"GRANTLEY GALS . . . Once again York had to turn to the distaff side to 'man' the assembly lines at Grantley. This was brought about by the shortage of manpower, which has affected industry nation wide. These gals have learned the 'nuts and bolts' operations in the assembly of York's new Hermetic compressor. They do a good job too. The assemblers are: Janet Sites, Elizabeth Saltzgiver, Zelma Smith, Marilyn Deller and Bernice Bailey." Quoting the caption under photo in York Corporation's Shop News of December 1950; page 6. (Shop News and Photo 887-35P from Collection of York County History Center)
Grantley Gals assemble Yorkco Compressors in 1950
Mrs. Janet E. Seitz, nee Reeves; Mrs. Elizabeth M. Saltzgiver, nee Pilkay; Mrs. Zelma I. Smith, nee Spangler; Mrs. Marilyn L. Deller, nee Wagman; and Mrs. Bernice L. Bailey, nee Falkenstine, are photographed working on the Hermetic compressor assembly line at the Grantley Plant of York Corporation in 1950.
The discovery of the names of the women in this photo had been elusive. A recent clue was discovered in the collection of the York County History Center, which pointed to York Corporation’s Shop News of December 1950. It included the photo, with the caption:
“GRANTLEY GALS . . . Once again York had to turn to the distaff side to ‘man’ the assembly lines at Grantley. This was brought about by the shortage of manpower, which has affected industry nation wide. These gals have learned the ‘nuts and bolts’ operations in the assembly of York’s new Hermetic compressor. They do a good job too. The assemblers are: Janet Sites, Elizabeth Saltzgiver, Zelma Smith, Marilyn Deller and Bernice Bailey.”
Prior attempts to discover the names of the women in this photo, had been done via published photos. When the original photograph was examined, it was discovered the published photos were always cropped, leaving off the lower part of the photo. As soon as the full original photo was examined, a detail in the lower right, along with knowledge of pertinent facts resulted in the discovery in Shop News.
The maiden names of these women are per Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com research. The surname of Janet Seitz is misspelled in the Shop News caption.
Originally this photo was thought to be associated with the York Plan of World War II; when many women worked war production jobs in York factories. The photos were filed as such at the York County History Center. After the War was won, the returning veterans returned to their pre-war jobs, and gradually fewer women remained in factory jobs.
I had read there was a big push to hire women for factory work at York Corporation in 1950. I always assumed it was associated with the start of the Korean War. It turns out there was another reason; there was great demand for some new product lines. And because of the scarcity of men to ramp up production, significant numbers of women were again hired to fill those factory jobs.
A reciprocating compressor crankshaft attached directly to a motor rotor is pointed out in the close-up of lower right area of photo. As soon as I saw this, I knew the women were assembling Hermetic compressors; i.e. all moving parts, compressor and electric motor, are housed inside the compressor enclosure.
I knew York Corporation introduced Hermetic compressors in 1948 and that products with them were very well received. Putting that fact together with the 1950 hiring, I started paging through York Corporation’s Shop News of 1950.
On the same December 1950 Shop News page where the photo was observed, it was noted 71 women, on two shifts, presently work in the Hermetic Compressor department at the Grantley Plant. As production ramps up, an additional 250 women were to be hired.
Another photo on the same Shop News page shows Jean Foust setting up a machining operation on crankshafts for York Corporation’s Hermetic compressors. The maiden name of Mrs. Jean Foust is Norma Jean Lentz.
Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos in this post.
Links to related posts include:
York Manufacturing Company employees and A-Frame Compressor
Historic Corliss Steam Engine right here in York, Pennsylvania; Part 1
Historic Corliss Steam Engine right here in York, Pennsylvania; Part 2Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts