Agnes Smith


About Agnes

Agnes Kukuchka Smith, at 18, went to Baltimore, Md., to work for Koppers Co. where they made chromium-plated piston rings, which improved engines. Some could fit on your finger, and some were big enough to drive a car through. When the men in the factory were called to war, she drove an overhead crane and an electric truck with a boom, and dropped piston rings down hot solution. However, the acid fumes from the solution were so toxic that she had to stop. She brags that the crane was so big that she had to back it up, and she drives as well backward as forward. Agnes’s parents were from Poland, and her cousins went into the woods and broke each other’s legs with an ax so that they would not have to march in Hitler’s army. See the interview of Gladys Reese, to hear the rest of the story. She helped make many decisions on the Rosie the Riveter project, and she was at many events such as when the Today Show came to Charleston with 50 Rosies present. She lived near two other Rosies, Buddie Curnutte and Dot Finn, and they called themselves “The Three Musketeers!” Aggie died in 2017.

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