By PHILIP SUSSER
The assembly line was one of the biggest industrial innovations of the first half of the twentieth century. It brought what were once luxury items within the reach of middle class Americans and spawned industries that fueled the country’s economy for decades. Motorized vehicles became democratized, prompting a nationwide craving for the freedom of the road. Easy credit and low prices brought an explosion in the automobile industry, and by the end of the 1920s, nearly one in five Americans had access to a car. The brainchild behind the new industrial method was Henry Ford, Sr., the owner of the eponymous car company and visionary businessman.