Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CNC ???

Machine shop vo-tech training, 1917, in Washington, DC. Check out the nattily-dressed instructor, then check the tie on the student. When's the last time you saw a machinist wearing a tie? What's really cool here is the cast motor cover, with the venting done in a basket weave pattern. Pretty ornate for a basic working machine.
Machine shop training in 1919. That guy on lathe #2 better not bend over too much further, or he'll have lathe #1's cogs and belt ripping him a new asshole.
Check out this shop in Pennsylvania in the late 'teens. Street shoes, no earmuffs, no safety glasses, no guards on anything, no benefits, just work, work, work.........
Here's those sweaters, celluloid collars, and ties again! It had to be for the photo, because I'll bet it was about 100 degrees in that shop when they shot this picture in Wisconsin in the early 20's. At least this shop was somewhat brighter to work in than some.
"All machine operators are required to watch what the fuck they are doing at all times. Loss of limbs are grounds for immediate dismissal." "Hey Lloyd, go change the belt on Lathe #23....."
OK, this has got to be a Monday morning!

At this time, most machine shops were steam-powered. A steam engine would power the massive shafts running down the center of the roofs you see in the photos. And, as you see, leather or heavy woven cloth belts ran from those upper shaft pulleys to power the machinery itself.

Usually, all the lathes were in one row, all the milling machines in another, all the drill presses in another - all powered from those elevated driveshafts via belts. Dangerous? Fuck yeah, it was dangerous. But, this was also a time where people were a little sharper than they are today. I know people today who can't operate a cordless screwdriver without seriously injuring themselves.


Henery Ford had a standing rule in his machine shop and assembly line, that anybody who stopped work to extract a fellow employee from the machinery was to be fired on the spot. Ford had "special people" whose only job was to remove guys from the assembly line and machines they got caught in. Think about that next time you head off to work......

2 comments:

WoMpY said...

I can smell the burnt leather and feel the oil mist in the air. Machine shops have a smell all their own. I would love to go back in time to see that.

thomas said...

overly enjoyed those photos, and this update overall. hell yeah.