Perhaps one of the most crucial inventions for the real […]
Perhaps one of the most crucial inventions for the realm of business is the car assembly line. Expedited manufacturing of goods, materials, and products has completely changed the processes that many businesses utilize to remain relevant in their industries. Assembly lines have allowed manufacturing to speed up exponentially and now offer a lot of automated tasks instead of everything having to be done by hand. This increases productivity and makes processes less laborious for workers.
When many people hear the term “assembly line,” they think of Henry Ford inventing the assembly line to manufacture the Model T automobile circa 1910, which was a game changer for Ford and the auto industry as a whole. One Model T vehicle could be built in just 90 minutes, therefore rendering the manufacturer to crank out millions of units annually. Ford was a pioneer in the assembly line creation and will always be known as one of the greatest inventors of his time.
Of course, assembly lines are still widely used today, but did you know that Mr. Ford actually was not the founder of them?
The concept of the assembly line is believed to have begun around the 14th century, long before the auto industry started using it. The Venetian Arsenal began to produce ships via an assembly line down a canal and found great success with it. The ship being built would make several stops, each of where different parts would be installed. This significantly cut down on the manufacturing time, as an entire ship could be built in just one day.
While still not formally named, assembly lines gained more popularity throughout the Industrial Revolution as the invention of new machines continually progressed. Machines were able to do things that only humans could once do, and inventors began to use them much more. Eli Whitney, most commonly known for creating the cotton gin, came up with the practice of interchangeable parts, which initially became utilized for firearms components. Instead of guns being made by hand, and thus each being unique, interchangeable parts meant standardized parts could be built into the guns and they would therefore be identical.
Assembly lines were also used in the mid-1800s, including for meatpacking. While much of the work was still manual, employees would utilize either a pulley system or trollies to cut the meats and move on to the next animal. In a sense, this was more of a disassembly line because the animals would be taken apart, but it was the same concept - utilizing moving parts to get the job completed. These were most widely used in Chicago, Illinois and Cincinnati, Ohio, which were two of the largest meat producers at that time.