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Ford's Assembly Line

When it comes to singling out those who have made a difference in all our lives, you cannot overlook Henry Ford. A historian a century from now might well conclude that it was Ford who most influenced all manufacturing, everywhere, even to this day, by introducing a new way to make cars-one, strange to say, that originated in slaughterhouses.

Back in the early 1900's, slaughterhouses used what could have been called a "disassembly line." Ford reversed this process to see if it would speed up production of a part of an automobile engine called a magneto. Rather than have each worker completely assemble a magneto, one of its elements was placed on a conveyer, and each worker, as it passed, added another component to it, the same one each time. Professor David Hounshell of the University of Delaware, an expert on industrial development, tells what happened: www.yingyusanji.com

"The previous day, workers carrying out the entire process had averaged one assembly every 20 minutes. But on that day, on the line, the assembly team averaged one every 13 minutes and 10 seconds per person."

Within a year, the time had been reduced to five minutes. In 1913, Ford went all the way. Hooked together by ropes, partially assembled vehicles were towed past workers who completed them one piece at a time. It wasn't long before Ford was turning out several hundred thousand cars a year, a remarkable achievement then. And so efficient and economical was this new system that he cut the price of his cars in half, to $260, putting them within reach of all those who, up until that time, could not afford them. Soon, auto makers the world over copied him. In fact, he encouraged them to do so by writing a book about all of his innovations, entitled Today and Tomorrow. The Age of the Automobile has arrived. Today, aided by robots and other forms of automation, everything from toasters to perfumes are made on assembly lines.

1. Which of the following statements is NOT true?

A) Henry Ford influenced our lives.

B) Henry Ford influenced all manufacturing.

C) Henry Ford influenced the manufacture of cars.

D) Henry Ford influenced historians.

2. The writer mentioned "slaughterhouses" because these were the places in which

A) Ford's assembly line originated.

B) he made cars.

C) he innovated the assembly line.

D) he innovated the disassembly line.

3. A magneto is a technical term for

A) an automobile.

B) an engine.

C) a part of an automobile engine.

D) an automobile engine.

4. The phrase "turning out " in the last paragraph can best be replaced by

A) producing.

B) appeasing.

C) assembling.

D) fixing.

5. It didn't take long for Henry Ford

A) to turn out a few hundred cars a year.

B) to turn out a few thousand cars a year.

C) to reduce the price of his cars to $260.

D) to cut the production of his cars by 50%.

KEY: DACAC

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