[SIGCIS-Members] Automation

David Hemmendinger hemmendd at union.edu
Sat Jan 31 15:00:46 PST 2009

>So much good dialogue has taken place today on this topic that I think we
>should ask Evan to consolidate all of this into a short article that goes
>into one of the back sections of the Annals or into an article in some
>media journal.  If that works, there are a bunch of other things we could
>flush out from time to time using this social networking/wisdom of crowds
>approach.  We might even expand Evan's assignment by discussing automation
>next weekend and then the following weekend cybernetics.

	To follow up Jim's suggestion: according to various sources,
Del S. Harder started an Automation Department at Ford in 1947.
Some say that he coined the word, but without offering evidence to
show a precise origin.  Diebold's book was published by Van Nostrand
in 1952.  Several sources, none giving any dates earlier than 1946 for
Harder's use of the term:  

A Brief Historical Perspective on Factory Automation, S.T. Enns, P. Zhu
and P. Suwanruji, Dept. of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,
University of Calgary, in the APICS Newsletter, March 2004, pp 5-7.
http://www.apics-calgary.org/NewsletterArchive/APICSnewsletter_Mar04.pdf .
Slava Gerovitch's "Automation" article in the Encyclopedia of Computer Science
says that Ford established an Automation Department in 1947, though
without referring to Harder.

Dirk de Wit, _The Shaping of Automation_ Publikaties Faculteit der
Historische en Kunstwetenschappen, Rotterdam, 1994 discusses the
origin of the term, attributing it to Harder at Ford in 1947.  
(Google books).

Time Magazine, "Automation Speeds Recovery, Boosts Productivity, Pares
Jobs", Dec 29, 1961 
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,827230,00.html ,
anecdotally attributes the term to Harder.

  David Hemmendinger                           hemmendd at union.edu
  Computer Science Dept.        http://athena.union.edu/~hemmendd
  Union College                                   +1 518 388 6319
  Schenectady, NY 12308                      FAX: +1 518 388 6789

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