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December 1, 1913 – Ford starts moving assembly line

model t factory
Look at the size of this place!

The first moving assembly line in the automotive industry began to churn out Ford Model Ts on this day in 1913 at the company’s Highland Park Assembly Plant. Henry Ford yearned to maximize efficiency in the production of his vehicles. His advocacy for high volume automobile manufacturing allowed him to offer inexpensive, yet reliable transportation to the masses. By combining aspects of still assembly lines from the likes of Olds, with production methods borrowed from slaughterhouses and breweries, Ford reduced the time it took to build a Model T from more than 12 hours to about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

ford assembly line
Ford Model T assembly line

Ford was not the first car company to build vehicles on an assembly line. The Curved Dash Olds was an earlier example, but it required workers to move about. Ford’s innovation involved the moving line aspect, which brought parts to workers tasked with one repetitive function. This improved efficiency so much that Ford was able to produce more vehicles in 1914 than all other automakers combined. By 1925, production reached 10,000 Model T’s per day, which sold for a price of about $260.

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