Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Slingload of cargo

Enlarge Image
Slingload of cargo
Photograph by Otto Hagel, from Men and Machines, 1963; reproduced by permission of the Center for Creative Photography; 1998 The University of Arizona Foundation


This object appears in the following sections:

Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960–1970
Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960–1970 — At Work on the Waterfront

Ship's hold with a tight stow

Dockside; time is money

Slingload of cargo
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
This photograph appears in the book, Men and Machines, A Story About Longshoring on the West Coast Waterfront, a photo essay by Otto Hagel published in 1963, shortly after the first Mechanization and Modernization Agreement was put into practice. It depicts two longshoremen handling a slingload of cargo. A hand cart, another tool of traditional longshoring, sits at the right. The longshoreman at the right is wearing the white cap and "hickory" (blue and white striped) shirt of traditional West Coast longshoremen.
Physical Description
Date Made:
about 1960
Dates Used:
about 1960 - about 1960

Conventional (non-containerized) longshore work involved gangs of men working together to load or discharge various types of cargo. Each ship represented a new set of challenges and longshoremen took pride in their ability to figure out how best to deal with different cargos and different space requirements. While some members of the gang loaded cargo into slings, others operated winches to lift the cargo. It was a matter of pride not to "let the hook hang"-to work so effectively as a unit that there was always a slingload of cargo in motion. Still, loading or discharging a conventional freighter often took more than a week.

Related People, Places, and Events
Otto Hagel

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits