BY-WAYS - 11/26/42 - 1st Woman at W & S - November 19, 1942

The Saltsburg Press of last week carries a vital message from Dr. J. P. Watson, director of the University of Pittsburgh Bureau of Business Research. He says that woman power is the need of this nation in this war emergency. How right he is! If you were to go into a factory, and see the crying need for workers, you would believe him. In just the two short weeks that I was in the training school, two valuable young men in the school were inducted into the army. "Jim," our incomparable young instructor, is to go Jan. 2. Although I am for all young men going forth to fight for their country, I hate to see Jim Fisher go, for they can never replace him in that war plant. He is only 23. But he finished high school at 17, went to college a year and a half, summer and winter, then went to night college and got his degree. At the same time he got his practical experience in factory work. He really is unusual. There was not one of the myriad questions that we asked that he could not answer. And yet he is prouder of his baseball jacket that bears the insignia, "Baseball champs... Warner & Swasey" than he is of his college diploma. Brilliant himself, he never once humiliated us old women by pointing out our stupidity. Patriotic to the nth degree, he is ready and willing to go. Without any histrionics or fancy speeches, he kept reminding us of our great responsibility in the factories. That slender youth, with his shock of brown curly hair and almost buck teeth, so stirred our patriotism and high sense of honor that we went forth to our new job last Thursday with high purpose and a great sense of the dignity of our jobs as inspectors.

On Wednesday we gave a party for Jim. The night before we baked cookies, then bought ice-cream the next day. Our lady supervisor gave two of the girls a pass to go out and buy him a gift - an army money belt, with one dollar in change inside, and three beautiful handkerchiefs. Was that boy pleased and touched! Let me tell you about our supervisor of women. On the second day of our school Jim said, "Mrs. L. is coming in to talk to you about your uniforms, etc." When the door opened, who should appear but a former teacher in the Junior Department. A vibrant personality, she charmed the whole class with her wit and unerring sense of comedy. She and I had not seen each other for six years; but I remember as if it were yesterday the whole pitiful story of shattered faith in the man she married. She called me on the 'phone one day when her world seemed tumbling about her. She was about to lose her home; she was thinking then that she must get out and fight her own battles. She gave up her Sunday School work. She did go to work. I lost contact with her - and yet often wondered how she came out. Now I know the answer. Her shining countenance, her magnetic personality, bespeak a triumph over all obstacles. She mastered her problems, that I know. Now she is helping others solve theirs. She was the first woman hired by Warner & Swasey. That was only three months ago. So you see how recently woman has been allowed to cross that sacred threshold into man's domain. Out of nearly nine thousand employees there are only forty-one women inspectors. Women are now taking over the turret lathes, the last word in precision and master workmanship. Yes, women have a vital place in this war emergency. Tonight, at midnight, I go on the night shift in the "big plant." Frankly, I am quite thrilled. Now I must close.

Yours for Victory,
Florence B. Taylor
4501 Lilac Road,
South Euclid, Ohio.

Next - 12/10/42 - Factory Friction. Fellowship and Fun

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