On This Day, March 14, 1914 – Henry Ford Announces the Assembly Line


1914 – Henry Ford announced the new continuous motion method to assemble cars.

The moving assembly line appeared to the onlooker to be an endless contraption of chains and links that allowed Model T parts to swim through the sea of the assembly process. In total, the manufacturing of the car could be broken down into 84 steps. The key to the process, however, was having interchangeable parts.

Unlike other cars of the time, the Model T featured interchangeable parts, which meant that every Model T produced on that line used the exact same valves, gas tanks, tires, etc. so that they could be assembled in a speedy and organized fashion. Parts were created in mass quantities and then brought directly to the workers who were trained to work at that specific assembly station.

The chassis of the car was pulled down the 150-foot line by a chain conveyor and then 140 workers applied their assigned parts to the chassis. Other workers brought additional parts to the assemblers to keep them stocked; this reduced the amount of time workers spent away from their stations to retrieve parts. The assembly line significantly decreased the assembly time per vehicle and increased the profit margin.

The immediate impact of the assembly line was revolutionary. The use of interchangeable parts allowed for continuous work flow and more time on task by laborers. Worker specialization resulted in less waste and a higher quality of the end product.

Sheer production of the Model T dramatically increased. The production time for a single car dropped from over twelve hours to just 93 minutes due to the introduction of the assembly line. Ford’s 1914 production rate of 308,162 eclipsed the number of cars produced by all other automobile manufacturers combined.

1489 – Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, sold her kingdom to Venice. She was the last of the Lusignan dynasty.

1629 – A Royal charter was granted to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1757 – British Admiral John Byng was executed by a firing squad on board HMS Monarch for neglect of duty.

1794 – Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.

1864 – Samuel Baker discovered another source of the Nile in East Africa. He named it Lake Albert Nyanza.

1891 – The submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the bottom of the English Channel to prepare for the first telephone links across the Channel.

1900U.S. currency went on the gold standard with the ratification of the Gold Standard Act.

1903 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Herran Treaty that guaranteed the U.S. the right to build a canal at Panama. The Columbian Senate rejected the treaty.

1904 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the governments claim that the Northern Securities Company was an illegal merger between the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railway companies.

1905 – The British House of Commons cited a need to compete with Germany in naval strength.

1912 – An anarchist named Antonio Dalba unsuccessfully attempted to kill Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III in Rome.

1918 – An all-Russian Congress of Soviets ratified a peace treaty with the Central Powers.

1923President Warren Harding became the first U.S. President to file an income tax report.

1932 – George Eastman, the founder of the Kodak company, committed suicide.

1936 – Adolf Hitler told a crowd of 300,000 that Germany’s only judge is God and itself.

US President Franklin D Roosevelt and Passengers in Aircraft

1943President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane while in office.

1945 – In Germany, a 22,000 pound “Grand Slam” bomb was dropped by the Royal Air Force Dumbuster Squad on the Beilefeld railway viaduct. It was the heaviest bomb used during World War II.

1947 – The U.S. signed a 99-year lease on naval bases in the Philippines.

1947 – Moscow announced that 890,532 German POWs were held in the U.S.S.R.

1951 – U.N. forces recaptured Seoul for the second time during the Korean War.

1954 – The Viet Minh launched an assault on Dien Bien Phu in Saigon.

1964 – A Dallas jury found Jack Ruby guilty of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.

1976 – Egypt formally abrogated the 1971 Treaty Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.

1978 – An Israeli force of 22,000 invaded south Lebanon. The PLO bases were hit.

1979 – The Census Bureau reported that 95% of all Americans were married or would get married.

1983 – OPEC agreed to cut its oil prices by 15% for the first time in its 23-year history.

1989 – Imported assault guns were banned in the U.S. under President George H.W. Bush.

1991 – The “Birmingham Six,” imprisoned for 16 years for their alleged part in an IRA pub bombing, were set free after a court agreed that the police fabricated evidence.

1992 – Farm Aid was attended by about 40,000 people in Irving, TX. 

1995 – American astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to enter space aboard a Russian rocket.


Source: On-This-Day.com; history1900s.about.com