A.O. Smith Co. Automated Frame Assembly Line

3533 N 27th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A large campus of manufacturing, including automobile frames, farm equipement and numerous other products.


Most everything that once comprised this vast manufacturing complex is being torn down.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in April 2012



One of the outstanding achievements of the A.O. Smith Company was an automated factory for the manufacture of automobile frames. If it was not the first fully automated assembly line, it certainly was among the first. From raw material to finished frame took about 2 hours, the plant could produce 10,000 frames per day. It took 40 minutes to assemble the frame and another hour and 20 minutes to clean and paint. The automated frame assembly line operated until 1958 and was recognized in May 1979 as a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

A.O. Smith exited the automobile business in 1997.

Update Log 

  • September 2, 2012: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 15, 2011: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com