Looking Backward: Rosie the Riveter

by / Apr. 26, 2017 12am EST
“If we are to maintain our present war production pace, the women of Buffalo and Erie County must be brought to the realization that they are needed in war plants to take the places of men called to the colors.” —Mrs. M. Adolphus Cheek, Jr., Women’s Recruiting Committee, War Manpower Commission, Buffalo Courier Express, December 5, 1942
“Employers have found that women have the strength, endurance, and skill to perform war job operations as easily as men.” —Joseph D. Canty, War Manpower Commission, Buffalo Courier Express, April 9, 1944
Women in the tens of thousands flooded the wartime plants of the Buffalo area at the start of the Second World War. Nowhere was this movement more evident than in the aircraft industry, which expanded exponentially for wartime production and became within short order the largest industry to ever exist in the city. Here, in a photograph taken for the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, is according to the inscription a Buffalo woman “expertly utilizing a power-driven radial drill press in drilling holes in the Curtiss P-40 cowl stiffener.” These production soldiers operated drilling machines, bench lathes, power sewing machines, riveters, borers, and filers, per a 1942 account of the Buffalo Courier Express. They worked alongside the men to turn out bombers, aircraft pumps, tin wheels, floats for Navy planes, gun mounts, and gas tanks. If you can identify the production soldier in this photograph, let The Public know. Rosie must be remembered.