Kodachrome Gallery Showcases American Industry

Fortune magazine’s color photography display begins with three Burnham, Pa. steel workers in 1939 and ends with a 2002 shot of a billboard in Shanghai. It chronicles both the demise of Kodak's Kodachrome film and big changes in the U.S. economy.

Baldwin Locomotive, Standard Steel, S.S. Kresge Corp., White Motor Co., and Massey-Harris are some of the names of the companies shown in a Fortune magazine tribute to Kodachrome, now being phased out. Twenty images taken by Fortune photographers at industrial sites and workplaces since 1939 illustrate the vivid colors of Kodachrome photographs; several of these were never printed by the magazine. They also illustrate big changes in the U.S. economy and industrial workplaces: World War II aircraft and ammunition production lines are shown (with a female inspector depicted in the latter); three men fashion a steel railcar wheel in 1939, wearing no PPE except protective gloves; the great photographer Walker Evans laments with a 1955 photo the disappearance of familiar insignias on railroad boxcars.

Massey-Harris, now Massey Ferguson, dates to 1847 and is a tractor line still manufactured by AGCO Corp. S.S. Kresge Corp. is today’s Kmart. Standard Steel, LLC began in 1795; it still makes railcar and locomotive wheels and is still located in Burnham, Pa., where the initial photo in this collection was taken by Carl T. Johnston in 1939. White Motor Co., whose Cleveland, Ohio, truck assembly line is shown in a 1941 photo, made cars and later trucks from around 1900 until Volvo and two other companies bought it in 1980.

The online feature is titled “Kodachrome’s legacy of photos.”

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