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E m p lo y m e n t O u tlo o k in


Education and Ti
Employment Outlook


Martin P. Durkin, Secretary


Ewan Clague,

C o m m is s io n e r


Reprint from 1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1130


Employment Outlook in
Metalworking Occupations
A reprint from the
1951 Occupational Outlook Handbook

Bulletin No. 1130
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 30 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. G., January 21, 1953.
The S ecretary of L abor :
I have the honor of transmitting herewith a report on the employment outlook
in metalworking occupations taken from our 1951 edition of the Occupational Out­
look Handbook. 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 metalworking which replaces our Bul­
letin 844 on welders, issued in 1945, Bulletin 880 on foundry occupations, issued in
1946, and Bulletin 895 on machine shop occupations, issued in 1947. In addition,
this reprint covers forge shop work and a number of other metalworking occupations.
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 the major occupational and industrial fields covered
in the Handbook.
The research for the Occupational Outlook Handbook was carried on with the
financial support of the Veterans Administration, which needed information for use
in its vocational rehabilitation and education activities.
E w an C l a g u e , Commissioner.
Hon. M artin P. D u r k in ,

Secretary of Labor.

Machine-shop occupations_______________________________________________________________
All-round machinists________________________________________________________________
Machine tool operators______________________________________________________________
Tool and die makers________________________________________________________________
Set-up men (machine shop)__________________________________________________________
Lay-out men (machine shop)________________________________________________________
Foundry occupations____________________________________________________________________
Hand molders______________________________________________________________________
Machine molders___________________________________________________________________
Hand coremakers___________________________________________________________________
Machine coremakers________________________________________________________________
Chippers and grinders (foundry)_____________________________________________________
Castings inspectors_________________________________________________________________
Melters (foundry)__________________________________________________________________
Foundry technicians________________________________________________________________
Forge shop occupations__________________________________________________
Helpers (hammer and press crews)___________________________________________________
Drop-hammer operators_____________________________________________________________
Forging-press operators_____________________________________________________________
Other forge shop workers____________________________________________________________
Other metalworking occupations_________________________________________________________
Arc and gas welders________________________________________________________________
Acetylene burners__________________________________________________________________
Resistance welders__________________________________________________________________
Assemblers (machinery manufacturing)_______________________________________________
Inspectors (machinery manufacturing)_______________________________________________
Riveters, pneumatic (manufacturing)_____________________________________

Metalworking industries have most of the machine-shop jobs, employment 1949__________
Long range trend of employment in metalworking is upward..'__________________________
Employment in machine-shop occupations, 1949_______________________________________
Four States have nearly half of the foundry jobs; distribution of foundry workers, 1947___
Number of foundry jobs far above prewar_____________________________________________
Major foundry occupations, employment, September 1949______________________________
Forge shop employment has varied greatly, but trend is upward________________________



Machine-shop workers are the largest occupa­
tional group in metalworking and one of the most
important groups in all industry. In early 1950,
more than 750,000 workers were employed in the
skilled and semiskilled machining occupations. In
addition, there were many thousands of other
workers, such as assemblers, inspectors, helpers,
and laborers, employed in machine shops.1
Em ploym ent

1 94 9

Prim ary and
Fab ricated M eta ls
E le c tr ic a l
M achinery
Tran s p o rta tio n
All O ther


The long-range upward trend of employment in
this field, together with a large volume of replace­
ment needs, should provide many opportunities
for new workers. Job openings will be particu­
larly numerous in the early fifties as the metal­
working industries, which are the main sources of
machine shop jobs, expand to meet defense
Nature of Machine-Shop Work

Machining is done by machine tools, and a ma­
chine shop is simply a workplace in which machine
tools are used. A machine tool is a power-driven
1 Reports for some of these occupations, such as machinery
assemblers and inspectors are elsewhere in this handbook. See
index for page numbers.


machine which firmly holds both the piece of metal
to be shaped and a cutting instrument, or “tool,”
and brings them together so that the metal is cut,
shaved, ground, or drilled. In some cases, the tool
is moved and the metal held stationary; in others,
the metal is moved against a stationary tool.
The most common kinds of machine tools include
the engine lathe, turret lathe, grinding machine,
boring mill, drill press, milling machine, screw
machine, shaper, and planer. The operation of
lathes is known as “turning.” The piece of metal
being cut is rotated against the cutting tool held
in the machine. Boring mills and drilling ma­
chines are among the machines that make holes
in metal. Grinding machines remove the metal
with a power-driven, abrasive wheel. Milling ma­
chines shape metal with a saw-toothed cutting tool.
Planers and shapers are used to machine flat sur­
faces. A screw machine is a type of lathe.
Some machine shops manufacture metal prod­
ucts and others do maintenance work—making or
repairing metal parts for equipment use. The
manufacturing shops are of two main types—job
shops and production shops—depending upon the
way their production is organized. In job shops,
the earliest developed, a wide variety of products
may be made with relatively few of each kind.
Production shops, on the other hand, make large
quantities of identical items.
Where Machine-Shop Workers Are Employed

Because of their importance in making metal
products, machine-shop workers are employed
principally in the metalworking industries.
Nearly every industry, however, employs some ma­
chine-shop workers in maintenance work. More
than three-fourths of all workers in the machineshop occupations have jobs in metal industries like
machinery, primary and fabricated metals, and
automobiles. (See chart 49.)
Most of the remaining machine-shop workers
are employed by the railroads, public utilities, and
in the maintenance shops of nonmetal manufac­
turing plants which make such products as cotton
textiles, paper, cigarettes, and chemicals. Even
though the number of machine-shop workers in
most nonmetal industries is small, these industries,


taken together, are important as a source of em­
ployment for machine-shop workers since they
provide almost a fourth of the jobs. Moreover, in
many cases the machine-shop jobs rate among the
better jobs in the plant and locality, as for ex­
ample, in many textile mills in southern towns.
Because so many machine-shop workers are in
metalworking industries, the bulk of them are
found in the northeastern and mid western sec­
tions of the country, where these industries are
concentrated. Some machine-shop employment,
however, is scattered throughout the country in
railroad repair shops and the maintenance shops
of other industries. There are machine-shop jobs
in every State.

Many thousands of new workers will get ma­
chine-shop jobs during the next decade. Job
openings will be particularly numerous in the early
fifties as the metalworking industries, which are
the main source of machine-shop jobs, expand to

meet increasing defense requirements. The longrange employment trend in metalworking indus­
tries is also upward, as chart 50 shows. However,
as the chart also shows, the metalworking indus­
tries are more seriously affected by business
depressions than industry generally. Thus,
machine-shop workers suffer heavy lay-offs and a
greatly reduced workweek when economic condi­
tions are bad.
In the maintenance shops of nonmetal industries,
long-run growth in machine-shop employment is
also in prospect. These industries as a whole have
a general upward trend associated with rising pop­
ulation and national income. Moreover, the grad­
ual mechanization of industry tends to expand the
need for maintenance machine-shop workers to
keep mechanical equipment in good condition.
Many of these nonmetal industries are much less
affected by changes in general business conditions
than are the metalworking industries, so that ma­
chine-shop workers in the nonmetal industries tend
to have fairly steady employment over the years.

Genera! view of a small machine shop.
Co u r tesy


n a t io n a l

A r c h iv e s



In addition to the expected rise in machine-shop
employment, replacement needs (resulting from
the loss of experienced workers) will create thou­
sands of openings for beginners. Death and re­
tirement of experienced men may provide some­
thing in the order of 15,000 openings annually
during the 1950-60 decade. This will be a par­
ticularly important factor in the skilled occupa­
tions, which have a relatively high proportion of
older workers. In the less skilled occupations,
shifting into other lines of work is fairly common;
many thousands of openings for newcomers will
arise in this way.
In addition, replacements will be needed as
workers are called up for service in the Armed
Forces; although some of those who are in critical
machine-shop occupations may be deferred.
Machine -Shop Wo rke rs and The ir Jobs

Employment in major machine-shop occupa­
tions is shown in chart 51. The basic machine
shop job is that of machinist, employed mainly
where workers are needed who are qualified to do
any of the operations in a machine shop. Tool
and die makers are essentially highly trained ma­
chinists who specialize in making the cutting tools,
jigs, fixtures, and dies used in the various metal­
working operations. Machine-tool operators are
the largest group of machine-shop workers; the
occupation includes both skilled and semiskilled
workers. Set-up men and lay-out men are skilled,

1899 1904 ’09












Thousands of Worker*
0_______ too______^0 0 ______ 300______ 400______ 300


------------- 1
----- --------1



Tool and
Set-up and
Lay-out men



specialized workers employed in shops which carry
on volume production; these are among the smaller
machine-shop occupations.
Except for the semiskilled machine tool operat­
ing jobs, the main method of entering these occu­
pations is through apprenticeship. The appren­
tice must be mechanically inclined and tempera­
mentally suited to very careful and exact work.
Apprentices are generally required to have highschool or trade-school education. There are no
special educational requirements for the semi­
skilled jobs.
Great physical strength is not required for ma­
chine-shop w^ork. The workers, however, usually
must stand at their jobs most of the day and be
able to move about freely. Since continuous atten­
tion is required when the machine is in operation,
the work may often be rather tedious, especially on
simple and repetitive machining jobs. Where the
work is varied and complex, and the standards of
accuracy high, the worker can consider himself a
real craftsman and experience the satisfaction that
this feeling gives to the conscientious and capable
Because the work is not physically strenuous,
many women are employed as machine-tool opera­
tors. However, most of them are employed in the
less skilled machining operations; practically none
are found among the tool and die makers
and all-round machinists and relatively few among
the skilled machine-tool operators.
Most machine shops are relatively clean, well
lighted, and free from dust. They are generally
safer places in which to work than are most


The great majority of machine-shop workers
are members of unions. There are a number of
labor organizations in this field, some of the more
important of which are the International Associ­
ation of Machinists (Independent), the Interna­

tional Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine
Workers (CIO), the United Automobile, Aircraft
and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
(CIO), and the Mechanics Educational Society of
America (Independent).

All-Round Machinists
(D. O. T. 4-75.010)

Outlook Summary

There will be many job opportunities in this
occupation during the fifties, with many openings
resulting from replacement needs.
Nature of Work

This is a skilled machine-shop occupation in
which about 165,000 men are employed. In addi­
tion, there are many thousands with training as
all-round machinists, but employed in other
machine-shop occupations, such as that of ma­
chine-tool operator.
Variety is the main feature of the all-round
machinist’s work. His training enables him to
plan and carry through all operations needed in
turning out a machined product and to switch
readily from one kind of product to another. He
knows how to work from blueprints and written
specifications, can select the proper tools and ma­
terials required for each job, and can plan the
proper sequence of cutting and finishing opera­
tions. When necessary, he lays out the work by
marking the surface of the metal to show where
machining is needed and to indicate the shape and
depth of the cuts. After machining, he may finish
his work by hand, using files and scrapers, and
may assemble the parts by welding. His knowl­
edge of shop practice, of the working properties of
such metals as steel, cast iron, aluminum, and
brass, and of what the various machine tools do,
makes it possible for him to turn a block of metal
into an intricate, precise part.

An apprentice machinist must be mechanically
inclined and temperamentally suited to very care­
ful and exact work. Great physical strength is not
required for this work. A high school or grade
school education is desirable preparation for ma­
chinist training and some employers require such
preparation. In general, this is a man’s occupa­
Where Employed
The majority of all-round machinist jobs are in
maintenance shops in a variety of industries, such
as railroads, textile mills, automobile factories, oil
T h e basic m achine shop jo b is th a t of the a ll-ro u n d m achinist, w h o
can operate all standard types of m achine too ls.
Co u r tesy


N a t io n a l A r c h iv e s

T r a in in g a n d Q u a lific a tio n s

According to most authorities, a 4-year appren­
ticeship is the best way to learn the machinist
trade. Many have qualified without an appren­
ticeship, however, by picking up the trade over a
number of years of varied shop experience.



refineries, steel mills, and printing plants. Many
all-round jobs are also found in manufacturing
shops (including job and production shops). In
production shops, there are large numbers of men
trained as all-round machinists, but not usually
employed as such; these men specialize in a single
machine-shop function, such as set-up or operation
of one type of machine tool.
Most of the machinists’ jobs are in the Middle
Western and Northeastern States where the metal­
working industries are concentrated. Machinists
are employed in every State, however, because of
their use in maintenance w^ork.

Job openings for machinists will be plentiful
during the early fifties, to fill the needs of expand­
ing defense industries. However, there will be
relatively few apprentice openings. In the long
run, the number of jobs for all-round machinists
in production work may show a slight decline.
Continuing technical changes will reduce the skill
needed in many machining operations, permitting
the substitution of less trained men for machin­
ists. Machinist training will continue, however,
to offer considerable advantage to men going
into these shops. Machinists are generally pre­
ferred for the specialized machine-tool operator
jobs, which often pay as well or better than
all-round jobs. They also will have many
chances to get jobs setting up machines for groups
of semiskilled operators. Moreover, all-round
machine-shop workers must continue to be hired in
order to supply the necessary supervisory staffs—
the lead men and foremen—which are extremely
important in the modern mass-production shops.
In maintenance shops, the number of all-round
machinist jobs should show some growth over a
period of many years. The increasing mechaniza­
tion of industry will expand the need for men to
keep production equipment in good working order,
and this may mean more jobs for maintenance ma­
chinists. Replacement needs will provide many
job opportunities. To provide for the replacement


of all-round machinists who die or retire, BO to 40
thousand new machinists must be trained between
1950 and 1960. In June 1949, there were nearly
10,000 registered machinists in training.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Although the pay of all-round machinists com­
pares favorably with that of other machine-shop
workers, it is often lower than the earnings of
skilled machine-tool operators, many of whom
work on an incentive basis. Earnings of produc­
tion machinists in the machinery industries in
selected cities in November 1949, are shown in
the following tabulation:



Atlanta ________ $1. 48 Los Angeles______
Baltimore- _______ 1. 44 Milwaukee_______
1. 57 M inneapolis-St.
Chattanooga_________ 1.53 N ew a rk -Jersey
Chicago _ __ ____ 1. 81 New York City___
Cincinnati__ ______ 1. 42 Philadelphia..___
Cleveland___ _____ 1. 71 Pittsburgh _ ______
D allas ________________ 1. 50 Portland, Oreg___ _
Denver____ __ ________ 1. 51 Providence_________
Detroit__________ _____ 1. 79 St. Louis____________
H artford _________ __ 1. 46 Seattle __________
H ouston _______ _____ 1. 80 Syracuse_____ _______
Indianapolis__________ 1. 65 Tulsa ___ ___


$1. 72
1. 65
. 60

1. 62
1. 70
1. 61
1. 52
1. 75
1. 40
1. 74
1. 79
1. 54
1. 55

1 Straight-time earnings (excluding premium pay for overtime and night

Average straight-time hourly earnings for pro­
duction machinists in the airframe industry in
May-June 1949 were $1.72. Recent earnings data
for other industries are not available.
Promotional opportunities for all-round ma­
chinists are good. Many advance to foreman of a
section in the shop, or to other supervisory jobs.
With additional training, some develop into tool
or die makers. Some are successful in opening and
operating machine shops of their own.


Machine Tool Operators

(D. O. T. 4-78.000 to 78.039 and 6-78.000 to 78.039; 4-78.500 to 78.589 and 6-78.500 to 78.589; 4 -78.060 to 78.069)

Outlook Summary

Good job prospects.
Nature of Work

The operators of machine tools make up the
bulk of the workers in machine shops. Nearly
470,000 workers were employed as machine-tool
operators in the fall of 1949.
Machine-tool operating jobs may be divided into
two main classes, according to the skill required.
The skilled machine-tool operator does widely
varying kinds of machining. Working from blue­
prints or lay-outs, he sets up his machine for each
machining operation, adjusts the feed and speed
controls, and measures the finished work to see if
it meets specifications. He knows how to sharpen
cutting tools when they become dull and under­
stands the machining qualities of various metals.
In brief, his work is very much like that of the
all-round machinist, except that it is limited to a
single type of machine tool.
The majority of machine-tool operators are
much less skilled than the machine-tool specialists
described above and do work which is repetitive,
rather than varied. A typical job consists mainly
of placing rough metal stock into an automatic
machine tool, watching the machining operation
for signs of trouble, and measuring the finished
work with specially prepared gages which simplify
measurement. He may make minor adjustments
to keep the machine tool in operation, but must de­
pend on more skilled men for major adjustments.
Machine-tool operators, skilled and semiskilled
alike, are designated according to the kind of tool
which they operate—for example, engine-lathe op­
erator, turret-lathe operator, drilling-machine op­
erator, grinding-machine operator, milling-ma­
chine operator. There are many other kinds of
machine-tool specialists, each of whom knows his
particular machine tool.
To become a skilled machine-tool operator re­
quires from iy2 to 3 years of on-the-job training.
Many of these jobs, however, are filled by men
who have completed all-round machinist appren­
ticeships. Semiskilled machine-tool operators are

generally trained in not more than 6 months on
the job.
Where Employed

Skilled machine-tool specialists are employed
in all types of machine shops, but most of
them work in production shops. The propor­
tion of these specialists varies greatly among
production shops, however, depending on the
extent of job breakdown and the kind of ma­
chining done. They form a smaller percentage
of the workers in job and maintenance shops,
where an all-round knowledge of machine-shop
practice is generally preferred. Nevertheless, a
substantial number of skilled operators are em­
ployed in these shops, working under the guidance
of all-round machinists.
The employment of semiskilled machine-tool op­
erators is confined mainly to production shops and
is concentrated particularly in such mass-produc­
tion industries as automobiles and farm machin­
ery. Because of their limited training, few can
be used in either job or maintenance shops.

There will be many thousands of opportunities
for new workers to get jobs as machine tool opera­
tors during the next decade. Job openings will
be particularly numerous during the early fifties
as the metalworking industries expand to meet
defense requirements.
Long-run job prospects for skilled machine-tool
specialists are likely to be good. Some employers
will continue to train specialists in preference to
training all-round men, because it costs less. The
growth of specialization in machine-shop work
will continue and this trend may offset technical
advances which otherwise would reduce the need
for skilled operators.
Those who get jobs as semiskilled operators also
have good prospects for continued employment in
the future. The gradual simplification of ma­
chine-tool work through greater use of auto­
matic machines may widen their field of employ­
ment. On the other hand, technical advances


which increase the efficiency of machine tools will
tend to hold down the total number of jobs in this
The need to replace the many machine-tool op­
erators who shift to other occupations or who die
or retire will result in many job openings for new
workers each year. Replacements will also be
needed for those entering the Armed Forces.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Many machine-tool operators, especially the
less skilled, are paid on an incentive basis and
hence their earnings are often as high as machineshop workers of greater skill. Average hourly
straight-time earnings (excluding premium pay
for overtime and night work) for drill-press op­
erators and engine-lathe operators in machinery
manufacturing industries in selected cities in
November 1949 are shown in the accompanying
Average straight-time hourly earnings for ma­
chine tool operators, in plants producing passenger
cars, in February 1950, were as follows:
Boring-mill operators_______________ ___ $2.00
Drill-press operators___________________ 1. 61
Lathe operators________________________ 1. 63
Milling-machine operators______________ 1. 61
Screw-machine operators_______________ 1. 67

Recent earnings data for other industries are
not available.
Skilled machine-tool specialists may be pro­
moted to such jobs as set-up man or supervisor (on
machines on which they have specialized). If
they can get experience on several different kinds
of machine tools, they, also, may develop into all­
round machinists. Semiskilled operators gener­
ally have little chance for advancement since they

are employed mainly in production shops where
the work is very repetitive and where there are
few opportunities to develop additional skills.
Average hourly straight-time earnings, 1949


Drill-press operators, single- Engine-lathe operators
and multiple-spindle

Boston______ $1. 67
Chattanooga. _____
1. 65
Cincinnati__ 1. 52
Cleveland___ 1. 70
Dallas. _ _ _ 1. 36
1. 80
Detroit. _
Hartford__ 1. 84
1. 60
Indianapolis. . 1. 58
Los Angeles. _ 1. 53
Milwaukee__ 1. 69
MinneapolisSt. P a u l... 1. 61
sey City__ 1. 53
N ew Y ork
City--------- 1. 76
Philadelphia.. 1. 52
P o r tla n d ,
1. 61
Providence__ 1. 30
St. Louis____ 1. 62
Syracuse____ 1. 81
T ulsa
1. 28
Worcester.__ 1. 62




Class Class

$1. 16
1. 19 $1. 12 $1. 50
1. 37 1. 26 1. 65 $1. 41
1. 28
1. 65 1. 43
1. 35 1. 05 1. 51 1. 41
1. 52 1. 34 1. 72 1 .5 6
1. 34 1. 05 1. 51 1. 31
1. 70 1. 28 1. 74 1. 65
. 95 1. 47
1. 33
1. 62 1. 31
1. 57 1. 44 2. 08 1. 73
1. 35 1, 33 1. 62 1. 40
1. 76 1. 65
1. 58 1. 12 1. 57 1. 38
1. 11 1. 69 1. 48
1. 59 1. 43 1. 65 1. 59

$1. 00
1. 36
1. 08
1. 33
1. 23
1. 35
1. 49

1. 47

1. 16

1. 65

1. 43

1. 39

1. 67

1. 50

1. 30

1. 48
1. 35
1. 60

1. 18
1. 24
1. 14

1. 75
1. 80
1. 70

1. 52
1. 56

1. 21
1. 33
1. 37

1. 19
1. 41
1. 56
1 .5 4
1. 19
1. 45

1. 19
1. 11

1. 72
1. 40
1. 64

1. 23
1. 49

1. 20

1. 37

1. 30

1. 36

1. 24

1. 43
. 97

I. 57
1. 51
1 .4 9

Tool and Die Makers
(D. O. T. 4-76.010, .040, and .210)

Outlook Summary
Tool and die making offers good long-range
employment prospects.
Nature of Work
The function of tool makers is to make the cut­
ting tools used on machine tools, and the jigs,

fixtures, and other accessories which hold the work
while it is being machined. They also make the
gages and other measuring devices needed for pre­
cision work. Die makers construct the dies which
are used in such metal-forming operations as
forging, stamping, and pressing, and they also
make the metal molds used in die-casting metal
and molding plastics. Tool and die makers must

Average straight-time hourly earnings of tool and die


Jobbing shops

Atlanta__ __
Baltim ore___
Boston._ __
Buffalo _
Chicago . .
Cleveland. . . .
Detroit. _
Hartford. _
_ _
Los Angeles.
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Newark-Jersey City
New York City__ .
Philadelphia. __
Pittsburgh___ __
Portland, Oreg . _ . . _
St. Louis.. __ ____
Seattle__ __________
Syracuse __ __ _____
Tulsa________ ________ .
Worcester. _ _ . _ _ _ _

$1. 74
1. 77
2. 05
1. 74
1. 85
2. 25
1. 65
1. 78
1. 87
1. 82
1. 93
2. 00
1. 73
2. 08
1. 70

Other than
jobbing shops

$1. 80
1. 68
1. 70
1. 75
1. 94
1. 64
1. 90
1. 67
2. 08
1. 70
1. 89
1. 84
1. 81
1. 74
1. 77
1. 86
1. 91
1. 77
1. 81
1. 78
1. 60
1. 96
2. 06
1. 69
1. 71
1. 62

have the broad knowledge of the all-round ma­
chinist, including blueprint reading, lay-out work,
setting up and operating machine tools, using pre­
cision measuring instruments, understanding the
working properties of common metals and alloys,
and making shop computations. In addition,
they must be able to work to closer tolerances than
those usually required of machinists and must do
a greater amount of precise hand work. These
requirements, plus specialization on tools and dies,
distinguish tool and die makers from all-round

training in various parts of the job. In addition,
during the apprenticeship, courses such as shop
arithmetic and blueprint reading are usually
given in vocational schools. After apprentice­
ship, a number of years of experience as a journey­
man is often considered necessary to qualify for
the more difficult tool and die work. Since tool
and die making is the most exacting type of ma­
chine-shop jobs, persons planning to enter the
trade should have a great deal of mechanical abil­
ity and liking for painstaking work. This is
essentially a man’s job, although little physical
strength is required.
Where Employed

The estimated 85,000 tool and die makers are
employed in many different metalworking indus­
tries. The automobile industry is the largest
employer of these workers. Also very important
are tool and die jobbing shops. Many are em­
ployed in other machinery industries. Among the
nonmetal industries using these workers is the
plastics products industry, which employs die
makers to make metal molds.
Most of the tool and die maker employment is
in the midwestern and northeastern sections of
the country. Michigan, especially the Detroit
area, has more jobs than any other section. Many
An apprentice tool and die m aker learns how to operate sta n d a rd
m achine too ls, such as th is shaper.
Ph o to g r a p h



. S.

d e p a r tm e n t


Labo r

T ra in in g a n d Q ualifications

This work requires rounded and varied ma­
chine-shop experience, usually obtained through
formal apprenticeship or the equivalent in other
types of on-the-job training. In July 1919, there
were about 6,000 tool and die maker apprentices
in training. A tool and die apprenticeship ordi­
narily covers 4 or 5 years, including mainly shop



are also employed in Ohio, Illinois, New York,
and Pennsylvania.
Tool and die making offers good long-range em­
ployment prospects. These workers are needed
not only to repair and replace the tools and dies
normally used by industry but also to retool plants
for new models and new products. Also the
trends toward greater use of die casting, stamping,
and plastics molding will tend to increase diemaker employment. In the early fifties, the de­
mand for tool and die makers will be particularly
strong as the metalworking industries expand to
meet defense requirements.
Even in the event of a general business depres­
sion, with machine-shop employment temporarily
falling to a low level, experienced tool and die
makers, because of their all-round skills, would
have fairly good chances to get lower rated ma­
chine-shop jobs. Thus, from the point of job
security, they may have a considerable advantage
over other machine-shop workers.

Earnings and Working Conditions
This is the highest paid machine-shop occupa­
tion. In November 1949, the average straighttime hourly earnings (excluding premium pay for
overtime and night work) of tool and die makers
employed in the machinery industries in selected
cities are shown in the foregoing tabulation.
Higher rates are generally paid in jobbing shops
than in production shops. Average earnings in the
airframe industry for tool and die makers in mid1949 were $1.79 an hour. In passenger-car manu­
facturing plants, average straight-time hourly
earnings, in February 1950, were $1.98 for die
makers (excluding leaders) and $1.97 for tool
makers (excluding leaders). Recent earnings in­
formation for other industries is not available.
Tool and die makers often rise to better jobs.
Many have advanced to shop superintendent or
other responsible supervisory work, or to such posi­
tions as tool designer. (See statement on this oc­
cupation, p. 192.) Another avenue of opportunity
is the opening of their own small tool and die job­
bing shops.

Set-up Men (Machine Shop)
(D. O. T. 4-75.160)

Outlook Summary
Some openings for qualified men in this small,
growing occupation.
Nature of Work
The set-up man is a skilled specialist employed
in machine shops which carry on large-volume
production. His job is to install cutting tools and
adjust the controls of machine tools so that they
can be run by semiskilled operators.
The usual practice is to assign a set-up man to a
number of machine tools, which are often of one
type, such as the turret lathe. The set-up man
works from blueprints, written specifications, or
job lay-outs in order to set the cutting tools in
place and to adjust for each machining operation
the guides, speed and feed controls, working tables,
and other parts of machine tools. After setting
up and adjusting a machine, he makes a trial run
to see if it is working properly, and then turns it

over to the regular operator. During the machin­
ing operation he makes all important adjustments
needed for accurate production.
In order to become a set-up man, it is usually
necessary to qualify first as an all-round machin­
ist or as a skilled machine-tool specialist, since the
job requires a good background in machine-shop
practice as well as a thorough knowledge of the
operation of at least one type of machine tool.
Set-up men comprise one of the smaller occu­
pations among machine-shop workers. However,
the long-run trend toward using these skills in
conjunction with semiskilled machine-tool opera­
tors in many shops is expected to continue. Thus,
there should be openings for men with the neces­
sary qualifications. The number of set-up men
should increase substantially during the early
fifties because of the expected expansion of pro­
duction in metalworking industries.


Lay-out Men (Machine Shop)
(D. O. T. 4-75.140)

Outlook Summary

There will will be openings for experienced all­
round machinists to get into this field.
Nature of Work

The lay-out man is a highly skilled specialist
whose job is to make guide marks on metal before
it is machined to indicate to the machine-tool op­
erators the kind of machining needed.
Working from blueprints or written specifica­
tions, the lay-out man marks guide lines, reference
points, and other instructions to operators on
rough castings, forgings, or metal stock. He uses
a wide assortment of instruments, including the
scriber, with which he marks lines on the surface
of the metal; the center punch, used to indicate
the centers on the ends of metal pieces to be ma­
chined or drilled; the keyseat or box rule, used for
drawing lines and laying off distances on curved
surfaces; dividers, for transferring and compar­
ing distances; L- or T-squares for determining
right angles; and calipers and micrometers for
accurate measurement. Not only must the lay-out
man work with extreme accuracy, but also he has
to be familiar with the operation and uses of each
of the standard machine tools.
Generally it takes from 6 to 10 years to develop
this skill, including the machinist apprenticeship
or equivalent training needed to learn the funda­
mentals of machine-shop practice. Earnings in
this occupation are among the highest in machine

the early fifties as production in metalworking
plants expands to meet defense requirements.
Where To Get Additional Information

Employment Outlook in Machine-Shop Occu­
pations. Bulletin No. 895. U. S. Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1947. 28 pp.,
3 charts, 7 illus. Superintendent of Documents,
Washington 25, D. C. Price, 20 cents.
Persons interested in opening their own metal­
working business would do well to consult Estab­
lishing and Operating a Metalworking Shop.
U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of For­
eign and Domestic Commerce, 1945. Superin­
tendent of Documents, Washington 25, D. C.
Price, 35 cents.
T h e la y -o u t man m ust have a broad know ledge of m a cn in e -sh op w o rk
and be able to use m arking and m e a -u rin g in stru m e n ts.
Ph o to g r a p h



. S

d ep a r tm e n t


Labo r


This is one of the smaller machine-shop occu­
pations. However, employment opportunities for
qualified men are likely to be good, since there is
a trend toward employing skilled lay-out men in
conjunction with semiskilled machine-tool opera­
tors in production shops. A considerable rise in
the number of lay-out men is in prospect during


Foundries constitute one of the principal metal­
working fields and one of the larger sources of
employment for trained workers in manufactur­
ing. The more than 5,000 foundries in the United
States employed about 435,000 production workers
in July 1950, many of them in skilled occupations.
Prospects are that a large number of new workers
will get foundry jobs during the 1950-60 decade.
Earnings are above the average for factory work
Characteristics of Foundries

Foundries are places where castings are made.
A casting is formed by pouring molten metal into
a mold and allowing the metal to harden, taking
the shape of the mold. This is one of industry’s


basic metalworking methods since it can produce
metal parts in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
Castings in general use include automobile cylin­
der blocks, wT mains, bathtubs, machinery
bearings, ship propellers, railway car wheels, ma­
chine-tool bases, radiators, valve bodies, locomo­
tive frames, and hundreds of other industrial
Casting is applied to a number of different
metals and their alloys. Gray iron accounts for
most of the tonnage produced and the largest seg­
ment of employment in the entire foundry field.
Steel and malleable iron are the other important
types of ferrous metals which are cast. Among
the nonferrous metals, the main casting materials
are brass, bronze, aluminum, and magnesium.
Foundries usually specialize in casting one or tvT


metals—since somewhat different kinds of equip­
ment and methods are used for the various metals.
Most foundry workers can transfer, however, from
casting one type of metal to another without much
extra training.
Foundries differ greatly in the way their pro­
duction is organized. Production foundries make
large quantities of identical castings, using mainly
machine methods and requiring relatively few
skilled workers. Many of the production foun­
dries are “captive” or “integrated” foundries, that
is, they are departments of firms which use cast­
ings in manufacturing finished products such as
automobiles, various types of machinery, agricul­
tural implements, plumbing and heating equip­
ment, or electrical machinery. Jobbing foundries,
on the other hand, make a variety of shapes and
sizes of castings, usually in limited quantities.
Although the amount of mechanization has been
increasing, hand methods are still used to a great
extent in jobbing shops, and a relatively high pro­
portion of skilled workers is required. Jobbing
foundries are usually separate establishments
(“independent” or “commercial” foundries), sell­
ing their castings to other companies. The dis­
tinction between production and jobbing foundries
is not always sharply defined, as production found­
ries often do some jobbing work and jobbing
foundries may carry on some semiproduction
Foundries vary greatly in size. In 1947, of the
more than 1,600 independent gray-iron foundries,
only 13 had more than 1,000 workers each. On the
other hand, over one-half of the gray-iron found­
ries employed fewer than 50 workers. Both steel
foundries and malleable-iron foundries are gen­
erally larger than the typical gray-iron foundry;
more than half of the workers in these foundries
were employed in plants with more than 500 em­
ployees. Nonferrous foundries are typically
small; four-fifths of them had fewer than 50 em­
ployees each in 1947.
As the map (chart 52) shows, most of the
foundry jobs are in the Midwestern and North­
eastern States. Foundries tend to be near the
great concentrations of metalworking industries
for which they produce castings, and near the sup­
ply of such basic materials as pig iron, coke, and
nonferrous metals. The leading foundry States
are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan.
However, foundry jobs appear in substantial num









bers in other parts of the country. Alabama, for
example, has many foundry workers; in Cali­
fornia, foundry employment has recently become
more important. Every State has some foundry
Employment Outlook

Foundries are expected to hire many new work­
ers during the 1950-60 decade. Openings will be
particularly numerous during the early fifties, as
metalworking industries—the principal users of
castings—expand to meet defense requirements.
Many job opportunities will be created by the need
to replace those workers who leave the foundries
because of death, retirement, or shifting to other
fields of work.
There has been a long-run upward trend in
foundry production and employment. This trend
reflects the growth of the whole economy and par­
ticularly the great expansion of the metalworking
industries including the automobile, machinery,
railroad, electrical equipment, and plumbing and


heating equipment industries. However, foundry
activity lias also shown wide fluctuations from year
to year. To a high degree, these fluctuations are
associated with changes in general business con­
ditions; foundries are especially hard hit during
depressions, but in boom times, their situation is
particularly favorable. For example, there was
a drop of 07 percent in iron and steel castings out­
put between 1929 and 1933, and a rise of 82 percent
between 1939 and 1917. Wartime also causes
sharp fluctuations in foundry activity. Tremen­
dous requirements for castings for aircraft, tanks,
and ordnance lead to a rapid rise in foundry out­
put, followed by some postwar decline.
Chart 53 shows the trend of foundry employ­
ment in recent years. It can be seen that the num­
ber of workers employed in foundries is far above
prewar, although somewhat lower than the war­
time peak. In July 1950, about 435,000 pro­
duction workers had jobs in foundries (including
both independent and integrated foundries).
In the early fifties, foundry employment is ex­
pected to rise above this level, because of the need
for castings by defense industries during the next
Long-run prospects are good in many of the
industries which use large amounts of castings,
including automobile, electrical equipment, farm
machinery, many kinds of industrial equipment,
and plumbing and heating supplies. This should
F o u n d ry w o rk e rs p ouring molten metal into sand m olds to form castings.


mean gradually increasing levels of castings
production. However, foundry employment is
not expected to rise quite as much as pro­
duction. Continued technical advances in foun­
dry methods will mean that fewer workers will
be needed to produce a given amount of cast­
ings. Some of the more important technological
changes may include more extensive installation
of materials-handling equipment and greater use
of permanent-mold castings.
Although no great rise in employment is antici­
pated, over the long run, foundries will hire many
workers each year because of the need to replace
employees who leave the foundries. Openings re­
sulting from death and retirement may run about
6,000 to 10,000 annually. Replacement demand of
this kind will be especially important in the more
skilled occupations, in which there are many
workers of relatively advanced age. An even
greater number of openings should result from the
shifting of experienced foundry workers into other
kinds of employment. In the semiskilled and un­
skilled occupations, most of the job openings will
arise in this way. Replacements will also be
needed for those entering the Armed Forces.
F o u n d ry W o rkers and T h eir Jobs

Most skilled jobs in foundries, as well as many
of the less skilled, are not found elsewhere in in­
dustry. Estimated employment in some of the
principal foundry occupations is shown in chart
54. There are many occupations which are not
typical of foundry work as such, but which are,
nevertheless, represented in foundries. These
workers are found throughout industry and in­
clude maintenance workers (such as carpenters
and electricians), engineers, clerical employees,
and laborers.
The customary employment practice is to hire
only men for most foundry occupations. During
the war, a large number of women worked in
foundries, but relatively few have remained. In
May 1950, about 5 percent of all employees in
independent iron and steel foundries were women.
The proportion of Negroes in foundries is fairly
high. They are employed not only in many un­
skilled and semiskilled foundry occupations but
also to a substantial extent as skilled molders and
Wages in foundries are somewhat above the aver­


age for manufacturing as a whole. In July
1950, production workers in independent iron and
steel foundries earned an average of about $1.51
an hour (including pay for overtime and night
work). Those in nonferrous foundries averaged
about $1.60 an hour. This compares with average
hourly earnings of about $1.46 for all manufactur­
ing industries in the same month.
The working environment varies greatly among
individual foundries. In some, the conditions
compare favorably with metalworking industries
generally; in others, safety and comfort are below
the average for metalworking.
Foundries are sometimes hot places to work,
particularly near the melting units in the summer
months. Smoke and fumes are sometimes a nui­
sance. Noise may be a problem in certain opera­
tions, particularly in cleaning and finishing.
The injury rate in foundries tends to be rela­
tively high, but there has been considerable im­
provement of working conditions and safety prac­
tices in recent years. The frequency of accidents
varies among the different foundry occupations.
In general, patternmaking and coremaking are the
least hazardous, molding is somewhat more unsafe,
arid jobs in melting and chipping tend to have
among the highest injury rates.
The large majority of foundry workers are union
members. The principal labor organizations cov­
ering these workers include the International
Moklers and Foundry Workers Union of North
America (AFL), the United Steelworkers of
America (CIO), and the United Automobile, Air­
craft, and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America (CIO). Most patternmakers are mem­
bers of the Pattern Makers’ League of North
America (AFL).
The first step in casting is for the patternmaker
to make a wood or metal pattern in the shape of
the final casting desired. Sandmixers prepare
sand for use in molding and coremaking. Hand
molders make the sand molds into which metal is
poured. The molds are made by packing and ram­
ming sand around the patterns. Molders* helpers
may assist in these operations. Machine molders
operate one of several types of machines which
simplify and speed up the making of large quanti­
ties of identical sand molds. Goremakers shape
the bodies of sand, or “cores,” which are placed
inside molds in order to form any hollow spaces
needed in castings. Core assemblers may be used


to put together core sections. Gore-oven tenders
operate furnaces in which cores are often baked.
With the mold made and the cores, if any, put
inside, the next step is to pour the molten metal
into the mold. A melter operates a furnace used
to melt metal for castings. The actual pouring is
customarily done by a pourer, although in some
small foundries it is part of the molder’s job.
When the casting has cooled off, it is taken out of
the mold by shake-out men and sent to the cleaning
and finishing department. Sandblasters and tum­
bler operators run the various kinds of cleaning
equipment. Chippers and grinders remove excess
metal and finish castings. The casting may be
placed in an annealing furnace to improve its
physical properties; annealers run these furnaces.
Casting inspectors then check finished castings for
structural soundness and proper dimensions. An­
other group of workers are the foundry techni­
cians—skilled workers having to do with quality
control in the making of castings.
Among the many types of jobs associated with
foundry work, three occupations—molder, core­
maker, and patternmaker—stand out as especially
significant. Molding and coremaking are rela­
tively large occupations and include a high pro­
portion of skilled jobs requiring apprenticeship
or equivalent training. Although fewer workers
are engaged in patternmaking, the skill needed is
very high and apprenticeship is the normal method
of entry. For the less skilled foundry jobs, per­
sons without previous foundry experience may be
hired directly or foundry laborers may be up­
graded. The leading foundry occupations are
discussed below.


Hand Molders
(D. O. T. 4-81.010 and .030)

These foundry workers use mainly hand meth­
ods to prepare the sand molds into which metal is
poured to make castings. A mold is made by
packing and ramming prepared sand around a
model or pattern of the desired casting and then
removing the pattern, leaving in the sand a hollow
space in the shape of the casting to be made.
Molds for smaller castings are usually made on a
workbench by bench molhers; those for large and
bulky castings are made on the foundry floor by
-floor molders. Skill requirements in this occupa­
tion vary considerably. An all-round hand molder
(journeyman) makes widely varying kinds of
molds. A less skilled molder does more repetitive
work, specializing on a single kind of mold. Hand
molders work mainly in jobbing foundries. In
production foundries, where most of the molding
is done bv machine, some journeyman molders
are employed in skilled, specialized molding jobs
and in supervisory positions.
A flo o r

m older sm ooth ing sand m old.
Co u r tesy


n a t io n a l

a r c h iv e s

Completion of a 4-year apprenticeship, or the
equivalent in experience, is needed to become a
journeyman molder and thus to qualify for all­
round hand molding and for the skilled specialized
or supervisory jobs. Men with this training are
also preferred for many kinds of machine molding.
For the less skilled jobs, not more than 6 months of
on-the-job training is usually required.

For a molding apprenticeship, an eighth grade
education is usually the minimum, and many em­
ployers specify additional school work up to and
including high school graduation. Eighth grade
schooling, however, suffices for most jobs as learn­
ers of less skilled hand molding.
Physical standards for molding jobs take into
account the need for continual standing and mov­
ing about, frequent lifting, good vision, and
manual dexterity.

Hand molders are among the highest paid
foundry workers. Average straight-time hourly
earnings of male floor and bench molders in independent ferrous foundries in the summer of
1950, are shown in the following tabulation:
Birmingham. . . .
Cincinnati__ _____
Cleveland _ .
Denver___. . _ .
Houston __
Indianapolis. _
Los Angeles._
Milwaukee._ __
Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Newark-Jersey City. ________
New York ___
Pittsburgh____ ____
Portland, Oreg
St. L o u is .__ _ _ .
San Francisco

F loor

$1. 15
1. 67
1. 65
1. 76
1. 70
1. 83
1.53 ...
1. 92
1. 83
1.62 ...
1. 72
1. 76
1. 83
1. 61
1. 73
1. 70
1. 69
1. 77
1. 69
1. 85
1. 76

B ench

$1. 15
1. 68
1. 64
1. 74
1. 60
1. 76
1. 90
1. 62
1. 64
1. 66
1. 61
1. 72
1. 72
1. 68
1. 61
1. 76
1. 73
1. 85
1. 61

Hand molders with all-round training have
good chances for promotion to supervisory jobs.
Opportunities for advancement are much more
limited for the less skilled hand molders.


Machine Molders

(D. O. T. 4-81.050; 6-81.010 and .020)

Machine molders are foundry workers who op­
erate one of several types of machines which
simplify and speed up the making of large quanti­
ties of identical sand molds for castings. The
basic duties of a machine molder consist mainly of
assembling the flask (molding box) and pattern
on the machine table, filling the flask with pre­
pared sand, and operating the machine by the
properly timed use of its control levers and pedals.
Machine molders sometimes are qualified journey-

man molders who require little supervision and
who set up and adjust their own machines. More
commonly, however, the machine molder is a semi­
skilled worker, whose duties are limited to operat­
ing the machine which is set up for him. Machine
molders are employed mainly in production
foundries which make large quantities of identical
For molding machine jobs of the more difficult
and responsible types, a 4-year molder apprentice­
ship or equivalent training is required. However,
machine molding of the less skilled variety is ordi­
narily learned in from 30 to 90 days of on-the-job
training. Average physical strength is needed.
Machine molders are generally among the high­
est paid foundry workers. Average straight-time
hourly earnings of men operating molding ma­
chines in independent ferrous foundries in the
summer of 1950, are shown in the following tab­
ulation :
Birmingham________ $1. 21
Boston_____________ 1.65
Buffalo____________ 1.93
Chicago------------------ 1.73
Cincinnati------------ 1. 81
Cleveland__________ 1.81
Denver____________ 1.53
Detroit____________ 1.95
Hartford___________ 1.86
Indianapolis------------- 1.97


M a c h in e m olders operate m achines w h ich sim p lify and speed up the
m aking of a large q u a n tity of id entica l m olds.

Los Angeles________ $1. 91
Milwaukee________ 1. 91
Minneapolis-St. Paul. 1. 70
Newark-Jersey City_ 1.74
Philadelphia______ 1. 78
Pittsburgh________ 1. 66
Portland, Oreg_____ 1. 78
St. Louis__________ 1. 78
San Francisco_____ 1. 84
Toledo____________ 2. 03

A machine molder who lias completed an ap­
prenticeship or acquired other all-round molding
experience is often in line for promotion to a
supervisory job. A semiskilled machine molder,
however, generally has much less chance for ad­

Hand Coremakers
(D. O. T. 4-82.010)

These workers use hand methods to prepare the
bodies of sand, or cores, which are placed in molds
to form hollows or holes required in metal cast­
ings. A core is made by packing prepared sand
into a hollow form (core box) so that the sand is
compressed into the desired shape. Small cores
are made on a workbench by bench coremakers;
large and bulky cores are made on the foundry

Hoor by -floor coremakers. Skill requirements in
this occupation differ considerably. All-round
hand coremakers (journeymen) prepare a variety
of larger or more intricate cores. The less skilled
coremakers make the small and simple cores, fre­
quently produced in large numbers, so the work is
highly repetitive.
Journeyman hand coremakers usually work in


of on-the-job training is usually required. For
coremaking apprentices, an eighth grade educa­
tion is usually the minimum, and many employers
specify additional school work up to and including
liigh-school graduation. Eighth grade schooling,
however, suffices for most jobs as learners of less
skilled hand coremaking.
Physical requirements for light coremaking are
fairly modest, since the work is not strenuous;
women are frequently employed in the less skilled
coremaking jobs. Coremaking is generally some­
what safer than other foundry work.
Hand coremakers are among the better paid
foundry workers. Average straight-time hourly
earnings of male hand coremakers in independent
ferrous foundries in the summer of 1950’, are
shown below:

H a n d corem akers prepare the bodies of sand, or “ c o re s ," w hich are
placed in m olds to form the hollow s or holes required in metal castings.

jobbing foundries. Some journeyman coremakers
work in production foundries as supervisors or in
skilled, specialized jobs. Semiskilled hand coremakers are generally employed in production
Completion of a 4-year apprenticeship, or the
equivalent in experience is needed to become a
journeyman coremaker. Molding and coremaking
training is often combined in a single apprentice­
ship. For the less skilled jobs, only a few months

Birmingham_______ $1.15
Boston____________ 1. 07
Buffalo___________ 1. 70
Chicago___________ 1. 70
Cincinnati------------- 1.74
Cleveland_________ 1. 80
Denver___________ 1. 54
Detroit___________ 1. 95
Hartford__________ 1. 50
Houston__________ 1. 57
Indianapolis_______ 1.00

Los Angeles-----------$1. 71
Milwaukee________ 1.82
Minneapolis-St. Paul- 1. 01
Newark-Jersey City- 1. 02
New York_________ 1.70
Philadelphia______ 1.92
Pittsburgh________ 1. 73
Portland, Greg____ 1. 78
St. Louis__________ 1. 75
San Francisco_____ 1. 84
Toledo____________ 1. 85

A hand coremaker who has completed his ap­
prenticeship or acquired equivalent, all-round ex­
perience may be promoted to a supervisory job.

Machine Coremakers
(D. O. T. 6-82.010, .020, and .030)

Machine coremakers operate several different
types of machines which force prepared sand into
specially shaped hollow forms to make sand cores.
These cores are placed in molds to form hollow
spaces required in the castings. The duties and
skill of machine coremakers vary. Some workers
are required to set up and adjust their own ma­
chines and do any necessary finishing operations
on the cores; less skilled coremakers are more
closely supervised, and the necessary adjusting of
the machines is done for them. Machine core­
makers are employed mainly in production found­
ries, where large quantities of identical castings
are made.

Generally, for the less skilled machine-coremaker jobs only a brief period of on-the-job train­
ing is needed, and no special form of preparation
is required. Persons without previous foundry
experience may be hired directly, or foundry
laborers or helpers may be upgraded to this work.
However, a 3- or 4-year coremaker apprentice­
ship, or equivalent training, is sometimes needed
for the more difficult and responsible machine­
coremaking jobs. For many types of machine
coremaking, little physical strength is needed, and
some women are employed.


(D. O. T. 5-17.010 and .020)

Patternmakers are the highly skilled craftsmen
who construct patterns and core boxes for castings.
They are classified, primarily, according to the
kind of material they use in making patterns.
Those who construct wooden patterns constitute
about two-thirds of the total. Of the remainder,
most are metal patternmakers, although there are
a few who work with other materials, such as
To do his job properly, a patternmaker must
understand general foundry practice. He works
from blueprints and plans the pattern, taking into
consideration the manner in which the object will
be cast and the type of metal to be used. The
wood patternmaker selects the appropriate wood
stock and lays out the pattern, marking the de­
sign for each section on the proper piece of wood.
Using power saws, he cuts each piece of wood
roughly to width and length. He then shapes the
rough pieces into their final form, using various
woodworking machines—such as borers, lathes,
planers, band saws, and sanders—as well as many
small hand tools. Finally, he assembles the pat­
tern segments by hand.
The duties of a metal patternmaker differ from
those of a wood patternmaker principally in that
metal and metalworking equipment are substi­
tuted for wood and woodworking equipment.
Metal patternmakers prepare patterns from metal
stock, or, more commonly, from rough castings
made from an original wood pattern. To shape
and finish their work, they use a variety of metal­
working machines, including the engine lathe,
drill press, milling machine, power hacksaw,
grinder, and shaper. Apart from these differ­
ences, metal patternmaking is similar to work on
wood patterns, requiring blueprint reading and
Throughout his work the patternmaker care­
fully checks each dimension of the pattern. A
high degree of accuracy is required, since any
imperfection in the pattern will be reproduced in
the castings made from it. Other duties of pat­
ternmakers include making core boxes (in much

tiie same manner as patterns are constructed) and
repairing patterns and core boxes.
Patternmaking is done in specially equipped
pattern shops, which are of two types—independ­
ent and integrated. Independent pattern shops
are separate establishments which make patterns
for sale. An integrated shop may be operated
in conjunction with a foundry which uses the pat­
terns; on the other hand, it may be the pattern
department of a plant that buys castings from a
commercial foundry, to which it supplies appro­
priate patterns with each new order for castings.
Apprenticeship, or a similar program of on-thejob training, is the principal means of qualifying
as a journeyman patternmaker. Because of the
high degree of skill and the wide range of knowl­
edge needed for patternmaking, it is very difficult
to obtain the necessary training through inform­
ally picking up the trade. Good trade school
courses in patternmaking provide useful prepara­
tion for the prospective apprentice, and may in
some cases be credited toward completion of the
apprentice period. However, these courses do not
substitute for apprenticeship or other on-the-job
The usual apprenticeship period for patternmaking is 5 years, or about 10,000 working hours.
At least 720 hours of classroom instruction in re­
lated technical subjects is normally provided dur­
ing apprenticeship. Since wood and metal pat­
ternmaking differ in certain essential respects,
there are separate apprenticeships for each type.
Patternmaking, although not strenuous, requires
considerable standing and moving about. A high
degree of manual dexterity is especially important
because of the precise nature of many hand opera­
tions. For all practical purposes,,this is entirely
a man’s occupation.
Patternmaking is among the highest paid occu­
pations in manufacturing. In independent pat­
tern shops, union patternmakers in such large
foundry centers as Chicago, Cleveland, and De­
troit generally earn upward of $2 an hour
straight-time, and some make as much as $3.50
an hour.


Average straight-time hourly earnings of pat­
ternmakers in independent ferrous foundries in
the summer of 1950, are shown below:
Buffalo___________ $1.79
Chicago___________ 2.10
Cleveland ________ 2.28
Hartford__________ 1. 89
Indianapolis_______ 2. OS
Los Angeles_______ 2. 82

Milwaukee________ 81. 75
Philadelphia______ 1.92
Pittsburgh________ 1. 78
St. Louis_______ ___ 1. 9.1
San Francisco_____ 2. 27

An experienced patternmaker may be advanced
to pattern lay-out man or pattern-room foreman.

Occasionally a journeyman may have the oppor­
tunity to start a small pattern shop of his own.
When patternmaking employment is not available,
journeymen patternmakers can find jobs in related
fields. Wood patternmakers can qualify for
nearly every kind of skilled woodworking jobs—
cabinetmaking, for example. Metal pattern­
makers are suited for many types of machine shop
work, including the jobs of machinist, machine
tool operator, and lay-out man. (See: Machine
Shop Occupations, p. 186.)

Chippers and Grinders (Foundry)
(D. O. T. 6-82.910)

Chippers and grinders constitute a large group
of workers—most of them semiskilled—in the
cleaning and finishing departments of foundries.
Chipping consists of removing the excess metal
from castings by means of pneumatic hammers or
hand hammers and chisels. In grinding, a me­
chanically powered abrasive wheel is used to
smooth and finish castings. Although chipping
and grinding may be separate occupations they are
often combined in one job, especially in the smaller
G rin d e rs use m e chanically pow ered a bra sive w heels to sm ooth
fin ish castings.
Ph o to g r a p h


U. S.

d ep a r tm e n t


La b o r

foundries. There are variations in skill require­
ments. depending on the intricacy of the castings
on which work is done, the degree of precision
required, and the amount of supervision given the
worker. Chippers and grinders are employed in
both jobbing and production foundries.
The basic duties of the chipper or grinder are
generally learned in a brief period of on-the-job
training, and no special form of preparation is
needed. Persons without previous foundry ex­
perience may be hired directly, or foundry laborers
may be upgraded to this work. Considerable ex­
perience in chipping and grinding is required,
however, to qualify for the more intricate, precise,
and responsible duties.
In many respects chipping and grinding in­
volves strenuous work, and at least average
strength is needed. Consequently, relatively few
women are employed in this occupation, and they
work only on small castings.
Average straigilt-time hourly earnings of male
chippers and grinders in independent ferrous
foundries in the summer of 1950, are shown in the
following tabulation:

Boston__________ __
Los Angeles


1. 51
1. 89
1. 57
1. 28
1. 38
1. 13
1. 73
1. 30

Minneapolis-St.PaulNewark-.Jerse.v City_
New York
Portland, Oreg ...
St. Louis
San Francisco

$1. 60
1. 22
1. 02
1. 53
1. 72


Castings Inspectors
(D. O. T. 6-82.920)

Casting inspectors are foundry workers who
check finished castings for structural soundness
and proper dimensions. The more skilled inspec­
tors are able to read blueprints, to work on widely
different types of castings, and to mark partially
defective castings to show what should be done to
salvage them. The less skilled do routine measur­
ing and checking of large numbers of identical
castings under close supervision. Castings inspec­
tors are employed in both jobbing and production

Skilled inspector jobs are usually filled by pro­
motion from lower-grade inspection jobs or from
other cleaning and finishing occupations, such as
that of chipper and grinder. For the less skilled
work, previous foundry experience may not be
needed. Physical requirements depend on the size
of castings inspected and the availability of me­
chanical handling equipment. In the lighter types
of inspection work some women are employed,
mainly for the less skilled jobs. Skilled inspectors
may be promoted to the jobs of chief inspector or
cleaning room foreman.

Melters (Foundry)

(D. O. T. 4-91.351; .411, .441, .447, .571, and .572)

A foundry melter operates or directs the opera­
tion of a furnace used to melt metal for castings.
He usually specializes on a particular type of fur­
nace—cupola, open-hearth, electric, crucible, or
reverberatory—and on one or two metals. Skill
requirements in this occupation depend on the way
the foundry is organized and the type of melting
equipment used. Skilled melters need little super­
vision and are responsible for charging the fur­
nace, controlling the furnace temperature and
melting time, and determining from the appear­
ance of the molten metal when it is ready for
pouring. Less skilled melters work under close
supervision of a foundry manager or an engineer
and need use little independent judgment. Melters
are employed in both production and jobbing

As a rule, there are no apprenticeships or other
organized training programs provided for melt­
ers. The less skilled melting jobs are learned in
a brief period of informal training. The usual
way to get one of the more skilled jobs is to begin
as a furnace helper or less skilled melter and grad­
ually learn the trade. The more skilled melters
must have some familiarity with general foundry
practice, shop arithmetic, and certain practical
aspects of chemistry and metallurgy. Since the
duties of melters are in many respects strenuous,
physical requirements are fairly high and nor­
mally only men are employed. Accidents to work­
ers in the melting units tend to occur more
frequently than to those in other departments of
the foundry.



Foundry Technicians
<D. O. T. 1-86.170)

This is a group of skilled foundry occupations
having to do with quality control in the making of
castings. Included are workers with such special­
ized duties as the testing of molding and core­
making sand, chemical analysis of metal, opera­
tion of machines which test the strength and hard­
ness of castings, and the use of X-ray or magnetic
apparatus to inspect the internal structure of
T e c h n ic ia n s w o rk in g in a fo u n d ry la b o ra to ry.


In general, a high school education is a pre­
requisite, and employers may require additional
technical schooling. However, most of the
foundry technician’s duties are learned on the job.
Physical strength is not ordinarily needed, and
women are often employed. Foundry technicians
may advance to supervisory positions in their
various specialized fields.

T h e s e w o rk e rs have to do w ith q u a lity control in the m aking of castings.

Forge shop work is among the smaller fields of
employment in metalworking. In late 1949, about
45,000 workers were employed in forge shop occu­
pations.1 However, these are among the best-paid
factory occupations and include a high proportion
of skilled jobs. During the fifties, there will be
many job opportunities for new workers in forge
shops. Most openings will be for laborers or help­
ers; the more-skilled forge shop jobs are generally
filled by upgrading experienced men.
Nature of Forge Shop Work

Forging is used to shape metal objects which
are required to withstand great stress, such as
automobile crankshafts and axles, locomotive
wheels, and marine engine drive shafts. Steel
is the main material used, but brass and other
nonferrous metals are also forged.
In general, forgings are produced in machines
which pound or squeeze heated metal into the
desired shape. This is similar to the work done
by the old-time blacksmiths, except that machine
power is substituted for the blacksmith’s arm, and
dies replace his hammer and anvil.
Forge shop jobs are found in a variety of indus­
tries. The largest group is in independent steel
forgings plants, producing forgings for sale to
other industries. Many workers, however, are
employed in the forge departments of plants
which use forged parts in their final products,
such as automobiles, railroad equipment, hand
tools, or machinery. A number of these workers
are in forge shops operated as part of steel mills.
Employment of forge shop workers is concen­
trated mainly in the metalworking centers of the
Midwest and Northeast. Forge shops are located
near the steel producing centers, which provide
steel for forgings, as well as near the metalwork­
ing plants which are the major users of forged
products, such as automobiles, machinery, and

railroad equipment. Accordingly, the bulk of
forge shop jobs are found in the industrial centers
of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsyl­
vania, and New York.
Employment Outlook

The long-range trend of forge-shop employment
is upward. This is indicated by chart 55 which
shows production worker employment in the inde­
pendent iron and steel forgings industry during
the last half century. The upward trend reflects
the growth of the whole economy as well as the
great expansion of metalworking industries
which are the users of forgings. It has also re­
sulted from the development of improved forging
methods, leading to wider use of forged parts.
During wartime especially, the industry expe­
rienced great gains because of the critical impor­
tance of forged parts in many military products.
In part, these gains have been retained in postwar

1Forge shop occupations, as used here, are those characteristic
of the forging process, including operation of the forging ham­
mers and presses, and preparing metal for forging, heat treat­
ing to remove the stresses resulting from the forging process, the
removal of excess metal and scale, and inspection. Not consid­
ered as employed in forge shop occupations are those workers
who have machining, maintenance, custodial, or other nonforging
jobs in forge shops.



periods. The chart also reveals that forging ac­
tivity is extremely sensitive to the business cycle;
relative to the economy as a whole, forging is espe­
cially hard hit during depressions. For example,
by 1933, employment in independent iron and steel
forge shops had dropped to about 40 percent of the
1929 level, while employment in manufacturing as
a whole had dropped to about 70 percent of that
During the early fifties, the number of forge
shop jobs is expected to rise substantially. Ex­
panding defense requirements will greatly increase
activity in the Nation’s forge shops. In the long
run, moderate growth is in prospect in this field.
Most of the industries which use forged parts in
their final products, such as automobiles, tractors,
farm machinery and aircraft have generally favor­
able long-run prospects.
Most job openings will be for helpers and la­
borers, since the more skilled jobs are generally
filled by upgrading experienced men. In addition
to opportunities that may be created by any rise
in employment, shifting of less skilled workers
into other fields of work will create jobs for be­
ginners. The need to replace older workers drop­
ping out of the shops because of death or retire­
ment or transferring to physically less-demanding
forge shop work will provide promotional oppor­
tunities for experienced workers and will create
additional vacancies in starting jobs.
Forge Shop Workers and Their Jobs

There are many different kinds of jobs in the
metal forging process. The principal jobs are
those having to do with the operation of the forging hammers and presses. These hammers and
presses usually are run by crews of 2 or more, some­
times as many as 10 or 15. Operators and their
crews generally specialize on a particular kind of
forging hammer or press. Considerable strength
and endurance are required for these jobs, in order
to do the necessary heavy lifting and to withstand
the noise, heat, and vibration typical of forge
shops. Virtually all the workers are men.


In addition to the hammer and press crews, forge
shops have many workers engaged in cleaning,
finishing, or inspecting forgings, as w^ell as labor­
ers employed mainly in moving materials.
The more-skilled forge shop jobs, such as drophammer operator, are filled by promoting men
from lower-rated jobs. For example, a man starts
as a helper on a drop-hammer crew, advances to
the job of heater, and then to hammer operator.
Ordinarily this takes several years to achieve.
Earnings in forge shops are among the highest
in industry. In July 1950, production work­
ers in independent iron and steel forging plants
earned an average of $1.76 an hour (including pay
for overtime and night work). In the same
month, the average for all manufacturing indus­
tries was about $1.46 an hour. In part, the level
of forge shop earnings is accounted for by the
prevalence of incentive pay; the generally diffi­
cult working conditions are also a factor in the
wage scale. Earnings in certain occupations, such
as that of hammer operator, range considerably
higher. Recent earnings data for individual forging occupations are not available for most indus­
tries. However, in the automobile industry, in
February 1950, average straight-time hourly earn­
ings were $2.57 for hammermen (steam, medium) ;
$2.08 for upsetters (3 inch and over); and $1.94 for
heaters. Because some of these jobs require speed
and stamina, older men are often unable to con­
tinue in the occupation and transfer to lower-rated,
physically less-demanding forge shop jobs.
Forge shops are typically hot and noisy, and
much of the work is strenuous. Accident fre­
quency rates for forge shops are somewhat higher
than the average for metalworking industries.
Most forge shop workers are union members.
The leading unions in this field include the Inter­
national Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forg­
ers and Helpers (AFL), the United Steelworkers
of America (CIO), and the United Automobile,
Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America (CIO).
Some of the more important forge shop occu­
pations are briefly described below.


Helpers (Hammer and Press Crews)


T. 6-88.713 and 8-93.71)

The basic entry job on hammer and press crew
is that of helper. This worker assists the ham­
mer or press operator in bringing the materials op
to the machine and helping in manipulating
the metal. On the smaller equipment, the job of
helper is often combined with that of heater.

It is important to note the generally modest
educational requirement for forge shop jobs. Em­
ployers usually require no more than an eighthgrade education for helpers and other workers in
entry occupations. With experience, these work­
ers can rise to more skilled and better paid jobs.


(D. O. T. 6-88.732)

When a vacancy occurs, experienced and quali­
fied helpers are upgraded to the job of heater. The
heater prepares metal shapes for forging by heat­
ing the metal pieces in a furnace. His duties
include operating the furnace and feeding fuel to
it, controlling the temperature, placing the metal

shapes in the furnace, taking them out when prop­
erly heated, and transferring them to the forging
machine. A growing number of shops require
heaters to have some technical knowledge of metal­
lurgy. Experienced heaters are in line for promo­
tion to higher-rated jobs on the hammer crews.

T h e ham m ersm ith su p e rvise s a crew of men.



(D. O. T. 4-86.120)

The hammersmith operates a hammer equipped
with unshaped (open) dies, used to pound heated
metal into required shapes. (This is what the
blacksmith does by hand.) This method is em­
ployed in forging objects which are too large for
closed dies (shaped to form a particular object)
or which are needed in quantities too small to jus­
tify the expense of making closed dies. The ham­
mersmith supervises several men—for example, an
assistant operator (or “hammer driver”), a heater,
and one or more helpers assigned to his hammer.
The work is generally considered more skilled than
closed die forging. In addition to control of the

hammer stroke and careful manipulation of the
heated metal under the die, the job requires a
knowledge of forging practice, blueprint reading,
properties of metals, and shop arithmetic.
At least several years of forge shop experience
in lower-grade jobs is required to become a ham­
mersmith. It is usual to begin as a helper. An
experienced helper, who shows the needed apti­
tudes, may be promoted to the job of heater, and
thence to assistant operator. Hammersmiths
are selected from among the more experienced

Drop-Hammer Operators
(D. O. T. 4-86.120)

A drop hammer is a kind of forging machine
which pounds metal into various shapes between
closed (shaped) dies. The operator directs the
work of the heater and supervises any helpers as­
signed to his hammer. He may also direct his
crew in setting up the hammer. The two princi­
pal types of hammers are steam and board. The
operators of steam hammers are generally con­
sidered more skilled than those on board hammers.
On both types of hammers, the skill required usu­
ally tends to increase with the size of the hammer

and the complexity of the object to be forged.
Men can transfer from one type of hammer to
another only with an additional period of training.
Because of their greater skill, steam-hammer oper­
ators can more readily transfer to board hammers
than board-hammer operators to steam.
Drop-hammer operator jobs are filled by up­
grading experienced heaters. Usually a minimum
of 2 to 4 years’ experience in the forge shop is

(D. O. T. 4-86.125)

The upsettermen in forge shops operate upsetter
forging machines used to form metal between
closed dies (shaped to make a particular object)
which move horizontally, pressing the metal along
its greatest length. This action causes the metal
to spread along its other dimensions, until it takes
on the required form. The upsetterman directs a
small crew, consisting of a heater and helpers as­


signed to his machine. He must know how to
control the heating operation, to adjust the ma­
chine’s pressure on the metal, and to position the
metal stock between the dies. In general, the
larger the object forged, the greater the skill
required. Several years’ work experience is gen­
erally needed to learn upset forging; heaters gen­
erally are upgraded to fill vacancies.


Forging-Press Operators
(D. O. T. 4-86.125)

These workers operate forging presses, which
shape metal by squeezing it between either closed
(shaped) or open (unshaped) dies. Open die
press forging, which generally requires consider­
ably more skill than closed die work, is used where
a relatively small number of large pieces are re­
quired. In open die press forging, the operator
shapes the heated metal by manipulating it under
an unshaped die (making his job comparable in
skill to that of the hammersmith). He usually
supervises a crew of at least several workers.
Closed die presses are mainly used where large
quantities of relatively small forgings—either steel
or nonferrous—are needed. The closed die-press
operator may supervise a small crew or may .work

alone. Both kinds of press operators must know
how to control the heating of the metal, to regu­
late the pressure of the machine, and to position
the work in the dies. Duties may also include set­
ting up the press.
To become an open die-press operator, the
worker begins as a helper on a press crew and
progresses to higher-rated jobs as vacancies occur;
it usually takes at least several years to rise to the
job of operator. Closed die work can be learned
more quickly. Where crews are used, the worker
starts as a helper. Where one man operates the
press, inexperienced men, or workers in lower­
rated jobs elsewhere in the shop, are assigned as

Other Forge Shop Workers
One of the larger groups of forge shop workers
are inspectors. Some inspectors examine forged
pieces for flaws and faulty workmanship while the
forgings are still hot. Others inspect forgings
after trimming, checking dimensions and appear­
ance to determine whether required standards and
specifications are met.
Another group of forge shop occupations is in
the cleaning and finishing departments. Trim mers remove excess metal with a saw or trimming

press. Chippers and grinders remove surplus
metal and imperfections by means of pneumatic or
hand hammers and chisels or by using a mechani­
cally powered abrasive wheel. Blasters operate
sandblasting or shotblasting equipment to clean
and smooth forgings. Bidders dip forgings in an
acid solution to remove scale. Heat treaters, by
controlled heating and cooling of the forged pieces,
alter the physical properties of forgings to pro­
duce a specified degree of hardness and strength.


Arc and Gas Welders
(D. O. T. 4-85.020, .030: 6-85.080)

Outlook Summary

Employment is expected to rise over the long
run. During the early fifties, job openings should
be particularly numerous.
Nature of Work

In electric arc and gas welding, metal parts are
joined through the application of heat intense
enough to melt the edges to be joined. The welder
controls the melting by properly directing the heat,
either from an electric arc or from a gas welding
torch, and adds filler metal where necessary to com­
plete the joint.
In hand arc welding, the most commonly used
method, the welder “strikes’- an arc by touching
the metal part to be welded with an electrode and
then withdrawing the electrode a short distance.
The arc results when the electric circuit is
broken by withdrawing the electrode making the
current jump the gap between the metal to be
Avelded and the electrode. The welder then guides
the electrode along the joint to be welded, holding
it at the proper arc length.
In gas welding, the welder directs the flame from
a gas welding torch along the joint to be welded.
The flame is usually produced by combustion of
oxygen and acetylene or other fuel gases. The
welder must know how to light and adjust the
torch for various metals and kinds of welds.
Experienced arc and gas welders should be able
to make various kinds of welds in different metals,
work from different positions, and read welding
To a considerable extent, particularly in main­
tenance and repair work, welding is done by mem­
bers of other crafts. The boilermaker, the struc­
tural steel worker, the machinist, and the
automobile mechanic, all may be required to know
and perform welding in their work. Typically,
however, in production work, welding is done by
workers who specialize in its application. No
matter where he works, the skilled welder should

have some practical knowledge of the fabricating
and assembling operations in the field of work in
which he is engaged. For example, a welder
working in a shipyard should know in general how
ships are put together, or one employed in a boiler
shop should understand how boilers are assem­
bled. If the welder moves into a type of work
in which he is not experienced, some of the basic
practices in the new field must be learned.
Training and Qualification

A course in welding methods, usually in public
or private vocational schools, followed by exten­
sive job experience, has been the common way for
skilled welders to receive their training. During
World War II, there were a number of “trainingwitliin industry” programs which have been con­
tinued in areas where there is a fairly large
demand for welders and training facilities in
schools are not readily available. Formal ap­
prenticeships in welding alone are not often found.
Frequently, welders doing the simpler repetitive
types of work are trained on the job, without any
special instruction, in about f> months. To be­
come an all-round skilled welder, regular course
instruction in welding is desirable, either in pub­
lic or private vocational schools or in courses
conducted by industrial firms to train their work­
ers. Before enrolling in a private school, the
prospective student should check with the local
educational authorities about the quality of the
instructions offered. The American Welding So­
ciety has issued codes of recommended standards
for welding courses which provide for a minimum
of 150 hours of actual welding practice under
qualified instructors and not less than 20 hours
of class instruction in welding theory. Experi­
ence has shown that a longer learning time is
usually required.
Since a poor weld may have serious consequences
in the failure of the completed product when in
use, welders are usually required to have passed
qualification tests established by the American


Welding Society. Requirements are administered
by insurance companies, employers, and inspec­
tion agencies as specified by the applicable code.
In addition, welders must be licensed to do cer­
tain types of construction work in some localities.
Where Employed

Welding jobs are found in a wide range of in­
dustries. Most welding jobs, however, are in pro­
duction work in the metal products industries;
the leading employers are those making machin­
ery, automobiles, electrical equipment, ships, air­
craft, boilers and tanks, and fabricated structural
steel. Examples of places where welders are used
mainly in maintenance work are railroad shops,
electric power plants, street railway systems, paper
mills, foundries, and chemical plants. A large
number of welders work in local repair shops that
either specialize in welding or do general metal
repair work. Usually these are small shops, and
very often they are owned and operated by indi­
vidual welders, with perhaps several employees to
assist. These shops serve mainly their local com­
munities, repairing such things as farm equip­
ment, automobile parts, and industrial machinery,
and making welded products on a subcontract basis
for local manufacturing plants.
Because of their wide employment among differ­
ent industries, jobs for welders are found in all
sections of the country. Many of the jobs are con­
centrated in the industrial centers in the Midwest­
ern and Northeastern States, where the machinery,
automobile, and electrical equipment plants are
mainly located. Some companies often have open­
ings in foreign countries for employment on pipe­
line work and similar construction.
During the early fifties, there will be many open­
ings for welders. Expanding defense requirements
in such industries as aircraft, ordnance, machinery,
iron and steel, and electrical equipment will sub­
stantially increase the need for welders. A very
important consideration in the outlook for welders
is the extent of shipbuilding and repair activity.
At the World War II peak, 180,0001 welders had
jobs in the shipyards; this was twenty times the
1 Estim ate includes other types of welders and burners in addi­
tion to arc and gas welders as of December 1943.

Co u r te s y

o f n a t io n a l a r c h iv e s

W e ld e rs are su b je ct to certain hazards in th e ir w ork , but these can
be alm ost e n tire ly avoided by proper precautions.

prewar (1910) total. Total employment in
United States shipyards in August 1950 was less
than 150,000—about a twelfth of the World War
II peak of 1,700,000. Although no such expan­
sion as occurred in World War II is expected, any
large increase in shipyard activity would result
in many jobs for welders.
In the long run, prospects are for a gradual
growth in the number of jobs for arc and gas
welders. The metalworking industries, which
employ most of these workers, have a generally
favorable long-run outlook. Moreover, new uses
for welding are being found, and as a result of
new developments in welding, more and more
types of material can be welded. This should
also mean an increase in the number of arc and gas
welding jobs. The gains in employment, how­
ever, may not keep pace with the increase in
amount of welding done, as techniques become
more efficient, fewer man-hours are required to
do a job. Especially in production work, new
applications of welding methods will call for auto­
matic welding machines which do not have to be
operated by skilled hand welders.
Among the less skilled welders, there is con­
siderable shifting of experienced workers into
other occupations; this will create opportunities
for newcomers. Death and retirement of experi­
enced welders will also provide openings for new­
comers; however, this will be a relatively less im­


portant source of jobs than in many other occupa­
tions, since the welders are a comparatively young
group of workers.
A few experienced, all-round welders will be
able to establish their own welding repair and
service shops. Prospects for such shops depend
upon the situation in the particular community in
which the shop is located. Before a new shop is
opened the needs of the community and the com­
petition to be faced should be carefully considered.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Recent information is not available on earnings
of welders in most of the industries which employ
them. Average straight-time hourly earnings of
men in arc and gas welding jobs in machinery
plants in November 1949, are shown in the accom­
panying tabulation.
Arc and gas welders in passenger car assembly
plants received $1.70 an hour, straight-time, in
February 1950. In petroluem refineries, average
straight-time earnings were $2.02 an hour in Sep­
tember 1948. In the airframe industry in MayJune 1949, average straight-time earnings of Class
A hand welders (production) were $1.67 an hour,
and $1.53 an hour for Class B hand welders
Welders are subject to certain hazards in their
work, but these can be almost entirely avoided by
proper precautions. Without such precautions
arc welders may be exposed to minor skin burns
and eye injuries and to electric shock. Similarly,
gas welders are subject to the possibility of explo­
sion and fire and, when welding is done in confined
spaces, poisonous fumes or gas may be present.
These hazards can be largely eliminated, however,
by training in safety methods and by the use of

Class A
Atlanta_________ ___ ____
Baltimore _____
_ _ ___
Boston__ __
Buffalo _ __ __ ________
Chattanooga _ _ __ __
Chicago _______ _ _ _ _ _
Cincinnati _ __ _
_ __
Cleveland _ ___ ______
Dallas_________ _ ______
Denver____ ____ _____
Detroit_____ _ __ _ _ __
H artford___
___ __ _
Houston___ _ __ _ ____
Indianapolis________ _ __
Los Angeles ______ ______
Milwaukee __ __
_ __
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Newark-Jersey City_ _ __
New York _ _ _ __ _ _
Philadelphia___ ____ __ _
Pittsburgh __ ____^ _____
Portland, Oreg _ _ _ _ __
Providence ________ _ __
St. Louis
_______ ____
Seattle ____ __ _ _ _ __
__ __________
Tulsa_ _ _________ _ _ __
Worcester __ _________ _

$1. 44
1. 57
1. 53
1. 63
1. 61
1. 68
1. 48
1. 80
1. 36
1. 72
1. 81
1. 46
1. 76
1. 59
1. 74
1. 68
1. 58
1. 81
1. 83
1. 83
1. 63
1. 72
1. 48
1. 89
1. 76
1. 57
1. 47

Class B
$1. 16
1. 32
1. 48
1. 40
1. 36
1. 51
1. 27
1. 55
1. 25
1. 46
1. 76
1. 58
1. 43
1. 58
1. 53
1. 57
1. 68
1. 51
1. 50
1. 66
1. 45

proper equipment such as goggles and ventilating
Where To Get Additional Information

Employment Opportunities for Welders. Bul­
letin No. 844. United States Department of La­
bor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1945. 19 pages.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price 10 cents.

Acetylene Burners
(D. O. T. 6-86.215)

Outlook Summary

Increasing employment in this relatively small
field is anticipated during the early fifties.
Nature of Work

Acetylene burners (also referred to as “oxygen
cutters”), use an oxyacetylene torch to cut or trim
metal objects to the desired size or shape. The

oxygen cutting equipment generally consists of a
torch into which oxygen and acetylene gas are fed
from hoses connected with the gas Supply. The
ignited acetylene, which serves as the fuel gas,
heats the metal, and jets of oxygen do the actual
Torch tips, through which the flames are di­
rected, come in various sizes, depending upon the
nature of the cutting jobs. The operator prepares


for the cutting job by attaching the proper torch
tip for the particular job, connecting the torch to
the gas hoses, and regulating the flow of gases into
the torch for the desired cutting flame. He then
guides the torch manually along previously
marked lines or, following a template or pattern,
cuts through the metal. In some cases, he marks
the lines on the metal himself, following blueprints
or other instructions. In other cases, the cutting
torch or torches are mounted on a machine which
by electronic or mechanical means automatically
follows the proper line of cut.
Training and Qualifications

Acetylene burners are semiskilled workers.
Newcomers usually learn the work in a relatively
short period of on-the-job training. Experienced
acetylene gas welders can easily qualify for jobs
as burners, if they desire, since theirs is a more
skilled job and covers all the things that the burner
has to know.
'Where Employed

Acetylene burners are generally employed in
plants where operations include cutting steel

plates to size, removing metal from castings, trim­
ming rough steel shapes, and cutting up scrap
metal. Among the principal employers of acety­
lene burners are the shipbuilding, steel, machinery,
fabricated structural steel, and boiler shop indus­
tries. Many are also employed by firms that pre­
pare and sell scrap metal to be re-used in steel
mills and foundries.

The number of jobs for acetylene burners is ex­
pected to rise during the early fifties as a result of
expanding military requirements in the industries
employing these workers. A substantial revival
of shipbuilding, for example, would result in many
openings in this occupation. Over the longer run,
increased use of oxygen cutting machines will hold
down increases in employment of burners, even
when metalworking activity is expanding. In
addition to any increase in employment, replace­
ment needs will provide some openings for new
workers in this relatively small field.
See also Arc and Gas Welders, page 212.

Resistance Welders

(D. O. T. 6—
85.010, .020, .030, .060, and .100)

Outlook Summary

There will be many openings for resistance
welders during the early fifties.
Nature of Work

Resistance welders, unlike hand arc and gas
welders, who use manual methods, are operators
of resistance welding machines. These machines
fuse metal part by bringing them together under
heat and pressure. The pieces of metal to be
joined are pressed between two electrodes through
which electric current is passing. The parts being
welded offer sufficient resistance to the flow of cur­
rent to create intense heat, which, together with
the pressure, fuses them together. The principal
types of resistance welding machines are the spot,
seam, projection, flash, and upset welding ma­
chines and portable spot welding guns. The super­
visor, or in some cases the operator, sets the con­
trols of the machine for the desired electric current

and pressure. The operator mainly feeds and
aligns the work, starts the machine, and then re­
moves the work when it is finished. The ma­
chines that weld automobile bodies are large and
highly automatic, while smaller and less-automatic
machines are used to assemble such products as
metal furniture.
Most resistance welding operators learn their
work on the job in a relatively short time. The
length of the learning period depends upon the
scope of the duties. Some welding operators, fol­
lowing general directions, insert the proper elec­
trodes and regulate and adjust the welding ma­
chine each time a different welding operation is
begun. To do this, a wyelder should learn the
meaning of welding symbols, the characteristics
of different metals, and how to select and install
the electrodes. In most welding jobs, however,
the machine is set up and adjusted for the welding
operator, and the welding is simple and repetitive.
Beginners can learn these jobs in a month or two.


Where Employed

Resistance welding operators are employed al­
most entirely in metal-working industries, par­
ticularly in plants assembling large quantities of
products made of sheet metal and intended for the
final consumer rather than as equipment to be
used in factories. Thus, most of the jobs are in
the industries making automobiles, aircraft, ma­
chinery, ordnance, electrical household appliances,
refrigerators, metal furniture, and similar prod­
ucts. Some are also employed in machinery, in­
dustrial electrical equipment, and aircraft plants.
Because metalworking employment is concent rated
in the Midwest and Northeast, most of the jobs
are located in these regions.

There will be many openings for resistance
welders during the early fifties. Expanding de­
fense requirements in many industries which em­
ploy large numbers of resistance welders will re­
sult in rising employment in this occupation.
Over the longer run, a gradual upward trend
in employment is in prospect. Opportunities
for these workers depend upon prospects in the
metalworking industries and the extent to
which resistance welding becomes widely used.
The metalworking industries, which employ most,
of the workers in the occupation, are expected
to increase their activity over the long run.
In recent years, rapid progress has been made in
improving resistance welding methods and in
spreading its use to more products. For example,

only during the thirties did welding become ex­
tensively used in assembling automobiles, al­
though now it is a very important part of the
process. About 15,000 welders were employed in
passenger car plants in 1950, of which over twothirds were resistance welders. Further gains in
the use of resistance welding are expected. The
resulting rise in the employment of machine weld­
ers will be limited, however, by a trend toward the
use of more rapid and highly automatic machines.
There is likely to be a sizable number of job open­
ings, however, because, as is the case in many semi­
skilled occupations, transfer of experienced
workers to other fields is relatively common.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Earnings usually range somewhat below those
of arc welders and skilled machine-tool operators.
In February 1950, average straight-time hourly
earnings in passenger automobile plants were: gun
welders, $1.64; spot welders, $1.62; and machine
welders, $1.57.
The hazards connected with resistance welding
are not great, and generally the working condi­
tions compare favorably with those in other metal­
working operations.
Where To Get Additional Information

Employment Opportunities for Welders. Bul­
letin No. 844. United States Department of La­
bor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1945. 19 pages.
Superintendent of Documents, Washington 25,
D. C. Price, 10 cents.

Assemblers (Machinery Manufacturing)
(D. O. T. 4-75.120; 6-78.632)

Outlook Summary

This occupation will provide many job oppor­
tunities for new workers during the fifties.

Nature of Work

These workers assemble machinery parts to
form complete units, such as a machine tool or
Diesel engine, or subassemblies such as a gear box
or fuel pump. Floor assemblers put together
heavy machinery or equipment on shop floors,
fitting and finishing parts with hand and power
tools and fastening them together with bolts,

screws, or rivets. Bench assemblers assemble ma­
chinery parts into subassemblies or small complete
units while working at a bench. Skilled assem­
blers work on the more complex machines and
subassemblies with little or no supervision. They
must know how to read blueprints and how to use
precision measuring instruments and various hand
and power tools, such as scrapers, chisels, files, and
drill presses. The less-skilled assemblers do re­
petitive operations under close supervision and
are generally not responsible for the final assem­
bling of complex jobs.


Where Employed
Assemblers are employed in a wide variety of
nonelectrical machinery plants, including those
which make machine tools, pumping equipment,
tractors, refrigerators, business machines, and in­
ternal combustion engines.
Assemblers work in machinery plants through­
out the country. Most of the jobs for these work­
ers are concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast,
particularly in Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Mich­
igan, New York, and Wisconsin.
T ra in in g a n d Q ualifications

For the more-skilled assembling jobs, machin­
ists and others with experience are usually em­
ployed. Inexperienced workers may be hired as
trainees or helpers and trained on the job to do the
less-skilled assembling.
Assemblers usually specialize on one type of
machinery or equipment. Often they cannot read­
ily transfer to assembly of other products, or even
of similar products in other plants, without addi­
tional training.
Class A

Atlanta __
Boston. _
Dallas. _
Detroit. .
Hartford _
Los Angeles
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Newark-Jersev Citv.
New York.
Portland, Oreg
St. Louis____
Worcester _

Class B

$1. 54
1. 60
1. 62
1. 47
1. 50
1. 69
1. 47
1. 76
1. 39
1. 63
1. 81
1. 58
1. 63
1. 50
1. 62
1. 72
1. 57
1. 80
1. 81
1. 63

$1. 10
1. 46
1. 44
1. 38
1. 47
1. 52
1. 34
1. 61

1. 71
1. 41
1. 63
1. 79
1. 67
1. 37
1. 57

1. 31
1. 57
1. 40
1. 41
1. 47
1. 47
1. 60
1. 52
1. 52
1. 55
1. 49
1. 66
1. 58
1. 28
1. 35
1. 53
1. 20
1. 67

Class C

$1. 17
1. 32
1. 07
1. 33
1. 06
1. 33
1. 48
1. 23
1. 15
1. 58
1. 22
1. 32
1. 29
1. 44
1. 36
1. 23
1. 09
1. 16
1. 52
1. 12
1. 11

c o u r te s y


n a t io n a l , a r c h i v e s

Bench assem b lers f it toge th e r and assem ble sm all m a ch in ery parts into
com plete u n its or su b a ssem b lies.

Much of the wrork in bench assembling is rela­
tively light, and women are often employed in the
less-skilled jobs.

The number of jobs for assemblers is expected to
rise substantially during the early fifties as the
machinery industries expand to meet defense re­
quirements. The outlook, in the longer run, is for
continued growth in employment. The machin­
ery industries which employ these workers have
had a long-range upward trend in employment ;
in July 1950, production workers in nonelectrical
machinery manufacture totaled about 1,000,000,
which was over 50 percent above the 1929 level.
In addition to the new openings that may be
created by the expected increase in employment,
replacement needs will provide a considerable
number of job opportunities for new workers.
This is a relatively large occupation—about 100,000 jobs in the fall of 1949. Death and retirement
of experienced workers should provide approxi­
mately 1,500 to 2,500 job openings annually. More­
over, shifting into other occupations is common
among the less-skilled assemblers and many job
opportunities will be created in this way. Re­


placements will also be needed for assemblers
called up for military service.
Although the long-range outlook is generally
favorable, it should be noted that machinery man­
ufacturing industries are extremely sensitive to
the business cycle and to changing military
needs; the past trend of employment, while up­
ward, has been marked by extreme ups and downs.
Compared to manufacturing as a whole, the ma­
chinery industries are particularly hard hit during
depressions. Between 1929 and 1932, for example,
the number of wage earners in the nonelectrical
machinery industries dropped by about 55 percent
while manufacturing employment as a whole de­
clined by only 38 percent.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Earnings of assemblers vary widely, depending
on their skill grade, the type of product assembled,

the size and location of the plant in which they are
employed, and whether they are paid on an incen­
tive basis. Average straight-time hourly earnings
of male assemblers in machinery plants in Novem­
ber 1949, for selected large cities are shown in the
accompanying tabulation. These earnings exclude
premium pay for overtime and night work.
Most assemblers are members of unions. There
are several labor organizations in the field, includ­
ing the International Association of Machinists
(Ind.), the International Union of Electrical,
Radio and Machine Workers of America (CIO),
and the United Automobile Aircraft and Agricul­
tural Implement Workers of America (CIO).
Working conditions for assemblers are usually
good compared with factory work in general.
Their places of work, generally, are relatively
clean, well-lighted, and free from dust.
Bee also Machine Shop occupations, p. 186.

Inspectors (Machinery Manufacturing)
(D. O. T. 4-78.671; 6-78.671)

Outlook Summary

Where Employed

Rising employment is expected in this occupa­
tion during the first part of the fifties.

Inspectors are employed in a wide variety of
nonelectrical machinery plants, including those
which make machine tools, tractors, refrigerators,
internal combustion engines, and business ma­
They work in machinery plants throughout the
country. Most of the jobs for these workers are
concentrated in industrial centers of the Midwest
and Northeast, particularly Ohio, Illinois, Penn­
sylvania, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.

Duties and Training

These workers examine complete units of ma­
chinery (such as turret lathes), subassemblies
(such as starter mechanisms), or individual metal
parts. They look for various defects, checking
dimensions and appearance against required
standards and specifications. The more skilled in­
spectors work with little or no supervision and
examine either a variety of parts or relatively com­
plex units. They must be able to read blueprints
and interpret specifications. Often they are re­
quired to use such measuring devices as calipers,
gages, and micrometers. Skilled inspectors usu­
ally must have a general knowledge of machining
and other metalworking processes. The less
skilled inspectors inspect large numbers of iden­
tical parts or relatively simple products under
close supervision. Often they use specially pre­
pared gages and other measuring instruments
which greatly simplify inspection.

Training and Qualifications

Skilled inspectors are obtained from the ranks
of metal-processing workers, such as machine tool
operators, or by upgrading less-skilled inspectors.
Inexperienced workers are often hired for the lessskilled jobs and taught to do repetitive inspection
in a brief period of on-the-job training. The work
is not strenuous and many women are employed
as inspectors. Because of the nature of the wT
good eyesight is generally required.
Inspectors usually specialize on one type of
product; often they cannot readily transfer to in­


spection of other products, or even similar prod­
ucts in other plants, without additional training.

The number of jobs for inspectors is expected to
rise substantially during the early fifties as the
machinery industries expand to meet defense re­
quirements. In late 1949, machinery plants em­
ployed about 30,000 inspectors. The outlook, in the
longer run, is for continued growth in employment.
The machinery industries which employ these
workers have had a long-range upward trend in
employment; in July 1950, production workers
in nonelectrical machinery manufacture totaled
about 1,000,000 which was over 50 percent above
the 1929 level.
In addition to the new jobs that will be created
by increases in employment, replacement needs
will provide job opportunities for new workers.
Death and retirement of experienced inspectors
should provide about 500 to 700 job openings an­
nually. Moreover, shifting into other occupations
is common among the less skilled inspectors and
job opportunities will be created in this way. Re­
placements will also be needed for workers called
up for military service.
Although long-range employment prospects are
generally favorable, it should be noted that ma­
chinery manufacturing is extremely sensitive to
the business cycle; the past trend of employment,
while upward, has been marked by extreme fluctua­
tions. Compared to manufacturing as a whole,
the machinery industries are particularly hard hit
during depressions.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Earnings of inspectors vary considerably, de­
pending on their skill, grade, the type of product
inspected, and the size and location of the plant
in which they are employed. Average straighttime hourly earnings of male inspectors in ma­

chinery plants in selected large cities in ^November
1949 are shown in the following tabulation. These
earnings exclude premium pay for overtime and
night work.

Class A

Class B

_____ $1. 51
Baltimore _
1. 67
Buffalo _ _
1. 64
_ _ _ __ 1. 50
Chicago. _
1. 72
Cincinnati __
1. 48
Cleveland. _
1. 73
Dallas __ __
1. 59
Detroit_______ _ _
1. 98
Hartford_____ _ _ 1. 57
H ou ston___
1. 75
Indianapolis. _ _ _
1. 63
Los Angeles __ _______
1. 73
M ilwaukee__
1. 66
Minneapolis— Paul _
1. 65
1. 65
Newark-Jersey Citv
___ 1. 82
New York __
Philadelphia. __________ 1. 77
Pittsburgh _ ____ __ _ _
Providence . . .
1. 48
St. Louis._ __ __________ 1. 54
1. 54
Syracuse. ______. . .
Tulsa __ ________ ___ 1. 40
_ __ _______ 1. 53

$1. 38
1. 46
1. 38

$1. 21
1. 29

1. 48
1. 32
1. 61

1. 32

1. 64
1. 32

1. 45
1. 24
1. 41

1. 49
1. 41
1. 55
1. 37
1. 46
1. 45
1. 51
1. 77
1. 32
1. 37
1. 35
1. 19
1. 41

Class C

1. 47

1. 38
1. 37
1. 20
1. 23
1. 32
1. 11
1. 21

Most inspectors are members of unions. There
are several labor organizations in the field.
Among such organizations are the International
Association of Machinists (AFL), the Interna­
tional Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine
Workers (CIO), and the United Automobile, Air­
craft and Agricultural Implement Workers of
America (CIO).
Working conditions for inspectors are usually
good compared with factory work in general.
Their places of work, generally, are relatively
clean, well-lighted, and free from dust.
See also Machine Shop Occupations, page 186.



(D.O.T. 4-86.010)

O u tlo o k S u m m a r y

W h ere E m p lo y e d

Long-run prospects are for little change in the
employment of blacksmiths. Replacement needs
will provide some opportunities for new workers.

Most blacksmiths work in small shops which re­
pair farm and garden equipment, tools, automo­
bile parts, and household articles. Often these
shops perform other services, such as welding and
tool dressing; a few shoe horses. Many black­
smiths are self-employed, operating their own
Other blacksmiths are employed in maintenance
and repair departments in metalworking plants,
in railroad repair shops, and in coal and metal
Blacksmiths are found in all parts of the coun­
try, many in small rural communities as well as in
large industrial centers.

Nature o f Work

Blacksmiths use mainly hand methods to shape
and repair metal articles and parts. They heat
metal in a forge and hand-hammer the metal on
an anvil into the desired shape. They also forgeweld metal by heating the pieces and hammering
them together; sharpen tools such as chisels, drills,
and picks by heating them and hammering the
cutting edges to proper shape; and heat-treat metal
articles to improve their physical properties.

B lacksm iths use m ainly hand m ethods to shape and repair metal a rticle s and parts.
Co u r tesy





A r c h iv e s


Training and Qualifications

Some workers enter this occupation through ap­
prenticeship, others by picking up the trade while
working as laborers or helpers in blacksmith shops.
The apprenticeship period is generally 3 or 4 years
and customarily includes blueprint reading, train­
ing in the use of tools and equipment, heat-treating
metal, forging methods, and welding.
Considerable physical strength is required in
order to pound metal into shape and to handle
heavy metal parts.

There will be a small number of openings for
new workers in this occupation. Few yoling men
have entered the occupation in the last several
A large proportion of the men now engaged in
the trade are of relatively advanced age, nearing

the time when they will have to be replaced.
Openings for new workers will occur because of
this replacement demand rather than because of
expanding employment.
Prospects for those entering the occupation are
for continued employment over a long period.
About 40,000 blacksmiths were employed in 1940,
substantially fewer than 20 or 30 years before.
However, there has been little change in employ­
ment in recent years and no further decline is an­
ticipated. The number of blacksmiths working in
small repair shops is expected to remain stable be­
cause of the diversified demands for their services
and the importance of blacksmithing in local com­
munities. Since blacksmiths employed in manu­
facturing plants, railroads, and mines generally
do maintenance work, which tends to be fairly
steady, there should not be much fluctuation in
the number of jobs for these workers.

(D. O. T. 4-83.100)

Outlook Summary

Where Employed

The number of boilermakers is expected to rise
during the early fifties as a result of expanding
defense requirements. Over the longer run, a
moderate downward trend in employment is likely.
Replacement needs, however, will provide openings
for new workers.

Boilermakers are employed in railroad repair
shops, construction projects, boiler repair shops,
and electric power plants throughout the country;
in boiler shop products plants concentrated in the
Great Lakes, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific Coast
areas; in coastal shipyards; and in the oil refining
areas of Texas, Pennsylvania, California, New
York, and other States. Other industries employ­
ing boilermakers include steel, chemicals, and

Nature of Work

Boilermakers fabricate, assemble, and repair
boilers, tanks, vats, smoke stacks, and similar
products made of heavy steel plate. Their work
involves such duties as planning and laying out
work from blueprints or specifications; cutting
plate to size and shape with power shears or
acetylene burners; shaping plates on power
presses; assembling parts by bolting, riveting, or
welding; and calking seams and rivet heads.
Many men qualified as all-round boilermakers,
however, specialize in a single boiler-shop func­
tion, such as welding. Some of the most skilled
boilermakers do only lay-out work—marking the
steel plates to show other workers where the metal
is to be sheared, welded, bent, or otherwise

Training and Qualifications

To become an all-round boilermaker, a 4-year
apprenticeship or equivalent on-the-job training
is usually required. Welders, helpers, and other
boiler-shop workers sometimes have the opportu­
nity to learn the trade without serving an appren­
ticeship. Much of the boilermaker’s work is fairly
strenuous and at least average physical strength
is needed.

The number of jobs for boilermakers is expected
to rise during the early fifties as a result of expand­


ing defense requirements. A substantial revival
of shipbuilding, for example, would result in many
openings in this occupation. Over the longer run,
however, prospects are not as favorable. There
has been a downward trend in boilermaker em­
ployment over the last three decades. In 1940,
the Census counted about 33,000 boilermakers in
the labor force (employed or seeking work); this
was only about half the number reported in 1920.
In early 1950, the number of boilermakers em­
ployed was somewhat higher than prewar, but be­
low the wartime peak, when many boilermakers
were working in shipyards. Many of these war­
time workers had been quickly trained in some part
of boilermaking and were not all-round boiler­
makers. After being released from the shipyards
at the end of the war, many of these less-skilled
men went into other lines of work.
In railroad repair shops—the leading source of
jobs for boilermakers in peacetime—employment
of these workers has decreased steadily since
World War II. Class I railroads employed an
average of about 13,500 boilermakers in 1946; in
1948, they employed about 12,000. In June 1950,
the number was about 9,800—about the prewar
There have been two main factors responsible
for the decline in employment in this occupation.
One has been the general tendency in boilermaking
operations to utilize specialized workers (such as
welders) to do the various parts of the boiler­
maker job, thereby reducing the need for all-round
boilermakers. The other has been the specific
trend toward less boilermaking work in the con­
struction and repair of railroad equipment; this
is a direct result of the increasing use of Diesel
and electric locomotives in place of steam locomo­
tives. In contrast to work on steam locomotives,
relatively few boilermakers are used in making
and repairing the Diesel and electric types. Both
factors are expected to continue to operate in the
future, so that further declines in the number of
boilermaking jobs is likely over the long run.
In spite of the expected drop in the number of


jobs, over the long run there should be opportuni­
ties for a number of new workers to enter this
occupation. A high proportion of the experienced
boilermakers are older men who will be leaving the
labor force; deaths and retirements during the
1950-60 decade may total something in the order
of 10,000, or nearly a third of the number of exper­
ienced boilermakers in 1940. Other replacements
will be necessary for men shifting to jobs in other
fields or entering military service. This indicates
that replacement needs may be considerably
greater than any probable reduction in employ­
ment. Moreover, men trained in all-round boiler­
making will have some opportunities to get special­
ized boilermaking jobs, since they are preferred by
most employers to the men qualified in only one
part of the work.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Earnings of boilermakers vary among the indus­
tries in which they are employed. In September
1949, the wage rate for boilermakers working for
steam railroads was generally about $1.74 an hour.
In construction work, in July 1949, the average
hourly wage rate of union journeyman boiler­
makers in 77 cities was $2.39. Recent wage data
are not available for boilermakers employed in
other industries.
Boilermaking tends to be more hazardous than
most other metalworking occupations. The injury
frequency rate in the boiler-shop-products indus­
try is considerably higher than the average for
manufacturing industries as a whole.
Boilermakers are generally unionized. A large
number are members of the International Brother­
hood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and
Helpers of America (AFL) ; others have been or­
ganized by industrial unions, such as the United
Steelworkers of America (CIO) and the Indus­
trial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers
of America (CIO).
See also Arc and Gas Welders, page 212. Rail­
road shop trades, page 426.


(D. O. T. 5-78.100)

Outlook Summary

Long-run prospects are for a fairly stable level
of employment in this occupation. Some increase
is probable during the early fifties as new plants
and equipment are added to meet expanding de­
fense needs.
Nature of Work

The job of a millwright is to install, dismantle,
move, and set up heavy machinery and industrial
equipment. Millwrights also prepare the plat­
forms on which machines are mounted and help
plan the location of new equipment in the plant.
They sometimes perform some of the duties of
industrial machinery repairmen in addition to
their regular work. They should have consider­
able knowledge of the structure and operation of
the equipment on which they work. Millwrights
usually specialize on particular types of industrial
machinery, such as paper-mill machinery or ma­
chine tools.
Where Employed

Millwrights are employed in most manufactur­
ing plants which use heavy machinery arid equip­
ment. Many of these workers are in the metal­
working industries, such as machinery, automo­
biles, and iron and steel. Automobile plants alone
employed about 4,000 in early 1950. Other large
groups are employed in various nonmetal indus­
tries, including pulp-and-paper mills, sawmills,
and flour mills. Some millwrights are employed
by building contractors in the installation of ma­
chinery and equipment in new factory buildings.
A small number work for machinery manufac­
turers who do the installation of their machinery
in customers’ plants.
Millwrights work in every State. However,
most of the millwright jobs are in the major indus­
trial areas of the Midwest and Northeast, with
Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and
Illinois the leading States.
Training and Qualifications

Entry into this occupation is usually through
a millwright apprenticeship or equivalent on-the

job training. The apprenticeship period is gen­
erally 4 years and the training customarily in­
cludes blueprint reading; use of hoisting equip­
ment; installation, assembly, and repair of indus­
trial machinery and equipment; and acetylene
burning. However, inexperienced workers may
be hired as helpers or laborers and pick up the
occupation while working.

Some increase in the number of millwrights is
probable during the early fifties, as new plants and
equipment are added to meet expanding defense
needs. In late 1949, the number of millwrights
was well above prewar (1940), when about 40,000
were employed. A major factor in the high post­
war level of employment of millwrights has been
the large expenditure made by industry for new
plants and equipment during the last few years.
The outlook in the longer-run is for a fairly
stable level of employment in this occupation. Al­
though new plant and equipment expenditures may
fall off somewhat, employment is expected to hold
up fairly well. These workers have continuing
functions in plants using heavy equipment, in
connection with repair and rearrangement of the
equipment. Moreover, the growing mechanization
of industry has a tendency to expand the need for
millwrights. Job opportunities for new workers
will result mainly from the need to replace expe­
rienced millwrights who switch to other jobs, re­
tire, or die. Death and retirement alone may
create about 1,000 openings each year.
Earnings and Working Conditions

Recent information on wages for most industries
employing millwrights is not available. However,
average straight-time hourly earnings for mill­
wrights employed in passenger car manufacturing
plants in February 1950, were $1.80. In a wage
agreement made in July 1948 between the United
States Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers of
America (CIO), a standard hourly rate of $1.77
was specified for millwrights in iron and steel
Millwrights are generally unionized. Their un223


ion affiliation varies according to the industry in
which they are employed. Some of the more im­
portant unions include the International Asso­
ciation of Machinists (Ind.) ; United Steelworkers
of America (C IO ); United Automobile Aircraft
and Agricultural Implement Workers of America,

International Union (C IO ); International Broth­
erhood of Carpenters and Joiners (A FL ); and
International Brotherhood of Pulp Sulphite and
Paper Mill Workers (AFL).
See also Industrial Machinery Repairmen, p.

Riveters, Pneumatic (Manufacturing)
(D. O. T. 4-84.060; 6-95.080 and .082)

Outlook Summary

Employment of riveters is expected to decline
gradually over the long run. However, prospects
in the early fifties are more favorable.
Nature of Work

These workers use riveting equipment which is
driven by compressed air to fasten together metal
parts. Pneumatic hammers are most commonly
used, although specialized pneumatic-riveting ma­
chines are used in some manufacturing plants.
Where heavy steel plates have to be fastened, as
in ship construction, the large rivets which are
used must be heated before they are hammered.
In hot riveting, the riveter is assisted by a rivet
heater and a worker usually called a bucker who
backs up the rivet while it is being hammered by
the riveter. Rivet heaters are not needed in cold­
riveting and some pneumatic-riveting equipment,
especially in aircraft plants, can be operated by
the riveter alone.
Pneumatic riveters who are employed in manu­
facturing industries are found mainly in plants
making aircraft, industrial cars and trucks, and
agricultural equipment; boilermaking shops; loco­
motive and car-building and repairing shops; and
The more skilled riveters do many types of
work; they must be able to read blueprints, use
riveting hammers of varied types and sizes, and
select appropriate hammers, dies, and rivets.
Some of the more skilled riveting in certain indus­
tries, boilermaking and shipbuilding, for exam­
ple, is done by journeymen qualified in other occu­
pations, such as structural iron workers, boiler­
makers, and sheet metal workers. However, most
riveters in manufacturing plants do repetitive
work which does not call for the skills of the all­
round riveter.

The less skilled pneumatic riveters are generally
trained in several months on the job. Boiler­
makers, sheet metal workers, and other journey­
men who do skilled riveting have had formal
apprenticeships in their trade or the equivalent
in experience.

During the early fifties, there will be many open­
ings for new workers in this occupation to meet the
needs of the expanding aircraft and other defense
industries employing riveters. Other openings
will be created in the event that shipbuilding and
repairing are greatly expanded as a matter of na­
tional policy.
The long-run outlook is for a gradual decline
in the number of riveters. This will result
mostly from the substitution of welding for rivet­
ing in the fabrication of many products. Welding
has been replacing riveting in recent years, and
this trend is expected to continue in the future,
particularly in the shipbuilding and boiler­
making industries. In addition, the development
of specialized high speed riveting equipment, es­
pecially in the aircraft industry, will permit more
work to be done by fewer riveters. However, there
will be some job openings for new workers to re­
place experienced men who leave this occupation.
Earnings and Working Conditions

In airframe plants in May-June 1949, average
straight-time hourly earnings of riveters were
$1.43 for Class A workers and $1.24 for Class B.
Riveting is noisy work, and much of it is done
in cramped positions (for example, inside aircraft
See also Aircraft Manufacturing Occupations,
p. 273, and Shipbuilding and Ship Repairing
Occupations, p. 259.