A Car Is Born: This 1960s Film Showing Life In The River Rouge Plant Is A Jaw Dropper

A Car Is Born: This 1960s Film Showing Life In The River Rouge Plant Is A Jaw Dropper

It has been said by people far smarter than I ever will be, that Ford’s River Rouge plant is the greatest factory ever built. At its height, ore and raw materials would enter one end cars would leave the other. It was the most vertically integrated operation in the history of the car. Ford owned the ore mines, the ships, the plant and basically everyone in it. The place, again, at its height was its own city. Consuming incredible amounts of electricity and resources to run things like blast furnaces, presses, and even the production line itself. In the same place that the frames were being made the engines were being cast, machined, and assembled. It seems impossible now, but it was not only possible, it was very, very real.

It does not appear that the Rouge was a really magical place to work. In fact, it seems like hell through most of this video with the unending clank and clatter, seemingly endless opportunities for industrial accidents, and the grim stoicism of the workers.

The flip side to this is that many, many, thousands of families were supported from the Rouge. Dads went into the depths of the plant, moms went into the administrative areas, and everyone made a living.

This is an amazing film.

Press play below to see this incredible video from River Rouge in the 1960s –

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4 thoughts on “A Car Is Born: This 1960s Film Showing Life In The River Rouge Plant Is A Jaw Dropper

  1. Labweiler

    Way back when my grandfather worked at a Ford factory “out in the pickers” of Upper Michigan IIRC he was making steering wheels. Started out making 10 cents an hour and 12 hour days.

    Gramps loved telling that story because people would freak out over the 10 cents an hour. He would smile and say he was livin’ good.
    At that time a loaf of bread was a nickel, a quart of milk two cents.
    Good living indeed.

  2. Maxwell Smart

    Gotta love the painters with no masks along with the smokers. Real freedom in those days, even if it killed you.

  3. phitter67

    It’s sad there was so much vandalism that they had to enclose the train cars. I loved watching them go by and see what was new. you do get a moving art show now with all the graffiti.

  4. Stan dolega

    I worked in the Dearborn Stamping Plant, 1964 as a summer job while attending Michigan State. Also toured the whole Rouge complex. Saw most of it. Valuable life experiance. Later on I took my art students on the tour.


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