Friday, March 17, 2017

F.W. Taylor - Biography - Book - Some Important Events and Opinions by Others




I. The Taylor and Winslow Families 23

II. Frederick Taylor's Parents 43

III. The Boy Fred 55

IV. How he did not Become a Lawyer 69

V. He Enters Industry 77

VI. His Call to go on in Industry 86


I. The Industrial World in 1878 97

II. Far-Advanced Midvale 106

III. Taylor's Rise at Midvale 116

IV. His Success as a Subordinate 125

V= His Success as a Subordinate (Concluded) 138

VI. His Executive Temperament 148

VII. His Fight with his Men 157

VIII. His Hold upon his Men 165

IX. His Hold upon his Men {Concluded) 178

X. His Work as a Mechanical Engineer 190


I. The " Systematic Soldiering " he had to Overcome . . . 205

II. First Steps in Applying Science to Management 216

III. Origin and Nature of Time Study 223

IV. Beginning his Metal-Cutting Investigation 237

V. Limit of Metal-Cutting Progress at Midvale 246

VI. From Experimentation to Standardization 253

Vll. Leading Features of his Svstemization 263

VIII. Organization Previous to Taylor 274

IX. Taylor's Functional Organization 284

X. The Functional Principle and the General Manager. . 294

XI. Taylor's Wage Principles and Methods 304

XII. Towards Industrial Democracy 314

XIII. Good-bye to Midvale 332


I. The Genius of Taylor's System 345

II. Analysis and Classification as a Basis for Control 351

III. Accounting made Contributory to Control 363

IV. With Mr. Whitney's Company 372

V. He Starts a New Profession 386

VI. His First Statement of his System 397

VII. The Thorny Path of the Reformer 416

VIII. At Cramp's Shipyards 429

IX. Various Work for Various Clients 445

X. In the Simonds Shop 456

R.L. Barnes, in his book Motion and Time Study, in the chapter 3 History of Motion and Time Study had written that it is generally agreed that Time Study had its beginning in the machine shop of the Midvale Steel Company in 1881 originated by F.W. Taylor. That led me to search the internet for this fact and made me come across some interesting articles about Taylor.

Taylor described his time study experience in Piece Rate Paper.

Frederick Taylor, late in the year of 1874, when he was eighteen, seized upon the chance to learn, in the shop of a small Philadelphia pump-manufacturing company whose proprietors were acquainted with his family, the trades of the pattern- maker and the machinist.

THIS Philadelphia concern in whose employ Fred Taylor learned his trades was known as the Enterprise Hydraulic Works, and the firm that owned it while he was there was first Ferrell & Jones and then Ferrell & Muckle. The works were situated in Race Street, down near the Schuylkill River.

In 1881, when the Navy's Ordnance Bureau invited fifteen American steel manufacturers to submit proposals for forgings for six-inch all-steel guns, Midvale was the only plant that could undertake the workj for it alone had developed a complete system of experimentation and of records.

To Brinley must be awarded the main credit, not only for these triumphs in the technic of steel making, but also for the organization of the working force. By 1882, when he left Midvale, and was succeeded as superintendent by Davenport, he had put practically every operation in the works, down to the handling of coal, upon a piece-work basis.

In speaking of Taylor's work at Midvale, Carl Barth says: " He constantly investigated tools and other small appliances that gave minor trouble or fell short of giving entire satisfaction, and in discovering the cause of their shortcomings, was able to effect highly-desirable improvements. Many of
these improvements probably could easily have been made by anyone else who had taken the trouble Taylor did to investigate. The basis of it lay in the fact that it was Taylor's genius to recognize the importance of trifles."

Still, he exerted himself on these trips pretty strenuously also. "As we travelled almost every day," Taylor wrote in 1910, " we were obliged to carry very heavy loads in pack baskets on
our backs. My load averaged over eighty pounds, and in some cases was as high as 125 pounds and I many times carried this load more than eight miles per day over the rough trails in the woods." This despite the fact that he " weighed then only 145 pounds."

The engineering type of man [says J. E. Otterson ] works for the solution of a single technical or engineering problem and is concerned with the determination of the solution rather than the applica-
tion of that solution to practical activities. The true type has the capacity to concentrate continuously on a single problem until the solution has been reached. He is interested in the determination of
cause and effect and of the laws that govern phenomena. He is disposed to be logical, analytical, studious, synthetical and to have an investigating turn of mind. The predominating characteristic that
distinguishes him from the executive is his ability to concentrate on one problem to the exclusion of others for a protracted period, to become absorbed in that problem and to free his mind of the cares
of other problems. He does not submit readily to the routine performance of a given amount of work. He deals with laws and abstract facts. He works from text books and original sources of
information. Such men are Edison, Steinmetz, the Wright Brothers, Curtiss, Bell, Pupine, Fessenden, Browning. These men are the extreme of the engineering type; they have enormous imagination,
initiative, constructive powers. Mr. Taylor was in reality an engineer rather than an executive. He applied his wonderful inventive genius to the invention of management methods.

The executive type takes the conclusions of the engineer and the laws developed by the engineer and applies them to the multitude of practical problems that come before him. His chief characteristic
is that he works with a multitude of constantly changing problems at one time. He concentrates on one problem after another in rapid succession. In many instances he has not the time to obtain all of
the facts and he must arrive at a conclusion or make a decision based upon partial knowledge. He must rapidly assimilate available facts and fill in what is lacking from the ripeness of his own experience, frequently calling on his powers of judgment, and even of intuition. He is a man of action, boldness, ingenuity, force, determination, aggressiveness, courage, decision; he is possessed with the desire to get things done, impatient of delay. He works from a handbook, a news-
paper, or nothing at all. Such men are Schwab, Goethals, Pershing, Farrell, Hindenburg, Hoover.

Even to this day many engineers consider their work done when they have designed and built and demonstrated the possibilities of a piece of apparatus. They seem to feel that the efficient operation of it is not in their province. Mr. Taylor felt otherwise. To him, perfection in design was worthless without efficiency in operation, and at an early date he turned his attention to the efficient utilization of human effort.



 Taylor was a man of intellect. His purpose to get output had its roots in his desire to make the most economical use of his shop's facilities. From the start he was a true engineer in that he was a true
economist,^ with all the economist's hatred of waste and his instinct for conservation.

He himself came to define the problem of the machine shop as that of " removing metal from forgings and castings in the quickest time." " It sounds like the simplest of propositions
that herein is involved the whole economy of such a shop.

He found that his master task or problem of getting metal out in the quickest time naturally divided itself into two principal sets of detail problems j the one having to do with the mechanics of the shop's equipment, and the other with the workers' operation of that equipment.

Right at the outset of his career as an industrial economist he was confronted by the deeply significant fact (which his fellow engineers as a class and industrial folk in general were very slow
in getting a grip on) that as there is no machinery so automatic that it does not have to be cared for and have its work supplied to it by human beings, all other industrial problems are swallowed up in the problem of human relations.

Taylor set out accurately to determine {i.e., on a basis of fact) what his men ought to be able to do with their equipment and materials. It was the course that he himself came to describe as
that of " gathering in on the part of those on the management's side of all the great mass of traditional knowledge which in the past has been in the heads of the workmen and in the physical skill and knack of the workman," and of " recording it, tabulating it, and, in many cases, finally reducing it to
laws, rules, and even to mathematical formulae."

Here, then, aside from his action in clearly defining his  master problem as foreman, was his beginning with the scientific method in connection with management — the beginning
which, because it was the logical one and his qualities were what they were, made it inevitable that he should extend the scientific method to all of the elements of management and so bring into existence all of the phenomena of Scientific Management or of that coherent and logical whole destined to become known as the Taylor System.

Taylor, started in the i88o's, led the work of scientifically studying the speeds at which the ma-
chines should be run in the shop, thereby bringing about, as one feature of his work — and it was a feature that deeply wounded the pride of the English — the development of excellence, as by shaping and heat treatment, in metal-cutting tools themselves.

Mention has been made of the fact that Sellers as early as 1876 attempted to have the cutting tools used in his plant issued to the workmen ready ground to shapes and angles adopted as standard after some investigating. This may be taken as illustrating that all along Taylor had contemporaries
who approached and grappled with problems of management in a truly scientific spirit. However, it also illustrates that the work of these other men was unsystematic and confined to a single element or only a few of the elements of management} so that, as Taylor came to express it, there was " great unevenness or lack of uniformity shown, even in our best run works, in the development of the several elements which together constitute what is called the management."

Taylor was the only one who started at the beginning both in his thinking and in his action j which
is to say that he was the only one who, seeing that it is the task of management to bring about the most economical use of labor and equipment entering into production, and seeing also that to fulfill this task the management must determine what the output of the labor aided by the equipment should be, resolutely set out to do this and stuck to it.

This man for two years and a half, I think, spent his entire time in analyzing the motions of the workmen in the machine shop in relation to all the machine work going on in the shop — all the operations, for example, which were performed while putting work into and taking work out from the machines were analyzed and timed. I refer to the details of all such motions as are repeated over and
over again in machine shops. I dare say you gentlemen realize that while the actual work done in the machine shops of this country is infinite in its variety, and that while there are millions and millions of different operations that take place, yet these millions of complicated or composite operations can be analyzed intelligently and readily resolved into a comparatively small number of simple elementary operations, each of which is repeated over and over again in every machine shop. As a sample of these elementary operations which occur in all machine shops, I would cite picking up a bolt and clamp and putting the bolt head into the slot of a machine, then placing a distance piece under the back end of the clamp and tightening down the bolt. Now, this is one of the series of simple operations that take place in every machine shop hundreds of times a day. It is clear that a series of motions such as this can be analyzed, and the best method of making each of these motions can be found out, and then a time study can be made to determine the exact time which a man should take for each job when he does his work right, without any hurry and yet who does not waste time. This was the general line of one of the investigations which we started at that time.

Time study was begun in the machine shop of the Midvale Steel Company in, 1881, and was used during the next two years sufficiently to prove its success. In 1883, Mr. Emlen Hare Miller was
employed to devote his whole time to " time study," and he worked steadily at this job for two years, using blanks similar to that shown in Par. 367 of " Shop Management." He was the first man to
make " time study " his profession.

" Time study," as its name implies, involves a careful study of the time in which work ought to be done. In but very few cases is it the time in which the work actually was done.

The Midvale Steel Works started the " profession of time study."

Time study " consists of two broad divisions, first, analytical work, and second, constructive work.

The analytical work of time study is as follows:

a. Divide the work of a man performing any job into simple elementary movements.
b. Pick out all useless movements and discard them.
c. Study, one after another, just how each of several skilled workmen makes each elementary movement, and with the aid of a stop watch select the quickest and best method of making each elementary movement known in the trade.
d. Describe, record and index each elementary movement, with its proper time, so that it can be quickly found.
e. Study and record the percentage which must be added to the actual working time of a good workman to cover unavoidable delays, interruptions, and minor accidents, etc.
f. Study and record the percentage which must be added to cover the newness of a good workmen to a job, the first few times that he does it. (This percentage is quite large on jobs made up of a large number of different elements composing a long sequence infrequently repeated. This factor grows smaller, however, as the work consists of a smaller number of different elements in a sequence that is more frequently repeated.)
g Study and record the percentage of time that must be allowed for rest, and the intervals at which the rest must be taken, in order to offset physical fatigue.

The constructive work of time study is as follows:

h Add together into various groups such combinations of elementary movements as are frequently used in the same sequence in the trade, and record and index these groups so that
they can be readily found.
i. From these several records, it is comparatively easy to select the proper series of motions which should be used by a workman in making any particular article, and by summing the
times of these movements, and adding proper percentage allowances, to find the proper time for doing almost any class of work.
j. The analysis of a piece of work into its elements almost always reveals the fact that many of the conditions surrounding and accompanying the work are defective; for instance, that improper tools are used, that the machines used in connection with it need perfecting, that the sanitary conditions
are bad, etc. And knowledge so obtained leads frequently to constructive work of a high order, to the standardization of tools and conditions, to the invention of superior methods and machines.

It is unusual to make a study such as this of the elementary movements of the workmen in a trade. The instances in which this has been done are still rare. Most of the men who have made what they
call " time study " have been contented with getting the gross time of a whole cycle of operations necessary to do a particular piece of work, and at best they have thrown out the time when the workman was idle, or evidently purposely going slow.

When he was at Phillips Exeter, he was profoundly impressed by his observation of the way
his professor of mathematics, " Bull " Wentworth, had timed the work of the students in solving various problems, and so was able to give out standard lessons in the sense that he knew
how much time the average boy would take to do them. All the indications are that to the extent Taylor was indebted to him.

Before long he established what one of his associates calls the " unalterable rule that all time study for rate setting must be done not merely with the knowledge but with the co-operation of the worker."

Somewhere along about 1881 it clearly was presented to him that his problem of getting metal cut in the quickest time involved studying both what his men could do and what the machines could do. Hence his two types of experiments and it is highly probable, by the way, that his machine experiments, or those which constituted a " study of the art of cutting metals," were to a large extent inspired by what he observed while developing " accurate motion and time study of men."

The most important discovery of immediate value that Taylor made in the early stage of his experiments on cutting metals  was that " a heavy stream of water poured directly upon the chip at the
point where it is being removed from the steel forging by the tool would permit an increase in cutting speed, and therefore in the amount of work done, of from thirty to forty per cent."

The discovery of Taylor was used by Midvale in a new shop,  which was opened in 1884. In this new shop, each machine was " set in a wrought iron pan in which was collected the water (supersaturated with carbonate of soda to prevent rusting) which was thrown in a heavy stream upon the
tool for the purpose of cooling it. The water from each of these pans was carried through suitable drain pipes beneath the floor to a central well from which it was pumped to an overhead tank from which a system of supply pipes led to each machine." And Taylor added : " Up to that time, so far as
the writer knows, the use of water for cooling tools was confined to small cans or tanks from which only a minute stream was allowed to trickle upon the tool and the work, more for the purpose of obtaining a water finish on the work than with the object of cooling the toolj and, in fact, these small streams of water are utterly inadequate for the latter purpose."

It interesting to note this comment of Taylor. In spite of the fact that the shops of the Midvale Steel Works until recently [1906] have been open to the public since 1884, no other shop was similarly fitted up [with water supply for the machines] until that of the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1899,
with the exception of a small steel works which was an off-shoot in personnel from the Midvale Steel Company."

One of the other great opportunities which the building of the new shop gave him was that of beginning the experiments with belting that, extending over a period of nine years, furnished him with material for a paper which, presented to the A.S.M.E. in 1893, drew from Henry R. Towne, who himself had experimented with belting, this comment:

The present paper is modestly entitled " Notes on Belting," but could be more fittingly described as a treatise on the practical use of belts. Its thirty-four pages contain more new and useful informa-
tion than is found in any other paper that has come to my knowledge.

In his paper On the Art of Cutting Metals (page 32), Taylor listed his variables as follows: "
(a) the quality of the metal which is to be cut}
(b) the diameter of the workj
(c) the depth of the cut;
(d) the thick-ness of the shaving;
(e) the elasticity of the work and of the tool;
(f) the shape or contour of the cutting edge of the tool, together with its clearance
and lip angles;
(g) the chemical composition of the steel from which the tool is made, and the heat treatment of the tool;
(h) whether a copious stream of water or other cooling medium is used on the tool;
(j) the duration of the cut, i.e., the time which a tool must last under pressure of the shaving without
being reground;
(k) the pressure of the chip or shaving upon the tool;
(1) the changes of speed and feed possible in the lathe;
(m) the pulling and feeding power of the lathe."

Barth, who completed these metal-cutting experiments, has made an improved statement of the variables.

Taylor pursued his metal-cutting investigation long after he left Midvale over a period of a quarter of a century. Not until 1906 did he publish anything about it. However, his high-speed steel, which was one of the by-products of this investigation, was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900.

I am well within the limit, gentlemen, in saying [he testified in 1912] that not one machine in twenty in the average shop in this country is properly speeded.

Our experiments have been of two kinds: first, the reduction of the control and operation of machines from rule of thumb to science, and, second, the examination and standardization of human actions
and work with relation both to maximum efficiency and maximum speed.

Next study all the elements as they effect the speed and output, whether they are connected with the machine alone or with the man and the machine combined; then find the one or more elements which
limit the speed of output; centre on the most important, and correct them one after another. This generally involves a combination of study of the man with the machine and involves in many
cases minute time observations with the stop watch.

His time study and his metal-cutting investigation were indeed closely connected and interwoven j having for their common purpose the cutting down of time to the minimum consistent with the doing of good work. In like manner his belting experiments, which were an offshoot of his metal-cutting investigation, had mainly for their purpose the saving of time through the avoidance of delays and interruptions.

Incidentally we can see this purpose as the general cause of the outpouring of his ingenuity in mechanical invention. His great steam-hammer was designed to work faster than any other thing of its kind. He built a new chimney on top of an old one to save " a loss of at least one or two months in
time." And here is the machine-tool table he invented early at Midvale, the table being the part of the machine on which work is place to be operated on. It usually takes much time to set the work on the table and secure it by clamping, and Taylor just could not stand the spectacle of the machine standing
idle while this was being done. So what he invented was a " false " table, or one that was separable from the machine j this, of course, permitting new work to be made entirely or nearly ready on a table while the machine continued busy. Then his study of cutting tools led him to invent a new tool
holder further to expedite the work. This, roughly described, enabled a tool to be held in various positions to correspond to various surfaces, and thus made it possible for one tool to take the place of several of different shapes.

He hastened the establishment among tools of a beautiful order. Not only a place for everything and everything in its place, but also everything in proper variety, suffident quantity, and the pink o£ condition. And withal a beautiful economy of storage space and facility of finding just what was wanted.

Another high development Taylor brought about at Midvale was his system of oiling machines. This device for maintaining things in standard condition created no end of amusement among Taylor's fellow officers, and the wonder of it still is talked about. All we can do here is to indicate its
general nature.

To begin with, he had a man go over every machine and the moving parts connected with it and chalk every oil hole and every surface that required oiling. Then he had another man cover the same ground to make sure that nothing had escaped the first. This done, he had a high-grade mechanic study the best order in which holes and surfaces should be oiled, and these places then were consecutively numbered by stamping.

For the oil holes he had made two sets of wooden plugs, one set with round heads and the other with square, and each set was numbered to correspond to the numbers of the oil holes. While one set was in the oil holes, the other set was kept in a box bored with holes to correspond to the oil holes.
In like manner he had made for the surfaces to be oiled two sets of small hooks, one with round and the other with square tags.

In the morning, the operator of a machine found the oil holes fitted with square-headed plugs, and at the surfaces to be oiled hung the hooks with the square tags. Before starting his machine he was required to replace the " square " objects with the " round " ones, and as he did this to oil the
hole or surface} and at noon, when another oiling was called for, he was required to replace the " round " plugs and hooks with the " square." The object, of course, was to make him give attention to each and every hole and surface, and do this in the proper order j and at any time it could be seen whether all his " square " or " round " plugs and hooks were in place as might be called for. Incidentally the plugs, which were cylindrical and made a neat fit in the holes, kept dust from getting in and cutting the bearings.

Lists were made out of all the oil holes and surfaces to be oiled} these stating to what parts of the machines the holes conducted the oil, and the kind of oil to be used in each case. Duplicates of these lists were filed in the office j and here we can see an early development of the principle of reducing
all recurrent procedure to standard practice and recording it. The ordinary way is to leave such procedure entirely to some individual, who in the course of time may work out for it a pretty good method. All of this knowledge, however, he carries in his head} so that if he falls ill, the procedure suffers, and if he quits the business, some one else must work it out all over again. Taylor not only required the management to determine right at the start the best method, but by his records he made the business independent of the comings and goings of individuals, and his records served as insurance against mistakes, failures of memory, and human fallibility in general.

 Looking at it from this angle, we see that Taylor assumes the aspect simply of a manager of such thoroughness and force that he leaped from a quarter to a half century ahead of the crowd of managers, and did more than any other one individual to wake management up and blaze a trail for it to follow.

The term general manager indeed implies one having an outlook upon all the steps in the accomplishment of an organization's task.

The shop, and indeed the whole works, should be managed, not by the manager, superintendent, or foreman, but by the planning department. The daily routine of running the entire works should be car-
ried on by the various functional elements of this department, so that, in theory at least, the works could run smoothly even if the manager, superintendent and their assistants outside the planning room were all to be away for a month at a time.

Proper extra pay for the extra effort called for by a scientifically set task will induce the worker to make the extra effort continuously.

It undoubtedly was because of this as well as of the high wages he paid that Taylor never again had any trouble with working people after his early experience at Midvale.

Says H. L. Gantt in Industrial Leadership : " The authority to issue an order involves the respon-
sibility to see that it is properly executed. The system of management which we advocate is based on this principle, which eliminates bluff as a feature of management, for a man can only assume the responsibility for doing a thing properly when he not only knows how to do it, but can also teach somebody else to do it." It should not be difficult for anyone to understand why working people, apart from any question of wages, found it a satisfaction to work for men who could show them as well as tell them, and who incidentally assumed the responsibility for the implements and all the conditions upon which the fulfillment of the tasks depended.

There also was the fact that through his development of standard practice for the care of machinery
and belting and his instruction-card and tickler system, he had cut down the repair force of the works about a third.

Three years later, when he became a consulting engineer, he apparently foresaw that unless he had an impartial critic of the efficiency of his methods in the form of a proper cost-keeping system, he
would be at a disadvantage in dealing with the opposition that his experience had taught him would be sure to arise wherever he tried to introduce his methods. Thus his approach to the scientific study of accounting was mainly from the particular angle of cost accounting. And to say that when he turned his attention to this subject there was no general recognition of the importance of accurately determining, on a basis of ascertained and recorded fact, the group and unit costs of products is to put it mildly — how mildly will be appreciated when it is pointed out that as late as the year 1921 the
Federal Trade Commission reported that about ninety per cent of industrial and commercial firms did not know what their costs were.

Mr. Towne said among other things:

To ensure the best resuhs, the organization of productive labor must be directed and controlled by persons having not only good executive ability, and possessing the practical familiarity of a mechanic or engineer with the goods produced and the processes employed, but having also, and equally, a practical knowledge of how to observe, record, analyze, and compare essential facts in relation to wages, supplies, expense accounts, and all else that enters into or affects the economy of production and the cost of the product.

The fact that Taylor called his paper of 1895 simply A Piece-Rate System, with the cautious subtitle A Step Toward Partial Solution of the Labor Problem, signifies not merely that he yet was unconscious that involved in his work was the development of a comprehensive system and that he himself was deeply interested in the " labor end."

Taylor said in the address he made in Cleveland just before his death:

I have before me something which has been gathering in for about fourteen years, the time or motion study of the machine shop. It will take probably four or five years more before the first book will be
ready to publish on that subject. There is a collection of sixty or seventy thousand elements affecting machine shop work. After a few years — say three, four or five years more — some one will be ready to publish the first book giving the laws of the movements of men in the machine shop — all the laws, not only a few of them. Let me predict, gentlemen, just as sure as the sun shines that is going to come in every trade. Why? Because it pays, and for no other reason. Any device which results in an increased output is bound to come in spite of all opposition; whether we want it or not, it comes automatically.

In Taylor's lifetime these studies resulted in the publication of two books: Concrete Plain and Reinforced (1905), and Concrete Costs (1912).

Updated 20 March 2017 - Birthday of Taylor (Taylor Birth Year 1856)

First published on 20 June 2015

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