Arthur O. Smith

Inducted 1988

A.O. Smith designed a stamping press to produce the first sheet steel automobile frame; the A.O. Smith Company made its mark in 1906 by producing 10,000 frames in four months for Ford Motor Company

L.R. Smith created the first fully automated frame assembly plant in 1921, producing 10,000 frames per day.

Arthur Smith and his son Lloyd literally provided the framework for Henry Ford’s first mass production success. When Henry Ford asked A.O. Smith to build 10,000 steel auto frames in just four months, Smith replied, “That’s what we’re here for.” But the Smith Company was then producing only 10 frames per day. Smith retooled his entire operation to manufacture 100 frames per day and Ford received his 10,000 frames on time. Son Lloyd took over the company in 1913 with the same “can-do” approach, introducing many new products. As the popularity of automobiles increased, so did the demand for steel frames. After six years of development, L.R. Smith unveiled the world’s first automated frame assembly plant in 1921. Producing 10,000 frames a day, the plant was called “the mechanical marvel.”

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