The Model T's distinction as a landmark car design can be traced in large part to machines like this -- a high capacity precision machine tool that performed just two production steps on the car engine's cylinder block. The Model T as a design achievement is inseparable from many hundreds of engineering, materials, and production innovations.
The first Ford assembly line at the Highland Park, Michigan plant was relatively crude. Here, in 1913, workers put V-shaped magnets on Model T flywheels to make one-half of the flywheel magneto. Each worker installed a few parts and simply shoved the flywheel down the line to the next worker.
Letter written to Henry Ford from the wife of an assembly line worker, January 23, 1914. The woman writes asking Henry Ford to investigate the situation on the assembly lines in the factories with regard to working conditions. She is angry about the treatment her husband receives on the job.
Ford workers disliked the new assembly line methods so much that by late 1913, labor turnover was 380 percent. The company's announcement to pay five dollars for an eight-hour day compared to the previous rate of $2.34 for a nine-hour day made many workers willing to submit to the relentless discipline of the line in return for such high wages.
Unimate made the first successful industrial robots, and this is the first Unimate robot ever installed on an assembly line. The robot unloaded a die-casting press at the General Motors Ternstedt Division plant in Trenton, New Jersey in 1961. A hydraulically activated arm makes this an electro-hydraulic robot.
At this meat packing operation, a conveyor moved hog carcasses past meat cutters, who then removed various pieces of the animal. To keep Model T production up with demand, Ford engineers borrowed ideas from other industries. Sometime in 1913 they realized that the "disassembly line" principle employed in slaughterhouses could be adapted to building automobiles -- on a moving assembly line.
In this advertisement, Ford Motor Company promoted the ability of their cars to create a more convenient and enjoyable life for families. Ford believed that a Model T could speed up a day's work, leaving more time for families to enjoy and participate in recreational activities.