Posts Tagged ‘Fontana Steel Mill’

Henry J. Kaiser’s Wartime Speeches Book: Industry Meets Art

posted on December 2, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

Spine - 26 Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser: September 13th, 1942 to July 19th, 1945Unquestionably, the most beautiful document in the Kaiser Permanente heritage archives is a handmade book printed in November 1945, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser: September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.

These speeches covered a wide range of subjects, including “Management Looks at the Post War World: An Address before the Forty-Seventh Annual Congress of American Industry, New York City, December 4, 1942,” “Launching the First Aircraft Carrier at Vancouver, Washington, April 5, 1943,” “Building the Future: An Address before the Conference of the National Committee on Housing, Chicago, Illinois, March 9, 1944,” and a speech before the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union at Times Hall, New York City, January 26, 1945.

But impressive though the speeches were, the book itself is a remarkable and beautiful object.

 

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.t was printed by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn from type designed by the American typographer Frederic W. Goudy (1865­­–1947) who created 116 typefaces and published 59 books and whose typefaces have remained a standard to this day. The type was hand set by Jane Grabhorn. The luscious deckle-edged (untrimmed) paper was made by Canson et Montgolfier in France.

Page from Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.The Grabhorn brothers came to San Francisco from the Midwest in 1919 and immediately established themselves as creative and talented fine book printers. California-born Jane Bissell married Robert Grabhorn in 1923, and in 1938 she and William Mo Roth started the Colt Press, an independent commercial publishing venture.

Grabhorn Press closed in 1965 and re-emerged in 1974 as the Arion Press under the direction of Andrew Hoyem. It remains one of San Francisco’s preeminent craft presses.

 

Upon opening the book one is struck by ornate, golden drop capital letters drawn by painter, printmaker, muralist, and illustrator Harold Mallette Dean (1907–1975). During the Great Depression Dean worked on the Works Progress Administration’s Mural Project and was one of 26 artists selected to paint murals at San Francisco’s Coit Tower. In 1935 he began a 15-year career illustrating books for Grabhorn Press.

 

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.

he 2-inch square drop caps illustrating each speech are sublime. A single red letter is surrounded by a gold foil stamped image, all relating to some subject of the speech.

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.An “I” is an I-beam with geometric drawings and a small helicopter. Another “I,” for a speech on the 10th anniversary of American-Soviet diplomatic relations, shows the American eagle paired with a Soviet Union hammer and sickle over the Kremlin.

 

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.“A’s” highlight two of the famous whirley cranes as well as the classic clasped hands of labor-management partnership.

“M” shows the distinctive profile of a Victory ship. An “O” features a mass of workers engaged in the various defense industry trades. Interestingly, another “O” shows the distinctive bow of a C2-F class freighter – none of which were ever built in Kaiser shipyards.

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five.One “T” has billowing smokestacks of the Fontana steel mill; another a crouched miner with a headlamp.

Drop capital, Twenty-Six Addresses Delivered During the War Years by Henry J. Kaiser : September Thirteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two to July Nineteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five. illustrates a speech given at the launching of the S.S. Berry Victory at the Kaiser Richmond shipyards on May 19, 1945. The image is of two Czechoslovakian citizens in traditional dress; tucked into the upper corner a heraldic lion from the Czechoslovakian coat of arms gently drops its paw on the letter’s top edge. The Berry Victory was sponsored by the wife of Vladimir Hurban, a member of the CzechoSlovak National Council, which served as their government in exile.

 

Through this book, Industry met Art and clasped hands – an appropriate testament to Henry J. Kaiser’s contributions to victory in World War II.

 

To come: Excerpts from these speeches.
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Earth Day – Awakening an environmental citizenry

posted on April 21, 2014
"Aerial photographs during the strike" Kaiser Steel, Fontana 1972

Cover of “Aerial photographs during the strike” published by Kaiser Steel, Fontana 1972

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

The first national “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970 was an indicator of increased national environmental consciousness, and community relations with the Kaiser steel mill in Fontana, Calif. had grown tense. The wartime facility had fired up its first blast furnace, “Bess No. 1” (named after Kaiser’s wife), on December 30, 1942, and boasted numerous technologies to reduce air and water pollution. Yet smog was invading the formerly pristine remote rural community, and many fingers pointed toward the mill.

In February 1972 the United Steelworkers of America Local No. 2869 started a 43-day strike that shut down the sprawling facility. Taking to heart Henry J. Kaiser’s famous proclamation that “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes,” management saw the situation as a way to help dispel the persistent criticisms. They embarked on a project to document Fontana’s skies when the “variable” of an operating steel mill was absent. An independent series of aerial photos – some with filthy air, some without – provided evidence that east-blowing Los Angeles basin smog might be the culprit.

Read the full story here.

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