In a person’s lifetime there may be not more than half a dozen occasions that he can look back to in the certain knowledge that right then, at that moment, there was room for nothing but happiness in his heart.
—  ― Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972) was a pioneer in two separate, very different fields: not only was she one of the first working female engineers with a PhD, she was also the first industrial/organizational psychologist. Her work as an efficiency expert contributed greatly to the study of industrial engineering.

She was the first person ever to be awarded a degree in industrial psychology, in 1915. She was the first American engineer to combine psychology and scientific management, and applied her principles even to domestic tasks, enabling women to shorten the time spent with domestic duties and pursuing careers outside the home. She additionally worked as a volunteer on the President’s Emergency Committee for Unemployment in order to tackle this problem for American women.


The Original Films of Frank B. Gilbreth (time and motion studies)

“Left hand of drill press operator ‘Positioning after transportation’ (this study resulted in cutting the time in halves).” Machinist with light showing hand movements, circa 1915. Collection: Frank B. Gilbreth Motion Study Photographs (1913-1917). Repository: The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives