Editor's Note: Each Thursday, @Ford Online takes a look back at Ford heritage moments from the company's past.
Milestone: A Woman Elected to Ford's Board of Directors
On March 11, 1976, Marian S. Heiskell, an executive at the New York Times Company, became the first woman elected to the Ford Motor Company board of directors who was not a Ford family member (Edsel Ford's wife, Eleanor, served a term from 1943-44, following the death of her husband).
Heiskell served on Ford's board for 13 years.
She was well known for her extensive business experience and her leadership in many public and philanthropic activities. Her father was Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher and chairman of The New York Times, where she also served on the board of directors.
Ford Dedicates New Industry-First Sites for Safety and Service Research
On March 8, 1967, Ford dedicated its new Automotive Safety Research Center and Service Research Center, as part of the vast Research and Engineering complex in Dearborn, Mich. The two centers working jointly to provide safer and more reliable transportation was considered an industry first.
At the time, the research facilities were envisioned to help attack two of the automotive industry’s biggest concerns – vehicle safety and service.
The multi-million dollar Auto Safety Research Center was the world's first facility devoted exclusively to automotive safety research.
Priority research objectives at the safety research center included an emphasis on the human factor in safety research, to which Ford President Arjay Miller said at the time, "We are deeply concerned with all facets of highway safety and are heavily committed to extensive, long-term research in this field. We have on our own initiative, pushed forward in the search for better ways to reduce driving hazards."
Additionally, the Service Research Center, which cost more than $2 million to build and was the only center of its kind, had the goal of "adapting space-age technology to car and truck service."
The site had the most modern diagnostic equipment available in 1967, in both the lane and bay arrangements, which Ford recommended for installation by its dealers. The equipment was used to experimentally develop better testing devices and service techniques as well as develop and evaluate new test devices to identify quickly the causes of car and truck malfunctions for which no test procedures existed.