Taylor, Frederick Winslow

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b. 20 March 1856 Germantown, Pennsylvania, USA
d. 21 March 1915 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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American mechanical engineer and pioneer of scientific management.
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Frederick W.Taylor received his early education from his mother, followed by some years of schooling in France and Germany. Then in 1872 he entered Phillips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, to prepare for Harvard Law School, as it was intended that he should follow his father's profession. However, in 1874 he had to abandon his studies because of poor eyesight, and he began an apprenticeship at a pump-manufacturing works in Philadelphia learning the trades of pattern-maker and machinist. On its completion in 1878 he joined the Midvale Steel Company, at first as a labourer but then as Shop Clerk and Foreman, finally becoming Chief Engineer in 1884. At the same time he was able to resume study in the evenings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, and in 1883 he obtained the degree of Mechanical Engineer (ME). He also found time to take part in amateur sport and in 1881 he won the tennis doubles championship of the United States.
It was while with the Midvale Steel Company that Taylor began the systematic study of workshop management, and the application of his techniques produced significant increases in the company's output and productivity. In 1890 he became Manager of a company operating large paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin, until 1893 when he set up on his own account as a consulting engineer specializing in management organization. In 1898 he was retained exclusively by the Bethlehem Steel Company, and there continued his work on the metal-cutting process that he had started at Midvale. In collaboration with J.Maunsel White (1856–1912) he developed high-speed tool steels and their heat treatment which increased cutting capacity by up to 300 per cent. He resigned from the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1901 and devoted the remainder of his life to expounding the principles of scientific management which became known as "Taylorism". The Society to Promote the Science of Management was established in 1911, renamed the Taylor Society after his death. He was an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and was its President in 1906; his presidential address "On the Art of Cutting Metals" was reprinted in book form.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Paris Exposition Gold Medal 1900. Franklin Institute Elliott Cresson Gold Medal 1900. President, American Society of Mechanical Engineers 1906. Hon. ScD, University of Pennsylvania 1906. Hon. LLD, Hobart College 1912.
Bibliography
F.W.Taylor was the author of about 100 patents, several papers to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, On the Art of Cutting Metals (1907, New York) and The Principles of Scientific Management (1911, New York) and, with S.E.Thompson, 1905 A Treatise on Concrete, New York, and Concrete Costs, 1912, New York.
Further Reading
The standard biography is Frank B.Copley, 1923, Frederick W.Taylor, Father of Scientific Management, New York (reprinted 1969, New York) and there have been numerous commentaries on his work: see, for example, Daniel Nelson, 1980, Frederick W.Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management, Madison, Wis.
RTS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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