Interchangeable Parts and Mass Production
Economic historians have characterized the American system of manufacturing, or more appropriately the New England armory system, as the assembly of complex products produced from individual interchangeable parts. Its first important application was the manufacture of firearms at the U.S. army armories in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and Springfield, Massachusetts. During the second half of the 19th century, “armory practice” spread to other branches of manufacturing, such as sewing machine and bicycle manufacture and, in the early twentieth century, to the “Fordist system” of mass production of automobiles.
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