That looks to be quite the boring bar on the floor there too!
Nice Story Olderdan, Thank You!
Calutron Girls - a group of female high school graduates hired to monitor a calutron (a type of mass spectrometer) used in the making of the first atomic bomb in The Manhattan Project. The Calutron Girls weren't told exactly what they were monitoring; it was years until it was revealed. They observed a legendarily strict code of conduct that forbade socializing, discussion of their job, congregating in large groups, etc.
Y-12 National Security Complex. Oak Ridge, Tennessee. 1945:
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The woman in the front-right of the photo is Gladys Owens, who recalled to historians in later years:
Shift change at Y-12:She did not socialize on the job, she remained constantly focused on the meter reading and the necessary adjustments she made to keep the beam current maximized in the calutrons (although she had no idea that was what she was doing). In fact she was not even allowed to discuss her work at all with anyone at anytime. When asked what happened to people who talked too much, she said "I know of people disappearing." One young girl who did not return to her dormitory for her clothes was said to have "died from drinking some poison moonshine."
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Running a lie detector test on a potential worker:
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I remember reading an article that mentioned that men were not considered for the job because of their inability to tolerate the boredom of the task. Apparently the women were permitted to gossip while working and that allowed them to deal with the tedium.
(Although not stated, I presume men were allowed to gossip too but it just didn't work for them.)
An interesting side note to the calutron story is the use of silver...
These magnetic spectrometer isotope separators required immense magnets to generate the fields needed to divert the isotopic ions. I could relate the story but the extract from Wikipedia below is more concise and contains all the pertinent details...
The Chief Engineer of the Manhattan District, Colonel James C. Marshall, and his deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth D. Nichols, discovered that the electromagnetic isotope separation process would require 5,000 short tons (4,500 tonnes) of copper, which was in desperately short supply. However, they realized that silver could be substituted, in an 11:10 ratio. On 3 August 1942, Nichols met with the Under Secretary of the Treasury, Daniel W. Bell, and asked for the transfer of silver bullion from the West Point Bullion Depository. Nichols later recalled the conversation:
He explained the procedure for transferring the silver and asked, "How much do you need?" I replied, "Six thousand tons." 'How many troy ounces is that?" he asked. In fact I did not know how to convert tons to troy ounces, and neither did he. A little impatient, I responded, "I don't know how many troy ounces we need but I know I need six thousand tons – that is a definite quantity. What difference does it make how we express the quantity?" He replied rather indignantly, "Young man, you may think of silver in tons, but the Treasury will always think of silver in troy ounces."
Eventually, 14,700 short tons (13,300 tonnes; 430,000,000 troy ounces) of silver were used, then worth over $1 billion.
The Wikipedia article goes on to explain the reclamation of the silver after the war and its return to the Treasury. Read the whole story here...
More: https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Image/IM2045Plate Steel Spiral Casing for 70,000 horse-power Niagara Falls hydraulic turbine unit at the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company erecting shop. The casting inlet diameter is 15 feet while the overall diameter is 50 feet. The plate thickness varies from 7/8 to 1 1/4 inches. Note the automobile in the lower right corner for scale.
Last edited by PJs; 08-23-2018 at 04:31 PM.
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