Audio Recording "My next job was in a wire mill, I was a wire insulator."

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"My next job was in a wire mill, I was a wire insulator."
Contributor Names
Jones, Leonard (Narrator)
Levitas, Susan, 1961- (Interviewer)
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  African Americans
-  Labor Unions
-  Oral history
-  Interviews
-  Sound recordings
-  Work processes
-  Work ethic
-  Industrial facilities
-  Economic aspects of war
-  World War, 1939-1945
-  Ethnography
-  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson
-  Interview with Leonard Jones, urban gardener, hardware store worker, motorcycle club member.
-  Summary of audio segment: Became a wire insulator at the wire mill; you insulate fine wire, fine as your hair; took a couple of years to learn how to do that; worked there for fourteen years and five years in another place. "I mastered it pretty good." One was called Universal Manufacturing - they made the ballast for flourescent lamps - worked there fourteen years. The first one he worked for was American Wire Corps on California Avenue making copper wire until the war when we started making trip wire -- olive drab; then we went back into copper, and he closed down. Then I went into the service and when I came out I worked at Universal. Universal was in the Riverside section. I liked machinery I liked to use my hands; in that you had to use your hands and your brain, it was a challenge. You were always doing something, it wasn't like doing one thing only, you had to take care of machines-- oil and grease them see that they're taken care of so they'll run properly for you. The more I took care of them, the more time I had to sit down; that was my downfall, because they didn't like me sitting down, even though I had done my job. . . . I told them, 'I'm not here to see how much work I can do, I'm here to see how much work I can't do.'" His job was to see that machines ran well; "that was a union shop and I couldn't have said that to them if it wasn't. As an operator, my job was to keep the machines running, but they still didn't like it.
Digital Audio Tape
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1995/028: WIP-SL-A017
Source Collection
Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
Online Format

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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:

Jones, Leonard, and Susan Levitas. "My next job was in a wire mill, I was a wire insulator.". -08-19, 1994. Audio.

APA citation style:

Jones, L. & Levitas, S. (1994) "My next job was in a wire mill, I was a wire insulator.". -08-19. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Jones, Leonard, and Susan Levitas. "My next job was in a wire mill, I was a wire insulator.". -08-19, 1994. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.