Pattern Makers' League of North America collection
Scope and Content of the Collection
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.
- Creation: 1888-1991
- Pattern Makers' League of North America (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.
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:
- T. J. McGonnell
- Louis Kirberg
- Lewis R. Thomas
- James Wilson, Jr.
- George Q. Lynch
- Gunnar Hallstrom
- Charles Romelfanger
- Jack L. Gabelhausen, Sr.
9.59 Linear Feet (in 23 boxes)
Language of Materials
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.
Donated by the Pattern Makers League of North America, 1991 (L1991-20).
Inventoried by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Seth Brosnan at the file level. This collection is organized into three series: Organizational Records, Publications and Artifacts. Arrangement is in chronological order by type of record.
- Pattern Makers' League of North America:
- A Guide to Its Collection at Georgia State University Library
- Georgia State University Library
- May 2001
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description