SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Goggles Girl: 1942

Goggles Girl: 1942

        This young lady is training to work on the assembly line of one of our great war plants. In preparation for this task, she devotes six nights a week to a WPA vocational training school where experienced instructors show her the technique of modern welding.

July 1942. "Work Projects Administration vocational school in Washington, D.C." Photo by Howard Liberman, Office of War Information. View full size.

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Brings Back Memories

"Gas welding" was one of the neatest things I've ever learned- almost magic. Being able to push that steel puddle along and then watch it solidify as the flame passed was nearly mesmerizing.

Welding Class

This is the same way I learned to weld 30 years later. The torch is not a "cutting" torch, but rather an oxy-acetylene welding torch. This is one of the ways welding was commonly done prior to the advent of electric welding. The heat from the flame creates a "puddle" of molten metal, the filler rod is added, and the process is moved along the seam to create a weld. The dark lenses in the goggles are much lighter than those used in electric arc welding. The entire arrangement (torch, table, bricks, test "coupons") will be quite familiar to anyone who took a welding course at least up through the 1980's (and possibly even today, I don't know).

Neither cutting or welding

She's brazing.

Predominant Wool

Her wool sweater is perfect for welding. Looks good and won't start on fire. I can't tell you how many cotton and synthetic clothes I've lifted up my welding helmet to see aflame.


We have seen "Rosie the Riveter", so she must be "Wanda the Welder".

Cutting or welding?

Perhaps someone with more metalworking knowledge can enlighten me. She's using a cutting torch, so what's with the welding rod?

Those Goggles

Rosie clearly has a nice set!


That fuzzy sweater doesn't look very fireproof.

SHORPY OLD 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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