Cyclegraphs & Chronocyclegraphs


A photograph showing movement depicted as a continuous pattern of light. It is made by exposing a STILL film or plate for the period of the cycle of the activity being analysed. Electric light bulbs are attached to the hands, arms or feet of the subject, whose work is being analysed. The technique was first used in 1890 by Marley to study the movements of athletes and later developed by Gilbreth in the study of work.


This is a development of the cyclegraph where the electric light bulbs are made to flash on quickly and die away slowly. The path of light appears as a series of pear-shaped dots, the movement being in the direction in which the dots point. The spacing between the dots indicate the speed of movement and show accelleration and decelleration.

Further Developments

Equipment Used


  1. Set the frequency of flashes - depending on the type of job;
  2. Attach bulbs to hands;
  3. Decide the exposure time;
  4. Take a time exposure for the period of the job cycle whilst the operator performs the job - the location would be a darkened room in former times;
  5. Take a second, instantaneous exposure on the same film, if it is required to superimpose the scene on the chronocyclgraph.

Uses of Chronocyclegraphs

  1. Developing a better work place - chronocyclegraphs reveal obstructions and bad locations;
  2. Analysis of a complex movement;
  3. An aid to training;
  4. Comparison of two methods;
  5. Publicity and advertising;
  6. Design of new equipment.

Photographic Aids to Method Study

Both still and cine photography are used in cases where more detailed investigations are required and where the operations may be of a very short duration or performed at a high speed or where several different jobs are being carried out simultaneously;


  1. a permanent record is obtained of the work being carried out;
  2. the record can be referred to at any time
  3. the excellent means of demonstrating differences in methods is a valuable aid to training;
  4. reproduction of the original method is possible at any time;
  5. repeated study of an operator's activities can be made without further interference;
  6. examination of intermittent work can proceed when the work itself is not actually in progress.

Use of 'Cine' Films

Micro Motion Photography

Micro motion analysis is the critical examination of a SIMO CHART prepared by a frame by frame breakdown of a cine film of an operation; when a film is made for this purpose an exposure of 1000 frames per minute is usually employed.

Memo Motion Photography

This is a form of time lapse photography which records activity by a cine camera adapted to take pictures at longer intervals of time - e.g. one frame per second.

By employing this device it is possible to record the activities within the working area over a lengthy period. The resulting series of still shots can be analysed and used as a basis for the construction of appropriate charts and method improvements - e.g. team operations, several operators or several machines.

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