Source: NMHS Newsletter, February 1988
THE WAR IS OVER FOR ATLAS
From the Monday, September 3, 1945, issue of News-Journal
Approximately 150 people visited the Manchester Atlas plant Thursday afternoon. Open house was held so people could see the war production of the plant before it is converted to peacetime purposes. Few people realized the amount of war materials turned out by the plant while the war was in progress, for strict secrecy about production prevailed. However some of the parts run into the hundred thousands and some into the millions. The principal parts produced were for airplane motors and two sizes of bomb noses. All parts, some of intricate or tedious design, had to be machined to a thousandth of an inch or more degree of accuracy, for they had to fit and work in the intricate pattern of B-20 and other plane engines. It is one of the marvels of the war, that specifications and production could be so accurate, that parts were made in many small plants of the nation, and when brought into an assembly line they fitted and worked in a marvelous way. Few people realize what an important part the smaller plants of the nation played in the overall war effort.
The Atlas plant, which is affiliated with the Arnolt Motor Company of Warsaw, started as did many other war plants with a war department order. Specifications were sent and then it was up to the local management to not only obtain the necessary basic machinery, but also to design the many gigs and tools that not only would turn the parts out on a fast production basis, but also do it in a precision manner. Three men were largely responsible, John Kolbe, plant manager, who designed and developed the special tools and processes necessary for production; George Wyncott, who put those tools to work, synchronizing the work into an overall production picture; and Benjamin Sturdevant, who was the final inspector on the product. Others who played an important part were Oscar Benefiel, night foreman; R.A. Smallwood, office manager; and James Shultz, time study. In this work they were aided by a loyal corps of men and women, most of whom had sons or husbands in military service, and were doing their bit to help win the war. Loyalty to war production was such that there were no labor disturbances of any kind in the plant, something that can be said of few war plants of the nation. Thursday there ws a general air of relaxation. The big job had been done. There was an attitude of pride on the part of both employees and management in what had been accomplished, and yet a feeling of relief that the pressure was off.
Another divisional unit of the Arnolt Company is located in the Eiler garage building in the uptown district. This plant operated only the last year of the war. It was in charge of A.W. Long and inspected the M57 adaptors used in the noses of the 81 millimeter shells. During the time it was in operation many thousands of parts were inspected and many of them no doubt did their part in whipping the Nazis and Japs into submission.
The sudden cessation of hostilities brought on sudden
cancellation of the war production, but already the management is getting
started on peace time work. Most of the machinery can be converted into other
types of metal work, the lathes, polishers, planers, drill presses, etc., are
essential in any metal working plant. Already a superior type of automobile
spotlight is being produced, it is likely that small four cylinder inboard
motors designed by Mr. Arnolt, will be produced in quantity, as well as other
products calling for skilled labor. It is impossible to predict the time
required, but it is hoped to have the plant on peacetime production very