Thursday, August 3, 2017

Flinging red-hot rivets

From a collection of photographs by Arthur Gerlach of the construction trade in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s.

I came across this photograph in an old article from Fortune, June 10, 1996.

The picture is annotated with a note from Fortune's original article in October 1930.
Catching red hot rivets in midair with a bucket, high over a crowded street, was an essential skill when skyscrapers were built in the 1930s. The rivets had to be heated in a centrally located furnace and then passed up, down, or across to whichever girder was being secured. The hot rivets, weighing up to the pound and a half, were flung with tongs and caught by workmen like George Smith, here plying his trade at 40 Wall St. in Manhattan. "Why more rivetsDo not fall is the great mystery of skyscraper construction."

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