Perhaps the most famous use of conveyors was when Henry Ford, influenced by slaughter houses, created the first assembly lines for his Model T cars in 1913. By moving the car along a conveyor belt, the factory workers were spared the hassle of having to move their tools to each car being assembled. This reduced the time to manufacture an automobile to as little as 93 minutes, or one every 24 seconds, revolutionizing the car industry. Conveyor driven assembly lines became standard in car factories by 1919.
World War Two saw the development of many new synthetic materials due to the restriction of natural materials such as rubber and cotton for the war effort. Urethane and synthetic rubber, along with other technologies such as rolling systems and the V-belt assembly, made conveyors more efficient. In 1957 the B.F. Goodrich Company patented the first turnover conveyor belt, which, by adding a twist in the belt, extended belt life by spreading wear to both sides of the conveyor belt.
The Modern Era
The modern era of conveyors could be said to have started in the 1970s with Intralox filing to patent their first modular plastic belting, or modular belt. Conveyors are now used throughout modern industrial manufacturing, shopping centers, and family homes. Currently, the longest conveyor in existence is in Western Sahara, measuring in at over 60 miles long and used to transport phosphate from a mining operation to the continents coast.