Interchangeable Parts

Created by Dennis Velazquez of third period

The Inventor

The Inventor of interchangeable parts is a gunsmithinventor named Honore Blanc , who stunned French academicians, politicians, and military men. Under the sponsorship of the artillery service, Blanc had manufactured some one thousand gunlocks at an experimental workshop in the Vincennes dungeon, just outside Paris. Now, in front of these august dignitaries, he demonstrated the interchangeability of their parts.

The Way Of The Invention

The way of the invention works is quite simple, identical pieces are made so precisely that they can be assembled without a final "fitting."

The Purpose

The purpose of this invention was to satisfy all of France's need for muskets. It would also lower the price of making and repairing guns and prompt further innovations from a new breed of machine-tool makers. It would also provide work for the unskilled vagabonds (wander or tourist) who troubled the countryside.

Place of occurance and when it occured

The occurance of interchangeable parts occured in 18th-century France-and of the role played by Thomas Jefferson in bringing word of this method to the United States. Forty years ago, Robert Woodbury called attention to Jefferson's letter to John Jay of August 30, 1785, which reported on the demonstration Jefferson had witnessed in Blanc's workshop.

The need for this invention

Interchangeable parts manufacturing is a key element of modern mass production. Yet it better expresses an ideal than describes the methods of achieving that ideal, or why it is worth pursuing in the first place.

The importance

Interchangeable parts are important to history because of effort to make things identical was part of a larger enlightenment project to replace the corporate order with a more innovative technological regime.


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Robert C. Ford

Department of Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA