Henry Ford had begun making cars in the 1900s, and had already developed the Model T, a "car for the masses", by 1908. It was October 7, 1913, however, that shaped Henry Ford's future and the future of manufacturing as well.
Before the assembly line, car manufacturing was expensive and time consuming. Teams of workers would rotate among stations with a single car, which meant each worker had to be trained in the manufacture of the entire car. Upon the invention of the assembly line, one car traveled among workers instead, with each worker contributing one part to the whole. A 3,000 part machine was broken down into 84 steps performed by these groups of workers. The change was "immediate and significant". In 1912, Ford Motor Company produced 82,388 Model T's sold for $600 each. By 1916, production had reached 585, 388 Model T's at $360 per car. Production time for one vehicle dropped from 12 hours to just 90 minutes. Production cost for one vehicle dropped from $850 to less than $300.
He also raised minimum wage for Ford factory workers from $2.34 for a nine hour day to $5 for an eight hour day. This change began what is known as "the Great Migration" of workers from around the world to the industrial mid-west, specifically to work for Ford. Ford's $5 work day also enabled his workers to actually buy the vehicles they built. This created both loyalty and the rise middle-class consumerism among workers.
Dramaturgy for the Ragtime musical and novel.
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