Packing missile parts called for ‘domestic touch’

“[In 1958], to communicate its contribution to the nation’s security, Douglas [Aircraft Corp.] organized a tour of its 1.5 million-square-foot plant in Charlotte, North Carolina, to show reporters and civic leaders ‘how the Nike-Hercules [missile] is assembled from start to finish.’

“The sole woman reporter [Lillian Levy of the Washington Evening Star] observed that ‘the heavy work of missile-making is strictly “a man’s job,” ‘ noting that only men toiled on metal fabrication and painting. ‘It is in all the electronic work connected with the guidance system that women dominate,’ she reported.

“Donald W. Douglas Jr., president of the company founded by his namesake, concurred: ‘Women seem to have a natural talent for the fine precision effort required.’ It was observed that female workers who packed guidance components demonstrated ‘a very domestic touch’ because of that task’s similarity with the ‘familiar kitchen chore of canning.’ ”

— From “Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War” by Christopher J. Bright (2010)


A map that’s worth a thousand words?

“Two powerful and often opposing forces within society are faith and reason. Regardless of the extent to which a cultural war exists, the balance between the two (e.g., teaching evolution in the schools) is a prominent feature of popular socio-political discourse in the United States. Thus, the topic makes a perfect subject of a map and leads us to ask which parts of the country prefer bookstores to Bibles?”

— From “Baptists, bibliophiles, and bibles, Oh My!” at (Nov. 30, 2009)

Striking if not surprising how North Carolina appears on this match-up of churches vs. bookstores — and how the U.S. as a whole resembles recent electoral maps, except for reds and blues being reversed.