1920s - Mass Production Henry Ford perfected it by taking...

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Mass Production Henry Ford perfected it by taking the moving assembly line to a higher level at the River Rouge plant Ford’s Model T built at the Highlands Plant – is made affordable to the masses and he raises pay of workers to $5/day (in 1914) Became the hallmark of American industry: Uniformity, speed, precision, and coordination workers as robots Contributes to a consumer goods revolution The Second Industrial Revolution Manufacturing, on a massive scale, of consumer goods Per capita income increases 30% to $681/yr. From 1922 to 1929, output of consumer goods in the nation doubles Includes automobiles, appliances, furniture, and clothing It is best seen in the automobile industry (which became the largest in America) Introduces yearly model changes, which creates a desire for the “latest” Focus on stimulating effects for steel, rubber, glass industries + suburb growth + gas stations KEY lies in technology: 1.) Moving assembly line became a standard in industry 2.) Electric motors replace steam engines Depends on insatiable appetites of consumers for new goods Other Industries that boom: 1.) Electricity – appliances to ease housework and provide increased leisure time 2.) Radio & Movies – feeling of “escapism” (NBC is broadcasting by 1929 – Amos ‘n’ Andy 3.) Chemical Engineering – synthetic fabrics replace homespun cotton 4.) Marketing is the most distinctive feature – “possession of the latest” becomes a theme in advertising Uniformity and Standardization prevail sectional differences across nation (accents, etc.) begin to disappear Weaknesses: Basic weakness of the revolution: once people bought an item with a long life (e.g. auto), they were out of the market emerging economic instability Disguised the decline of traditional industries: 1.) Railroads – competition with growing trucking industry 2.) Petroleum and natural gas replace coal 3.) Agriculture is hardest hit – the market had expanded to meet WWI demands, but a sharp cut in exports falling prices share of national income drops continuously (to $273/yr.) African-Americans remain at the bottom – migration to north leads to only slightly better jobs, but also to the growth of ghettos (e.g. Harlem in NYC) Industrial labor and prices remain stable improved life conditions Those who thrive are the middle & upper classes – they gain disposable income investing in stock market to reap gains of industrial growth Focal point of American life becomes the City 1920 Census: for the first time, slightly more than half the population lives in cities
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1920s - Mass Production Henry Ford perfected it by taking...

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