I was not the only fortunate candidate for employment when I reported to the company medical center in Poughkeepsie January 24, 1955. There must have been fifty of us interviewed each day. As an indication of the company growth in 1955 and 1956, twenty-five years later 974 employees were inducted into the Quarter Century Club.
I reported for work at the Poughkeepsie plant where they were manufacturing electric typewriters and electronic data processing machines. My assignment was hanging parts on a conveyer belt that traveled through the paint booths. As the parts came from the drying ovens, they were removed and packaged for assembly. We received a nickel raise each month till we reached about eighty dollars a week, then the increments were less often but greater
That spring, heavy floods devastated many of New England cities. From these cities came card punch and card sorting machines damaged in the floods. My ability was tested painting these shells pending installation of the refurbished mechanism.
I commuted to Poughkeepsie for a year and a half, after which the typewriter plant was moved to Kingston. During the last six months my past painting experience qualified me as an apprentice to mix paint and maintenance of all paint equipment. With typewriters in Kingston, Poughkeepsie swung into full production of the large 701 processing machine.
A new procedure was instituted at Kingston called electrostatic painting. The paint line (conveyor belt) was charged as a negative electrode and the paint charged positively. The paint was magnetically drawn to the typewriter shell with a minimum of Paint loss. On the conveyer belt we mounted large barrel like frames to hold twelve typewriters each. The barrels were mounted twelve feet apart and designed to rotate as the belt moved into three paint booths. Three painters each in his own booth sprayed the typewriters.
The colors were Gray, Green, Blue and Red which we facetiously called passionate pink.Knowing how many shells would be mounted on the conveyor, when they were to be mounted, and what colors were required determined the amount of paint to be mixed. With each color change the booths had to be ready for the painters as the shells came down the line.
Again I stumbled upon the infidelity of man. I was allowed to submit an order for some special Devilbus paint guns. However, the order was to go through purchasing. When the guns arrived, they had the wrong nozzles. I noticed the company they were bought from had an address of Railroad Avenue in White Plains.
I knew that street by heart and also knew no such office existed. When I called and asked that they be replaced, I was told to keep the guns and they would send the proper ones.
I made the mistake of questioning the price
The next day the 2nd level manager came to the paint room with accusations of unrelated items. I knew then I had stepped on his toes. I justified the unrelated items and he left, but I knew I was on thin ice till we changed 2nd levels. He must have had a hand in every thing bought for the paint department with kickbacks galore.
I enjoyed the work and it lasted for two years. Then the typewriters were moved to a new plant in Lexington, Kentucky. I was asked to move with them, but I refused.
That entire paint department was loaded on railway cars and shipped to Lexington within a week.
GO TO the next chapter in my life
RETURN to the table of contents
RETURN to the home page