Monday, May 18, 2009

CT scans reveal Roman Mass Production Techniques

New research shows that, like so many other things in our world, mass production techniques like assembly lines were used thousands of years before Henry Ford by the ingenious Romans! Only time will tell if the manufacturing process was invented in Rome or adapted from a culture conquered by the Romans.

I have a little miniature replica of a jointed Roman doll that I purchased on my last visit to the Getty Villa. I have seen other Roman dolls in other museum collections and notice that they all have very similar faces. I wonder if the Romans had their own version of Mattel as well?

[Image: Roman ivory doll; Photo courtesy Dr. Barbara F. McManus,]

German scientists disclosed Friday new evidence that the ancient Romans used mass-production methods to make metalwares at lesser cost, just like modern factories do. A close study of a 28-centimetre-tall bronze figure of the god Mercury made in the 2nd century AD, found on a dig at Obernburg, showed it was hollow - an indication of cost cutting - and that its legs were made separately, indicating some kind of assembly line to exploit economies of scale. Technical University of Munich scientists at the FRM-II research nuclear reactor in Garching near Munich blasted the statue with neutrons to reveal metal joins that are invisible to X-rays. - More: EarthTimes
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