[SIGCIS-Members] Automation bibliography

McMillan, William W william.mcmillan at cuaa.edu
Mon Jun 15 14:53:27 PDT 2015

Don't forget Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Desk Set (1957)!

From: Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] on behalf of James Cortada [jcortada at umn.edu]
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2015 4:03 PM
To: Paul McJones
Cc: members at sigcis.org
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Automation bibliography

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<mailto:paul at mcjones.org>> wrote:

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

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<mailto: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<mailto:jcortada at umn.edu>

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