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These images have been chosen for their uniqueness. Subject matter ranges from historic events, to really cool phenomena in science and engineering, to relevant place, to ingenious contraptions, to interesting products (which now has its own dedicated Featured Product category).

Electric Cable Production During World War II - RF CafeIn the last few years, many color photos from the WWII era have been appearing, being a stark contrast to the B&W photos we have been used to seeing. The Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space magazine published this photo of what appears to be an electrical cable production station (3rd photo down on the page). Obviously it was a staged public relations shot, but its color content, snaking arrays of cables, and excellent lighting effect could easily win it a prize.

At first glance I though it might be steel control cables for the massive Consolidated PB2Y "Coronado" flying boats into which they were installed. A close look at the ends of the cables inside the work station assembly area reveals ring lugs on the ends of the cables, as might be found on control lines between cockpit elevator and aileron control yokes (or joy sticks), rudder pedals, wing flaps, trim tabs, etc. However, notice that the cables are being terminated inside a rather small junction box, which suggests the cables are actually electric power lines for distribution between motors, lights, radios, and other electrical devices and systems, and therefore the lugs are for binding to threaded posts.

As always, these kinds of photos showing mass production facilities leave me in awe of the engineers, technicians, and planners who devised and implemented all the work stations, instructions, and training to optimize efficiency. Minimizing assembly time, tools, material, required operator skill, and opportunity for errors is a combination of science, art, and psychology.

You will probably enjoy the full article in which this photo appeared.

 

 

Posted April 1, 2021

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