December 1, 1913 – Ford starts moving assembly line

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 for maximum efficiency in the production of his vehicles. His advocacy of high volume automobile manufacturing allowed him to offer inexpensive, yet reliable transportation to the masses. By combining aspects of previous, still, assembly lines, 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 Model T assembly line in 1924

Ford was not the first car company to build vehicles on an assembly line. The Curved Dash Olds was an earlier example. 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, all sold for a price of about $260.

Love the Ford Model T? Check out this sweet Model T shirt! Get it, a “T” shirt!

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