Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s? – Best Info

Who applied assembly-line techniques to home construction in the 1950s? In the 1950s, a new construction technology was introduced to home builders.

This technology came from assembly line techniques and changed the way homes were built forever.

The new system allowed for mass production of certain parts of the house while also allowing for more time on customizing each individual part.

In this article we will look at how these changes affected both industry professionals and homeowners themselves.

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s? - William Levitt
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s? – William Levitt

In the 1950s, William Levitt applied assembly-line techniques to home construction. He used a process of mass production that was designed to reduce time and cost.

The first homes were built in Long Island, New York and they were called “Levittown”. They had identical homes with two bedrooms, one bathroom, an attached garage, and a front porch.

These houses could be purchased for $8,000 (in today’s money) and about 25% of them came fully furnished. Today there are still more than 17 towns left from the original Levittown community.

First stop: Long Island, NY

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

In 1946, the Levitt Company acquired 4,000 acres of potato fields in Hempstead and began construction on not only the largest single-family development but also the largest residential development in the country ever. .

The potato fields located 25 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island were named Levittown, and Levitts began building a huge suburb.

The final new development includes 17,400 homes and 82,000 people. Levitts perfected the art of mass housing by breaking down the construction process into 27 different steps from start to finish.

The company or its subsidiaries manufacture lumber, mix and pour concrete, and even sell home appliances. They built as many houses as they could with carpentry and other shops.

Manufacturing techniques on the assembly line can produce up to 30 four-bedroom Cape Cod homes (all Levittown homes were the same) per day.

Through government loan programs (VA and FHA), new homeowners can buy a home in Levittown with little or no upfront, and since the home includes appliances, it provides everything. that a young family may need.

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

Best of all, a mortgage is often cheaper than renting an apartment in the city (and the new tax laws that start deducting mortgage interest make the opportunity too good to be missed).

Levittown, Long Island is known as “The Breeding Valley” and “The Rabbit Hutch” because many of the returning caterers aren’t just buying their first home. They are getting married and having children in such significant numbers that the new generation of babies is called “Baby Boom.”

Move to Pennsylvania

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

In 1951, the Levitts built their second Levittown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (just outside of Trenton, New Jersey but also near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and later in 1955 the Levitts purchased land in Burlington County (also within walking distance back from Philadelphia).

Levitts purchased the majority of Willingboro Township in Burlington County and even adjusted the boundaries to ensure local control of the newest Levittown (Pennsylvania Levittown overlaps with several jurisdictions, making the development of Levittown (Levitt companies become more difficult.).

Levittown, New Jersey is widely known due to a famous sociological study of one man – Dr. Herbert Gans.

Sociologist Gans and his wife of the University of Pennsylvania purchased one of the first homes available in Levittown, NJ for $100 down in June 1958 and were one of the first 25 families to move in.

Gans described Levittown as a “working class and lower middle class” and lived there for two years as a “participant-observer” of Levittown life.

His book, “The Levittowners: Life and Politics in a New Suburban Community”, was published in 1967.

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

Gans’ experience in Levittown was a positive one, and he advocates for suburban spread because a home in a homogeneous (almost all white) community is what many people of the era wishes and even requests.

He criticized the government’s planning efforts to combine use or force dense housing, explaining that builders and homeowners do not want lower property values ​​due to the density of commercial development.

Gans felt that the market, not professional planners, should dictate growth. It’s amazing to see that in the late 1950s, government agencies like Willingboro Township were working against developers as well as residents to build liveable traditional communities.

The third development in New Jersey

Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?
Who Applied Assembly-Line Techniques To Home Construction In The 1950s?

Levittown, NJ consists of a total of 12,000 homes, divided into 10 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has an elementary school, a swimming pool and a playground.

The New Jersey version offers three different home styles, including three- and four-bedroom models.

House prices ranged from $11,500 to $14,500 – virtually guaranteeing that most residents were of equal socioeconomic status (Gans found that family composition, not price, influenced the choice of three or four bedrooms).

Within the curvaceous streets of Levittown are a citywide high school, a library, town hall and grocery shopping mall.

By the time Levittown was growing, people still had to travel downtown (in this case, Philadelphia) to shop and make big purchases, people had moved to the suburbs but the stores hadn’t.

Conclusion

It’s hard to believe that the modern day home construction process is still very similar. The only major changes are now there are more opportunities for customization, and builders have begun to offer options like geothermal heating or solar panels.

Perhaps someday soon these advances will be common in every house built- but until then, we can take solace in knowing how much progress has been made since Levitt first applied assembly line techniques back in 1949!

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