Motion Study for the Handicapped
     The close of WW1 created a new challenge for society -- the reintegration of thousands of disabled veterans into society. Efficiency engineer Frank Gilbreth (1868-1924), famous for his motion studies of workers, put that same technology to use in this area.  He filmed able workers pursuing various tasks, then analyzed their movements in search of ways to adapt work to the disabled. The result of this research was Motion Study for the Handicapped (1920).  In it, he suggested a number of innovations:  a caps lock key on typewriters, so that a man having a single finger could be a typist; rolls of self stacked carbon paper for one handed secretaries; "paper fastening devices" instead of twine for bundling money so the disabled could work in banks.  Gilbreth's biggest suggestion was the creation of a new profession especially suited for the disabled -- dental hygienist.  These dental assistants would clean teeth, thus freeing dentists for more important tasks. He accompanied this claim with photos dramatizing how even "a one armed, one legged man" could do the job (the patient had to hold the mirror, but he didn't think this was too much to ask.)  Gilbreth's wife Lillian, herself a Ph.D., took this research into the home to aid disabled homemakers.
 
 
 
 
 

 


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