WFC Times blauw06
Charles Eugène Bedaux

Bedaux jong

Charles Eugène Bedaux (was born on October 10th, 1886 in Charenton-Le-Pont, Paris, France, son of a bourgeois family and died on February 18th, 1944 in Miami, Florida, USA, aged 57 years) was raised in the Rue Pigalle, Paris, protected by his patron the successful pimp Henri Ledoux. After Ledoux was shot dead in 1906 he “immigrated” to America, where he could exhibit his talents as an organisor for all kinds of jobs, f.i. as a phenominal life insurance salesman. He married in 1908 and soon had a son. From 1912 on he dedicated his working live completely to the job of “consulting engineer in organisation” in de USA and then in France, with partners already seasoned in the business, like the engineers Duez and Morinni. The Morinnis were disciples of Emerson who wrote “Efficiency as a basis for operation and wages” in 1909 and “The twelve principles of efficiency” in 1912. They were the first to establish an office on “Consulting engineers in Organization” in France in 1914. In 1916 he established the first Charles E. Bedaux Company in Cleveland. After studying the Taylor system and the ideas of Frank Gilbreth, he discovered the real strenght of method study. However, he ran into a shortcomming of the Taylor system and wanted to correct that, which ultimately lead to the Bedaux system in 1917. He worked out many ideas about measuring the human energy exerted while resting and working. The first implementation of his system took place in 1917, the same year to publish his book “The Bedaux Efficiency Course for Industrial Application”. In 1917 he married his second wife Fern Lombard and became an American citizen. In 1926 the British Bedaux Company was established. In 1929 the Dutch Bedaux & Co N.V. was established at Amsterdam (with director Ir. A. Strachoff). After World War II the name was changed into Societé Continentale pour l’ Analyse et la Mésure du Travail v/h Bedaux & Co N.V.

The Bedaux

Philips NV



The Bedaux system is based on the fact that all human labour can be measured in terms of effort and fatigue. Bedaux claimed that he had discovered a scientific relationship allowing him to calculate the degree of fatigue caused by a certain effort, and with that the time necessary for recovery. With this relationship he could determine the optimal rate of working which then of course should be pursued. So, the standard time, ST, for any activity or task could be expressed in Bedaux points or B units.
Particularly, he further developed the stop watch technique with tempo rating and turned it into a sound rating system while adding allowances for rest and other allowances. This lead to the standard minute labour content, the Bedaux unit B: 1 B consists of a fraction of labour and a fraction of rest. The ratio labour to rest depends on the exerted effort. The “B” is a universal unit “representing the quantity of usefull physiological energy that a normally constituted human being can deploy in one minute, taking into account the suitable necessary rest when he executes the physiological gestures and efforts that are imposed by the industrial operations to which he has been adapted and trained at a pace equal to 3/4ths of the normal rate of physiological expense that a human being can stand while remaining able to meet his family and social obligations.”
The speed of 80 B(edaux) per hour corresponds to the optimum, that of 60 B(edaux) to the normal minimum. A bonus was paid for work delivered above 60 B per hour. These ideas resulted mainly in a system of pay based on output. It is also a method of improvement of productivity and of its control. The profit-sharing scheme is but one facet of this method. Bedaux said “functional analysis is the whole of the methods aiming at improving the general organization of a company on the basis of the elements provided by analysis of work using Bedaux method. A “performance chart” of the running of the company can thus be set up.
On this vision he based a salary system, a budgetting system and a complete operation management system.

During 1932/1934 the Bedaux system was introduced to the Dutch Philips companies by Bedaux engineers. In 1935 the relationship with the Bedaux Institute is ended and Philips starts its own wage department until 1945, when the TEO (Technical Efficiency and Organization) is established. Head of the TEO becomes Mr. J.D. Wackwitz, already with Philips from 1921. The TEO will be charged with the managing and dealing of wage regulations, tariffs, time studies and all corresponding questions and issues around business organization, in cooperation with Mr. A. Strachoff from Bedaux & Co.

The Philips Unit System (Philips Eenheden Systeem, PES) was derived from the Bedaux system. The wage incentive was increased from 75% to 100%, and the upper limit for 50% extra wage was set at 90 E (B) per hour. In 1948 the basic wage was guaranteed at 60 E per hour, while the upper limit for 50% extra wage was set at 80 E per hour. Since 1982 the basic wage is guaranteed at 80 E per hour and every employee should do his utmost to work at  tempo 80 Bdx. The current utilized system of work mesurement with stop watch and tempo rating is also named the “Bedaux system”.

The “Bedaux system” is at first a succes in the USA where Bedaux engineers advice companies like Henri Ford , General Motors, Du Pont, ITT and Standard Oil; and after these many companies all over the world. Bedaux established countless subsidiairies of his Bedaux Company in at least 30 countries and gathers a fortune. At that time he lives a very stylish life and travels all over the world living from the royalties being paid to his holding, the Bedaux Institute. He and his second wife Fern Bedaux-Lombard are going to reside on the 16th century Chateau de Candé, France, purchased by him.
In 1937 it is etimated that 500 American, 225 British, 144 French, 49 Italian, 39 German and some Dutch companies made use of the services offered by Bedaux.

However, from beginning of 1933 onwards difficulties are mounting: unions think the method is inhumane. The negative reactions from workers damage the fame of the method and ultimately cause Bedaux to loose control over the subsidiairies in the UK and in the USA at the end of 1933. In the same year the nazi’s close his offices in Germany because of, in their eyes, the demagogical attitude towards workers. Nevertheless, business goes on as usual, but Bedaux gets involved in the political disorder of that period. The Americans suspected him from collaboration with the nazi’s and arrest him in Algiers, during the invasion of North Africa in 1943. He is taken to the USA to be brought to trial; and finally found dead in his cell: “suicide”.


Bedaux ventured through the northern part of British Colombia already in 1926 and 1932 on hunting trips. He was determined to return to this region once again, one of the last remaining true wilderness regions on earth. Below, some pictures of and with Bedaux during the Bedaux expedition “The Bedaux Canadian Sub-Arctic Expedition” of 1934, to traverse and chart the wilderness of North British Columbia, of which everyone said it could not be done. Partly a publicity stunt, partly a test of the Citroën half-track for his friend André Citroën and for the remaining part a romantic adventure. The start was on July 4th, 1934 in Edmonton, Alberta and the target lied 2400 km further at Telegraph Creek, British Columbia, with 5 half-tracks, 53 cowboys and 130 horses. The half-tracks did not last and they continued by horses, together with his wife Fern Lombard, his mistress Bilonha Chiesa, an Italian countess and Ferns maid, Josephine. In September, Bedaux stopped just a few km before his final destination, because the winter fell in, too much snow on the pass and the horses died on several deseases. 

Bedaux Cowboys02 Bedaux Film crew02
Bedaux Peace River02
Bedaux Halftrack02
Bedaux Half track03
Bedaux Safari02
Bedaux Strike02

Bedaux’ Champagne Safari

Bedaux Wolsey strike02
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