Great pictures & a great source of inspiration. Thanks!
If we actually returned to this system, even in a small way, we would reinforce the concept that we are actually capable of doing something meaningful, resourceful, and has merit or value to society. We could also be role models to people who want to look up to us.
We need to get back to this productive economy. Regrettably, we decided several decades ago that we would stop making things that are useful for society and threw it all into the trash heap. We in turn decided that we would turn the entire economy into a finance/ponzi scheme, making a LOT of money-which of course we did.
It’s a shame we listened to the so called “know-it-alls” in high finance, Wall Street, & Ivy League educated politicians that gave us globalism, NAFTA, the destruction of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented the “exciting” speculation from the banking community. All of these cast of characters really did nothing except line their own pockets & those of their pals.
I read somewhere what we have now is called the FIRE Economy (finance, insurance, real estate), whereupon people swap pieces of paper amongst each other hoping to prop up the economy or boost GDP. Great Britain did the same thing, throwing all its eggs into one basket, which we can see today with The City of London which is all finance-particularly foreign money.
The generation in those images knew something that we are only beginning to understand.
Ive spent the better half of my life in factories driving forklifts and watching them whiz by…I was amazed by the 1930s forklift…I had no idea they even had them….like the car was invented and boom we had forklifts…amazed at the scope and scale of the operations…..
Respectfully disagree. Everyone has this idea in their head that we don’t manufacture anything in this country anymore, but it’s provably false- our manufacturing still outpaces our nearest competitor (China) by 40%, with over $1.7 TRILLION in income, and rising nearly every year. We’re losing low paying manufacturing jobs (over 8 million lost since the late 70′s), which is sad, but it just means we’re getting more income with fewer costs. This increasing efficiency is a net positive- more, better goods for less money.
The pictures are amazing- it’s incredible to see our grandparents working their asses off like that. My Grandfather fought in Korea and moved back to Avon Lake, OH to work in a factory and the Post Office. The pictures from those times are incredibly moving, no doubt. But @Duncan, do you really want to go back to the times when we would be working 8-10 hours a day in a factory, breathing in that shitty air, breaking our backs? I’m not sure you would, and I know I happily choose sitting at my desk all day instead.
There are fewer manufacturing jobs today than there were back then. Back then, you grow up in Cleveland, maybe graduate high school, and if you’re VERY lucky go to college to learn how to run your family farm or become an accountant. Most likely, you go work in a factory or go off to fight in Europe. Today, you grow up in Cleveland, you graduate high school, and you can go to OSU and study anything you want. Hell, you can go to Ball State and become a “sound engineer” or some shit like that.
Sorry to run on- we have this romanticized notion that losing manufacturing jobs kills our economy, and it’s just not true. Developing economies need those low skill level manufacturing jobs so they can make our iPhones and Droids. We need sales, marketing, and tech/engineering jobs so we can continue to design and sell those devices that make our lives unbelievably easy compared to our grandparents in those factories.
@Andrew, Duncan: Good points, both, and it’s time we had a real talk about what manufacturing was, is and should be — with being either jingoistic or naive. Sadly I fear our politicians are too compromised to be the ones to do it.
These photos are great but many, if not all, present a sanitized view of manufacturing in this country. the one above the hangar, showing smog, belching smokestacks and a jumble of buildings in varying stages of disrepair.
MW, thanks for showing these and stimulating discussion.
Great stuff, thanks for sharing. Of related interest you may want to check out vintageworkwear.com for the first part of the Ohio vintage work wear trilogy including (but not limited to) Dayton’s LION-BUILT UNIFORM, CLEVELAND WORK-WEAR CORP. aka Cleveland Overall and THE TIMKEN CO. of Canton. A small look at three Ohio based companies that once did and continue to do the type of work we all appreciate.