Hugo Diemer

Hugo Diemer

Hugo Diemer (1870–1937) was an American engineer, management consultant, and professor at the Penn State University, who in 1910 published the first industrial engineering textbook: Factory Organization and Administration.


Born and raised in Cincinnati, Diemer started working and after several years studied engineering at the Ohio State University, where he graduated in 1896.

Between 1896 and 1900 Diemer was production engineer and production manager with the Bullock Engineering and Manufacturing Company and afterwards with Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company.[1][2]

In 1900 he started his academic career as assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Michigan State College, and continued at various universities and educational institutions[3] Late 1900s Diemer established the first course in industrial engineering at Penn State University,[4] where he was recommended by Frederick Winslow Taylor. In 1909 Penn State established the Department of Industrial Engineering, with Diemer appointed as its first head.[5]


Commercial Organization of the Machine Shop, 1900

In 1900 Diemer published a series of six articles on the machine shop, entitled "Commercial Organization of the Machine Shop."[6] These articles described:

A bibliography of works management, 1904

In 1904 Diemer published a "Bibliography of Works Management" in the Engineering Magazine. This bibliography started with an editorial introduction, and gave a description of about two dozen works. Overall it pictures the historical development of works on factory management from the 1880s to the early 1900s. The only predecessor mentioned was an early work by Charles Babbage from 1832.[8]

Diemer acknowledged, that these works originate from three branches of learning: engineering, accounting, and economics. Almost without exception the authors of the works listed were engineers, who "have added to their technical training and experience the essential knowledge of accounting and of economics, requisite to a comprehensive grasp of the problems of factory management."[9][10] In total Diemer's 1904 bibliography listed 27 works by two dozen authors, and gave a short description of each publication.

This article was republished in full as last chapter in Diemer's 1910 "Factory organization and administration." In the 1921 revised editions of this work Diemer presented a revised bibliography. This biography was limited the description to some on the works of scientific management by Taylor and Gantt, and additional gave a listing of about 300 publications in the field.

Index to the literature of Industrial Engineering

Diemer's 1904 bibliography was supplemented with an index to the literature of Industrial Engineering[11] prepared by the Editors of the Engineering Magazine.

This index listed about 15 subjects, with more than 400 articles listed:

In 1920 Harry George Turner Cannons published a "Bibliography of industrial efficiency and factory management,"[12] which contained about 3.500 referenced works. In this listing still a few dozen authors (most already mentioned by Diemer) published 5 or more publications, and thousands of people published one or some articles in the emerging field of Industrial Management.

Industrial engineering at Penn State University

At the turn of the 20th century, Penn State had developed a national reputation for its engineering curriculum,[13] but industrial engineering was only beginning to emerge as an academic discipline. Noted efficiency expert Frederick Taylor recommended that university president James A. Beaver hire Hugo Diemer, a professor from the University of Kansas, in the hope that Diemer would create an industrial engineering curriculum at Penn State.

A two-year option was ready by 1908, and a four-year bachelor's degree program emerged the following year, the first of its kind in the world. At the time, courses consisted of modern industrial engineering fundamentals such as time and motion study, plant layout optimization, and engineering economics, in addition to courses on advertising and sales. The new department also took over the instruction of manual shop skills, including carpentry and metalworking.[13]


Diemer published many books on a range of management subjects, a selection:

Articles, a selection:


  1. Benjamin W. Niebel (1989) Industrial Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, 1908-1988
  2. John Arthur Ritchey (1964) Classics in Industrial Engineering. p. 97
  3. Joseph August Litterer (1970) The emergence of systematic management as shown by the literature of management from 1870-1900. p. 246
  4. David F Noble (1979) America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism. p. 276
  5. Chapter 2 - 1907-1921 | History of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State at Accessed Dec. 1, 2014.
  6. 1 2 Diemer, Hugo. "Commercial Organization of the Machine Shop." A series of six articles, in The Engineering Magazine, June to Nov., 1900. The series of six articles:
  7. Diemer, Hugo. "Bibliography of Works Management." New York, 1904. Engineering Magazine. Vol. 27. pp. 626–658
  8. The first dozen works Diemer (1904) described originated from the 1880s and 1890s:
  9. Diemer (1910, pp. 286–292)
  10. The second dozen works Diemer (1904) described originates from around 1900:
    • "The Management of Engineering Work Shops"; by Arthur H. Barker. The Technical Publishing Co., Limited, Manchester, 1899.
    • "The Complete Cost Keeper"; by Horace L. Arnold. Published by The Engineering Magazine Co., 1900.
    • "Cost Accounts of an Engineer and Iron Founder"; by J. W. Best; a paper read before the Sheffield Chartered Accountants' Students' Society, December 12, 1900. London, Gee & Co.
    • "Cost Accounts"; by C. A. Millener. The Hunter Rose Co., Ltd., Toronto, 1901.
    • "A Bonus System of Rewarding Labor"; a paper by H. L. Gantt; presented at the December, 1901, meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
    • "The Cost of Production"; by Charles J. Watts. The Shaw-Walker Co., Muskegon, Michigan, 1902.
    • "Shop Management"; by Fred W. Taylor; a paper presented at the June, 1903, meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
    • "The Factory Manager and Accountant"; by Horace L. Arnold. The Engineering Magazine Co., New York, 1903.
    • "Manufacturers' Accounts"; by W. C. Eddis and W. B. Tindall. Published by the authors, 1903.
    • "Workshop Costs for Engineers and Manufacturers"; by Sinclair Pearn and Frank Pearn; 21s., net; size 18 by 10, 34 pages and 42 full-size rulings and specimen entries; 1904.
    • "Factory Management"; by Chas. B. Cook. Published by the Bookkeeper Publishing Co., Ltd., Detroit, Mich., 1906, and
    • "Modern Machine-Shop Construction, Equipment, and Management"; by Oscar E. Perrigo. The Norman W. Henley Publishing Co., New York, 1906. 343 pages, 203 illustrations.
  11. "An index to the literature of Industrial Engineering" in: Engineering Magazine. Vol. 27. pp. 644–658.
  12. Cannon, H. G. T. Bibliography of industrial efficiency and factory management. George Routledge, London (1920).
  13. 1 2 Bezilla, Michael (June 1985) [1986]. "Shaping a Modern College". Penn State: An Illustrated History. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00392-8.
  14. Reprinted in Diemer (1910, p. 286-303)

This article incorporates public domain material from Diemer, Hugo. "Bibliography of Works Management." New York, 1904. Engineering Magazine. Vol. 27. pp. 626–658

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