NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LINE DAY!
109 years ago today, the Ford Motor Company put into operation the world’s first moving assembly line, where a car would start life as a simple metal frame and wind up being a polished Model T before the end of the work shift.
Cars rolled slowly down conveyor belts where one workman installed a widget on the left side and another installed a widget on the right side, then on to the next stop where another worker bolted on a left-side doodad while his partner bolted a doodad on the right, and so on down the line where more widgets, doodads, gizmos, thingamajigs and watchamacallits were added until the last stop, where the “Ford” logo was riveted into pre-drilled holes.
The moving assembly line more than doubled the production of Model Ts, affectionately called the “Tin Lizzy” and “car of the people” that did nothing less than change the world.
Also transformed were the working lives of automobile builders, who were reduced from skilled craftsmen to cogs in a great machine, performing but a single task for 8 hours a day, with no sense of pride and accomplishment in their finished product.
Most of these jobs are performed by robots these days, who also feel they are not living up to their full potential, but nobody cares about the feelings of robots. At least not so far. They haven’t gotten organized enough to go on strike yet.
•Suggested Activities: Mindless repetition.