The Model T
Moving Assembly Line
By Emily Robinson
Henry Ford was the founder of the Ford motor, and invented the moving assembly line. He then used the assembly line to manufacture cars. Over his years running his business he earned a great amount of money, and was worth 188.1 billion as of 2008. Henry Ford’s inventions impacted the people of the U.S, his workers, and he even impacted other manufacturing companies to come. When Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903, he wanted to “build a car for the great multitude.” Until he began making cars, cars were very expensive, and only for the wealthy. In 1906 Henry Ford started to plan the Model T. He went to a race track and observed the wreckage from one of the French race cars. He learned that these cars were made of a different type of steel than all of the cars that were currently being made in the United States. These cars were made of an vanadium alloy. This alloy was almost three times stronger than the alloy that was used in the cars in America. Henry Ford ran into a problem though. No one in America knew how to make this type of alloy, so he set up a steel mill to produce this new alloy. In 1908 he introduced the Model T for $950. In 1909 the price of the car was $825. In the first year of production Henry Ford sold 10,000 Model T’s. This was more than any other automobile model before.Eventually, the price dipped down to as low as $280. Almost 15,500,000 Model T’s were sold in the United States. Henry Ford also revolutionized manufacturing. He wanted to find a more efficient way to make cars, so that they could continue to lower the price. He went and observed they things that other companies were doing at the time. He came up with four different principles to make manufacturing more efficient. These principles were interchangeable parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and reducing wasted effort. To make the parts interchangeable he improved the cutting tools and some of the other machinery. In late 1913 he started using the assembly line in his manufacturing. He broke down the process of making the Model T into 84 individual steps. This allowed the factory workers to be able to do one thing well instead of having to be
able to make an entire car. This process was much faster, and was more efficient. It decreased production time by almost 13%. It only took 93 minutes to make a chassis with the assembly line whereas before it took 728 minutes. Henry Ford also impacted his employees. When he made the parts of his vehicles interchangeable he didn’t need the high skilled workers that made all of the parts by hand. He was able to hire lower skilled workers, who were not able to find jobs as easily elsewhere. Seeing how they were able to make cars so much faster, he was able to pay his employees even more. The minimum wage for his employees went from $2.34 an hour to $5 an hour. This was twice as much as what most manufacturing companies paid their employee. Seeing how he paid his employees so much more they were also able to buy cars. This was good for Henry Ford, because his employees were buying Model T’s. The amount of hours his employees had to work also decreased. They went from working nine hours a day to eight hours a day. Henry Ford changed the way that cars were manufactured and sold. He changed the way that companies would manufacture their products. He had a huge impact on the motor industry, industries to come that would use the assembly line, and his employees.
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