MANUFACTURING: Waiting in Line

Through the noisy aisles of U. S. machine-tool plants last week rubber-tired food wagons glided. Whenever it pleased them, overalled machinists, black-lipped and pasty-faced under the flourescent green lights, stopped their work for between-meal snacks of milk, sandwiches, crullers, pie. Yankee toolmakers are brought up through a long apprenticeship to have a religious reverence for millionths of an inch, but food is a necessity, for precision suffers when a worker's stomach begins to twinge.

Last week the food wagons rolled 24 hours a day, because the machine-tool industry is in mid-boom. Few...

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