Hand-building automobile bodies: Michigan’s Automobile Factories, 1900-1961

Packard Factory, Detroit, 1910, courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection, Detroit Public Library

The Michigan Radio Picture Project has a new feature titled Michigan’s Automobile Factories, 1900-1961 edited by Doug Aikenhea. It’s a fantastic tour through Michigan’s automobile heritage, that takes you from hand-built wooden auto bodies to sheet metal & assembly lines. It features well known factories in Detroit, Flint & Lansing like Ford, Buick and Chrysler along with lesser known ones such as Durant-Dort, Fisher, Chalmers & Maxwell. They write:

The industrial adventurers and entrepreneurs who launched Michigan’s automobile industry came from various backgrounds. Some of them began as carriage makers, like William C. Durant who would go on to found General Motors in 1908. The earliest automobiles, like their horse-drawn predecessors, were constructed largely from wood and were built individually until the assembly line evolved to accelerate production and incorporate standardized, mass-produced parts. As automobile manufacturing progressed, the role of the worker changed from traditional craftsman to skilled assembly line specialist. This series of historical photographs traces the evolution of Michigan automobile factories from 1900 until 1961.

Click through for more!

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