According to the internet, the assembly line concept was actually invented by Ramsom Eli Olds, not Henry Ford, as we were told all these yrs.
The internet spreads knowledge. Some of it is true, and much of it is baloney. Neither Ford nor Olds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assembly_line#Industrial_revolution
(Message edited by steve_jelf_parkerfield_ks on August 18, 2015)
I believe the "assembly line" evolved across industries over time. By 1907, Ford was already producing more cars than any other car maker in the world (and there were hundreds of car makers) using standardized parts. By the summer of 1908 Ford had turned out over one hundred cars in a day, probably another industry record.
Between the years of 1896 and 1930, there were over 1800 car manufacturers in the US alone. I did a quick survey, and at the time of the introduction of Ford's assembly line, there were under a hundred that were in operation already, and that's just ones that begin with the letter "A". I didn't include the ones already out of business or that started up after the Ford's line was in operation for a year or two.
"A Complete Car Every 6 Minutes"
That's a bit misleading, though on average, possibly true. It took several hours to build a car by station assembly method, not 6 minutes. They must have lots of assembly stations, (I'm guessing at least 50), to turn out 100 cars in what was apparently a 10 hour work day.
The Model T reached a peak production of about one T completed every 24 seconds. That doesn't mean a T was built in 24 seconds, but turned out every 24 seconds.
Ford may be able to lay claim to the "moving assembly line."
I think Eli Whitney was the first manufacturer to use interchangeable parts.
No doubt there were plenty of assembly lines concurrent with Henry's auto mfg. even pre-T. I believe his claim to fame is the MOVING assembly line, right?
According to "The Night Henry Ford Met Santa Claus," Henry got the idea from visiting Santa's workshop and watching the elves assemble toys. I'm sticking with that....
Often attributed to the Ford moving assembly line story is that Ford got his inspiration from watching sides of beef being dismantled on a moving "disassembly" line in a Chicago meat packing plant.
I thought he got the idea from early watchmakers?
Ford himself made the "inspired by meat packing" claim in My Life and Work. And the R.E. Olds Museum in Lansing claims the credit for Mr. Olds. Doubt we will ever know the truth.
It was alien technology. Saw it on the History Channel.
Seems that a lot of people are confused by the various terms. They do not mean the same thing.
Mass Production / Interchangeable Parts -> you can disassemble several units , scramble the parts, and put them back together and all units will still function properly. Often attributed to Eli Whitney or Colt Firearms.
Station Assembly -> Each unit is produced by an individual or team. The unit stays put while parts are added to it until assembly is completed. The team completes all assembly operations, each worker knows the entire process. This is what Ford did at Mack Avenue, Piquette Avenue and Highland Park (before the Moving Assembly Line)
Moving Assembly Line -> Here the unit being assembled moves past a number of assembly stations where workers install the same piece as the car passes. Each worker is highly specialized.