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Agnes the Operator: 1942

Agnes the Operator: 1942

July 1942. "Production. Machine guns of various calibers. Agnes Mahan, bench lathe operator at a large Eastern firearms plant, makes oil drills for .50- caliber machine gun barrels. Colt's Patent Firearms Mfg. Co., Hartford, Connecticut." Photo by Andreas Feininger for the Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Old-fashioned names

My sister, born in 1947, is named Mildred, and I don't know any Mildreds younger than she is. But my grandmother, born 1891, was named Sophie, and that name is making a comeback.

Reminds Me Of

My grandma Nellie.

She worked on a Lathe in a metal shop making parts for Spitfires during WWII while my grandfather Tom was away manning the coastal guns in the UK.

Nellie lived until the age of 94.

Four Daughters

Wow I bet that was an interesting house to live in with five females. Especially in a couple years.

Not Too Novel

Interestingly, Samuel Colt was an early employer of women in gun making: he was hiring them for factory work in the 1840s, and was reportedly an enlightened employer.

Daughter of Irish immigrants

Found in 1920 census in New Haven with father John J, mother Alice. Both born Ireland. She was born 1918. Also in household are sisters, Ellen 7, Dorothy 9 and Margaret 12. In 1940 she and sister Dorothy are boarders in New Haven, both working.

Old fashioned names

I got to thinking that rarely do people name their daughters Agnes anymore, or Mildred, Greta, Adeline, Gertrude or Matilda. As for boys, not too many use Walter, Harold, Clarence or Isadore. Those are just some of the names of old acquaintances of mine whose names used to seem normal decades ago, but now sound unusual. Funny how trends change and then recur again some time later in history. I know this is "off-topic" but it just occurred to me how long it has been since I've heard of an Agnes.

Light wrong

With all due respects to the long success of the photographer, the main light he used overwhelms the machine light shown which is concentrated on the work being done. A strong portrait of the woman, an unbalanced result for the assignment.

[The woman doing the work is the subject, not the work itself. The OWI's purpose for these photos was to show women at work in war industries and to encourage others to do so. -tterrace]

What a cute badge!

The lights and the shadows successfully mingle, resulting in a beautiful expressive portrait. And the blouse looks like real silk, in my opinion.Or maybe it's rayon?

Andreas Feininger

This photo shows the fine technique of an artist, which Andreas Feininger was:

"The author of more than 30 books—including at least one acknowledged classic, the autobiography Andreas Feininger: Photographer (1966)—Feininger’s photographs were shown in solo and group shows in places as diverse as the Museum of Natural History, the International Center of Photography, MoMa, the Metropolitan, the Smithsonian and in smaller galleries and exhibitions around the world. A retrospective of his six-decade career, featuring 80 of his own favorite black-and-white pictures from 1928 through 1988, toured Europe in the late 1990s."

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