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Vi *22

Education and Training
Employment Outlook

Martin P. Durkin, Secretary


Ewan Clague, Com m issioner


Reprint from 1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1129


Employment Outlook For
Mechanics and Repairmen
A Reprint From The
1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1129
Martin P. Durkin, Secretary
Ewan Clague, Com m issioner

In cooperation with
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. - Price 20 cents

Letter of Transmittal
U nited S tates D epartm ent of L abor ,
B u r ea u of L abor S tatistics ,

Washington, D. C.y January 21, 1953.
The S ecretary of L abo r :
I have the honor of transmitting herewith a report on the employment outlook for
mechanics and repairmen taken from our 1951 edition of the Occupational Outlook Hand­
book. This reprint from the Handbook is being issued at this time to make available to
the many counselors, teachers, students, and others who seek accurate occupational
information, a separate report on employment opportunities in the large and growing
field of repair occupations—a field of great interest to mechanically inclined young people.
Veterans will be particularly interested in this field, since many of them have acquired
related skills in the Armed Services. This report will serve to replace and bring up to
date Bulletins 813 and 842 on diesel and auto mechanics issued in 1945 and Bulletin 892
on business machine servicemen issued in 1947. It also furnishes information on a num­
ber of other repair and mechanical jobs, including electrical and electronic technicians and
repairmen of industrial machinery.
Librarians, counselors, and other users of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, as
well as others with special interest in a single occupation or industry, have indicated the
need for separate reports on some of the occupational and industrial fields covered in the
The research for the Occupational Outlook Handbook was carried on with the finan­
cial support of the Veterans Administration, which needed information for use in its
vocational rehabilitation and education activities.

Hon. M artin P. D u r k in ,

Secretary of Labor.

E w an C lagu e , Commissioner.

Automobile mechanics__________________________________________________________________
Accounting-bookkeeping machine servicemen_____________________________________________
Accounting-statistical machine servicemen________________________________________________
Adding machine servicemen_____________________________________________________
Calculating machine servicemen__________________________________________________________
Cash register servicemen________________________________________________________________
Typewriter servicemen__________________________________________________________________
Diesel mechanics_______________________________________________________________________
Electrical-household-appliance servicemen________________________________________________
Radar technicians _______________________________________________________________________
Radio and television technicians__________________________________
Telephone installation and maintenance craftsmen_________________________________________
Telephone, central office equipment installers_____________________________________________
Refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanics______________________________________________
Industrial machinery repairmen_____________________
Jewelers and jewelry repairmen__________________________________________________________
Shoe repairmen_________________________________________________________________________
Watch repairmen_______________________________________________________________________




Automobile Mechanics
(See D. O. T. 5-81.010, .120, .420, and .510)

Outlook Summary

How To Enter

There will be many apprenticeship and other
on-the-job training openings for beginners in this
large trade during the early fifties. Turn-over,
high in this trade, will continue to be the main
source of job openings. Long-run employment
trend slowly upward.

Most mechanics learn the trade by working in
a garage or repair shop as helper, greaser, or
washer. It will be helpful to men who enter the
trade in this way to take courses in related tech­
nical subjects which are given in most public voca­
tional schools. These courses aid in understand­
ing how automobile engines operate, and give
knowledge of the parts used in different types and
makes of cars.
The best way to learn the trade is to serve a
3- or 4-year apprenticeship, which assures the be­
ginner of a definite schedule of training, covering
the entire field in an orderly fashion. For ex­
ample, in one agreement which calls for at least
8.000 hours (about-Ayears) training, the appren­
tice must spend at least 2,000 hours working on
motors. The contract also calls for 1,000 hours
each on front axle and steering, rear wheel and
axle assembly, and transmission and clutch work;
600 hours in learning how to adjust and repair
brakes. Such formal apprenticeships have be­
come increasingly common since the end of the
war. In June 1949, it was estimated that about
29.000 were working as apprentices. In addi­
tion, an even larger number of men were learning
this trade in late 1949 while working as helpers
or in other beginning jobs.
It is desirable to have completed at least 2 years
of high school before beginning on-the-job train­
ing or entering a vocational school. Many high
schools offer some training in auto repair in their
shop courses. Courses in English, general science,
physics, and mathematics are also very helpful,
especially for men who want to advance to super­
visory jobs or open their own shops. Mechanics
employed by automobile and truck dealers are
sometimes sent to automobile factories or parts
manufacturers for specialized training.
Those entering automotive work should have
definite mechanical ability and an interest in work­
ing with tools. This knack for mechanical work

Nature of Work

Automobile mechanics do repair work on pas­
senger cars, busses, and trucks. Typical repair
jobs are tuning up the motor, replacing piston
rings, re-aligning the wheels, and adjusting or re­
lining the brakes. Mechanics may be either gen­
eral mechanics or specialists such as auto elec­
tricians, carburetor experts, and paint and body
repairmen. Body repairmen, as a rule, are skilled
only in straightening, repairing or refinishing fen­
ders and bodies. The other specialists are usually
mechanics with all-round knowledge of automotive
repair who have concentrated upon one kind of
repair work.
Where Employed

Most of the estimated 500,000 mechanics work
in service departments of car and truck dealers
or in independent repair garages. There were
about 150,000 such establishments in 1949, many
of them owned and operated by mechanics.
Mechanics are also employed in garages of trans­
portation companies and other large firms which
service their own fleets. Some work in gasoline
service stations, where they usually do only light
repair work.
There are auto mechanics in all parts of the
country, including small rural communities.
States with the greatest number of auto mechanics
are those which have the largest number of motor
vehicles. In 1948, these were California, New
York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Mich­
igan, and New Jersey.



often makes the difference between an average
mechanic and a really good one.
O utlook

The Nation had more than 45 million automo­
biles in 1950, half of which were manufactured
before World War II. This means that the
volume of repair work will stay at a high level
during the early fifties, whether or not defense
preparations make it necessary to curtail the pro­
duction of new cars.
Employment of automobile mechanics probably
will stay near the 1950 level of approximately
500,000. Nevertheless, many new trainees will be
needed each year in this large occupation to re­
place men who die, retire, enter military service,
or leave their jobs for other reasons. Training op­
portunities may not be as plentiful as during the
1945-48 period, however, when shops were hiring
thousands of veterans to make up for wartime
shortage of good trainees.
Some of the vacancies will arise as men die or
retire. In 10 or 15 years, when a substantial pro­
portion of the workers in the trade will be over
55 years of age, the number of drop-outs resulting
from death and retirement probably will increase
There will be a strong demand for body repair­
men in the early fifties. As a result of postwar
A u to m o b ile

m echanics

d oing a m a jor ove rh a u l jo b
Ph o t o g r a p h



on a c ylin d e r

U. S. De p a r tm



La b o r

changes in auto body design, such as use of larger
sheets of steel on the body and the omission of
running boards, auto bodies are more easily dam­
aged and require more complex and extensive
repair work.
Mechanics with business ability, plus consider­
able experience, will still find favorable oppor­
tunities to open their own repair shops. However,
the trend is toward greater numbers of mechanics
working for large truck and car dealers, since the
capital required to open a modern well-equipped
shop is often beyond the means of many mechanics.
In the long run, motor travel will increase. Em­
ployment will probably continue to rise unless a
simpler way of propelling cars is developed and
widely adopted, such as might be possible with
gas turbine engines. Although newer cars require
fewer repairs, the expected growth in the number
of motor vehicles will probably be great enough
to assure an increase in the total amount of repair
work, and consequently in employment.
Earning.s and W o rkin g C onditions

Class A mechanics had average straight-time
earnings in July 1948 ranging from $1.31 in
Providence, R. I., to $2.15 in Cleveland, Ohio, ac­
cording to a survey of independent general repair
shops in dealer’s service departments in 30 large
cities. In about a third of these cities, average
earnings exceeded $1.75 an hour, and were $2 or
more in San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit, and
Cleveland. For Class B mechanics, average
straight-time earnings in the 18 cities for which
data were available ranged from 89 cents an hour
in Atlanta to $1.72 in San Francisco. Automobile
electricians earned more than Class A mechanics
(from $1.33 to $2.25 an hour) ; body repairmen
made still more ($1.37 to $2.36). As of the end
of 1949, wages in most cities were slightly higher.
In general, wage rates were substantially higher
in the Pacific Coast and Great Lakes cities than
in other regions. Within cities, pay varies widely,
depending upon the individual’s skill, the size and
location of the shop, and, where there are incentive
wage plans, on the volume of business done.
Earnings in small rural areas tend to be consid­
erably lower than in cities. Mechanics may be paid
a straight salary, sometimes with an incentive
bonus; but the flat rate system, whereby the me­
chanic receives a percentage of the labor cost


charged the customer, is the most common, espe­
cially in the large cities.
About a third of the mechanics covered in the
July 1948 survey had a 44-hour week. Most of
the others worked longer, except in Cleveland, St.
Louis, San Francisco, and Seattle, where the ma­
jority were on a 40-hour week. More than 90 per­
cent of the shops surveyed gave their mechanics
vacation with pay. Most shops pay for holidays,
usually six in number. Work is fairly steady
throughout the year.
Unionization is not very widespread among me­
chanics as a whole, but where it exists it is usually

found in the shops of large dealers and the repair
shops of truck and bus fleets. They are highly or­
ganized on the West Coast, but there is some un­
ionization in other parts of the country, particu­
larly in large cities.
Where To Go for Further Information

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of For­
eign and Domestic Commerce. Establishing and
operating an Automobile-Repair Shop, Industrial
(Small Business) Series No. 24. 1946. Out of
print but available in many public libraries.

Accounting-Bookkeeping’ Machine Servicemen
(D.O.T. 5-83.121)

Outlook Summary

Opportunities will be good during the early
fifties for a limited number of men to be trained
in this work. Most of these openings will go to
men already employed by the companies which
make and service the machines, and who are ex­
perienced in repairing adding machines, calcu­
lators, or cash registers. For those successful
in entering the field, prospects are for steady
Nature of work

These servicemen inspect, adjust, and repair ac­
counting-bookkeeping machines. There are a
number of different types of these machines—some
post entries, some do billing, while others are com­
bination typewriters and computing devices. All
types have keyboards, like typewriters and adding
machines. These machines are used wherever a
great deal of accounting and bookkeeping is done,
such as in department stores, large retail and
wholesale businesses, and banks. Since there are
several different types of machines, each compli­
cated, the servicing is highly skilled work. Serv­
icing these machines is often combined with the
servicing of other office machines.
Repair work involves determining the cause of
trouble in the machines, replacing worn or broken
parts, and cleaning and oiling machines. Service­
men use common hand tools such as wrenches,
punches, pliers, screw drivers, and a few hand

tools which are specially designed for the particu­
lar type of machine being repaired. Adjustments
and minor repairs are made in the offices where the
machines are used. However, some major repair
work is taken to the shop.
Where Employed

These servicemen are employed principally in
large cities, since this is where the bulk of the ma­
chines are used. Most accounting-bookkeeping ma­
chine mechanics are employed in the local service
branches of companies which manufacture this
equipment. There is little transferring of service­
men among the five main companies in this field.
Only a very few servicemen are in independent
repair shops.
Training and Qualifications

Training programs for accounting-bookkeeping
machine repairmen vary greatly among the com­
panies employing these workers, partly because
this work is frequently combined with the repair
of other business machines. One large concern
uses its mechanics primarily on the accountingbookkeeping machines and does not combine this
work with other repair work. Two other major
companies train their mechanics to work on all of
the office machines that they manufacture. One
of these firms has a 4- to 5-year training program.
Usually a man must have had 1 or 2 years’ ex­
perience as an adding machine, calculator, or cash


Ph o to g r a p h


U. S. D e p a r tm




R e p a irin g a c c o u n tin g -b o o k k e e p in g m achines is one of the most
h ig h ly paid of b usin e ss-m a ch in e se rv ic in g jo b s

register repairman in order to be eligible for ac­
counting-bookkeeping machine training—which
consists of 2 or 3 years of on-the-job instruction
and, in some cases, an additional 6 months of train­
ing at a company school. Some of the repair work
on accounting-bookkeeping machines requires con­
siderable experience and knowledge of the ma­
chines. Servicemen who have just completed
their training need additional experience before
they are qualified to perform all repair work.
The main aptitudes needed by a trainee are gen­
eral mechanical ability and manual dexterity.
Most manufacturers of these machines prefer to
hire men in their early twenties as trainees. Since
servicemen in this field make many contacts with
customers, a presentable appearance and manner
is important to the employers.
O u tlook

During the early fifties, prospects will be good
for a limited number of new men to enter
this field. Additional workers will be trained in
order to service the growing number of accounting­
bookkeeping machines in use. However, most of
the trainees will be drawn from the ranks of
mechanics already employed in repairing other

business machines, for the companies which make
and service accounting-bookkeeping machines.
These companies manufacture other machines,
such as adding machines, calculators, and cash
registers, and the practice has developed of trans­
ferring some of the more skillful mechanics on
these less complex machines to servicing the more
intricate bookkeeping machines.
Although this field is small, comprising about
1,800 workers in 1949, it will probably expand
gradually for several years to come. The trend is
not only toward greater sales of these machines,
but also toward greater complexity in newly de­
veloped equipment, which tends to increase the
need for servicemen.
Long-run prospects are excellent for stable em­
ployment for those already in the trade or for
those entering in the next few years, since this
occupation is little affected by declines in general
business activity. The tendency during poor busi­
ness years is to keep old machines in repair rather
than to buy new ones.
E a rn in g s and Working C onditions

In 1949, experienced servicemen typically earned
from $60 to $85 for a 40-hour week, with some
working 8 hours longer and receiving overtime
pay. It generally takes a trainee about 3 years
to reach this level of earnings. Experienced serv­
icemen may be promoted to supervisory jobs.
Men showing sales aptitude are sometimes trans­
ferred to the sales departments.
Repairing these machines is comparatively free
from the danger of accident and is cleaner than
most other mechanical trades. Since most work is
performed in the offices where the machines are
located, servicemen generally dress like office
W it ere T o F in d A d d itio n a l I n fo r m a tio n

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Employment Outlook for Business
Machine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price 15 cents.
S e e a lso : Cash Register Servicemen, page 166;
Calculating Machine Servicemen, page 165; and
Adding Machine Servicemen, p. 164.


Accounting-Statistical Machine Servicemen
(D. 0 . T. 5-83.126, .128)

Outlook Summary

A small number of new workers will be hired for
trainee jobs during the early fifties. The long-run
outlook is for a gradual upward trend in the
number of servicemen.
Nature of Work

These servicemen inspect, adjust, and repair
punched-card accounting-statistical machines,
such as card-punching, sorting, and tabulating
machines, collators, multipliers and dividers, and
verifiers. They also install machines in offices and
sometimes train personnel to operate them. Ac­
counting-statistical machines record and tabulate
large masses of accounting and statistical data.
The information is punched on cards alphabeti­
cally or according to a code, and the cards are
put into machines which sort them and tabulate
the results. These machines are used mainly in
large organizations, such as government agencies,
department stores, insurance companies, and large
industrial establishments for payroll and other
accounting records, inventory control, statistical
surveys, and similar purposes.
Repair work involves determining the cause of
trouble in the machines, replacing worn or broken
parts, and cleaning and oiling machines. Service­
men use common hand tools such as screw drivers,
wrenches, punches, and pliers, and a few hand
tools which are specially made for these machines.
Repairs and adjustments are usually made in the
establishments where the machines are used.
W here Employed

Accounting-statistical machine servicemen are
employed by two firms which manufacture and
service all accounting-statistical machines. These
men may be assigned by their companies to work
anywhere in the United States, but usually their
work is in large cities. They rarely transfer from
one company to the other.
Training and Qualifications

Men seeking employment in this field should
have general mechanical ability and enjoy working

with machinery. Both concerns employing these
servicemen generally require that new trainees be
in their early twenties and have at least 2 years’
technical schooling in electrical or mechanical en­
gineering or equivalent electrical or mechanical
experience. One company is now hiring only grad­
uate electrical engineers as trainees for servicemen
jobs, because the electronic features of their ma­
chines are becoming increasingly important.
Men hired as trainees are first given a trial
period of 1 or 2 months’ on-the-job training. If
the new trainees are satisfactory, they are sent
to the company school for a period of from 3 to 6
months. After completion of the school course
they are put to work under supervision until they
are able to service and repair machines on their
own. This last period of training usually lasts
from about 12 to 18 months.

For many years in the future there will be con­
tinued growth in the use of punched-card account­
ing-statistical machines. This growth, together
with the need for replacing those who leave this
work, means that prospects should be favorable
for entering the occupation and remaining for
many years. The number of men that will be
hired in any one year will be limited, however,
by the small size of the occupation—there were
4,000 employed at the beginning of 1950—and by
the fact that increases in use of the machines will
be gradual rather than sharp.
Employment in this field will be steady, because
this work is little affected by changes in general
business conditions and because the policy of the#
companies in this field is to keep their servicemen
even when work is slack. In the past, there have
been few lay-offs in time of depression.
Earnings and Working Conditions

The earnings of servicemen vary considerably.
Typical weekly straight-time earnings for ac­
counting-statistical machine servicemen with at
least 3 years’ experience ranged from about $65 to
$85 at the end of 1949. However, some of the most


skilled servicemen earned up to $100 a week. The
company that employs the majority of servicemen
pays its trainees $250 a month to start. Periodic
pay increases are given to servicemen according
to skill and experience. Servicemen may be pro­
moted to supervisory jobs, or may get into the
sales departments.
Servicing and repairing these machines is
cleaner and lighter work than most other mechan­
ical trades. The occupation is comparatively free
from the danger of accident. Servicemen gen­
erally dress like office workers, since the work is

clean and is usually performed in the offices where
the machines are used.
Where T o Get Additional Information

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Employment Outlook for Business Ma­
chine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947. Su­
perintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 15 cents.
See also Adding Machine Servicemen, page 164;
Calculating Machine Servicemen, page 165; and
Cash Register Servicemen, page 166.

Adding Machine Servicemen
(D.O.T. 5-83.122)

Outlook Summary

A small number of new workers will be able to
find jobs in this field during the first half of
the fifties. The long-run outlook is for steady
Nature of Work

Servicemen inspect, adjust, and repair adding
machines. Adjustments and minor repairs are
usually made in the offices where the machines are
used. Major repair work is taken to the shop.
Repair work involves determining the cause of
trouble, replacing worn or broken parts, and clean­
ing and oiling machines. Servicemen use common
hand tools such as screw drivers, wrenches, pliers,
punches, and special tools designed for the par­
ticular type of machine being repaired. In some
cases servicing of both adding machines and cal­
culators is combined in a single job. In inde­
pendent repair shops, adding-machines are often
serviced by mechanics who also repair typewriters.
Where Employed

Servicemen are employed principally in large
cities, where the bulk of the adding machines are
used. Adding machine servicemen are employed
both in manufacturer’s service branches, which are
operated in connection with the sales offices of the
firms, and in independently owned local repair
shops. Other sources of employment are in the
Federal, State, and local governments and in a
few large banks and other firms which use large
numbers of adding machines.

Training and Qualifications

The training period for adding machine me­
chanics ranges from 6 months to a year or more
of on-the-job instruction. Servicemen employed
in manufacturers’ service branches generally re­
ceive a few weeks supplemental training in the
manufacturers’ own school, usually located at the
plant. Manufacturers train men to work only on
their own line of machines.
In independent shops new men may learn to
repair adding machines by working as helpers.
Some pick up the skill while working as typewriter
The main aptitudes needed by a trainee are gen­
eral mechanical ability and manual dexterity.
Most manufacturers of adding machines prefer
new trainees to be in their early twenties.

During the first half of the fifties, there will be
jobs for a small number of trainees in adding ma­
chine repair. Most manufacturers of the equip­
ment are conducting expanded training programs.
Since this is a small occupation, however—in 1949
there were about 2,000 adding machine servicemen
in the country—the number of openings for new
workers will be limited.
Longer run prospects are for an upward trend
in the employment of servicemen. The number
of adding machines in use in business and in gov­
ernment is tending to increase. Moreover, the
repair of adding machines is little affected by


changes in general economic conditions. In time
of depression there are few lay-offs, since during
these years the tendency is to keep old machines
in repair, rather than to buy new machines.
Earnings and Working Conditions

During 1949, typical earnings for a 40-hour
week ranged from $50 to $75. In addition, com­
missions are sometimes paid to servicemen and
supervisors on sales of supplies and contracts to
do servicing for a particular firm. Men servicing
calculators, as well as adding machines, generally
earn more than men servicing only adding
Service mechanics may be promoted to positions
as service supervisors. The weekly earnings of
service supervisors range up to $100 and over. In

manufacturers’ branches, mechanics are sometimes
transferred to the sales department.
Eepairing adding machines is comparatively
free from the danger of accident and is cleaner
than most other mechanical trades. Servicemen
generally dress like white-collar workers, since
most service work is performed in the offices or
stores where the machines are located.
Where To Find Additional Information

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics; Employment Outlook for Business Ma­
chine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947. Su­
perintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 15 cents.
See also: Calculating Machine Servicemen, page
165; and Typewriter Servicemen, page 168.

Calculating Machine Servicemen
(D.O.T. 5-83.123)

Outlook Summary

There will be opportunities for a limited num­
ber of new men to enter this field during the first
half of the fifties. Long-run prospects are for
steady employment.
Nature of Work

These servicemen inspect, adjust, and repair
calculating machines. Calculating machines,
which add, subtract, divide, multiply, and also
perform combinations of these operations, are
used mostly in offices where a great many compu­
tations are necessary. These machines, most of
which are electrically operated, have elaborate
mechanisms, and, therefore, skilled men are re­
quired to repair them. Minor repairs and adjust­
ments are made in the offices where the machines
are used. Major repair work may be taken to the
shop. Eepairing the machine involves determin­
ing the cause of trouble in the machines, repair­
ing or replacing broken or worn parts, and clean­
ing and oiling the machines. The mechanic uses
common hand tools designed for the particular
type of machine on which he is working. Service­
men are sometimes required to explain to new
operators how to operate the machines. In some
cases, servicing of calculators is combined with
the servicing of other business machines, particu­

larly adding machines, and also accounting-book­
keeping machines.
Where Employed

Most servicemen are employed in large cities,
since this is where the bulk of the calculators are
used. Mechanics servicing calculators are usually
employed in manufacturers’ local service branches
which are operated in connection with the sales
offices of these firms. However, a few work in
independently owned local repair shops. Most of
these independent shops are small and employ only
a few workers. Another source of employment is
the Federal Government.
Training and Qualifications

Trainees employed by manufacturers of calcu­
lating machines generally receive from 1 to 3 years
of on-the-job training, often combined with a 3or 4-month course at a company school. Service­
men employed by the manufacturers are trained to
service only the company’s products.
Servicemen working in independent shops must
be able to repair all makes of calculators, and need
a longer training period. Most calculator service­
men in independent shops receive no formal train­
ing, but learn through experience gained while
helping experienced mechanics.


government. At the same time, there is a trend
toward more complicated calculators, as they are
improved and adapted to new uses. There will be
relatively few openings to replace men leaving the
occupation during the next 10 or 15 years. Turn­
over of servicemen is low, and there is only a small
proportion of older men in the trade who will be
dying or retiring during this period.
Servicing of calculators is little affected by
changes in general economic conditions. There are
few lay-offs during depressions as the tendency
during poor years is to keep the old machines in
repair rather than to buy new ones.
E a rn in g s a n d W o rkin g C onditions

Ph o to g r a p h


U. S

Dep a r tm




C le a n in g a ca lcu la tor w ith a fine spray of cleaning flu id — an im po rtta n t step in keeping the com plicated m echanism in good ru n nin g
co n d itio n.

The main aptitudes needed by trainees are gen­
eral mechanical ability and manual dexterity. The
calculating machine manufacturers generally pre­
fer to hire men in their early twenties.
O utlook

Opportunities for new workers to enter this field
Avill be fairly good in the early fifties. The manu­
facturers of calculators have expanded their train­
ing programs during the past several years to
provide servicing for the increased number of
calculators in use. However, the number of new
workers entering the occupation will be limited,
since in 1940 oidy about 2,400 men were engaged
primarily in repairing calculators.
Looking further into the future, prospects are
for an upward trend in the employment of serv­
icemen, lasting for many years. There will be a
growing demand for calculators in business and

In 1949, typical earnings for a 40-hour week
ranged from $50 to $85. Including commissions
and overtime, earnings were often considerably
higher. Commissions are sometimes paid to serv­
ice mechanics on sales of contracts to do servicing
for a particular firm.
Servicemen may be promoted to supervisory
jobs. The weekly earnings of a service manager
range up to $120 and over—depending largely on
the size of the shop. In manufacturers’ service
branches, mechanics are sometimes transferred to
the sales departments.
Repairing calculators is usually light work and
cleaner than most other mechanical trades. The
occupation is relatively free from serious acci­
dents. Generally, servicemen dress like office
workers, since most service work is performed in
the offices where the machines are located.
W here To F in d A d d itio n a l In fo rm a tio n

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics; Employment Outlook for Business
Machine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price 15 cents.
S ee also Adding Machine Servicemen, page 164.

Cash Register Servicemen
(D.O.T. 5-83.124)

O utlook S u m m a ry

N a tu re o f W o rk

During the first half of the fifties, a limited
number of new workers will be able to enter this
field. The long-run outlook is for steady em­

Cash-register servicemen inspect, adjust, and re­
pair cash registers. Next to typewriters, cash
registers are the most widely used business ma­
chines. They are found mainly in retail stores



and service establishments. Cash registers vary
greatly in the number of tilings they can do. The
simple models merely record each transaction,
total the day’s receipts, and provide a change
drawer. The more complicated cash registers tab­
ulate several different kinds of information on one
transaction simultaneously, such as identification
of clerk, department, and type of merchandise, as
ivell as provide printed receipts with such infor­
mation for the customer. The more elaborate cash
registers actually perform many functions of ac­
counting machines.
In some cases servicemen work on other types
of business machines, such as adding machines or
accounting machines. Most repairs and adjust­
ments are made in the establishments where the
machines are used. Usually only major repair
jobs are taken to the shop. Repairing cash reg­
isters involves determining the cause of trouble in
the machines, replacing worn or broken parts, and
cleaning and oiling machines. Servicemen use
common hand tools, such as screw drivers, pliers,
and punches, and special hand tools designed for
cash registers.
W h ere E m p lo y e d

Cash register servicemen are employed princi­
pally in large cities. However, most cities of
50,000 population and over have shops repairing
cash registers. The great majority of servicemen
primarily engaged in repairing cash registers are
employed in the local service branches of the few
manufacturing firms in this field. There is little
transferring of servicemen among firms. Some
of the repair work, especially in smaller towns, is
done in independently owned local shops, with
only a few employees, which repair other types of
business machines, such as typewriters and adding
T ra in in g a n d Q u a lification s

The training period for cash register mechanics
employed in the manufacturers’ service branches
generally consists of 12 to 18 months of on-the-job
training in the branch that hires him, followed by
about t> months at the company school. Cash
register servicemen working in manufacturers’
shops are trained to repair only the company’s
own line of machines.
Servicemen working in independent repair

Ph o to g r a p h


U. S.

d e p a r tm e n t



C a s h - r e g is te r repair is exacting work

shops generally have not had formal training,
unless they are former employees of manufac­
turers* service branches. Most of the men in the
independent shops pick up the trade while work­
ing as helpers in the shops. In independent shops,
servicemen are required to repair several different
makes of cash registers, and several years of this
informal training is required.
New men entering the field should have general
mechanical ability and enjoy working with ma­
chines. Since servicemen in this field make many
contacts with customers, a presentable appearance
and manner are important, and servicemen must
be able to carry on some business transactions.
Manufacturers generally prefer to hire as trainees
high school graduates in their early twenties.
O u tlo o k

During the early fifties, a limited number of
new workers will be able to enter the field as
trainees. Cash-register manufacturers have ex­
panded their training programs, but are not plan­
ning to take on as many trainees in the next
several years as they did during 1918 and 1919.
The number of men who can enter in any one
year, however, is also limited by the small size of
the occupation. In 1949 there were probably not
more than 2,700 cash-register repairmen in the
United States.


Longer-run prospects are for an upward trend
in the employment of servicemen. Gradually in­
creasing sales of new machines and the trend to­
ward more complicated machines, which can do a
wider variety of operations will make it necessary
for the manufacturers to build up larger service
This work is not greatly affected by changes in
general economic conditions. In time of depres­
sion there are few lay-offs. Cash registers are
great timesavers and they serve so many essential
commercial purposes that they are a necessity in
most businesses. Depressions affect the sales of
new machines, but the repair and service work
Earnings and Working Conditions

In 1949, experienced cash-register servicemen
typically earned from $60 to $80 a week, plus over-

time for work beyond 40 hours. It generally takes
a trainee 3 years to reach this level of earnings.
Earnings may be increased through promotions to
service supervisory jobs. Men showing sales tal­
ents are sometimes transferred to the sales depart­
Repairing cash registers is comparatively free
from the danger of accident and is cleaner than
most other mechanical trades. Since most serv­
ice work is performed in the offices or stores where
the machines are located, servicemen generally
dress like white-collar workers.
Where To Get Additional Information

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Employment Outlook for Business
Machine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price 15 cents.

Typewriter Servicemen
(D.O.T. 5-83.127)

Outlook Summary

There will be a number of job openings for new
workers during the first half of the fifties. The
long-run outlook is for steady employment.
Nature of Work

Typewriter servicemen inspect, adjust, and
repair typewriters. Repair work may involve
replacing worn or broken parts, alining the type
to print evenly, fixing the escapement (spacer),
and adjusting the shift mechanism and ribbon
movement. Servicemen also clean and oil the
machines. Most servicing and repair work is
taken to the shop. However, minor servicing jobs
may be done in the offices where the machines are
used. The mechanics use common hand tools such
as screwdrivers, pliers, and punches.
The operating mechanism of electric typewriters
differs from that used in the ordinary mechanical
typewriters, and men who have not had some
training on the electric machines cannot service
them. One company which makes and services
only electric typewriters employs servicemen who
work full-time on the electric machines. In the

other companies which make both types of ma­
chines, servicing of electric machines is still a
small part of the repair business. In some cases,
repair shops have a few men who have been trained
to handle the electric machines, and they spend all
their time on them. In other shops, the men who
know the electric typewriters also work on the
regular mechanical machines.
In some small shops, typewriter servicing may
be combined with the servicing of other business
equipment, particularly adding machines.
Most servicemen are bench men; that is, their
work is done in the repair shop. “Outside” men
make contacts with customers as well as frequently
doing some work in the shop. They inspect the
customer’s machines and determine whether or not
they should be brought back to the shop for repair.
Outside men, particularly those employed by small
independent shops, may also sell typewriter rib­
bons and supplies; occasionally, they sell type­
Wh ere Employed

Typewriter repair men are employed both in the
local service branches of typewriter manufacturers


and in independently owned local repair shops
(which frequently sell typewriters as well as repair
them). Many servicemen have their own shops.
Geographically, typewriter servicemen are
widely distributed. Every city and large town
has men employed in the occupation. However,
the greatest concentration of servicemen is in
large cities, where most clerical work is done.
Training and Qualifications

The length and kind of training for typewriter
servicemen varies. Most of it, however, is received
on the job. Training periods range from 1 to 3
years. Servicemen employed in independently
owned shops require more training and experience,
as they must be able to repair all makes of type­
writers and, sometimes, adding machines and cal­
culators ; servicemen employed in the service
branches of manufacturing companies generally
repair only one make of typewriter.
In many independent shops, new workers be­
come servicemen by working as helpers, gradually
picking up the necessary skills. In some inde­
pendent shops and in the manufacturers’ service
branches, however, training schedules are set up
and experienced servicemen and supervisors teach
the new men systematically.
In addition, trainees in the service branches are
frequently sent to a company school at the factory
for a few weeks or months of intensive training.
Some typewriter servicemen are trained in 2- or 3year formal apprenticeships which include work
on several makes and types of business machines.
To be able to service electric typewriters it is
necessary to have special training. The com­
panies which make and repair both types of ma­
chines are sending experienced mechanics to com­
pany schools for 2 or 3 weeks’ instruction on the
electric machines. New trainees hired by these
companies will learn to repair electric machines
as part of their training program.
There are at least two privately owned schools,
not connected with any manufacturer, training
typewriter servicemen. These schools are
equipped to give additional training on servicing
adding machines and calculators.

Opportunities do enter the trade during the
early fifties will be better than in most prewar

years. However, the number of new trainees
taken on will be smaller than in 1947 and 1948.
Skilled men are still in strong demand and will
have little difficulty in getting jobs. The number
of new workers who will find job openings in this
field will be greater than in other kinds of businessmachine servicing. There were more than 10,000
typewriter mechanics in 1949 making this by far
the largest business-machine servicing occupation.
Those who enter the occupation during the next
few years, will have excellent chances for continued
employment over the longer run. Employment in
this field will tend to rise gradually as the num­
ber of typewriters in use increases. Moreover,
typewriter repair work is not greatly affected by
changes in general economic conditions. In poor
business years, sales of new machines fall, but the
amount of repair work remains fairly steady, as
old machines are kept in use instead of being
Earnings and Working Conditions

The typical pay of experienced typewriter serv­
icemen for a 40-hour week in 1949 ranged from
about $45 to $75 in the larger cities, although
some highly skilled men made more. Servicemen
in independent repair shops usually earn more
than men in the manufacturers’ service branches,
largely because men in the independent shops must
be able to repair various makes of typewriters.
Many typewriter repair shops pay servicemen
commissions on sales of typewriters, supplies, and
contracts to do servicing for particular firms.
Servicemen may increase their earnings through
promotion to service supervisors or shop managers.
In many cases they have opportunities to open
their own shops. Typewriter servicing is light
work, comparatively free from accidents, and
cleaner than most other mechanical trades.
Where To Get Additional Information

U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Employment Outlook for Business Ma­
chine Servicemen. Bulletin No. 892. 1947. Su­
perintendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 15 cents.
See Also Adding Machine Servicemen, page 164.

o c c u pa t io n a l o u t l o o k h a n d b o o k

Diesel Mechanics
(D. O. T. 5-83.931)

Outlook Summary

In the early fifties a limited number of men
will be taken on as helpers and apprentices in
shops which handle Diesel repair work. Prospects
for experienced engine mechanics who specialize
in Diesel work are highly favorable. Volume of
Diesel repair work will increase over long run.
Nature of Work

Diesel-engine mechanics maintain and repair
Diesel engines. Their duties include diagnosing
engine trouble, disassembling the engine, replacing
or repairing defective parts, reassembling the en­
gine, and adjusting the fuel and air valves. The
Diesel engine is similar to the gasoline (or carbu­
retor) engine in many respects. From the point of
view of the mechanic, the essential difference be­
tween the carburetor engine and the Diesel engine
lies in their different methods of ignition. The
Diesel engine has no electric ignition system or
carburetor such as is found in the gasoline engine,
but has an oil-injector system and fuel pumps, with
which the mechanic must bet familiar. However,
the basic stationary and working parts are similar
in both engines. As a result, Diesel-engine main­
tenance is usually carried on by workers who are
employed as engine mechanics rather than as spe­
cialized Diesel mechanics. For example, Dieselpowered busses, trucks, tractors, and construction
machinery are usually maintained by automobile
or tractor mechanics. Railroad electricians and
machinists generally repair Diesel locomotives.
Training and Qualifications

Most mechanics who repair Diesel engines have
had training and experience on other engines.
Qualifications for Diesel maintenance jobs vary
among industries. Mechanics employed in servic­
ing and repairing Diesel locomotives are drawn
from among railroad shop craftsmen who are re­
quired to serve a 4-year apprenticeship. Marine
engineers, who are in charge of the operation and
maintenance of Diesel engines on ships, must be
licensed by the United States Bureau of Marine
Inspection and Navigation. Experience in the

engine department of ships and a written exami­
nation are among the chief requirements for a
marine license. Mechanics who service Diesel en­
gines in the vehicular field, including trucks,
busses, tractors, and construction machinery, gen­
erally are gasoline-engine mechanics who have
learned how to repair Diesel engines. There are a
number of schools which provide instruction in
Diesel engine repair and maintenance. Such train­
ing is most valuable when it supplements experi­
ence in gasoline-engine maintenance. Those with­
out actual experience who take courses in Diesel
theory and practice will find it difficult to qualify
directly for Diesel maintenance and repair work.
Where Employed

Diesel maintenance jobs are found in a wide
variety of fields. Among the more important
sources of employment are bus lines, trucking
companies, railroads, ships, electric power plants,
large farms, logging camps, marine-engine repair
establishments, and garages and firms that service
Diesel tractors and construction machinery.

The use of Diesel power probably will continue
to expand for many years. Almost all of the new
locomotives ordered by the railroads are Diesels;
more Diesel trucks and busses are on the high­
ways; and thousands of Diesel tractors are sold
to farmers annually. This points to a continued
increase for a number of years at least, in the
number of Diesel maintenance jobs, which will go
to mechanics who already have experience in re­
pairing other types of engines. For example, a
company changing over to use of Diesel engines
will usually assign experienced mechanics already
on its payroll to service the Diesel equipment, and
give them the slight retraining necessary. Other
companies who are filling expansion needs with
Diesel engines will hire experienced engine me­
chanics wherever possible. Also, in many shops,
union-management agreements specify that men
in the shop be given first chance at vacancies. In
these shops most new men will be taken on as ap­
prentices or helpers, regardless of whether they


have had previous training in Diesel engines.
Men who have had school training but no practical
experience in Diesels, will find few opportunities
to start as full-fledged mechanics.
Eventually, as Diesels come into greater use,
on-the-job training opportunities for inexperi­
enced applicants may become more common.
Diesel engines are likely, however, to continue to
be but a very small proportion of all engines in
use. Unless unexpected developments occur, they

will not be used to any appreciable extent in pas­
senger automobiles.
Where To Get Additional Information

Employment Opportunities for Diesel-Engine
Mechanics. Bulletin No. 813. U. S. Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1945. 10
pp. Superintendent of Documents, Washington
25, D .C. Price 5 cents.

Electrical-Household-Appliance Servicemen
(D. O. T. 5-83.04)

Outlook Summary

Sizable expansion of employment over long run.
A few thousand openings for beginners each year,
in the early fifties.
Nature of Work

Repairmen are employed mainly by service de­
partments of stores, wholesalers of electrical
household appliances, shops specializing in the
repair of appliances, and appliance manufacturers
and electric companies. There are many owneroperated retail repair shops.
Main duties of servicemen are to install, repair,
and rebuild large appliances such as ranges, re­
frigerators, and washing machines, and to repair
smaller ones such as irons and toasters. Some­
times servicemen repair both appliances and
radios. Servicemen in small repair shops fre­
quently repair almost every type and make of
electric appliance. Those working in shops spe­
cializing in the repair of small appliances usually
learn to repair all types handled by their shop.
Shops which handle both large and small appli­
ances have some servicemen who repair only small
appliances and others who specialize in one or
more types of major appliances. Some men, for
example, repair the major appliances of a par­
ticular manufacturer, others handle only refrig­
erators ; still others, automatic washing machines.

Almost all the workers in this occupation begin
as helpers and learn their skills through work
experience. Occasionally, workers are sent to

schools operated by manufacturers of appliances
for short periods of training or are given instruc­
tion by factory representatives at their places of
work. Repair of simple appliances can be learned
in a few months, but to become an all-round serv­
iceman or to learn how to repair complicated ap­
pliances requires as much as 3 years of on-the-job
training. School courses in the fundamentals of
electricity are helpful in understanding the work,
but to be considered fully qualified, a worker must
have had several years of practical experience.

Employment in this occupation will increase for
many years as the number of appliances continues
to grow. Many appliances which in early 1950
were found in relatively few homes, for example,
electric dishwashers, will eventually be purchased
by millions of families. Moreover, continued
growth in the number of families will mean a
greater use of electric appliances. Besides the
appliances now on the market, the industry will
continue to introduce new ones.
As the number of appliances grows, demand
for service will increase. The amount of work
for servicemen will also be increased as more and
more automatically operated appliances are used.
Automatic appliances have more parts which can
break down and are harder to repair than non­
automatic appliances. This factor making for
more employment may be somewhat offset by im­
provements in the durability and reliability of
appliances which will tend to reduce the amount
of servicing. In the balance, however, it is likely
that many more servicemen will be employed in


the future than the 60,000 now estimated to be
in this occupation.
Despite the expected growth in employment of
appliance servicemen, the prospects of establish­
ing successful retail and repair shops generally
will not be favorable in the next few years. A
great many such shops were started in the postwar
period, and competition for business is likely to
be keen for some time.

The only Nation-wide earnings data for electric
appliance servicemen available is that for service­
men employed by electric utility companies.
In the spring of 1948, electric company service­
men had average hourly wage rates of $1.45.
Those in the Pacific Coast region had the highest

average, $1.66 an hour, and servicemen in the re­
gion including Delaware, District of Columbia,
Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and West Vir­
ginia, had the lowest average, $1.34 an hour.
Where To Go for Additional Information

Servicemen interested in going into business for
themselves will find valuable information in:
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of
Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Establishing
and Operating an Electrical Appliance and Radio
Shop. Industrial (Small Business) Series No.
28. 1946. Superintendent of Documents, Wash­
ington 25, D. C. Price 45 cents.
See also Radio and Television Technicians,
page 173, and Refrigeration and Air-Condition­
ing Mechanics, page 177.

Radar Technicians
(D. O. T. 5-83.449)

Outlook Summary

Training and Other Qualifications

Small but rapidly expanding field with open­
ings for qualified men.

Only men with good experience or training in
radar or radio are hired. Many are former radio
repairmen. Some are college graduates; at least
one company considers a college degree, preferably
in electrical engineering, essential. Even collegetrained engineers must, however, have basic me­
chanical skills to be considered fully qualified as
technicians. A number of schools, colleges, and
radio institutes offer courses in electronics; some
have well-rounded programs, including laboratory
work and practice in the types of mechanical tasks
met with in technician jobs. Although thousands
of men were trained to operate and maintain radar
equipment in the armed services, this military ex­
perience alone rarely, if ever, qualifies a man for
civilian work.
New employees almost always receive on-thejob training. For entrants with especially good
experience, the training period may last only a few
weeks; for others, it may last a year or more.

Nature of Work

This group is made up of men engaged mainly
in supervising installation of radar (radio detec­
tion and ranging) equipment and in servicing
and repairing such equipment; some do actual in­
stallation work. Radar work calls for advanced
knowledge of electronic principles and a high
degree of technical skill. Radar technicians must
be able to make reports on difficulties encountered
and recommend improvements in construction and
design. They often service other types of elec­
tronic equipment as well as radar.
Where Employed

Most radar technicians work for the very small
number of concerns manufacturing and selling ra­
dar equipment and holding contracts to service
military radar. Many technicians who service mil­
itary equipment work outside continental United
States. Those servicing commercial radar are lo­
cated mostly in the big port cities in this country.


During the early fifties there probably will be
a shortage of radar technicians, mainly because


of rapid expansion in the use of military radar
equipment. Only a limited number of men have
sufficient skill, experience, and theoretical knowl­
edge to handle radar servicing, and it will take
time to train additional men to meet the rapidly
expanding needs. Moreover, only men capable of
learning theoretical electronics and with unusual
aptitude for this type of work can become qualified
radar technicians. Some of the men who do not
meet all the requirements for radar technician jobs
will find opportunities in television servicing and
other types of electronics work.


In 1949, fully qualified men with good radar
experience made about $4,000 for the first year or
so with a company. Typical annual earnings in
the occupation in 1950, were between this figure
and $5,000. Men working away from their head­
quarters cities have their expenses paid by the com­
pany or receive extra pay. Special bonuses may
be given for overseas work. The basic workweek
is usually 40 hours, with time-and-a-half for over­
See also Radio and Television Technicians, page
173; Electrical Engineers, page 86.

Radio and Television Technicians
(D. O. T. 5-83.411 and 6-98.210)

Outlook Summary

Good opportunities for men thoroughly trained
in electronics during early part of the 1950-60
decade. Long-run employment trend upward in
TV installation and repair—probably down in
radio repair.
Nature of Work

Radio and television technicians mainly install
and repair home and automobile sets. Techni­
cians with FCC licenses work on two-way aircraft,
police, boat, and taxicab radios and a small num­
ber install and service other types of electronic
equipment such as public address and interoffice
communications systems. A few thousand are
employed in research laboratories or work as
testers and trouble-shooters in radio and television
manufacturing plants. In small towns, radio re­
pairmen frequently service electrical appliances.
Altogether there probably were about 100,000
radio and television technicians in late 1949.
A majority of the technicians who repair radio
sets are self-employed; some repair radios only
during their spare time. Other radio men are
employed by large repair shops, radio stores, ga­
rages, wholesale distributors, manufacturers of
electronic equipment, and other types of concerns.
Increasingly, television repair is also being han­
dled by independent servicemen but many tele­
vision technicians work for manufacturers,
companies contracting with manufacturers to in­

stall and repair their sets, distributors, and large
repair shops.
How To Enter

Most radio repairmen get their initial training
in vocational and technical schools, in the Armed
Forces, as helpers or apprentices, in radio manu­
facturing plants, through amateur radio, or from
correspondence schools. The quality of initial
training and the ability of the men vary greatly,
so that there is a very wide range in degree of
skill among new entrants. Many months of work
experience are needed to learn the trade thor­
oughly. Radio technicians who test aviation,
police, marine, or taxicab transmitters are required
to have an FCC second-class radio operator’s
Television repairmen need much more basic
training and knowledge of electronic theory than
radio repairmen. The latter may learn television
work through on-the-job training with television
servicing companies. Independent servicemen
who wish to learn television repair sometimes get
training materials and technical help from TV
manufacturing companies. These companies also
train their own employees to test and repair TV
sets. Men with no previous training can enter the
trade by studying for about a year in one of the
better technical or vocational schools; a few
schools provide excellent placement service. TV
technicians who work in the homes of customers
are required to have a neat appearance and pleas­
ant personalities.


Men going' into the radio repair business for
themselves must have at least $500 worth of tools
and equipment. The additional equipment needed
to service television sets costs from $700 to $1,000.
O u tlo o k

During the early fifties there will be a strong
demand for skilled electronic technicians. They
will be needed to service home radio and television
sets and in manufacturing and servicing military,
industrial, and other types of electronics equip­
ment. Repair work on home radio and television
sets, which employ the bulk of these technicians,
will continue to expand, even though military re­
quirements are likely to cut down the production
of new sets. Production and servicing of military
electronic equipment will grow rapidly. Al­
though skilled men will easily find jobs in the
early fifties, there will at the same time be many
men with inadequate training in electronics or
with no aptitude for this type of work, who will
be qualified only for helpers’ or assistants’ posi­
tions. Many .who might have enough knowledge
and skill for radio repair will not be able to
handle the much more difficult television work.
In addition to openings arising from expanding
employment in this occupation, there will be a
Radio repairman locating “ t r o u b l e " in a home receiver.
F h o to g r a p h


U. S. D e p a r t m



La b o r

fairly large number of openings created by turn­
over. Many technicians who repair home radio
and television sets are young men subject to draft
for military service. Moreover, some technicians
now engaged in repairing home sets will shift to
jobs with companies manufacturing or servicing
military electronic equipment.
Over the long run, increasing use of television
sets will call for a growing number of technicians,
because TV sets are much more complicated than
the radio sets they tend to replace. Although the
total number of technicians employed will in­
crease, many men ,wlio now have their own radio
repair shops will be forced out of business unless
they can successfully enter the TV repair field.
E a rn in g s and W o rkin g C onditions

Radio servicemen working for others generally
have lower wage rates than most other groups of
skilled workers. Only a small proportion of radio
repairmen are union members. Some big cities
have associations of independent radio servicemen.
Apprentices or helpers in television work had
weekly earnings ranging from about $30 to $60 in
1010. Supervisors and foremen had earnings
ranging from about $60 to $120 a week. Many TV
technicians are members of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; some belong
to other unions.
Radio repairing is inside work. Television tech­
nicians frequently have to work outside while put­
ting up and adjusting aerials; sometimes this
means climbing to dangerous positions on roofs
and working in bad weather.
W h ere T o G o f o r M ore I n fo r m a tio n

Some communities have radio servicemen’s or­
ganizations that can provide information on
employment opportunities, wages, and working
conditions. Servicemen interested in going into
business for themselves will find valuable infor­
mation in :
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of For­
eign and Domestic Commerce. Establishing and
Operating an Electrical Appliance and Radio
Shop. Industrial (Small Business) Series No. 28.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C.. 1946. Price 35 cents.
S ee also Radar Technicians, p. 172; and Broad­
casting Engineers and Technicians, p. 103.


Telephone Installation and Maintenance Craftsmen
(D. O. T. 5-53.030, .250, and .410)

Outlook Summary

Employment likely to remain at about the 1950
level for several years, with several thousand open­
ings each year resulting from turn-over. Stable
employment over long run.
Nature of Work

Group includes station installers and repair­
men, who install and maintain telephone equip­
ment in private homes, offices, and pay telephone
booths; PBX installers and repairmen, who work
on private switchboard equipment; central-office
repairmen, who do maintenance work on the tele­
phone companies7 central-office equipment ; line­
men, who string and repair wire and place cable;
and cable splicers, who splice and maintain aerial
and underground cable. Most workers in these
occupations are employed by the associated com­
panies of the Bell System, but some work for
independent telephone companies, which have
about a sixth of the total telephones in the United

High-school graduates are given preference for
jobs in these occupations, and a knowledge of basic
principles of electricity is an asset. New entrants
are usually hired for general telephone work and
are given all-round classroom and on-the-job train­
ing. Then they are placed in the particular occu­
pation where workers are needed. They usually
progress within a single craft, though men are
often shifted from one type of work to another as
the need arises. It usually takes about 8 years
to advance to the top of the wage-progression
schedule in the Bell System companies. Some of
the small companies also have progression sched­
ules covering varied periods of time, but others
promote workers on the basis of their individual
competence. Veterans are usually granted some
credit for training and experience received in the

Employment of telephone installation and
maintenance craftsmen probably will remain at
about the present level over the next few years.
The number of men in these occupations was about
135.000 in October 1949, about twice the figure
reported in late 1945. The work force was ex­
panded to install and maintain an average of
more than 3,000,000 additional telephones each
year. When the enormous backlog created by the
depression of the Thirties and World War II will
have been taken care of, installations will be made
at a more moderate rate. In late 1949, however,
the associated Bell Companies alone still had about
800.000 unfilled orders for telephones.
The volume of repair and maintenance work
will continue to rise as new phones are added and
should serve to maintain present employment
levels even though there will be a decrease in the
number of installations. Although employment
will remain fairly level in the early fifties, turn­
over rates may rise as men enter the armed serv­
ices and as a tighter labor market makes it easier
to shift from one job to another.
Employment probably will tend to increase
slowly over the long run. Many of the Nation’s
families—in both urban and rural areas—are wait­
ing for telephones; the construction of facilities
to provide this service is going ahead actively.
Moreover, the growing population will create addi­
tional demand for telephone service. Special types
of telephone service, such as automobile installa­
tions, will continue to expand, although this will
be a very small factor for many years.
Gains in employment which will result from the
rising number of telephones in use will be partly
limited by improvements in telephone equipment
which will enable each maintenance man to service
a larger' number of phones. However, the
mechanization program, including dial equip­
ment, intertoll dialing, etc., and developments such
as coaxial cable, radio relay, etc., are resulting in
a large increase in the central office forces which


will tend to offset any reduction in outside forces
such as cable splicers and other craftsmen who han­
dle lines and cables.

frequently necessary. Linemen have to work outof-doors in all kinds of weather.

Earnings and Working Conditions

People interested in employment with a tele­
phone company should go to their nearest central
office where they will be directed to the proper
See also Central Office Equipment Installers,
Telephone, page 176; and Linemen and Troublemen, page 468.

Starting rates with Bell companies ranged from
about $30 to $38 a week in late 1949, depending
on the community. The highest salaries provided
for by the progression schedules varied from about
$72 to $90 (somewhat less for linemen). The
standard workweek is 40 hours, but overtime is

Where To Go for Additional Information

Telephone, Central Office Equipment Installers
(D. O. T. 5-53.010)

Outlook Summary

Employment likely to decline in next several
years. A limited number of men will be hired to
meet replacement needs in early fifties.
Nature of Work

This group is engaged mainly in installing
manual and dial switchboards and other equip­
ment in the central offices of telephone companies.
In general, the duties involve placing the equip­
ment in locations designated in floor plans, con­
necting the various units with cables, and adjusting
the devices for maximum efficiency. The principal
employer is Western Electric Co., a subsidiary of
the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. The
next largest is the Automatic Electric Co., which
produces a good deal of equipment for foreign
companies as well as for independent telephone
companies in this country. The associated com­
panies of the Bell System also employ a small
number of installers in large cities, to make rela­
tively simple installations.

Applicants must have at least a high-school
education or its equivalent. Courses in electricity
are an asset. Men with college education have an
advantage in competing for advancement within
the company, especially if they have engineering
training. It is absolutely necessary that the ap­
plicant be willing to travel.
The Western Electric Co. gives new employees
on-the-job training, supplemented as required by
classroom training. It takes about 6 years to work

up to the top of the progression schedule. Some
of the small companies also have progression
schedules covering various period of time, while
others promote workers on the basis of their indi­
vidual competence.

Employment will decline gradually from the
high level of late 1949 through the early fifties.
The number of installers working for the West­
ern Electric Co. grew rapidly in the early postwar
period. At the end of World War II, there
were 3,700 installers as compared with 16,700
in early 1949. During this period, the Bell System
alone installed 10,000,000 telephones, an expansion
which would have been impossible without a tre­
mendous enlargement of central office facilities.
During the next several years, a great deal of
equipment will be installed to convert manual
systems to dial and to expand central offices, but
probably less equipment will be installed each
year than during the years between 1946 and 1949.
Because of decline in employment the number of
job openings will be small, although there will be
some as a result of turn-over in the occupation.
After the next few years, when the postwar ex­
pansion and modernization program is completed,
openings will arise much less frequently than at
any time since the end of World War II. Most of
the hiring will be to replace installers who die,
retire, are promoted, or leave their jobs for other
reasons. Employment probably will tend to be
relatively stable, since there is likely to be a con­
tinuation of the long-run growth in the use of


E a rn in g s and H o urs o f W o rk

W here T o d o fo r A d d itio n a l In fo rm a tio n

For most installers, wages started at 90 to 97
cents an hour in early 1949, with increase up to a
maximum of $1.56 to $1.69 an hour after 6 years’
experience. The standard workweek is 40 hours,
but it is often necessary to work overtime.

People interested in employment as a centraloffice installer should go to the nearest telephone
company office, where they will he directed to the
proper person for information.
See also Telephone Installation and Mainte­
nance Craftsmen, page 175.

Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Mechanics
(D. O. T. 5-83.941)

O u tlook S u m m a ry

Limited numbers of apprentices will be hired
during the early fifties. Employment trend
upward over long run.
N a tu re o f W o rk

Refrigeration mechanics install and service
large self-contained refrigeration and air-condi­
tioning units of the types used in such places as
food stores and restaurants. They must know re­
frigerants and how to repair compressors, con­
densers, pumps, and other equipment. Central
systems, such as those used in theaters, factories,
office buildings, and cold storage warehouses use a
good deal of piping, electrical, and sheet metal duct
work. This type of installation requires the serv­
ices of craftsmen such as sheet metal workers, pipe­
fitters, and electricians in addition to the refrigera­
tion specialists. The stationary engineers who
maintain the big central systems and men who re­
pair only household refrigerators are not covered
by this report.
Mechanics usually work for heating, refrigera­
tion, or air-conditioning contractors and for com­
panies that sell and service large self-contained
refrigeration and air-conditioning units. Many
are in business for themselves as contractors. Some
mechanics are employed by manufacturers of re­
frigeration and air-conditioning equipment.
H o w To E n te r

The usual way of becoming a mechanic is to
serve a 5-year formal apprenticeship in programs
jointly supervised by unions and employers. In
areas where the trade is not organized, shop help­
ers and assistants frequently learn the trade by
892273°—51---- 13

working on the equipment over a period of years.
Sometimes men who repair household refrigera­
tors are given an opportunity to learn how to in­
stall and repair the larger equipment. Young
men are usually preferred for apprenticeships and
other beginning jobs, but age requirements are
frequently waived for veterans.
In some cities mechanics are required to have
licenses. Many cities require that refrigeration
contractors be licensed.
O utlook

The total number of men employed as refrigera­
tion and air-conditioning mechanics will increase
M e ch a n ic re pa irin g an a ir con d itio n e r.
Ph o to g r a p h


U. S. D e p a r tm



Labo r


over the long run, owing to expanding use of com­
mercial and industrial refrigeration and air-con­
ditioning equipment. An increasing number of
mechanics will be needed to install and repair airconditioning equipment—mostly for commercial
users, such as stores, restaurants, and office build­
ings. Air-conditioning systems for private homes
are still too costly for all except the comparatively
small number of high-income families. Industrial
process air-conditioning and refrigeration will
also employ more and more men. Employment on
commercial refrigeration, ranging in size from
walk-in boxes to cold storage warehouses, will
have an upward trend for many years to come.
The long-run upward trend in employment in this
occupation may be interrupted during the early
fifties, however, if defense preparations make it
necessary to cut back production of civilian re­
frigeration and air-conditioning equipment.
In any event, it probably will be difficult
for beginners to enter the trade. Commercial
and industrial refrigeration and air-conditioning
work is concentrated in cities where the trade is
organized and men become journeymen mechanics
by serving apprenticeships. Even in good times
there are usually many more applicants for ap­
prenticeship than can be taken on.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Separate earnings information for air-condi­
tioning and refrigeration mechanics is not avail­
able. However, minimum union wage rates for
pipefitters in major cities on July 1, 1949, ranged
from $1.90 to $3 an hour; from $1.50 to $3 for

electricians; and from $1.75 to $2.75 for sheet
metal workers. Apprentices generally start at
less than half the journeyman’s rate. They get
increases after each 6 months and after com­
pleting their apprenticeships get the journeyman’s
Many mechanics, especially in large cities, are
represented by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and PipeFitting Industry. This union, the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Sheet
Metal Workers’ International Association repre­
sent most of the workers who install and repair
air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Except in the southernmost regions of the
United States the demand for repair services and
new installations is seasonal. During peak sum­
mer months overtime work is common.
Where To Go for Additional Information

Further information on the nature of the work,
apprenticeship and other training opportunities,
earnings, etc., may be obtained from:
Local unions of the United Association of
Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing
and Pipe-Fitting Industry (AFL), the Interna­
tional Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (A FL),
the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Associa­
tion (AFL), and local air-conditioning and re­
frigeration contractors associations.
See also Electricians, page 393; ElectricalHousehold - Appliance - Servicemen, page 171;
Pipefitters, page 389; Sheet Metal Workers, page

(D. O. T. 5-83.542)

Outlook Summary

Openings for new workers will be extremely
scarce in the early fifties. This is a very small
occupation and turn-over is very low. A slight
increase in employment likely in the long run.
Nature of Work

The gunsmith rebuilds, repairs, and alters small
firearms such as rifles or pistols. His duties in­
clude the replacement of broken and worn-out

parts and the making of new parts, frequently in­
volving the use of such machine tools as the lathe
and grinding machine, as well as many types of
hand and woodworking tools. In addition, the
more skilled gunsmiths spend a great deal of time
designing and making new guns. In designing
new guns they may have to lay out the plan on
paper, select the proper materials, and do preci­
sion machining and wood shaping.
Most gunsmiths are proprietors of their own
small shops. There are two main types of shops,


each employing different types of workers: (1)
Combination locksmith and gun-repair shops op­
erated by mechanics who do general repair work
on mechanical equipment and guns. The gun re­
pair work in this type of shop is primarily sea­
sonal. (2) Shops operated by expert craftsmen
who work on guns throughout the year and who
specialize in intricate jobs, very often working on
unusual and expensive arms. Since the war, a
growing number of such expert craftsmen are also
being employed by general sporting goods shops.
The American Rifle Association estimated that
there were about 5,000 men doing some gunsmith’s
work in 1949, but only about 500 of these were
engaged in gunsmithing on a full-time basis.
There are gunsmiths’ shops throughout the coun­
try, but the greatest number are located in areas
where hunting is an important sport. The follow­
ing 10 States issued the most hunting licenses in
the 1948-49 hunting season, ending June 30, 1949:
Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Minne­
sota, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and
Washington. Some of the gunsmiths’ shops in the
small towns do a large volume of mail order busi­
ness derived from their advertising in national
sports magazines. Most locksmith and gun repair
shops are located in cities and the larger towns.
IIoio To Enter

The most common way of learning this trade is
through practical experience. Those working in
lock and gun repair shops usually start in as help­
ers and learn on the job. Most expert gunsmiths
started out by tinkering with their own guns as
a hobby and then became interested enough to
study and acquire some machine-shop experience.
After doing this for a feiv years, some men may
undertake small repairs for their friends, doing
the work after hours in their garage or basement
shop. By starting out on just such a small scale
and gradually acquiring a good reputation, a few
men have been able to establish themselves in busi­
ness on a full-time basis.
An apprenticeship is about the best way to learn
this trade, but there are very few gunsmiths shops
large enough to spare the time of an expert crafts­
man to supervise the training. However, there are
several vocational schools, mostly located in the
West, which give good training courses in gunsmithing. Even graduates of these schools must

get several years of working experience before
they can be considered as experts.
The main personal qualification for a man who
wants to become a gunsmith is a love of guns.
He must also have a high degree of mechanical
ability. At least a year of machine-shop training,
either in school or through working in a machine
shop, is also essential. Men who did some gunsmithing in military ordnance departments during
the war usually must get several years more of
civilian experience before they are considered fully

So few men do gunsmithing as a full-time job
(only 500 in 1949) that the number of replace­
ments each year needed for those who die, retire,
or transfer to other work, will be extremely small
in the early fifties. More than enough skilled ex­
perienced people will be available to fill any such
openings, since so many men already do this on a
part-time basis. Therefore, opportunities will be
very limited for newcomers who want to do this
work full time. There may be occasional oppor­
tunities, however, for a really skilled young man
with a good record of experience as an amateur
gunsmith, to do gunsmithing on a part-time basis.
The amount of work available for gunsmiths de­
pends largely on the amount of hunting being
done. Since World War II, hunting has become
more popular than ever (over 12i^> million hunting
licenses were issued for the 1948-49 season, one
and one-half times as many as before the war.)
Many men became interested in this sport as a re­
sult of their military experiences. Game conser­
vation programs have increased the amount of
wildlife available for hunting in many areas.
In the long run there is likely to be only a slight
increase in full-time employment of gunsmiths,
and the occupation will continue to be very small.
There will also be a moderate number of openings
in locksmith and general repair shops.
Where To Go for More Information

Information on the name and location of train­
ing schools, as well as job requirements and em­
ployment opportunities, may be obtained from:
National Rifle Association of America,
1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW.,
Washington 25, D. C.



The publication of this organization, The American Rifleman, frequently carries technical articles,

help wanted columns, and other information of
value to anyone interested in entering this field.

Industrial Machinery Repairmen
(D. O. T. 5-83.641)

Outlook Summary

Increasing employment is in prespect in this
Nature of Work

Industrial machinery repairmen, often called
maintenance mechanics, maintain and repair ma­
chinery and other mechanical equipment in all
types of industrial plants. Their duties include
examining the machinery to determine cause of
trouble, dismantling, repairing, or replacing de­
fective parts, reassembling the machinery, and
making necessary adjustments for efficient opera­
tion. Often some of the duties of the millwright
in the moving and assembling of machinery and
equipment are included. Maintenance mechanics
usually specialize in the type of machinery or
equipment used in the industry in which they are
employed, and generally are required to have a
knowledge of the operation of the machines which
they repair.
Where Employed

These workers arc employed in almost every type
of industrial plant which uses any great amount of
machinery or equipment. Many industrial ma­
chinery repairmen are employed in metalworking
establishments including plants making automo­
biles, electrical equipment, iron and steel products,
and machinery. Automobile plants employ well
over 4,000. Other groups work in nonmetal
industries such as textile mills, petroleum refiner­
ies, chemical plants, and paper and pulp mills;
several thousand are employed in coal and metal
Because industrial machinery repairmen do
maintenance work in such a wide variety of indus­
tries, some are employed in every section of the
country. These workers are concentrated, how­
ever, in the principal industrial States including

New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan,
New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts.
Training and Qualifications

The amount of skill and training required for
industrial machinery repairmen varies widely with
the type of machinery and equipment in the plant.
Training is usually obtained on the job, particu­
larly since workers often specialize on one type
of equipment. In many plants, machinists or
machine operators are transferred to the mainte­
nance department to do this job; in other plants
inexperienced workers are hired as helpers and
learn the job while working. A 3- or 4-year ap­
prenticeship may be required by some firms.

The expected rise in industrial activity due to
expanding defense requirements will increase the
number of maintenance mechanics during the
1950-60 decade. Many openings will result from
the need to replace workers who switch to other
jobs, retire, die, or are called up for military serv­
ice. Over the long run, the growing mechanization
of industry is expected to increase the need for
maintenance mechanics to keep production equip­
ment in working order.

Industrial machinery repairmen are generally
among the better-paid maintenance workers.
Their earnings vary considerably among indus­
Recent data on earnings of industrial machinery
repairmen are not available for most industries.
However, in passenger automobile maufacturing
plants in February 1950, these workers averaged
$1.89 an hour, and in the airframe industry in
May-June 1949, they averaged $1.62 an hour.
See also Millwrights, page 223.


Jewelers and Jewelry Repairmen
(D. O. T. 4-71.010, .020, and .025)

O u tlook S u m m a ry

Limited number of openings for those who wish
to learn these trades in the early fifties. Little
increase in employment likely in the next 10 or
15 years.
N a tu re o f W o rk and W here E m p lo y ed

Jewelers make or repair rings, pins, earrings,
bracelets, necklaces, chains, fraternal emblems, re­
ligious jewelry, and other ornaments. They may
also design jewelry, do hand engraving, or set
stones. They work with metals such as gold, silver,
platinum, or palladium, and precious, semipre­
cious, and synthetic stones. The manufacture of
a piece of jewelry is done mostly by hand and
involves such skilled operations as making molds
according to design, casting metals, shaping and
filing down the rough piece, soldering and polish­
ing. Repair work, usually less complicated, con­
sists of such jobs as making rings larger or smaller,
soldering broken parts, or resetting stones.
Jewelers are employed in retail stores, trade
shops, and manufacturing establishments. Trade
shops are small establishments which repair
jewelry or make jewelry on a custom order basis
for the retail stores in a particular locality. Re­
tail stores and trade shops usually employ only a
few jewelers—in many retail stores there is only
one skilled man.
Precious jewelry is manufactured in a large
number of small shops and in a few large estab­
lishments. In the small shops, most of the work
is made to order, so that a large proportion of the
employees are highly skilled all-round jewelers.
In the larger establishments, there is considerable
specialization among the skilled workers. Some
of them set diamonds, others design jewelry, do
hand engraving, assemble parts, or polish the fin­
ished pieces. Also, the bigger manufacturing
plants employ a much larger proportion of semi­
skilled and unskilled workers than do the small
About 1,350 establishments manufacturing pre­
cious jewelry employed an average of 20,600 pro­
duction workers in 1917. The New York City area

(including northern New Jersey) is the largest
center of precious jewelry manufacturing. The
Providence, R. I.-Attleboro, Mass., area ranks next
in importance in precious jewelry manufacturing.
H o w To E n te r

It takes 2 to 3 years of on-the-job training and
experience in the trade to become qualified to han­
dle the simpler jobs, and several years more to
become a highly skilled all-round jeweler. The
beginner may start out as a charger (setting up
the work for soldering) or do simple soldering or
rough polishing; as he gains experience he may


T h is

skilled je w e lry w o rk e r is se ttin g a dia m o n d — a jo b th a t takes
severa l ye a rs of practice to do w ell.

get a chance to undertake more difficult work. The
best way to learn the trade is through an appren­
ticeship training program which takes from 2 to
I years. However, since only a few of the larger
shops are able to undertake such formal training
programs, apprenticeships are not widespread in
this industry.
There are trade schools which teach jewelry
work, but even with school training, it is necessary
for the newcomer to get several years of practical


experience before he is considered a skilled worker.
Many employers send their apprentices and other
trainees to day or evening classes in these trade
schools, and consider the time spent as part of
their working hours; in some instances the em­
ployer pays the tuition.
To become an all-round jeweler, it is necessary
to have artistic talent and mechanical ability. Be­
cause this is light sedentary work, it has been found
suitable for people with physical handicaps of
certain types. Many disabled veterans have
been employed successfully in this field. Skilled
jewelers sometimes set up their own small
manufacturing shops or acquire retail stores or
trade shops.

Young people who want to become jewelers will
have difficulty finding openings where they can
learn the trade in the early fifties. Little expan­
sion from 1949 employment levels is expected in
either jewelry manufacturing or retail trade. Al­
most all openings will rise through turn-over.
Beginners will have a better chance of getting
started in the manufacturing shops, because that is
where most skilled jewelers are employed and be­
cause retail jewelry stores prefer to hire skilled
workers. However, in manufacturing shops the
number of apprentices is limited by union agree­
ment. Despite a scarcity of openings, some appli­
cants with a high degree of artistic talent and
mechanical ability will be able to find jobs, since
this is a field where employers are always searching
for fresh and original talent. Moreover, there
will continue to be a demand in manufacturing
shops for certain highly specialized craftsmen
such as hand stone setters, model makers, and
sample makers.
Employment of jewelers depends to a great de­
gree on general business conditions, since this is
a luxury trade. However, even with good busi­
ness conditions, little increase in employment is
likely in the next 10 years.

New York City area were about $2.10 an hour in
late 1949, or about $70 to $75 for the customary
35-hour week. Many are paid on a piece-work
basis, but their earnings were about the same.
Apprentices started at 70 cents an hour and re­
ceived increases every 3 months until they reached
the journeyman’s rate. Fall is usually the busiest
season in jewelry manufacturing. Many skilled
workers belong to the International Jewelry
Workers Union, AFL, some to the Playthings,
Jewelry, and Novelty Workers International
Union, CIO.
The general range of earnings of men employed
in retail stores and trade shops in late 1949 was
about $60 to $160 a week. Earnings vary con­
siderably at different seasons of the year, follow­
ing closely the fluctuations in retail jewelry sales.
Top earnings usually come before and immediately
after Christmas. Self-employed repairmen may
work considerable overtime during that period.
Summer is usually the slowest season.
Where To Go for More Information

Additional information on job opportunities,
training, earnings, and related matters may be
obtained from the following organizations:
International Jewelry Workers Union, AFI*,
Suite 825, 551 Fifth Ave.,
New York 17, N. Y.
Jewelry Crafts Association, Inc.,
20 West 47th St.,
New York 19, N. Y.
National Association of Credit Jewelers,
545 Fifth Ave.,
New York 17, N. Y.
Playthings, Jewelry & Novelty Workers International
Union, CIO,
225 Lafayette St., Rni. 606,
New York 12, N. Y.

The following pamphlet contains information
helpful to those interested in going into business
for themselves.
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of For­
eign and Domestic Commerce. Establishing and
Earnings and Working Conditions
Operating a Jewelry Store. Industrial (Small
According to a survey made by an employers5 Business) Series No. 55. 1947. Out of print but
association, average earnings for skilled workers available in many public libraries.
See also Costume Jewelry Workers, page 227.
in precious jewelry manufacturing shops in the


Shoe Repairmen
(D. 0 . T. 4-60.100)

Outlook Summary

Declining occupation. Limited number of op­
portunities for trained men to take over businesses
of older repairmen or to open new shops. Men
learn trade by -working with experienced shoe
Nature of Work

The shoe repairman (often called a shoemaker)
resoles and reheels shoes and performs various
other repair jobs. To resole a shoe, he first rips off
the old sole with a pair of nippers and levels and
sands the welt (narrow strip of leather between
the shoe upper and the sole). Next, the new sole
is set in place over the welt and permanently at­
tached either by cementing, nailing, or machine
stitching. Then the edges of the new sole are held
against a revolving trimmer until the sole is
trimmed to the shape of the shoe. Finally, the
bottom of the sole is buffed, and the edges and
bottom are waxed and stained to give a finished
appearance. In reheeling, the old heel must be
snipped off, and a new one shaped and fastened
into place. The new heel is buffed and finished in
the same manner as new soles. Numerous other
shoe repair services, such as cleaning, dyeing,
stretching, stitching ripped seams, patching holes,
attaching heel and toe plates, and replacing but­
tons and buckles, are a part of the everyday work
of the shoe repairman.
There were roughly 50,000 shoe repair shops in
1939, most of which were small one-man businesses.
Altogether, there were about 60,000 shoe repair­
men. In large cities, shoe repair facilities are
often combined with other types of personal serv­
ices, such as dry cleaning, laundry, hat blocking,
and tailoring. Shoe repairmen sometimes own the
concessions in these valet shops.
How To Get Into the Trade

The most common method of entering this trade
is by serving an apprenticeship of about 2 years
under an experienced shoe repairman. However,

many repairmen pick up the trade by getting a
minor job in one of the large shops and advancing
from the least difficult to the most difficult opera­
tions. Less emphasis is placed upon apprentice­
ship in large shops, where beginners are often
hired and trained in a few months to do one par­
ticular operation. Vocational schools teach this
trade, but most employers prefer people trained
on the job. Those who have had school training
usually are not considered fully qualified until they
have had some practical experience.
The majority of repairmen eventually go into
business for themselves. Several years5experience
working for someone else is valuable, not only to
develop skill, but to learn how to operate a shoe
repair business.

In general, prospects for opening successful new
shops will not be good. Nevertheless, men who
have learned the trade by working for some one
else as a helper or apprentice will occasionally
find favorable opportunities to take over shoe re­
pair businesses or concessions, or to open new
shops. Some beginners will be hired as helpers to
replace these workers and to replace helpers and
apprentices who leave the occupation to take other
jobs. However, because the number of shops is
not expected to increase, there will be only a lim­
ited number of helper openings.
The number of shoe repairmen has decreased
over the past 30 years. Introduction of labor-sav­
ing machinery has been the chief factor making it
possible for fewer repairmen to serve a greater
number of people. The trend of employment
probably will be downward in the future, also,
partly because leather soles and heels are being
replaced by new type composition soles and heels
which outwear leather by a considerable margin.
Moreover, advances in labor-saving repair equip­
ment and the tendency for larger, more efficient
shops to get a greater share of the work will make
it possible for fewer repairmen to handle a given
amount of work. Population growth, on the other


hand, will partly offset the factors making for
decreased employment.

unionization among shoe repairmen, especially in
the larger cities.


Where To Go for More Information

No recent information is available on the earn­
ings of owner-operators, who comprise the great
majority of shoe repairmen. Wages for skilled
employees in the big cities in late 1949 ranged be­
tween $55 and $80 a week; for semiskilled workers,
$35 to $45. Hours of work are often long. Em­
ployment in shoe repairing is fairly steady
throughout the year, with the busiest season oc­
curring in early spring and fall. There is some

The following publication contains valuable in­
formation for persons interested in going into the
business for themselves:
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of For­
eign and Domestic Commerce. Establishing and
Operating a Shoe Repair Business. Industrial
(Small Business) Series No. 17. 1945. Superin­
tendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Price 45 cents.

Watch Repairmen
(D. O. T. 4-71.510)

Outlook Summary

Limited number of openings for jobs in the
early fifties. Graduates of first-rate training
schools have best chances of finding beginning
jobs. Slight increase in employment likely over
the long run.
Nature of Work

Watch repairmen (who are frequently referred
to as “watchmakers”) repair and adjust time­
pieces. This involves a variety of duties such as
inserting new springs, refitting pivots, truing bal­
ance wheels, and grinding old parts or making new
parts. These workers also clean and oil the parts,
refinish dials, and repair or replace wristbands.
In small shops, watch repairmen may perform
some of the simpler types of jewelry repair and
sometimes sell jewelry and watches. It is cus­
tomary to specialize in either watch or clock repair
work. The latter generally requires less skill than
the former.
Where Employed

Most watchmakers work in retail jewelry stores
or separate watch repair shops, either as owners
or employees. Some of the separate watch repair
shops service the public directly, while others,
known as trade shops, repair watches for retail

stores. Many watch repairmen are also employed
in department stores and mail order houses. In
some instances, watchmakers operate a w^atcli re­
pair concession in a retail store. A small number
of watch repairmen are also found in jewelled watch factories and in firms that import watch
movements and parts and assemble them into com­
plete watches.
There were about 35,000 to 40,000 watchmakers
employed in early 1949, including a small number
of women. They work in all parts of the country,
but the greatest proportion are concentrated in
large cities.
How To Enter

Watch repairing is extremely intricate and pre­
cise work which requires much patience as well
as a high degree of mechanical skill. Since this
is light sedentary work it is suitable for many
handicapped people.
Anyone wishing to enter the trade will find it
difficult to do so without a year and a half to 2
years of training in one of the better watchmaking
schools. There were about 125 schools of watch­
making in operation in late 1949, but some of these
schools did not give training that was of a quality
acceptable to most employers.
The best watchmakers’ schools provide thorough
training in all phases of the trade, but even their
graduates need many months of experience and


practice on the job to reach a high rate of output.
Men trained at lower-rated schools may need 3
to 5 years of work experience to become highly
skilled. Some employers employ men wT less
than a year’s training in a school or with no school
background at all and attempt to train them on
the job, but watchmakers are usually too busy
now to give beginners adequate attention. Only
a small number of the larger shops have formal
apprenticeship programs. Small shops, particu­
larly in large cities, generally hire only skilled
Certificates, which are widely recognized by em­
ployers throughout the country, are issued by the
Horological Institute of America to those who are
able to pass the Institute’s examinations and thus
demonstrate a certain quality of workmanship.
Certified watchmaker certificates are granted to
those able to pass a relatively simple examination,
usually men who have completed watchmaking
school or the equivalent in on-the-job training.
Master watchmaker certificates are awarded to
men who pass the more difficult examination, usu­
ally men who have had about 5 or more years’
experience. Certificates of proficiency are also
issued by the Testing and Certification Labora­
tory of the United Horological Association of
America. However, the States which require
licenses—namely, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Min­
nesota, Oregon, Louisiana, and Oklahoma—will
not accept the certificates of either organization in
lieu of their own examinations. The State of
Ohio requires no license, but has regulations speci­
fying the minimum number of hours of training
a watchmaker must have in order to practice his

In 1950 there was an ample supply of men
trained in watchmaking. There wT such a great
influx of newly trained watchmakers in the late
forties, composed mainly of veterans, that by early
1949, employment had risen to nearly double the
prewar figure. Although the number of openings
for newcomers will be fewer in the early fifties,
watchmaking schools probably will turn out more
than 1,000 graduates each year.
Almost all of the openings which arise in the

next several years will result from turn-over in
retail shops, although a limited number of addi­
tional watchmakers will be needed by factories
producing military equipment. Graduates of
first-rate watchmaking schools will have a strong
advantage in getting jobs.
In the long run there is likely to be a slow in­
crease over present levels of employment. The
number of watches in use will probably continue
to increase. Not only will many persons who do
not now have watches buy them, but there is a
growing tendency for people to own more than
one watch, to wear watches as costume jewelry,
and to buy more and more children’s watches.
Moreover, the continuing popularity of small
watches will also help to keep up a large volume
of repair work, because they break down more fre­
quently and are much harder to fix.
Earnings and Working Conditions
In late 1949, a beginner trained in a first-rate
watchmaking school could expect wages of $40 to
$60 a week. Typical earnings of experienced men
working for other shops were between $70 and $85
a week. Earnings of self-employed watchmakers
vary considerably, depending largely on the vol­
ume of repair work and in case of retail jewelry
stores, also upon the volume of sales. Work and
earnings are fairly steady throughout the year.
Only a small proportion of watchmakers belong
to unions; The International Jewelry Workers
Union, AFL, has organized some of the watchmak­
ers employed in retail stores in a few of the larger
Wh ere To Go for Additional Information

For data on job opportunities, schools giving
training courses acceptable to the trade, and simi­
lar matters write to :
Horological Institute of America,
P. O. Box 4355,
Washington 12, D. C.
United Horological Association of America,
1549 Lawrence St.,
Denver 2, Colo.

See also Watch and Clock Factory Workers,,

page 235.