December 1 1913 - Henry Fires Up The Assembly Line

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: December 1 1913 - Henry Fires Up The Assembly Line
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Wightman on Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 09:05 pm:

In John's post below, about Otis his original car with a cast block date of Nov. 30, 1913, John wondered aloud what Henry Ford was doing that day. I thought I might answer in a separator thread, cause Otis' casting date is actually a real important date in T history. Otis was one of the first assembly line built cars, as Henry at that time was just starting the assembly line, which apparently started rolling on December 1, 1913. So the Dec. 1 1913 anniversary is really quite an important date for America.

cut and paste:

Dec. 1, 1913:
Ford's assembly line starts rolling

On this day in 1913, Henry Ford installs the first moving assembly line for the mass production of an entire automobile. His innovation reduced the time it took to build a car from more than 12 hours to two hours and 30 minutes.

Ford's Model T, introduced in 1908, was simple, sturdy and relatively inexpensive--but not inexpensive enough for Ford, who was determined to build "motor car[s] for the great multitude." ("When I'm through," he said, "about everybody will have one.") In order to lower the price of his cars, Ford figured, he would just have to find a way to build them more efficiently.

Ford had been trying to increase his factories' productivity for years. The workers who built his Model N cars (the Model T's predecessor) arranged the parts in a row on the floor, put the under-construction auto on skids and dragged it down the line as they worked. Later, the streamlining process grew more sophisticated.

Ford broke the Model T's assembly into 84 discrete steps, for example, and trained each of his workers to do just one. He also hired motion-study expert Frederick Taylor to make those jobs even more efficient. Meanwhile, he built machines that could stamp out parts automatically (and much more quickly than even the fastest human worker could).

The most significant piece of Ford's efficiency crusade was the assembly line. Inspired by the continuous-flow production methods used by flour mills, breweries, canneries and industrial bakeries, along with the disassembly of animal carcasses in Chicago's meat-packing plants, Ford installed moving lines for bits and pieces of the manufacturing process: For instance, workers built motors and transmissions on rope-and-pulley–powered conveyor belts.

In December 1913, he unveiled the pièce de résistance: the moving-chassis assembly line.

In February 1914, he added a mechanized belt that chugged along at a speed of six feet per minute.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Monday, November 24, 2014 - 09:54 am:

I wonder if there are any photos around of the assembly process in mid '13? He was cranking them out pretty fast then too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Wightman on Monday, November 24, 2014 - 10:58 am:

Here are some Model t brass era assembly line movies, some about 1913-15ish, some a bit later, one appears dramatized:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf8d4NE8XPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK1j487IED0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTZ3rJHHSik

(Are they putting the horns on upside down?)

"By August, 1913, all links in the chain of moving assembly lines were complete except the last and most spectacular one - the one we had first experimented with one Sunday morning just five years before. Again a towrope was hitched to a chassis, this time pulled by a capstan. Each part was attached to the moving chassis in order, from axles at the beginning to bodies at the end of the line. Some parts took longer to attach than others; so, to keep an even pull on the towrope, there must be differently spaced intervals between delivery of the parts along the line. This called for patient timing and rearrangement until the flow of parts and the speed and intervals along the assembly line meshed into a perfectly synchronized operation throughout all stages of production. Before the end of the year a power-driven assembly line was in operation, and New Year's saw three more installed. Ford mass production and a new era in industrial history had begun"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By william louis rosenthal on Monday, November 24, 2014 - 12:47 pm:

Notice in the cTZ3rJHHSik film, the chassis with the dash attached shows the polished brass single twist horn facing upward versus down.
Regards,
Scott


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:37 am:

If you look at the last link, you will notice that they are LATE 1912's, so the horns are not upside down at all! but what is more interesting is the color of the engines! Not black!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By william louis rosenthal on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 12:04 pm:

Larry: Is it then correct that the late 12 horn should not be mounted with the bell facing down? If true, this make senses because the mounting bracket on at least the single twist horn by "Standard" interferes with the side lamp bracket, when the horn is positioned upside down and when all holes are located per the dash layout drawing previously published here on the Forum.
Regards,
Scott


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 12:34 pm:

The first 2.20 minutes in the last Youtube link, could that be a later recreation of the start of the moving assembly idea? If it's filmed much later than 1913, the exact color and orientation of things may be off..


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Trent Boggess on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 01:25 pm:

I believe Roger is correct, and the first part of the film was made after 1913.

Ford Motor Company made a 30th anniversary film in 1933. The first 2:30 minutes of this YouTube video appear to be from that 1933 film. In that film, which was produced mainly for publicity purposes, the development of the moving assembly line was recreated.

From research done at the Benson Ford Research Center, we know that 1. There were many iterations of the moving assembly line, with at least on iteration ending in a spectacular crash of the chassis. 2. We also know that Mr. Ford played only a supportive, encouraging role. Most of the development was done by several of Mr. Ford's lieutenants.

There is a good description in the reminiscences of William Klann. There were also some key interviews made during the Additional Tax Case of 1925-27, which can be found in the "Dodge Estate Legal" accession at the BFRC.

The video is chock full of errors, and you should not rely on it for authentic information about 1913 Model Ts, especially the engine paint color.

Respectfully Submitted,

Trent Boggess


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 01:46 pm:

While not perfect Tin lizzie by Stern say's by october the line was in operation.Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By william louis rosenthal on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 02:48 pm:

Back to the horn question please?
Thx,
Scott


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