[SIGCIS-Members] Automation bibliography

James Cortada jcortada at umn.edu
Mon Jun 15 13:03:48 PDT 2015

I devote attention to the subject as it related to manufacturing in the
USA, with lots of bibliography, in The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed
the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries
(Oxford U Press, 2004).

On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 2:21 PM, Paul McJones <paul at mcjones.org> wrote:

> Paul,
> Burt Grad described the creation of GE’s first applications for the UNIVAC
> I in this article:
> The First Commercial Computer Application at General Electric
> By: Burton Grad, December 2006
> http://ethw.org/First-Hand:The_First_Commercial_Computer_Application_at_General_Electric
> He said a large team was assigned the task of writing a payroll system for
> the Washer and Dryer Department, while he was assigned the task of writing
> a manufacturing control system for the Dishwasher and Disposer Department.
> It took him about six months, and his programs "operational long before the
> payroll system was completed.”
> I’m not sure exactly what manufacturing control referred to, but I suspect
> it involved scheduling and tracking the movement of parts and
> subassemblies, but not actually performing real-time control of any
> machinery.
> Paul McJones
> On Jun 15, 2015, at 11:32 AM, Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu> wrote:
> ... When GE installed one of the first commercial UNIVACs at their
> Louisville, KY appliance plant, they were concerned with the topic of
> automation eliminating jobs and its possible bad publicity. ...
> All that from the installation of a vacuum-tube computer with very
> primitive, by modern standards, computing power. A further irony is that
> the UNIVAC, as far as I could tell, did not have anything to do with
> automating production on the factory floor.
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James W. Cortada
Senior Research Fellow
Charles Babbage Institute
University of Minnesota
jcortada at umn.edu
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