The United States is the most famous and well-known country in the world. One of the primary reasons for this is an American’s uncanny ability to solve problems. The people of this country have solved problems like no other people in history.
One of the first jobs Americans handled was the building of the Panama Canal. From that time on, just about nothing could stop them. Incidentally, it was the building of the Panama Canal, that gave Americans their first international reputation for getting complicated things done quickly.
From the very beginning, Americans seemed to have a unique combination of industry, top-flight science, and old-fashioned courage.
This led them to develop an optimistic belief that any problem could be solved.
Back in the early days when the great American consumer wanted something, he wanted it quickly, in vast quantities, and at low cost. First, they wanted nails, so they could fix the housing shortage that followed the Revolution. Returning veterans found handmade nails bringing high prices, but nails were always made by hand. So, in 1795, a man named Perkins solved the problem with a machine that made 60,000 nails a week.
Then they needed muskets to fight the War of 1812. There were not nearly enough gunsmiths to fill the sudden demand. Eli Whitney devised machines to make the parts separately, in lots of 10,000. Then the pieces were brought together to form the whole gun – lock, stock, and barrel, which is where that phrase comes from.
Another example is the clock. At that time, clocks were available only to the very wealthy. Every clock on earth was hand made. So, a production master named Eli Terry built 500 of them at the same time, of standard design to sell at a low price. With his partner, a man named Seth Thomas, he created a new industry based on low costs, mass production, and distribution. Soon, every home in the country had a clock.
This led to the birth of the American salesman.
The salesman loaded his goods onto a wagon, and the Yankee peddler went from settlement to settlement selling his wares. When he arrived at a farm or community, it was practically declared a holiday.
Over time he added hats, clothing, soap, farm equipment, and furniture. Finally, a man came along to change the way we all got around.
Even in 1906, they assembled automobiles from hundreds of parts which had to be fitted by hand. Henry Ford learned to mass-produce cars, and others followed suit. Mass-produced clothing took out the high-priced hand-tailored shops and brought them to the counter.
Whenever there has been a need, American’s have come along with a way and means of making it faster, higher quantity, and for less.
Certainly, one of the significant factors that have given America its vitality and strength has been innovation and stubbornness. Americans refuse to think just because something has always been done one way that it has to continue to be done that way. What will change next?