Ford Motor Company
In Detroit, one of Avery's pupils was a teenaged Edsel Ford; the young Ford was taken with Avery's mechanical ingenuity. In 1912, Avery casually mentioned to Edsel his desire to enter the automobile business. Edsel introduced Avery to his father, Henry Ford. The elder Ford immediately hired Avery as Charles E. Sorensen's assistant at his Highland Park plant. Sorenson put Avery through an extensive eight-month training course, where he worked in every phase of production at the plant, learning the system.
With that experience, Avery's first large project was the establishment of a moving assembly line at the plant. The assembly line project was worked on by a number of Ford's top men, including C. Harold Wills, Peter E. Martin, and Charles Ebender in addition to Avery and Sorenson. Although credit for the moving assembly line can't be pinned to one individual, those who took part acknowledged Avery as the guiding light of the project, and he became Ford's time study expert. By the end of 1913, the project had reduced assembly time for a Model T from 12.5 man-hours down to 2.7 man-hours. Later improvements reduced that time to only 1.5 man-hours.
Avery soon had a reputation for himself as a problem-solver, and was eventually promoted to Ford's chief development engineer. He continued work on Ford's assembly line, designing operations for sub-assemblies leading into the final assembly. In 1918, Ford assigned Avery to the task of increasing the clarity of automotive glass. Avery experimented with a novel procedure of pouring molten glass onto a moving table, and by 1921 Ford had a system in place. In 1920, Avery was put in charge of Ford's iron and lumber operations in northern Michigan.
In 1922, Ford purchased Lincoln, and Avery worked closely with Edsel Ford to Fordize the Lincoln design and manufacture. This cooperation continued until 1927. In 1927, main Ford operations were transferred to the Rouge plant. Top Ford management, headed by Sorensen, was not receptive to Avery, and he decided to leave Ford.
Read more about this topic: Clarence W. Avery
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