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Brave New World: 1942

Brave New World: 1942

April 1942. "Aircraft construction class. The flame of welding torches has replaced the soft lights of a nightclub in Daytona Beach, which has been taken over for a vocational school to train war workers for Florida's pooling program. Pictured above is instructor C.C. Gravelge showing one of his classes the difficult art of overhead welding in preparation for their initiation into aircraft welding jobs on the De Land pool's war contract." View full size. Medium format safety negative by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information.


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Gas welding bliss

The painful welding you're thinking of is either Mig or stick welding, which creates very very hot sparks that can easily burn through clothes and require leathers and are also fairly noisy processes. This guy is gas welding; it's totally silent and very zen. Those sparks don't really hurt and the skill in this process is producing a quality weld while in an awkward position which is quite difficult.


Having assisted a welder, I know those sparks could sting any bare skin. If one wore something like gloves, for example, the hot sparks could fall inside them and get trapped.

Grandma the Welder

My grandmother was a single mom during WWII, and set out to find the highest-paid work available in the local shipyard (Evansville, Indiana). She was an overhead welder since it paid twice (or better) what secretarial work got you. She was good at it, too, and kept it up in various factories till my mom & her brother were in high school, I do believe.


I can confirm it: Overhead welding is tough!

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