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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Machine Shop: 1917

Machine Shop: 1917

1917. "C.W. Hecox, instructor in machine shop, D.C. public schools. Supervising manufacture of practice shells for Navy at McKinley training school." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

 

Set the Wayback Machine

I've been retired for sixteen years, not long in the scheme of things industrial, but I remember working on the same lathe and others like it, though mostly Italian imports by then. The coveted machines were the Brown and Sharps, as they had the most precise gear-boxes. Most old school tool makers were leery of the new CNC machines, they felt that the computer took the human element out of machining. I guess the old leather belt machinists felt the same way.

Shop Safety.

I entered the Henry Ford Trade School in 1936 at age 14. The wearing of safety glasses and ear protection in our factories started, if I remember correctly, in the late 1950s. We can not fault the lack of safety equipment in 1917 any more than fault them for not using a modern lathe.

The cage

The four basket-weave hatches give access to the commutator (this was a DC motor) and the brushes. A belt-drive from the end away from the camera led down to the gearbox (the rectangular shape that the motor is sitting on.)

When I commenced my apprenticeship in 1964, the workshop had one of these old-timers. It wasn't used very often, preference being given to the more modern lathes at the time.

On a side note, Occupational Health & Safety in those days consisted of the boss saying "Be careful!" That was from an era when "common sense" was also an acceptable term.

BHK in Australia

Potential ouchies

OK, this is my first comment as a long time Shorpy lurker. I'm a NC programmer at present, was a toolmaker for many years, machinist before that, and a plain old machine operator before that. I did the usual high school machine shop classes in 1973-1976. I made a cannon or two, a couple of vises, but no pipes.

That said, IMHO this guy is looking for trouble. He's not wearing safety glasses, he's got a ring on, he's wearing a necktie (tucked in though), long sleeves, and last but not least, he's wearing a striped coat with checkered pants!

Granted, it's 1917; OSHA is nowhere in sight. The teacher isn't much better: no safety glasses, long sleeves, necktie (again, tucked in), and he's stopping the lathe from floating away. At least their hair is short and out of harms way.

This picture makes me cringe just looking at it. I wouldn't mind having the lathe though.

How many times do I have to tell you?

Do not wear stripes with plaid!

Inside the sphere

My guess would be an electric motor.

Hecox research

I guess our stanton_square's delving into the Washington Post archives disclosed nothing about the years C.W. spent in Hollywood under the name of Boris Karloff, enacting mad doctor scenes just like this.

Working in a machine shop

Working in a machine shop wearing a loose sleeved jacket and a tie... thats what I call an accident waiting to happen.

Does anyone know what the big ball/cage on top of the lathe is?

Very Farkable

This has tremendous Fark potential. How long before it gets Farked?

"Hix" Hecox

Bicyclist Collides With a Carriage

Mr. C.W. Hecox, a bicyclist, while riding up the hill through the north side of the capitol grounds last evening, ran into a one-horse surrey with a gentleman and three ladies on it. Mr. Hecox was riding fast and did not see the approaching vehicle until the horse reared on his hind feet. It was impossible for the rider to stop until he struck the horse. The bicycle was damaged. Mr. Hecox arose from the ground and said that he was not hurt, but after the carriage left he fainted, but soon revived and rode off.

Washington Post, Jul 27, 1893


Public Schools of Washington Seen in Classrooms and Recreation Hours

...
Prof. Clarence W. Hecox, of Tech, is a motorcycle enthusiast. According to several of his fellow pedagogues, he is so devoted to his machine that he wears motorcycle clothing - leggings, bloomers, and all. He is frequently mudspotted from head to foot. ...

Washington Post, Feb 15, 1914


Hecox, Master Coach, Is One of the Old-Timers at Rowing Game

Teddy Roosevelt and his famous cavalcade of roughriders were whooping it up in Cuba and Spain and the United States were locked in a grueling struggle for possession of the island just off the Florida coast, when a young fellow by the name of Clarence W. Hecox first conceived the idea of introduced rowing in the public high schools. He was an officer of the Columbia Athletic Club, one of Washington's most popular sporting fraternities, and a great believer in physical culture.

The idea was frowned upon. The cost of launching a shell and outfitting a crew was prohibitive, but "Hix" persisted in his efforts and they were finally crowned with success. That was back in 1898. The first boatload was recruited at Central High School. The boys failed to startle the world with their rowing, but Hecox was well satisfied with the venture. Rowing has long since been abandoned by the schoolboys.
...
From 1913, when he first went with the Analostan Club, His has sent 27 winning eight-oared crews to the starting line. His junior eights have carried off the honors in the last 11 Southern Rowing Association regattas, enough to stamp the gray-haired veteran one of the most proficient coaches in the East.
...

Washington Post, Aug 16, 1933


C.W. Hecox, School Coach, Dead at 79

Funeral services for Clarence Wirt Hecox, 79, retired District public school teacher and coast who died Saturday at his home, 1052 N. Nelson st., Arlington, will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Free Methodist Church, Prince and Lee sts., Alexandria. Burial will be in the Glenwood Cemetery, Washington.

Mr. Hecox, who had been ill for several years, retired in 1941 after more than 30 years of teaching machine shop with applied mathematics, and coaching football, baseball, and other sports.

A half century ago, he coached rowing at various local boat clubs and championed the sport in public schools. Several of his pupils in the sport won honors in the collegiate world.

Mr. Hecox, most of whose teaching years were spent at McKinley and Central high schools, was born in Niagara County, New York, and came to Washington about 60 years ago.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Geneva Johnston Hecox, and a nephew, Lemuel W. Owen, of Chicago.

Washington Post, Jan 2, 1951


Apparently, as Hix neared retirement he spent a lot of time weeding his garden and decided to apply his shop skills to the problem: Patent for a weed puller.

Dozens more articles about Hecox are in the Washington Post archives, mostly concerning his days coaching crew teams.

Secret science

They had finally assembled their first satellite, but would have to wait quite a while before someone invented the rocket.

 
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