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Girls on Wheels: 1943

Girls on Wheels: 1943

February 1943. "Girls on wheels expedite aircraft production. Literally helping to speed the war effort, Dolores Richardson and Geneva Carpenter are 'expeditors' at Douglas Aircraft in El Segundo, California, where they deliver inter-departmental messages on roller skates." Medium format acetate negative by Ann Rosener for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Douglas Long Beach

My first day at work in 1965 I had two shocks. First was that Douglas had a high speed escalator, not the slow department store version, to go between floors. And the second was as I got off the escalator a girl speed by on roller skates with a bundle of blueprints in her arms. Roller skate girls delivered all the priority mail there. Sure made a lot of sense to expedite things. Great company and good memories from there.

Those floor lines are still in use today.

Except they are now there to warn warehouse and manufacturing facility workers where not to walk as you may get in the way of forklift or autonomous robotic vehicle operations. I can almost smell the perfume and feel the breeze these fast moving lovelies leave in their wake as they go up and down corridors like this.

Another career path

To serve all those malted milkshakes to waiting automobiles about 12 years in the future.

Career paths

After the war, roller derby!

Spare Parts

When I was in service in the 1960s, the Army renamed spare parts. Henceforth, they would be known as "repair parts." My sergeant explained (with a straight face} that the name change was to elevate the perceived value of the parts.

Comparative Advantage

The standard economics example of comparative advantage is that the secretary delivers papers to the dean even though the economics department head walks faster than the secretary.

That example overlooked roller skates, which would turn comparative advantage into competitive advantage.

e-mail 75 years ago

What a treat to receive an inter-departmental message from these two! (Not so much joy in the typing of the messages, however.)

Career Girl

When I was 10 years old this would have been my dream job.


I would have loved that job! And although I have skated with in-line blades I’ve always preferred the old style roller skates.

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