Master Hands (1936) Chevrolet Manufacturing

Classic "capitalist realist" drama showing the manufacture of Chevrolets from foundry to finished vehicles. Though ostensibly a tribute to the "master hands" of the assembly line workers, it seems more of a paean to the designers of this impressive mass production system. Filmed in Flint, Michigan, just months before the United Auto Workers won union recognition with their famous sitdown strikes. Selected for the 1999 National Film Registry of "artistically, culturally, and socially significant" films.

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Fascinating 1936 Footage of Car Assembly Line
Filmed in 1936 at the Chevrolet Plant in Flint, Michigan.

Car Transmissions & Synchromesh: "Spinning Levers" 1936 Chevrolet Auto Mechanics 10min
more at Auto mechanics playlist: '"The transmission in the modern motorcar -- the mechanism that makes it possible to have three forward speeds and a reverse -- is a series of levers, levers that spin." VS cartoon of Archimedes trying to move earth with a lever extending from the moon or another planet in outer space; CU cartoon of Archimedes says "Give me a lever long enough and I can move the world." CU disembodied hands using antique can opener to open a can of peaches; CU can open cutting through top of can. Two boys playing on a seesaw. CU pitch bar tool inserted between train wheel and track; man cranks large lever to move freight car along track; CU disembodied arm pumps lever lifting antique car off ground. VS man demonstrates basics of the lever using triangular piece as fulcrum and a long metal piece, man attaches 10 lbs. weight to one end of the bar and a 5 lbs. weight to the other end; man hangs various weights from both ends of the bar balancing the two by moving the fulcrum to various points along the bar; man demonstrates how a gear is constructed through numerous interlocking levers. VS stop-motion animation of two wheels with paddles added one by one turning wheels into paddle wheels and then into interlocking gears; cuts to more sophisticated gear; cuts to metal gears; VS CU different types of machine gears, worm gears, bevel gears, lopsided gears. Disembodied arm pieces together piece by piece a basic motor with various gear components; superimposed text appears labeling various parts; superimposed arrows identify different gears; motor begins to turn; cuts to CU car drives across frame; cuts back to crude motor; camera pans to Revolutions Per Minute dial which reads 100 rpm, camera pans to another RPM instrument dial which reads 30 rpm; CU crude model of gears in motor, superimposed arrows show flow of energy through the system. CU RPM instrument dial reads 60 rpm; CU churning gears of motor, superimposed arrows she flow of energy through gear system; VS man demonstrates on gears how shifting to various gears works. CU arrow point to 90 rpm on deal labeled Revolutions Per Minute; VS man demonstrating different gears. Great shot 4 lanes of cars stopped at stoplight on city street; Travel Bureau sign in background. CU disembodied hand in white glove shifts clutch of car; CU motor shifting gears; CU tire with Chevrolet hubcap begins to move; 1920s and 1930s cars stopped at traffic light begin to move; CU inside car woman shifts gears; car driving down tree-lined highway in possibly New York, what appears to be the Statue of Liberty is seen off in the distance. Woman enters drivers seat of Chevrolet, man waves start flag; car drives off down street; CU disembodied woman's foot on gas pedal beside break and clutch pedal with Chevrolet logos; CU speedometer shows car hitting 60 mph; CU woman downshifts; CU speedometer goes down to 35 mph; car stops at bottom of hill. CU sign along rugged road 'Steep Hill Use Second Gear"' NEW VERSION with improved video & sound: Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied. The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original). A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a live axle. Often transmission refers simply to the gearbox that uses gears and gear trains to provide speed and torque conversions from a rotating power source to another device... Manual Manual transmission come in two basic types: - a simple but rugged sliding-mesh or unsynchronized / non-synchronous system, where straight-cut spur gear sets are spinning freely, and must be synchronized by the operator matching engine revs to road speed, to avoid noisy and damaging "gear clash", - and the now common constant-mesh gearboxes which can include non-synchronised, or synchronized / synchromesh systems, where typically diagonal cut helical (or sometimes either straight-cut, or double-helical) gear sets are constantly "meshed" together, and a dog clutch is used for changing gears. On synchromesh boxes, friction cones or "synchro-rings" are used in addition to the dog clutch to closely match the rotational speeds of the two sides of the (declutched) transmission before making a full mechanical engagement...

Auto Mechanics: Water Cooled Engines: "Water Boy" 1936 Chevrolet 11min
Auto Mechanics playlist: more at "A DRAMATIZATION OF THE COOLING SYSTEM OF THE AUTOMOBILE, SHOWING HOW THE WATER CIRCULATES AROUND THE CYLINDERS, COOLING THEM AND IN TURN BEING COOLED BY THE AIR DRAWN IN THROUGH THE RADIATOR." NEW VERSION with improved video & sound: Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied. The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original). ...Cars and trucks using direct air cooling (without an intermediate liquid) were built over a long period from the very beginning and ending with a small and generally unrecognized technical change. Before World War II, water-cooled cars and trucks routinely overheated while climbing mountain roads, creating geysers of boiling cooling water. This was considered normal, and at the time, most noted mountain roads had auto repair shops to minister to overheating engines.... ... The subject of boiling engines was addressed, researched, and a solution found. Previous radiators and engine blocks were properly designed and survived durability tests, but used water pumps with a leaky graphite-lubricated "rope" seal (gland) on the pump shaft. The seal was inherited from steam engines, where water loss is accepted, since steam engines already expend large volumes of water. Because the pump seal leaked mainly when the pump was running and the engine was hot, the water loss evaporated inconspicuously, leaving at best a small rusty trace when the engine stopped and cooled, thereby not revealing significant water loss. Automobile radiators (or heat exchangers) have an outlet that feeds cooled water to the engine and the engine has an outlet that feeds heated water to the top of the radiator. Water circulation is aided by a rotary pump that has only a slight effect, having to work over such a wide range of speeds that its impeller has only a minimal effect as a pump. While running, the leaking pump seal drained cooling water to a level where the pump could no longer return water to the top of the radiator, so water circulation ceased and water in the engine boiled. However, since water loss led to overheat and further water loss from boil-over, the original water loss was hidden. After isolating the pump problem, cars and trucks built for the war effort (no civilian cars were built during that time) were equipped with carbon-seal water pumps that did not leak and caused no more geysers. Meanwhile, air cooling advanced in memory of boiling engines... even though boil-over was no longer a common problem. Air-cooled engines became popular throughout Europe. After the war, Volkswagen advertised in the USA as not boiling over, even though new water-cooled cars no longer boiled over, but these cars sold well, and without question. But as air quality awareness rose in the 1960s, and laws governing Exhaust emissions were passed, unleaded gas replaced leaded gas and leaner fuel mixtures became the norm. These reductions in the cooling effects of both the lead and the formerly rich fuel mixture, led to overheating in the air-cooled engines. Valve failures and other engine damage was the result. Volkswagen responded by abandoning their (flat) horizontally opposed air-cooled engines, while Subaru took a different course and chose liquid-cooling for their (flat) engines. Today practically no air-cooled automotive engines are built, air cooling being fraught with manufacturing expense and maintenance problems. Motorcycles had an additional problem in that a water leak presented a greater threat to reliability, their engines having small cooling water volume, so they were loath to change; today most larger motorcycles are water-cooled with many relying on convection circulation with no pump...