Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 31 May 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# boomtime past
12 post-war assembly lines you’re glad you don’t work on
After World War II, mass manufacturing needed tough bodies and minds to pump up production.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, it emerged that we might be all working well beyond the age of 68 by the year 2028.

The OECD report recommended that pensionable age should be linked to life expectancy (and it’s thought that we will all be living longer in 15 years’ time).

Those with particularly stressful or physical jobs might be concerned about this potential of working arduous jobs for longer. This set of photographs, gathered from the PA Images archive, show a time of post-World War II industrial activity when increased consumer demand led to labour-intensive mass production. Monotony and the chances of ending up with a bad back seem to be the order of the day:

12 post-war assembly lines you’re glad you don’t work on
1 / 12
  • Back-breaking fridge fixing

    Matsushita Electric Appliances Company Totsuka factory in Japan in 1965. (AP Photo/Nobuyuki Masaki)
  • Communal yawning break on transistor radio assembly line

    '“Stop working, take a deep breath, one, two, three, four,'” says a loud speaker. Then, you'’ll see such a '“mass yawning'” aimed at increasing production at the factory of Mitsumi Electric Company on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan in 1963. (AP Photo)
  • So. Many. Minis.

    Assembly line at the Austin Works in Longbridge, near Birmingham, England. (Sport and General/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive)
  • Injecting eggs with flu virus

    Using a special machine to inoculate each egg with live virus of the new Asiatic flu strain, lab workers at Eli Lilly and Company in Greenfield, Indiana, USA in 1957, in the first step in producing vaccine. (AP Photo)
  • Reeling silk thread from worm cocoons

    This worker at Eymesford, Kent had to reel individual silk strands from thousands of silkworm cocoons floating in hot water. (Barratts/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive)
  • Rolling rubber for balloons

    Big marker balloons designed to warn away aircraft from neutral zones being manufactured at the Fujikura Rubber Works in Tokyo in 1951. Japanese workers fashion the balloon on the floor of the factory as they ready it for shipment. (AP Photo)
  • Something fishy

    Slicing and cleaning herring for 'rollmops'. a traditional German hangover remedy, in a fish factory in Cuxhaven, Germany in 1951. (AP Photo/Henry Brueggemann)
  • Splitting bamboo for fans

    Fiddly work - splitting a piece of bamboo to create the structure of fans at this fan factory at Marugame on Shikoku Island. (AP Photo)
  • Eye-straining glove-making

    Another industry on the island of Shikoku was glove manufacture, where thousands of cheap gloves were turned out everyday for local and foreign markets. This is 1950. (AP Photo/Charles Gorry)
  • Mind the glass

    Making cathode ray tubes at the EMI factory at Hayes, Hillingdon, England for use in televisions in 1949. (Barratts/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive)
  • What time is it?

    A worker checks every single clock face being manufactured at Smiths Ltd in 1948. (Barratts/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive)
  • Washing day

    A long assembly line of electric washing machines at a US factory at Cicero, Illinois on August 27, 1945. (AP Photo)

Column: 5 ways to get a career that makes you happy>

Pensions timebomb: Let’s link pension age to life expectancy says expert>

OECD report recommends mandatory pensions for private workers>

Your Voice
Readers Comments