Ford Motor Company is making a massive collection of archives available online, for free. The collection spans from 1903 when the company was founded, up to 2003, its centennial year. They worked with local graduate students, Ford employees and retirees to accomplish the big undertaking and will continue to grow the available database that will continue to be the Ford Heritage Vault.
The company is making more than 5,000 photos, and brochures of Ford and Lincoln vehicles available for download for personal use on their website Fordheritagevault.com. The company wants to make it easy to access their history as an auto manufacturer, and give enthusiasts the ability to search through the archives at a moment’s notice. Ford archive and heritage brand manager, Ted Ryan said in a press release that “we’re (Ford) opening up in a way we’ve never done before” and he goes on to divulge, “This is just a first step for all that will come in the future.”
What you’ll find online today is the culmination of work started two years ago by the archive team. Based on downloads, it appears the team scanned each individual page to digitize the hard copy collection kept by Ford.The collection was piloted to gauge interest and appealed to both casual browsers and die hard enthusiasts alike. One Ford employee was brought to tears by some of the historical pictures. Out of the group that tested the website, the highest searched models were the Ford Bronco and the F-series, not surprising as the company has reintroduced the Bronco and electrified the F-150. Other popular searches were for the Galaxie, Fairlane, Model A and Edsel.
The online archives have also been created with compatibility with assistive technology that are currently being used by the visually impaired so that any and everyone may take advantage.