What Was Henry Ford's Legacy?

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Henry Ford's greatest legacy was his introduction of the assembly line. With the improved efficiency it brought to manufacturing, Ford made the automobile affordable to the common masses. The assembly line affected the production of other goods in the United States, while the automobile changed the way of life.

Working on the assembly line was hard work, and Ford quickly replaced workers who could not keep pace. However, in 1914, Ford announced that he would increase worker pay to $5 per day and decrease the shift from nine hours to eight. This reduction in shift length allowed the Ford plant to operate three shifts daily. The plant increased production and Ford dropped the cost of the Model T from $850 in 1908 to $267 in 1927, putting it within reach of the workers who made it.

Ford's efforts increased the number of middle-class Americans. When communication with immigrants working on the assembly line became a problem, Ford added a school to teach English. With more free time and access to automobiles, the United States became much more mobile. Citizens demanded good roads and streets, and they took vacations in their new vehicles. Workers in other fields began to expect changes in working conditions and pay because of Henry Ford's alterations.