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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Every Minute Counts: 1942

Every Minute Counts: 1942

August 1942. "Inspecting thousands of drills each day, women employed by a large Midwest drill and tool company must learn to detect the tiniest flaw in these vital machine accessories. Republic Drill and Tool Co., Chicago." Medium format negative by Ann Rosener for the Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Everybody in uniforms - that's a surprise

At least they got to choose their own footwear. Love those saddle shoes visible under the desk on the left.

Sometimes you read discussions about who difficult it was for women to leave their wartime employment and shuffle back into the kitchen. In the case of this photo, however, it looks like most of the workers at this monotony are young enough to be getting married and moving into a place like Levittown after the war is over. I wonder if any of them ever missed their time at Republic Tool and Drill.

Yep it's a drill bit

I wonder how many bad drill bits got through with no measuring devices or magnifying glasses handy for a closer inspection? Looks like just a visual inspection only. These days there would be a thick military test procedure manual and triplicate documentation for each part along with audits by the department of defense. I can't help but wonder if some of the testing devices were put out of view for the photo shoot for security reasons.

More Production

1942 War Production Board poster by artist Robert Riggs.

"She's a swell plane - give us more! MORE PRODUCTION"

For want of a nail

A broken drill bit in a complex casting is a very significant cost item in production, especially in wartime. Removing same was rather costly in the late '60s. I have no idea if removing broken drill bits in the 1940s was feasible.

Three more years

Love all pics from 1942. It is the year of my graduation from the womb. The photo above was taken 8 months after Pearl Harbor and 22 months before Normandy. World War 2 was three years away from being finished for the USA.

A boring comment.

I wonder if each station is assigned a single size for the duration?

Au Contraire

It's been my experience that for a good drill, one has to make every minute count. It's not automatic.


Oh my what a tedious looking job. There must have been constant reminding of the national vital importance of seemingly trivial tasks for them to stay motivated!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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