Harry Francel, welder, etc.

 Bridges | Other Work | Personal

Harry Francel (1902-1996) worked as a welder on the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and many others, particularly in and around California. These are historical photos from his personal scrapbooks. In most cases, the photographer is unknown. Corrections or additions to entries are welcome.

He was born Harry Franzel in Michigan. At least one misspelling of the family name resulted in his permanent adoption of "Francel." He traveled the United States extensively and worked in many locations on many projects, including the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

Golden Gate Bridge construction
Golden Gate Bridge construction: Harry Francel’s first job on the Golden Gate Bridge was to weld the beacon light base plate on the San Francisco tower. Following that one-day solo job, he then worked welding deck rebar.
Deck work, Golden Gate Bridge construction
Deck work during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Laying deck, Golden Gate Bridge construction
Laying deck, Golden Gate Bridge construction.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge.
Harry Francel and welding crew, Bay Bridge construction
Harry served as a Bay Bridge derrick operator starting in August 1933, working on foundations on the east side of Goat (aka Yerba Buena) Island. He then worked on welding deck rebar on the suspension bridge. Harry Francel is at left, along with a welding crew, during the Bay Bridge construction.
Welders at work, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge construction.
Bay Bridge welders
Harry is at left, with other Bay Bridge welders.
Welders on the Bay Bridge
Welders on the Bay Bridge.
Welders on High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939
Welders on High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939.
Harry Francel's welder on High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939
Harry Francel's welder on High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939.
High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939
High St. Bridge, Oakland, 1939.
Eel River
Harry Francel, Eel River, U.S. 101, Humboldt County, 1940.
Harry Francel bridge work
Harry Francel bridge work, 1956. This may be the Dumbarton rail bridge.

Harry's other jobs included teaching women to weld, working on the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, and more.

See family photos, with old cars and more.

Learn more about the Bay Bridge construction originally printed in this 1936 brochure.

More Francel on the web:

At Flickr: What it took to keep late 50s-early 60s television going in the Francel household

At YouTube: 1960s Francel family home movies