What are Interchangeable Parts?
A design principal in which the individual parts of a system are defined
to meet a specification such that they can be readily interchanged
for replacement or expansion. Designing a system of interchangeable parts
has many advantages. For example, it allowed gun parts to be exchanged
on the battle field so soldiers would only have to change the damaged
part of the firearm, and not the whole gun.
How are they used?
One of the first examples of interchangeable parts can be found on
Gutenberg's printing press in the middle 1400s. Blocks of type
(individual letters) were carefully filed to interlock on a typesetting
grid. This grid of letters could be manipulated to form different pages
of text for printing. It required an extreme amount of skill to form
letters that were even across a line and made an even imprint on
Interchangeable parts much later formed the basis for assembly line