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From the Archives: Southern California World War II aircraft manufacturing

From the Archives: Southern California World War II aircraft manufacturing
A woman and man work on a C-47 at the Douglas Aircraft Co. plant in Long Beach in October 1942. (Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information)

In 1942, U.S. Office of War Information photographer Alfred T. Palmer took color images at the Douglas Aircraft Plant in Long Beach and the North American Aviation Plant in Inglewood. Today, these images are available through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. These 20 images are from a subset of color images from the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration and later the Office of War Information.

From the Library of Congress website:

Photographers working for the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.

The original images are color transparencies ranging in size from 35 mm. to 4x5 inches. They complement the better-known black-and-white FSA/OWI photographs, made during the same period.

Palmer worked for the Office of War Information from 1942-43. Palmer was born in 1906 and passed away in 1993. For more on Palmer, check out his official website: Alfred T. Palmer: 20th Century American Photographer.

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of
Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American Aviation's Inglewood plant in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
P-51 ("Mustang") fighter planes being prepared for test flight at the field of the North American Av
P-51 ("Mustang") fighter planes being prepared for test flight at the field of the North American Aviation Inc. plant in Inglewood in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Inglewood, Calif. June
Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation Inc. plant in Inglewood in June 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Two female employees of North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling a section of a wing for a P
Two female employees of North American Aviation Inc. assembling a section of a wing for a P-51 fighter plane in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
A young female employee of North American Aviation, Incorporated, working over the landing gear mecha
A young female employee of North American Aviation Inc. working over the landing gear mechanism of a P-51 fighter plane in Inglewood. The mechanism resembles a small cannon. October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
On North American's outdoor assembly line, a painter cleans the tail section of a P-51 fighter prior
On North American's outdoor assembly line, a painter cleans the tail section of a P-51 fighter before spraying the olive-drab camouflage of the U.S. Army, North American Aviation Inc. in Inglewood in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
P-51 "Mustang" fighter in flight over Southern California. Built by North American Aviation in, Ingl
P-51 "Mustang" fighter in flight over Southern California. Built by North American Aviation in Inglewood. October 1942. Early version of the aircraft. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Female workers trained in precise aircraft engine installation duties at Douglas Aircraft Company, Lo
Female workers trained in precise aircraft engine installation duties at Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
On North American's outdoor assembly line, employees rush a B-25 to completion, North American Aviat
On North American's outdoor assembly line, employees rush a B-25 to completion, North American Aviation in Inglewood. October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Mounting motor on a B-25 bomber, at North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Inglewood, Calif. 1942
Mounting motor on a B-25 bomber at North American Aviation Inc. plant in Inglewood in 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
An experimental scale model of the B-25 plane is prepared for wind tunnel tests in the plant of the
An experimental scale model of the B-25 plane is prepared for wind tunnel tests in the plant of the North American Aviation Inc. in Inglewood. The model maker holds an exact miniature reproduction of the type of bomb the plane will carry. October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
North American B-25 bomber rolls off the final assembly line to join other ships on the outdoor asse
North American B-25 bomber rolls off the final assembly line to join other ships on the outdoor assembly line at North American Aviation plant in Inglewood in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
View of the B-25 final assembly line at North American Aviation's Inglewood, California, plant. 1942
View of the B-25 final assembly line at North American Aviation's Inglewood plant. 1942 Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
F.W. Hunter, Army test pilot, Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif. Oct. 1942
F.W. Hunter, Army test pilot, Douglas Aircraft Co. plant at Long Beach. October 1942 Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of
Female inspectors at the Long Beach plant of Douglas Aircraft Co. make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes. October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California sunshine, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif
Female worker at lunch in the California sunshine, Douglas Aircraft Co., Long Beach in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F na
This woman in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F Navy bomber, Long Beach in October 1942. Pictured is Phyllis Ann Marxson Clark, a North Dakota native who was 18 at the time. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber at the Dou
Female workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Co. plant in Long Beach in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information
Huge drop hammers work day and night forming sheet metal parts for B-25s and P-51s built at the Nor
Huge drop hammers day and night forming sheet metal parts for B-25s and P-51s built at the North American Aviation Inc. plant in Inglewood in October 1942. Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Office of War Information

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