View Full Version : The Rouge

01-29-2016, 04:03 AM
I'd like to reflect on 'the big picture' for a bit. I am retired from Dearborn Assembly Plant, one of seventeen in The Rouge. During my career I was one of a fortunate few who worked in nearly all the plants over many decades. Most people hire into one facility and they stay there for their career before retirement (if they're lucky). I was blessed.

I started on production as a Press Operator in the Dearborn Stamping Plant, then was laid off to work in the Dearborn Iron Foundry. When the DIF moved to Michigan Casting Center in Flatrock, I stayed in The Rouge but I advanced to become an Electician Apprentice.

Vowing to 'never return to the assembly line' I completed my 8,000-hour apprenticeship in two years flat including ninteen courses in Industrial Trade at Henry Ford Community College, formerly known as 'Ford Trade School'.

I graduated in Steel Div., Coke Ovens/Blast Furnace, which is basic iron making. After another layoff I was sent to Dearborn Engine Plant where I became an Industrial Electrical Leader. During this time I resumed my college courses for a degree.

So as not to bore you with a resume, I want you to know how tough it was working in these invironments. Watch the following video from 1960. It is very accurate. After watching, I invite any questions you may have...
CLICK HERE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMlPonSrqVo)
- Dave

Joe Johnston
01-29-2016, 09:28 AM
Awesome video!! Similar to you, I started in production and soon entered an apprenticeship to be come a Pattern Maker. A great trade and environment to be in till retirement. Lots of changes in manufacturing and assembly in the last 50 years all because of the hard work by thousands of people in industry. Now robots and computers do the jobs of these people. I bet it would be impossible to find people today that would do these jobs 8hrs/day, let alone all the 10-12 hr days that many put in.

Thanks for posting the link - several other very interesting videos came up on the right side too.


01-29-2016, 10:13 AM
Joe, I always admired the Pattern Makers and I learned a lot from them. They were always eager to teach any one who asked questions. I learned that iron shrinks one inch per linear foot as it cools to room temp. This fascinated me because it means your patterns must be larger in every dimension than the finished casting. It also means, if you duplicate a part (using plaster for example), the finished part will always be smaller.

So, engine cylinder thickness (and placement) was a challenge to get right in the sand cores. Revisions were very common in the early stages of a production run.

Of all our tradesmen, the Pattern Makers made the most money.

Another video that shows the political side of America and Ford Motor Co., back in the 1920-30's, shows much of the ugly side...
CLICK HERE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O5E2CPorEg)
It's true that Henry was friends with Adolph Hitler. There is a birthday card to Henry from Adolph on display in the Henry Ford Museum. Henry always had manufacturing plants in Germany so he tried talking Adolph out of going to war. Instead, Hitler siezed the plant for his war machine. - Dave