NATS 1775 Lecture Notes - Interchangeable Parts, Vertical Integration, Scientific Management
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The Automobile and the Rise of Mass Production in the United States
November 20, 2012
Early American System of Manufacturing
Specializing machinery - Creating machines in other machines. Tools making
tools. Standardized parts – look all the same and are interchangeable. You
can substitute one part or another.
Most products were unique and handcrafted. Each product did not resemble
another. EX: produce 2 cars before the American system of manufacturing...
they make look the same but if you opened up the cars, they are quite
Why did it take off in the USA instead of any other place in the world?
Eli Whitney is a story about both fact and fiction. He was the first person to
promote this idea of standardizing interchangeable parts. By the very late
18th century, he was the first to approach the US government. Be able to
provide the US with these muskets (a type of gun).
When they opened up Whitney’s muskets, they found out he didn’t create
them but more of an illusion that he did.
Role of the Military and Intermediary Industries
Increasing role in creating new technologies and techniques of production
Why are governments and military institutions usually at the forefront of
creating new technology? Often wanted greater control/power even over
their enemies. They usually have lots of money. Having a lot of money in
these institutions can fail time and time again during the research process.
Knowledge diffusion: Knowledge being transferred from one sector to
another over time. Intermediary industries adopted some of these
techniques but not all of them. Typewriter, bicycle, etc. industries were
amongst the first to take whole of these techniques.
The Ford Motor Company and Mass Production
Rise of mass production: those techniques associated with the American
system of manufacturing and advent or introduction of assembly line
(component that will be developed and used first)
Creating a car for the masses – large quantities and how to make them cheap
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