In October Ford celebrated the 100th birthday of the invention of the moving assembly line by Henry Ford and his team at Highland Park.
The line simplified the assembly of the 3,000 parts in the Model T by organising it into 84 distinct steps performed by groups of workers as a rope pulled the vehicle chassis down the line.
The new process revolutionised production, cutting the assembly time from 12 hours per vehicle to just 1.5 hours. As a result, the price of a Model T dropped from $850 to under $300 – and for the fi rst time in history, quality vehicles were available to the masses.
By 1927, Ford had produced 15m units worldwide, accounting for half of all cars sold, and could make a Model T every 24 seconds. The new approach spread outside the automotive industry to other areas of manufacturing.
At the centenary celebrations, Henry Ford’s great-grandson and the current executive chairman of the company, Bill Ford, commented: “I am proud he was able to bring the freedom of mobility to millions by making cars affordable to families and that his vision of serving people still drives everything we do today.”