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The Birth of the American Auto Industry and The Decline of the Railroads How did the auto industry supersede the rail roads as the centerpiece of American industrial production? By Greg Ballard and Casey Martner Industrial America, HIS 305 Spring 2007 Early Introduction to Society
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The Decline of the Railroads
How did the auto industry supersede the rail roads as the centerpiece of American industrial production?
Greg Ballard and Casey Martner
Industrial America, HIS 305
The car to the right was shown to the public at the 1983 World’s Fair in Chicago where many who saw the invention commented that it had the ability to change the world. The automobile, although not electric ones like this would do that in only a few decades.
Interesting Fact: The early use of cars was adopted by many, for instance physicians in large urban cities in the US began purchasing automobiles to make their practices more mobile. The cars they owned quickly surpassed in number that of commercial fleets like taxi companies in cities like New York.
The Birth of The Modern Assembly Line
Henry Ford had announced in 1907 that he desired to make the car attainable to the masses… it would take massive change.
Ford originally used a method of production called the static line, where a car would remain stationary during construction and workers would move from one to another to do their part of the construction.
Pictured to the left is Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile. Although Ford is attributed with the assembly line Olds was actually the first to change the means of production from a static line to a moving line. He placed his car on small carts that could be pushed from one station to another.
Interesting Fact: Ransom Olds also invented the powered lawn mower.
To the right is Ransom Olds first ‘Mass Produced’ car from 1904 with his father seated at the wheel. That year he broke a record by selling 4,000 cars.
As the method used by Olds wasn’t entirely efficient Ford tried to develop something new. Having found inspiration in a Chicago meat packaging plant that used moving pulleys to transport items from on employee to another Ford began placing his in production cars on conveyer belts by 1913.
Additionally Ford brought the materials to his
Henry Ford with a Model-T
employees by means of another conveyer belt. This changed the speed of production remarkably as there was no longer any preparation time between applications.
An artists rendition of the Highland Plant. By the end of 1913 when the plant was fully operational as a modern assembly line Ford was able to produce one Model-T every 3 minutes.
The final point of construction took place outside the Highland factory where the Tonneau cover would be attached to the car.
As the automobile industry continued to grow and produce the massive amounts of raw and finished goods started to lead the American industrial economy in ways that it had never seen before. As a result the onset of the Automobile made an impact across the board.
- A lot of the Tool and Die companies in Cincinnati had problems retaining workers as their skills granted them job opportunities in the auto plants.