Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On Break at Copperweld Steel - Workday Wednesday

These are photos of my father and some coworkers at Copperweld Steel Company, Warren, Ohio, in 1946.  Perhaps they are on break or just finished lunch.

Joe Mack on the left, Lee Doyle, my father, on the right. 
This was probably taken inside the mill.  I like the effects of the back lighting.  To me it looks dramatic, almost eerie, and very late-1940s. 

Two men, Joe and Dad again.

Three men.  H. Baker joins Joe and Lee.
My father always preferred shirts with two pockets.  His preference must have started before this photo was taken.

H. Baker leaves and Einhorn, Joe Weaver, and an unnamed man join Lee.
The way my father has his head down it looks like he's being teased.  He smoked cigarettes for a number of years.  I tried to use the length of the cigarette to put these photos in sequence.

Men come and go, Dad remains.
Left to right, K. Ambrose, Lee Doyle, J. Weaver, and the same unnamed man as above.

The group gets bigger.
Left to right:  H. Baker, Joe Mack, Lee Doyle, Joe Weaver, and another unnamed man.
With all heads (except one) turned his way, it looks to me like Joe Mack is telling a story.

I don't remember my father speaking about work or his coworkers often but I do remember the name "Einhorn" and it seems that Einhorn was a "character" -- an interesting person who did things differently than most others. To the right is "Einhorn."  In the vernacular of the time and place, I believe most men were called by their last names.

For the longest time I couldn't find these photos.  They surfaced when I was looking through the scanned pages of my mother's photo album.  They were taken after Dad had been at Copperweld for five or six years but before he became a foreman.

I cropped the backgrounds out of these and could probably improve them by adjusting the contrast but am posting them as is.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I like the subject matter -- men on break. But what made someone take pictures that day? Who was the photographer? (So clever arranging the photos by the length of the cigarette! Let's just assume he smoked only one. HA HA)

  2. As I was typing this post, Wendy, I also wondered who took the photos and why. And how my dad got copies, since he couldn't have been taking them himself or had a family member there to do it. It's too much to hope that someone else's son or daughter has the same set of photographs, finds these, and contacts me. (I won't hope, actually.)

    Dad smoked both a pipe and cigarettes (and an occasional awful cigar) but I don't remember him chain smoking or the house being filled with smoke (thank goodness!) but I do remember ashtrays at home. One day he just quit smoking cigarettes. Later he gave up his pipe, too. Amazing that he never developed lung cancer. However, my mom, who never smoked a cigarette in her life developed emphysema. Yes, let's hope he smoked only one during break that day (and every day).

  3. Nancy -- what a genealogy treasure you have there! So few of us have photos from our dads (or moms) at their places of employment outside the home. You are very lucky to have these of your dad with his co-workers and friends. As I said on the occasion of my own retirement, a simple truth is that 8 hours or more a day, five days a week or more, and most full-time workers spend more of their daily lives with their co-workers than they do with their families. It is great to have documented moments from some of those hours your dad spent away from his family working to support them!

    1. I agree, John. I'm thankful to have them. In truth, I saw my dad much less often than most children. Dad worked "turns," rotating five days at a time between days, afternoons, and nights, with two days off after the five days. There were many times when I came home from school and Dad was already gone and I was in bed before he returned at night. Later, he became a foreman, salaried, and worked many 12-hour days. I wish I'd been able to tour the mill but by the time I was old enough they'd discontinued tours. Both my older siblings went, though. It would have been interesting to see where he worked and the work he performed. Yes, I treasure these photographs. Thanks for clicking through to my blog and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

  4. I thought it was clever to sequence the photos by the length of the cigarettes. And I will hope someone sees these and gets I touch with you.

    Finding Eliza


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