The Marvin E. Mundel Industrial Engineering Collection contains correspondence, reports, data, notes, publications, books, charts, certificates, awards, writings, photographs, films and videos that document the life and career of Marvin Mundel, a well-known expert in the field of work management and productivity enhancement.
Scope and Contents:
The Marvin E. Mundel Industrial Engineering Collection contains correspondence, reports, data, notes, publications, books, charts, certificates, awards, writings, photographs, films and videos that document the life and career of Marvin Mundel and demonstrate his work practices and teaching techniques.
The collection is organized chronologically into eleven series: Biographical Materials, Writings, Industrial Engineering, Work Methods, Purdue University, Time and Motion Study, Government Work, Japanese Consulting, Asian Productivity Organization, Dupont Case Study, and Films and Videos. While the years in each series may overlap, the separation of series demonstrates the evolution of Mundel's work and teachings. Photographs can be found throughout the collection. Information about the film and video series is located in Appendix A.
Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1953-1996, consists of documentation about Mundel and his career. The series contains bibliographies and curriculum vitae, correspondence, documentation on his memberships in Industrial Engineering groups, photographs, and certificates.
Series 2, Writings, 1937-1994, brings together Mundel's papers, speeches, books, and publications. When possible, the writings are arranged chronologically. The remaining writings are arranged by topic. This series should not be considered a definitive bibliography of Mundel's writings.
Series 3, Industrial Engineering, 1954-1995, combines Mundel's research with correspondence to and from other Industrial Engineers. It also includes Mundel's contributions to the Encyclopedia Britannica on "Industrial Engineering," "Work Measurement," and "Memomotion."
Series 4, Work Methods, undated, contains documents such as forms, office procedure manuals, visual aids, and printed matter about office equipment that offer insight into Mundel's work methods and innovative methods of making his own office more efficient.
Series 5, Purdue University, 1951-1957, documents his teaching career at the Industrial Engineering Department as well correspondence from his trip to England where he taught classes on industrial engineering.
Series 6, Time and Motion Study, 1952-1984, includes notes, data, printed matter, correspondence, charts, and photographs from his consultant work for various companies. This series contains seven subseries: Subseries 1, Consulting Work, 1954-1966; Subseries 2, Correspondence, 1956-1960; Subseries 3, Course work, undated; Subseries 4, Equipment, undated; Subseries 5, Film, 1952-1984; Subseries 6, Memberships, 1970-1977; and Subseries 7, Research, 1957.
Subseries 1, Consulting work, 1954-1966, contains correspondence and data from the corporations that hired Mundel as a consultant. Subseries 2, Correspondence, 1956-1960, the contains letters to and from people with diverse interests in time and motion study. Many people wrote to Mundel asking for advice with projects. Visual aids and handouts make up Subseries 3, Course work. In order to create memomotion, Mundel needed to refine certain electrical and motor parts on the cameras and projectors with which he worked. Subseries 4, Equipment, undated, have brochures on many different kinds of motors and switches. Subseries 5, Film, 1952-1984, contains most of the documentation that relates directly to films and video cassettes in this collection. Mundel was active in many organizations related to industrial engineering that shared his interests in time and motion study. Finally, copies and clippings make up the research subseries, 1957.
Series 7, Government Work, 1952-1971, documents Mundel's work for the government, from his work at Rock Island Arsenal to seminars for NASA. This series contains correspondence, data, reports, course work, visual aids, and photographs. The consulting work is arranged in a chronological manner and, in some instances, alphabetically.
Series 8, Japanese Consulting, 1959-1987, documents Mundel's consulting work for Japanese corporations. The files are arranged alphabetically by company and contain research, data, charts, notes, reports, and correspondence about each manufacturing firm. His notebooks and trip files give insight into his cultural understanding of Japanese firms and his teaching practices. Of special interest are the notebooks that contain photographs and firsthand experiences of adapting to Japanese culture and understanding Japanese work practices.
Series 9, Asian Productivity Organization, 1973-1994, consists of year and country files of Mundel's seminars throughout the Far East. The course work, notes, visual aids, reports, and photographs demonstrate Mundel's shift in emphasis from work measurement to managerial organization. This series also contains books published by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) that give a context to Mundel's work and writings.
Series 10, Dupont Case Study, 1978-1984, contains correspondence, data, notes, reports, research, and visual aids concerning one of the many American companies where Mundel consulted. Dupont was selected because of its prominence in the American business world.
Series 11, Films and Videos, circa 1939-1973, is comprised of 16mm films and 1⁄2" VHS videocassette tapes. The bulk of the series is 16mm films. The films relate to the documents in Series 6: Time and Motion Studies. There are six subseries: Rating Films, 1939-1973; Memomotion Films, circa 1948-1959; Multi-Image Loops, circa, 1956-1958; Instructional Films, circa 1939-1962; Travel Films, circa 1955-1958 and Papers, undated.
Films are labeled either OF, RF, OV, or RV, for Original Film, Reference Film, Original Video, and Reference Video, respectively. [Example: For "676.24 OF Roll Edge on Sheet Metal Disc, circa 1960 (REF. FILM 676.24 and REF. VIDEO 676.70)," 676 is the collection number; 24 is the item number; OF means original film; "Roll Edge on Sheet Metal Disc" is the title; 1960 is the date followed by any reference copies. In this case there are both a reference film and a reference video. The Archives Center will eventually have reference copies for all of the films. for researchers to view.
Subseries 1, Rating Films, circa 1939-1973, represents Mundel's work with rating or pace films. This technique films a worker doing a repetitive work unit and allows trained motion study analysts to establish time standards. These films show a wide variety of jobs held by both men and women, American workers and Japanese workers. There are three groups of films:
Demonstration Rating Films: These films have the same format as titles with 10 scenes of workers doing a work unit at different paces. The films are arranged according to Mundel's numerical system and retain the original titles. These films should be projected at 1000 frames per minute.
Poultry Rating Films: These are rating films that Mundel did for the USDA and the Consumer Protection Programs.
Miscellaneous Films: These are Mundel's rating films for Tung Sol, ASF, Woods Veterans Hospital, and Montfort. There is also a rating film taken by an English company.
Subseries 2, Memomotion Films, circa 1948-1959, includes memomotion examples that were incorporated into instructional films. Memomotion is a filming technique created by Mundel. Time and motion analysts film a non-repetitive or extended crew activity at one frame per second and then project the film at normal speed. In this manner, the analyst can record a longer work period at a fraction of the cost and be able to analyze the film much more quickly. Memomotion is often used in conjunction with work flow diagrams.
Subseries 3, Multi-Image Loops, circa 1956-1958, combines seven of Mundel's multi-image loops onto one film core. The films display twelve images of rating films at the same time. The worker in each image is working at a different pace (fastest in the top left-hand corner and the slowest in the bottom right-hand corner). Time and motion study analysts could watch the loops for as long as they needed to get an idea of what the range of paces for a certain job could be. The loops were disassembled and spliced together for preservation and viewing purposes.
Subseries 4, Instructional Films, circa 1939-1962, includes Mundel's attempts to educate others about his filming techniques and overall industrial engineering themes. The films teach ways to improve productivity through motion studies, how to make memomotion films, and the College of Technology, Birmingham, England's method of making microscope slides.
Subseries 5, Travel Films, circa 1955-1958, includes films that combine Mundel's love for travel and different cultures with film documentation of Japanese seminars.
Subseries 6, Papers, undated, contains papers directly related to the films. Of importance are the rating sheets which associate different percentages of efficiency to the paces in the film.
This collection is divided into eleven series.
Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1953-1996
Series 2, Writings, 1937-1994
Subseries 1, Books, 1942-1994
Subseries 2, Papers, 1959-1989, undated
Subseries 3, Publications, 1937-1993, undated
Subseries 4, Speeches, undated
Subseries 5, University of Iowa Studies, 1938-1940
Series 9, Asian Productivity Organization, 1973-1994
Subseries 1, Annual Reports, 1973-1994
Subseries 2, Books, 1985-1989
Subseries 3, General, 1976-1995, undated
Subseries 4, Seminars, 1973-1989
Subseries 5, Presentation Album of Jakarta Seminar, 1973
Series 10, DuPont Case Study, 1978-1984
Series 11, Films and Videos, circa 1939-1973
Subseries 1, Rating Films, circa 1939-1973
Subseries 2, Memomotion Films, circa 1948-1959
Subseries 3, Multi-Image Loops, circa 1956-1958
Subseries 4, Instructional Films, circa 1939-1962
Subseries 5, Travel Films, circa 1955-1958
Subseries 6, Papers, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Marvin Everett Mundel, born April 20, 1916, was a major figure in the fields of industrial engineering and time and motion studies. He is known particularly for his consulting work, seminars and teaching, as well as numerous publications based on his expertise in work management and productivity enhancement. He began his engineering career in 1936 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New York University (1936), followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering earned in 1938 and 1939, respectively, from the State University of Iowa.
In the late 1930s and 1940s, work measurement studies were considered the state-of-the-art method for improving industrial production. Mundel continued and built upon the achievements of pioneers Frank and Lillian Gilbreth during his teaching career at both Bradley and Purdue Universities. He also conducted seminars at Marquette University Management Center and the University of Wisconsin's Extension Center in Milwaukee. In addition to his American teaching career, Mundel was a visiting professor at both the University of Birmingham in England and Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.
In 1952, Mundel started a consulting firm which aided corporations and governments in either work measurement consulting or, later in his career, industrial engineering consulting. His first clients were United States government agencies that wanted to gain control over lost revenue or manpower. His position from 1952 to 1953 at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, as the first Director of the Army Management Engineering Training Program, transformed management techniques in the Army.
After his employment at Rock Island, Mundel began a series of consultant roles with corporations eager to standardize labor practices and make production more efficient. From 1953 to 1963, Mundel conducted time and motion studies at various manufacturing companies and developed techniques to measure work units. His most important contribution to the field of time and motion study was the development of memomotion, a stop-action filming technique used to determine time standards for work tasks.
Following his refinements of time and motion study, Mundel took his expertise to Japan where he offered his consultant services to various Japanese manufacturing firms during the 1960s. His interests evolved from time and motion studies to include work management and overall management organization consulting. During the 1960s and 1970s, Mundel also returned to government consulting in the United States with these new techniques, in offices such as the Bureau of the Budget and United States Department of Agriculture. This period marked an important evolution in Mundel's career, from time and motion study to work measurement and then to industrial consulting. Mundel was among the first consultants to export American management techniques to Japan, and, in his later career, to other Asian countries. He became an integral part of the Asian Productivity Organization, a group that helped developing Asian countries learn how to increase productivity. His seminars sought to provide corporations and governments with efficient management techniques so that Asia would become a strong economic center. Mundel was sensitive to cultural differences as well as varied methods of management and standards of productivity.
Mundel won the Gilbreth Award in 1982. He continued conducting seminars and writing books and articles well into the 1980s, until failing health prevented him from traveling. When Mundel died in 1996, he was well respected in the field of industrial engineering for his many contributions.
This collection was donated to the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History by Marvin Mundel's wife, Takako Mundel, in January, 1999.
The collection is open for research use.
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.