The field of Ergonomics has a long history. Some of its origin can be found in the need to create an efficiently running business during the age of industrialization. Old studies, called time-and-motion studies, aimed to optimize manual workforce.
Probably the first studies were conducted by Taylor around 1900. Taylor focused on an improvement of work rates (measured by a stopwatch) and processes to increase productivity. He often compared different ways to do a task and different tools to do a task to identify the most efficient one. For example, in one study he measured how long a worker needed to shovel coal. The result was that a worker could shovel 21 pounds without tiring. However, at that time each worker was required to bring their own shovel. To increase productivity Taylor provided his workers with shovels and even provided different shovels for different densities of material (for example, 21 pounds of snow is a larger heap compared to 21 pounds of coal).