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Very interesting old photographs. Thanks for sharing.
 

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I did notice some electric lights around and I bet there was a lot of hearing loss with all the belts running and hard walls! It must have been mid teens as the flag looks to be a 49 star, after NM and AZ. Some hot babes there in the case department.
 

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this is very very nice

martysax
I love the belt-driven machines. Those must have been steam powered back then.
the accumulated load on the drive shafts that power everything must have required an insane amount of force to keep it all going smoothly. how much horsepower was behind those belts? wow ... i cannot imagine.
I wonder how many amputated arms fell into Bari Sax bells back then.
not to mention the goings on in the "lead fumes" department ... krikey! the cement block walls look saturated with toxins.

i remember a seeing a series of photos from adolphe sax's factory ... somewhere ... i'm too tired search any further tonight, the selmer factory will have to do for now.

http://www.henri-selmer.info/frameset.php?tpl=history
scroll down for a peak into the selmer factory, same-ish era.
 

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Excellent!!

Now whenever I play my tranny I'll be able to picture the miserable men with bushy moustaches that made her.
 

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Those were some weird looking prototypes. The two hiorns at the bottom of that link, looked like something out of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."
 

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It must have been amazing to work there. Think of all the skilled craftsmen who held jobs there. Those pictures should be in a museum somewhere.
 

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Hearing Loss

I lead the whole SOTW Forum in a huge round of applause for EX and Cornific for these wonderful websites. I hope that everyone will look at these unique photos, and that these sites will remain up indefinitely.

*****

Noise levels would have, indeed, been horrific in belt-driven machine rooms, as well as spinning rooms, machine polishing rooms, and punch press rooms, much less case forming rooms (wood sawing, etc.). I would imagine that a huge percentage of the craftsmen would be hard-of-hearing, and that a lesser percentage would be close to deaf after many years on the job.

However, the automobile factories and other machinery jobs of the turn of the century would be just as noisy. Much of the deafness attributed in the past to effects of aging was actually from the noisy environments in which many people worked in the 1870 to 1970 century. Add to that the use of headphones and electrified music in the baby boomer generation, and you have 150+ years of self-induced hearing impairment.

Hearing loss comes in tiny increments as exposure to loud or noisy environments becomes often or consistent. It matters not if the sound is machinery, live electrified music, huge marching band, or 2000 watt car stereo. All that matters is that all hearing loss is permanent, irreversible, and cumulative over time. Bit by bit, one's hearing is gradually damaged and eventually destroyed. A physiological-acoustic phenomenon called Hearing Fatigue masks the destruction as it happens, and contributes to making it worse at the same time. I can detail the general progression of the hearing loss if anyone is interested.

The moral is to CHOOSE ONE:
A. if you are going to listen for a long periods of time, Turn It Down!
B. if you insist upon listening to very loud music, listen for shorter periods of time followed by rest periods.
C. Preferably, do both.

Sax Magic
 

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I worked at the F E Olds factory in Fullerton California in the Sixies . Looked a lot like these pictures but without the bell drives, howerever there were a few still there.

I wrote a artical about working there and if anyone would like to read it it is on the website Olds Central. Look for the article by Chuck Madere.
 

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That was very interesting to read. And informational. So whenever I see a careless student with a rusty Conn, I can always throw around the thought of the labor that went into the horn and try to make feel them bad about throwing it in the case with the music, reed, and metronome in the bell. I don't know how well that would work.
 

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martysax said:
I love the belt-driven machines. Those must have been steam powered back then.
Water power... Elkhart had a huge so-called 'Hydraulic" that was considered by the local boosters to be a "second Lowell" and powered 10 large mills or more. If you're familiar with the "1st Lowell(MA) then you get the idea. It probably was converted to electric at some point... I grew up and continue to live in New England mill towns and have worked in many a building with the vestiges of water power ie. manufacturing plants and machine and woodworking shops. A few are still operating with the overhead belts though most of those are probably as much a hobby/museum as a viable business.

I generally prefer to have my own shop in those old mill buildings, if for no other reason than that they usually are next to a bit of fast water that will take you away from your travails at lunchtime.

It seems strange to me that nowadays, relatively few have intimate knowledge of "factory life". Wasn't that long ago that it was the norm. In my experience, it wasn't too bad...just a different set of costs and benefits, not the least of which was that if you were a competent machine operator, you were free to move about the country, 'cause you could always get a job. Given the opportunity, I might opt for the older way...at least a man stood a "fightin' chance!". Only don't wear loose clothing and keep a line of sight between your appendages and the gnarly things...:cool:
 

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There is a great deal of information about Conn here - http://www.usd.edu/~mbanks/ . Mragaret Downie Banks was writing a history of the company but I don't know if it was ever finished; she may have settled for the mine of information on her web site.

With regard to the pics EZ has pointed out, I cannot identify the factory floosies Bruce is impressed by ;) ... other than the fact that they alone are smartly dressed. Different work to the men, of course, but interesting all the same.

Production methods are pretty antiquated; not too many production engineers about, I suppose, and before Urwick, Gilbreth, etc., although contemporary with Taylor.

As for health and safety, forget it! If some of those amputated arms martysax refers to had fallen in the plating vats (or the cleaning ones full of sulphuric acid), the results could have been interesting. :shock:

I worked in a number of metal bashing plants and some polishing and plating plants, too. The polishers (i.e. the buffers referred to in the pics) had dust extractors - I can't see any at the Conn plant. They still went home filthy dirty and had to stop work by 50 because their joints were shot. Respiratory problems were also not unknown, but that's another story.
 

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Pinnman said:
If some of those amputated arms martysax refers to had fallen in the plating vats (or the cleaning ones full of sulphuric acid), the results could have been interesting. :shock:
arm a-plated? :)

These photos are a fascinating insight into times past and the history of instrument manufacturing, thanks EZ.

Pinnman and others raise some very valid points about health and safety and I totally agree, but there's a part of me that longs for the simpler, less computerised and clinical ways of doing things of times past. Probably romantic nonsense, but I can't say I really like some aspects of "modern life"... :|
 
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