Home Today Years Ago December 1, 1913: Henry Ford Introduces The First Moving Assembly Line
December 1, 1913: Henry Ford Introduces The First Moving Assembly Line
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December 1, 1913: Henry Ford Introduces The First Moving Assembly Line

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Today in 1913, industrialist Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line to the public. The idea was brought to Ford by William Klann after witnessing a similar “disassembly” line at a slaughterhouse. The idea was simple- if cars can be assembled in multiple stages simultaneously, production would increase. It certainly did, lowering the time it took to assemble one car to 93 minutes. Cars were being completely assembled faster than the paint would dry, leading to Ford only offering one color (black, which dried the fastest) for several years. Ford followed the principles of design for his assembly line: (1) Place the tools and the men in the sequence of the operation so that each component part shall travel the least possible distance while in the process of finishing; (2) Use work slides or some other form of carrier so that when a workman completes his operation, he drops the part always in the same place—which place must always be the most convenient place to his hand—and if possible have gravity carry the part to the next workman for his own; and (3) Use sliding assembling lines by which the parts to be assembled are delivered at convenient distances.