The Legacy of Flight
Images from the archives of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
- By David Romanowski and Melissa Keiser
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 14, 2010
The U.S. Navy opened the Naval Aircraft Factory at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during World War I to help assure its airplane supply, evaluate contractor costs, and develop experimental aircraft. The Navy soon decided to hire female workers and set up a training program specifically for them. Many, like this young woman, worked on assembling wings; others covered the wings, painted aircraft, or worked in the sawmill or machine shop. By Armistice Day, women made up almost a quarter of the factory’s work force.