SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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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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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!

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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