Sunday, November 15, 2009

Office Workers

This week we salute office workers across the world here at OPOD. We start the week with this group of men working their adding machines. They are working at the Farm Credit Administration, and the picture was taken in 1937. I find it interesting how well they are all dressed.

So, hopefully we will have some fun this week exploring offices of a by-gone era.

16 comments:

  1. They are dressed well, if a little relaxed if you notice that the first young man has his sleeves rolled up to the elbow, the next has his vest unbuttoned but the third looks just as he may have when he arrived. I wonder what their job would have been, how many of them there were doing it.

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  2. I work in an office, and I can't imagine having so little space between coworkers! I would go bonkers. And there's nowhere to put your coffee mug, a pencil cup, stapler...well, I guess if you're doing one thing all day, you don't need that stuff. I'm looking forward to this week's pictures.

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  3. Those were the days when a person had to know math to do the job. I am amazed at how little arithmetic people can do now a days with calculators and spreadsheets.

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  4. They might be computers. Yes, before the 1940's, computer referred to office people who...computed. That is they crunched throught the number and formulas to calculate things like amortization schedules.

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  5. I love this week's theme, I am thinking about rows of secreterie :)

    Thank you for this blog :)

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  6. The fellow in the front looks exactly like my husband when we first met, but he wasn't even thought of in 1937!

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  7. Does anyone remember or still use adding machines? I kind of remember my mom using one when I was little to figure out the check book...and a really cool pocket calculator that used a stylus to slide the calculations up and down... wow, that is such a long time ago. Anyway, I am taking a math class in College, thinking I am the only one there who isn't totally reliant on calculators, but boy, I could do without some of the harder maths!!! Got a whole five subject notebook almost full of figures trying to get the answers right!!!

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  8. The little slide adding machine was called an "additor". it was so cool!

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  9. I'm not old enough to use adding machines, by the time I started working there were printing calculators. My grandmother was a whiz on an adding machine. I learned to use slide rules in elementary school. When I was in high school in the 70's, we used slide rules in chemistry and physics and a couple kids had calculators. We were impressed. No one could use calculators during tests, only slide rules. We had to turn in out scratch paper with the tests to prove we did the math.

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  10. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that time was rarely wasted playing solitaire at their work desk. ...but that's pure conjecture.

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  11. Dave,

    That's very funny, I thought the same thing earlier today.

    My observation was, agreeing with #1 Talefeather, the guy in the front looks like he's been working hardest, sleeves rolled up, (2nd guy does too, it looks like), and the most paper printed out. Of course, they may have been working shifts.

    Great topic, PJM!

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  12. My father worked for a major life insurance company from about 1935 until 1974. Men all wore hats to and from work, were told when they could wear short-sleeved shirts and when they had to have long-sleeved shirts, always wore ties, and had a bell rung twice a day to tell them when they could take a break.
    OldeForce

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  13. I remember my dad using an adding machine at home. And he used to dress like that to go to the office in the 40s and 50s.

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  14. Ah! I can still use an adding machine! We were using them at the bank where I met my husband, back in 19umptywhatever. I am left-handed, and hit the "total" key with my pinky. Some people are just SO talented!

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  15. 1983: On my first day on a new job in a large office, I wore a very ladylike silk blouse, a nice navy corduroy blazer, new jeans and nice boots. Kind of a sporty Talbot's look. Before this corporate office job, I'd been a bookkeeper in a wholesale nursery where we dressed to keep warm. As I walked down the hallway people leaned out of their cubes to watch me. I was surprised. Turns out denim was simply not allowed, but no one told me there was a dress code. Also no sandals or open toed shoes. At the end of the first week, my manager called me into her office to say that someone reported I was not wearing a bra! (I had too much frontage to get away that on the job.) Not even a glass of water was allowed at the desk. Once the cleaning crew complained that there were so many staples in the carpet it broke a vacuum cleaner bag. All the women in accounting crawled on the carpet with staple pullers removing the staples.
    After a couple years, they hired a young man in Accounts Payable. He sat alone sometimes and one day he shifted his nuts and a biddy happened to walk past. (The same lady who reported me because she thought I wasn't wearing a bra.) She told the supervisor he was playing with himself! The supervisor said, "Come on, we both have husbands and sons, they have to shift their stuff now and then." I really admired the way the supervisor kept those hens in order.
    At the end of my six years there, the company was going out of business and the survivors dressed casual everyday.

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  16. My grandfather dressed that way at home...on the weekends! He'd been an engineer and raised by very Victorian parents as well. They were very modest people.

    My dad wore a coat and tie to work every day of his life unless he was doing an inspection of a machine.

    Until my office went business casual, I wore a suit or dress every day to work. I think it's nice to dress nice.

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