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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Wingman: 1942

Wingman: 1942

July 1942. Fairfax bomber plant, Kansas City. "A wing brace for a B-25 bomber being prepared for the assembly line at North American Aviation. With plenty of speed, a 1,700-mile cruising range and a ceiling of 25,000 feet, the B-25 has performed as a medium bomber and as an escort plane. General Doolittle has called the ship the best military plane in existence." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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The Union

Interesting, that the worker wears two badges on his overalls. The #32, his employee number at North American Aviation. The other is his UAW, CIO union affiliation button. The United Auto Workers (UAW) evidently organized the workers at this plant and were part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The unions were the bargaining agents for the workers there. During WWII the right to strike was forbidden by the government, the war effort was more important. Coming out of the depression, nobody wanted to lose their job or see their workplace nationalized. When the war ended, many industries were plagued by strikes, most of them settled so that the businesses could get back to making consumer goods that were not made during the war.

DC-7

My father held me by the hand when we went to see the unveiling of the DC-7 passenger plane. He worked for the CAA (later to become the FAA) and all of his buddies stood around laughing because "it's a great piece of engineering, but they'll never fill it with enough passengers to make it pay." He died before the Boeing 707 was introduced.

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