By on April 8, 2017

[Inmage: Ford Motor Company]

By now, you’ve probably read that Ford Motor Company has developed a crib that mimics a late-night car ride. You know, those journeys to nowhere fueled by nothing other than a desperate desire to shut your kid up for a few hours?

Yes, with Ford’s prototype crib, your bundle of joy will be rocked and jostled to sleep while you grab some much-needed shuteye. Your car never needs to leave the garage. Had my parents owned such a thing, it would have curtailed many nocturnal forays in a Lean Burn-equipped Plymouth Volaré that stalled when it reached a stop sign — at least, until the engine temperature rose.

There’s no need for compromised Slant Six engines when Mark Fields is doing the babysitting. You see, Ford’s Max Motor Dreams cot will record the vehicle movements and sounds of your go-to driving route and reproduce them in the comfort of your home. The company even claims that the German-designed cot might see production.

That’s great, but a crib isn’t a vehicle.

So, in light of this static, motorized cot (why didn’t Ford shape it like a Fox-body Mustang?), here are some neat Blue Oval products from yesteryear: one of which will kill you, another that killed one of its two operators, and a final product that could kill your entire neighborhood.

m1918-ford-3-ton-tank

Ford 3-Ton M1918

Following the United States’ 1917 entry into the mud and trenches of World War One, American forces needed a small, nimble tank to break through German lines. The powers that be in Washington quickly got Henry Ford on the line. Build us something, and quick, they said.

Ford’s answer was a two-man tank (tankette, really) powered by two Model T engines. While 45 horsepower in a three-ton vehicle doesn’t sound like the makings of an exhilarating ride, speed was not a big consideration in the grim stalemate of WWI. The M1918 could do 8 miles per hour and possessed a range of 34 miles.

More important than power was the vehicle’s armor and .30-06 machine gun. Though 15,000 were ordered, the subsequent Armistice meant that only 15 of these all-terrain, war-utility vehicles ever rolled off the line.

800px-ford_flivver_aircraft

Ford Flivver

Hailed by Henry Ford as the “Model T of the air,” the company’s attempt to build a one-seat aircraft for the working man met a sudden and violent end.

Produced in 1927, the Flivver was built at the request of Mr. Ford himself. Ol’ Henry wanted it to be small enough to fit in his office and, presumably, cheap enough for middle class men to add to their list of recreational toys. While the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Company had enjoyed instant success with its three-engined Trimotor airliner, top brass were not impressed by this collection of steel tubing, wood and fabric.

At Ford’s urging, development went ahead.

The company patriarch convinced Charles Lindbergh to take one of the three prototypes for a spin in 1927, and he reportedly hated the thing. Not dissuaded by that thumbs-down review, Ford, with the help of test pilot Harry Brooks, attempted to set a PR-friendly long-distance record for light aircraft.

Brooks, a friend of Ford, went down in the Ford Flivver off the coast of Melbourne, Florida on February 25, 1928, after suffering engine failure. His body was never found, and Ford scrapped the concept of an everyman’s airplane.

ford_nucleon

1958 Ford Nucleon

Man, the 1950s must have been a gas, gas, gas. Technological advancements aimed at making postwar American life even easier seemed to burst from the country’s scientific and manufacturing sectors like dandelions.

Compression ratios  — and displacements — were on the rise in Detroit, but Ford was thinking about a new type of engine. One that was inspired by a new form of power plant, powered by the same fuel found in Little Boy. Uranium!

Yes, the Ford Nucleon, which appeared only as a scale prototype, was Ford’s vision of a future in which everyone’s car was powered by a small nuclear reactor stored behind the passenger compartment. You’ll never have to buy gas again! (You will, however, have to dispose of that radioactive fuel every 5,000 miles.) The company envisioned the powerplant creating torque-producing steam in the same manner as a boiling water reactor.

Just imagine your car’s engine melting through the pavement on its way to China after suffering a water pump failure. Naturally, this concept went nowhere, saving the country from having herds of Chernobyls and Fukushimas coasting through rush hour traffic.

[Images: Ford Motor Company; Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)]

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24 Comments on “Ford Built a Crib, But Here are Some Cooler Blue Oval Inventions...”


  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    The crib is a good idea. Too many parents take their infants for a drive to calm them and put them to sleep. And neglecting to consider the downsides on themselves, their kids and everyone else of frivolous car operation. Now, how about a simulator that will similarly satisfy the complusion to drive that addicts so many adults.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      The best thing to cure a crying baby provided you know their needs are met (dry diaper, bottle, burped, etc) is let them cry. That might seem harsh on the surface but once a baby correlates crying with getting picked up and comforted it’s going to be a long road for both parent and child. Every child is different so being connected and knowing their individual needs is key.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        Sorry brandloyalty, that wasn’t intended as a direct comment toward you.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Mason, I took your comment as a constructive follow-on to mine, which is always appreciated.

          A problem babies have is that they are aware of their needs before they can express those needs verbally. There is a signing system that was developed for and can be taught to babies. Being able to communicate their needs makes it easier for them to reduce frustration and apparently has a bonus effect of speeding up learning language skills.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “once a baby correlates crying with getting picked up and comforted..”

        Hmmm… if I squall I get big, warm boobs…

        But wait, it’s 2017 so that wouldn’t necessarily mean Mom…

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        No plan ever survived contact with the enemy. Or as Mike Tyson put it so eloquently, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. I have no idea what your experience was but for me, several times of several hours in to “let them cry it out” the kid got to ride around in the car.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @mason,

        “Cry it out” is silly.

        First, an infant isn’t capable of being spoiled. Unlike a toddler they’re not connecting the two events mentally. They aren’t even aware of themselves as a distinct being yet.

        Secondly, you may not be aware that all of a child’s needs are met. A baby could have gas or some other form of pain, could feel hot/cold, etc. Crying is the sole mechanism of communication so it could mean literally anything. You’re not able to assess 100% of those needs accurately.

        Finally, its not a natural way to care for a baby. Modern society is only a few hundred years old. We’re essentially still evolved for the hunter/gatherer lifestyle where infants were constantly carried and nursing. For an infant with no life experience nature will always overpower nuture. Also consider the evidence: the reason a pacifier is effective, an infant’s disproportionately strong grip (atavistic ability that allowed the great ape infant we descended from to grab its mother’s fur).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I think I’ll take a drive and think about what you said. It is Sunday Morning right now, after all.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      It’s a great idea. I knew someone several years ago, that took their fussy infant out for a drive, to lull her to sleep (this was something she or her husband did frequently). She was killed that night, when someone crossed the center stripe to avoid rear-ending another driver, and instead, hit her Toyota Echo head-on. The baby was unharmed, and is in junior high today. Rest in peace, Stephanie.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I was lulled to sleep as a babe in a ’53 Ford flathead sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      When I was a toddler I wanted to be like the folks and have some wine with dinner. Thinking ‘What the hell,’ but failing to calibrate for the differing body weights, they gave me a full, regular-size glass of wine. Of course, I got snockered, and they spent the rest of the night driving me around town trying to sober me up (might explain a few things).

  • avatar
    Joss

    Is the idea Ford motion crib to grave?

    As for the M918 at least the gun is center front. Not mounted on the sides. Have you ever seen a German WW1 tank? Looked like an armoured garden shed. I believe the Aussies captured one and it’s in a museum down under.

    Polson Iron Works, a long defunct shipbuilder made an all metal biplane powered by a tractor engine around 1917. Don’t know how well it flew or what became of it.

    Back to Ford. It could be better run and more successful. Too much internal bickering clogging the artery of capitalist goal.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “Is the idea Ford motion crib to grave?”

      Sounds good to me.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      “… Too much internal bickering clogging the artery of capitalist goal.”

      Thought Mulally supposedly put a stop to that? They’ve been building some pretty awesome vehicles–yeah, I’m biased, dad used to work for Ford–since then (Raptor, Fi/FoST, Mustang, GT).

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The basic nature of a bureaucracy can be subdued for a time, but not defeated. For basic change, it must be torn down and rebuilt. Since all bureaucracies degrade over time, the process must be repeated periodically.

        The market used to perform that function with short, but deep recessions and massive layoffs. That had the effect of scattering bureaucrats and forcing them to adapt. Now the Fed and keynesian economists have short-circuited that process, causing bureaucracies to fester and degrade to lower levels of ossification previously thought impossible to reach.

        Now, the few executives who realize the problem and can subdue the bureacracy for a time, like Mulally, are hailed as geniuses. They’re just buying time for their companies, but the solution, periodic mass layoffs of upper and middle management, isn’t possible today. The bottom line seems to be, don’t let anybody at any level get too comfortable.

  • avatar
    brn

    Not to forget some awesome tractors. It used to be you couldn’t throw a stick without hitting an 8000 series Ford.

    Then Fiat bought them and….

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    If this didn’t cost a zillion dollars, as I am sure it would if was to ever be sold commercially, I’d get one. I don’t take my son (he’s two-months-old) for late night drives to lull him to sleep because I’m too sleepy myself and I’m afraid I’ll wreck. But, the car does put him to sleep during the day.

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