The decade of the 1910s was the age of the great industrialist and financier, the trust-builder and the tycoon. The decade was also the age of the manager and the engineer. From the shop floor to the board room, American corporations were reshaped in the 1910s as scientific management, efficiency, and mechanization took hold. One statistic illustrates the sweeping changes under way in American industry: while the number of wage earners in transportation, mining, and manufacturing grew by more than 27 percent in the 1910s, the number of supervisory personnel grew by more than 66 percent. Perhaps Woodrow Wilson had this transition in mind when he declared during the presidential campaign in 1912 that "We have changed our economic conditions, absolutely, from top to bottom; and with our economic society, the organization of our life."
Science, Efficiency, and Technology.
The business engines of the nineteenth century were eclipsed by new businesses that relied on scientific management, efficiency, and technology. The automobile industry became the single largest and most powerful segment in the nation's economy. The sale of cars tripled from 1914 to 1916, and Ford Motor Company alone sold 730,041 cars in 1916-1917. The automobile industry was not alone among emerging businesses. Chemical manufacturers, electrical companies,...
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