Film: 5992

Industry + Work | 1950 | Sound | Colour


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The importance of automation in industry.

"Apparatus Sales Division General Electric Presents…" Shot of woman sitting at a control desk beside a conveyor belt production line before the title. Sign on fence with factory in background reads W.R. Halstead Manufacturing Company.

Frosted glass office door with words "W. R. Halstead President" swings open to reveal a blonde secretary sitting at a desk speaking on the telephone. She is wearing glasses and her hair is up in a bun and she is wearing a smart jacket. There is a filing tray on the desk, and a plant near her, and also a picture on the wall behind her. Close up of her, she is ordering a car for Mr Halstead. Camera pans across to two men speaking. Mr Halstead speaks about automation. The other man, Joe Fleming, tells him they need new machines. Halstead hands him the annual report. Various shots of the two men speaking. Behind Halstead is a Venetian blind and a curtain. The secretary interrupts to tell him his car is ready. She takes his coat and hat from the coat stand and hands them to him, with an envelope. He is carrying a large brown leather briefcase. He thanks Helen and tells his colleague he is going to an automation forum.

At the conference, a woman stands at a table, another woman sits, with a sign "Automation Forum" on the wall behind them. A man registers at the table. Mr Halstead greets another businessman in a suit, they ask after each other's families. They walk through a doorway and agree to dinner one night.

They sit at a table in the conference room, tables are in rows and other businessmen sit behind them, they all have an identical paper sticking out of their breast pockets. On the table is a glass jug of water, upturned glasses and an ashtray. The speaker on the podium speaks about automation, the lights dim and we see graphics on a screen. Mr Halstead nods appreciatively. Time passes, another speaker leans on the podium as he speaks, we see the backs of the men in the room as they listen. Side shot of men listening. Another close up of the speaker. Another speaker. The lights dim and on screen we see a slide show on the manufacture of electric motors. The audience applauds. Mr Halstead and his friend decide to go for lunch.

They sit at a table in a restaurant. A waitress pours coffee. Mr Halstead's friend, Fred, tells him about the importance of electrical installation in factories, and shows him a manual. Mr Halstead still needs some convincing, so Fred demonstrates the principles by making fork lines in his pat of butter. Close up of a machine. Shot of the production line from the start of the film. In the same factory making electrical conductors we see various operations, including a punch card machine, as Fred narrates their fuctions. A close up of one machine shows the name Simmons Albany N.Y. Close ups of various machinery and spindles in operation. Some processes are monitored by men sitting at control desks. Punched cards in a machine. Close up of hundreds of wires, where the data is converted into voltage. Various shots of machinery and control panels in the factory.

Fred and Mr Halstead at the restaurant table, continuing their conversation. A man at the next table looks at his watch and tells them it is time to return for the afternoon session. They get up, but Bill Halstead stops Fred as he wants more information from him.

At the forum, the speaker holds a sign on an easel which reads Productive Maintenance. Fred and Bill listen attentively. Another speaker. Sound of applause. The men all get up and leave the room. Fred and Bill enter Fred's office. Bill hangs up his hat and coat on the coat stand. Fred looks through his post, mail. He takes something out of a drawer in his desk and gives it to Bill, it is a static switching unit. He shows Bill a diagram to illustrate its use, his hand pointing with a pencil at the diagram. He narrates the process. Shot of a young man, the operator, in the factory. A moving train of boxes goes past the operator. He presses a button. Shots of the machinery and boxes marked General Electric moving along the conveyor belt.

Bill takes a brochure from his coat and goes over it with Fred to confirm he understands. Shot of molten metal being lifted out of a furnace as Bill talks about a steel mill he visited. Fred opens his filing cabinet and shows Bill a punch card from the mill. Punched cards being fed into a machine by man wearing a cap. Close ups of electronic equipment at the mill. Motor generator. A dial showing voltage. Back of the man in the cap operating a machine. A hand holds a punched card, which we hear has cut down on labour and waste.

In the office, Fred is standing and Bill sits, Bill takes a packet of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one with a match. Fred takes a tissue and stretches it. Shots of a giant roll of paper in a factory with operators. A hand turns a dial. Various machinery, controlled by sensitive controls. The operators are young men wearing white cropped T shirts. Bill tears the tissue thoughtfully. He takes up the brochure again and reads from it. But he is still not quite convinced. Fred takes a model of a drill from the top of his cabinet and explains how it worked in a motor plant.

A man in an overall in the plant supervises the drilling machine. The man programmes the machine with punched tape. Two women in an office, one young woman at a typewiter types to punch the tape. The operator watches various functions of the machine.

Bill looks at the model then puts it down. They go into an adjoining room where Fred demonstrates an automated sawing machine with various sensors and controls. Bill points to a chart on the wall and asks Fred to explain it. They are characteristics of efficient machine design. After another chat with Fred, Bill picks up the phone and dials the operator and puts in a call to Weston to speak to Joe Fleming. He asks him to set up a meeting with his section heads and to bring his automation report with him. He smiles and hangs up.


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