The automotive plant is the first thing many people think of when they hear “assembly line.” Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company is often credited with inventing the assembly line.
There’s some dispute, however, as to whether or not Henry Ford invented the automotive assembly line.
Early car assembly line to illustrate how Ford and others built early cars.
An Early Automotive Assembly Line-
In reality, many manufacturers were experimenting with assembly line systems in the 20th century. Indeed, Ransom Olds–an early innovator in the automotive industry–is credited with inventing the first automotive assembly line system.
Consensus among historians seems to be that while Ford Wasn’t first, he did do more to advance the assembly line than his contemporaries. Ford set ambitions production goals, set faster production rates than his peers, and made a science of assembly line design and line balancing.
On Ford’s assembly lines, an empty chassis became a complete car in a matter of hours, not days.
This precedent was quickly imitated and improved by competitors, leading to a rapid evolution in manufacturing processes.
By mid-century, millions of cars rolled of Ford assembly lines, paving the way for America’s auto-first transportation culture.
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