Category Archives: Original Rosies

Historical profiles of women welders of the past.

Grandmother’s Stories Inspired This New Rosie

Miranda: Woman TIG WeldingMiranda Duckworth grew up hearing stories of her great grandmother Winnie Mae Long, an original Rosie working as a boilermaker at the Tampa Shipyard during World War II.

After the war her great grandmother welded side-by-side with her husband in their own welding shop.

“Her stories inspired me to follow in her footsteps,” Miranda says.

Recently Miranda was offered a boilermaker apprenticeship position in Tampa, Florida and she is currently practicing for the required welding test.

What excites you about welding?

That is a science and art combined which are my two passions in life. I have lots of practice in stick welding but have more of a knack for aluminum TIG. Continue reading

Celebrating Women’s (Welding) History with Rosie the Riveter

How it got to be March, I can’t fathom.  It seems we just got through the holidays and now we’re “Springing Forward”  (don’t forget to spring your clocks forward on Saturday night) and Women’s History Month is upon us. So in honor of Women’s History month, I thought a roundup of Rosie the Riveter history (or herstory) would be in order.

Where Did Rosie the Riveter Come From?

Rosie the Riveter

As most of you know Rosie the Riveter was an iconic (cartoon) figure who started out as a World War II era Norman Rockwell illustration for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post and became a propaganda poster to inspire women working at Westinghouse to support the war effort, filling jobs vacated by our young men who’d joined the military.

Did you know that there was a Rosie the Riveter SONG? Continue reading

Women Welders Yesterday and Today

We’ve been seeing a lot in the news about the shortage of welders, and a kind of PR campaign to encourage women in the welding industry.  You know here at and we’ve been dedicated to supporting women welders since the inception of this blog over six years ago.

We put together a playlist of some amazing women working in metal, starting with a great overview of the history of steel interview.  Did you know that women worked in the welding industry in the early 1900s!

Some women may be intimidated by entering a field so dominated by men (the American Welding Society estimates that only 5% of welders are women), so we have some Tips for Women in the welding industry.  And if you’re looking for some inspiration, check out our interviews with women working in the industry today– metal artists, welding instructors, structural steel welders, union pipefitters, and shop fabricators.

And did you know was one of the first companies to carry the AngelFire line of welding gear for women?

Angel Fire women's hybrid cotton/ leather welding jacket

So if you, or any female fabricators you know, would like to be featured as a New Rosie, let us know.

And if you need some top of the line welding accessories (including that snazzy jacket above), give us a call at (800-944-2243 toll free US or 760-931-1500 worldwide). Our customer care team will make sure you get what you need to get your welding job done!

Dress like a Real Woman Welder for Halloween: The New Rosie

It’s that time of year when dressing like Rosie the Riveter becomes popular and even though Rosie was a riveter, she would have dressed the same had she been a welder.  Safety gear, and proper clothing has always been important….

The iconic image of Rosie we all gravitate to was not only strong and capable, but also a sweet, sexy, and stylish woman.  Kind of the ideal woman (welder).  But did you know there were practical reasons for women dressing for work the way they did?

Fashions were influenced by the safety needs of women working in factories and some were influenced by the fact that many resources were being rationed during World War II.

Here’s an excerpt of Safety Clothing for Women in Industry: special bulletin No. 3 of the Women’s Bureau (.pdf) :

The Well-Dressed Woman in Industry is a Safe Worker

Safety clothing is designed for its attractiveness as well as its utility. It has become fashionable to dress and act so that accidents cannot happen. The girl who is afraid to carry a mirror lest she bring bad luck by breaking it has become the girl who knows that accidents have definite causes that can be avoided.


Even though I find these old bulletins and safety posters amusing, I can’t help but be a little offended–  did women of the 1940s really need to be told to not wear high heels to a welding job?  Contrary to popular lore, women (at least those in the “working” classes) had been working all along, even in factories.  The tone of these instructions seems so patronizing, but maybe I’m applying today’s standards and today’s attitudes in a way that is unfair.

VelvetArc(TM)  Woman's Premium Flame Resistant Welding Jacket


Today’s woman welder has access to much more in terms of safety gear (thanks to technology for one) and she can also look fashionable wearing safety gear, and most important, have gear that fits, thanks to companies like AngelFire™ and their line of welding safety gear for women.

This chocolate brown welding jacket designed for women is made of brushed cotton and has adjustable cuffs and waist straps to make it fit perfectly.

I have child-sized hands… so those big man-hand gloves you find at most welding supply shops don’t even come close to fitting my hand.  But the AngelFire welding gloves do…. plus they match the chocolate brown jacket.
Hot Pink Welding HelmetAnd the latest thing offered by manufacturers?  This hot pink auto darkening welding helmet.  This is a top of the line helmet from our friends at Miller.

If your eyes aren’t what they used to be…  at Arc-Zone you can add a removable magnifier lens when you order.

So you can dress like Rosie for Halloween– The New Rosie:  a competent woman welder.

But if you want to go retro, here are some resources:

Women’s 1940s Hairstyles: An Overview (great article about the history of the styles and where else will you learn what a “snood” is?)

1940s Vintage Hairstyle Videos (several how-to videos for styling your hair int an Up-do or a Victory Rolls)

1940s : Fashion on the Home Front:  lots of good tips on types of clothing from trouser selection to overalls and sturdy, low-heeled shoes.


Rosie the Riveter Roundup Vol. 1

I like to keep track not only of our new Rosies, but the original Rosie the Riveters as well.  Sadly, many of them are passing on these days, so I wanted to share a few of their stories with you:

Alice Burklund of Michigan passed away in April.  She served as a Rosie the Riveter at the Willow Run Plant where the Ford Motor Company mass produced the B-24 Liberator…  Alice continued her life of service in her later years, from active involvement with the American Legion, to serving as an enthusiastic volunteer with the Red Cross.  You can read more about Alice’s life online at the Daily Press–>

Rose Penton Skinner, another Rosie who passed away in April, also continued her life of service following her World War II work in a Goodyear aircraft plant, serving on the Pinedale Wyomong Town Council, and even a term as mayor!  Read more about Rose at the Pinedale Roundup–>  

In May Michigan lost another Rosie, Dorothy Lange, who though born and raised on a farm in Kentucky, moved to Detroit at age 18 and eventually went to work at a factory that made B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.  Read more at the Herald Times–>

Boeing B-17E

Dorothy Johansen passed away in May in San Francisco. She started her working life as a Rose at the Maire Island shipyard, then went on to become an electrical engineer, a drafts(wo)man, a real estate agent, and a high school math teacher.  Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle–>

Nebraska’s Lucille Rickertsen passed away in July–she worked in the Martin Bomber Plant in Ft. Crook (now the Offutt Air Base), and was part of the crew that manufactured the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.  Read more about Lucille at the Gothenburg Times–>

Next post I’ll include a round up of Rosies who are still rockin’ it!

Photo Credit: Boeing B-17E