Did Henry Ford Invent The Assembly Line


Henry Ford, who is the name behind the Ford line of US automobiles, is often given credit for the invention of the assembly line. What Ford did, however, was improve the assembly line so that it included conveyor belts. By doing so, the Ford Motor Company was able to reduce the amount of time it took to create a Model T to 90 minutes. Ford created mass production, but it was Ransom Olds who invented the assembly line in 1901 for his horseless carriages.

Ransom Olds is a name that is also familiar to many because his name is part of the Oldsmobile line of automobiles. He even opened his first motor company in the machine shop that his father started. Here is a look at the other work Olds was able to produce.

1. An Internal Combustion Engine

Although Olds did not invent the internal combustion engine, he did develop his own unique engine and then incorporate it into his automobiles and horseless carriages. The internal combustion engines were less than a decade old at this point, so any innovations that increased the efficiencies of the vehicle were rapidly reproduced. By 1899, just two years after starting his company, his engine was so successful that he was able to move to Detroit and begin his overall automobile business.

2. The Low Cost Automobile

For several years, the horseless carriage was treated as a novelty at best. It was later seen as a luxury item that only certain people in the wealthy class would be able to afford. What Olds was able to do was create a high value automobile with a trademark curved dashboard that was easy to assemble and low in cost. It was so low in cost, in fact, that Olds’ backer wanted him to produce a new car that was more expensive. Olds refused and quit his own company, moving on to form the REO Motor Car Company.

3. The Power Lawn Mower

By 1915, the novelty of the automobile was beginning to wear off and the market was growing soft. People didn’t really want or need them anymore, which meant sales were getting slow. How would an automaker be able to survive a recession in their industry? By inventing something in a new industry and for Olds, that meant the power lawn more. He formed the Ideal Power Lawn Mower Company to help market his product and kept himself in business.

4. Automobile Exports

In 1893, a British man was reading an article about the work of Ransom Olds in Scientific American. He wanted to find out about the fellow who had a three-wheeled steam car that used a flash boiler. Olds himself spoke about how easy it was to operate the steam engine and the British man was so intrigued by the engine that he bought one of the steam vehicles. Olds shipped this vehicle to Bombay and it became the first automobile exports from the US motor industry.

Henry Ford Facts