Henry Gantt

Henry Laurence Gantt

Henry L. Gantt, 1916
Born May 20, 1861
Calvert County, Maryland
Died November 23, 1919(1919-11-23) (aged 58)
Montclair, New Jersey
Citizenship United States
Nationality American
Fields Scientific management
Alma mater

Stevens Institute of Technology

Johns Hopkins University
Known for Gantt chart

Henry Laurence Gantt, A.B., M.E. (/ɡænt/; May 20, 1861 – November 23, 1919) was an American mechanical engineer and management consultant who is best known for his work in the development of scientific management. He created the Gantt chart in the 1910s.

Gantt charts were employed on major infrastructure projects including the Hoover Dam and Interstate highway system and continue to be an important tool in project management and program management.


Gantt was born in Calvert County, Maryland. He graduated from McDonogh School in 1878 and from Johns Hopkins University in 1880, then returned to the McDonogh School to teach for three years. He subsequently received a Masters of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.[1]

In 1884 he began working as a draughtsman at the iron foundry and machine-shop Poole & Hunt in Baltimore.[2][3] In 1887 he joined Frederick W. Taylor in applying scientific management principles to the work at Midvale Steel and Bethlehem Steel, working there with Taylor until 1893. In his later career as a management consultant and following the invention of the Gantt chart, he designed the 'task and bonus' system of wage payment and additional measurement methods worker efficiency and productivity.

In 1916, influenced by Thorsten Veblen he set up the New Machine, an association which sought to apply the criteria of industrial efficiency to the political process.[4] With the Marxist[5] Walter Polakov he led a breakaway from the 1916 ASME conference to discuss Gantt's call for socialising industrial production under the control of managers incorporating Polakov's analysis of inefficiency in the industrial context.[6]

Henry Gantt is listed under Stevens Institute of Technology alumni.[7] The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) awards an annual medal in honor of Henry Laurence Gantt.[8]


The Gantt family claim descent from Gilbert de Gantt, son of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders, who accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066, and participated in the Battle of Hastings. Gilbert de Gantt was actually a nephew to Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders, who was married to Ogive of Luxembourg, Gilbert de Gant's mother's sister. Thomas Gantt emigrated to Maryland in 1660 and settled on "Myrtle Range". Henry Gantt was married to Mary E. Snow of Fitchburg, Massachusetts on 29 Nov 1899. The motto on the Gantt family crest is "Dum Spiro, Coelestia Spero" - While I have breath, I hope heavenly things [9]


Henry Gantt's legacy to project management is the following:

Gantt charts

Main article: Gantt chart
A Gantt chart showing three kinds of schedule dependencies (in red) and percent complete indications.

Gantt created many different types of charts.[11] He designed his charts so that foremen or other supervisors could quickly know whether production was on schedule, ahead of schedule, or behind schedule. Modern project management software includes this critical function.

Gantt (1903) describes two types of balances:

Gantt gives an example with orders that will require many days to complete. The daily balance has rows for each day and columns for each part or each operation. At the top of each column is the amount needed. The amount entered in the appropriate cell is the number of parts done each day and the cumulative total for that part. Heavy horizontal lines indicate the starting date and the date that the order should be done. According to Gantt, the graphical daily balance is "a method of scheduling and recording work". In this 1903 article, Gantt also describes the use of:

Work, Wages, and Profits, 1916

In his 1916 book "Work, Wages, and Profits" Gantt explicitly discusses scheduling, especially in the job shop environment. He proposes giving to the foreman each day an "order of work" that is an ordered list of jobs to be done that day. Moreover, he discusses the need to coordinate activities to avoid "interferences". However, he also warns that the most elegant schedules created by planning offices are useless if they are ignored, a situation that he observed.

Organizing for Work, 1919

In his 1919 book "Organizing for Work" Gantt gives two principles for his charts:

Gantt shows a progress chart that indicates for each month of the year, using a thin horizontal line, the number of items produced during that month. In addition, a thick horizontal line indicates the number of items produced during the year. Each row in the chart corresponds to an order for parts from a specific contractor, and each row indicates the starting month and ending month of the deliveries. It is the closest thing to the Gantt charts typically used today in scheduling systems, though it is at a higher level than machine scheduling.

Gantt’s machine record chart and man record chart are quite similar, though they show both the actual working time for each day and the cumulative working time for a week. Each row of the chart corresponds to an individual machine or operator. These charts do not indicate which tasks were to be done, however.

Henry Gantt and Karol Adamiecki

A novel method of displaying interdependencies of processes to increase visibility of production schedules was invented in 1896 by Karol Adamiecki, which was similar to the one defined by Gantt in 1903. However, Adamiecki did not publish his works in a language popular in the West; hence Gantt was able to popularize a similar method, which he developed around the years 1910–1915, and the solution became attributed to Gantt. With minor modifications, what originated as the Adamiecki's chart is now more commonly referred to as the Gantt Chart.[12]


Gantt published several articles and books. A selection:


  1. Morgen Witzel (2005). Encyclopedia of History of American Management. p. 192
  2. Bernard C. Hilton (2005). A History of Production Planning and Control, 1750-2000, p. 64
  3. Sheldrake, John (2003). "Henry Gantt and humanized scientific management". Management Theory (2nd ed.). Thompson Learning. pp. 35–43. ISBN 1-86152-963-5.
  4. Maier, Charles S. (1970), "Between Taylorism and Technocracy: European Ideologies and the Vision of Industrial Productivity in the 1920s", Journal of Contemporary History, 5 (2): 27–61, doi:10.1177/002200947000500202, JSTOR 259743
  5. Kelly, Diane J. (2004), "Marxist Manager amidst the Progressives: Walter N Polakov and the Taylor Society", Journal of Industrial History, 6 (2): 61–75
  6. Wren, Daniel (1980), "Scientific Management in the U.S.S.R., with Particular Reference to the Contribution of Walter N. Polakov", The Academy of Management Review, 5 (1): 1–11, doi:10.5465/amr.1980.4288834, JSTOR 257800
  7. Stevens Institute Indicator, Vol. 25-26. (1908), p. 421
  8. ASME Henry Laurence Gantt Medal Accessed April 7, 2007.
  9. Mackenzie, George (1907), Colonial families of the United States of America: in which is given the history, genealogy and armorial bearings of colonial families who settled in the American colonies from the time of the settlement of Jamestown, 13th May, 1607, to the battle of Lexington, 19th April, 1775 [Volume 1], Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Genealogical Publishing Company, pp. 186–189
  10. Chatfield, Michael. "Gantt, Henry Laurence (1861-1919)." History of Accounting: An International Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Chatfield and Richard Vangermeersch. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. P. 269.
  11. The discussion of Gantt charts here described originally appeared in Herrmann (2005): Herrmann, Jeffrey W., History of Decision-Making Tools for Production Scheduling, Proceedings of the 2005 Multidisciplinary Conference on Scheduling: Theory and Applications, New York, July 18–21, 2005.
  12. Peter W. G. Morris, The Management of Projects, Thomas Telford, 1994, ISBN 0-7277-2593-9, Google Print, p.18
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