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Craft Production Exercise

Craft Production Exercise

Craft Production Name __________________

In late nineteenth and early twentieth-century metalworking, factory managers often delegated shop-floor authority to skilled craft workers, in both union and non-union shops.


“Inside” Contractors were skilled machinists, foundry workers, or forge hammermen who contracted to produce parts for a certain piece-price. They used company equipment and materials, but they determined their own work procedures, brought their own hand tools, and hired additional workers or helpers out of their own budget.


Union “Team” Contracting was common in the iron and steel mills of the 1870s and 1880s. In this industry, the “Amalgamated Iron and Steel Workers” bargained for a lump-sum “price” per ton, paid to the team of skilled workers,


Union Millworkers Then Decided :


1) How to divide work among themselves

2) The pay for each job.

3) How much metal to produce/roll each shift.

4) What tools to use.

5) What machinery management could introduce.

6) Proper quality of raw materials.

7) How many unskilled “helpers” the team would hire.

8) How much training to give helpers.



a) Why did management initially favor craft-control of production in the making of iron and steel, locomotives, firearms, bicycles, farm-equipment, machine-tools, castings, and other metal goods? Specifically: What cost savings and other advantages did this system offer employers in the early years of industrilaization (roughly 1870 – 1900) ?

b) Why did management eventually oppose craft control? What disadvantages of

the system prompted factory owners to abolish inside contracting and break

union contracts with growing frequency between 1890 and 1910?

craft production