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Historical Development of OM

Prior to 1900

Up through the end of the eighteenth century agriculture was the predominant industry in every country. Manufacturing as we  now it today did not exist. Items were usually custom made by skilled artisans who spent many years in apprenticeship learning every facet of how to make a good or provide a service. No two products were ever these. For many products trades or guilds were established to provide a common basis of knowledge for these apprenticeship programs. This cottage industry approach to manufacturing began to change at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Watt invented the steam engine in England in 1765 which provided a source of power for manufacturing. In 1801 Eli Whitney introduced the concept of standardized parts to President Thomas Jefferson with a demonstration in which he selected parts at random to assemble and then fire a musket Prior to this every musket was hand crafted with customized parts  The middle of the nineteenth century saw the onrush of the Industrial Revolution with its large manufacturing facilities that were powered by either steam or water. However even with the advent of these large facilities manufacturing to a large degree still remained an art rather than a science.