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History of Quality Control

#1
A general request for help - and a far cry from my regular bad tempered defending of ISO certification. :mad:

I have been asked to put together a series of articles about Quality for the Institute of Quality Assurance (the UK's equivalent of ASQ). I'm looking for information about the early days of Quality Control (pre 1970).

I have some examples going back to the building of the pyramids but if anyone has any other examples they think are noteworthy I will have a look and include them - you will even get a mention (if possible under the contract).

Thanks in advance.
 

Howard Atkins

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Admin
#2
Here is a start

"In the beginning God created......he saw all that he had created and it was good." (Genesis) Despite what should have been perfect planning and execution it was necessary to reject all mankind (apart from Noah). It is hard to say if the planning and execution were better the second time or the customer's requirements were less.
 
#3
Paul

I would have thought that an old duffer like you would remember pre-1970 - is it not short term memory loss that goes first (I can't quite recall...)?

Anyway, I thought that the origins of BS5750 were bombs going off in munitions factories in WW2?
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
I don't have anything specific, but a few observations that might be of interest and help in your research:
  • The history of what we know as "quality control" traces roughly to the advent of interchangeable parts, when it became necessary to assure that each part made would work in any final assembly.
  • War has played a profound role in the establishment of the quality profession. The interchangeable parts milestone itself first gained prominence as a result of the need to rapidly manufacture firearms, and to be able to replace parts of them in the field. World War I brought with it mass production of airplanes and radios (and other nascent electronic technologies). There were similar phenomena in connection with WWII (Radar; building lots of ships in a big hurry after Pearl Harbor, e.g.) and of course the influence of Deming and Juran in the rebuilding of postwar Japan.
 
#5
Paul

I would have thought that an old duffer like you would remember pre-1970 - is it not short term memory loss that goes first (I can't quite recall...)?

Anyway, I thought that the origins of BS5750 were bombs going off in munitions factories in WW2?
Old duffer but not that old! I remember my Dad talking about the 70s ..... and as for the pyramids!

Seriously though, the information about who and how the MIL standards and AQAPs developed that arose from munitions issues is the kind of thing I'm looking for.

Now what did I come upstairs for?
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#6
A pretty good paper that may have some references for you is :

Reeves, C.A. and Bednar, D.A. (1994). Defining Quality: Alternatives and Implications. Academy of Management Review, 19(3):419-445.

(I would post the article here, but not sure if that violates any copyright.)

They do a pretty nice job of summarizing quality ( up to the 90's). Too, since it's a premier journal, they have plenty of references for their citations.
 
#7
  • The history of what we know as "quality control" traces roughly to the advent of interchangeable parts, when it became necessary to assure that each part made would work in any final assembly.
  • War has played a profound role in the establishment of the quality profession. The interchangeable parts milestone itself first gained prominence as a result of the need to rapidly manufacture firearms, and to be able to replace parts of them in the field. World War I brought with it mass production of airplanes and radios (and other nascent electronic technologies). There were similar phenomena in connection with WWII (Radar; building lots of ships in a big hurry after Pearl Harbor, e.g.) and of course the influence of Deming and Juran in the rebuilding of postwar Japan.
Thanks, Jim. I seem to remember tales of an exhibition in London where three US cars (make?) were disassembled, parts mixed up and then the three cars were rebuilt and driven away to the amazement of the English audience - anyone got any more info?
 
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