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Corporate Learning and Quality Control at the Bell System, 1877–1929

  • Paul J. Miranti (a1)

Abstract

From 1877 to 1929 the Bell System extended its qualityassurance capabilities, a step that was critical to the company's ability to certify the reliability of its equipment and apparatus and to provide economical service. Learning in this context involved the gradual development of an organizational structure for coordinating and controlling quality-assurance activities at both the staff and line levels and between the corporate elements of the Bell System. Over the course of the initiative, innovative methods of analysis emerged that provided useful new insights into the manufacturing process. The company's adaptation of probability theory, for example, enabled it to launch a comprehensive inspection regime, which became known as “statistical quality control” (SQC). Based on this new approach, Bell succeeded in broadening its manufacturing knowledge, quantifying definitions of quality, reducing costs and risk, thus assuming the more reliable operation of its vast telephone network. Eventually this upgrading of learning led to the formation of a new profession of quality engineering, which found adherents across many industries in the United States and abroad.

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1 See, for example, Chandler, Alfred D. Jr., The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business (Cambridge, Mass., 1977); Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Cambridge, Mass., 1990); and Organizational Capabilities and the Economic History of the Industrial Enterprise,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 6 (Summer): 79100.

2 On the rise of scientific and systematic management, see, for example, Hounshell, David, From American System to Mass Production, 1800–1932 (Baltimore, 1984); Hughes, Thomas P., Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 (Baltimore, 1983); Litterer, Joseph A., “Systematic Management: The Search for Order and Integration,” Business History Review 35 (Winter 1961): 461–76; Jelinek, Marian, “Toward Systematic Management: Alexander Hamilton Church,” Business History Review 45 (Spring 1980): 6579; Mindell, David, Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control and Computing Before Cybernetics (Baltimore, 2002); Nelson, Daniel, “Scientific Management, Systematic Management and Labor, 1880–1915,” Business History Review 48 (Winter 1974): 479500; Nelson, Daniel, Managers and Workers: Origins of the New Factory System in the United States, 1880–1920, (Madison, 1975); and Yates, JoAnne, Control through Communications: The Rise of System in American Management (Baltimore, 1989). On the relation between business and its social-political context, see, for example, Thomas McCraw, K., Prophets of Regulation: Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, Alfred E. Kahn (Cambridge, Mass., 1986); and Galambos, Louis and Pratt, Joseph, The Rise of the Corporate Commonwealth: United States Business and Public Policy in the 20th Century (New York, 1986).

3 This definition draws on the work of Berniger, James R., The Control Revolution: The Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), ch. 1. For discussion of the relationship between institutions, organization and learning, see also North, Douglass R., Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance (New York, 1990), 3–5. 89.

4 The discussion of the structure and role of integrated learning bases in shaping the paths of organizational learning is set forth in Chandler, Alfred D. Jr., Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries (New York, 2001), ch. 1.

5 See Paul J. Miranti Jr., “Corporate Learning and Traffic Management at the Bell System, 1900–1929: Probability Theory and the Evolution of Organizational Capabilities,” Business History Review (Winter 2002): 733–65.

6 Brief, Richard, “The Evolution of Asset Accounting,” Business History Review 40 (Spring 1966): 123; Brief, Richard, “Nineteenth Century Accounting Error,” Journal of Accounting Research 3 (Spring 1968): 21; Johnson, H. Thomas and Kaplan, Robert S., Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting (Boston, 1987); and Levenstein, Margaret, Accounting for Growth: Information Systems and the Creation of the Large Corporation (Stanford, 1998).

7 Yates, Control through Communication.

8 See Berniger, The Control Revolution, 307–8; and George, Claude S. Jr., History of Management Thought (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1968), ch. 11.

9 For a brief discussion of statistical quality control in the Bell System, see Adams, Stephen B. and Butler, Orville R., Manufacturing the Future: A History of Western Electric (New York, 1999), 160–65. Neither Biggs, Lindy in The Rational Factory: Architecture, Technology and Work in America's Age of Mass Production (Baltimore, 1996), nor Scranton, Philip, in Figured Tapestry: Production, Markets and Power in Philadelphia Textiles, 1885–1940 (New York, 1989), address the question of quality control. Although Hounshell, David, in From American System to Mass Production (Baltimore, 1984), 117, 207–8, does discuss the development of quality control, none of his subject companies employed probabilistic analysis for this purpose.

10 There is no mention of this topic in Frederick W. Taylor: Father of Scientific Management (New York, 1923); Nelson, Daniel, Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management (Madison, 1980); and Wrege, Charles D. and Greenwood, Ronald G., Frederick W. Taylor: The Father of Scientific Management, Myth and Reality (Homewood, Ill., 1991). Nor does Taylor, address this topic in The Principles of Scientific Management (New York, 1911) or Shop Management (New York, 1911).

11 See, for example, Epstein, R. J., A History of Economics (Amsterdam, 1987); Hacking, Ian, The Emergence ofProbability: A Philosophical Study of Early Ideas about Probability, Induction and Statistical Inference (Cambridge, U.K., 1975); Hacking, Ian, The Taming of Chance (Cambridge, U.K., 2001); Morgan, Mary S., The History of Econometric Ideas (Cambridge, U.K., 1990); Porter, Theodore M., The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820–1900 (Princeton, 1986); Porter, Theodore M., Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton, 1995); and Stigler, Stephen M., The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty before 1900 (Cambridge, Mass., 1986). In addition, the development of probability theory and its application in many fields of learning are analyzed in Kruger, Lorenz, Daston, Lorraine J., and Heidelberger, Michael, eds., The Probabilistic Revolution, vol. 1: Ideas in History (Cambridge, Mass., 1987); and Kruger, Lorenz, Gigerenzer, Gerd and Morgan, Mary S., eds., The Probabilistic Revolution, vol. 2: Ideas in the Sciences (Cambridge, Mass., 1987).

12 See Morse, Philip M. and Kimball, George E., Methods of Operations Research, 1st rev. ed. (New York, 1954); Johnson, E. A. and Katcher, E. A., Mines Against Japan (Silver Springs, Md., 1973); Kirby, M. W. and Capey, R., “The Air Defense of Great Britain, 1920–1940: An Operational Perspective,” Journal of the Operational Research Society 48 (no. 6): 555–68; Kirby, M. W. and Capey, R., “The Area Bombing of Germany during World War II,” Journal of the Operational Research Society 48 (no. 7): 661–77; Lardner, Harold, “The Origin of Operational Research,” Operations Research 32 (March/April 1984): 465–75; MacArthur, C. W., Operations Analysis in the U.S. Army Eighth Air Force in World War II (Providence, 1990); McCloskey, J. F., “British Operational Research in World War II,” Operations Research 35 (no. 3): 453–70; McCloskey, J. F., “US Operational Research in World War II,” Operations Research 35 (no. 6): 910–25; Miser, H. J., ed., Operations Analysis in the Eighth Air Force: Four Contemporary Accounts (Linthicum, Md., 1997); Tidman, K. R., The Operations Evaluation Group: A History of Naval Operations Analysis (Annapolis, Md., 1984); and Waddington, C. H., OR in World War II: Operations Research against the U Boat (London, 1973).

13 See Fagen, M. D., ed., A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: The Early Years, 1875–1925 (Indianapolis, 1975), 538–44, 859–82, 923–34; and Melman, S., ed., A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: Communication Sciences (1925–1980) (Indianapolis, 1984), ch. 1.

14 See Smith, George David, The Anatomy of a Business Strategy: Bell, Western Electric and the Origins of the American Telephone Industry (Baltimore, 1985), 2435.

15 Ibid, 54–60. For early reorganizations, also see Garnet, Robert W., The Telephone Enterprise: The Evolution of the Bell System's Horizontal Structure, 1876–1909 (Baltimore, 1985), ch. 3.

16 The firms were the Electric Merchandising Company of Chicago, Davis and Watts of Baltimore, Post and Company of Cincinnati, and the Indianapolis Telephone Company. See Smith, The Anatomy of a Business Strategy, 60–62.

17 Ibid, 60–84.

18 Ibid., 121–38; and Adams, Stephen B. and Butler, Orville B., Manufacturing the Future: A History of Western Electric (New York, 1999), 4147.

19 Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 75–78.

20 See letter of Hammond V. Hayes to Joseph P. Davis, 31 Dec. 1900, in “Annual Report of the Mechanical Department,” Annual Report of the Engineering Department, 1900, file 250-06-18, AT&T Archives.

21 See attachment to letter from Hammond V. Hayes to F. P. Fish, 31 Dec. 1906, in Annual Report of the Engineering Department, 1906, file 250-06-18, AT&T Archives.

22 Garnet, The Telephone Enterprise, 132–52. See also Mueller, Milton L. Jr., Universal Service: Competition, Interconnection, and Monopoly in the Making of the American Telephone System (Cambridge. Mass., 1997).

23 See Lipartito, Kenneth, The Bell System and Regional Business: The Telephone in the South, 1877–1920 (Baltimore, 1989), ch. 8.

24 Concerns about transfer pricing related primarily to Western Electric equipment sales to the regional operating companies. See AT&T Annual Report 1910, 15–16; for development in the 1920s and 1930s, see Smith, Edward Devereux, A Telephone Rate Case (Washington, D.C., 1941), ch. 7.

25 The Annual Report of the Directors of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (1911), 22; AT&T Annual Report (1915), 28.

26 In letter from J. J. Carty to E. J. Hall, 17 July 1907, in file 87-01-01-02, AT&T Archives; also quoted in Fagen, History of Engineering and Science, 852. See also Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 78.

27 Fagen, History of Engineering and Science, 851–53.

28 For a cogent discussion of the organization of the Hawthorne plant, see Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 80–84.

29 See Juran, Architect of Quality, 83–84, for a brief discussion of classification of workforce at Western Electric in the early 1920s.

30 Ibid., 75, 92.

31 Ibid., 75.

32 Fagen, History of Engineering and Science, 853–59.

34 Memorandum from Engineering Inspection Department entitled “Routine,” 7 Mar. 1906, in file 87-01-01-02, AT&T Archives.

35 See Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 78–80, for the origins of the colony system.

36 Juran, Architect of Quality, 93.

37 For criticism of the colony system and its associated plant layout, see transcript of comments of Joseph M. Juran from video interview prepared through AT&T Service Center, pp. 29–36 and 38 in Box 113, W. Edwards Deming Papers, Library of Congress. See also Juran, Architect of Quality, 97.

38 See Garnet, The Telephone Enterprise, 150–54, 158.

39 See Smith, The Anatomy of a Business Strategy, 136–37.

40 The staff of the Federal Communications Commission in their 1936 investigation of the Bell System characterized this change in policy as the beginning of a new marketing plan to overcome a flat trend in earnings. They argue that this transition was first evinced in articles by Vail that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly 3 (Mar. 1913): 307, and Printer's Ink 89 (6): 66. These articles are quoted and related to the change in policy in Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Engineering Department “Exhibits, Comments and Reports of the Special Investigation,” Box 5, Telephone Investigation, Special Investigation Docket No. 1, Report on the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, The Hand Set, December 14, 1936, 56–59, in Record Group 173, National Archives. The material in these FCC staff reports was based on the analysis of data and memoranda entered into evidence by AT&T.

41 The economic significance of telegraph loading on multiplex lines is discussed in Stehman, J. Warren, The Financial History of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (Boston, 1925), 147–54.

42 The development of the telegraph through the Bell System during the Vail period is described in Fagen, History of Engineering and Science, 147–54. The development of teletype technology at the Bell System during this era is described in Fagen, History, 744–98.

43 See Annual Report of the Directors of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company to the Stockholders for the Year Ending December 31, 1915 (New York, 1916), 53–54.

44 FCC, Report on American Telephone and Telegraph–The Telephone Hand Set, 56–57.

45 Ibid., 62–63.

46 Ibid., 78–79.

47 Ibid., 65–69.

48 Ibid., 81–85.

49 Ibid., 94–97.

50 Ibid., 78–81.

51 Ibid., 111–14.

52 Ibid., 85–88.

53 Ibid., 88–90.

54 Ibid., vi–ix. The FCC estimated that the net profit resulting from the introduction of the handset between 1918 and 1936 amounted to $23.9 million, and that the average annual return on investment on the new device between 1927 and 1936 amounted to 25.2 percent. The present worth of savings in the wire plant through 1936 was estimated to be $85.4 million.

55 Ibid., 115.

56 “Then when Mr. Vail passed out of the Telephone Company there was a long period of lack of centralized management of the System during which Mr. Benton [Enos Benton, president of Western Electric] in gratification of his personal ambitions, gave the most of his thought to the development of the company as a general electrical manufacturing company, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the company and some humiliation to himself. When Mr. Vail came back, the firm hand came back and organization of the companies as a system.” “He arranged that … American Telephone and Telegraph Company … should canvas the field and inform the Manufacturing Company as to System requirements, of apparatus by quantity and kind. That only meant that from its relation to the System it could do it more efficiently and economically.” See memorandum of Henry B. Thayer to Walter P. Gifford, 29 Apr. 1929, in file 125-03-01-20, AT&T Archives. “3. Consolidate work now being one by American Telephone and Telegraph and Western Electric under a single head with resulting increase in economy and efficiency,” from a memorandum of Walter P. Gifford, 29 Sept. 1924, entitled “Bell Telephone Research Laboratories, Inc.,” which specified the goals of forming the laboratory, in file 125-03-01-20, AT&T Archives.

57 For a discussion of the background to the reorganization, see Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 113–17. See also Reich, Leonard, The Making of American Industrial Research: Science and Business at GE and Bell, 1876–1926 (New York, 1985), chs. 6–8, for background to the formation of the Bell Telephone Laboratories.

58 AT&T was consistently able to defend these charges during the early 1920s. See, for example, Missouri ex rel. Southwestern Bell Telephone v. Public Service Commission, 262 U.S. 276 (1923), and Re: New England Telephone and Telegraph Company Public Utility Reports, 1925 E, 739–61. Sensitivity to this issue continued to increase in this period, as shown in a case brought initially by the City of Chicago in 1923, Smith v. Illinois Telephone Company 282 U.S. 133 (1 Dec. 1930), and in Re: Wisconsin Telephone Company Public Utilities Report, 1932 D, 173–284, and 1935 E, 97–101,101–34, 135–49. The question of intercorporate transacting within public-utility holding companies is discussed in Bonbright, James C. and Means, Gardiner C., The Holding Company: Its Public Significance and Its Regulation (New York, 1932), esp. 176–83, and in the very critical study by Danielian, N. R., AT&T: The Story of Industrial Conquest (New York, 1939), 365–72, which analyzes the connections with Western Electric. The latter study was based on the findings of the Federal Communications Commission, Investigation of the Telephone Industry in the U.S. (Washington, D.C.: 74th Congress, House Doc. 340, 1939).

59 A somewhat later overview of the focus of these activities was presented in E. G. D. Paterson, “An Over-All Quality Assurance Plan,” Industrial Quality Control (May 1956): 32–37.

60 The new staff organization was summarized by Hallenback, Francis, “The Inspection Engineering Department,” Bell Laboratories Record 1–2 (19251926): 243–47.

61 The steps followed in a quality survey were detailed two decades later in the article by Paterson, “An Over-All Quality Assurance Plan.”

62 Hallenbeck, “The Inspection Engineering Department,” 243–47.

64 A. O. Beckman, “Synopsis Memorandum Classifying Material According to Subject Matter,” 10 June 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

65 Knight, Frank H., Risk, Control and Profit (Boston, 1921).

66 Radford, G. S., The Control of Manufacturing Quality (New York, 1922), 226–28, for a discussion of the applicability of the theory of errors to product inspection.

67 See Miranti, Paul J. Jr., “Corporate Learning and Traffic Management at the Bell System, 1900–1929: Probability Theory and the Evolution of Organizational Capabilities,” Business History Review 76 (Winter 2002): 733–65; Crisson, George, “Irregularities in Loaded Telephone Circuits,” Bell System Technical Journal 4 (Oct. 1925): 561–85.

68 See Gigerenzer, Gerd et al. , The Empire of Chance: How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life (New York, 1989), ch. 5. See also Kruger, Lorenz, “The Probabilistic Revolution in Physics—An Overview,” in Kruger, Lorenz, Gigerenzer, Gerd, and Morgan, Mary S., eds., The Probabilistic Revolution, vol. 2 (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), 373–78. In the same volume, see Jan von Plato, “Probabilistic Physics the Classical Way,” 379–408; Nancy Cartwright, “Max Born and the Reality of Quantum Probabilities,” 409–16; and Nancy Cartwright, “Philosophical Problems of Quantum Theory: The Response of American Physicists,” 417–35.

69 Campbell's contribution to the development of the loading coil and long-distance telegraphy is discussed in Wasserman, Neil H., From Invention to Innovation: Long-Distance Telephone Transmission at the Turn of the Century (Baltimore, 1985), chs. 4–5. See also Campbell, George A., “Mathematics in Industrial Research: “Selling” Mathematics to the Industries,” Bell System Technical Journal 3 (1925): 550–57.

70 See Gherardi, Bancroft and Jewett, F. B., “Telephone Communication System of the United States,” Bell System Technical Journal 9 (Jan. 1930): 2122.

71 Transcript of interview with H. F. Dodge, 13 Jan. 1967, pp. 3–5, in file 84-07-01-03B, AT&T Archives; Dodge, H. F., “Notes on the Evolution of Acceptance Sampling Plans Part I,” Journal of Quality Technology 1 (Apr. 1969): 7879.

72 Dodge, “Notes on the Evolution of Acceptance.”

73 Ibid, 79–80; H. F. Dodge, Memorandum for file, I. M. 118, “Inspection Methods-Case 18105, An A Priori Method of Handling the Problem of Sampling Inspection,” 22 July 1925, in file 84 07 01 02, AT&T Archives; and Dodge, H. F. and Romig, H. G., Sampling Inspection Tables: Single and Double Sampling (New York, 1944), ch.1.

74 Dodge and Romig, Sampling Inspection Tables, 1, 31, 42, 44; Dodge, “An A Priori Method of Handling the Problem of Sampling Inspection,” 7–8; and Dodge, “Notes on the Evolution of Acceptance Sampling Plans, Part I,” 79–80.

75 Transcript, “AT&T Series Interview with Joseph M. Juran,” undated, p. 33, in papers of W. Edwards Deming, Box 113, Library of Congress; Campbell, G. A., “Probability Curves Showing Poisson's Exponential Summation,” Bell System Technical Journal 2 (Jan. 1923): 95113; and Dodge, “Notes on the Evolution of Acceptance Sampling Plans, Part I,” 80.

76 A. O. Beckman, “Synopsis Memorandum Classifying Material According to Subject Matter,” 10 June 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

77 See J. M. Juran, “Early SQC: A Historical Supplement,” Quality Progress (Sept. 1997): 75.

78 See memorandum of W. L. Roberts to R. L. Jones, entitled “Application of Statistics to Inspection Methods,” dated 8 Apr. 1926; and memo of E. D. Hall to R. L. Jones, entitled “Rating of Manufactured Product,” dated 29 Apr. 1926, both in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

79 See memorandum of R. L. Jones to W. L. Robertson, entitled “Application of Statistical Methods to Inspection Methods,” dated 10 May 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

80 See memorandum of W. L. Roberts to R. L. Jones, entitled “Application of Statistics to Inspection Methods,” dated 8 Apr. 1926; and memorandum of E. D. Hall to R. L. Jones, entitled “Rating of Manufactured Product,” dated 29 Apr. 1926, both in file 299-09-03-06 at AT&T Archives.

81 See Deming, W. Edwards, Out of the Crisis (Cambridge, Mass., 1982, [repr. 1986]), 340–41.

82 See letter of G. D. Edwards to D. A. Quarles, 19 Jan. 1925 in file 299-09-03-06 at the AT&T Archives; Fagen, History of Science and Engineering, 877–80.

83 Shewhart, W. A., “Some Applications of Statistical Methods for the Analysis of Physical and Engineering Data,” Bell System TechnicalJournal 3 (Jan. 1924): 4348.

84 Shewhart, W. A., Economic Control of Quality of Manufactured Product (New York, 1931 [repr. 1980]), ch. 17.

85 Ibid., ch.8.

86 Ibid., 96–98.

87 Ibid, pp. 43–50. See also Walter A. Shewhart and W. Orvis, “Burning in Carbon Transmitters,” 24 Mar. 1924, in file 255-05-01-03 at AT&T Archives; and G. E. Moore, “Early Career of Walter A. Shewhart,” in file 86-09-01-07; and various Memorand a for Files relating to case 32185 covering carbon filter study by P. S. Olmstead, in file 299-09-03-01 at AT&T Archives.

88 The three standard-deviation limit was chosen because it was a magnitude “customarily used in engineering practice.” See Shewhart, W. A., Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control, ed. Deming, W. Edwards (New York, 1939, 1986), 62. It was also a standard for identifying significant variations in science defined by Yule, G. U., in An Introduction to the Theory of Statistics, 6th ed. (London, 1922), 276–77, an authority that Shewhart relied on in his carbon-crackling experiments. See Shewhart and Orvid, “Burning in Carbon Transmitters,” 17, n23.

89 Shewhart, Economic Control of Manufactured Product, 146–48.

90 See letter of R. L. Jones to C. G. Stoll, dated 25 Aug. 1925, in file 299-09-03-06 at AT&T Archives.

91 Memo of R. L. Jones to W. L. Robertson, “Application of Statistics to Inspection Methods,” 10 May 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

92 Memorandum for File prepared by H. F. Dodge, “Rating of Hawthorne Product, Inspection Methods Case 18015, 13 May 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

93 See transcript of telegram from R. L. Jones to E. D. Hall, 11 June 1926, in file 299-09-03-06 at AT&T Archives.

94 A. O. Beckman, “Synopsis Memorandum Classifying Material According to Subject Matter,” 10 June 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

95 “Minutes of Conference to Study Ratings of Manufactured Products,” 15–16 June 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

96 See “Minutes of Conference to Study Rating of Manufactured Product,” 9–10 Nov. 1926, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

97 See “Report of Subcommittee on Rating Manufactured Product,” 19–22 Apr. 1927, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives. The demerit rating system was described later in H. F. Dodge and M. N. Torrey, “A Check Demerit Rating Plan,” Industrial Quality Control (July 1956): 1–8.

98 Letter of E. B. Craft to E. H. Colpitts, 27 July 1927, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

99 Memo of R. L. Jones to E. B. Craft, “Inspection Methods—Case 18015–2,” dated 5 Dec. 1927, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

100 See Juran, “Early SQC: A Historical Supplement,” 80.

101 For activity of this committee, see memoranda from R. F. Vacin and S. M. Osbourne, 12 July 1926; R. F. Vacin and H. F. Dodge, “Special Comments on Inspection Statistics and Report of Committee,” 22 July 1926; H. F. Dodge to W. A. Shewhart, “Inspection Methods—Case 18015–2,” 12 Jan. 1927; “Reports of Special Committee on Inspection Statistics and Economy,” 19–22 Apr. 1927, 24–28 Oct. 1927, and 17–20 Apr. 1928; and H. G. Romig, “Memorandum for File: Discussion of Sampling Inspection Methods Developed by Western Electric Company,” 28 Mar. 1929. All are in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

102 See Dodge and Romig, Sampling Inspection Tables, 30, 54–58; Juran, “Early SQC,” 77–78.

103 See Dodge and Romig, Sampling Inspection Tables, chs. 2–3.

104 See transcript of interview with H. F. Dodge, 13 Jan. 1967, pp. 8–18, in file 84-07-01-03B, AT&T Archives. See also Dodge and Romig, Sampling Inspection Tables, chs.1–3. The latter volume also presents single- and double-sampling inspection tables on pp. 70–101.

105 Memo of H. F. Dodge to R. L. Jones, “Inspection Methods—Case 18015–2,” dated 18 Nov. 1927, in file 299-09-03-06, AT&T Archives.

106 See Juran, Architect of Quality, 139.

107 Ibid., 150–51.

108 For a discussion of the original introduction of the colony system, see Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 78–80; for the connections between sampling and the new achievements of engineering management, see transcript entitled “AT&T Series Interview with Joseph M. Juran,” undated, in Box 113 of the papers of W. Edwards Deming at the Library of Congress, pp. 29–36, 38.

109 Thomson, Henry C. and Mayo, Lida, United States Army in World War II, The Technical Services, The Ordnance Department: Procurement and Supply (Washington, D.C., 1960), 327–29, 472.

110 Ibid., 329–31.

111 See Working, Holbrook, “Statistical Quality Control in War Production,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 40 (Dec. 1945): 425–47; Wallis, W. Allen, “The Statistical Research Group,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 75 (1980): 320–25.

112 Hopper, Kenneth, “Creating Japan's New Industrial Management: The Americans as Teachers,” Human Resources Management 21 (Summer/Fall 1982): 1334; and Adams and Butler, Manufacturing the Future, 151–55.

113 Deming, W. Edwards, Out of the Crisis (Cambridge, 1982, 1986), 486–92; and Juran, J. M., Juran on Leadership for Quality: An Executive Handbook (New York, 1989), 330–31.

114 Alfred D. Chandler Jr., Inventing the Electronic Century, ch. 1; and Louis Galambos with Sewell, Jane Eliot, Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, and Mulford, 1895–1995 (New York, 1995), esp. ch. 10.

115 Bresnahan, Timothy and Trajtenberg, Manuel, “General Purpose Technologies: Engines of Growth?Journal of Econometrics 65, 1 (1995): 83108.

116 Galambos, Louis, “Theodore N. Vail and the Role of Innovation in the Modern Bell System,” Business History Review 66 (Spring 1992): 95126.

Corporate Learning and Quality Control at the Bell System, 1877–1929

  • Paul J. Miranti (a1)

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