Making Spruce Wind Tunnel Propellers (1941)

A friend of mine sent this to me; it’s a fascinating (though long) look at the process used to fabricate 45’ DIA spruce propellers for wind tunnels. The astonishing amount of skilled hand work required highlights the ways in which automation has changed the labor force over the decades. Also, the near total lack of protective equipment suggests somewhat different ideas about workforce well-being than the ones we have today. There are several bits (3:39, 5:29, 13:57, 16:01) that would cause the EH&S guys I know to hyperventilate, and don’t get me started on all the white lead that gets spread around…

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