Plastic Injection Molding has been around for over 140 years, “plastic” itself for 150. In the early days, it was used for innocuous products like collar stays, hair combs, and buttons.
The ramp up for World War II really escalated the injection molding process. The need for mass produced inexpensive components, sub-assemblies, and finished products was focused across the entire manufacturing sector. So much manufacturing was converted or created to satisfy the Allied war machine, that civilian product capacity also needed a boost to satisfy the product needs at home. The first screw injection machine was invented in 1946 by an American, born out of necessity.
Today on Veterans Day, we honor those that served and those that are serving and rightfully so. In World War II, nearly 1.1 million Americans were killed or wounded.
Supporting those fighting men & women at home had it price as well. During World War II, total economic production in the United States doubled, but it came at a cost. With the massive manufacturing expansion, in 1942 and 1943 the number of workers, male and female, who were killed or injured in U.S. Industries, exceeded the number of Americans killed or wounded in uniform by a factor of twenty to one*. That was not just limited to workers, during the 5 years of intense mobilization and activity, one hundred and eighty nine GM officials alone died on the job.
We rightfully honor our Service Men & Women on this day. We also need to remember the price paid for some of the advances and technologies within the Manufacturing sector during that same period. Those sacrifices should be remembered as well, and thought of as we debate the merits of off-shoring and on-shoring. Perhaps we should not be so quick to give away what was paid for so dearly.
- Freedom’s Forge How American Business Produced Victory in World War II– Arthur Herman pg. 337