Ford Motor Company, Cleveland Plant

Located in Brook Park, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, this addition to the Ford Motor Company plants brought together man and machine in a series of complex, automated stalls and runways. In the early 1950s it was, according to the Ford News Bureau, “the nearest approach to a fully- automated plant in the automotive industry.” Here (above) we can see an overview drawing of engine plant #2. The plant’s “electric brain” or nerve-center (below) receives bits of information continuously from electric switches acting as lookouts in the production department. It complies the data, makes the best possible decision as to a course of action, then directs steel “arms” and “fingers” of steel, without human guidance, to pick up, turn over, turn around, and move from one automatic machine to another large components such as 180-pound engine blocks. While its human counterpart must concentrate on one thing at a time, the “electric brain” is able to direct a multitude of shop operations simultaneously.


Images: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.102895 and 2) P.833.98064.6.

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