'Typewriter Bites Girl!' Your 1940s Guide to Office Safety

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"For some strange reason, people seem to consider office work as being free from any danger! What could happen to anyone working behind a nice, safe desk?" the narrator of Safety in Offices intones. As it turns out, all kinds of nasty things can happen to someone behind a nice, safe desk.

The U.S. Navy, apparently concerned about the wellbeing of civilians in its office buildings, produced this catalogue of slapstick workplace accidents in 1944. Filing cabinets topple, fingers get caught in all sorts of devices, and countless people tumble down flights of stairs. "This film revels in carelessness, surprise, and pratfalls," the Prelinger Archive writes, "mandated (we can guess) to grab and hold the attention of the tired war worker." Stay alert, colleagues. 

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://archive.org/details/prelinger

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/typewriter-bites-girl-your-1940s-guide-to-office-safety/274903/