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The Evolution of Manufacturing — from Henry Ford to Pluto

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The history of manufacturing in the United States is a fascinating story of evaluation and change in society, culture, and economics. As the United States grew larger and its economic ties with other countries grew stronger, manufacturing became more and more sophisticated and the processes became more refined and systematic. As the country’s economic prospects grew, our industries grew as well. Manufacturers needed to match the demands of Americans and their newfound prosperity. Around the world and especially in Europe, America held enormous potential for industry, since there was so much usable land.

Henry Ford was one of the earliest and most successful manufacturing innovators to cater to Americans’ needs. Ford’s implementation and refinement of the assembly line in the early 20th century led to the exponential growth of manufacturing capacity across all industries — not just automotive. Such innovations in manufacturing made America the world’s number one producer of goods, leading to a new heights of economic and political power. In the eyes of the world, it was undeniable that American power and American industry were inseparably tied together, with manufacturing at its core.

On the back of our manufacturing prowess, America reached a new peak in the 1960s and 1970s with great boundary-pushing and manufacturing-led programs like NASA’s Apollo program, which in just ten years took America from Earth to the moon and inspired a generation of young and awestruck Americans to become scientists and engineers. Only a country with the industrial capacity, resources, and sheer determination to reach this goal could have achieved it — and to this day, America remains the only nation to have successfully reached the moon (and six times at that). Without our legendary ability to manufacture crucial parts using the most advanced techniques of the day, reaching the moon would have been an impossible task.

Now, we are once again reaching new heights as innovative companies are trailblazing paths to space and other new fields once more. On May 30, 2020, SpaceX and NASA jointly and successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. That historic launch (the first launch of Astronauts from American soil in nearly a decade) is helping to usher in a new era of American ingenuity and progress in engineering and science, and serves as an inspiring example of what the manufacturing industry can accomplish in partnership with scientists and engineers from both public and private organizations.

For 35 years, Precision Group has operated an advanced manufacturing presence in the United States and worked with numerous high-profile companies, agencies and organizations to push the boundaries of the scientific and technological frontiers. We have been lucky to work with brilliant scientists and engineers on manufacturing projects for NASA such as New Horizons, the first space probe to visit Pluto and send pictures back to Earth. We are all inspired by the successes that America has achieved through its manufacturing might, and we appreciate the opportunity to be part of the vanguard that is leading the world to inspiring successes both on Earth and elsewhere in the universe.