The Human Machinery of War

Photograph: Workers in the Production of B-17 Bombing Planes

Original Title/Caption: “Boeing aircraft plant, Seattle, Washington. Production of B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombing planes. Pouring a lead die to be used in the production of parts for B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombers.”

 

Description: This black and white photograph is of two men using heavy machinery to pour molten lead into large molds for aircraft parts. One of the men uses a lever to maneuver the large pot of molten lead toward the mold, while the other man uses a round crank to tip the pot forward.  Andreas Feininger took this photograph in December 1942.

 

Source: Feininger, Andreas, photographer. “Boeing aircraft plant, Seattle, Washington. Production of B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombing planes. Pouring a lead die to be used in the production of parts for B-17 (Flying Fortress) bombers.”  Photograph, 1942.  From Library of Congress: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Call number LC-USW3- 041240-C.  http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsa.8d34489/ (accessed March 20, 2007).

 

Historical discussion: Historian Andrew E. Kersten maintains, “Quite literally, during the first few years of the Second World War, it was safer for Americans to be on the battlefront than it was for them to work on the home front” (Kersten 166).

See Andrew E. Kersten, Labor’s Home Front: The American Federation of Labor during World War II (New York: New York University Press, 2006).