The River Rouge Manufacturing Complex. Essay

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.

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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

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 at and, the National Historic Landmark in Michigan home page


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