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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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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.

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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."

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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