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View Full Version : Wood Pattern Makers....highest paid factory workers (1946)



64V19816
05-24-2017, 05:33 PM
Looking at an old TW it reprinted a 1946 LIFE article....a photo showed a few factory workers building the full size wooden buck. It noted they were the highest paid workers in the factory, earning $120 per week. In 2017 dollars, that works out to $1500 each week. The guys in the photo look Old, even by employee standards of the day. This got me wondering, were these workers of great seniority, and did they work on buggies and wagons...learning woodcraft there?

Chris Pile
05-24-2017, 05:51 PM
Darn good question... And as a former tooling guy - there are darn few young tooling guys. Most of us were old guys who knew our way around a machine shop.

Mike Sal
05-24-2017, 09:03 PM
Pattern makers were true craftsmen. I've worked around the foundry industry & with pattern makers & the most mundane object looks like a piece of art when you look at the wood pattern. I think these days they use CNC equipment & 3D printing instead of hand crafting.

I still have the wood pattern for the Studebaker V8 water pump body that I got by chance several years ago.
Mike Sal

11SecAvanti
05-25-2017, 08:44 AM
Mike, pm sent

8E45E
05-25-2017, 02:19 PM
Looking at an old TW it reprinted a 1946 LIFE article....a photo showed a few factory workers building the full size wooden buck. It noted they were the highest paid workers in the factory, earning $120 per week. In 2017 dollars, that works out to $1500 each week. The guys in the photo look Old, even by employee standards of the day. This got me wondering, were these workers of great seniority, and did they work on buggies and wagons...learning woodcraft there?

Not surprising if they did learn on cars and trucks which used wood framing in the bodies up until the 1930's: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?57507-Any-woodsmen-out-there-How-about-this...&highlight=woodworker

Craig

2moredoors
05-25-2017, 04:20 PM
My sister's ex-husband was a pattern maker for General Motors in Canada (40 years ago) and most of the pattern makers that GM hired at that time were brought over from the UK or Germany. The only Canadian/American pattern makers hired at that time were "raided" from other companies, no apprentice program. A fellow student I knew at my high school (a few years older than me) was the first pattern maker apprentice they hired, around 1964. The pattern shop was a "temple" only the "privileged" could enter and yes they were very well paid and all the overtime they wanted.