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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Plane Doctor: 1942

Plane Doctor: 1942

August 1942. "Women in white doctor Navy planes (motors) at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas. Mildred Webb, an National Youth Administration trainee at the base, is learning to operate a cutting machine in the Assembly and Repair Department. After about eight weeks as an apprentice she will be eligible for a civil service job in the capacity for which she has been trained." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Howard Hollem, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Machine shop memories

First days of machine shop apprenticeship - I remember it well. Bandsaw: Break the blade, square up the ends, re-weld the blade, anneal the weld joint, grind off the slag from the joint, quickly re-anneal & then bend it in half, until you've done it 5 times in a row without it shattering at the joint. Then it's time to remount the blade and saw some steel stock: Set the upper blade guide height (what she's doing here), check and adjust blade speed on the chart for the blades' teeth per inch vs. the thickness of your stock, etc.
Safety wise: No jewelry, short sleeves, hat to keep hot metal chips out of her hair... looking pretty good. Her pair of old-style, round safety glasses are probably just out of sight.

Cringe

Even back then, they had safety glasses. I suspect a posed publicity shot.

[These were taken by the government for use in promotional materials, such as posters, to encourage women to seek wartime industrial employment. The workers and their tasks were real, but the photos were posed. - tterrace]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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