The factory line has made possible our consumer society: producing both its wealth of goods and many of its social pressures. An important and ingenious invention, the factory line was first developed by Henry Ford to produce cars in the early twentieth century. ‘Fordism’ was more an attitude to the efficient organisation of production than a recipe book of techniques. Its principles could be applied to many other fields of manufacture: even Hollywood. Today the electrical goods assembled for the world in countries such as China are being built on factory lines. The Ford automobile plant at Dagenham and the Hollywood film studios of the 1930s might seem completely different. Yet, surprisingly, they shared many features common to any form of mass production. What lessons can they teach us about people’s experiences of the factory line?