". Not the most flattering at times but a good movie just the same.

    Mary    Posted 08-17-2010 at 19:30:20 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Tim. where can I get those book about Henry Ford.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 09-07-2010 at 07:58:47 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Hi Mary-
    You can check out your local libray to start. Find the books you enjoy the most and if you want to add them to your own home libray, you can order them online at places like Barnes & Noble or Amazon. These places often have used copies too where you just buy direct from the seller. Also you can find good used copies on eBay, often for a few dollars. If you need more help contact me.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Steve N Mi    Posted 05-27-2010 at 13:37:42 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Thanks Tim for bringing back some great memories. I graduated from Michigan Tech in 71' and drove that stretch many times while in college and both before and after as a camper/fisherman. Having restored some Model A Fords I'm familiar with the Oak and Ash wood products Henry used. Lots of history for sure. Do you have any tidbits on the soybean plastics used in the Fords, most notably some shift knobs but I think other parts as well. Front mount distributor caps and coil housings??? Seems I sort of remember that Ford raise the soybeans used for these items but I could be wrong - I'm not at all fond of this fuzzy memory I have acquired. Does anybody know for sure about the beans?

    Steve N Mi    Posted 05-27-2010 at 14:21:34 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • A search of Henry Ford and soybeans gives some insight. There is more to study.

    Tim, sorry for the new direction this may be taking but somebody had to raise those beans (here in Michigan I think) and it may have been Ford tractors that did the cultivating etc.. I think there may have been Ford N tractors at the lumber camps after 39'.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 06-05-2010 at 10:08:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Hi Steve-
    The Ford soya bean projects were done at his Fairlane farms and his Georgia testing farms. He was ahead of his time for sure. He even had a car (body) built from soybean polymers and demonstrated its toughness by swinging a sledge hammer into it without so much as a dent. Henry also had a suit made from soybeans and wore it often. The process became too expensive when other plastics began to surface so the project was eventually scrapped. It is amazing that this one man and his ideas, often spurred on by Thomas Edison and his camping buddies, made the greatest impact in the early to mid 20th Century for the betterment of all mankind.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Steve N Mi    Posted 05-27-2010 at 14:40:31 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Parts from OIL–FREE SOY MEAL in the posted link is what I vaugly remembered.

    Soy oil - Foundry Sand Cores


    Molded Parts
    Horn Buttons
    Gear Shift Knobs
    Distributor Parts
    Light Switch Assembly
    Timing Gears
    Glues and Adhesives
    Water Paints
    Core Bonds
    Plywood Glues

    Jim.UT    Posted 05-22-2010 at 13:49:06 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • Cool stuff! There are definitely parts of the country I need to explore that I haven't been able to yet.

    carl jimz    Posted 05-06-2010 at 12:26:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Henry Ford's Sawmills & Mines
  • I really enjoyed these pictures. Thanks for sharing the information.

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