regular monkey and parrot time
...So much for labor. Now for the next most important part of the management problem. Learned my lesson from “Put” Wilson, who used to hang ’round the shop— we never called what he did, work. “Put” or “Putter” — as we called him, because he was always puttering at some light job — got sick one winter, and it seemed as though everything went wrong. Tools out of place, machines breaking down, men growling ’cause everything was out of place — regular monkey and parrot time. To make an honest confession, I’d rather begrudged “Put” the dollar and a quarter I used to pay him in return for a day’s work — till he got sick. Then, ’stead of thinking of him as a mere putterer, I saw him in his true light, a M.M.D. — Master of Mechanical Details, and a good one at that.
Every town has a man that just fits this place, and Colton is no exception. The secret of good shop management is to get such a man as “Put” to taking care of the shop details, while you fix your mind on bigger things. Financing, for instance, as I have written to you, is such a big question that you had better spend your time on that rather than trying to take the kinds out of a refractory machine that needs half a day’s puttering attention...
— ex “Making the Business Pay : Letters from a retired successful plumber and steamfitter to his nephew, still in business, 12),” in Domestic Engineering 45:7 (November 14, 1908) : 177-179 (178)
178 (at hathitrust)