Rosie the Riveter - the real story

Rosie the Riveter - the real story

The Rosie the Riveter image is one of our best-selling vintage metal signs. But who was she? You'll have seen her image everywhere.

Rosie the Riveter is one of the most recognisable images to come out of 1940s America. Her determined face and pose backed by the chest beating slogan, 'We can do it!' Rosie exhorted the women folk of America to come out of the kitchen and go to work in the industries trying to support the American war effort. She was, and still is, a powerful and icon figure.

Who is Rosie the Riveter?

J. Howard Miller was the artist who drew the famous poster. He worked for the giant Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Westinghouse went on to become CBS. Miller drew the poster featuring Rosie the Riveter during the height of the Second World War.

At the time there was a shortage of labour in American factories. The government tried to combat this by recruiting women for the jobs soldiers had left behind.

rosie the rivetter vintage metal sign

In the decades since the end of the Second World War Rosie has become a feminist icon. A figure who epitomises the 'can do' attitude of modern women. She's appeared on media as diverse as stamps and magazine covers. Female politicians have used her image to publicise their campaigns.

But is Rosie all she appears to be?

Rosie the Riveter - a story that got better with the telling

In the 1980s Rosie sprang from nowhere to become an image associated with feminism. She became a rallying point for women around the world. And synonymous with the feminine movement. Women everywhere took inspiration from this wonderful poster which did so much to empower women in the 1940s. Except it didn't.

Unfortunately, the real story of Rosie the Riveter is a little less compelling than the myth. The truth is the poster wasn’t displayed in public. Westinghouse used it internally for a few weeks. Hardly anyone actually saw it.

All of which is a great shame. But it doesn't detract from what a fantastic poster it is. And the fact that she became such a powerful advocate for modern women will no doubt have pleased Rosie.

And Rosie the Riveter looks as good today as she did back in the 1940s. And you can have Rosie on your wall at home or in the office thanks to our vintage metal sign.

Check out all the vintage metal signs available at OldnDazed. There's dozens to choose from and we add more every month.