Boys’ Life: Along The River Rouge

Today’s Boys’ Life advertisement from 1960 is a little different than most we have seen, as it seems to be geared more to the young fellow’s parents, not so much the boy in question. Perhaps a motivated youth could use his new knowledge of modern manufacturing to convince Dad that what Mom really wanted for Mother’s day was a shiny new Comet, made from genuine American cold rolled steel. Back when Ford wanted to control all facets of manufacturing, they built the River Rouge Complex, a large integrated manufacturing facility. One of the primary components is the steel mill, and for a quick primer on just how Ford made their steel, click through the jump!

  • Lex

    Iron ore pellets supplied heavily by Cleveland Cliffs. Those boats still come to the Upper Harbor dock here in Marquette to take loads of ore. The dock in Lower Harbor is abandoned and makes for a strange sight to the tourist.

    Welcome to the UP: we supplied the raw materials to build America. First was the timber, then came the brownstone for all those lovely row houses on the East Coast, and then came the iron (and copper). Praise be to Murilee, but he'd never move here. It's the land that rust didn't forget, where cars slowly return to the Earth from whence they originated.

  • tonyola

    A car is 85% steel? Boy, that dates the ad right there.

  • Deartháir

    Interestingly, that's one of the ways Ford has changed their business model in the last few years. (Well, besides shedding unprofitable brands…) They've moved a whole lot of their component manufacture in-house, and have stopped outsourcing so many pieces. They've realized that if they globalize a lot of their products (see: Focus, Mondeo/Fusion), they have the economies of scale to allow them to manufacture the pieces in quantities large enough to justify the expense of building facilities to do it. As an example, they have moved their seat manufacturing in-house, and hired their own chiropractors and (whatever back-specialists are called). Most OEM's purchase their seats off an outside manufacturer; Ford realized they bought enough of them that they could make them just as cheaply, but without having to give a chunk of profit to someone else. Once again they're controlling a much bigger portion of the supply chain to keep their costs down.