Rosie the Riveters in HD color- photos of the women who built planes during WWII

Neil Patrick
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Legendary Rosie the Riveter is a well loved cultural icon of the USA and she represents the American women who went to ‘war’ work during WWII. The working men had gone to war leaving a depleted work force. The machinery of war still needed to turn so the nation turned to its women to keep the war machine working. The vast majority of them had never stepped foot inside a factory, airfield or shipyard before.

We often romanticise about it but in reality, it was a harsh, demanding and thankless job. Nonetheless, the women of the war era stepped up for the cause, rolled up their sleeves and more then proved that they could do any job that a man could do. They got on with the job in hand and this is why, as a nation we have a special place in our hearts Rosie the Riveter.

A Douglas Aircraft Company employee does delicate electrical work on a plane at the plant in Long Beach, California.

A Douglas Aircraft Company employee does delicate electrical work on a plane at the plant in Long Beach, California.

 

A Douglas Aircraft Company employee on her lunch break at the plant in Long Beach, California.

A Douglas Aircraft Company employee on her lunch break at the plant in Long Beach, California.

Close to 19 million women war working during the war.   Interestingly, out of that total number, 16 million were already at work so the war brought in another three million new female workers.

Most women took on the male dominated trades during the war, they were still expected to return to their ‘normal’ lives after the men had returned from war.   All images via Library of Congress

A Douglas Aircraft Company worker rivets an A-20 bomber at the plant in Long Beach, California.

A Douglas Aircraft Company worker rivets an A-20 bomber at the plant in Long Beach, California.

 

A North American Aviation employee assembles a section of the leading edge for the horizontal stabilizer of a plane at the plant in Inglewood, California.

A North American Aviation employee assembles a section of the leading edge for the horizontal stabilizer of a plane at the plant in Inglewood, California.

 

A Vultee Aircraft employee touches up the U.S. Army Air Forces insignia on the fuselage of a Vengeance dive bomber at the plant in Nashville, Tennessee.

A Vultee Aircraft employee touches up the U.S. Army Air Forces insignia on the fuselage of a Vengeance dive bomber at the plant in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

A worker adjusts an airplane motor at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

A worker adjusts an airplane motor at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

 

A worker assembles part of the cowling for a B-52 bomber motor at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

A worker assembles part of the cowling for a B-52 bomber motor at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

 

A worker irons at a factory for self-sealing gas tanks owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio.

A worker irons at a factory for self-sealing gas tanks owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio.

 

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work an airplane motor at the plant in Long Beach, California.

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work an airplane motor at the plant in Long Beach, California.

 

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work on an airplane motor at the plant in Long Beach, California.

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work on an airplane motor at the plant in Long Beach, California.

 

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work on the belly of a bomber at the plant in Long Beach, California.

Douglas Aircraft Company employees work on the belly of a bomber at the plant in Long Beach, California.

 

Inspectors examine wing parts of C-47 transport planes at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.

Inspectors examine wing parts of C-47 transport planes at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.

 

Riveters work on the cockpit shell of a B-25 bomber at the North American Aviation Company plant in Inglewood, California.

Riveters work on the cockpit shell of a B-25 bomber at the North American Aviation Company plant in Inglewood, California.

 

Two assembly workers take a lunch break next to heavy bomber nacelle parts at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.

Two assembly workers take a lunch break next to heavy bomber nacelle parts at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California.

 

War workers at a factory in Ohio.

War workers at a factory in Ohio.

 

Workers assemble a wing section for a P-51 fighter at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

Workers assemble a wing section for a P-51 fighter at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

 

Workers feed sections of sheet metal through a pneumatic numbering machine at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

Workers feed sections of sheet metal through a pneumatic numbering machine at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California.

In 1944, when the USA was pretty sure that they would win the war, the government did a U turn and started to ‘encourage’ women back into the home because the men needed work when they returned from the war.  The Rosie Riveters legacy continues to this day. You can buy posters and mugs and you will see many ladies dressed up as Rosie’s at the military shows and events, a wonderful salute to an amazing group of women.