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I guess the question would need some refining - what do you mean by 'in production'? There are fewer moulding machines than there are 'active' parts; not every moulding machine is producing the same part 24/7/52 ... in fact, I doubt many are; I've been told only the most common elements would have machines dedicated to their production. Element production is scheduled in batches, based on what will be needed for sets over the coming months. Once a batch of a particular element has been completed by a particular moulding machine, the mould in the machine will be changed & a different element produced, for a time. Some elements (like, say, minifig binoculars) that are included in quite a few sets, but only ever in small quantities, may only be scheduled for a production run every couple of years ...
Once produced, the elements are stored in crates in a vast warehouse, until needed. Like element production, not all 'active' sets are being produced all the time; they are produced in batches too. When needed, the elements from the warehouse are moved to the packing plant; the right elements are selected to go into the right bag, then the right bags are selected to go in the right boxes.
So, of the elements that are in a new set you buy today, some might have been made a few weeks ago, while others may not have been made for many, many months. The ones in your set have been sitting around in a warehouse for a long time, but still be the most recently manufactured element of that type.
It's my understanding that once or twice a year there is a big meeting where all the set designers, parts designers, manufacturing folk, management, etal, sit down & decide which parts are to be retired. They also consider suggestions for new parts & decide which ones will go into production. At any given time, this will describe the 'active' palette of parts available to the set designers.
Each team in the set design group gets an allocation of how many new parts they can have for the coming period; obviously the team that looks after Bionicle/Hero Factory get a lot of new parts allocated each time, but only because they retire so many parts each time too. It's advantageous when multiple teams can agree on sharing a new part (e.g. the new pitch fork for the Kingdoms & Alien Conquest themes, which come out of different design teams, or the cows that were developed for the City Farm theme, but first used by the 'Direct' team in the Medieval Market Village).
But for prior to 1975... I can give you some good indications....
Here's just the Town Parts (1955-87) that exclude trees/bushes (separate chapter) and gas stations/garages (separate chapter)...
I've got 2,200 pages of LEGO history in my LEGO CD including 1/4 million words and over 2,000 historic images. I'm selling it from my USA Bricklink store (Gary Istok Rare Bricks).
... Jorgen says there are "7,000 pieces". From the context, my assumption is that he's talking about the current element palette.
Only having one set with pneumatics and very poor control (8421) it would be interesting to know what other components are a available, I know there is a reservoir but are there none-return valves, or any form of flow control, has anyone tried using the LEGO cylinders for hydraulics?
I am looking forward to seeing how well the 8110 Unimog will work.