Who Invented the Assembly Line?

Who Invented the Assembly Line?

An assembly line refers to a special and efficient manufacturing process that was invented to promote the addition of parts of a certain product in a sequential and organized manner. Most capitalists and financiers use this process because it is faster and more effective than the typical handcrafting-type methods. However, sociologists oppose the implementation of this process in factories because it promotes boredom and social alienation. Before assessing the effects of this manufacturing process, it is best to look at the history behind the invention of the assembly line.

Historical Background

Who invented the assembly line? The manufacturing process was invented by Ransom E. Olds in 1901. He invented the process as a response to the improving demands for horseless carriages at this time. When he implemented the process in his factory, he was able to enhance the production of the factory to 425 cars in 1901 and 2,500 the following year.

The process was popularized by Ford Motor Company in 1908. The company implemented the technique for the production of Ford Model T. The firm found the process more cost efficient since it uses machines to help in the production of the automobile. In addition to this, the company also found that the occurrence of industrial accidents were lessened since it implemented the process because workers specialized in a particular task.

Additional Information and Other Important Details

The main purpose for implementing the assembly line is to make the production of a particular product faster. In the case of Ford Motor Company, it can produced three to five automobiles in an hour with the use of this concept. In order to understand the benefits from the process, let us compare the production rate of an automobile company that does not use the technique and another firm that uses the process.

For a company that does not implement the assembly line, there will only be one station for engine installation, hood installation and wheels installation. If three cars will be produced without the use of the technique, the production rate will be less. If the installation of the engine takes 15 minutes while the installation of wheels and hood are 10 minutes each, then the production time for the three cars will be 105 minutes.

However, for a firm that implements the assembly line, the production of all the three cars is less. This is because there will be one station for hood installation, a separate station for wheels installation and another station for engine installation.

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2 Responses to “Who Invented the Assembly Line?”

  1. Randy Franks says:

    This article is not correct. The inventor of the assembly line was a man named Henry Leland. He started both the Cadillac Car Co., sold to GM and later the Lincoln Car Co., which he sold to Ford He was the early engine builder for most of Detroit. The prerequisite to the development of the assembly line was precision manufacturing. This was not present with the early auto makers, most of which were from the carraige builder trade, and used the technique of file and fit. File and fit would not allow for the quick and accurate assembly of parts onto an auto frame. Henry Leland was trained in precision engineering based manufacturing with Brown and Sharp’s small electrical apparatus in New England and moved to the Detroit area to make outboard motors for use on the Great Lakes. When the demand for cars took off, he converted to engines for the carrage builders to utilize in their car models. Only with precision parts manufacturing is anything like an assembly line process possible. The first utilization of an assembly line was for the production of the subassembly of generators by Henry Leland’s engine building company. It was recorder that Henry Ford did visit this production operation assembly line. Over the years, I have seen credit for the invention of the assembly line given to Henry Ford, and William Durant, who assembled General Motors. All of this information I am recalling from over 30 years ago when I did a paper on Henry Leland, with my major source being the multiple volumes of the History of Technology. Early statements like, Henry Ford utilized the assembly line to produce an affordable car were accuruate, but morfed over time to say that he invented the assembly line, which was just not true. Henry Ford has ample credits in the early formation of the automobile business and does not need, or would want, those which are due someone else. Olds was way downstream. Thanks

  2. Mark Gade says:

    Henry Ford formed his second company, the Henry Ford Company at 1363 Cass Avenue, Detroit, in 1901; it was discontinued the following year only to be re-established in 1902 by Henry Leland and William Metzger as the Cadillac Motor Car Comany. And although Ford would refine it, Olds created the auto assembly line in 1901, at Concord and Jefferson Aves, Detroit, in the first factory built specifically for auto production in the US.
    But as far as the interchangeable parts in assembly goes, in 1795 at Harper’s Ferry WV, site of second US Armory and Arsenal, the model 1795 flintlock musket was built following the 1763 French pattern. In March 1803, under the orders of Secretary of War Henry Dearborn, Meriwether Lewis received 15 Model 1803 .54 caliber rifles, the first mass produced flintlock by any armory in the world for his transcontinental expedition with Clark. In 1819, Capt. John H Hall, superintendent of armory, introduced “interchangeability” with the M1819 ‘breech loading’ model, producing a rifle in 40 hours, instead of 400 hours, and included a gauging system to maintain accuracy.