Fifty years ago

"The war with Japan is over, but the search for up-to-the-minute information on metal-working developments will never cease. " So begins the page entitled This Month's Features in the September, 1945, issue of Modern Machine Shop.

Columns From: 4/19/2008 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Mark Albert

Mark has been writing his Mark: My Word column every month since January, 1981.

"The war with Japan is over, but the search for up-to-the-minute information on metal-working developments will never cease." So begins the page entitled This Month's Features in the September, 1945, issue of Modern Machine Shop.

Introducing one of the articles, the editor writes, "We are all grateful--beyond words--to the men who faced the enemy in battle that America might live on in freedom, and every employer is wondering what he can do for the boys who come back disabled." (That article describes a sound-emitting gaging device which sightless veterans could use.)

Another article describes making steel artillery cartridges for the U. S. Navy. Most of the operators in the accompanying photos are women.

Yes, the war was over, but it permeated both the editorial and advertising pages. Many advertisers (this issue carried 358 pages of ads!) still displayed the Army/Navy E award for outstanding quality records. Other advertisers were already discussing "your post-war planning" and "peace-time reconversion."

The key role that America's factories played in winning the war was a pervasive theme. In his monthly column, editor Howard Campbell intoned that "this war has been a war of production--a war the outcome of which depended upon the ability of one nation to overcome the other by the power and quantity of its arms."

But getting this country back to normal and rebuilding the war-ravaged countries of the world were soon to emerge as main themes. Our November, 1945, issue carried a long article assessing the damage to factories in Europe. The article remarked at the number of small machine shops that escaped destruction in Germany, and rightly predicted that these job shops would be essential to rebuilding that country.

An amazing news item in the December issue reported that at war's end, Germany, "in spite of all the bombing of its industrial plants, still had left, in repairable condition, probably more machine tools than we at this moment have in the entire United States," a fact attributed to the German government's enlightened tax policies and depreciation schedules.

Those were turbulent times indeed. Perhaps it's good to recall that times were once more turbulent than our own.

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