The first piece of material I gathered was a picture via the internet. This picture is of the River Rouge assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan. This picture shows the manufacturing of the fender for a Ford Motor Company product. It also shows the facilities of the Rouge plant and how the plant it self was state of the art.
This plant was the largest of its kind at the time of its construction. The Ford Motor Company at the time was one of the leaders in labor relations. This picture shows the size of the plant as well as the working conditions in the facility.
When viewing the photograph you can see the array of pipes and collection devices to aid in the circulation of air and the collection of dust and other by products made in the plant.
The next component I found is another picture of the interior of the Rouge plant. This picture is one of many conveyer belts in the plant. This belt is moving engine parts from the engine assembly to the final assembly. Henry Ford was a pioneer in the use of the assembly line in the automobile industry, and the Rouge plant was the ultimate in that use of the assembly line. This photo shows the depth of the plant, being able to manufacture all components of the cars without having to ship parts to or from other locations in the country.
The next collection of photographs is of the exterior of the Rouge plant. These photos were obtained from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. These pictures are of the Rouge during the switch of all production, from the Highland Park plant, to the Rouge. It was also the time that the Model A was beginning production.
This collection shows examples of four exterior views of the plant, allude to the many different factories within the Rouge plant. The Rouge was a steel mill, a foundry, a power producer and, an assembly line. This all encompassing idea helped ford relegate all aspects of the production of their product.
Along with the exterior, the interior showed the extent of the all encompassing Rouge plant. The interior photographs, which were also care of the Henry Ford Museum, show more factories within the factory. For example, the four photos in this collection display metal forming, and metallurgical operations. These pictures included forging, the blast furnaces, removal of slag and, even salvaging scrap from metal ships.
The interior had two collections to view and the second reaffirmed what the first portrayed. The second collection displays more metal working production including the hydraulic shear, which was used for sheet metal, the open hearth ladle and the hearth building. These photos gave an impressive direction of the inner workings of the Rouge plant.
As said before the Rouge was the largest manufacturing complex in the nation when it was built. An aerial photograph of the plant reaffirms that fact. The photo was taken in 1930 and you can see by the photo the plant is very impressive. The caption that accompanies the picture gives an actual figure of the Rouge’s square footage, the total is 6,952,484 square feet.
Before the Rouge plant Ford’s main manufacturing plant was Highland Park. The Rouge and Highland Park were similar in the way of utilizing the assembly line to produce the Ford product. Many collections of photos were found of the assembly line at Highland. One collection shows the final mating of the model T, which is similar to the final mating of the model A . Also the one day production of the Highland Park plant, which was dwarfed by the Rouge one day production total.
The next collection of Highland Park photos displays the typical procedures in installing components to the automobile. Each of the four pictures shows the installation to the car. From the engine to the tires the same principles that were used at Highland Park were used at the Rouge plant.
The final piece of material that was compiled through the search of the Internet and other sources was the National Historic Landmark of Michigan web page. This page has a link to an informational page on the Rouge plant. The plant is listed as a national landmark since 1978 and a Michigan landmark since 1976. Also listed on the site is the date the property was bought by Henry Ford and, the date all production was shifted from Highland Park to the Rouge complex. A significant statement is given about the Rouge on the marvel of its creation and the full integration of all aspects of automobile manufacturing to achieve vertical integration and self sufficiency.
In conclusion the River Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan was and is one of the great marvels of the early twentieth century. Henry Ford was the man who introduced the assembly line to the automobile industry and the Rouge was his crowning achievement. The major Internet sites used for this compilation was the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village home page (http://wwwhfmgv.org/) and, the National Historic Landmark in Michigan home page (http://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/preserve/phisite/riverrou.html).