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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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Head Spotters: 1942

Head Spotters: 1942

February 1942. Cincinnati, Ohio. "Aluminum casting. The heads of these heat-treated pistons must be spotted prior to Brinell hardness testing. Young women are employed for this job by a large Midwest aluminum foundry now converted to war production. Aluminum Industries Inc." 4x5 nitrate negative by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.



Is nothing more than using a belt sander or pedestal grinder to remove the scale and oxide off the as-cast surface, exposing virgin material so they get an accurate hardness reading.


Sorry to disappoint, but those are pistons for trucks or something similar. Aviation pistons tend to be much much shorter with minimal skirts.

My best guess would be that these are pistons

for a huge 1000+ H.P. aircraft engines, I would love to know the details!

More like "Head Turners"

Those are some lovely ladies working on that spotting job.

Offstage action

Makes me think of the machine works the audience doesn't actually see in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons."

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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