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Happy Fathers Day – Fathers of Manufacturing

This Father’s Day, we are revisiting the question that we asked on Linkedin about a year ago:

Who is the real “Father of Manufacturing”?

The question received quite a bit of attention, and led us to create the original Fathers of Manufacturing blog post in 2013. Long after Father’s Day, we continued to receive additional input from those in the manufacturing industry on who they believed made some of the greatest contributions to the development of modern manufacturing.

So this year, in honor of Father’s Day, we are continuing to add to our list of manufacturing fathers and recognizing the long lineage composed of fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who have contributed to manufacturing’s growth and development.

This list in our 2013 blog post included:

  • Samuel Slater, Father of the American Industrial Revolution
  • Henry Ford, Father of the Assembly Line
  • Taiichi Ohno, Father of Lean Manufacturing
  • Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Father of Modern Quality Management
  • Fredrick Winslow Taylor, Father of Scientific Management

This year, we are adding:

  • Richard Arkwright, Father of Factory Growth. Richard Arkwright is credited with being the brains behind the growth of factories. After he patented his water frame in 1769 (a machine used for spinning yarn), Arkwright established Cromford Mill in Derbyshire, England.
  • Johannes Gutenberg, Father of the Printing Press. Johannes Gutenberg is credited for introducing printing to Europe. Although Gutenberg did not invent the printing press itself, his invention of mechanical moveable type started the printing revolution, allowing for the mass production of literature.
  • Simeon North, Father of the Milling Machine. Simeon North invented the milling machine in 1818 as part of his close co-operation with the US Army. His invention made the production of interchangeable parts practical. The military was the first industry to employ interchangeable parts, which were used in field repairs.
  • Eli Whitney, Father of the Cotton Gin. Eli Whitney was the first to patent the cotton gin, making cotton profitable for mass production. Whitney is also credited with bringing interchangeable parts to the manufacturing community. Though Whitney did not invent interchangeable parts, his efforts to popularize and promote the concept helped interchangeable parts jump to the forefront of the manufacturing world.
  • John T. Parsons, Father of CNC Machining. John T. Parsons pioneered the invention of numerical controls for machine tools in the 1940s. Parsons and his employee Frank L. Stulen were the first to use “computer” methods to solve machining problems. This was that start of what would become the computer numerical controlled machining (CNC machining) we know today.

Of course, there are many other fathers (and mothers) who contributed to the development of today’s modern manufacturing sectors, and to all of you we say,

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, and a great big THANK YOU!

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