The old saying "Ignorance
is bliss," is often misinterpreted as a happy thing in that keeping one's mind free
of uncomfortable facts and details makes for a more content existence. It was probably
some tyrannical statist ruler who came up with the line in hopes the peons would
simply comply with his edicts while trusting those "in the know" to look out for
their welfare. We see a lot of that today in all societies - both controlling megalomaniacs
and willing dupes (often on the dole). A more realistic interpretation of the saying
impugns the target as a figurative lemming (or buffalo) who will go over a cliff
with a smile on his face as long as everyone around him is doing the same - while
praising the one who inspired the suicidal behavior.
This report in a 1949 edition of Radio & Television News magazine
includes a photo of an RCA TV tube factory where part of the manufacturing process
involved workers (mostly women) handling toxic materials - usually without the benefit
of protective gloves or face masks. Take a look at the "Crystals
Go to War" video to see workers submersing their bare hands in oil all day long
for another example. The list is long, and to be honest a lot of the instances were
the result of true ignorance on the part of both implementers and practitioners.
A plethora of laws now attempt to protect the masses from exploitation - at least
in first-world countries. However, there are still millions of poor souls worldwide
that toil daily in known extreme hazardous environments as participants in materials
mining and reclamation businesses. A Google search will turn up many stories and
videos of bare-footed children burning smoking piles of discarded circuit boards
to reclaim precious metals, and tribal members wading knee-deep in reservoirs of
tantalum slurry - all so that we can enjoy our 'stuff.'
Then again, maybe it is best not to search and remain ignorant so that life will
be more blissful.
RCA Plant's Tube Department in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The "settling room" of the RCA Tube Department's Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
plant. In this room the glowing fluorescent screen of the tube on which the television
picture appears is applied to the face of the tube.
The process consists of pouring a quantity of a solution containing the powders
to settle smoothly and evenly on the face of the tube to form a flawless viewing
surface. After this, the aqueous part of the solution is poured off. In the foreground
is seen the old process in which the tables were tilted by hand to pour off the
remainder of the solution after the settling of the face had taken place. In the
background is one of" three giant "settling belts," containing RCA's new 16-inch
metal television picture tube, on which the process is now automatically accomplished.
On these unique new machines, the bulbs, untouched by human hands, have the screen
face applied, are automatically washed in a variety of solutions, dried, and readied
for the trip via conveyor belt to the next robot machine.
Posted July 25, 2022
(updated from original post on