Identical components that can substitute one for another, particularly important in manufacturing. Mass production, which transformed the organization of work, came about by the development of the machine-tool industry by a series of 19th-century innovators. With precision equipment, large numbers of identical parts could be produced at low cost and with a small workforce. See also American System of manufacture; armoury practice; automobile industry; factory; Henry Ford; Henry Leland.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on interchangeable parts, visit Britannica.com.
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