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Henry Ford Why Henry Ford Is Important He revolutionized production by implementing the moving assembly line In doing so he made a car for the masses: the Model T “I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessings of hours of pleasure in God’s greatest open spaces.” --Henry Ford upon founding Ford Motor Company c. 1903 Background Born July 30, 1863 Loved tinkering with things as a kid Idol was Thomas Edison Did not go to college Married Clara Bryant in 1888 Died April 7, 1947 Assembly Line Basics Basic principle: the work moves and the workers stay putIt is based on a division of labor and specialization: many people work on a product and each person does a small task at a stationParts must be standardized (interchangeable)When a product reaches the end of the line it has gone through every station and is now a finished productThis is an old idea: perhaps used by Egyptians building pyramids, famous example of “pin factory” in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (published 1776) Moving Assembly Line (Idea) Ford’s innovation was not the assembly line, but the MOVING assembly lineIdea of the moving assembly line is typically credited to a trip Ford employees made to the Swift meatpacking plant in Chicago, where they saw pigs being conveyed through a “disassembly” line of stations“Why don’t we assemble motors like they kill hogs in Chicago?” -- C. Harold Wills, Chief Engineering Assistant, Ford Motor Company, 1912 Moving Assembly Line Implementation First moving assembly line at Ford Motor Co. produced magneto coils Later, entire vehicles were assembled at Highland Park plant, beginning in 1913 Moving assembly line was so efficient that Ford could only use type of paint (one that would dry fast enough), which only came in black Assembly Line Efficiency One man hour with moving assembly line equaled four man hours without moving assembly line Though it had 1,500 parts, one Model T could be assembled every three minutes Made it possible for Ford to make lots of cars much more cheaply Model T Facts Predated the moving assembly line at FordFirst introduced September 27, 1908Was $850 when introducedWas produced until 1927Was the bestselling car for 20 yearsNicknamed the “Tin Lizzie” Model T Cost: Pre- and Post-Moving Assembly Line 1908 - $850 1913 - $850 (pre-) 1915 - $440 (post-) 1916 - $360 1924 - $290 A Ford worker could buy a Model T with four months of wage Model T Innovations Had the steering wheel on the left Engine and transmission were entirely enclosed Cylinders were in a block Suspension use two semi-elliptic springs Model T Features Had a top Had a windshield Had a speedometer Had headlamps Had a generator for the headlamps Engine was front mounted Model T Features (cont.) Had a 2.9L engine Engine had 4 cylinders Had 20 horsepower Tank held 10 gallons Had rear wheel drive Top speed was 40-45 miles/hour Got 13-21 miles/gallon Ran on gas or ethanol Fordism Henry Ford’s success implementing the moving assembly line at Ford Motor Co. became a model for production generally.This style of production became known as “Fordism” and spread throughout different industries and the world. Significance of the Automobile By making the “horseless carriage” available to the average person, Henry Ford transformed American society (arguably) more than any other person in the 20th century80% of all U.S. households own at least one car and 30% own at least 280% of all U.S. vacations are by carAmericans drive 2.66 trillion miles per yearAlso, makes suburbanization, fast food, and strip shopping malls possibleRepresents freedom and individuality – core American values Sources