Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without the modern assembly line. And anyone who studied history in an American school knows that Henry Ford had something to do with that. No, Ford didn’t invent the automobile, and he didn’t exactly invent the assembly line, but he did revolutionize the way the assembly line was used in big industry. The Model T tends to get so much credit that is may seem like some mythical legend, but many of those accolades, including the way it was manufactured, were well-deserved.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of little sub-stations putting all of these components, big and small, together to form one part of the car or another. And then somehow, after all the panels are painted separately, all the options and components arrive in different crates, and all the wheels and tires roll down from some magic place where wheels and tires are born, everything comes together to form a complete car.
But as hard as that seems, conditions were much worse as you turn back the calendar. I have a book called Ford at Fifty: An American Story. My uncle gave it to me when I was a kid, but it was actually printed in 1953. It shows pictures of the coke metal foundry, which they refer to as a “man’s kitchen,” as well as shots from the metal stamping areas and assembly lines.
Or, for a little better version of the slideshow, click this link.