Cheaper by the Dozen

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review, but today I ran across something charming which reminded me of an old favorite. The Museum of Modern Art is hosting an exhibition on kitchens, and the online site includes images and video clips covering the past century. My mind slipped back to a story in which a certain lady reorganized her kitchen, not because she normally cooked in it, but because she was demonstrating the possibilities of efficient organization. The story was in the book Belles on Their Toes and the lady was Dr. Lillian Gilbreth. The more famous prequel is a fun volume entitled Cheaper by the Dozen (which is NOTHING like the movie). I wasn’t able to find videographic evidence of the particular incident I remembered, but to my delight there is a video available produced by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth! Take a look, although it’s obviously low tech and not nearly as amusing as the books. It does, however, include a sequence of a young lady (I assume Ernestine) typing–fun perspective for fans of the books. Take a look at the video here.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about or why I would care to watch old black-and-white motion study tapes, go read Cheaper by the Dozen. I love amusing true stories and it certainly qualifies. In addition to being a leading motion study (efficiency) expert, Frank Gilbreth was a hilarious character and the story of his family (including an incredibly patient wife, a dozen children, and assorted pets) is certainly worth reading on a rainy afternoon.

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