Thursday, October 3, 2013



HUMMING birds winter in Central
America and nest in summer in Alaska,
yet bring up families as beautiful, as
courageous and as achieving as themselves.
The stormy petrel flies four hundred miles
through the fog and strikes its burrow exactly,
storks marked in Norway have been caught in
South Africa, curlew and plover are supposed
to fly at the rate of four miles a minute.

The barn-yard fowl, if frightened, runs and
flutters over a low fence, and panting with ex-
haustion is soon run down. The rooster uses
his wings to flap when he crows, the hen uses
hers to brood her chicks, their ancestors having
forgotten that they were birds and that the
limitless air was their inheritance.

''Whoever heard of a woman tiring when she
was having a good time, even if she had danced
all night?" said Nietzsche, and the police in
San Francisco on March 20, 1910, on advice of
doctors present, stopped a dance after six of
the contestants had been dancing 15 hours and
6 minutes.

Prof. William James pointed out and insisted
on the second wind, the ability that comes after
first fatigue, after the barn-yard flutter, to en-
dure and achieve, to fly !

Standards and Schedules ! These are of two
kinds, the physical and chemical standards dis-
covered and established in the last century,
standards and schedules as exact as mathe-
matics, and those other schedules resting on
standards whose upper limit we do not yet
know. We have our five senses. We can taste
or smell an infinitesimal taint in food, we can
smell the millionth part of a grain of musk, we
can discern by touch the ten-thousandth part
of an inch, a man heard 2,390 miles away the
boom of the explosion of Krakatoa, we see bil-
lions and billions of miles distant a new star
bursting into brilliance; but there is a region
not ten miles away about which we know less
than we know of the nebulae, because we can-
not reach it with our senses, nor yet with our
physics and mathematics — a region ten miles
or less straight down under foot.

By bringing into play our instruments, our
bolometers which measure the millionth of a
degree of heat, our ultra-microscope which al-
most enables us to see the atoms, one one-mil-
lionth of a second measured on the tracing of a
tuning fork's vibrations — by the refinements of
physics and chemistry we can peer into the true
inwardness of material things ; so we use stop
watches for time and motion studies of our ma-
chines ; but when we wish to schedule work f 01
sentient beings, then our mathematics fail and
we fall back on experiments inspired by faith.
Four miles a minute the flight of a little bird,
99 per cent and more the efficiency of the fire-
fly's flight, the sixth sense of the blinded bat,
the sudden stop of the grizzly bear from full
trot in darkest night when he was within a foot
of the finest flower wire leading to a flash-light
camera !

All around us, everywhere nature has been
showing us that increased result comes from
lessened effort, not from greater effort, but we
have been too stupid to understand. Because it
takes one pound of coal to produce one horse
power, and two pounds of coal to produce two
horse power, because it is harder to jump over a
fence four feet high than over a fence two feet
high, because it is more difficult to jump over a
fence five feet high, we have non-reasoned back
from results to effort, and concluded that effort
should be gauged by result which is in accord
with one set of experiences but wholly contrary
to the larger experience. Any specific kind of
effort, measured by results, falls from a max-
imum to a minimum and then rises again to
another maximum, so that there is only one
point where maximum result is attained for
minimum effort, a point properly scheduled at
100 per cent.

As to specific result it may be attained in
many ways. Tame geese in Germany are slowly
driven to market in September, waddling a few
miles each day. They are prepared for the trip
by walking through soft, warm tar and then
through fine gravel and sand, so that, thus shod,
their feet may stand the weary march. Wild
geese fly from Golofnin Bay, Alaska, to the
tropics in less time than the tame geese waddle
a hundred miles. The wild goose's distance and
time schedule would be ridiculous for the tame
goose, the latter's schedule an absurdity not less
cruel for the wild geese.

As to the variation in effort for similar con-
ditions, we have but to remember that while it
is pleasant to spend from six to twelve hours in
bed, it is an affliction to spend all one's time in
bed, a greater affliction than to have no bed and
to snatch rest as one can on a long tramp or
journey, for men can sleep even when walking.
It is easy to walk three or four miles an hour ;
it is intensely wearying to stand waiting or to
walk two miles an hour, when shopping with
one's wife — more wearying than the five-mile
an hour trot of the Yukon winter trail. It is easy
to ride a bicycle 10 to 15 miles an hour, it is
desperately hard to ride 1 mile an hour or 20
miles an hour, and either endeavor will send the
rider exhausted to bed. How much more ex-
hausting it is to breathe either fast or slow
than to breathe naturally, the latter being abso-
lutely effortless and kept up from birth to
death, waking or sleeping. Natural breathing,
natural heart beats, natural temperature, are
100 per cent efficiency.

This law of the reduction of effort for greater results crops up in the most unexpected places, so that engineers have evolved the definite critical speed, the speed of maximum result for relatively least expenditure.

In fast steamers resistance does not increase
with the cube of the speed, but there are certain
higher critical speeds at which resistance is
less. Nearly 100 years ago in England a man
running express-passenger canal boats had
them towed by galloping horses at a speed of
nearly 14 miles an hour, claiming this was
easier than a slower speed. He was ridiculed
by scientists who opposed the law of cubic in-
crease of resistance. A bet was made, dyna-
mometers attached, and up to 8 miles the law
held good ; but above 8 miles the canal boat be-
gan to climb out of the water, so that at 14
miles the actual resistance was small. This
was the origin of the hydroplane boat. A wise
Kansas mare hitched to a plow, pulling heavily,
would look back, take in the situation, and in-
crease her speed. The plow immediately pulled
easier because the greater speed flung the cling-
ing earth free of the mold board, thus greatly
lessening friction.

Time and motion studies having been made
as to all the work of a gang of men, both con-
ditions and operations were standardized and
an efficiency reward was offered. The results
are shown in the diagram opposite. Nearly
all the men are grouped between 80 per cent
and 120 per cent, with the greatest density
around 120 per cent — the region of least effort.
The hardest worked man both physically per
unit of time and physically per unit of result,
was Poder, with an efficiency of 7.8 per cent.
He was more exhausted at the month's end
than Harris, who attained 139.2 per cent;
Keief, King, and Clohessy were more tired at
the day's end than Boyce and Hauf ; Magill
was as tired as Hauf.

A casual observation of the passengers leav-
ing the Atlantic Highland boats at the Rector
Street pier in New York on a Monday morning
in summer, shows conclusively that in the
crowd, some (a very few) travel over the long
gallery from boat to street at the rate of 6 miles
an hour; others, quite a bunch, at the rate of
4 miles ; but the great body travels at the rate
of 3 miles, and there are stragglers, mothers
with little children, old ladies of social weight,
also lingering lovers, who travel at rates
shrinking to 2 miles an hour. The able-bodied,
in so far as not hindered, have an average rate
of 4 miles; and from these observations
of voluntary effort, we can well establish
a walking standard of 4 miles an hour
with disapprobation if the rate falls below
3 miles, with special reward to those who
reach and pass the 4-mile mark. Had we
diagrammed these walkers on the pier, they
wouJd have given us a picture similar, to the
machine-shop curve of Poder to Harris. Both
diagram and description show that the increase
of effort between 100 per cent and 140 per cent
efficiency is very slight — only 25 per cent, quite
within the limit of normal variation above the
rational average; and it also shows how it is
possible for a good man to deliver nearly twenty
times as much as the incompetent man, four
times as much as the laggards, twice as much
as the haphazard workers. Poder, Keief, King
and Clohessy could never become Hauf , Boyce,
and Harris. Piece rates based on the perform-
ance of Harris would be as ridiculous for Po-
der as wild-geese schedules imposed on tame
geese fattening for Michaelmas; but, without
injustice to Keief, King, and Clohessy, the nat-
ural Hauf s, Boyces, and the Harris clan can be
selected for their natural work and be corre-
spondingly rewarded.

There are places where Poder and Clohessy
would fit, even as the tame goose, plucked for
its feathers and prepared for the feast, shows
100 per cent efficiency, and the thin, stringy
wild goose is far below par. The schedule must
fit the man and the man the schedule ; there is
no such thing as a definite universal schedule.
At best there is a broad schedule band (in the
diagram, the region between 80 per cent and
120 per cent) and the records will show clearly
whether the men have been selected to fit the
schedule and whether the schedule fits the man.
Irrespective of any current wage rate, a shop
cannot be filled with the Hauf to Harris thor-
oughbreds for the wages that will attract the
Poders and Clohessys.

If all conditions were absolutely standard-
ized, if all operations were also perfectly stand-
ardized, piece rates might apply with reason-
able equity and fairness to the tame geese trav-
eling the same road in the same weather with
the same tar-sand shoes; but what about the
wild geese far overhead? They must have
schedules based on other standards.

The physiological objection to piece rates is that they stimulate strenuousness, increase of effort, when what we want is a betterment of conditions so as to achieve greater result with less effort.

In the diagrams on pages 270 and 272 the
speeds per hour for the best athletic records
from start up to 100 miles show the time rela-
tions between different methods for the same
distance. The results are tabulated as follows :

Table of Athletic Records

One Mile One Hundred Miles

_/ . , k.

Actual Relative Actual Relative Rela-
speed speed speed speed tive to

1 mile

Amateur walking..






Amateur running..






Amateur skating..






Amateur bicycle






Professional bicycle






It is known that each of these men put forth
his best efforts, and assuming the men to be
equal in strength, endurance, skill, we become
certain that the mere addition of skates to the
shoes increased the speed for the same effort
2.37 times at one mile and 2.92 times at 100
miles; that the substitution of a bicycle for
skates increases the speed 3.4 times at one mile,
4.2 times at 100 miles ; and that the addition of
a helping pacer, who in no way touches the
rider, merely shielding him from the wind, in-
creases the speed above walking six-fold at one
mile, 7.4 times at 100 miles. All these records
are of abnormal, excessive, and extreme speeds,
but who can doubt that the relation would re-
main the same if they were halved, thus brought
down to high normal — 4.6 miles for walking,
28 miles for paced bicycle?

The time may come when aeroplanes rising
on the wind as do the birds will glide on up-
ward currents, as also do the birds, at a rate of
two miles a minute for a thousand miles, or
twenty-five times as fast as the walker, yet ex-
ert no muscular effort, using delicate instru-
ments to feel the wind, and intelligence to guide
the flyer.
Other facts appear from the table and dia-
gram. For the 100-mile stretch compared to
the one-mile stretch, both bicycle and skating
fall to only 64 per cent of the speed, but walk-
ing and running collapse respectively to 52 and
to 40 per cent, so the man-used and man-driven
tools not only vastly increase the speed, but
maintain it at a far higher proportion. At one
mile the paced bicycle rider is only six times as
fast as the walker, at 100 miles he is nearly
seven and a half times as fast.

It also appears that the trotting horse, who
begins faster than the skater, is distanced by
him at 24 miles, and after that steadily falls be-
hind. The horse does not have the man's cour-
age. The man helped only by his bicycle is
throughout faster than the trotter, faster than
the running horse after the third mile.

For physical, for chemical, and for electrical
relations we can set absolute standards :

746 watts.

33,000 foot-pounds per minute
1 horse power=« 2,545 heat units per hour

0.175 pounds carbon oxidized per hour
w 2.64 lb. of water evaporated per hour

Practical standards are very different — one
pound of coal in steam engines per horse-power
hour, 10 pounds of water evaporated per pound
of coal instead of 15 !

For physical standards we can measure the
extent of the shortcomings and diligently strive
to lessen the losses; but in making standards
and schedules for man we must first classify our
men, and then we must so equip them that they
can as easily do six times, seven times — yes,
perhaps one hundred times as much.

Walking 9.2 miles an hour is as to normal
walking 200 per cent efficient, not a normal
standard for any regular work, but compared
to the effortless glide of the aeroplane it is only
10 per cent efficient.

To establish rational work standards for men requires indeed motion and time studies of all operations, but it requires in addition all the skill of the planning manager, all the skill of the physician, of the humanitarian, of the physiologist, of the psychologist ; it requires infinite knowledge, directed, guided and restrained by
hope, faith and compassion.

The promise already partly fulfilled and
clearly held out as to the future is that greater
and greater results shall follow constantly di-
minishing effort.

Commentary by KVSSNRao

To establish rational work standards for men requires indeed motion and time studies of all operations, but it requires in addition all the skill of the planning manager, all the skill of the physician, of the humanitarian, of the physiologist, of the psychologist ; it requires infinite knowledge, directed, guided and restrained by
hope, faith and compassion. 

1 comment:

  1. Harrington Emerson (August 2, 1853 – September 2, 1931).
    Harrington Emerson's books are in public domain now.