In the age of global mass production and consumption, rapid manufacturing of certain goods is essential to meet the demand from an ever-increasing number of consumers. Here, broken down into five categories, are the most mass produced items in the world.
The low production and material costs of this ubiquitous assault rifle have helped it to become the most mass-produced weapon in the world. The AK-47 is so widely used and so popular that it even ended up on the flag of Mozambique and on the coat of arms of Zimbabwe.
Although the AK-47 was developed as long ago as 1949, it’s still the world’s most used assault rifle. Russian in origin, the AK-47 is often portrayed as the cliché “anti-American” or “terrorist” weapon in movies and stories, whereas the American-made M16 assault rifle is seen as the “good-guy” weapon.
No kitchen is complete without a fridge – an idea that American advertisers quickly latched onto when the first refrigerators started to hit the shelves in 1913. Scientists had been experimenting with artificial refrigeration as far back as the 1700s.
Now the most common appliance across the world, refrigerators have become an essential facet of our lives. Without fridges, it would be nearly impossible to maintain our modern diet, which relies on the ability to keep food fresh for extended periods. As an extension from the fridge, freezers enable us to buy food in bulk and then eat it at our leisure, a convenience that many now take for granted.
Bread is the most basic and most widely consumed food in the world. As a food, its history stretches across millennia, and it is an integral part of many cultures. In different times and places, people have introduced their own variations on the basic flour and water dough method, for example to make flat bread, sweet bread and rye.
The most common and mass-produced “supermarket” bread is generally seen as inferior to home-baked or bakery-produced bread, given that it’s highly processed and full of preservatives. However, without the preservatives, it wouldn’t be possible to ship and store such large volumes of loaves and still to ensure that the bread remains fresh for several days after making it into consumers’ kitchens.
An unbelievable quantity of Coca-Cola is produced and drunk every year. Here’s a favourite Coke fact – if you were to pour every drop of Coke ever sold into 8-ounce bottles and stack them end to end, they would reach the moon and back over 2,000 times. Also, incredibly, the average person consumes a Coca-Cola product every four days.
As you can tell from the image above, just about every household item these days has some plastic component in it. Part of the popularity of the material is explained in the etymology of the word plastic, which comes from the Greek word “πλαστικός“, meaning “capable of being shaped or molded”. Plastic is impervious to water, and cheap and easy to manufacture; factors that also explain its popularity in modern times.
Although plastic is most commonly made out of petrochemicals, there are more sustainable ways of creating it. Also, plastic has already served as a replacement for many materials, like wood, leather, and metal, that it would be unsustainable to continue using in the mass production of goods.
Post courtesy of Jeff from www.hvdh-sa.co.za – a South African industrial engineering company that frequently works with the most mass-produced material in the world and designs and manufactures plastic extrusion tools, injection moulding tools as well as various other solutions for manufacturers.