Henry Ford's Moving Assembly Line Revolutionary innovation in automobile manufacturing

Imagine a country where there is only 140 miles of paved road, and 300 automobiles. Getting from place to place would not be so easy. This was America in 1893. Just 12 short decades ago.

In the first decade of the car there was limited demand because costs were too high for average Americans to afford. The process of production of automobiles was not well-managed and needed improvement for autos to become useful for mainstream consumers. As a result, auto manufacturers could not harness the potential of the "gasoline buggy". However, Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, was passionate about the automobile and saw its future. He tinkered with design concepts and manufacturing processes.

Henry Ford

Ford was the brilliant inventor and industrialist who founded the Ford Motor Company. He grew up on a farm in Michigan, but strongly disliked farm life. He was far more interested in the "clicks and whirs" of machinery. He moved to Detroit, the future home of the American auto industry, at the age of sixteen and began working in a machine shop. This is where the true story of the American auto industry began because soon after he began turning his ideas for building affordable, well-built cars into a reality.

Watch the video below to review key information about the invention of the automobile which the Duryea Brothers invented twenty years before Ford's moving assembly line.

In 1913, Henry Ford installs the first moving assembly line for the mass production of an entire automobile. His innovation reduced the time it took to build a car from more than 12 hours to two hours and 30 minutes.

Assembly line images from Ford's plant.

The impact of Ford's moving assembly line:

  • Cars were less expensive for consumers because of reduced production costs for factories
  • Standardized parts brought cost of building cars down
  • Working class Americans could afford an automobile
  • American tourism grew because people who owned cars began taking road trip vacations.
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