Monday, February 25, 2008


Mechanization is the term used to describe the new form of manufacturing in the late 19th century. Due to this process, called "Mass Production" by Henry Ford, "workers increasingly lost the proud independence characteristic of the nineteenth-century craft work." (America, Pg. 523) This was because machines such as the typewriter or bicycle, were made using standardized parts created by machine tools. These machine tools were operated by machinists. What mechanization led to was the creation of "dedicated machines--machines set up to the same job over and over without the need for skilled operatives." (America, pg. 523) Instead of creating machines, machinists were made to create a single part many times over. "With each advance the quest for efficiency eroded their cherished autonomy, diminishing them and cutting them down to fit the industrial system." (America, pg. 524) Mechanization inspired Frederick W. Taylor, and was a basis for scientific management.

1 comment:

A. Mattson said...

A great post, use of quotations.

The decline of skilled craft work due to the rise of the dedicated machine and the increasing specialization and division of labor really changed the nature of work.

Taylor's theory of scientific managment is the culmination of this process. Independence and the individual control over time and motion were fast disappearing from the factory.

What were the benefits and the costs of this transformation?