Wednesday, June 22, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 158: Rockwell Field Aircraft Shops in 1932

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This picture, according to the caption on the back of the photograph, is the aircraft maintenance shop for the U.S. Army Aviation Station at Rockwell Field (now North Island Naval Air Station, on the Coronado peninsula).  The caption is in the hand of my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976).

Lyle's father, Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946) worked at Rockwell Field for many years (approximately 1917 to 1932) as an aviation mechanic.  He was the foreman in the wood and fabric section of the airplane repair shop for ten years, and retired on his 79th birthday with 15 years of service in 1932. 

My grandfather always said that his father worked in the "dope shop" at North Island.  What did that mean?  You can see the construction of the wings in the photograph above.  There are spars (lengthwise) and ribs (perpendicular to the spars, they create the shape of the wing) and the skins (they cover the ribs to create the shapes).  The skins were made of fabric in the years before World War II.  The fabric was painted with "aircraft dope" - essentially "lacquer" to stiffen the skins were applied to the wing. 

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.


flights to manila said...

A very vintage photograph on how they assemble the airplanes in mass production during the first world war. I have seen some documentaries about it.

aviation accident lawyer said...

It was great that your family managed to preserve a picture like that. It is rare that we see these historical airplane photos.