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Mighnon Gunn: 1942

Mighnon Gunn: 1942

July 1942. Back at the Melrose Park Buick plant near Chicago. "Production of aircraft engines. Reconditioning used spark plugs for use in testing airplane motors, Mighnon Gunn operates this small testing machine with speed and precision although she was new to the job two months ago. A former domestic worker, this young woman is now a willing and efficient war worker, one of many women who are relieving labor shortages in war industries throughout the country." Photo by Ann Rosener, Office of War Information. View full size.


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Rosie the Riveter

There may have been some women who resented loss of industrial jobs, but the ones I knew, growing up in the Fifties, had handed over the riveting machine and gone home in relief, to (or looking for) husbands and kids. It was a tolerably common subject of conversation, and little pitchers have big ears.


I have heard that women working during WWII gave them independence and the experience of making their own money. When their husbands came back after the war a lot of women balked at going back to being full time housewives. That could have something to do with our modern workforce being close to 50/50 men and women. Just a thought. My mom didn't work during WWII because she had 3 young children, and she was always a housewife. A very noble occupation indeed.

Mighnon Gunn: 1942

This is Joe Manning. I just talked to Mrs. Gunn's grandson. He knew nothing about the photograph. I will be mailing it to him tomorrow, and I plan to interview him soon.

Spark Plugs

We still use these same type spark today on our B-24 we take over the country to air shows. They are referred to as massive electrode because they have more than two side electrodes. Note the three electrodes on the spark plug laying on the work bench beside the base of the gaping tool.

Re: Family Ties

Um, the link provided above is to a resolution honoring her FATHER, not her husband, upon his death.

Setting the gaps

It looks like she's using a tool that sets the gaps between the two side electrodes and the center electrode. I also notice that the tool has the AC Spark Plug logo (then a division of GM). My guess is the plugs were made by AC as well.

Reconditioning spark plugs usually consists of using some kind of small compressed air-powered sandblaster to remove carbon deposits around the electrodes, resetting the gap, and checking for shorting between the shell and the center electrode.

The togs of war

I'm always charmed by how the classy ladies who worked for the War effort were DRESSED for work. Sure, you may have had to wear a coverall, and perhaps your hands were grimy, but by golly, your curls were tight, and your brows were plucked, and you had in your earbobs.

Family Ties

Her husband's death is officially recognized here. Some searches on names in this document reveal Mighnon's life (1915-1974) more fully.

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