Henry Ford & Albert Kahn: the Architecture of Production

Fordism was not concentrated at first entirely in Detroit. Cars were first manufactured as luxury items. 450,000 People in Detroit in 1910, characterized by ethnic populations of the “New Immigrant.”

Early automotive assembly resembled 19th century past, where an object is fixed in place and people move around it gathering parts and bringing them to the work station.

Ford and Kahn drive north to Highland Park, outside of the city, outside of production and start to build a new modern industrial plant, located outside of the reach of the city. A crystal palace to production.

In Ford’s factories you “work like hell”

Disciplined workers tended to be younger and more able to quickly preform tasks. They were swift, instead of the craftsman+apprentice relationship where experience is rewarded.

Able to be made so large through the use of reinforced concrete and here he is able to set the price point for the automobile. He believed his rate of production and labor force were the only limiting factors for how many cars he could sell and therefore how much money he could make. River Rouge was a step in the same direction.

Ford made his workers buy into fordism through offering higher wages and then dictating how you had to live outside of the factory. Factory Life 8 on the line 8 at home 8 in bed.  He discouraged the practice of taking in boarders and other things he felt weren’t conducive to a productive labor force.

The black population were subjected to the northern version of Jim Crowe laws within Ford’s control.


About mhgoblue

Architecture Undergrad University of Michigan

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