Four Fascinating Facts About Manufacturing History
You may have heard your friends lament, “Isn’t anything made in America anymore?”
Not only can you proudly respond with an enthusiastic “yes,” but you can also assure them that U.S. manufacturers like McIntyre Manufacturing are producing innovative, quality products while fueling the economy.
America’s manufacturing industry is still a strong, influential tour de force. It contributes more than $2 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, and for every dollar spent in manufacturing, $1.81 is added to the economy. If the U.S. manufacturing industry were its own economy, it would be the ninth largest economic power in the world, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Fascinating Facts About Manufacturing History
American inventors and entrepreneurs have had a profound impact on manufacturing. These innovators shaped the world and formed the framework of our modern life. Let’s take a look at some fascinating facts and milestones in the history of American manufacturing. Some of them may surprise you.
1. From cotton to muskets
Eli Whitney’s cotton gin consistently ranks as one of the top revolutionary inventions in American history. However, this wasn’t Whitney’s only claim to fame.
Whitney pioneered the use of interchangeable parts, which is also known as the “American system of manufacturing.” In 1797, as the U.S. prepared to go to war with France, Whitney demonstrated how interchangeable parts could streamline production of muskets, pistols and other weapons. This technique paved the way for today’s manufacturing methods.
2. Creating an efficient assembly line
Henry Ford is famous for the Model T car, but it was his contribution to manufacturing that was truly groundbreaking. In 1913, Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line.
This new process lowered the price of the car from $850 in 1908 to $300 in 1925. The moving assembly line meant that, for the first time, average Americans could afford an automobile. More than 15 million Model T cars were produced between 1913 and 1927.
3. Mass production of steel
There’s nothing new about steel. Mankind has been using steel tools for more than 4,000 years. However, it was the ability to mass produce steel that powered the industrial revolution and paved the way for modern-day city skyscrapers.
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie realized the key to mass producing steel was a technique called the Bessemer Process. This industrial process used oxidation to remove impurities from iron to create steel.
Steel has several advantages over iron. It’s more cost-efficient, corrosion resistant and extremely durable. Mass production of steel meant that buildings could be taller and stronger. It was also perfect for constructing railroads and bridges.
4. Development of the jet engine
For a group of GE engineers in Massachusetts, a package from “across the pond” transformed world history.
Sent from the King of England, the package contained parts of the first jet engine flown by the Allies during WWII. The engineers had been tasked with improving the design and finding a way to mass produce it. Only a small group of employees—nicknamed the “Hush-Hush Boys”— were told of the full scope and importance of the top-secret project.
Within ten months, the jet engine was ready for mass production. Each engine produced 1,300 pounds of thrust.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Hush-Hush Boys, GE created an extensive documentary that can be viewed online.
Making history every day
Towering skyscrapers. Flying non-stop from New York to Los Angeles. Seamless productivity. These are elements of our modern world that we take for granted. Without revolutionary manufacturing innovations, these things would not be possible. This ingenuity is at the very heart of what it means to be an American and embrace values of hard work, determination and excellence.
At McIntyre Manufacturing, we’re proud to be an American company, and even more proud to be American manufacturers. Every day we approach challenges with the same precision and attention-to-detail that has made us an industry leader since our inception in the 70s.
We’d love to put our knowledge and expertise to work for you. Contact us and tell us about your latest project. Whether you need a replacement part, an eye-catching POP display or warehousing, we’ll customize a plan to meet your needs.
Since 1977, McIntyre Manufacturing Group has created custom-designed displays with an uncompromised dedication to customer service. We utilize the latest technology and attention to detail to create the finest products with excellent craftsmanship. If you can dream it, we can create it. Contact us to see how we can bring your vision to life.