The Ford Model-T, TheAssembly Line, & The Failure of Fordlandia By: Elizabeth Bigley
Research Question• How did the Ford Model-T revolutionize America’s thoughts about transportation and technology?
The Assembly Line http://www.johndclare.net/America4.htm
Background• The assembly line developed by Ford Motor Company between 1908 and 1915 – Made assembly lines famous in the following decade through the social ramifications of mass production, such as the affordability of the Ford Model T and the introduction of high wages for Ford workers.• Henry Ford was the first to master the assembly line and was able to improve other aspects of industry by doing so – such as reducing labor hours required to produce a single vehicle, and increased production numbers and parts
General Info • In introducing the Model T in October 1908, Henry Ford proclaimed, "I will build a motor car for the great multitude." Before then, the decade-old automobile industry generally marketed its vehicles to only the richest Americans, because of the high cost of producing the machines. Fords Model T was the first automobile designed to serve the needs of middle-class citizens: It was durable, economical, and easy to operate and maintain. Still, with a debut price of $850, the Model T was out of the reach of most Americans. The Ford Motor Company understood that to lower unit cost it had to increase productivity. The method by which this was accomplished transformed industry forever.
General Info • Prototypes of the assembly line can be traced back to ancient times, but the immediate precursor of Fords industrial technique was 19th-century meat-packing plants in Chicago and Cincinnati, where cows and hogs were slaughtered, dressed, and packed using overhead trolleys that took the meat from worker to worker. Inspired by the meat packers, the Ford Motor Company innovated new assembly line techniques and in early 1913 installed its first moving assembly line at Highland Park for the manufacture of flywheel magnetos. Instead of each worker assembling his own magneto, the assembly was divided into 29 operations performed by 29 men spaced along a moving belt. Average assembly time dropped from 20 minutes to 13 minutes and soon was down to five minutes.
Confused History • In order to keep up with the increasing demand for those newfangled contraptions, horseless carriages, Ransom E. Olds created the assembly line in 1901. The new approach to putting together automobiles enabled him to more than quadruple his factory’s output, from 425 cars in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902. • Olds should have become known as "The father of automotive assembly line," although many people think that it was Henry Ford who invented the assembly line. What Ford did do was to improve upon Olds’ idea by installing conveyor belts. That cut the time of manufacturing a Model T from a day and a half to a mere ninety minutes. Henry Ford should been called "The father of automotive mass production."
The Ford Model-T http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T
Background of The Ford Model-T• The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan.• Informally known as the Tin Lizzie, Flivver, T-Model Ford, or T• Internal Combustion Engine• Rudimentary steam-powered automobiles were invented near the end of the 18th century, but it was not until the invention of the internal combustion engine in 1889 that the technology improved enough to replace traditional horse-drawn carriages. Henry Ford revolutionized the production of the automobile and made it affordable to the masses.
Cost• The standard 4-seat open-tourer of 1909 cost $850 (equivalent to $20,709 today), when competing cars often cost $2,000–$3,000 (equivalent to $48,726–$73,089 today)• In 1913, the price dropped to $550 (equivalent to $12,181 today)• And $440 in 1915 (equivalent to $9,521 today).• In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months pay.• By the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290 (equivalent to $3,289 today) – Because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume. – Henry employed vertical integration of the industries needed to create his cars.
Sales• Sales were: – 69,762 in 1911 – 170,211 in 1912 – 202,667 in 1913 – 308,162 in 1914 – And 501,462 in 1915.
Automobile Problem & Future Development• Henry Ford simplified the automobile problem. He made one automobile in one style at a one chassis price and manufactured it, advertised it, and sold it, in such quantities to astound not only his fellow manufacturers in Detroit but the civilized world.• Building in Large Quantities Reduces Original Cost• Big Saving On Materials• A Sedan and Coupe Are Placed on the Market by Henry Ford (October-18th-1914)
Fordlandia, Brazil http://www.innovationsinnewspapers.com/index.php/tag/microsoft/
Ford’s Failed Jungle Utopia • Amazon experiment • Designed to be a city focused around building the Ford Model-T’s – For securing cultivated rubber for manufacture • Quickly fails as a result of distrust by Brazilian Government – Now a ghost-town
Questions 1-4 • Do you have any prior knowledge of the Ford Model-T or assembly line? – No I do not. That was before my time. • What about Fordlandia, Brazil? – Never heard of it. • Have you ever bought a car? – Yes, I have. • What did you look for in the car? – Well I recently bought a car and I was looking for good gas mileage, good performance in bad weather, and a low car payment.
Questions 5-6 • Can you relate that to the Ford Model-T? – Well, being that the Ford Model-T was one of the first cars made, am I right? (Yes)I’m assuming it wasn’t very good in inclimate weather such as snow. I don’t know how it would be on gas but I’m assuming in those days if you had a car you were wealthy so you weren’t too concerned with the price of gas. • Why did you look for good performance in inclimate weather & low gas mileage? – Because today the price of gas is through the roof & I spend a lot of time on the road driving you around. & uh just because it snows doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to work and be places so it’s important to me to feel safe when I am driving in the snow.
Questions 7-9 • Do you have any comments on the assembly line? – Well, not only was the Ford Model-T built on an assembly line but they supplied many jobs many people worked on assembly lines. & there are still assembly lines today but they are union (union workers). They are a faster way to mass produce things even today although many are manned by machines. When they had big assembly lines more people had jobs. • Did your parents ever have any interactions with the Ford Model-T? – No, no my dad got his first car probably in the 1950’s. • So they never saw or had one as a child? – No, because Pap was raised by Great Grandma who was a single mother who never drove because she was legally blind. As for Grandma I don’t know, I don’t know what her parents might have drove as she was growing up.
The Big Question • How did the Ford Model-T and the assembly line revolutionize the way America thought about technology and transportation? – Well that’s a really long question. You’ll have to repeat that. – Oh I don’t know, how do you think? • Not much to say • Not much of an answer