Mr. Rogers, Crayons, and Automation

Automation has impacted the manufacturing of every product, reducing the amount of labor required to produce everything. If you’d like an object lesson on the impact of automation, look no further than Mr. Rogers (that’s right, the late Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers neighborhood) and Wired Magazine.

Over three decades ago,  Mr. Rogers shared a look at the Crayola plant where Crayons are made.  More recently, Wired Magazine revisited the plant.  The change due to automation in how these indispensable tools of childhood are made is remarkable.  Smithsonian Magazine offers a short article with a video of  Mr. Rogers’ visit to the plant in 1985….and a Wired Magazine video of the plant today. 

Check it out.  Crayons may not have changed that much. But the impact of automation is dramatic.  Clearly, robots are crucial to making Crayons (and nearly everything else).  Only time will tell if robots actually become capable of using crayons.