Scope and Contents
The collection consists primarily of glass plate slides (negative and positive), photo prints, and stereographs documenting the work undertaken by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth from 1910 to 1924 in the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. As scientific managers, the Gilbreth's introduced new techniques to analyze work, the workplace, and work practices with the goal of eliminating waste to maximize productivity. The collection illustrates these new techniques and their application to a wide variety of studies. The collection is diverse and provides insight into understanding how Gilbreth approached his studies. Also included are slides documenting the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends. The collection also contains the film "The Original Films of Gilbreth The Quest for the One Best Way," 1968 by James S. Perkins.
Series 1, Background Information, 1892-1997, includes biographical materials about Frank B. Gilbreth; copies of some of Frank Gilbreth's patents, 1892-1916; and printed materials, 1907-1997, that contain articles, newspaper and magazine clippings about Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and time and motion study generally. Black-and-white photo prints of Gilbreth or work Gilbreth documented from collections held at Purdue University and Ohio State University are included.
Series 2, Glass plate stereo slides, 1910-1924, consists of approximately 2,250 glass stereo slides photographed by Frank B. Gilbreth and others and intended for viewing through an optical viewing machine. Some are positive black and white, positive color, and negative black and white. The subject matter of the slides covers the work undertaken by Frank Gilbreth from 1910 to 1924 in the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. Many of the images serve as documentation for the studies the couple performed as they were hired by firms in an attempt to provide solutions to the problems of inefficiency. Also included are the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends.
The slides are numbered sequentially. For example, a glass plate slide numbered 318949.001 will have a corresponding photoprint 318949.001 in Series 3, Photoprints of glass plate slides. Note: not all glass plate slides have corresponding photoprints. Additionally, there are Office of Photographics Services, Smithsonian Institution negative numbers assigned to many of the photo prints.
Some subject categories include:
Frank B. Gilbreth: working in motion laboratories, on factory inspections, seated in offices, with family and friends, in World War I uniform, watching and monitoring shop operations.
Lillian M. Gilbreth: with family, during university graduation ceremonies, traveling and working with Frank and observing office workers.
Gilbreth Family: family on the road in an automobile, at home seated around the dinner table, in the parlor, in the garden, and with friends and relatives.
Gilbreth ship travel: contains views on steamer voyages to Europe, deck scenes, arrivals, departures, ship officers and crew, and other passengers.
Automobile assembly study: internal and external views of a warehouse/factory, including large piles or rows of metal car frames and other parts.
Benchwork study: images of a male worker standing or sitting in a chair while filing an object secured in a vice at a workbench.
Betterment: images of efforts whcih contributed to industrial betterment (the Gilbreth chair, employee library, and the home reading box).
Bricklaying study: view of men wearing overalls and caps, shoveling, and men laying bicks.
Business and apparatus of motion study: views of lectures, meetings, film showings, demonstrations, charts, drawings, motion models, charts amd some equipment.
Disabled study: views of partially blind World War I veterans, amputees using special tytpewriter, assembling machinery, use of cructhes, and a one armed dentist.
Factory bench work: table-top machines assembly operations, hand tools, orderly arrangement of parts prior to and during assembly and a variety of bench vises.
Factory documentation: various images of the interior and edterior of factories including heavy machinery.
Golfing study: various cyclegraphs of a man swinging a golf club.
Grid boards: back drops used by Gikbreth to isolate and measure worker motions. This includes walls, floors, desktops, and drop cloths divided into grids of various densities and scales.