Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,311 pages of information and 227,857 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), introduction of high-speed tool steel.
Frederick Winslow Taylor (March 20, 1856 – March 21, 1915) was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficiency. He 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. Taylor summed up his efficiency techniques in his book The Principles of Scientific Management.
Taylor was born in 1856 to a 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 co-worker with Lucretia Mott. His father's ancestor, Samuel Taylor, settled in Burlington, New Jersey, in 1677. His mother's ancestor, Edward Winslow, was one of the fifteen original Mayflower Pilgrims who brought servants or children, and one of eight who had the honourable 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 travelled 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 honours. However, due allegedly 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 six months and represented a group of New England machine-tool manufacturers at Philadelphia's centennial exposition. Taylor finished his four-year apprenticeship and in 1878 became a machine-shop labourer at Midvale Steel Works. At Midvale, he was quickly promoted to time clerk, journeyman machinist, gang boss over the lathe hands, machine shop foreman, 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, part 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 labourer 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 labour 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 metal-cutting and materials innovations.
While Taylor worked at Midvale, he and Clarence Clark won the first tennis doubles tournament in the 1881 US National Championships, the precursor of the US Open. Taylor became a student of Stevens Institute of Technology, studying via correspondence and obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering in 1883.
On May 3, 1884, he married Louise M. Spooner of Philadelphia.
From 1890 until 1893 Taylor worked as a general manager and a consulting engineer to management for the Manufacturing Investment Company of Philadelphia, a company that operated large paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin. He spent time as a plant manager in Maine.
In 1893, Taylor opened an independent consulting practice in Philadelphia. His business card read "Consulting Engineer - Systematizing Shop Management and Manufacturing Costs a Specialty". Through these consulting experiences, Taylor perfected his management system.
In 1898 he joined Bethlehem Steel in order to solve an expensive machine-shop capacity problem. As a result, he and Maunsel White, with a team of assistants, developed high speed steel, paving the way for greatly increased mass production. Taylor was forced to leave Bethlehem Steel in 1901 after discord with other managers.
After leaving Bethlehem Steel, Taylor focused the rest of his career on publicly promoting his management and machining methods through lecturing, writing, and consulting. In 1910, owing to the Eastern Rate Case, Frederick Winslow Taylor and his Scientific Management methodologies become famous worldwide. In 1911, Taylor introduced his The Principles of Scientific Management paper to the American mechanical engineering society, eight years after his Shop Management paper.
On October 19, 1906, Taylor was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Pennsylvania. Taylor eventually became a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
In early spring of 1915 Taylor caught pneumonia and died, one day after his fifty-ninth birthday, on March 21, 1915.
He was buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
1915 Obituary 
The death from Pneumonia is announced of Mr. F. W. Taylor, who is best known in this country on account of his connection with the introduction of high-speed tool steel.......
... collaborated with the late Mr. Manuel White, and the result was the introductory of the Taylor-White process of treatment ....