Taylor circa 1900
BornMarch 20, 1856
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.
DiedMarch 21, 1915 (aged 59)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.
Cause of deathInfluenza
Resting placeWest Laurel Hill Cemetery
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania U.S.
Known for"Father" of the
& Efficiency Movement
Home townGermantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
SpouseLouise M. Spooner
ChildrenKempton, Robert and Elizabeth (all adopted orphans) ParentsFranklin Taylor
Emily Annette Winslow
AwardsElliott Cresson Medal (1902)
Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He is regarded as the father of scientific management and was one of the first management consultants. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era. Biography
Taylor was born in 1856 to a wealthy Quaker family in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taylor's father, Franklin Taylor, a Princeton-educated lawyer, built his wealth on mortgages. Taylor's mother, Emily Annette Taylor (née Winslow), was an ardent abolitionist and a coworker with Lucretia Mott. His father's ancestor, Samuel Taylor, settled in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1677. His mother's ancestor, Edward Winslow, was 1 of the 15 original Mayflower Pilgrims that brought servants or children, and 1 of 8 that had the honorable distinction of Mister. Winslow served for many years as the Governor of the Plymouth colony. Educated early by his mother, Taylor studied for two years in France and Germany and traveled Europe for 18 months. In 1872, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, with the plan of eventually going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer like his father. In 1874, Taylor passed the Harvard entrance examinations with honors. However, allegedly due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight, Taylor chose quite a different path. Instead of attending Harvard, Taylor became an apprentice patternmaker and machinist, gaining shop-floor experience at Enterprise Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia (a pump-manufacturing company whose proprietors were friends of the Taylor family). He left his apprenticeship for 6 months, and represented a group of New England machine tool manufacturers at Philadelphia's centennial exposition. Taylor finished his 4 year apprenticeship, and then in 1878 he became a machine shop laborer at Midvale Steel Works. At Midvale, Taylor was quickly promoted to time clerk, journeyman machinist, gang-boss over the lathe hands, machine shop foreman, and then research director and finally chief engineer of the works (while maintaining his position as machine shop foreman). Taylor's fast promotions probably reflected not only his talent but also his family's relationship with Edward Clark, partial owner of Midvale Steel. (Edward Clark's son Clarence Clark, who was also a manager at Midvale Steel, married Taylor's sister.) Early on at Midvale, working as a laborer and machinist, Taylor recognized that workmen were not working their machines, or themselves, nearly as hard as they could (which at the time was called "soldiering") and that this resulted in high labor costs for the company. When he became a foreman he expected more output from the workmen and in order to determine how much work should properly be expected he began to study and analyze the productivity of both the men and the machines (although the word "productivity" was not used at the time, and the applied science of productivity had not yet been developed). His focus on the human component of production eventually became Scientific Management, while the focus on the machine component led to his famous metalcutting and materials innovations. While Taylor worked at Midvale, he...