Henry Ford's Assembly Line
While Henry Ford is often credited for creating the assembly line, he did not. He merely improved and innovated on it. He found the idea for the assembly line from another Michigan based automobile company run by Ransom Olds1. In much the same way he is thought to be the inventor of the automobile; he is thought of to be the inventor of the assembly line. While not the creator of either, he is the perfecter of it for the early twentith century.
While Ransom Old’s assembly line was broken down by process, Ford introduced his assembly line to the twentieth century. He did this by introducing conveyor belts to his assembly line1. This allowed his employees to not have to leave their area to carry parts from their work area to another. Instead, they could be stationed in an ergonomically comfortable position to relief pressure from the heavy lifting and luging of parts.
His conveyor belt system was put into motion in December 1st of 1913 in his Detroit manufacturing plant2. Fully mechanized, or partially mechanized, assembly lines allowed Ford to offer a vehicle for a working family. One of his goals was to have a car that every family could own.
The car that every family would soon come to own was the Model T. His manufacturing plants would go on to produce over 15 million Model Ts and this is due almost entirely to his assembly line3. In order to achieve a production of the Model T at such a high rate, he needed to break down the process of assembling the car to make it as efficient as possible to produce. While still being financially accessible.
To do all this Ford went on to break down the building and engineering of his famous Model T into 84 unique steps that would be assigned on the line4. Not only did he want to build his Model T as efficiently as possible, he also wanted to learn while they were building the vehicle. In order to build the car in the most sound and practical way, he hired the help of Motion Study expert, Fredrick Taylor4. Now a sound and practical approach when designing an assembly line, was unhear of when he implemented it. Once again showing the fortitude and insight that can be found in science for his company.
1. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://robohub.org/the-evolution-of-assembly-lines-a-brief-history/.
2. Ford's assembly line starts rolling. (2009, November 13). Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fords-assembly-line-starts-rolling.
3. History.com Editors. (2010, April 26). Model T. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/model-t.
4. Ford's assembly line starts rolling. (2009, November 13). Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fords-assembly-line-starts-rolling.