The University of Wisconsin Press

American History / Labor History

Managers and Workers
Origins of the Twentieth-Century Factory System in the United States, 1880–1920
Second Edition

Daniel Nelson

During the early years of this century, the classic factory system of the industrial revolution evolved rapidly into a new, identifiable form that would characterize American and world industry for most of the twentieth century. This transformation, as important for industrial managers, workers, and consumers as the initial creation of the factory, is the subject of Daniel Nelson's illuminating synthesis, updated and expanded to include the scholarship of recent decades.

This edition of Managers and Workers describes the interrelations between technological and organizational innovation, including such familiar developments as the spread of mass production and the emergence of scientific management, and other developments that were little known when the first edition of this book appeared, such as the revolution in factory architecture, the changing role of the foreman, and the spread of personnel work. The volume also incorporates the best scholarship of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, some of it stimulated by Managers and Workers, and includes a new chapter on the role of organized labor in the early twentieth-century factory. The focus of the work, however, remains the individual managers and workers who created the twentieth-century factory system.

The preeminent historian of the American business firm, Alfred D. Chandler Jr. reviewed the first edition of Managers and Workers in The Journal of Economic History, predicting that this book would "long remain the standard work on the origins of the American factory." The second edition will make that prediction true for the 1990s and beyond.

Daniel Nelson is professor and chair of the department of history at the University of Akron. Among his many books are Unemployment Insurance: The American Experience, 1915–35 and Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management, both published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and Farm and Factory: Midwestern Workers, 1880–1990.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Nelson's book is white and has a sepiatone image of a man and a girl in a factory

February 1996
LC: 95-06356 HD
264 pp.   6 x 9

Book icon
Cloth $40.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14880-5
Paper $17.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-14884-3
E-book logo e-book $12.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-14883-6
  Adobe Digital Edition (PDF)
About our e-books

Shopping cart ADD TO CART
  Review cart contents
Secure checkout

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated August 6, 2010

© 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System