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The Technology in America

Jackson was famous for wanting to personally inspect every new hire. I remember feeling nervous as I stepped into his clean, slick office. He had one of those IT&T Strowger dial telephones on his desk (Moffat 31). But he didn't do anything more than look at me, nod and say, "OK." I guess I passed his test.

Another reason we were building the tunnels was to lay down line for telephone wires. What we would do is sink a construction shaft by digging under the street, usually a block at a time with mechanical hoes. I was operating a shovel to clear what the machine could not. Then a steam-powered elevator would lower a mix of sand, gravel and cement into small construction cars. (The mixture was mashed together by a concrete mixer beforehand.) All of these would be used to support the wooden walls down there (Moffat 13). I was on two shifts out of three a day. Needless to say, I became exhausted quickly. One day I drooped so badly I nearly was caught in a cave-in. I was dragging all the time after about seven months. I had to work hard to pay the rent on the dumbbell tenement we were living in on the South Side. The foreman noticed and fired me. Patricia and I were devastated.

We decided to leave Chicago at that point because Patricia's brother had settled nicely into Detroit. We figured it would be good to be around family while trying to find another job. Unfortunately, we did not have much savings and the abruptness of my firing did not leave much time for planning. We had to pay the last month's rent and then we left.

In Detroit there is plenty of work at the Ford plant, just outside of the city. Plus, Patricia got a job along with plenty of other women in a canning factory (Jones 165). The mechanized conveyor belt processes are not hard for me to figure out. All I have to do is operate the machine that bolts the same part of an engine chassis every minute of every hour, but I am paid well, five dollars. It is a simple ...

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The Technology in America. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:11, August 20, 2017, from
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