In October 1913, Henry Ford debuted the textbook example of industry-changing innovation: the assembly line. This introduction transformed the face of industrial labor over the next century, and most companies still feel the reverberations of its impact to this day.
Initial inklings of the assembly line, though, had appeared in Ford’s Highland Park plant six months earlier. Engineers were experimenting with a smaller line for building the Model T’s magneto ignition system. After continuous testing and careful honing, they implemented the larger concept throughout the rest of the plant. By 1916, Ford’s production skyrocketed to 585,388 units, eclipsing competitors Chrysler and General Motors.