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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Transportation ➔ Ford Hubcap

This Ford hubcap is made of brass and has an octagonal front with the Ford Trademark on the front. 

The first hubcaps were built for function over fashion. Early vehicles had wooden spoke wheels that connected the outer steel rim to the center hub, holding the bearing. Engineers needed a cover for this central part so designers rolled out a small brass cap for the hub. Cadillac shifted the focus to style in 1934 when carmakers completely covered the now wire spokes with a stainless steel disc. These transitioned into full-sized “wheel covers” that quickly became a symbol of cruising in style. In fact, so many Cadillac wheel covers were stolen in the 1940s and 50s that the practice became known as “hub capping.” Today, hubcaps provide both purpose and personality.

1927 – 1930
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Gift Of Ralph Grooters

Discovery Cart: A is for Autos (February 4 2020)
Discovery Carts connect visitors to Museum exhibits through hands-on exploration of objects in the Collection. Knowledgeable Discovery Cart facilitators engage guests with interactive activities and discussion questions during GRPM's open hours.
[Discovery carts are offered on a rotating schedule depending on facilitator availability]

Virtual Discovery Kit: A is for Autos (April 2020)
Automobiles take us places, from school, to work, to leisure. Learn about the history of cars, Michigan’s impact in the automobile industry, traveling and what draws people to own and drive cars.
Ford Motor Company
The Ford Motor Company of Detroit was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford and sold the first Ford Model A on July 23rd. By October 1, 1903, the corporation had already turned a profit of $37,000, propelling the business into an industry leader. Even now, Henry Ford is still known for bringing the integrated moving assembly line to auto manufacturing in 1913, accelerating the speed of production from 12.5 hours to 1.5, greatly lowering the cost. For the past 100 years, Ford Motor Company has rolled out patrol boats, armored tanks, and ambulances for the war efforts, as well as airplanes, pick-up trucks, and muscle cars.

Ralph Grooters
Ralph Grooters was the son of Embert Grooters and Ruth A. Priest Grooters. Along with his brothers, he worked at Grooters Machine Shop, opened by his father. He had a passion for automobiles, illustrated by his membership in the Grand A's, a Grand Rapids chapter of the Model A Restorers Club. Ralph donated a large collection of automobile parts to the Museum. Although his passion appears to have been for Model A's, the majority of auto parts he donated are from Model T's, Ford's predecessor to the A.