U.S. # 4801
2013 46¢ Made in America: Building a Nation
At the beginning of the 20th century, some experts were predicting machines would take over many industrial jobs, forcing people out of work. Photographer Lewis Hine drew a different conclusion. He said, in fact, “The more machines we use the more do we need real men to make and direct them.”
Artists like Hine captured the dignity and pride of average workers on film. Rather than focusing on the buildings and machinery that marked the progress of the industrial age, he showcased the people who carried out their work diligently six days each week.
The building of America was dangerous during that time and accidents were commonplace. Employees accepted the risks as part of the position. In the midst of the Great Depression, people were grateful to have any job and worked long hours for low wages. Basic survival needs outweighed workplace perils.
Those who built the Empire State Building faced danger every day as they worked without hard hats or harnesses. They balanced on steel beams or wooden planks with the skill of tightrope walkers. Women found work in America’s mills, producing textiles for consumers across the country and around the world. Those who were fortunate enough to receive an education were sometimes employed in publishing houses as linotypers. Miners extracted the coal that powered the factories and towns. The risk of the tunnel’s collapse or the buildup of gases was ever-present dangers.
Lewis Hine documented Americans creating our nation’s railroads, airplanes, and buildings. Without his images, the faces of those who operated our presses, mined our coal, and built the foundations of our industries, would be lost forever.
Derry Noyes created the Made in America stamps using early 20th century photographs. Of the 12 stamps, 11 reproduce photographs taken by Lewis Hine, while the 12th came from the Kansas Historical Society. Hines’ photographs had previously been used as models for U.S. stamps, including two in the Celebrate the Century series. He was also honored in the 2002 Masters of American Photography stamp pane.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: August 8, 2013
First Day City: Washington, D.C. – at the Department of Labor Frances Perkins Building
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 60 in 5 panes of 12
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 10 ½ x 10 ¾
Quantity Printed: 2,500,000 panes
Five versions of the pane were issued, each with a different photo in the selvage. Two of them picture Empire State Building ironworkers; one shows a General Electric employee measuring bearings, another shows a coal miner, while the last one pictures a female welder.