Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

Working Women: 1940s factory workers

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | December 14, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: feminism, lesbian interest, women at work, women's history

Beautiful and historic photo of women watching as a woman works on... well, what the heck is she doing? I have no idea.

As always, readers are very welcome to fill out the backstory here if they recognize the uniforms on the right, or what the seated woman is doing. I love the goggles and headgear.

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Beautiful photo of some amazing women!

Yes -- the center woman is using a small propane torch (her right hand) and the long rod in her right hand is a long length of solder. The goggles protect the women's eyes from the small but very bright and hot propane flame.

She could be soldering some type of electronics parts, but I would say it is more likely she is teaching the other women how to do the type of soldering that is used to join copper pipes used in plumbing, heating and air conditioning.

Sorry, I made typo: The long rod of solder is in her left hand ...

That piece of solder is way too thick for electronics. Even the 40s type. Probably metal work for aircraft construction.

I would have guessed gas welding of aluminum

I found the photo on another website, with the following identification:

April 1942. De Land pool aircraft construction class.

Secretaries, housewives, waitresses, women from all over Central Florida are learning war work. Typical are those above in the Daytona Beach branch of the Volusia County Vocational School. Left to right are Helen Cook, a former county courthouse clerk with a brother in the Army; Ethel Chandler, whose husband is an Army lieutenant; Martha Adams, former nurse and now a housewife; Fannie Branum, housewife; Mabel McClintock, secretary and daughter of a retired Army officer; and Patricia Blair, a housewife with a brother in the Air Corps.
http://www.shorpy.com/node/2590?size=_original

The photo was taken by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information.

Wow, that's fantastic! ... I wonder if any of these women might be still alive ... like my own mother who was a WW-II bride and is still here with us, they would have to be in their 80's or 90's by now!

Yes, can you imagine the stories they would to tell? The photograph was taken 60 years ago, but some of them may still be living.

I um.... Googled the name of one of the women. I don't know if I am crossing a line here, and I feel like I am prying. The woman I looked up died two years ago, but her family posted online a letter from her. In it she mentions that she had been a welder on glider landing equipment during the war. She was put in charge of a team of about a dozen men and women, but was only paid a nickel more per hour than the rest. She didn't think that was adequate for the extra work involved. During one six week stretch, they were required to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But she loved that job anyways.

I feel a bit like snoop for posting this. If anyone wants I will email the online link to the letter, but I would rather not post it here.