British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Motion study


Series Name
Britain Can Make It


Issue No.
Date Released
Trade show
16 Jan 1945
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Admiralty Concrete floating docks
  2. 2Motion study
  3. 3War Artists’ Exhibition, London


Story No. within this Issue
2 / 3
COI synopsis: Here’s a simple problem - what’s the best way of putting these steel pegs into the holes in this board? Anybody can do it, but most of us would do it this way - pick up a handful of pegs, take them nearer to the board and put them in the holes one by one. But you see what happens? The left hand merely holds the pegs while the right hand does most of the work. Notice, too, that by starting with the holes nearest the box the pegs have to be lifted over each other. There must be an easier way than that.
All right, now try this way. Take the box nearer the board and set it up at an angle. Then use both hands. This gives rhythm and balance of movement. Notice that the holes selected cut out the effort of lifting pegs over each other. That’s a simple example of motion study.
It can be applied to every job. This girl tinned the contacts on valve-holders. She used to pick up a valve-holder and put it into a clamp. The left hand was idle while the right hand did all the work of dipping the valve-holder into flux and then into the solder-bath.
A new method was thought out. Now two clamps are used. She puts a valve-holder into each of them. With both hands working in unison, she dips the valve-holders into the flux and solder. The left hand now balances the movement of the right hand and cuts down fatigue. After dipping, she tilts the valve-holder down a chute out of her way.
The old way of packing valve-holders for transit is another example of wasted effort. A cardboard box was made up. After that, a cardboard ‘nest’ with openings slit in it to contain the valve-holders was placed inside the box. One by one the valve-holders were fitted into the ‘nest’. You’ll notice our old friend the left hand idling away again, while the right hand does all the work. When one ‘nest’ was filled, a cardboard strip was put on top and another ‘nest’ made up. It was obvious that this was a slow and fatiguing method of packing. The movements lacked rhythm and muscles became tired through lack of balance. By applying the science of motion study to the job, the operator could be saved a great deal of unnecessary work.
Here is the right way of doing it. The cardboard box is made up, but now two simple jigs have been fixed to the bench for making up the ‘nests’. Using two hands, the ‘nests’ are folded on the jigs. Now the jigs hold the ‘nests’ and the left hand has been put to work. Again using both hands, the valve-holders are put into the ‘nests’. The movements are now rhythmic and balanced; the job can be done much more quickly and with much less effort. The ‘nests’ are filled simultaneously. The piece of cardboard ‘cushioning’ is placed on one, put on top of the other and the whole lot put into the box at the same time. Motion Study can help any job. Here is what Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, has to say about it:
"You’ve just seen some illustrations of how ‘Motion Study’ makes it possible to plan a job of work so as to get the best results with the least effort.
We’ve just got to increase our production in every one of our factories as much as is humanly possible; and we must do it the easy way. ‘Motion Study’ is not a method of chiselling at the earnings of the workers by showing that a bigger output needs a shorter time. Its object is the fair and sensible one of making sure that when there is a job of work to do, it’s done in the way that means the least effort - and so tiredness - for those who are working at it.
I have taken a lot of trouble to go into the matter thoroughly from the workers’ point of view and I’m convinced that ‘Motion Study’ will provide a solution not only for the man who has to plan the job and get it done but for everybody whop has to take a part in that work."
Researcher Comments
This story was shot at Belling Lee Ltd. in Enfield.
Industry and manufacture; Employment
Written sources
The National Archives INF 6   /592 Used for synopsis
Central Film Library Catalogue   1948, p83.
British Film Institute Databases
Documentary News Letter   Vol.6 No.52 1946, p24.
D. Gifford, ‘The British Film Catalogue Vol.2’ (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001)   No.09151
COI Reference
MI 360/1
Board Of Trade
Duncan Ross
Production Co.
Films of Fact
Francis Gysin
Support services
Francis Gysin
Francis Gysin
James Ritchie
Lionel James Gamlin
Ministry of Information
Paul Rotha
Length of story (in feet)

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