In the Bentley’s state-of-the-art conservation lab, Bentley archivist Ann Ringia is working on a map that, if stood on end, would be taller than Ann herself. “Flow Line Traverse at Ypsilanti, Michigan” shows a meandering Huron River and meticulously hand-written survey data points. The first version of the map was drawn before 1926 by the Ford Motor Company’s Engineering Department, possibly to help scout locations for dams, which the company built along the river for power beginning in the 20th century. The version at the Bentley is a revision of the original: a 1951Thermo-Fax, which is a type of print that relies on heat.
Scotch tape was holding together sections of the map, and the edges were in need of reinforcing. Using a material called Crompton tissue to heal the tears, Ringia is readying the map to be scanned and processed, and made available to the public through the Bentley collections.