The 2003 movie Cheaper by The Dozen is a priziv.orgedy about a football coach married priziv.orge a writer. However the publication that it’s very, very loosely based on, 1948’s Cheaper by The Dozen, is the true story the two performance experts who had 12 kids. 

The mum, Dr Lillian Moller Gilbreth, to be the genius who created the foot-pedal bin, the shelves in refrigerator doors (including the butter and egg priziv.orgpartments), and much more. 

Did we cite she had actually 12 kids?

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Lillian Moller was born right into a well-off family in California in 1878. Shy yet smart, she was identified to end up being a job woman. She parents would just let her walk to college if she live at home and also took care of her younger sisters, therefore she did.  

While still at university, she met frank Gilbreth, a construction firm owner, and the two developed a team of effectiveness experts. Castle married in 1904.

“Although a graduate the the college of California, the bride is nonetheless really attractive woman," the local file wrote. 

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The couple went on to have actually Anne, Ernestine, Martha, Frank, Mary, Bill, Lillian, Fred, Dan, John, Bob and Jane. Mary passed away of diphtheria as soon as she was five. 

The family was run in a really regimented way. Frank expected the kids to priziv.orge running whenever he go out a whistle. There were charts in the bathroom wherein each child had to note off brushing your teeth, taking a bath, priziv.orgbing your hair and also making your bed. Together well, every child had actually to sweet themselves every night and plot the number on a graph. Any kind of child that wanted extra pocket money by act a job like painting the porch would need to submit a sealed bid, and the shortest bidder would gain the contract. 

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Image: Getty.

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The pair not only operated as effectiveness experts, they wrote a series of books around their techniques, including Concrete System, Bricklaying System and also A inside wall Of clinical Management. Yet Lillian wasn’t called as co-author due to the fact that the publishers felt it would threaten the credibility that the publication to have actually a woman’s name on it. 

Then, in 1924, Frank had actually a substantial heart attack while in a phone call booth talk to Lillian. He was dead in ~ the age of 55. Their youngest child, Jane, was simply two. 


In Cheaper through The Dozen, open minded Jr and Ernestine priziv.orgposed that their mother adjusted after their father’s death, losing her fear of quick cars, aeroplanes and also walking alone at night. 

“Now, suddenly, she wasn’t fear anymore, because there was nothing priziv.orge be afraid of. Now nothing could upset her due to the fact that the thing that mattered most had been upset. Nobody of us ever before saw her weep again.”

Lillian continued working as an efficiency expert. She had to, to provide for her family. But due to the fact that a most priziv.orgpanies didn’t want to do organization with her, gift a woman, she turned her emphasis to kitchens. 

“If the only means to go into a man’s field was v the kitchen door, that’s the way she’d enter,” wrote Frank Jr and Ernestine in Belles On their Toes, the sequel to Cheaper through The Dozen

In the 1920s, women were spending increase to half their day in the kitchen. Lillian redesigned the kitchen layout right into an L-shape so the women can cook more efficiently. She go an experiment that confirmed that in a kitchen v her layout, a strawberry shortcake could be small by taking simply 45 steps, instead of the usual 281. She likewise did a research of an ext than 4000 women to uncover the best height because that stoves and other kitchen fixtures. 

Then there to be the inventions. She developed the foot-pedal bin, which is traditional in kitchens now. She additionally came up v the idea of placing shelves in fridge doors, with special priziv.orgpartments for the butter and also eggs. She likewise held patents for the wastewater hose for clothes washers and an electric can opener.

All this was regardless of the reality that she didn’t know just how to cook herself. She and also Frank had always hired someone to prepare meals because that the family. 

“We considered our time too valuable to be dedicated to actual work in the home,” she called a group of businesswomen in 1930. “We to be executives.”

In the so late 1920s, Lillian to be hired through Johnson & Johnson to lug out a ground-breaking study right into “the perfect term pad”. ~ surveying much more than 1000 women, she came up through a lengthy list of detailed repriziv.orgmendations. The last one began, “It is essential that a woman be included to the staff of Johnson & Johnson and also that all assets be submitted to women for inspection of design and also tests for actual use.”

Her call grew. During the good Depression, she to be hired by chairman Hoover to head a job production scheme. She was a federal government adviser during WWII. She ongoing to write and educate. As soon as she was 86, she take it up a brand-new job together a lecturer in ~ Massachusetts academy of Technology.