The Human Machinery of War

Photograph: Sledgehammer with Broken Handle

Original Title/Caption: “Industrial safety. Accident prevention. Damaged and defective tools and equipment present serious hazards to workers. The splintered handle of this sledgehammer can cause dangerous injuries, delay production, ruin material, and lower plant morale.”

 

Description: This black and white photograph shows a hand holding a sledgehammer atop an anvil.  The wooden handle is splintered at base where the handle meets the hammer.  This photograph was taken in June 1942 by Howard Liberman.

 

Source: Liberman, Howard, photographer.  “Industrial safety. Accident prevention. Damaged and defective tools and equipment present serious hazards to workers. The splintered handle of this sledgehammer can cause dangerous injuries, delay production, ruin material, and lower plant morale.”  Photograph, 1942.  From Library of Congress: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Call number LC-USE6- D-005562.  http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsa.8b03954/ (accessed March 20, 2007).

 

Historical discussion: Often faulting individual workers for accidents, wartime propaganda linked home front industrial production to the outcome of the war and often exaggerated the ultimate consequences of accidents to make workers especially vigilant.