2014 49¢ Rear of 1932 Ford “Deuce” Roadster
Ford Installs Moving Assembly Line
On December 1, 1913, Henry Ford introduced his moving assembly line, which revolutionized both his own business and the future of mass production around the world.
Henry Ford began his first car making business, the Detroit Automobile Company, in 1899. After two years, it was reorganized as the Henry Ford Company. After disagreements with his partners, Ford left the company. When he found more investors, the Ford Motor Company was established in June 1903. It began making a profit by October. Within two years, the investors had made a profit of almost 300 percent.
In 1908, Ford introduced the Model T. It was built at a larger factory. Ford’s goal was to produce a car that was so affordable, just about everyone could have one. To accomplish this, he had to decrease the cost and time it took to build his cars. Over the years, he introduced a number of improvements toward this goal. He first split the assembly of the Model T into 84 separate steps and trained each worker to do just one. Ford also built machines that could stamp out the parts faster than human workers were able to. By 1910, demand was so great that Ford moved to the larger Highland Park plant.
Then Ford had a major breakthrough. He’d seen various moving assembly lines at work in flour mills, breweries, canneries, bakeries, and meat-packing plants and believed the same concept could be applied to his factory. Ford experimented with the idea, installing moving lines for some parts of the process. Motors and transmissions were built along rope-and-pulley-powered conveyor belts. When this helped to drastically cut down the production time, Ford decided to expand its use.
On December 1, 1913, Ford put the moving-chassis assembly line to work. By February, parts were moved past workers on a motorized belt system, allowing the employees to work faster than ever. The 12-and-a-half-hour process of building the Model T was cut down to just one hour and 33 minutes. Ford’s factory produced over 200,000 Model Ts that year, and exceeded one million by 1920. Though Ford didn’t invent the assembly line, he popularized it and soon other car makers and members of other industries began adopting it.
While Ford Motor Company was successful at selling cars, it didn’t fair as well at keeping employees. The turnover rate was high, and the cost of training new workers cut into profits. In January 1914, Ford took a risk and doubled the pay to $5 a day. He also shortened the shifts to eight hours from nine and reduced the work week to five days. Workers stayed at their higher-paying jobs and production increased.
The Ford company went on to support both World War I and II, producing trucks, tanks, jeeps, airplanes, and thousands of parts, all made quickly and affordably thanks to Ford’s innovative adaptation of the moving assembly line.
This stamp is one of two issued at the National Street Rod Association’s “Street Rod Nationals East Plus.” It pictures the rear of a 1932 Ford Deuce roadster.
Hot rod cars are uniquely American... and their evolution mirrors our nation’s history during the 20th century. Today, hot rods have shed their bad-boy reputation and given birth to a thriving industry. These classics fetch prices ranging from a few thousand to nearly a million dollars.
Loosely defined, hot rods are older, classic American cars with large engines that have been altered to give them higher performance. The practice began on the West Coast during the 1920s, where modified cars were raced across empty lakebeds. As the competition grew, so did the need to make the cars lighter, leaner, and faster. Some of the techniques were borrowed from moonshiners, who had refitted their vehicles to outrun the “revenuers” during Prohibition.
Many soldiers returning from World War II had learned technical skills, and used them to do their own modifications. Convertible tops, hoods, bumpers, windshields and fenders were often removed to reduce resistance, while motors were tuned or even replaced with more powerful engines.
Drag racing in hot rods became very popular during the ‘50s, inspiring hit songs, glossy magazines, and a certain way of dressing. Today, officially sanctioned races and celebrity owners make hot rods appealing to all age groups and economic classes.
The Hot Rods stamps were digitally created by John Mattos. His art appeared on a U.S. stamp for the first time in 2006 (#3995 – Winter Olympics). Mattos, a graphic artist, is known for his art deco style.
49¢ Hot Rods, issued to satisfy the first-class mail rate
Issue Date: June 6, 2014
City: York, PA, at the National Street Rod Association’s “Street Rod Nationals East Plus.”
Printed By: CCL Label Inc.
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 11 ¾ X 11 ¼