Published: September 2006
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

In 1959 Wang Jinxi led oil drilling team No. 1205, inspiring his teammates to work tirelessly to sink the first well in the Daqing oil field in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province. Wang became China's preeminent model worker, earning the sobriquet "Iron Man" from the government's propaganda machine.

In pre-television days, posters were used to disseminate inspirational ideals to the far-flung masses. Several posters showing Wang as the iconic worker were produced in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. A selection of posters featuring Wang, as well as interesting information about the real person and the designer of some of the artworks, is available at These are part of the collection of Stefan R. Landsberger, a professor of contemporary Chinese culture at the University of Amsterdam. Landsberger provides remarkably detailed commentary, and a visit to the site provides an opportunity to learn about "Iron Maidens" as well.

—Nancie Majkowski