The Production Assembly Line

From the doctrines of Taylor and the Gilbreths, there followed rapid developments in machinery and technology and with the improvement of materials came the moving assembly line. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the internal combustion engine was invented, leading to the development of the motor car. There was a move towards streamlining production, and the first assembly line method of manufacture can probably be attributed to the mail order factory of Sears and Roebuck of America.


More famous was Henry Ford. His car factory in the United States is the best example of the change to modern assembly-line techniques. Before the ‘line’ was set up each car chassis was assembled by one man, taking a time of about twelve and a half hours. Eight months later with standardization and division of labor the total labor time had been reduced to just ninety-three minutes per car. (It is interesting to note that the idea of assembly line came to him when he was watching a moving conveyor of carcasses in a Chicago slaughterhouse. A similar creative innovation to Gutenberg’s conception of the printing press.

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