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Audio Recording "It was different back then."

"It was different back then."

About this Item


  • "It was different back then."


  • Buonforte, Al (Narrator)
  • McCarl, Robert (Interviewer)

Created / Published

  • 1994-08-10


  • -  Interviews
  • -  Italian Americans
  • -  Oral history
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  Work processes
  • -  Work ethic
  • -  Watson Machine International
  • -  Machinery industry
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Interview with Al Buonforte in his office at Watson Machine International.
  • -  Summary of audio segment: Feeling of the place. This company had a mixture of ethnic groups in the work force. Not one Spanish person. Italian, Irish, Germans, Polish. Remembering some of the men, all other groups. The foundry was lowly, backbreaking work. Still, that was a good class of people then. People got along in the shop."The people that we had then were people who were pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, because everybody seemed to get along with one another. But when you were working here, no one was afraid to teach you something. So if you were a good mechanic but you were stumped how to make a certain tool, the next fellow wouldn't care to tell you how to do it if he knew how to do it. Alright. So you had some of this that everyone was pulling along with one another. Well, I don't see that today. I don't see that anyone is doing any backstabbing either, not at Watson. Okay, but we have lost that. That's not even in the picture anymore, we've lost that . . . and the reason is that if you need a special tool, you just go out and buy it. Before you had the person here to make the tool. You made that tool. So now you don't need to, you don't need that expertise. So you run a lathe. You need a certain tool to do a certain cut, you look in the catalogue and you go buy that tool. Before you had to make that tool. And if you did not know how, the next guy would be glad to show you how to do it. And even in the foundry, they had specific crews: molders, and sand-mixers and helpers, core-makers. They did their job, and if you had a problem as a molder you just went over and told them what the problem was to make this mold and then between the two of you, you did what you had to do to make this mold. 'So it wasn't just screw you, you figure it out.' It was, well it was different back then."


  • Analog Audio Cassette

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1995/028: WIP-RM-A004

Source Collection

  • Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

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Credit line

Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Buonforte, Al, and Robert McCarl. "It was different back then.". -08-10, 1994. Audio.

APA citation style:

Buonforte, A. & McCarl, R. (1994) "It was different back then.". -08-10. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Buonforte, Al, and Robert McCarl. "It was different back then.". -08-10, 1994. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.