Taylor, Frederick Winslow

Taylor, Frederick Winslow,

1856–1915, American industrial engineer, b. Germantown, Pa., grad. Stevens Institute of Technology, 1883. He was called the father of scientific management. His management methods for shops, offices, and industrial plants were successfully introduced in many industries, notably steel mills. He was the author of The Principles of Scientific Management (1911), Shop Management (1911), Concrete Costs (with S. E. Thompson, 1912), and Scientific Management (ed. by C. B. Thompson, 1914).


See the memorial volume ed. by the Taylor Society, New York (1920, repr. 1972); studies by S. Kakar (1970) and R. Kanigel (1997).

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Taylor, Frederick Winslow

(1856–1915) efficiency engineer; born in Germantown, Pa. After an apprenticeship at a hydraulic works in Philadelphia (1874–78), he went to work at Midvale Steel Company, where he codeveloped the Taylor-White system for heat treating chrome-tungsten tool steel. While there, Midvale introduced piece work in the factory and Taylor became interested in the most efficient way to perform specific tasks. By closely observing the workers' procedures and measuring the output, he developed methods for maximizing each operation as well as for selecting the man best suited for each job, thereby improving both labor relations and company profits. Chief engineer beginning in 1884, he left Midvale in 1890, opening a consulting firm in 1893. While he is most associated with efficiency engineering of people—long known throughout the world as "Taylorism"—he also developed machines and processes that would help speed up work. He promoted his ideas on efficiency engineering in Principles of Scientific Management (1911) and in several other books.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.