Mass Production (Encyclopedia of Science)
Mass production is the manufacture of goods in large quantities using standardized designs so the goods are all the same. Assembly-line techniques are usually used. An assembly line is a system in which a product is manufactured in a step-by-step process as it moves continuously past an arrangement of workers and machines. This system is one of the most powerful productivity concepts in history. It was largely responsible for the emergence and expansion of the industrialized, consumer-based system we have today.
While various mass production techniques were practiced in ancient times, the English were probably the first to use water-powered and steam-powered machinery in industrial production during the Industrial Revolution that began in the mid-1700s. But it is generally agreed that modern mass production techniques came into widespread use through the inventiveness of Americans. As a matter of fact, modern mass production has been called the "American System."
Famous American contributors to mass production
The early successes of the American System are often attributed to Eli Whitney. He adapted mass production techniques and the interchangeability of parts to the manufacture of muskets (a type of gun) for the U.S. government in the 1790s.
Some people say that Whitney's musket parts were not truly interchangeable and...
(The entire section is 840 words.)
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