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Assembly Line

Woodrow Wilson

Assembly Line: Woodrow Wilson was the 28th American President who served in office from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. One of the important events during his presidency was the introduction of the Assembly Line in manufacturing in 1913.

Definition and Summary of the Assembly Line
Summary and definition:
The Assembly Line as first fully adopted by Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) in 1913 when he installed the first moving assembly line at his factory in Michigan. The Ford Model T was produced on an assembly line with completely interchangeable parts.

The Ford Model T assembly line was a manufacturing process in which machines, equipment, and workers were positioned in a logical order so that work passed from one operation to the next, in a direct line, until the final product, the Ford Model T automobile, was assembled. The Ford assembly line process reduced the production time of a Model T automobile from 12 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour 33 minutes.

Assembly Line Facts for kids: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Assembly Line.

Who invented the Assembly Line? The Assembly Line and its basic concept is credited to Ransom E. Olds (1864 1950) who manufactured the Oldsmobile and REO brands. The 1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced automobile.

When did Henry Ford adopt the Assembly Line? The Henry Ford assembly line came into operation in the fall of 1913 at the Model T Automobile factory in Highland Park, Michigan

What led to the Assembly Line Production? Henry Ford began looking for ways to speed up the manufacturing process of the Model T car and introduced the assembly line method.

What were the advantages of Assembly Line production? The advantages of the Ford Assembly Line was that the process reduced the production time of a Model T car from 12 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour 33 minutes.

Facts about Assembly Line
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Assembly Line.

The  basic concept of the assembly line is credited to Ransom E. Olds (1864 1950) who manufactured the Oldsmobile and REO brands. The 1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced automobile.

The first Ford Model T left the Ford Motor Company factory, in Detroit, Michigan, on September 27, 1908. The Ford Model T automobile had become so popular that cars was selling faster than the company could make them.

The cost of making cars was expensive and only the wealthy could buy cars. Henry Ford wanted to access a far greater market and sell to the ordinary 'man in the street', but to do this he had to find a way to dramatically reduce costs.

Henry Ford  began looking for the best ways to speed up and scale up the manufacturing process and decided to introduce the assembly line method of production, aimed at producing just one make of car but in massive quantities.

Ford wanted to lower prices to make his automobile accessible to everyone. His revolutionary business philosophy shocked his shareholders, who were happy at maintaining business at its current scale. His competitors and the press thought he was crazy.

Henry Ford  consulted with Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 1915), an American mechanical engineer who specialized in improving industrial efficiency, to assess the most efficient methods of production. Frederick Taylor was one of the foremost intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement

Henry Ford developed the moving assembly line technique, pioneered by Ransom E. Olds, and applied it to the mass production of his Model T automobiles.

In 1910 Henry Ford began the construction of a new plant in Highland Park, Michigan. The plant was completed and fully operational by December 1, 1913 and featured a multi-storey production line.

The objective of the continuously moving assembly line was to divide operations into simple tasks that could be completed by unskilled workers and cut unnecessary movement to a minimum

It took 84 steps to assemble the Model T car, affectionately known as the 'Tin Lizzie'.

The Ford Model T was different to the other automobiles that were built at the time because it featured interchangeable parts.

Every Model T produced used exactly the same valves, tires, gas tanks, tires, etc. which made them easy to  assemble in a speedy and organized fashion.

Henry Ford tested various assembly methods to optimize the procedures before permanently installing the new equipment.

Ford's Highland Park factory in Michigan operated the first moving, mass production automobile assembly line in the world. It began operation on December 1, 1913.

The interchangeable parts were created in mass quantities and then brought directly to the workers who were trained to work at that specific assembly station. Each worker became highly efficient and quickly completed his specific task.

The continuously moving assembly line was positioned at waist level to reduce the possibility of back strain.

Machines, parts, equipment, and workers were efficiently positioned so that work passed quickly from one operation to the next, in a direct line

The chassis of the automobile was pulled down the 150-foot line by a chain conveyor and then 140 workers applied their assigned parts to the chassis.

The tires of the automobiles were assembled on the top level of the multi-storey system and delivered downstairs using chutes.

Engines and gas tanks were assembled and delivered to the chassis sub-assembly.

The car bodies were assembled and dropped on to the separately assembled chassis with a pully

The mass production technique, using the assembly-line method, significantly increased production and reduced prices

In 1914 Henry Ford reduced costs further by using black paint on the Model T automobiles. The black paint color also dried the fastest - speeding up production. It was then he famously said, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants - so long as it is black!"

The Ford Model T was eventually manufactured in nine different body styles, including the coupe, roadster, the runabout and the town car.  They were all built with the same engine and essentially the same chassis.

Prior to the introduction of the mass production assembly line it took 728 minutes to assemble a complete chassis (car frame). After its introduction it only took 93 minutes to build the Ford Model T chassis

In 1914 the Ford Motor Company produced 308,162 cars - more than all of the other automobile manufacturers combined.

In 1908 the cost of the Ford Model T was $850. By 1924 the cost of the car had dropped to $295. Henry Ford sold millions of his cars - just as he had planned to do. His belief in using the assembly line method had made it all possible

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition
Henry Ford and the Model T
Consumerism in 1920's America

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