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Pattern Makers' League of North America collection

 Collection
Identifier: L1991-20
Established in 1887, the Pattern Makers' League of North America was founded to promote interest in protecting the high standards of their workers' craft. The League was composed of associations of practical pattern makers, mold makers, model makers, fixture builders, allied craftsmen and eventually, plastic workers. The collection documents the development, growth, and decline in membership of this trade union from 1887 to 1991. Included in this collection's holdings are bylaws, financial records and statistics, convention proceedings, correspondence, publications, photographs, as well as several artifacts - all documenting the history of the Pattern Makers' League of North America.

Dates

  • 1888-1991

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Extent

9.59 Linear Feet (in 23 boxes)

Abstract:

The Pattern Makers' National League of North America was established in 1887, and changed its name changed to Pattern Makers' League of North America in 1898. On October 1, 1991, it merged into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Founded to promote interest in protecting the high standards of their workers' craft, the Pattern Makers' League was composed of associations of practical pattern makers, mold makers, model makers, fixture builders, allied craftsmen, and eventually plastic workers. The collection documents the development, growth, and decline in membership of this trade union from 1887 to 1991. Included in this collection's holdings are bylaws, financial records and statistics, convention proceedings, correspondence, publications, photographs, as well as several artifacts.

History of the Pattern Makers' League of North America

The Pattern Makers' National League of North America was formed May 18, 1887, when thirteen pattern makers gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. T. J. McGonnell would become the League's first general president. In 1898, League members voted to change its name to Pattern Makers' League of North America. By 1899, the General Executive Board had hired Lewis Thomas as the League's first full-time salaried officer. The organization's most pressing struggle was the fight for a nine-hour working day, instead of the standard ten or eleven hours required of most workers in the early 20th century.

By 1917, League membership has grown to 8,085 and during the war years rolls rose to 11,360. During this period, the health and on-the-job safety remained a primary concern for the League. During the Depression, the League's membership had dropped to approximately 5,000 and the organization was dangerously close to bankruptcy. Even with this decrease in their numbers, the League still fought for shorter work hours, emphasized the necessity of effective organizing, and worked against age discrimination in hiring and retention of workers.

At the beginning of World War II, membership in the League had bounced back from its decreasing numbers and increased to 12,695 members. By the mid-1940s, however, the Taft-Hartley Act was a major threat to organized labor. The League joined efforts with the American Federation of Labor, launching a political campaign to turn out of office the Act's supporters.

Throughout the 1950s the League sought to survive as a craft union in the AFL-CIO, as the Federation consolidated many smaller organizations. By 1959, the union's membership count was 15,454 and represented at least 90% of all its craftsmen. During the 1960s, pattern makers assisted directly with the United States' space exploration efforts, as League members constructed models of spacecraft designs and other aeronautical equipment.

Once again, the depression of the 1970s caused membership to drop, placing the union in financial crisis, and threatening its survival. By 1976, the League realized that society and industry had evolved drastically since 1887 yet their basic structure had remained static. The League organization acted to revise the publishing schedule of its journal from bi-monthly to quarterly issues, and to redesign the Executive Board's composition and its numbers. Even more crucial to the League's continued viability than these structural changes was the membership's establishment of an organizing fund.

During the 1980s, members' health remained a primary League concern. To ensure the health and safety of its members, the League implemented a program to include training seminars on best approaches to such issues during collective bargaining sessions with management. Although a series of regional health and safety conferences were launched to present the issues to the membership, the numbers in the League continued to decline.

On October 1, 1991, the Pattern Makers' League of North America merged into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO. The Pattern Makers Union is now a division of the IAMAW.
General Presidents of the Pattern Makers' League of North America:
1887-1892
T. J. McGonnell
1892-1894
Louis Kirberg
1894-1902
Lewis R. Thomas
1902-1934
James Wilson, Jr.
1934-1960
George Q. Lynch
1960-1972
Gunnar Hallstrom
1972-1984
Charles Romelfanger
1984-1991
Jack L. Gabelhausen, Sr.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Pattern Makers League of North America, 1991 (L1991-20).

Related Archival Materials Note

Georgia State University Library is the official repository for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the collection includes the Grand Lodge records as well as numerous Local and District Lodges. Please see the IAMAW Page for more collections. In addition, GSU Digital Collections includes complete, full-text runs of the Machinist Monthly Journal and the Machinists Newspaper available in GSU Digital Collections as well as numerous photographs and local publications from both the US and Canada.

Processing Information

Inventoried by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Seth Brosnan. EAD finding aid created by Apex Data Services, May 2001; revised by William Hardesty, 2006 and 2007.
Title
Pattern Makers' League of North America:
Subtitle
A Guide to Its Collection at Georgia State University Library
Status
completed
Author
Georgia State University Library
Date
May 2001
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2880
404-413-2881 (Fax)