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L. B. Schwellenbach, Secretary
A . F. Hinrichs, A cting Commissioner


Employment Outlook in Foundry

B ulletin



For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D. C. - Price 15 cents


Letter o f Transmittal

U n it e d St a t e s D e p a r t m e n t of L a b o r ,
B u r e a u of L a b o r St a t is t ic s ,

W ashington, D. C., M ay 17, 1946.

The S e c r e t a r y



I have the honor to transmit a report on the employment outlook in foundry
occupations. This is one of a series of occupational studies prepared in the
Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Division for use in vocational counseling of veterans,
young people in schools, and others considering the choice of an occupation.
The study was made under the supervision of Richard H. Lewis. Part 1 of this
report was prepared by Caiman R. Winegarden and Mr. Lewis, with the assistance
of Claire L. Labbie. Part 2 was prepared by Mr. Winegarden. Most of the
material is reprinted from the Monthly Labor Review, December 1945 and April
1946. The Bureau wishes to acknowledge the cooperation received from officials
of trade associations and trade-unions in the foundry industries.
A. F. H i n r i c h s , Acting Commissioner.
Hon. L. B.


Secretary o f Labor.

B ulletin T^o. 880 o f the
U n ited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , December 1945 and April 1946, with additional data]




P art 1.— Outlook for F oundry E mployment
Foundry products and processes________________________________________
Metals used in casting_____________________________________________
The casting process_________________________________________
Types of foundries_______________: _________________________________
Economic characteristics of foundry operations:
Independent and “ captive” foundries_______________________________
Relative importance of various types of castings____________________
Size characteristics of foundries_____________________________________
Geographical distribution of foundry employment---------------------------Trends in foundry production and employment__________________________
Outlook for production of castings:
Factors affecting demand for castings______________________________
Prospective production trends______________________________________
Technological trends affecting employment______ ^--------------------------------Nature and significance of technological developments______________
Effect of technological changes on foundry employment_____________
Employment outlook___________________________________________________


P art 2.— Outlook in F oundry Occupations
General characteristics of the foundry labor force________________________
Employment outlook for molders_______________________________________
The work of the m older., ___
Qualifications and training__ ___________ .____________ ______________
Employment outlook_______________________________________________
Employment outlook for coremakers____________________________________
The work of the coremaker_________________________________________
Qualifications and training_________________________________________
Employment outlook______________________________________________
Earnings----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Employment outlook for patternmakers_________________________________
The work of the patternmaker_____________________________________
Qualifications and training_________________________________________
Employment outlook_______________________________________________
Employment outlook in other foundry occupations______________________
Chippers and grinders--------------------------------------------------------------------Castings inspectors________________________________________________
Foundry technicians_______________________________________________
Sand mixers_______________________________________________________
Working conditions in foundries________________________________________
Other conditions of work___________________________________________
Appendix.— Average straight-time hourly earnings for selected occupations
in independent foundries, by wage area, January 1945-------------------------




Foundry work will provide relatively good employment oppor­
tunities for beginners during the next 2 years. Foundries are likely
to need at least as many workers in 1947 and 1948 as they had at the
war’s end, unlike most other metalworking occupations where jobs
will be considerably below the wartime level. Chart 1 shows what
has happened to foundry employment recently and what is expected
in the near future.






40 0



JULY 1945


After the next several years, employment in foundries will tend to
drop slightly, largely as a result of expected technical advances.
Nearly all those who get foundry jobs in the favorable period im­
mediately ahead, however, should be able to hold their jobs.


There are differences in the employment outlook for the various
classes of foundries. In 1947-48, employment in gray-iron and
malleable-iron foundries will rise much above the wartime peak;
in the longer run, it will probably decline somewhat, although re­
maining higher than prewar. Steel foundry employment in 1947-48
is expected to be a little less than it was at the end of the war, but
should hold fairly steady thereafter. The number of jobs in nonferrous foundries during the next few years may be only about
half of the wartime total; the outlook thereafter is for moderate
There are also important differences in outlook among the various
foundry occupations. Employment opportunities, as well as the
work, training, and earnings, in specific kinds of foundry jobs are
summarized in the following pages.


Nature o f the work.— Molders prepare the sand molds in which
metal is cast. All-round hand molders (journeymen) use mainly
hand methods to make widely varying kinds of molds. Less-skilled
hand molders specialize on a single kind of mold. Machine molders
operate machines which simplify and speed up the making of molds.
In addition, there are skilled specialized jobs and supervisory posi­
tions in molding departments.
Number employed.—About 75,000 molders were employed in 1944!
Training.— Completion of a 4-year apprenticeship, or the equiva­
lent in experience, is needed to become a journeyman molder, and
thus to qualify for all-round hand molding and for the skilled special­
ized or supervisory jobs. Men with this training are also preferred
for many kinds of machine molding. For the less-skilled hand or
machine molding jobs, from 2 to 6 months of on-the-job training is
usually required.
Outlook.— In general, the employment outlook for molders is favor­
able. Among the various types of molders, however, prospects are
best for journeymen molders, because of their varied skills. During
the next few years, more journeymen will be needed than are now
available and there will be many openings for apprentices to the trade.
Over a longer period, greater use of machine molding and other technical
advances will cut down the number of openings for new workers, but
those who have established themselves in the occupation should con­
tinue to have jobs.
For at least several years, there will be enough jobs for experienced
less-skilled hand molders, but few opportunities for beginners are
expected. Technical advances will affect this kind of molding more
than the other types, and employment of these men gradually may
be reduced. However, those who get the equivalent of the journey­
man's training through their experience on the job will have very
good chances for continued employment.
In 1947 and 1948, not quite as many machine molders will be
needed as were employed in this work during the war. Many of these
workers have left the occupation for other kinds of jobs, however,
and some openings to learn machine molding are expected. Longerrun prospects are for a fairly steady number of jobs for machine
molders. If enough journeymen are trained, however, they may
replace some of the less-skilled machine operators.
Earnings.— Molders are among the best-paid foundry workers- In
January 1945, typical hourly earnings, not including overtime, were
between $1.10 and $1.35.


Nature ojthe work,— Coremakers shape the bodies of sand, or “ cores,”
which are placed in molds in order to form any hollow spaces needed
in castings. All-round (journeymen) coremakers perform by hand
the more intricate and varied types of work, operate certain kinds of
coremaking machines with little supervision, or direct a number of lessskilled coremakers. Semiskilled hand coremakers handle the simpler
and more repetitive jobs. Coremaking machine operators specialize
in running one of several kinds of machines used as substitutes for
hand work.
Number employed.— About 30,000 coremakers were employed in
Training,— Journeymen coremakers must go through an apprentice­
ship— usually of 4 years— or have equivalent experience. (Molding
and coremaking training is often combined in a single molder ap­
prenticeship.) Semiskilled work, hand or machine, requires only
brief training—sometimes less than 30 days.
Outlook,— Employment prospects vary among the different grades
of skill. There will be a shortage of journeymen coremakers for at
least several years, and, as a result, a number of apprenticeships
should be available. Following this period, employment opportuni­
ties will decline, owing mainly to growing mechanization of core­
making. This should not, however, seriously affect the employment
of experienced journeymen, since they will be used, to an increasing
extent, in machine operating jobs.
Semiskilled hand coremakers have less favorable prospects. There
will probably be enough jobs during the next 2 years or so for ex­
perienced workers as well as for a few trainees; but, in the longer run
technical advances may eliminate the jobs of some of these persons.
The number of jobs for machine coremakers is expected to remain
stable for some time. Opportunities for a small number of beginners
are likely in the period immediately ahead. If enough journeymen
coremakers become available, they may eventually fill a large number
of machine-operating jobs in place of the less-skilled operators.
Earnings,— The pay of coremakers is about the same as that of
molders. In January 1945, most coremakers earned between $1.15
and $1.30 an hour, excluding overtime pay.


Nature oj the work.— Patternmakers are highly skilled craftsmen
who construct patterns and core-boxes (forms used to shape molds and
cores). They usually specialize in making either wood or metal
patterns and core-boxes. Their work is done in specially equipped
pattern shops, which often are entirely separate from foundries.
Number employed.— About 14,000 journeymen patternmakers were
employed in 1944.
Training.— A 5-year apprenticeship is the main method of qualify­
ing as a journeyman patternmaker. Because of the skill needed, it is
very hard to get the necessary training any other way.
Outlook.— There will probably be more jobs for patternmakers in
1947 and 1948 than either during or before the war; but there should
also, be enough trained men to meet this increased need, because most
experienced veterans have returned to the trade. Therefore, the
number of openings for newly trained j oumeymen will be limited mainly
to the replacement of patternmakers who die or retire— a total of prob­
ably not more than about 2,000 in the next 5 years. However, there
should be considerably more apprentice openings than this figure
indicates, because many apprentices drop out before completing their
After several years of high employment, the number of pattern­
makers jobs will decline slightly. This will result, however, mainly
in reducing opportunities for new workers rather than leading to the
unemployment of experienced men. In the longer rim, no further
increase is foreseen, and employment will remain about the same.
Earnings.— Patternmaking is among the best-paid occupations in
manufacturing industries. Straight-time hourly earnings in January
1945 were typically between $1.25 and $1.45 in foundry pattern shops
and ranged up to over $2.00 in some independent pattern shops.

711381 ° — 46-



There are many types of foundry work for which apprenticeship is
not usually needed but which, taken together, provide a large number
of jobs. The more important of these occupations include chippers
and grinders, castings inspectors, foundry technicians, sand mixers,
and melters.
Chippers and Grinders
A chipper uses pneumatic or hand chipping tools to remove excess
metal from castings. A grinder operates an abrasive wheel which
smoothes and finishes castings. Chipping and grinding may be sep­
arate occupations or may be combined in one job. The Work is gener­
ally learned in a brief period of on-the-job training. Considerable
experience is needed, however, to do some of the more difficult chip­
ping and grinding work.
Employment prospects for the next few years are generally favor­
able. Although there will be slightly fewer jobs than there were during
the war (about 50,000 were employed in 1944), the transfer of experi­
enced chippers and grinders to other kinds of work has reduced the
supply, creating openings for many newcomers. Over a longer period,
the number of chipping and grinding jobs will decline slightly, but
it is not likely that the more efficient of these workers will be un­
Typical earnings of chippers and grinders, as of January 1945, were
between $0.90 and $1.10 an hour for straight time.
Castings Inspectors
These workers check finished castings for structural soundness and
proper dimensions. The more-skilled inspectors work from blueprints
and inspect various types of castings. The less skilled do routine
measuring and checking under supervision. A brief period of on-thejob training is needed for the less-skilled work. The more-skilled
jobs are usually filled by promoting either inspectors of lower grade or
chippers and grinders. A total of about 15,000 inspectors were em­
ployed in 1944.
There will probably be a strong demand for skilled inspectors for at
least several years. Since relatively few were trained during the war,
there should also be opportunities for a limited number of foundry
workers to be upgraded to those jobs. On the other hand, there will
probably be more persons experienced in the less-skilled type of inspec­
tion work than will be needed. However, enough of these workers
have shifted to other jobs to create some openings for trainees.
The longer-run outlook for both types of inspectors is for a fairly
steady level of employment.
In January 1945, the more-skilled inspectors generally earned
between $1.05 and $1.20 an hour, excluding overtime. In the lowerskilled grades, earnings were from 5 to 25 cents less per hour.
Foundry Technicians
This is a group of skilled occupations, including such jobs as testing
molding and coremaking sands, making chemical analyses of metals,
and using X-ray apparatus to examine the internal structure of

The work is learned mainly on the job. However, a high-school
education is usually needed and, in some cases, additional technical
schooling may be required.
There will be good opportunities for foundry technicians, experi­
enced men as well as some beginners, during the next few years. This
is a growing field, because of the long-run trend toward more use of
scientific methods in foundries. However, because of the small
number of persons employed and the gradual growth expected, only a
limited number of openings will occur in any one year.
Sand Mixers
Sand mixers clean, moisten, and mix sand to prepare it for use in
molding and coremaking. This may be done either by hand or
machine. Only a brief period of on-the-job training is necessary.
In the period immediately ahead, there will probably be somewhat
fewer jobs for sand mixers than there were during the war. (In 1944,
there were about 10,000 sand-mixing jobs.) However, since many
experienced sand mixers have changed over to other occupations, there
should be some openings for men to learn the work. Increased use
of machine methods in sand mixing will eventually cut down on the
number of jobs for hand mixers, but those experienced in using sand­
mixing machines should continue to have jobs.
Typical straight-time hourly earnings of sand mixers in January
1945 were between 80 and 90 cents.
A foundry melter operates or directs the operation of a furnace used
to melt metal for castings. Skill depends on the amount of supervision
given the melter and the kind of furnace he uses. The simpler melting
work is quickly learned on the job. The usual way to get into the
more-skilled type of melting is to begin as a furnace helper and work
up to the job of melter.
During the next few years there should be some opportunities for
beginners to learn skilled melting, since many of those experienced in
this work are relatively old and will have to be replaced within the
next 5 or 10 years. There will also be a limited number of openings
for new men in the simpler melting jobs. The number of jobs for
melters should hold fairly steady for some time, although the skill
needed will gradually be reduced.

The working environment varies greatly among individual foundries.
In some, the conditions compare favorably with metalworking
industries generally. In other foundries, safety and comfort are far
below the average for metalworking. The injury rate in foundries
tends to be relatively high, but there has been considerable improve­
ment of working conditions in recent years.
The frequency of accidents also varies among the different kinds
of foundry work. In general, patternmaking and coremaking are the
least hazardous, molding is somewhat more unsafe, and jobs in melting
and chipping tend to have among the highest injury rates.

P art 1 .— O utlook for F oundry E mployment
Foundry Products and Processes

Foundries comprise that branch of metalworking which produces
castings, i. e., metal objects shaped by pouring molten metal into molds
and allowing the metal to solidify. This constitutes a basic and dis­
tinct process among the major metal-shaping methods, which also
include machining, forging, stamping, rolling, and drawing.
The casting process is highly versatile: it serves as an economical
means of forming a wide range of intricate shapes, possessing
considerable strength and rigidity, and varying in size from sev­
eral ounces to many tons. Castings are therefore very exten­
sively used as components of a great variety of metal products. Al­
though some finished articles are cast, the bulk of castings output
flows into the metal-fabricating industries to serve as integral parts of
their final products. Among the many applications of casting, these
are illustrative: Automotive cylinder blocks, farm-machinery gears,
railway-car wheels, locomotive frames, ship propellers, bearings,
valve bodies, machine-tool beds, ingot molds, water mains, bathtubs,
radiators, washing-machine agitators, and kitchen utensils.

Casting is applicable to a number of basic metals and their alloys,
classified into four.broad groups— cast iron, steel, malleable iron, and
the nonferrous alloys. “ Cast iron” is a technical term embracing
gray, white, mottled, and chilled iron, among which gray iron is
quantitatively the most important. Cast steel includes carbon and
alloy steels, further classified according to relative carbon and alloy
content. Malleable iron is an originally brittle “ white iron” converted
by a heat-treating cycle into the malleable product. The nonferrous
alloys are subdivided according to their dominant elements—copper,
aluminum, magnesium, lead, zinc, tin, and nickel. Aluminum,
magnesium, and the principal copper-base alloys, brass and bronze,
provide by far the largest tonnage of nonferrous-metal castings. The
selection of a particular metal for casting a given object depends upon
both the physical properties required in its end use and the relative
cost of the various metals.

A brief and general description of sand casting will serve as a start­
ing point for a subsequent analysis of technological trends.
The primary characteristic of casting is the reproduction of the model
or “ pattern” of a desired object. The pattern forms the mold cavity
and thus determines the shape of the casting. It is often made in
two or more parts to permit withdrawal from the mold, and must be
larger than the intended casting, in order to allow for shrinkage of
the metal in solidifying and for removal of metal in machining. Wood
patterns are built up bv gluing and fastening wood segments shaped
by hand tools and mecnanical woodworking equipment. Metal pat­
terns are usually cast from an original wood pattern, but may be
machined from cold metal stock. Plaster patterns are formed by
carving or scraping plaster while soft.


In sand casting, the oldest and most common of the various foundry
methods, the first step is the preparation of the molding sand, in order
to insure the necessary qualities of cohesion, heat resistance, and
porosity in the molds. A binding material is added to the sand, and
the sand is mixed by hand or by mulling or mixing machines.
A mold is usually made in two parts, the lower half being known as
the “ drag” and the upper half as the “ cope” ; the corresponding sec­
tions of the molding box, or “ flask,” are similarly designated. The
drag flask is placed upside down on a flat molding board and the
lower section of the pattern is set on this board. The flask is filled
with molding sand, and the sand is tightly compacted around the
pattern. Following this operation, the drag is rolled over. With
the top surface of the drag of the mold as its base, the cope section
is prepared in like manner. Passages through which molten metal
will be supplied are formed in the cope. The two parts of the mold
are then separated and the pattern is withdrawn, leaving a hollow
space (“ mold cavity” ) in the sand, conforming to the shape of the
pattern. If cavities are required in the casting, they are made by
inserting bodies of sand, or “ cores,” into the mold so that the metal
will flow around the cores, forming hollow spaces in the casting.
Channels, or “ gates,” are cut in the sand to permit proper distribution
of the molten metal within the mold cavity. The sections are again
joined, forming the completed mold.
Molten metal is poured into the feeding passage, or “ sprue,” of the
mold, filling the mold cavity, and the metal is allowed to cool and
solidify. After solidification, the mold is broken and the casting
extracted, adhering sections of the mold are removed, and the cores
are knocked out; this is the “ shake-out” operation.
Molten metal for pouring is provided by various types of melting
units, such as the cupola, open-hearth, electric, air, crucible, or re­
verberatory furnaces, each adapted to particular metals and their
Coremaking, essentially molding in reverse, produces the bodies of
sand which form the interior shape of castings. In coremaking, sand
is forced into a corebox, which is simply a hollow pattern made of
wood or metal, usually in two or more sections. The tightly com­
pacted sand is withdrawn from the corebox, placed on a metal
core plate, and transferred to an oven for baking. Complex cores
may be made in sections, and assembled by pasting. In some types
of molding, the entire mold may consist of a core assembly.
In the deaning, chipping, and finishing of the castings, metal pro­
jections formed in molding are first removed by means of hammers,
saws, or shears. Then the rough surfaces of the castings are smoothed
by tumbling the castings in a revolving drum or by applying blasts of
air mixed with abrasive particles. Any remaining protuberances are
removed by chipping with an air-driven chisel, or are burned off by an
oxyacetylene flame. Manually or mechanically operated grinding
wheels provide the final finishing.
Heat treatment of various types may be applied to the castings,
depending upon the type of metal used and the physical properties
required. Inspection of the finished castings is the final operation,
consisting primarily of checking dimensions and of visual examination
for surface imperfections.


The tendency toward specialization of facilities and methods for
the casting of one or two particular metals gives rise to several fairly
distinct classes of foundries: gray-iron, steel, malleable-iron, alumi­
num, magnesium, and brass and bronze. The kinds of metals used
in a single establishment depend largely on the type of melting equip­
ment and the training and experience of the workers in the plant.
However, foundries often operate separate departments in order to
cast two or more types of metal; thus, many ferrous foundries have
nonferrous departments.
In any consideration of foundries the distinction between “ jobbing”
and “ production” methods of casting is fundamental. In productiontype operations, large numbers of castings are made from each design
and machine methods are employed to a substantial extent. In
jobbing operations, very limited numbers of castings, frequently only
one or two, are made from each design, and hand methods predomi­
nate. Intermediate between the two is the “ semiproduction” type of
Production foundries typically serve mass-production industries
which use large quantities of identical castings as components of
standardized final products, such as automobiles, plumbing and
heating equipment, and household appliances. Jobbing foundries
provide castings for incorporation into limited-quantity products,
such as machine tools and special-purpose machinery of various types.
In practice, the distinction between jobbing and production foundries
is partially blurred by the fact that production foundries often do
some jobbing work, especially in slack seasons.
Econom ic Characteristics o f Foundry Operations


Foundry operations may be carried on either as separate enterprises
or as part of broader manufacturing processes. The former (inde­
pendent, or commercial foundries) specialize in casting, selling their
output to other plants for incorporation in their products. The latter
(“ captive,” or integrated foundries) are departments or subsidiaries of
a parent company to which they transfer their output of castings for
final assembly. The employment in a captive foundry is customarily
included in the employment statistics of the industry in which the
parent company is classified, rather than in one of the foundry
industries. This makes it impossible to determine precisely the total
number of workers employed in foundry operations.
In considering the employment opportunities for foundry occupa­
tions, captive as well as independent foundries must be included,
because, being a significant source of foundry jobs, they affect the total
opportunities and in many communities provide the only employment
for foundry workers.

As indicated in table 1, the production of gray-iron castings is
greater than the combined total of all other types. Next in order, in
total weight of castings produced, are steel, malleable-iron, and non­

ferrous-metal castings. Gray-iron foundries also have the largest
employment, with an estimated 150,000 production workers in 1939,1
including employment in captive foundries and in cast-iron pipe
foundries. Steel foundries are estimated to have employed 40,000
production workers in 1939, nonferrous-metal foundries 35,000, and
malleable-iron foundries 30,000 workers.

Size of foundry is significant because it influences the organization
of the production process, including the relative numbers employed
in particular occupations, the types of equipment used, and the degree
of mechanization.
Among the ferrous-metal foundries, gray-iron foundries are typically
small production units. In 1939, of 1,161 independent gray-iron
foundries reporting to the Census of Manufactures, only 4 had more
than 500 wage earners (production workers). On the other hand,
818 foundries, or about 70 percent of the total number, had fewer than
51 wage earners. About 46,000 wage earners, 79 percent of the in­
dustry total, were in foundries which employed fewer than 250 wage
earners each.
T able 1.— Production o f Castings, by Selected Types, 1929-39 1
Production (in net tons of 2,000 pounds) in—
Type of casting
Gray iron (except cast-iron pipe and
fittings)— ....... - ______ __________
For sale and interplant transfer.
Produced and consumed in
same works____________ ____
Cast-iron pipe and fittings3
Steel------------------ ------------- ----------Malleable iron .................................
Brass and bronze4.............................
Aluminum 4.............. — ____ ______


















1 Data are from the biennial Census of Manufactures.
2 No comparable data are available for these years.
3 These are gray-iron products, but have been given as a separate classification in the Census of Manufac­
tures, from which the data were taken.
* Includes only rough castings produced for sale and interplant transfer; excludes die-castings.

Both steel foundries and malleable-iron foundries are generally
somewhat larger than the typical gray-iron foundry. Of 164 steel
foundries reporting in 1939, 2 had more than 1,000 wage earners and
11 between 500 and 1,000; 17,200 wage earners, or more than half of
the total (excluding captive foundries), were employed in plants with
more than 250 wage earners. In the malleable-castings industry in
1939, the 23 foundries with 250 or more wage earners employed
10,256 of the 18,041 wage earners. Only 8 independent malleableiron foundries had fewer than 50 wage earners.
No data are available for aluminum foundries in 1939, but they are
known to range widely in size. Independent foundries producing
other nonferrous-metal castings are usually quite small; of 600*
* The term “ production worker” is equivalent to the term “ wage earner” previously used by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics. Workers in maintenance, shipping, and similar departments are included in the defini­
tion as well as those engaged in fabrication and processing.

foundries in 1939, only 2 had more than 250 wage earners, while
almost 500 foundries had fewer than 21 wage earners.

Because foundries produce parts for other metalworking industries,
they are located in every section of the country where metalworking
activity is significant. In 1939, there was at least one independent
foundry in every State except Wyoming. In spite of this wide dis­
persion of foundries, foundry employment is concentrated in the prin­
cipal industrial areas of the country. Over 75 percent of the wageearner employment in independent ferrous-metal foundries in 1939
was in the 9 States which had more than 5,000 wage earners each
(table 2).
T able 2.— Number o f Wage Earners Employed in Indepenc mt Ferrous-M etal Foundries
by State and Industry, 1939 1
Number of wage earners employed in foundries


Total wage
earners, fer­
rous-metal Gray-iron
except castiron pipe


Malleableiron cast­

United States





New York___





New Jersey___



All other States.





















i Census of Manufactures, 1939. Average employment for year. These data cover only establishments
classified in the ferrous-metal castings industries on the basis of their major product, and do not therefore
include employment in captive foundries.
* Included in total, but withheld to avoid disclosure of operations of individual establishments.

Trends in Foundry Production and E m ploym ent

The rate of foundry operations has long fluctuated with general
economic conditions, being particularly affected by the extreme
variation in durable-goods production. In spite of these variations,
foundry production over a period of many years has reflected the
long-run expansion of durable-goods manufacture (automobiles,
machinery, building supplies, railroad equipment, and household
appliances) which provides the principal market for castings.
Prewar trends, 1929-39.— As indicated in table 1, the annual out­
put of castings fell precipitously from the 1929 peak through the years

of depression, the most severe relative decline occurring in the produc­
tion of those types of castings (steel, and brass and bronze) most
dependent on activity in the producer durable-goods industries.
The high degree of economic recovery in 1937 resulted in major
increases in foundry production, although castings output remained
well below 1929 levels. Among the cast metals, steel most nearly
approached its former peak, owing in large part to the strong demand
for railway specialties. Following 1937, the sharply reduced volume
of business activity led to a new decline in total castings output.
However, the production of cast-iron pipe and fittings moved counter
to the general downward tendency, because of the requirements of
expanding public construction, and the output of aluminum castings
rose in accordance with the trend toward wider industrial applications
of aluminum. Thus, in 1939, the last year unaffected by large-scale
military demands, the foundry industry as a whole was characterized
by low levels of production and employment.
Defense period, 19Jfi and 1941.— The economic effects of the out­
break of the war in Europe and the subsequent inception of the
domestic defense program greatly stimulated the metalworking
industries, creating a comparable expansion in the demand for castings.
The production of commercial steel castings in 1940 exceeded that of
the preceding year by 34 percent, and malleable-iron output rose
18 percent.
In 1941, growing military requirements and high activity in the
durable-goods industries exerted a dramatic effect on foundry produc­
tion. As indicated in table 3, production of commercial steel castings
exceeded 1,300,000 tons, representing operations at over 93 percent
of rated capacity; the rapidly expanding requirements of the naval and
cargo vessel programs and the heavy equipment orders of the railroads
accounted for much of the increase. Malleable-iron foundries benefited
particularly from the high rates of automotive, railroad-equipment,
and agricultural-implement production, which normally provide their
principal markets. The extraordinary activity of the machine-tool
industry, a significant aspect of the entire period, contributed largely
to a marked upswing in gray-iron foundry employment.
T able 3.— Trends in Production o f Castings, by Selected Types, 1939-44 1
Production (in net tons of 2,000 pounds) in—
Type of casting
Gray-iron (including castiron pipe and fittings)_____ 2 9,794,541
Steel4______________________ 1,843,386
Miscellaneous castings___ 1,505,379
Railway specialties______
Malleable iron______________
3 213,700
Aluminum 3________________
2 99,564




2 196,897
2 70,231

(’ )
2 134,066
2 21,622






* Data are from the U. S. Bureau of the Census and the War Production Board. Except for gray-iron
castings production in 1939, these data are not comparable with those shown in table 1, having been collected
on a different basis.
2 Shipments.
3 No comparable data are available for these years.
* Castings produced for sale only. Data represent slightly less than 100 percent of total tonnage sold.
3 Excludes die castings.
* Excludes die castings. Includes the following quantities of magnesium incendiary-bomb body castings
(in net tons): 1942, 4,794; 1943, 38,680; 1944, 58,755.
711381°— 46------ 3

Conversion period, 194% In response to the unprecedented require­
ments for steel castings in shipbuilding and ordnance production, after
the American entry into the war, employment and output in steel
foundries climbed throughout 1942 to record levels. However, the
curtailment of automobile and agricultural-equipment manufacture
during conversion to war production resulted in reduced employment
in the making of malleable-iron castings. Gray iron was similarly
affected in spite of the continued expansion of the machine-tool in­
dustry. The output of cast-iron pipe fell markedly, because of
restrictions on nonessential construction.
Large-scale production of aluminum and magnesium castings
appeared for the first time, primarily in response to the needs of the
mushrooming aircraft program. Extensive construction of new
facilities, additions to existing capacity, and numerous conversions of
malleable-iron and gray-iron foundries to the production of aluminum
and, magnesium castings provided this newly required output.
War production, 1948-45.—After the metalworking industries had
completed their conversion to war production, the demand for cast­
ings rapidly outpaced the available supply. Steel-castings capacity
was greatly augmented in 1943 and 1944, particularly in connection
with requirements for tank armor and marine castings. The growth
of aluminum- and magnesium-casting capacity continued, and pro­
duction in 1944 reached twice that in 1942. Employment in the
casting of brass and bronze was expanded to more than three times
the prewar level. The requirements of the military truck program
made heavy demands on malleable-iron foundries, compensating for
the loss of the peacetime automotive market. Gray-iron employ­
ment, although below that of 1941, remained above the 1939 level,
owing to such factors as the increased needs of the steel industry and
the military truck program.
A shortage of foundry labor developed as a result of this expansion
and was intensified by heavy selective service withdrawals, the
inducements of higher-paying war industries, and the relatively
unfavorable working conditions in many foundries. Special measures
for recruiting workers, lengthening of working hours, and various
wage adjustments provided some relief, but a deficiency in manpower
continued throughout the war.
In 1944, cut-backs in the production of ordnance led to a reduction
in steel-castings output, and the falling off of machine-tool manu­
facture resulted in a small decline in the volume of gray-iron shipments.
Nevertheless, the employment of production workers in all foundries
had reached an estimated total of 425,000, compared to the 255,000
estimated for 1939, and there was a proportionately larger increase in
man-hours, as a result of the lengthening of the workweek. Employ­
ment in nonferrous-metal casting showed the greatest relative
advance, rising from approximately 35,000 in 1939 to 125,000 in 1944.
Steel foundries expanded their employment from about 40,000 to
100.000 over the same period. The number of production workers
in the other foundry divisions grew only moderately, from 30,000 to
40.000 in malleable iron, and from 150,000 to 160,000 in gray iron.
These variations among the types of cast metals reflects both the
special nature of military demands and the curtailment of civilian
needs. In the first half of 1945, reduced military requirements led
to a slight decline in foundry employment.

Outlook fo r Production o f Castings

Demand for castings and the resultant volume of production that
can be anticipated are determined primarily by two factors— the level
of activity in the principal industries which consume castings and their
relative use of castings as compared to parts made by other processes.
Few castings are sold directly to consumers as cast. Almost all are
incorporated in producer durable goods, principally machinery and
other equipment, and consumer durable goods such as automobiles
and washing machines. The industries manufacturing these products
are susceptible to sharp fluctuations in demand and consequently in
their volume of production. Since foundry activity is so closely
related to the requirements of these industries, it is greatly affected
by the variations in their production.
Appraisal, therefore, of future castings production must neces­
sarily be based largely upon an assumption as to the level of activity in
the durable-goods field. It has here been assumed that a high level
of activity— at least equal to the best prewar years— will be main­
tained. The indicated outlook for employment would require modifi­
cation should this assumption not prove true. The demand for cast­
ings is considered as covering all foundry production, both in inde­
pendent and in “ captive” plants.
The continued development of alternative methods of fabricating
parts may also affect the volume of future requirements for castings.
Fairly stable relationships have been maintained between the use of
castings and such long-established processes as machining, forging,
and rolling. Recently, however, other techniques, principally welding,
stamping, and die casting, have made significant gains. The extent
to which parts made by these methods are substituted for castings is
dependent upon engineering and cost-accounting considerations ap­
plicable in specific cases. For this reason, the precise effect on the
volume of castings production of increases in the use of these com­
peting methods cannot be forecast. What can be done is to indicate
the areas of competition and to suggest possible trends.
In die casting, a machine is used which forces molten metal into a
metal mold, quickly forming a cast shape. Its advantages include a
high rate of production, close tolerances, and good finish on the parts
produced. This process has been confined to the nonferrous-metal
alloys, principally those with bases of zinc, aluminum, or magnesium.
The higher melting temperature of the ferrous metals has prevented
their use in die casting. Size and design are also major limiting fac­
tors; complex shapes, large sizes, thick sections, and objects with
hollow areas are often not well suited to this method. In addition,
the high original cost of the die, or mold, limits its use to parts produced
in large volume.
As a result, die casting will compete with foundry operations only
in the quantity production of small nonferrous-metal castings. The
substantial expansion of die casting in connection with wartime de­
mands for aircraft components may provide the basis for more intense
rivalry in peacetime, but will affect only a small segment of the entire
foundry industry. Die casting will also compete mainly with already
mechanized methods, such as machine molding and the permanent

mold process. For these reasons, foundry employment as a whole is
not likely to be materially affected.
Welding competes with casting in certain products through the use
of weldments. These are metal shapes formed by welding together
sections of rolled, machined, or cast metals. Welding made marked
progress as a wartime substitute for casting in such applications as the
manufacture of agricultural implements. Weldments have been em­
ployed in place o f castings for m achine-tool beds, although this use is
still in the developmental stage. In some cases, welding may com­
plement casting, in that the weldment is often built up from a number
of individual steel castings. Experiments have indicated that welding
provides greater economy in small-quantity fabrication, whereas
casting results in lower costs in the longer production runs. In gen­
eral, no major changes in the relative position of the two methods
may be anticipated in the short-run period.
Farts stamped from sheet metal have displaced castings in some
uses, particularly when the castings are of thin sections. In general,
the method is confined to large-quantity operations, owing to the
expense of setting up the necessary equipment, including dies. During
the war, stamping made substantial gains in aircraft manufacture,
partly as a result of the short supply of castings. In peacetime,
further extension of stamping is indicated.
In projecting the production of castings it has been assumed that
the demand for castings in the short-run period will not be significantly
reduced by introduction of these competitive techniques into manu­
facture of parts now usually cast. Over the longer-run period there is
likely to be a trend, in some uses, toward displacement of castings,
but the net effect upon the production of castings may not be great,
assuming continued technical progress in casting methods and metal­

Gray-Iron Castings

The outlook for production of gray-iron castings in 1947 and 1948
is for the attainment of annual production totals somewhat higher
than the peak wartime level. This would place the average yearly
output at about 10,500,000 tons, or possibly somewhat higher if
business conditions are especially favorable. The longer-run outlook
is more uncertain. Present indications are that, after a number of
years at this high rate of production, the trend of output will decline
to some extent but remain considerably above the low level of 1939.
The above expectation rests largely upon the relatively favorable
prospects of a number of the more important industrial users of grayiron castings. The demand for gray iron is less concentrated than
for other types of castings, being distributed among a wide range of
industries. Several industries stand out as consumers of gray-iron
castings. The automobile industry was the largest peacetime user,
its 1939 consumption of about 1,200,000 tons representing 20 percent
of the total (excluding cast-iron pipe and fittings). Most of this ton­
nage was produced in highly mechanized foundries operated by auto­
mobile companies. Gray-iron castings are used primarily in the
engines and chassis of automobiles and trucks, rather than in the
bodies. Cylinder blocks and heads, crankshafts, and brake drums

are illustrative. A substantial portion of gray-iron output goes to
the railway industry and railway-equipment manufacturers; the
production of chilled-iron railway wheels alone exceeded 500,000
tons in 1939.
In the machinery field, the machine-tool industry is the most impor­
tant consumer of gray-iron castings, using them most frequently as
bases and beds for the machines— parts large in area and usually of
great weight. Machine-tool manufacturers purchase most of these
castings from independent foundries instead of operating their own
foundries. During 1941, when the machine-tool industry was ap­
proaching its wartime peak— a level far beyond peacetime totals—
over 30 percent of the gray-iron castings produced by independent
foundries was going into machine tools.
The basic steel industry is also one of the largest consumers of grayiron castings, using them principally for ingot molds and rolling-mill
rolls. The ingot molds are very large— usually weighing about 4 or
5 tons— and their useful life is relatively short. As a result, when
steel operations are at a high level more tons of ingot molds are
produced than of any other single gray-iron product except cast-iron
Other large consumers are the stove, plumbing and heating equip­
ment, tractor, and agricultural-machinery industries, and producers
of many types of industrial machinery. During the war substantial
tonnages of gray iron were consumed by the ordnance and ship­
building industries.
Shipments of cast-iron pipe and fittings— a specialized gray-iron
product— go principally to construction, including local water and
utility systems. Many other types of gray-iron castings are also
used in construction.
The industries consuming gray-iron castings face varying prospects
in the postwar period. Many of the more important products using
these castings have been curtailed during the war and have accumu­
lated backlogs of demand. In other industries, the outlook is more
doubtful, the general volume of sales of producers’ machinery and
equipment being the uncertain factor. The automobile industry,
stimulated by pent-up demand, is expected to operate at unprece­
dented levels and its consumption of gray-iron castings should be
correspondingly high. The amount of castings going into railroad
equipment should be substantially higher than before the war. Steel
operations will probably be at high rates, although not up to the war­
time peak unless industrial production is at very high levels. Other
important industries whose consumption is likely to increase are the
agricultural-implement, tractor, stove, and household-appliance in­
dustries, all of which have favorable postwar prospects.
The anticipated great expansion in construction activity should
also contribute heavily to the demand for gray iron, especially castiron pipe and fittings.
In contrast are some of the war-expanded industries whose con
sumption will probably show sharp decreases— ordnance, shipbuild­
ing, aircraft. In the machinery field, the production of machine
tools will undoubtedly be below the wartime record, although con­
siderably above the depressed period of 1938 and 1939. In other
types of industrial machinery, varying conditions will prevail, some
of the industries having been greatly expanded during the war and

others having a large proportion of their normal output curtailed.
An active demand for gray iron should result from the restoration of
full production in some of these latter industries— textile machinery
and printing-press machinery, for example.
M alleable-Iron Castings

Production of malleable-iron castings should increase significantly—
to as much as 25 .to 30 percent— above the 1944 total of 890,000 tons
during 1947 and 1948 and remain at this level for several years there­
after. Later, after some of the accumulated demand has been filled,
malleable-iron production may taper off somewhat but is not likely
to decline much below the peak wartime levels if conditions in the
industries which consume the bulk of malleable-iron castings are at
all favorable. Wartime production represents a considerable in­
crease over 1939, a depressed year, but output in 1941, a year in which
almost all of malleable production was going to civilian products, was
but slightly below that of 1943, 1944, and 1945. Production in 1929
also approached the wartime peak.
Most of malleable-iron castings go, in peacetime, to industries that
have favorable postwar prospects. In 1940, according to estimates of
the Malleable Founders Society, over half of these castings were con­
sumed by the automotive industry, distributed fairly evenly between
passenger cars and motor trucks and buses. The high levels of auto­
motive production expected will have a stimulating effect upon the
total demand for malleable castings.
Another large segment of
malleable production goes into the construction field, principally in
the form of pipe fittings and equipment for electrical utility install­
ations, such as pole-line hardware. Construction activity also is likely
to be at extremely high levels.
Almost 10 percent of the 1940 production was used in railroad equip­
ment, and purchases by railroads are expected to be substantial for
a number of years, especially since they have improved their financial
position so considerably.
Agricultural machinery and tractor manufacturers comprise another
substantial portion of the market for malleable iron, consuming over
5 percent of the output in 1940. The high rate of production antici­
pated for these industries should result in a strong demand for parts,
including malleable-iron castings.
Among the less-important users, such as the manufacturers of
industrial machinery, hardware, furniture, and stoves, at least a
moderately active demand may be expected from most; and there are
no marked instances of particularly unfavorable trends.
Steel Castings

, During 1947 and 1948, and also over a longer period, production
of steel castings will be at levels considerably below the high war­
time totals. A substantial decline in output has already occurred
since the 1944 output of 2,445,000 tons of steel castings for sale and
for own use. Annual production will probably range between 1,400,000 and 1,600,000 tons for a number of years, although the total
might go somewhat higher if business conditions are especially favor­
able. Although this level is far below that of 1944, it is considerably
above the 1939 output of 822,000 tons shown in table 1. Production
in 1937— a good production year— amounted to 1,399,000 tons.

The greater part of the record volume of steel castings produced
during the war was allocated to the manufacture of military tanks,
other ordnance, and ships. Production began to decline in 1944,
when heavy cut-backs were made in the tank program.
T o offset the loss of demand from war products are the expected
heavy requirements of steel castings for many peacetime products.
Normally, almost a third of steel-castings output is used in railroad
equipment, but during the war this tonnage fell off considerably.
Steel-castings producers may be expected to share in a probable in­
crease in equipment expenditures by many railroads. A large
proportion of steel-castings output is used in industrial machinery,
for many types of which there is likely to be a strong demand. High
rates of construction activity should also have a stimulating effect
upon steel-castings production, since these castings are used in many
types of construction, as well as in construction and road-building
Aluminum and Magnesium Castings

Production of aluminum and magnesium castings in 1947 and 1948
will probably be only a small proportion of peak wartime output
(213,700 and 99,564 tons, respectively), but will continue to be far
above prewar levels. Output of both these types of castings showed
a tremendous expansion dining the war, with many millions of dollars
of new facilities added. Aircraft engines, whose peacetime production
is likely to be but a fraction of the wartime requirements, consumed
the great bulk of aluminum castings and, next to the production of
incendiary-bomb castings, were the most important factor in the
demand for magnesium castings.
Some aluminum castings have been used in automobile engines
and this consumption may increase in importance, but it is improbable
that any demand for this source can, in the next several years, offset
the decrease in production for aircraft engines. Some aluminum
household utensils are cast, but their production is relatively insig­
nificant compared to the wartime totals. After the immediate decline
from the war-expanded production totals, the output of aluminum
castings should resume its gradual growth, with aluminum castings
being specified in many fields where use of light metals is desirable.
Brass and Bronze Castings

Production of brass and bronze castings will be at levels considerably
below the wartime volume during 1947 and 1948. The trend of
output will, however, remain much higher than in 1939. The volume
of nonferrous-metal castings was expanded during the war to many
times the prewar level. Among the principal wartime uses have
been parts for ships, including propellers and valves; bearings and
bushings of many kinds; industrial valves and fittings; and ordnance.
The consumption in shipbuilding should decline sharply. Valves
and fittings, bearings and bushings, and castings for railroad equip­
ment are important in peacetime, and consumption should be sub­
stantial under favorable business conditions. In addition, the post­
war volume of shipbuilding is likely to be above the activity in the

Technological Trends Affecting E m ploym ent

In order to translate the anticipated volume of castings production
into an estimate of future requirements for foundry workers, it is
necessary to evaluate the effects of prospective changes in man-hour
output. Although the output of castings per man-hour is influenced
by a number of factors— including the rate of foundry operations,
the type and size of castings produced, and the quality of the labor
force— in the long run, technological developments constitute the most
important element in determining the relationship between employ­
ment and production.

In common with other industrial processes, casting is subject to
continuous technological change, embracing wider utilization of
previously developed equipment and methods which increase pro­
ductivity, the improvement and refinement of existing techniques and
apparatus, and the introduction of new types of machines and proces­
ses. In the following discussion of these trends, some of the principal
effects of each process are indicated and prospects for greater applica­
tion are explored. Particular attention is given to developments in
molding, in which technical progress has been especially significant.

Substantial increases in molding speed have resulted from the
development and extensive use of improved pattern equipment, sub­
stituting for the single loose patterns which constitute the basic type.
Greater rapidity in molding is provided by patterns mounted on
plates which fit over the molding flasks. Both parts of the mounted
pattern may be affixed to one metal plate, forming a “ match plate,”
or may be in two sections, either wood or metal, one for each half of
the mold. Mounted patterns dispense with the need for hand-cutting
gates (channels in the sand), eliminate the time and skill required
to determine the proper position of the pattern in the molding flask,
and simplify the alignment of cope and drag sections. Many small
patterns often are mounted on a smgle plate, thus multiplying molding
output. Mounted patterns, because they are relatively expensive,
are more suited to quantity production than to jobbing. Their use
is also limited mainly to molds of small or medium size and of relatively
simple shape.
Prospects are for increased use of mounted patterns, although they
already are widely employed. In part, this will result from recent
developments tending to lower the cost of producing match plates.
Molding Machines

Mechanical aids to molding encompass a variety of devices which
decrease both labor-time input and skill requirements. One of the
most common machines is the squeezer, which compacts the sand in
the flask by direct pressure. The squeezer machine, suited mainly
to flasks up to the 18 x 20-inch size, saves the considerable effort and
moderate skill required in hand-ramming. Similar devices are the
machines which jolt or jar the sand-filled flask, serving to pack the

sand around the pattern. A roll-over apparatus simply substitutes
mechanical power for manual effort in the operations of turning over
cope and drag sections. These machines can handle molds weighing
up to 10,000 pounds.
Among the devices used to facilitate the withdrawal of the pattern
from the mold are the stripping plate, which is essentially a mechanical
arrangement for raising and lowering the pattern through an opening in
a plate which constitutes the bottom of the flask, and vibration attach­
ments which loosen the pattern from the tightly compacted sand mold.
The sandslinger often provides a rapid and efficient substitute for
the hand-ramming of very large molds. This machine shoots wads of
sand into the flask with great force, tightly packing the sand around
the pattern.
Combinations of these mechanical features are quite common, par­
ticularly in highly organized production foundries. A single squeezeand-jolt machine, with vibration or stripping-plate features, is fre­
quently employed in light production work, and a roll-over and jarring
apparatus is used in the making of heavier molds.
In general, molding machines find their most widespread use in the
quantity production of light- and medium-weight castings of relatively
simple shape. Except for the elementary devices, such as the squeeze
and roll-over features, machine molding is often not adapted to in­
tricate molds, and the original cost of the machines tends to restrict
their use in jobbing.
Trends in the design of molding machines are toward the develop­
ment of higher operating speeds, adaptability to larger and more in­
tricate molds, and combination of a variety of mechanical aids in a
single apparatus. These improvements will accelerate a long-run
tendency toward wider employment of machine methods of molding.
In the making of very large molds, hitherto requiring mainly hand
operations, the sandslinger and other molding machines will be more
extensively used.
Permanent Molds

The permanent-mold process serves primarily in the quantity pro­
duction of identical castings. In this method, a metal mold, suited to
repeated pourings of molten metal, substitutes for the conventional
sand mold, ordinarily usable for a single pouring. Too expensive
for small-scale production, the permanent-mold process often achieves
a substantial saving in long production runs, not only dispensing with
the complicated process of preparing a sand mold for each casting,
but also greatly reducing skill requirements. Other advantages in­
clude finer dimensional tolerances and smoother finish of the cast
object. However, it may be applied only to the less-intricate shapes,
and permits use only of those casting metals having a lower melting
point than the permanent mold itself. Thus, the nonferrous-metal
alloys as a group are best adapted to the process; among the ferrous
metals, only in the case of gray iron has permanent-mold casting been
carried beyond the experimental stage. The use of permanent molds,
greatly expanded in connection with wartime production of aluminum
and magnesium castings, may be expected to show further increase,
particularly when the development of metal molds with higher heatresistant qualities is completed.
711381°— 46 ------ 4

Centrifugal Casting

Centrifugal casting is another of the quantity-production tech­
niques. In this process, molten metal is poured into a sand, carbon,
or metal mold which is rapidly spun about either a horizontal or
a vertical axis. This process provides a high rate of production, and
superior strength and exterior finish in some types of castings. It
has been applied to both ferrous and nonferrous metals; cast-iron
pipe constitutes the most common use. However, employment of the
centrifugal process has been increasing, within certain limitations
regarding size and shape, in the casting of the heavy metals. Centri­
fuging, a closely related casting method, widens the range of applica­
tion of the centrifugal principle.
Investment Casting

Investment, or “ precision,” casting represents a relatively new
application of the old ‘ ‘ lost wax’ ’ principle. In this process, the pattern
is made of wax or plastic material and the pattern is surrounded by
plaster or other refractory material, which forms the mold. The
mold is baked in an oven until the wax or plastic pattern is dissipated,
leaving a hollow mold cavity, into which metal is introduced by grav­
ity, direct pressure, or centrifugal force. The investment process
has been used particularly in the casting of small objects; its ex­
tension to larger sizes is still in the developmental stage. Its major
advantages over other casting methods lie in the very close tolerances
and fine exterior finish of the castings produced. Although invest­
ment casting opens a new field for casting in its application to shapes
hitherto machined or forged, it also reduces time and skill require­
ments in relation to sand casting.
Coremaking Machines

Machine coremaking, like machine molding, is suited mainly to
quantity operations and possesses the same primary economies of
rapid production and minimum skill requirements. Cores may be
machine-made by means of a core turn-over-draw apparatus, essen­
tially a modification of the jolt and roll-over molding machine, in
which the core box substitutes for the molding flask. Simple cores
may be quickly produced by the die-type coremaking machine: sand
is fed into a hopper, impelled by a conveyor screw, and extruded
through a detachable tube, the interior shape of the tube forming the
exterior shape of the core. Still another device, the coreblower,
pneumatically forces sand into the hollow form which shapes the core.
The use of coremaking machines is generally confined to the smaller
and simpler structures; the limitations are roughly comparable to
those of machine molding. Improvements in coremaking machines,
increasing their versatility, speed, and automaticity, will result in
continued expansion in their use. Apart from the mechanization of
coremaking, core-room operations will be affected by a trend in the
design of castings toward elimination of complex interior shapes
wherever possible, thus reducing the need for sand cores.
Other Technical Developments

Materials handling provides one of the most likely fields for in­
creased mechanization, in that the movement and manipulation of a

large volume of materials are characteristic of foundry operations.
In jobbing foundries, in which mechanization is ordinarily limited,
the moving of lighter materials, such as small molds and cores, is
usually accomplished by means of simple lifting and carrying or by
hand-operated trucks; large molds and other heavy or bulky objects
are transported by overhead and side-wall cranes. Production opera­
tions make use of a variety of materials-handling devices, including
electric tractors and lift trucks and, in the more highly mechanized
establishments, of extensive belt and overhead conveyor systems.
Stimulated by wartime labor shortages, the long-run trend toward
installation of materials-handling equipment has gathered momentum.
In the cleaning, chipping, and finishing phases of the foundry
process, mechanization has made substantial advances. The newer
tumbling machines and blasting apparatus, which raise the efficiency
of the cleaning operations, will be more extensively installed. Quicker
finishing is provided by the growing use of improved grinding
Modern furnace equipment and the wider use of conveyor systems
in charging the furnaces increase the rate of melting operations.
Efficiency in melting is also raised by greater use of duplexing and
triplexing, in which several types of melting units are successively
Technological developments tending directly to increase foundry
employment include extension of the use of heat treatment and
intensifying inspection and quality-control procedures.
Heat-treating procedures improve the physical qualities of castings
and provide a desired range of mechanical properties. The principal
processes employed include annealing, normalizing, quenching, tem­
pering, and flame hardening. Although one or more of these methods
is applicable to most of the casting metals, the most important use
has been in the making of malleable-iron and steel castings. How­
ever, heat treatment of gray iron has increased markedly during
recent years.
Many elaborate devices and techniques have been developed to aid
in inspecting the mechanical properties and internal structure of cast
metals. The more important types include radiography, magnetic
methods, and pressure tests.

Man-hour output varies widely among foundries, reflecting the
diversified nature of cast products, the distinction between jobbing
and production methods, the differences between the smaller and the
larger establishments, and the inevitable lag between the introduc­
tion of new methods and their widespread application. There is,
nevertheless, a marked trend toward increased output per man-hour.
During the war, the high volume of castings production, the im­
proved financial position of many foundries, and the continuing
shortages of workers resulted in rapid and extensive advances in the
substitution of machine methods for hand processes. Sales of foun­
dry equipment— including molding and coremaking machines, new
melting units, and cleaning and finishing apparatus— reached un­
precedented levels. Much more use was made of centrifugal casting,
permanent molds, and other quantity-production techniques. How­

ever, output per man-hour showed little increase in foundries as a
whole; a greater weight of castings was produced with relatively
fewer workers, but this was achieved mainly by lengthening work­
ing hours. The scarcity of skilled workers and the lack of efficient
unskilled labor largely canceled out the immediate advantages of
mechanization. Nevertheless, with the return of normal operating
conditions, the large volume of labor-saving equipment installed, and
the new methods applied will affect the levels of foundry employment.
In the long run, technological developments will lead to a gradual
reduction in foundry employment in relation to the output of castings.
These effects will be variable. Jobbing operations are by their nature
susceptible to only limited mechanization; in quantity production, a
more marked decrease in labor requirements is probable. In relation
to the end uses of castings, this will eventually mean that the greatest
relative reductions in employment will occur in foundries serving the
mass-production industries, such as those making automobiles, plumb­
ing and heating equipment, and household appliances; the labor force
in establishments making castings for limited-quantity uses, such as
machine tools and special-purpose machinery, will be less affected.
Thus, the general level of foundry employment will depend upon the
nature, as well as the magnitude, of the demand for castings.
One additional factor may be noted. If lower production costs,
resulting from technological developments, lead to an expansion in
the markets for castings, then increased output per man-hour may
partially offset its own tendency to reduce employment.
It is also necessary, in evaluating the effects of technical progress
on foundry employment, to consider the relative importance, in terms
of employment, of the various foundry operations. Molding depart­
ments are most important, accounting for roughly 30 percent of all
production workers in foundries. Coremaking employs about 10
percent of the total. As noted, these departments are subject to sub­
stantial mechanization, not only of direct molding and coremaking
processes, but also of many incidental handling operations. Clean­
ing, chipping, and finishing account for nearly a fifth of the foundry
workers. Requirements for unskilled labor in these processes gradu­
ally will be reduced, particularly in connection with materials han­
dling. Labor requirements in melting operations eventually will
show a moderate decline, but foundry employment as a whole will be
little affected by changes in this relatively small department. Greater
use of testing apparatus and other quality controls and more exten­
sive application of heat treatment will increase employment in the
numerically small inspection and heat-treating departments.
E m ploym ent Outlook

The outlook for foundry employment depends upon the prospective
trends in foundry production and technology.
In the immediate postwar years, the levels of foundry employment
will be determined primarily by the volume and type of castings
produced; technological change, typically a gradual process, will be
a less-important factor. During this period, foundry activity as a
whole will be at a very high level. However, production of gray-iron
and malleable-iron castings is likely to be greater than the peak

wartime output, and that of steel and nonferrous-metal castings
considerably below.
In addition, there will be a shift in the nature of the markets for
castings. The anticipated high volume of consumer durable-goods out­
put and the expected increase in construction, both of which will con­
tribute greatly to the total demand for castings, will require mainly
the types of castings produced in large quantities. Castings for
machine tools and other limited-quantity purposes will be relatively
less important. Emphasis will thus be placed on the types of foundry
operations in which output per man-hour is comparatively high, a
development tending to reduce total requirements for foundry workers.
The effects of extensive mechanization of foundry operations during
the war will carry over into the postwar period, but should not of
themselves result in any immediate marked decrease in employment.
A much more important factor is the probable return to about a 40hour workweek, causing a substantial increase in the relative em­
ployment requirements of foundries.
Taking into account production prospects, technological factors,
and the probable reduction of working hours, it appears that total
employment for foundry workers during 1947 and 1948 will be slightly
above the estimated number in July 1945 (when the initial cut-backs
in war production had already been felt). The total foundry employ­
ment anticipated for 1947-48 is somewhat lower than the 1944 peak,
but far above the 1939 level. Increases are indicated for gray-iron
and malleable-iron foundries, and decreases for steel and nonferrous
The forecasts for 1947-48 are compared with estimated employ­
ment in 1939, 1944, and July 1945 in table 4.
T able 4.— Estimated Foundry Em ploym ent1 in Selected Periods
Estimated number of production workers
Type of foundry


All foundries. _





Gray-iron, including cast-iron pipe........................
N onferrous-metal .................................................




50.000- 55,000
70.000- 75,000
55.000- 65,000

July 1945

1947-48 (average)

1 Estimates include workers in both captive and independent foundries and are based on current product
classification; therefore, they cannot be related to the published foundry-employment series of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, which cover only independent foundries and are based on 1939 product classification.

In the longer run, say the 5- or 10-year period beginning about
1950, total foundry employment will probably show a moderate
decline from the immediate postwar level, but will remain well
above 1939, if general business conditions are favorable. After the
accumulated demands for certain durable goods have been met, the
distribution of employment among the major classes of foundries
will tend to return to the prewar pattern. For this reason, employ­
ment in gray-iron and malleable-iron foundries, greatly expanded in
the immediate postwar period, will probably be reduced. On the
other hand, employment in steel castings, having been sharply de­
flated in the first peacetime year, will tend to remain fairly stable;

employment in nonferrous casting, after the initial postwar drop, will
show a gradual moderate rise.
In the long run, technological developments will become a highly
significant factor affecting employment. There', will be a gradual
but steady increase in castings output per man-hour which, in a
period of stable or declining output, will lead to further reductions
in employment. There is also the possibility that the rivalry between
casting and alternative methods of fabrication may result in some net
loss of foundry markets.
There is no indication, however, that this gradual decline in foundry
employment from the high levels of the immediate postwar period,
which may continue over a period of many years, will result in the loss
of jobs for any significant number of foundry workers, although the
number of openings for new workers will be diminished.
Because of such factors as the extent to which workers can readily
transfer from one type of foundry to another, the replacement demands
resulting from death, retirement, and labor turn-o ver, and the demand
and supply affecting individual occupations, information on the trend
of total foundry employment does not of itself provide an adequate
basis for appraisal of the opportunities for employment in foundries.
The second part of this study of the employment opportunities in
foundry occupations will relate the changes in employment here noted
to the employment opportunities in specific occupations.

P art 2 .— O utlook in F oundry O ccupations

General Characteristics of the Foundry Labor Force
Foundries constitute one of the most important fields of employ­
ment for trained workers in manufacturing. Of the estimated 425,000
production workers employed in foundries in 1944, over one-fourth
might be classed as skilled. Most of these skilled jobs, as well as
many of the less-skilled, are peculiar to foundry processes— molding
and coremaking, particularly. Estimated employment in 1944 in
some of the more important types of foundry work is shown in chart 2.1












1 These estimates are based mainly on data obtained from occupational wage-rate surveys of the Bureau’s
Wage Analysis Branch and on unpublished Selective Service occupational registration data for 1942-43,
adjusted for under-coverage and for the increase in foundry employment between 1942-43 and 1944. There
is, of course, some discrepancy between the estimate of 75,000 employed molders in 1944 and the number
reported as of March 1940 to the Census. The Census counted 75,904 employed, at a time when foundry
employment was considerably less than in 1944. It is probable, however, that the Census figures are inflated
by the inclusion of a large number of foundry workers other than molders. The smaller*total is therefore
better suited to the purpose of this study.

( 27)

There are of course many other occupations represented in found­
ries, including maintenance workers (such as carpenters and elec­
tricians), a large number of laborers, and office and professional em­
ployees. These jobs are not characteristic of foundry work as such
and are not, therefore, discussed in this study. Their outlook may be
judged in the light of the prospects for foundry employment as a whole.
The foundry occupations are mainly limited to men, reflecting the
strenuous nature of much of the work, as well as certain traditional
employment practices. In 1939, less than 1 percent of the production
workers in independent foundries were women. (The proportion of
women in captive foundries was probably but little higher). During
the war, a considerable increase in the utilization of women in found­
ries occurred, but not enough to change greatly this feature of foundry
employment. In general, foundry work remains primarily a man’s job.
The proportion of Negroes in foundries is markedly high: in 1944,
they constituted more than one-fourth of all production workers
in independent ferrous foundries. They are employed not only in
many unskilled and semiskilled foundry occupations but also to a
substantial extent as skilled molders and coremakers. In March 1940,
Negroes comprised about 8 percent of the employed molders reported
in the Census of Population.
Wages in foundries compare favorably with those in the basic metal
industries generally. Shown below are average gross hourly earnings
in independent ferrous foundries, compared with earnings in the entire
group of industries producing iron and steel and iron and steel products,
excluding machinery.

Gray-iron foundries_______________________ $0.
Malleable-iron foundries___________________
Steel foundries____________________________
Cast-iron pipe foundries___________________
Iron and steel industry group______________

.6 7
.7 6
.5 8
.7 4


$1. 10
1. 10
1. 14
1. 10

These data reflect overtime, night-shift, and other premium pay,
and do not therefore provide a full comparison of straight-time earn­
ings. In addition, the increases shown between 1939 and 1945 result
in part from upgrading and other changes in the occupational structure.
In the subsequent treatment of specific foundry occupations, average
straight-time earnings are presented for each occupation for which
such data are available. The table on page 55 shows earnings by
occupation in 14 selected localities.
Among the many types of jobs associated with foundry work,
three occupations— molder, coremaker, and patternmaker— stand out
as especially significant. Molding and coremaking are relatively
large occupations and include a high proportion of skilled jobs requir­
ing apprenticeship or equivalent training. Althoujgh fewer workers
are engaged in patternmaking, the skill needed is very high and
apprenticeship is the normal method of entry. Duties, qualifications
and training, employment prospects, and earnings for each of these
three categories, as well as for certain other types of foundry jobs, are
discussed below. The descriptions of the work in these occupations
are not only intended to provide a general picture of the operations
but are also designed as a basis for understanding the analysis of
trends in supply and demand for each kind of job. Only the more
commonly used production methods are discussed and the less im­
portant details of the work are omitted.


Employment Outlook for Molders
The primary function of molders is to prepare the sand molds in
which metal is cast. Basically, this involves packing sand around a
model (“ pattern” ) of the desired object and then withdrawing the
pattern, leaving in the sand a hollow space, or “ mold cavity,” in the
shape of the casting to be made. The specific duties of molders,
however, vary widely according to the type of operation. These dif­
ferences greatly affect skill requirements and assume considerable sig­
nificance in relation to employment prospects.
The W ork o f the M older

The essential features of all-round hand molding, which distinguish
it from other types of molding, are that it involves the making of
widely varying kinds of molds and that it requires workers of journey­
man qualifications who use mainly hand methods and perform nearly
all the steps in the process.
Bench molding and floor molding are the two principal divisions of
hand operations. In bench molding, small molds are prepared on
work benches. In the various types of floor molding, larger molds
are constructed on the foundry floor.
Bench molding.— The bench molder first assembles the pattern to
be used and a suitable molding box, or “ flask,” on his work bench.
He places the lower (“ drag” ) half of the molding flask upside down
on a flat molding board and sets the lower half of the pattern (if a
two-part pattern is used) in an inverted position on this board. If
his duties include determining the most efficient placing of the pattern,
he must be able, at this point, to visualize the entire casting process.
Frequently, however, this decision is the responsibility of a supervisor.
After placing the pattern, the molder fills the flask with molding
sand, covering the pattern. Using hand-ramming tools, he compacts
the sand around the pattern, employing considerable skill to obtain
a proper and uniform degree of density. Setting a flat board on top
of the mold, he rolls the mold over and exposes the lower half of the
pattern. He joins the upper (“ cope” ) half of the pattern to the lower
part, and places the cope half of the flask on the drag. Using the top
surface of the drag of the mold as a base, he prepares the upper
(cope) section of the mold in much the same manner as he made the
drag half.
Following this operation, the bench molder cuts a channel, or
“ sprue” (through which the molten metal will later be poured), leading
from the top surface of the mold to a point near the embedded pattern.
He separates the mold sections by lifting the cope mold from the drag
half, and then very carefully takes out the pattern sections from the
sand. This phase of molding requires a high degree of skill in order
to avoid serious damage to the mold impression and to patch by hand
any minor damage resulting from pattern withdrawal.
The molder’s next step is to “ gate” the mold, that is, to cut passages
in the sand connecting with the sprue, or feeding channel. Deter­
mining the most efficient arrangement of these passages, which provide
for the distribution of molten metal within the mold, also requires

skill of high order. However, a foreman may provide general in­
structions on how this work is to be done or gated patterns may be
used, greatly simplifying the whole operation.
The final steps in the molder’s work are to apply a facing material,
such as graphite, to the mold cavity in order to strengthen it; to set
the sand cores (which will form any hollow spaces needed in the cast­
ing) into place within the mold; and to reassemble the mold sections.
In some small foundries, he may himself pour molten metal into the
completed mold. More commonly, however, pouring is done by other
workers, although often under the molder’s direction.
Floor molding.— The work is much the same as bench molding, with
certain exceptions, some of the more important of which are as follows:
A crane or hoist is used to turn over the mold sections and to withdraw
large or bulky patterns, with the crane operator working according to
hand signals from the molder. The floor molder reinforces the
structure of the mold by inserting metal rods (“ gaggers” ) and nails
into the sand at the appropriate points which he selects. Pneumatic
rammers are substituted for hand tools in compacting the sand. One
or more helpers may ram the sand, bring up materials, and assist the
floor molder in other ways.
P it and sweep molding.—Other all-round hand-molding jobs, less
common than either bench or floor work, are pit molding (in which
large molds are constructed within a pit in the foundry floor) and
sweep molding (in which the mold cavity is formed by moving a
shaped board, or “ sweep,” over a bed of sand).

All-round hand molding of the types described above is character­
istic of limited-quantity (jobbing) operations. In the making of
molds which are required in very large quantities, but which are
unsuited by reason of their size or shape for machine molding, hand
molders without diversified qualifications are frequently employed.
This type of worker prepares the single type of mold which he has
learned to make. Although the mold itself may be quite intricate,
the job is greatly simplified because it is repetitive. The less-skilled
molder often performs all the steps of making a mold, but a journey­
man molder must be provided to supervise groups of these workers.
The exercise of judgment in such operations as gating and finishing
the mold may be delegated to this supervisor. In another type of
molding method, gating and finishing are performed by qualified
molders, called “ mold finishers,” employed for this specialty, and
molds up to but excluding these final and more difficult steps are
prepared by less-skilled molders.
In still another type of hand operation, large molds are prepared
by a crew, or “ gang,” of 10 or 12 men headed by an all-round molder.
Each of these workers performs a set of specialized duties, such as
ramming, under the molder’s direction. There may be, in addition,
a separate crew which is responsible for the final finishing of each

Machine molders operate one of several types of machines which
simplify and speed up the making of a large quantity of identical

molds. Each of the various types of machines (briefly described in
Part 1 of this study) substitutes mechanical operation for one or
more of the major steps involved in hand molding, and accordingly
reduces the skill required. Machine molders are differentiated on
the basis of the functions of the machines that they use.
Molders using simple squeezer, jolt and jar, or roll-over molding
machines may perform nearly all the skilled duties of hand molders.
However, these machines, and especially the squeezer, are very com­
monly used in conjunction with mounted patterns and mechanical
pattern-withdrawal devices. This combination eliminates from the
operator’s work such important steps of hand molding as positioning
the pattern, hand cutting the gates, and aligning cope and drag
sections of the pattern and mold. Sand-slinger machines are oper­
ated by semiskilled specialists, not properly classed as molders since
they perform no other steps in molding.
The basic duties of a machine molder consist mainly of assembling
the flask and pattern on the machine table, filling the flask with sand,
and actuating the machine by the properly timed use of its control
levers and pedals. Any additional duties of a machine molder are
determined by his qualifications and by the manner in which the
molding department is organized in the foundry in which he works.


Machine Molding.

The operator of a molding machine may be a qualified journeyman
molder who requires little supervision, in which case he sets up and
adjusts the machine for each job, sets cores, and gates and finishes
his own molds. More commonly, however, the machine molder
lacks these skills, so that his duties are limited mainly to operating
the machine, which another worker, either a qualified molder or a
maintenance employee of the foundry, adjusts for him. Skilled mold
finishers receive the partly completed molds as they come from the
machines and perform the finishing operations.
Qualifications and Training

A 4-year apprenticeship, or its equivalent in on-the-job training,
is normally required to qualify as an all-round (journeyman) molder.
The molder apprentice works under the close supervision of journey­
men who instruct him in the skills of the craft. About half of the
apprenticeship training is devoted directly to molding. Working
closely with a journeyman molder, the apprentice begins with simple
tasks, such as shoveling sand, and gradually takes on more difficult
and responsible work, such as ramming molds, withdrawing patterns,
and setting cores. He also learns to operate the various types of
molding machines used in the foundry. As his training progresses,
he makes complete molds, under supervision, beginning with simple
shapes and going on to those of increasing complexity. This molding
phase of his apprenticeship includes both floor and bench work, and
qualifies him for both branches of molding.
In addition to his time spent in learning molding, the apprentice
works in other foundry departments in order to develop the diversi­
fied knowledge of foundry practice needed by fully qualified molders.
He learns sand preparation, melting of metal, and the cleaning and
finishing of castings. For a brief period, the apprentice serves in a
pattern shop as a helper. He spends considerable time in the core­
making department, and, under many apprentice programs, gets
sufficient training to qualify as a skilled coremaker.
The apprentice usually receives, in addition to his shop work, at
least 144 hours of classroom instruction each year in such subjects
as shop arithmetic, metallurgy, and shop drawing.
It is also possible for a man to develop journeyman skill without
apprenticeship or similarly organized form of learning on the job.
Molders’ helpers and less-skilled hand molders sometimes succeed in
acquiring informally the various elements of skilled molding, and
then seek jobs as journeymen. However, this is a lengthier and
less reliable way of learning the trade than apprenticeship. A helper
in some cases may advance to journeyman status by transferring to
an apprentice classification, with his previous experience as a helper
credited toward the apprenticeship period.
Full-time 1- or 2-year trade-school courses in molding are available
in many localities. If the school’s equipment is adequate and its
instruction of good quality, useful preparation for the molding trade
may be provided, in that the trade-school course may be credited
toward completion of the molding apprenticeship. However, these
schools cannot qualify their students for jobs as journeymen molders
without an additional period of work experience.

The less-skilled type of hand molding, in which highly repetitive
work is done, requires only a brief training period. “ Learners”
(either men without previous foundry experience or upgraded foundry
helpers) are assigned to work with a molder engaged in making a
particular kind of mold. After 2 to 6 months of this training, the
learner is usually competent to make the same mold, or one that is
roughly similar, on his own responsibility.
For machine-molding jobs of the more difficult and responsible
types, a molding apprenticeship or equivalent training is required.
However, machine molding of the less-skilled variety, in which close
supervision is provided and finishing is delegated to other workers, is
ordinarily learned in 60 to 90 days of on-the-job training.
A molder apprenticeship, or its equivalent, is usually needed to
qualify for supervisory jobs and for the skilled specialties, such as
mold finishing.
In the past, educational requirements for molders have not been
high. Seventy-five percent of the molders (including machine mold­
ers) reported in the 1940 Census of Population had no more than a
grade-school education. However, educational standards for entry
into the occupation have been gradually raised. For a molding
apprenticeship, an eighth-grade education is usually the absolute
minimum, and many employers specify additional school work up to
and including high-school graduation. Eighth-grade schooling, how­
ever, still suffices for most jobs as learners of specialized hand or
machine molding.
Physical standards for molding jobs are fairly high, taking into
account the needs for continual standing and moving about, frequent
lifting, and good vision. For hand molding, a high degree of manual
dexterity is essential. Since the work is fairly strenuous, even in
many kinds of machine molding, very few women are employed as
Em ploym ent Outlook

During the next few years, a strong demand for molders will be
maintained if the anticipated high rate of foundry activity is realized.
Although foundry employment as a whole will be slightly below the
1944 peak (on the basis of the estimates made in Part 1 of this study),
the number of moldere’ jobs should approximate that of 1944— when
about 75,000 molders were employed. This is explained by the differ­
ences in employment outlook among the major classes of foundries
and in their relative utilization of molders. It is expected that grayiron foundries, in which the ratio of molders to other workers is com­
paratively high, will substantially expand employment in 1947-48
over their wartime requirements. On the other hand, the postwar
drop in aluminum and magnesium casting, accounting for much of
the anticipated decrease in foundry employment generally, will not
greatly affect the total number of molders needed, since the ratio of
molders to other workers in these foundries has been relatively low.
Although the general level of foundry employment constitutes the
most important single factor affecting the outlook for molders, there
are, in addition, a number of other considerations which influence
employment prospects. These include the supply of molders, the
probable volume of replacement demand, and technological develop­
ments affecting employment and skill requirements.


In considering the number of persons likely to seek molding jobs
it is necessary first to distinguish the various degrees of skill repre­
sented by those included under the general heading of “ molder.”
As previously indicated, three fairly definite skill classifications
First, there are the journeymen molders, mainly employed in
bench or floor molding in job foundries, but also used in supervisory
or skilled specialist jobs in production operations. This is a rela­
tively small group, and one to which few workers have been added
during recent years. In the war period, the training of apprentices
was restricted by the operation of the draft. Moreover, this curtail­
ment followed a long period in which the training of molder apprentices
was at extremely low levels, reflecting both the depressed condition
of metalworking industries during the thirties and the long-run trend
toward the mechanization of molding. The rapid wartime expansion
of steel and nonferrous-metal casting spread thin the limited supply
of journeymen molders, and necessitated the training of a large
class of hand molders of specialized, more limited skill.
In spite of brief and specialized training, the less-skilled hand
molders in many cases have greatly increased their skill and ver­
satility in the course of their wartime experience. As a result, many
of these workers will be able to get jobs as journeymen during a period
in which the supply of all-round molders remains short, and thus will
constitute a real addition to the skilled-molder labor force.
Machine molders (in the sense of workers qualified only as operators
of molding machines, and excluding journeymen working at machine
molding) have been increasing in number over a period of many
years, reflecting the substitution of machine molding for hand opera­
tions and the gradual break-down of skilled jobs into less-skilled
specialties. Wartime expansion of foundry production, as well as
the scarcity of qualified journeymen, gave impetus to this growth of
machine molding, which has, in turn, augmented the supply of
experienced machine molders.
In evaluating the supply situation for molders, it is also necessary
to consider the transferability of workers among types of foundries
and among important foundry areas. In general, it is not difficult
for a worker experienced in making molds for one kind of metal to
shift to the making of a comparable type of mold for another metal.
However, a short period of readjustment is usually required, especially
in transfers between steel casting and gray-iron casting.
Wartime increase in the supply of molders has occurred mainly in
the same general areas in which foundry work will be most important
in the postwar years. In some communities within these areas,
however, there has been a temporary oversupply of molders; in others,
a shortage. Many molders, mainly the less-skilled, in the localites
in which there is a surplus, have been reluctant to move to other
cities and have gone into different types of work instead. As a re­
sult, there has been some net reduction in the total supply of molders.
Demobilization of the armed forces has not had any especially
significant effect on supply, in contrast to the situation in certain
other metal trades. Kelatively few journeymen molders were drafted,
since the large majority of these men were over military age. On

the other hand, there is a somewhat larger group of younger and lessskilled men with some molding experience who have returned from
military service. The services have trained few, if any, men as

Owing to the relatively advanced age of the molding labor force,
the replacement of those who die or retire should of itself provide an
important source of demand for new workers in the next 5 to 10
years. In 1940, according to the Census of Population, the median
age of employed molders was about 42 years, and 15 percent were over
54 years of age. On the basis of census age data, it is estimated that
the average death and retirement rate for molders will exceed 1,500
annually between 1940 and 1950. Since many molders, like other
workers, have postponed retirement during the war, the actual rate
during the next few years will probably be somewhat greater.
However, the census age distribution and the resulting estimate
apply to all types of molders. For the journeyman group alone a
still higher replacement rate is indicated, since these workers are
known to be considerably older, on the average, than the other cate­
gories of molders. On the other hand, wartime additions to the
supply of molders below the journeyman level of skill have included
mainly younger workers; and thus replacement demand owing to
death and retirement should operate at a lower rate for this group.
Need for replacement is also created by the transfer of workers
from foundries to other lines of employment. As few journeymen
molders leave their occupations, not many jobs can be expected from
this source. At the lower levels of skill in molding, however, moving
to other kinds of work is a more important factor; for this reason,
actual replacement requirements will exceed considerably the volume
estimated on the basis of death and retirement.

It was shown in Part 1 of this study that numerous and extensive
technological developments have occurred in molding, and that these
changes have tended to increase output per molder and, at the same
time, to reduce the skill required. It has also been indicated that
the long-run prospects are for continuation and intensification of this
trend. These developments include, primarily, the greater use of
machine molding, permanent molds, centrifugal casting, and improved
pattern equipment. In addition, there is the possibility that invest­
ment casting will make some ifcroads into sand casting. During the
next few years, the effects of these changes majr not be substantial;
over a longer period they will become a highly significant element in
the outlook for molders, in that they will greatly affect the ratio of
molders to other foundry workers and will thus in large part deter­
mine demand in this occupation. However, the mechanization of
limited-quantity operations will proceed much more slowly; therefore
jobbing foundries will continue to provide an important source of
employment for all-round hand molders.
Another major technological development affecting occupational
opportunities has been the substitution of semiskilled specialists for
journeymen by breaking down the molding process into a number of

specialized jobs. Owing to the shortage of all-round molders, this
practice gathered momentum during the war and led to a significant
reduction in the ratio of journeymen molders to other foundry workers.
In spite of the fact that actual skill requirements in molding have
been and will continue to be reduced, the tendency will be to use
journeymen molders for mechanized molding operations. The advan­
tages of employing them for relatively specialized jobs are fairly
substantial. As molding-machine operators, journeymen require a
minimum of supervision. They can set up their own work, are able
to shift readily from one type of mold to another, and can perform
all the steps of finishing the molds made on their machines. In
foundries where semiskilled specialists—hand or machine— continue
to perform most of the operations in preparing molds, some journeymen
wiU still be needed for supervisory jobs and for such skilled specialties
as mold finishing. Even in permanent-mold casting, in which skill
requirements are minimized, a few journeymen are required— some
to supervise permanent-mold operations and others to cast the per­
manent molds which are used.
The impact of technological change will be greatest on the large
groups of specialized hand molders trained during recent years. The
types of molds made by these workers are most susceptible to the
extension of machine molding and other mechanized methods.
The trend toward greater use of machine molding, tending to
increase the number of machine-molding jobs, will be offset by
improvements in machine molding which restrict employment gains
by increasing output per worker.

Taking into account all important supply and demand factors,the
future opportunities in molding, both for those now in the occupation
and for those who may enter it, appear to be as noted below, for the
various grades of molders.
Journeymen molders will be in the best position. As a result of
their present scarcity, their adaptability to mechanized as well as hand
operations, and the anticipated volume of replacement needs, the
demand for such molders should substantially exceed the supply for at
least several years. Thus, employment opportunities for experienced
journeymen should be plentiful, and there should also be numerous
openings for newly trained journeymen. During the next 4 years,
however, while young workers who now enter the occupation as
apprentices are still in training, many specialized hand molders will
probably succeed in rising to the journeyman level. Competition with
this group will tend to limit somewhat the opportunities of the newly
trained journeymen.
T o the extent that journeymen molders are available, they will
probably be hired for the less-skilled, but often well-paid, specialized
jobs, as well as for all-round work. Moreover, supervisory positions in
molding will continue to be filled from the journeyman ranks.
Opportunities for young workers to obtain molder apprenticeships
should be numerous in the immediate future, reflecting the growing
feeling among foundry employers that a revival of apprentice training
is needed, in view of the depleted supply of journeymen. In addition,

apprenticeship will probably be expanded under the veterans’ training
provisions of the GI Bill of Rights.
In the longer-run period, the anticipated gradual, although moder­
ate, decline in foundry activity from the high levels of the immediate
postwar years, combined with rising output per man-hour in molding
as a result of technological change, will reduce the number of jobs for
journeymen molders. At the same time, expanded apprentice training
and upgrading may relieve the formerly short supply of journeymen.
However, in view of continuing deaths and retirements, the drop in
demand should not be sharp enough, nor the probable increase in
supply sufficiently great, to cause unemployment of workers already
established as journeymen molders.
(2) Less-skilled hand molders with experience have favorable em­
ployment prospects for the immediate future, although much less so
than journeymen. The number of such jobs will be slightly below the
wartime peak, but demand and supply will probably be roughly bal­
anced, since some of these less-skilled workers have transferred to other
lines of employment. For several years there will be openings for a
limited number of men without previous experience in molding.
However, the number of these opportunities will be very greatly
diminished when and if fully qualified molders become available.
Continuing technological developments and the possible increase in
the supply of journeymen in the long run may seriously curtail em­
ployment opportunities for those who remain at this skill level. How­
ever, such workers— and there will be many—who succeed during the
next few years in acquiring the necessary broad experience will com­
pete on roughly even terms with the newly trained journeymen.
(3) Operators of molding machines with experience have immediate
employment prospects roughly comparable to those of the less-skilled
hand molders. Although the actual number of machine-molding jobs
is expected to be slightly below the wartime level, withdrawals from
the occupation have reduced the supply, permitting the absorption
of a limited number of new workers.
In the longer run, employment in machine molding should be fairly
stable, although most vacancies for these jobs will be filled by journey­
men molders if enough are trained. However, the future growth of
machine molding will provide continued e
ent for the more
experienced and efficient of the operators, e
lgh they may not
be qualified as journeymen.
E arnin gs 2

Molders are among the best-paid foundry workers. In January
1945, average straight-time hourly pay in independent nonferrousmetal foundries was $1.35 for floor molders, $1.22 for bench molders,
and $1.29 for machine molders. In independent ferrous-metal found­
ries (excluding cast-iron-pipe foundries) average straight-time earn­
ings were $1.17 for floor molders, $1.14 for bench molders, and $1.31
for machine molders. Hourly earnings in “ captive” (integrated)
foundries of the machinery industries averaged $1.15 for floor molders,

Earnings data shown in this study are in summary form. Detailed information on earnings in inde-

indent foundries obtainable from the Bureau’s Wage
£ selected cities ofis100,000 or more; regional and nationalAnalysis Branch.providedsummaries are available
summaries are
in two mimeographed
reports, (1) Wage Structure: Foundries, 1945, and (2) Occupational Wage Relationship: Foundries, 1945.

$1.10 for bench molders, and $1.19 for machine molders. The above
rates are for males only; female machine molders, of whom there was
a small number, received considerably less. The higher averages
shown for machine molders reflect mainly the fact that most of
these workers are on incentive pay. The beginning rate for molder
apprentices is usually between a third and a half that of journeymen.

Employment Outlook for Coremakers
Coremakers prepare the bodies of sand, or “ cores,” which are placed
in molds to form hollows or holes required in metal castings. (Molten
metal flows around the core, and when the core is later removed the
desired cavity is left.) In this occupation, as in molding (to which
coremaking is closely related), hand and machine operations are the
two divisions.
The W ork o f the Coremaker

The duties of hand coremakers vary considerably according to
the size and complexity of the cores they make. In addition, there
are distinctions between bench and floor work (as in molding) and
between “ dry-sand” and “ green-sand” coremaking.
The simplest type of coremaking consists of preparing small, onepiece, dry-sand cores or core sections. For this work, a one-piece
core box is used. The core box is simply a block of wood or metal
into which a hollow space of the size and shape of the desired core
has been cut. The coremaker fills the hollow with sand and packs
the sand to the desired degree of density. He turns the box over,
placing it on a flat metal core plate. Then the coremaker loosens the
shaped core from the core box by gently rapping the core box with a
mallet. When the core plate is filled with cores, it is transferred to
a core oven, and the cores are baked until they are sufficiently hard.
These operations are essentially routine, especially when a very
large number of identical cores are made, and persons with a narrow
range of specialized skills are usually employed. The preparation of
large or intricate cores is a more difficult and intricate process and
requires a coremaker with broader knowledge and experience.
In the making of complex cores, the coremaker uses a core box with
two or more sections, each section forming a part of the core. First,
the coremaker partially fills one section of the core box with sand.
After carefully ramming this sand, he reinforces it by inserting wires
or rods. In order to lighten large cores and to permit the escape of
gases formed in casting, he may place a layer of cinders or coke at the
center of the core. Then he com
fills the core box with sand
and rams it to the proper density
> may provide gas vents by
piercing the core sand with wires or he may cut a small V-shaped
trough in the sand, which, when the core sections are assembled, will
form a narrow passage.
After reinforcing and venting, the coremaker withdraws the core
from the core box, taking special care to avoid damaging complex
core designs. Any damage to the core’s shape resulting from with­
drawal he patches by hand. In dry-sand coremaking, when all the

sections have been prepared, they are transferred to an oven for
baking. In green-sand coremaking, baking is omitted. The core­
maker may be required to control the baking process, or this task may
be given to a specialized “ core-oven tender.” The baked core
sections are assembled by pasting. If the core assembly is complex,
pasting is usually done by the coremaker. (Less difficult core as­
semblies are prepared by a semiskilled “ core paster.” )


Bench Coremaking.

Machine coremakers operate one of the various types of coremaking
machines described in the first part of this study. In general, these
machines, used in the production of a large number of identical cores,
mechanically perform one or more of the steps needed in hand­
coremaking, and thus reduce the skill required of the worker. Core­
making machine operators are classified according to the kind of
machine that they use.

Coremaking by means of the turn-over (or “ roll-over” ) draw
machine eliminates hand work in connection with ramming of the
sand and withdrawing the core, and to this extent reduces skill re­
quirements. Fully qualified coremakers using turn-over draw ma­
chines require little supervision. They set up their machine for each
job, do any necessary reinforcing and venting, and smooth the cores
as they come from the machine. Less-skilled workers must be more
closely supervised and the necessary adjustments of the machine
made for them. Since these specialized operators make less intricate
cores, reinforcing, venting, and other tasks involving judgment are
considerably simplified. Actual operation of the turn-over draw
machine requires placing a core box on a machine table, actuating the
machine by the properly timed use of hand- and foot-operated con­
trols, and transferring the completed core from the machine to a
core plate.
In coremaking by means of the die (or “ extrusion” ) type coremaking
machine or the core blower, the main duties of workers are those of
relatively routine machine tending. Skill levels in these operations
depend on whether or not the worker is required to set up his own
machine for new jobs.
Qualifications and Training

For all-round coremaking, involving hand work on varying types
of intricate cores, and for most supervisory jobs in coremaking
departments, the journeyman level of skill is required. Journeyman
status in coremaking is achieved through completion of an apprentice­
ship, customarily of 4 years, or the equivalent in other on-the-job
Coremaker appren’ 1 ’ ’
' equently combined with the
training of molders
apprenticeship, and, in this
sense, molding and coremakmg constitute branches of one occupa­
tion. In many cases, all-round coremakers are drawn from among
those who have completed a molder apprenticeship in which exten­
sive coremaking training was included and who chose coremaking,
rather than molding, as their journeyman specialty. However,
there are separate coremaker apprenticeships provided in many
The coremaker apprentice works with journeymen coremakers,
first helping them in routine duties and then undertaking more ad­
vanced work under (dose supervision, such as making simple cores,
operating core ovens, and pasting cores. As his skill increases, the
apprentice makes more complex cores. He receives experience *in
bench and floor work, in dry-sand and green-sand coremaking, and
in the operation of any coremaking machines used in the foundry.
A substantial part of this apprentice period is devoted to molding,
sand preparation, melting, and other phases of foundry work in order
to provide the necessary background for all-round coremaking. Like
other apprentices, the apprentice coremaker normally receives at
least 144 hours of class-room instruction each year, covering such
subjects as arithmetic, shop drawing, and properties of metals.
Some semiskilled coremakers, helpers, and other core-room workers
manage to acquire journeyman status without an apprenticeship.
In general, however, apprenticeship or an equivalent training program
is the main route to the job of all-round coremaker.

Courses in molding, coremaking, or general foundry work in the
better equipped trade schools may serve to shorten the apprentice
period for their graduates, but are not considered a substitute for
on-the-job training.
A very brief learning period— sometimes less than 30 days—is
needed for simple, repetitive coremaking. Persons without previous
foundry experience may be hired as trainees, or foundry helpers or
laborers may be upgraded to this work.
For machine coremaking, training requirements vary considerably.
Journeyman skill or the equivalent is needed for the more difficult
and responsible machine coremaking jobs, such as that of making,
with little supervision, relatively intricate cores of varying types on
the turn-over draw machine. On the other hand, the operation of
coremaking machines, under close supervision, in the preparation of
simple cores can be learned in less than 90 days.
Physical requirements for light coremaking, either by hand or
machine, are fairly modest, since the work is not especially strenuous.
A high degree of manual dexterity, fully equal to that needed in
molding, is necessary for hand work. Women are frequently em­
ployed in this type of coremaking. The physical standards for
work on heavy cores are roughly comparable to those for molding.
E m ploym ent Outlook

A strong demand for coremakers is in prospect for the next few
years on the basis of the anticipated high volume of foundry employ­
ment. Although coremaker employment will be slightly below the
wartime peak— about 30,000 were employed in 1944— it should far
surpass the 1939 level. This will result from the probable expansion
of gray-iron and malleable-iron foundry employment, largely off^ting the postwar drop in steel and nonferrous casting employment.
In addition, however, to the probable volume of employment, it is
necessary to consider supply, replacement, and technological factors
in evaluating employment prospects.

Journeymen coremakers constitute a relatively small group. In
recent years, the number of all-round coremakers has declined some­
what, reflecting the increased use of machine methods (and the sub­
stitution of semiskilled specialists), as well as the lack of active appren­
ticeship programs. During the war, the greatly increased demand for
coremakers led to the upgrading of some less-skilled workers and to a
limited revival of apprentice training. However, the number of fully
qualified coremakers was not materially increased.
Wartime expansion of nonferrous and steel casting, especially the
former, required the training of a large number of semiskilled core­
makers (including a high percentage of women) to perform routine
hand or machine work in making large quantities of light, simple cores.
Some of these less-skilled workers have transferred to different lines of
work, particularly when coremaker jobs were not available in their own
communities and when moving to other cities was required in order to
obtain this type of employment. Although this has resulted in some
reduction in the supply of semiskilled coremakers, the total number
trained and available still greatly exceeds the prewar total.


Although age data for coremakers are not available, it is believed
that the average age of journeymen is relatively high, as a result of
the long period during which there was little apprentice training. In
view of this, it is expected that there will be a high rate of withdrawal
from the trade, due to death and retirement, during the next few years.
However, since journeymen coremakers constitute a relatively small
group, the actual number of men needed as replacements in any one
year is limited.
The replacement situation is different for the semiskilled group.
These are mainly younger workers, and the rate of withdrawal, apart
from transfers to other occupations, will probably be low for many

Prospects are for the continued mechanization of coremaking oper­
ations along the lines indicated in Part 1 of this study. However, as
has been previously shown, this process of substituting coremaking
machines for the hand skills of the trade will for at least several years
be limited mainly to the quantity production of the smaller and less
intricate cores. Since journeymen coremakers are used primarily for
work to which machine methods are often not adapted, the greater
use of coremaking machines should not substantially affect their em­
ployment opportunities in the near future. In the longer run, how­
ever, a significant reduction in journeyman employment may result
from continued technological change. Increased mechanization will
more directly affect semiskilled hand coremakers, since this type of
coremaking is often suited to the extension of machine methods.
The growing use of coremaking machines will tend to expand the
total of machine-operating jobs. However, since the newer machines
also increase output per man-hour, the actual number of jobs may
not be materially increased.
Greater mechanization of coremaking, although tending to decrease
employment of journeymen in hand operations, will, on the other
hand, create some demand for journeymen in supervisory positions.

The conclusions formed from the foregoing analysis are given below
in terms of employment outlook for experienced coremakers as well as
for prospective entrants into the field.
During the next few years the demand for journeyman core­
makers should exceed the supply, providing enough jobs in most
foundry areas for experienced journeymen and a number of openings
for new workers. Many apprenticeships should be available, reflect­
ing the increased popularity of apprentice training among foundry
employers and the stimulus which the GI Bill of Rights will probably
Promotions to supervisory positions in coremaking departments,
whether hand or machine methods are used, will go mainly to qualified
journeymen. In addition, journeymen will be used for the more
difficult and responsible machine-operating jobs.
In the longer run, after the accumulated demand for castings for
civilian products has been met and technological change gathers

momentum, there will be some contraction of journeyman employ­
ment. However, this decline should not be rapid enough to displace
journeymen already well established in the trade. Moreover, in­
creased mechanization may well be accompanied by greater use of
journeymen as machine operators. Of course, the number of openings
for new workers will drop sharply.
(2) Opportunities for semiskilled hand coremakers will be moder­
ately favorable for experienced workers but relatively poor for new
entrants. Although the number of such jobs will be well below the
wartime peak, this reduction has been offset by withdrawals from the
occupation. Openings for trainees will be limited mainly to replace­
ment needs. Increasing mechanization gradually will reduce the
employment of these workers but the more experienced and efficient
will probably have a permanent place in foundry work.
(3) The number of jobs for machine coremakers, although slightly
below that of the war years, is expected to remain fairly stable for
some time. During the next few years, experienced machine operators
will be able to get jobs in most foundry areas. There will also be
openings for men to train for this type of work. In the long run,
opportunities will be somewhat restricted by the anticipated slight
decline in foundry employment as a whole. In addition, some
machine-operating jobs may be filled by journeymen coremakers if
enough become available. However, it is probable that the bulk of
experienced and competent operators will continue to have em­

The pay of coremakers is similar to that of molders. Male hand
coremakers in January 1945 averaged straight-time hourly earnings
of $1.22 in independent ferrous foundries (excluding cast-iron pipe
foundries), $1.24 in independent nonferrous foundries, and $1.15 in
captive foundries of the machinery industries (excluding the machinetool, machine-tool accessories, and electrical machinery industries).
Men operating turn-over draw machines averaged $1.26 in independ­
ent ferrous foundries, $1.29 in the independent nonferrous industry,
and $1.33 in the machinery captive foundries. The incentive pay
basis for much machine coremaking accounts in part for the higher
earnings shown for the machine operators, most of whom are less
skilled than the hand coremakers. Women in these occupations
earned, on the average, substantially less than men.
As in molding, apprentices for coremaking typically start at from
one-third to one-half of the journeyman rate.

Employment Outlook for Patternmakers
Patternmakers are the highly skilled craftsmen who construct
patterns and core boxes for castings. This work is done in specially
equipped pattern shops, which are of two types— “ independent” and
“ integrated.”
Independent pattern shops are separate establishments which make
patterns for sale to foundries and to users of castings, such as machin­
ery plants. (These users furnish the patterns, along with their orders
for castings, to foundries which do not have tneir own pattern depart­
ments.) The integrated, or “ corporation,” type of pattern shop is

part of an industrial establishment. An integrated shop may be
operated in conjunction with a foundry (which uses the patterns).
On the other hand, it may be the pattern department of a plant which
buys castings from a commercial foundry, supplying the appropriate
patterns with each new order for castings.
Since patternmaking need not be performed in a foundry establish­
ment, it is not, in a strict sense, entirely a foundry occupation. In
spite of this, patternmaking is so closely associated with foundry
work that it is included in the scope of this study.
Patternmakers are classified primarily according to the kind of
material they use in making patterns. Those who construct wooden
patterns constitute about two-thirds of the total. Of the remainder,
most are metal patternmakers, although there are a few who work
with other materials, such as plaster.
The W ork o f the Patternmaker

The patternmaker begins a typical job by studying a blueprint of
the desired casting. Working from the blueprint, he plans the pattern,
taking into account the manner in which the object will be cast and
the type of metal to be used. To do this properly, the pattern­
maker must understand general foundry practice. After planning
the work procedure to be followed, he makes the pattern. At this
point the work of wood and metal patternmakers differs.


Finishing a pattern.

The wood patternmaker selects the appropriate wood stock and
“ lays out” the pattern, marking the design for each section on the
proper piece of wood. Using power saws, he cuts each piece of wood
roughly to width and length. He then shapes the rough pieces into
their final form, using various woodworking machines— such as borers,
lathes, planers, band saws, and sanders— as well as many small hand
tools. Finally, he assembles the pattern segments by hand.
The duties of a metal patternmaker differ from those of a wood
patternmaker principally in that metal and metalworking equipment
are substituted for wood and woodworking equipment. Metal
patternmakers prepare metal patterns from metal stock, or, more
commonly, from rough castings made from an original wood pattern.
T o shape and finish their work, they use a variety of metalworking
machines, including the engine lathe, drill press, milling machine,
power hacksaw, grinder, and shaper. Apart from these differences,
metal patternmaking is similar to work on wood patterns, requiring
blueprint reading and lay-out.
Throughout his work the patternmaker carefully checks each dimen­
sion of the pattern. A high degree of accuracy is required, since any
imperfection in the pattern win be reproduced in the castings made
from it. Other duties of patternmakers include making core boxes
(in much the same manner as patterns are constructed) and repairing
patterns and core boxes.
Qualifications and Training

Apprenticeship, or a similar program of on-the-job training, is the
principal means of qualifying as a journeyman patternmaker. Be­
cause of the high degree of skill and the wide range of knowledge
needed for patteramaking, it is very difficult to obtain the necessary
training through informally “ picking up” the trade. Good trade
school courses in patternmaking provide useful preparation for the
prospective apprentice, and may in some cases be credited toward
completion of the apprentice period. However, these courses do not
substitute for apprenticeship or other on-the-job training.
The usual apprentice period for patternmaking is 5 years, or about
10,000 working hours. In addition, at least 720 hours of class-room
instruction in related technical subjects is normally provided during
apprenticeship. Since wood and metal patternmaking differ in certain
essential respects, there are separate apprenticeships for each type.
The patternmaker apprentice begins by helping journeymen in
routine duties. Then he makes simple patterns under close super­
vision, gradually learning to use the various types of machine and
hand tools. As his training progresses, the work becomes increasingly
complex and the supervision more general. In order to give the
apprentice the necessary background in foundry work, it is common
to assign him to a foundry as a helper for a short period.
Employers generally prefer high school graduates as patternmakerapprentices, and many require this amount of schooling as a minimum.
In selecting apprentices, employers often review the applicants’
scholastic records, with special attention to grades in mathematics,
science, and shop courses.
Pattemmaking, although not strenuous, requires considerable stand­
ing and moving about; the usual physical standards for apprentices

take this into account. A high degree of manual dexterity is especially
important because of the precise nature of many hand operations.
To all practical purposes, this is entirely a man’s occupation.
Em ploym ent Outlook

It is expected that more patternmakers will be employed during
the next few years than before or during the war. Although the
general rate of foundry activity will probably be somewhat below
that of 1944—when a total of about 14,000 journeymen patternmakers
were employed— other factors will act to increase the number of
patternmaker jobs. Because of the likelihood of numerous and rapid
changes in the design of many products in the reconverted industries
and the consequent need for new patterns for re-designed cast parts,
the demand for patterns will probably be proportionately greater
than the demand for castings. In addition, the return to a 40-hour
workweek in pattern shops, in place of the substantially longer war­
time schedules, should more than offset any decrease in requirements
for patternmakers resulting from the loss of certain types of wartime
The supply of fully qualified patternmakers did not keep pace
with expanded wartime needs, because of entry into military service
of a number of the younger workers. (Prior to the beginning of
large-scale demobilization, there were over 1,500 patternmakers—
journeymen and apprentices— in uniform.)
In spite of the favorable employment outlook for patternmakers
it is not probable that the demand for these workers will in the next
few years substantially exceed the supply, in view of the number of
experienced veterans who have returned to their civilian trade.
Thus, new openings will be limited largely to replacement needs,
which for the next 5-year period should not be more than about 2,000
on the basis of the probable rates of death and retirement. The
number of journeymen shifting from patternmaking to other
occupations is small, and few jobs for new workers will come
from this source. However, because drop-outs in apprenticeship
are fairly common, there should be many more apprentice openings
than the need for newly trained journeymen indicates.
After several years of high employment, the number of pattern­
makers jobs will decline slightly, reflecting the, general downward
trend in foundry activity that will set in after the accumulated demand
for civilian durable goods has been met. However, this decrease in
patternmaking employment will result primarily in reducing the
opportunities for entry into the occupation rather than in leading to
the unemployment of experienced men. In the longer run, the em­
ployment level should be fairly stable.
Journeymen patternmakers may be advanced to supervisory posi­
tions in pattern shops, or may, when patternmaking employment is
not available, find jobs in related fields. Wood patternmakers can
qualify for nearly every kind of skilled woodworking job— cabinet­
making, for example. Metal patternmakers are suited for many
types of machine shop work, including the jobs of machinist, machinetool operator, and lay-out man.
In conclusion, it is indicated that there are good prospects for stable
employment in this highly skilled field, but that opportunities for

entry are limited mainly to the relatively small number of openings
created by replacement needs.

Pattemmaking is among the highest-paid occupations in manu­
facturing. In January 1945, average straight-time earnings of wood
patternmakers in independent ferrous foundries (excluding cast-iron
pipe foundries) were $1.34 an hour; in independent nonferrous foun­
dries, $1.45; and in pattern shops in the machinery industries (exclud­
ing the machine-tool, machine-tool accessories, and electrical ma­
chinery industries), $1.23. Wage rates in independent pattern shops
tend to be somewhat higher. Straight-time earnings in independent
pattern shops in Detroit (one of the highest-wage areas) in April 1944
averaged $2.01 an horn* for wood patternmakers and $1.99 an hour for
metal patternmakers. The averages for individual shops in this area
ranged from $1.90 to $2.50 an hour.
Apprentices to the trade receive between one-fifth and one-third of
the journeyman rate in their first 6 months of apprenticeship and are
advanced gradually as they progress through the 5-year training

Employment Outlook in Other Foundry Occupations
There is a large class of distinctive foundry jobs, apart from those
classed as apprenticeable, which are an important source of employ­
ment. From among the many occupations in this category, five—
chippers and grinders, castings inspectors, foundry technicians, sand
mixers, and melters—have been selected on the basis of skill require­
ments or numerical importance or both, for detailed discussion in this
study. Some of the other occupations of a similar nature are noted
briefly below.
Pourers transport molten metal from the furnace units to the mold­
ing floor and pour the metal into molds. Molder’s helpers and coremaker1 helpers work with journeymen and relieve them of certain
routine tasks. Gore-oven tenders operate the furnaces in which cores
are baked. Core assemblers put together core sections to form com­
pleted cores. Shake-out men remove castings from the molds in which
they were cast. Equipment which mechanically cleans castings is
operated by sandblasters and tumbler operators. Heat treaters fire and
regulate the annealing furnaces used to improve the properties of
many castings.
Chippers and Grinders

Chippers and grinders constitute a large group of workers, most of
them semiskilled, in the cleaning and finishing departments of found­
ries. Chipping consists of removing the excess metal from castings
by means of pneumatic hammers or hand hammers and chisels. In
grinding, a mechanically powered abrasive wheel is used to smooth and
finish castings. Although chipping and grinding may be separate
occupations, they are often combined into one job, especially in the
smaller foundries. There are variations in skill requirements,

depending on the intricacy of the castings on which work is done, the
degree of precision required, and the amount of supervision given the
The basic duties of the chipper or grinder are generally learned in a
brief period of on-the-job training, and there is no special form of
preparation needed. Persons without previous foundry experience
may be hired directly, or foundry laborers may be upgraded to this


Grinding a Casting;

work. Considerable experience in chipping and grinding is required,
however, to qualify for the more intricate, precise, and responsible
In many respects, chipping and grinding involves quite strenuous
work and at least average strength is needed. Consequently, relatively
few women are employed in this occupation, and these only for work
on small castings. Chippers and grinders may be promoted to more

skilled or responsible jobs, such as inspector or foreman, in the
finishing departments of foundries.
Employment prospects for chippers and grinders are favorable for
the next 2- or 3-year period, particularly in areas in which gray-iron
and malleable-iron foundries predominate. Although employment in
this occupation will be below the wartime peak in foundries as a whole,
transfers to other lines of work have tended to balance supply and
demand. Since chippers and grinders, taken together, constitute
one of the largest of the foundry occupations—about 50,000 were
employed in 1944— there will be many openings for new workers
resulting from withdrawals.
The longer-run outlook is slightly less favorable. The growing use
of molding methods— such as permanent mold casting—which reduce
the amount of finishing required will result in some decline in the
employment of chippers and grinders. However, this will be a gradual
development, and the more-skilled workers in the occupation will
probably not be displaced.
In January 1945, straight-time hourly earnings of male chippers and
grinders averaged $1.06 in independent ferrous foundries (excluding
cast-iron pipe foundries); 95 cents in independent nonferrous found­
ries; and 91 cents in the captive foundries of the machinery industries
(excluding the electrical equipment, machine-tool and machine-tool
accessories industries).
Castings Inspectors

These are workers in the cleaning and finishing departments of
foundries who look over finished castings to see if there are structural
defects, such as cracks or blowholes, and check the measurements
against the tolerances shown on blueprints. The more skilled
inspectors are able to read blueprints, to work on widely different
types of castings, and to mark partially defective castings to show what
should be done to salvage them. The less-skilled do routine measuring
and checking of large numbers of identical castings under close
Skilled inspectors’ jobs are usually filled by promotion from lowergrade inspection jobs or other cleaning and finishing occupations, such
as that of chipper and grinder. For the less-skilled work, previous
foundry experience may not be needed. Physical requirements
depend on the size of castings inspected and the availability of
mechanical handling equipment. In the lighter types of inspection
work, a small number of women are employed, mainly for the lessskilled jobs. Skilled inspectors may be promoted to the jobs of chief
inspector and cleaning-room foreman.
During the next few years, the total number of inspectors employed
will fall short of the peak wartime level. (About 15,000 were employed
in 1944.) However, a fairly strong demand for skilled inspectors is
anticipated and, since the supply of these workers was not greatly
increased during the war, there should be ample employment oppor­
tunities for experienced men as well as some openings for those
qualified to learn the work. The number of persons with experience
in routine inspection will probably exceed the demand for this type of
worker, but a high rate of transfer into other occupations should create

some openings for new entrants. The longer-run outlook for both
skill classes is for a fairly stable level of employment.
Male class A inspectors in January 1945 earned an average of
$1.06 per hour (straight time) in independent ferrous foundries
(excluding cast-iron pipe foundries); $1.19 in independent nonferrous
foundries. Male inspectors of the lower-skill grades averaged from
5 to 25 cents per hour less. Earnings of women in this occupation
were in most cases markedly lower than those of men at comparable
skill grades.
Foundry Technicians

This is a group of skilled occupations having to do with quality
control in the making of castings. Included are workers with such
specialized duties as testing of molding and coremaking sands, chemical
analysis of metal, operation of machines which test the strength and
hardness of castings, and use of X-ray or magnetic apparatus to
inspect the internal structure of castings.
In general, a high school education is prerequisite, and employers
may require additional technical schooling. However, most of the
foundry technician’s duties are learned on the job. Physical strength
is not ordinarily needed, and women are often employed. Foundry
technicians may advance to supervisory positions in their various
specialized fields.
The employment of foundry technicians during the next few years
will closfely approach the peak war level and, in areas in which grayiron and malleable-iron foundries are particularly important, may
well exceed the wartime high. Morever, there should be a gradual
expansion of employment opportunities, resulting from the long-run
trend toward greater use of scientific methods in casting metal.
However, although this is a growing occupation, it is numerically
small, and, consequently, only a limited number of openings are
likely in any one year.
Sand M ixers

Sand mixers prepare sand for use in molding and coremaking. They
cleanse the sand of scrap, moisten the sand with water as required,
add the necessary binding ingredients in the proper proportions, and
mix the sand by means of hand shovels or mechanical sand-mixing
machines. They may test samples of the mixed sand to determine
its quality and consistency.
The work is usually learned in a brief period of on-the-job training.
Inexperienced persons may be hired as trainees, or laborers may be
upgraded to fill vacancies. There are no special educational qualifi­
cations. At least average strength is needed for hand work; machine
sand mixing is less strenous. Only a very few women are employed
as sand mixers. Qualified workers in this occupation may be pro­
moted to supervisory positions in sand-preparation departments.
The number of jobs for hand and machine sand mixers during the
next few years will be below the wartime level. (In 1944, approxi­
mately 10,000 sand mixers were employed.) However, if allowance
is made for withdrawals from this occupation there should be some
openings for new workers, especially in gray-iron and malleable-iron
foundries. In the longer-run period, increased use of mechanical

mixing methods will reduce the need for hand mixers, but those
experienced in the use of sand-mixing machines should continue to
find employment.
Average straight-time hourly earnings of male sand mixers in
January 1945 were as follows: Independent ferrous foundries (exclud­
ing cast-iron pipe foundries), 87 cents; independent nonferrous found­
ries, 85 cents; captive foundries in the machinery industries (excluding
the electrical machinery, machine-tool, and machine-tool accessories
industries), 80 cents.
M elters

A foundry melter operates or directs the operation of a furnace
unit used to melt metal for castings. In general, the work involves
charging the furnace with the necessary materials— such as metal ingot
and scrap, controlling the furnace temperature, pouring off the
molten metal, and, in some cases, maintaining the furnace in good
operating condition. The melter may supervise a small group of
helpers and laborers or he may operate one of the smaller types of
melting units without assistance. A melter usually specializes on a
particular type of furnace— cupola, open-hearth, air, electric, crucible,
or reverberatory. Skill requirements vary considerably, depending
on the amount of supervision given the melter and on the particular
kind of furnace used.
As a rule, there are no apprenticeships or other organized training
programs provided for melters. The less-skilled melting jobs are
learned in a brief period of informal training. The usual way to get
one of the more-skilled jobs is to begin as a furnace helper and grad­
ually to pick up the skills of the melter’s work. When a vacancy for
the position of melter occurs, an experienced and competent helper is
eligible. The more-skilled melters must have some familiarity with
general foundry practice, shop arithmetic, and certain practical
aspects of chemistry and metallurgy. Since the duties of helpers are
in many respects strenuous, physical requirements are fairly high and
normally only men are employed.
Employment prospects for the next few years are favorable for
skilled melters— a small group which has shown little increase during
the wartime expansion of foundry employment generally. Although
no statistical data on the age of these workers are available it is
believed that replacement demand will operate at a relatively high
rate during the next 5 or 10 years. Thus, there should be oppor­
tunities for a limited number of workers to train as replacements.
The number of jobs at the less-skilled level will be below the wartime
peak, but since many of these men have left foundry work there
should be some openings for newcomers.
The long-run trend is for a fairly steady volume of employment in
this occupation. There is, however, a definite tendency to simplify
the work of the more-skilled melters by transferring some of their
responsibilities to technical employees.

Working Conditions in Foundries
The working environment varies greatly among individual found­
ries. Some compare favorably with metalworking operations as a
whole in such respects as frequency and severity of accidents, in­

cidence of industrial disease, and plant cleanliness, ventilation, and
temperature. Others fall far below the metalworking average in safety
and comfort. Because of this wide range, generalizations on foundry
working conditions are likely to be somewhat misleading. How­
ever, with this limitation in view, the following information may be
helpful to those considering going into foundry work.
Hazards 1

The accident frequency and severity rates for independent ferrous
foundries, as shown below, greatly exceed the averages for the group
of industries producing iron and steel and iron and steel products
other than machinery.1
ferrous foundries



35. 9
36. 1
49. 7
43. 4
43. 0
41. 8

Iron and steel in dustry group

2. 8
2. 2
3 .2
2. 9
3. 2
2. 3
2. 6

17. 6
17. 9
24. 7
24. 1
24. 3
21. 6

2. 0
2. 0
2 .1
2. 0
2. 0
1. 8
1. 8

It should be noted that the sharp wartime increase shown by the
ferrous foundry frequency and severity rates reflects mainly more
intensive operations, as well as the influx of inexperienced workers,
rather than any deterioration of safety precautions. A significant
improvement between 1942 and 1945 in the accident record of the
industry is also apparent. Moreover, in one important respect,
independent ferrous foundries compare favorably with the iron and
steel group: in the peak accident year of 1942, only 0.4 percent of the
injuries occurring in the ferrous foundries resulted in death or per­
manent total disability; for the iron and steel industry group this rate
was 0.8 percent.
Data available for 2,188 foundries, including both captive and
independent types, show the 1942 accident records for each of the
major classes:

Ferrous job foundries_______________ 52.
Gray-iron______________________ 55.
M alleable-iron_________________ 49.
Steel___________________________ 50.
Cast-iron pipe__________________ 46.
Nonferrous job foundries_____________ 35.
Foundries other than job foundries___ 37.



3. 1
3. 4
2. 5
2. 9
3. 8
1. 6
3. 2

A more favorable aspect of foundry safety is indicated by the fact
that no disabling injuries occurred during 1942 in 63 percent of the
nonferrous job foundries, 24 percent of the ferrous job foundries,
and 29 percent of the nonjob foundries. The frequency rates were
below the 1942 average for all manufacturing industry in an addi­
1 Industrial hazards data used in this section are drawn primarily from published studies of the Bureau’s
Industrial Hazards Division. For a detailed analysis of safety in foundries, see Bull. No. 805: Injuries and
Accident Causes in the Foundry Industry, 1942.
2 The frequency rate refers to the average number of disabling injuries for each million employee-hours
worked. The severity rate is the average number of days lost per thousand employee-hours worked.

tional 6 percent of the nonferrous job foundries* 10 percent of ferrous
job foundries, and 14 percent of the nonjob foundries.
Hand movement of heavy materials is a major source of foundry
accidents, resulting in sprains and in crushed fingers or toes. Objects
dropped from overhead cranes are responsible for some of the more
serious accidents. Spilled or splashed molten metal may endanger
many workers on the foundry floor. Falls may result from tripping
over tools, scrap metal, or other objects left lying about. Marked
differences in temperature among the various parts of a foundry tend
to increase the workers’ susceptibility to colds and other respiratory
Foundry workers may be exposed to the danger of silicosis, an
industrial disease, in which, because silica dust is inhaled, normal lung
tissue is damaged, weakening the respiratory system and in some cases
leading to tuberculosis and pneumonia. However, the incidence of
silicosis is actually quite low and it is a relatively minor source of
disability. (In 65 ferrous foundries surveyed, industrial disease,
including silicosis, accounted for substantially less than 1 percent of all
disabling injuries occurring in 1942.)
The frequency of accidents tends to vary greatly among the various
major departments of foundries. In general, pattern shops and core
rooms are the least hazardous; molding departments are somewhat
more hazardous; and shake-out, melting, and cleaning and finishing
operations show the highest injury rates.
Hazards associated with foundry work are in large measure pre­
ventable by such means as good “ housekeeping” (the orderly arrange­
ment of materials and tools), providing special safety equipment for,
certain operations, furnishing machinery for heavy lifting, and train­
ing workers in safe practices. The danger of silicosis may be largely
eliminated by the installation of dust-control equipment. In recent
years, substantial progress has been made in these respects, especially
in dust control.
Other Conditions o f W ork

Smoke and fumes are often a nuisance in foundries, although where
adequate ventilating systems have been installed discomfort from
these sources has been minimized. Heat may be excessive near the
melting units, especially in warm weather, and inadequate in other
parts of the establishment during the winter. However, better regu­
lation of temperature has been achieved in many foundries. Noise
may be a problem in certain operations, particularly in cleaning and
finishing. Personal cleanliness in foundry work is difficult because
of the extensive use of sand in the casting process. However, good
housekeeping has in many cases kept this problem under control.
In addition, a large number of foundries now provide showers for their
The large majority of foundry workers are union members; the
principal labor organizations covering foundry workers include the
International Molders and Foundry Workers Union of North America
(AFL), the United Steelworkers of America (CIO), and the United
Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
(CIO). Most patternmakers belong to the Pattern Makers’ League
of North America (AFL).

The scheduled workweek in foundries, prior to the war, was typically
about 40 hours. During the war, hours in most foundries were
lengthened to a schedule of 48 or more per week. It is probable that
a 40-hour week will again be customary in the postwar years.
In peacetime, there is some seasonal unemployment of foundry
workers. The degree of seasonal change in employment differs among
foundries, depending mainly on the industry or industries providing
the principal market for the castings output of a given establishment.
For example, the amount of seasonal variation in foundries making
automotive castings is influenced in large part by the seasonality of
automobile production. In general, foundry work is comparable to
most other metalworking in regularity of employment.

A p p e n d ix
Average Straight-Time H ourly Earnings1 for Selected Occupations in Independent
Foundries, by Wage Area , January 1945 2
Type of foundry, occupation, and grade United



1. ?2






Buffalo Chicago Cincin­


Ferrous foundries

Chippers and grinders______________
Coremakers, hand__________________
Coremakers, turn-over draw machineinspectors, class B __________________
Inspectors, class C _____________ ___
Molders, hand, bench....... ........... ........
Molders, floor_______ ______________
Molders, machine_________________
Patternmakers, wood_______________
Sand mixers, hand and machine_____











N onferrous foundries

Chippers and grinders______________
Coremakers, hand--------------------------Coremakers, turn-over draw machine.
Inspectors, class B ____ _______ ______
Inspectors, class C __________________
Molders, hand, bench_____ ____ ____
Molders, flo o r____________ ______
Molders, machine__________________
Patternmakers, wood______ _______
Sand mixers, hand and machine_____




Type of foundry, occupation, and Detroit Indian­ Los
New­ Phila- Pittsapolis Angeles waukee ark delphia burgh


Ferrous foundries

Chippers and grinders— __ ________
Coremakers, hand—. _______ _____
Coremakers, turn-over draw ma­
chine. _________________________
Tnsp^fnrs, rtlass B
Tnsp^tors, «1ass C
Molders, hand, bench_____________
Molders, floor....... ........... ................
Molders, m achine__ _____________
Patternmakers, wood_____ ________
Sand mixers, hand and machine____





























N onferrous foundries

Chippers and grinders________ ____
Coremakers, hand________________
Coremakers, turn-over draw ma­
chine____________________ ______
Inspectors, class B ________________
Inspectors, class C ________________, hand, beneh

Molders, floor __________________
Molders, machine_________________
Patternmakers, wood___________
Sand mixers, hand and machine____





1 Excluding premium pay for overtime and night work. Averages are for male workers only.
Data are from the Bureau’s Wage Analysis Branch. Further information on wages as well as on wage
and related practices in independent foundries is obtainable from the Wage Analysis Branch. Local sum­
maries are available for selected cities of 100,000 or more; regional and national summaries are provided
in 2 mimeographed reports, (1) Wage Structure: Foundries, 1945, and (2) Occupational Wage Relation­
ship: Foundries, 1945.
s Insufficient number of workers to justify comparison.


Occupational Oudook Publications o f the Bureau o f
Labor Statistics

This bulletin is one of a series of reports on employment trends and
opportunities in the various occupations and professions, for use in the
vocational guidance of veterans, young people in schools, and others
considering the choice of an occupation. The reports describe the
long-run outlook for employment in each occupation and give infor­
mation on earnings, working conditions, and the training required.
Reports are usually first published in the Monthly Labor Review
(subscription price per year, $3.50) and are reprinted as bulletins.
Both the Monthly Labor Review and the bulletins may be purchased
from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Following is a list of other bulletins in the series, with their prices
and with the dates of the publication of articles in the Monthly Labor
Employment Opportunites fo r Diesel-Engine Mechanics.
Bulletin No. 813 (1945), price 5 cents. (Monthly Labor Re­
view, February 1945.)
Occupational Data fo r Counselors, A Handbook of Census Information
Selected for Use in Guidance.
Bulletin No. 817 (1945), price 10 cents. (Prepared jointly with
the U. S. Office of Education.)
Postwar Employment Prospects fo r Women in the Hosiery Industry.
Bulletin No. 835 (1945), price 5 cents. (Monthly Labor Review,
May 1945.)
Employment Opportunities in Aviation Occupations, Part I —Postwar
Employment Outlook.
Bulletin No. 837-1 (1945), price 10 cents. (Monthly Labor
Review, April and June 1945.)
Employment Opportunities in Aviation Occupations, Part I I —Duties,
Qualifications, Earnings, and Working Conditions.
Bulletin No. 837-2 (1946), [in press]. (Monthly Labor Review,
August 1946.)
Employment Outlook for Automobile Mechanics.
Bulletin No. 842 (1945), price 10 cents.
Employment Opportunities for Welders.
Bulletin No. 844 (1945), price 10 cents. (Monthly Labor
Review, September 1945.)
Postwar Outlook fo r Physicians.
Bulletin No. 863 (1946), price 10 cents. (Monthly Labor Re­
view, December 1945.)
Factors Affecting Earnings in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Bulletin No. 881 (1946), price 10 cents. (Monthly Labor
Review, June 1946.)