Henry Ford Sycamore

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Henry Ford Sycamore

Parent tree location: Dearborn, Michigan

Distance from MOSI to parent tree: 987 miles


Pioneer of the assembly line, Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry in the United States by creating a production line that would cost effectively produce vehicles that could be sold at lower costs to the middle class. Ford motor Company released the Model T for $950 in 1908. In the Model T's nineteen years of production, its price dipped as low as $280. Ford doubled wages offered by other manufactures and reduced the average workday to 8 hours in length, instating a three-shift workday which could produce a completed vehicle chassis in just 93 minutes.


Ford's affordable Model T irrevocably altered American society. As more Americans owned cars, urbanization patterns changed. The United States saw the growth of suburbia, the creation of a national highway system, and a population entranced with the possibility of going anywhere anytime. At Henry Ford’s Dearborn estate, this sycamore’s parent stands in Jensen's Meadow. 


Did You Know?

Thomas Alva Edison bought property beside the Caloosahatchee River in southwestern Florida in 1885 where he had a winter home constructed. Henry Ford bought the adjoining property in 1916 and used the house named “The Mangoes” as a winter retreat. To combat the rising price of rubber for car tires, Edison and Ford combined efforts at their Florida estates to research latex-producing plants that could be grown in North America. In Florida, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were next-door neighbors. Their estates have been combined and can be visited in Fort Myers, Florida.


Industrial Garden

When Henry Ford bought The Mangoes in Fort Myers as a winter home in 1916, he established a laboratory there dedicated to botanical research. He was attempting to find plant materials that could be used to produce rubber efficiently, as it was needed in huge quantities in his Model T factories. He found his answer in goldenrod, but his discovery was quickly overshadowed when rubber began to be manufactured from petroleum instead. This garden highlights the plants that produce latex, integral to the production of natural rubber, with many of the species planted inside stacks of recycled tires including: Goldenrod (Solidago spp.), Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina), Milkweed (Asclepias spp.), and Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusfolia)

Click here for more information on plants currently found in the Industrial Garden. 

 Artist: Holly Simon


Artist Statement: Drawing is my favorite way of expressing emotions. If I'm not reading or spending time with my family, I have a pen and paper in hand. I often sketch and doodle for hours until I discover something I want to elaborate on. I find most of my inspiration in everyday, ordinary objects. I enjoy the challenge of turning something ordinary into an interesting work of art. 


Artist Info: Holly Simon was born in Tampa, Florida in 1999. Ever since, she has had a passion for art. She enjoys drawing and comic art, but also dabbles in painting. Her favorite way to use her art is in making zines. She has designed t-shirts for her homeschool group and is working towards becoming an illustrator. 


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