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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, No. 72

CONDITIONS OF WORK
IN SPIN ROOMS




[Public—No. 259—66th Congress]
[H. R. 13229]
An Act To establish in the Department of Labor a bureau to be known as the
Women’s Bureau

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be
established in the Department of Labor a bureau to be known as
the Women’s Bureau.
Sec. 2. That the said bureau shall be in charge of a director, a
woman, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate, who shall receive an annual compensation of
$5,000. It shall be the duty of said bureau to formulate standards
and policies which shall promote the welfare of wage-earning women,
improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and ad­
vance their opportunities for profitable employment. The said
bureau shall have authority to investigate and report to the said de­
partment upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of women in
industry. The director of said bureau may from time to time publish
the results of these investigations in such a manner and to such
extent as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe.
Sec. 3. That there shall be in said bureau an assistant director,
to be appointed by the Secretary of Labor, who shall receive an
annual compensation of $3,500 and shall perform such duties as
shall be prescribed by the director and approved by the Secretary
of Labor.
. ,
,
.
, ,
.,
Sec. 4. That there is hereby authorized to be employed by said
bureau a chief clerk and such special agents, assistants, clerks, and
other employees at such rates of compensation and in such numbers
as Congress may from time to time provide by appropriations. _
Sec. 5. That the Secretary of Labor is hereby directed to furnish
sufficient quarters, office furniture, and equipment for the work of
this bureau.
.
Sec. 6. That this act shall take effect and be in force from and
after its passage.
Approved, June 5, 1920.




UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
JAMES J. DAVIS, SECRETARY

WOMEN’S BUREAU
MARY ANDERSON, Director

BULLETIN OF THE WOMEN’S BUREAU, NO. 72

CONDITIONS OF WORK
IN SPIN ROOMS
BY

ETHEL L. BEST

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON ■ 1929

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.




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CONTENTS
Page

Letter of transmi'tal. .
Introduction
Part. I. The effect of a change of method in the spin room on absence and
turnover among womenoperatives____________________________
Introduction
Summary
Lost time
Turnover
Absence and turnover rates for four mills____________________
Miff No. I
Mill No. TI
Mill No. Ill
11
Mill No. IV—dayshif.
14
Mill No. IV—nightshift_
Part II. Temperature readings in 15 mills
Introduction_________________________
Summary of temperature readings
28
Dry-bulb readings
28
Wet-bulb readings
34
Relative humidity
38
Part I.
Table

v
1
3
3
4
4
5
5
5
8
21
25
25

TABLES
1. Time lost in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a s'x-month
period, by spin-room group
2. Time lost in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a six-month
period, by spin-room group and month_________________
3. Number of absences of six days or less and of more than six
days in the spin rooms of iMill No. I during a six-month
period, by spin-room group_____________________________
4. Labor turnover in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a sixmonth period, by spin-room group andmonth__________
5. Time lost in Mill No. II during a six-month period, by de­
partment and building
6. Average number of hours lost per woman in Mill No. II dur­
ing a six-month period, by department andbuilding_____
7. Extent to which full time was worked in Mill No. II during a
six-month period, by departrqpnt and building__________
8. Labor turnover of Mill No. II during a six-month period, by
department and building
11
9. Time lost in Mill No. Ill during a three-month period, by
department and building
12
10. Average number o hours lost per woman in Mill No. Ill
during a three-month period, by department andbuilding.
11. Extent to which full time was worked in Mill No. Ill during
a three-month period, by department and building______
12. Labor turnover of Mill No. Ill during a three-month period,
14
by department and building
13. Time lost on the day shift of Mill No. IV during various
three-month periods—spinning and other departments__
14. Extent to which lull time was worked in Mill No. IV during
various three-month periods—spinning and other depart­
ments
18
15. Number of absences of two weeks or more on the day shift of
Mill No. IV during various three-month periods—spin­
ning and all departments
19




m

5
6
6
7
9
9
10

13
13

16

IV

CO STENTS

Part I.
Table 16. Labor turnover on the day shift of Mill No. IV during
various three-month periods—spinning and other depart­
ments__________________________________
17. Time lost on the night shift o' Mill No. IV during various
three-month periods—spinning and o her departments__
18. Labor turnover on the night shift of Mill No. IV during
various three-month periods—spinning and other de­
partments
Part II.
Table 1. Dry-bulb readings, by mills North and South-------------------2. Morning and afternoon dry-bulb readings, by mills North
and South-------------------------------------------------------------------3. Dry-bulb readings in relation to season of the year, by mills
North and South
4. Morning and afternoon dry-bulb readings in relation to
season of the year, by mills North and South----------------reading fell below
6. Per cent of days on which no dry-bulb by mills North and
temperatures specified, by season and
South
6. Wet-bulb readings in relation to season of the year, by mills
North and South
and afternoon wet-bulb
7. Morning the year, by mills Northreadings in relation to sea­
son of
and South--------------------Per cent of days on which no wet-bulb reading fell below
8.
temperatures specified, by season and by mills North and
South
Number of cases when in the same day two or more succes­
sive wet-bulb readings varied not more than two degrees,
by season and by mills North and South-----------------------10. Relative humidity, by mills North and South




Page
20
22
24
29
29
31
32
33
35
36
37
38
39

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
United States Department of Labor,
Women’s Bureau,

Washington, April 22, 1929.
I have the honor to submit the accompanying two reports
on the conditions of work in spin rooms.
The first report is of the effect of a change of method in a spin
room on absence and turnover among women operatives and the
second is of temperature readings in 15 mills.
Mrs. Ethel L. Best, industrial supervisor, conducted the field work
and has written the reports.
Respectfully submitted.
Mary Anderson, Director.
Hon. James J. Davis,
Secretary oj Labor.
Sir:




v

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS
INTRODUCTION
In a survey of cotton mills made by the Women’s Bureau in 1923,
absence and turnover rates for women in the year 1922 were found to
be higher in the spin rooms than in the other departments of the 18
mills studied.1 No definite reason for this condition could be dis­
covered, but the report considered as possible causes “conditions of
work, workers who were not so efficient as those in the other depart­
ments, and too large a proportion of spares to regulars.”2 The reason
last named, too large a proportion of spares to regulars, might be a
result rather than a cause, since, in order that all the machines may
be kept running, it is necessary to have a number of extras when
there is considerable absence among the regular workers.
Conditions of work, the first of these possible causes, was selected
for the purpose of measuring how far certain definite changes in con­
ditions might result in increased or decreased absence and turnover
rates. Two of the working conditions of spin rooms were chosen for
study—namely, change in the method of the work and excessively
high temperatures. Four mills into which a new method of operat­
ing the spinning frames had been introduced were selected for the
first part of the study. For the second part of the study, temperature
records of spin rooms were obtained from 15 mills. In regard to the
second it was found, however, that such temperature readings could
not be correlated with absence and turnover figures, since too many
other factors contributed to high or low rates. Therefore, the records
of the temperature readings in the spin rooms of 15 mills are given
merely as a sample of temperatures under which women work in such
rooms and not with the idea of showing the effect, if any, of these
temperatures on absence or turnover.
,
1 U. S. Department of Labor. Women’s Bureau. Lost time and labor turnover in cotton mills. Bulle­
tin 52, 1926, pp. 157 and 182.
2 Ibid., p. 56.




l

*




PART I
THE EFFECT OF A CHANGE OF METHOD IN THE SPIN
ROOM ON ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG WOMEN
OPERATIVES
INTRODUCTION

For more than 60 years, in fact ever since the introduction of ring
spinning, tending the spinning frames has been done by spinners or
machine tenders who joined the broken threads, cleaned the rolls
and frames, and put in the roving.1 With increased competition and
more scientific study of the operations in a mill, the progressive
manufacturer began to wonder whether the old way of running a
spinning department was the most efficient or the only way. Experi­
ence has shown that in most other industries production was im­
proved and costs were lowered when jobs were subdivided and a
worker performed only one or two operations. Therefore the ques­
tion arose as to whether a division of work could with profit be tried
out in the cotton mill.
As a result of this, the tending of the spinning frames was divided
into two jobs, one called spinning, in which the worker joined the
broken threads, and one called cleaning, in which the machine was
kept free from lint and the frames were kept supplied with roving.
With this change the cost of production was lowered, while the
product was equally satisfactory in quantity and quality. But the
mill owner, considering the effect of the change on the operative,
asked, “How does the worker feel about the change?”
Under the old method a spinner tended from 6 to 10 sides; under
the new she tends from 12 to 20. but she has not, of course, the same
number of operations to perform. Her helper or cleaner takes care
of from 38 to 48 sides. The cleaner’s work involves more walking
than does that of the spinner, but it requires less care and skill and
is not so well paid. Since cleaning is the less skilled job, a worker
normally is promoted from that to spinning.
There is likely to be dissatisfaction with the new method when a
worker who has been a spinner is put on cleaning. Though her
earnings as a cleaner may be as high as those she earned as a spin­
ner under the old method, her feeling of being demoted and of losing
caste certainly will affect her attitude toward the new way of work­
ing. Some one trained to do cleaning and then or afterwards pro­
moted to spinning probably would not be so dissatisfied with the
work of cleaning. The very fact that it is a change would make some
operatives oppose the new method, while others probably would be
more than compensated by the higher pay received if they were
spinners.
1 Doffing—replacing full bobbins by empty ones as fast as they are filled—under the new as under the
old method is attended to by another worker, the doffer.

60294°—29-----2




3

4

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

On the whole, the new method seems to be satisfactory from the
viewpoint of the employer, but to tell how the two methods are looked
at from the workers’ side is difficult. In two ways, however, some
estimate may be obtained of the workers’ preference in regard to the
old and the new way of working. If the workers find the new occupa­
tion more fatiguing they probably will take more time away from work,
and if they dislike it very much or find it extremely exhausting they
will leave and look for other jobs. Thus absence and an increased
turnover may indicate to some extent the attitude of the workers.
Accordingly, to obtain some idea of the workers’ feelings in regard
to the change of method, absence and turnover records were taken
in four mills where the new method of work had been introduced in
the spin rooms. Such records were taken in three mills affording
comparison between a spin room where the new method was in opera­
tion and a spin room where the old method was still in use. In the
fourth mill, records in the same spin room were taken at four separate
periods, two when the room was operating under the old method and
two after the new system had been installed. A comparison was
made between spring months under the old method and spring months
under the new and between winter months under the old method and
winter months under the new.
It is, of course, practically impossible in a comparison of absence
and turnover records to eliminate every difference between two spin
rooms except that of method, but as far as possible all the known
variables were considered. Only spin rooms working on the same
count and quality of yarn in the same mill were compared.
In three of the four mills surveyed, figures of absence and turnover
were taken not only for the spin rooms but for the other departments.
The purpose of this was to see whether the same changes as in the
spinning department had occurred in the other departments in the
same mill and therefore might have been due to causes other than
the difference in method of operation. In the fourth mill, that con­
tained units of operation in four different buildings, all in the same
locality and under the same general management, complete records
were taken for the different buildings though the new method was in
operation in only one spinning department.
Only one of the four mills had a regular night force, and for this
figures were recorded and tabulated separately.
SUMMARY

Lost time.
A lower per cent of lost time under the new method of spinning
than under the old was found in two mills.
In Mill No. Ill, where four spin rooms were compared, three on
the old method and one on the new, lost time under the new method
was greater than in two rooms and less than in one room under the
old method.
The fourth mill, after eight months’ experience with the new method,
had more time lost than under the old system.
The night shift showed a slight decrease in absence under the new
method, more marked when it had been longest in operation.




5

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

Turnover.
In two mills turnover was increased under the new method of
spinning.
In the third mill, where four spin rooms were compared, the one
under the new method had a higher turnover than two of the others.
In Mill No. IV turnover was much higher immediately after the
installation of the new method than under the old, but it was lower
under the new method than under the old after it had been in effect
for eight months.
The night shift showed an increase in turnover under the new
method of spinning both immediately after the change and eight
months later.
ABSENCE AND TURNOVER RATES FOR FOUR MILLS

Mill No. I.
In Mill No. I, two of the five spin rooms (designated as No. 4 and
No. 5) were engaged on similar work, yarn of a different quality
being spun in the other three. One of the spin rooms, No. 4, was
operating under the new method and had been so operating for nearly
a year, but the old method was still in force in No. 5. Many of the
workers remained continuously in the same spin room, but in both
No. 4 and No. 5 there were other women who worked part of their
time in spin rooms 1 to 3. There was, however, less of such shifting
in No. 4 than in No. 5. On account of the shifting, the records of
absence and turnover, taken for the first six months in 1927, have
been divided into three groups: (1) Those of the women who worked
in room No. 4 only; (2) those of the women who worked in No. 4
and in other rooms also; and (3) those of the women who worked in
No. 5 and in rooms 1 to 3 also. Only those women who worked the
major part of their time in room No. 4 or No. 5 were included in the
last two groups, and of course the time worked in the other spin
rooms was included in time worked, not in time lost.
Table

1.—Time lost in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a 6-month period,
by spin-room group

Spin-room group

Total....................... .............................................. .
Women working in room—
No. 4 (new method) only.......... ................. ........
No. 4 and others.......... ..........................
No. 5 and others................ ........... .....................

Days lost
Number
of names Number
of
on
possible
Per cent
pay roll working
of possi­
during
days 1 Number ble work­
period
ing days
64

7,009

186

2.7

17
13
34

2,018
1,629
3,362

30
40
116

1.5
2.5
3.5

1 For the period studied, the number of working days from date an employee's name first appeared on
the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books.

Records of this mill were taken for the first six months of 1927
because this was a normal period in which full time was being worked
and had been worked for some time.




6

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

In all the five spin rooms surprisingly little time was lost—only
186, or 2.7 per cent, of the 7,009 possible working days. During
this period the proportion of lost time was lowest for the women who
had worked only in spin room No. 4—the room where the new method
was in operation—the figure being 1.5 per cent. The amount of time
lost in the third group, room No. 5 and also rooms 1 to 3, was more
than twice that lost by the workers in room No. 4. Moreover, the
women who had worked in other spin rooms as well as No. 4 lost
more time than did the women who had worked only in No. 4 and
less time than did the women who had worked in No. 5 and other
spin rooms also.
The time lost in each month of the period may be seen from Table 2.
During May and June very little time was lost by any of the spinroom groups, and no absences were reported in May for the women
who worked only in spin room No. 4.
Table 2.—Time lost in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a 6-month period,

hy spin-room group and month
Per cent of possible working days los
by women in—
Number
of names Number
of
on pay possible
roll
No. 4
during working All spin
(new
No. 4 and No. 5 and
days 1
period
method) others
others
rooms
only

Month

64

7,009

2.7

1.5

2.5

3.5

47
45
49
54
51
51

1,095
1,074
1,113
1, 472
1,160
1,095

3.2
3.4
3.0
3.4
1.6
1.2

4.1
1.5
1.2
.7

1.5
3.0
2.6
3.2
1.1
3.1

3.5
5.1
4.3
5.1
2.6
.3

1.5

1 For the period studied, the number of working days from date an employee’s name first appeared on
the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books.

During the 6-month period, as a rule, absences were of short
duration. Especially was this true for the group in room No. 4,
where no woman was absent for more than six consecutive days.
This room also had somewhat the best record as regards the losing
of no time during the entire period.
Table 3.—Number of absences of six days or less and of more than six days in the

spin rooms of Mill No. I during a 6-month period, by spin-room group

Spin-room group

Total...................................
Women working in room—
No. 4 and others....... ...........
No. 5 and others...................




Number
of names
on pay
roll
during
period

Women who lost—
No time

6 days or less

More than 6 days

Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent

64

23

35.9

35

17
13
34

7
3
13

41.2
23.1
38.2

10
9
16

54.7
V
58.8
69.2
47.1

6

9.4

1
5

7.7
14.7

Table 4.—Labor

turnover in the spin rooms of Mill No. I during a 6-month period, by spin-room group and month

All spin rooms
Number
of names Average Num­
number ber of
on pay
final
roll dur­ of full­
time
separa­
ing
workers 1 tions *
period

Per­
cent­
age of
turn­
over 3

No. 4 and others

No. 5 and others

Number
Per­
of names Average Num­ cent­
number ber of
on pay
of full­
final
age of
roll dur­
time
separa­ turn­
ing
period workers3 tions 3 over 3

Number
Per­
of names Average Num­ cent­
number ber of
on pay
of full­
final
age of
roll dur­
time
separa­ turn­
ing
period workers1 tions 3 over 8

Number
Per­
of names Average Num­ cent­
number ber of
on pay
age of
of full­
final
roll dur­
time
separa­ turn­
ing
period workers 1 tions 2 over3

Entire period...........

64

45.8

15

32.8

17

13.3

5

37.6

13

10.7

January..........................

47
45
49
54
51
51

44.2
43.2
45.0
47.4
47.6
47.0

2
1
1
6
3
2

4.5
2.3
2.2
12.7
6.3
4.3

15
14
14
14
14
13

13.7
13.8
13.6
13.9
13.1
11.7

1

7.3

1
1
1
1

7.4
7.2
7.6
8.5

11
11
12
12
11
11

10. 7
10. 7
11.0
11.1
10.8
9.7

March___ __________
April...............................
May............................
June...............................

3

1
1
1

28.0

34

21.8

7

32.1

19.8
18.8
20.4
22.4
23.7
25.7

1
1

5.1
6.3

9.0
9.3
10.3

21
20
23
28
26
27

4
1

17.9
4.2

i Total days worked during the period, all employees, divided by number of days mill was in operation.
* Employees who left and did not return within the 6 months or who lost more than 2 weeks at end of period.
8 Number of separations divided by average number of full-time workers, the result—the “separation rate"—being converted into the more familiar “percentage of turnover"
by moving the decimal point 2 places.




ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

Month

No. 4 (new method) only

•<1

8

CONDITIONS OF WORE IN SPIN ROOMS

Of the 17 women who worked only in spin room No. 4, 7 lost no
time and 10 lost 6 days or less. In the third group—No. 5 and
the other spin rooms—13 of the 34 women lost no time and 16 lost
6 days or less, but 5 lost more than 6 days. (See Table 3.)
The average number of days lost per woman in spin room No. 4
was less than 1 day (0.8). The women who worked in other
rooms as well as No. 4 lost an average of 3.1 days, and those who
worked in No. 5 and the other three -spin rooms lost 3.4 days. Both
the per cent of time lost and the average number of days lost per
woman thus were greater for the group of women who had worked
in room No. 5 and in the other spin rooms than for those in No. 4.
Therefore, so far as absence is an index of dissatisfaction, it would
appear that in this mill there was less of this feeling in the spin
room operating under the new method than in the rooms operating
under the old.
However, this indication of contentment with the new method is
not confirmed by a study of the other measure, turnover. As may
be seen from Table 4, the proportion of separations to the average
number employed was higher for those who worked only in spin
room No. 4 than for the workers in either of the other two groups
Since absence and turnover are conditions that might be affected
by many factors, it is difficult to determine which is the better
indicator of labor unrest and dissatisfaction. When, as in this case,
absence is lowest and turnover is highest in the same department,
the amount of dependence that may be placed on either measure is
doubtful, unless confirmed by further study.
Mill No. II.
Records for a 6-month period (December of 1924 and the first
five months of 1925) were taken for two sections of Mill No. II, one
still operating the spin room under the old method and one that had
operated for some time under the new method. The other depart­
ments in this mill were included in order that any general condition
affecting the entire mill might be noted and allowed for when con­
sidering the differences between the two spin rooms in absence and
turnover rates.
There were two complete units of operation under one superin­
tendent, and to distinguish these the one with the new method of
spinning will be called building 1 and the one with the old method
building 2. By a comparison of absence and turnover figures in
other departments as well as in the two spin rooms, more accurate
information may be obtained in regard to the effect the difference in
method may have had on absence and turnover rates in the spin room.




9

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

Table 5.—Time lost in Mill No. II during a 6-month period, by department and

building

Department and building

Hours lost
Number Number
of names
of
Per cent
on pay possible
roll
of
during working Number possible
hours1
period
working
hours

All departments:
313
222

242,945
185,100

53,473
42, 038

22.0
22.7

214
187

161, 875
158, 385

35, 743
36i 599

22.1
23.1

99
35

81, 070
26, 715

17,730
5,439

21.9
20.4

Spinning department:
Other departments:

1 For the period studied, the number of working hours from date an employee’s name first appeared on
the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books. (Hours used instead of days
because time worked was reported in hours.)

On reference to Table 5 it will be seen that the proportion of lost
time was slightly higher in the spin room of building 2, operating
under the old method, than in the spin room of building 1, operating
under the new; it was 23.1 per cent in the former and 22.1 per cent
in the latter. For the other departments in the two buildings, the
higher rate, 21.9 per cent, was in building 1, the rate in building 2
being 20.4 per cent. The difference in absence rate between the two
buildings was not great, either for the spin rooms or for the other
departments. Yet the fact that the higher of the rates for the spin
rooms was in the building with the old method of spinning and the
higher of the rates for the other departments was in the other building
would seem to point to the difference in method as having a favorable
effect on absence. The large number of women employed in the two
spin rooms makes these findings of considerable importance.
Table 6.—Average

number of hours lost per woman in Mill No. II during a
6-month period, by department and building

Department and building

All departments:

Number
of names Number
of poson pay
sible
roll
during working
hours 1
period

Number of hours
lost

Total

Average
per
woman

Building 2___________________________________ ______
Other departments:

242,945
185,100

53,473
42, 038

170.8
189.4

214
187

161,875
158,385

35, 743
36,599

167.0
195. 7

99
35

Spinning department:

313
222

81,070
26,715

17, 730
5,439

179.1
155.4

■ For the period studied, the number of working hours from date an employee’s name first appeared on
the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books (Hours used instead of days
because time worked was reported in hoursj




10

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

The difference between the two spin rooms is shown clearly by the
average number of hours lost per woman (see Table 6). Where the
old method of spinning was in operation, the average of the hours
lost per woman exceeded by 28.7 hours the average in the spin room
with the new method. For the other departments in the two mills
the opposite is true, building 1—where the new method of spinning
was in force—having an average time loss per woman 23.7 hours in
excess of the average in building 2.
To summarize briefly: The building with the spin room operating
under the new method had less time lost in the spin room but more
time lost in the other departments than had the building where the
old method still was in use in the spin room.
Besides the number of hours or days lost, the proportion of women
working one or more full weeks is another method of measuring
steady attendance. As is shown in Table 7, the proportion of women
who worked one or more full weeks was higher in the spinning depart­
ment in building 1 than in building 2, the figures being, respectively,
44 and 42.4 per cent for the 26-week period. In the other depart­
ments the per cent of women working one or more full weeks was
greater in building 2 than in building 1, or again the opposite of the
case of the spin rooms in the two buildings, confirming the other
findings and indicating that the new method of spinning was conducive
to steady attendance.
Table 7.—Extent to which full time was worked in Mill No. II during a

6-month period, by department and building

Department and building

Number
of em­
ployeeweeks 1

Number and per
cent of employeeweeks in which
no time was lost
Number Per cent

All departments:
4,450
3,419

1,832
1, 464

40.7
42.7

2,968
2,912

1,324
1,238

44.0
42.4

1,482
507

508
226

33.9
44.4

Spinning department:
Other departments:

1 The numbers of women on the weekly pay roll, totaled for the 26 weeks reported. The numbers ranged
from 153 to 188 in building 1 and from 112 to 141 in building 2.

The percentage of turnover, or the proportion of women who left
to the average number employed, was considerably greater for the
spin room in building 1, operating under the new method, than for
the spin room in building 2, operating under the old, as appears from
Table 8.




11

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES
Table 8.—Labor

turnover of Mill No. II during a 6-month period, by department
and building

Department and building

All departments:
Building 1 ..................... ........
Building 2__............................
Spinning department:
Building 1 (new method)..................
Building2 ...............................
Other departments:
Building 1_...................................
Building 2.......................................

Number
of names Average Number Percent­
number of final
age of
on pay
roll dur­ of full­ separa­
turn­
time
ing
tions 2
over3
period workers1

313
222

133 4
100.7

85

84.4

214
187

88.8
85.7

106
71

119.4
82. 8

99
35

44.6
15.0

45
14

100.9
93.3

* Total days worked during the period, all employees, divided by number of days mill was in operation.
*
oyeeS who left and did not return within the six months or who lost more than two weeks at end of
JJtJl IUU.

• Number of separations divided by average number of full-time workers, the result—the “separation
rate
being converted into the more familiar “percentage of turnover" by moving the decimal point two*
places.

That this higher rate of turnover was due not altogether to the
method of operation may be seen by the fact that in building 1 the
other departments as well as the spin room had a higher rate than
had those in building 2. Nevertheless, the difference was much greater
between the two spin rooms than between the other departments.
Also, it is significant that while three-fifths (60.2 per cent) of the
same names appeared on the books in December of 1924 and in
December of 1925 in spin room 2, less than two-fifths (38.3 per cent)
appeared in the two periods in spin room 1. From these turnover
and absence figures it would seem that the workers who adapted
themselves to the new method liked it and were steady, while those
who did not so adapt themselves left for other jobs. It is impossible
to tell without further study whether the turnover was due to lack
of adaptability or to the difficulty of the work.
. Thus the figures from Mill No. I and Mill No. II give the same
indications as to the results of the new method. In each mill the
absence rate was lower and the turnover rate was higher in the spin
room run under the new method. The cause of this condition still
is undetermined. It may be that the unfit and discontented under
the new method tended to be eliminated and that those remaining
were a picked group and therefore steadier; or unknown causes may
have been, responsible. . Further study is necessary, but it is signifi­
cant that in two mills in which the new method was being practiced
the results were similar.
Mill No. III.
Absence and turnover records were taken for a 3-month period
(July, August, and September of 1924) in a mill with four buildings,
each having a spinning department. Only in building 1 was the
spin room operating under the new system, which had been installed
some time before. A general superintendent was in charge of the
entire mill, but each unit had its own superintendent and each spin
room its own foreman.
50294°—29----- 3




12

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

The four buildings varied a great deal in their conditions, some
being older than others and having lower ceilings, poorer lighting and
ventilation, and less up-to-date machinery and methods. The build­
ing in which the new method of spinning was in operation not only
was the largest but was fairly new and had better conditions than had
any of the other units, being well equipped with all modern machines
and lighting and ventilating appliances. Therefore, in a comparison
of lost time and labor turnover between the spin room in this building
and those in the other three, building 1 probably would have an ad­
vantage as to general conditions aside from the method of work.
The supervision being by various men, in the buildings and in the
spin rooms, some effect of the differences in directing might appear.
The absence and turnover records were taken, therefore, for each
entire building and a comparison is made among the other departments
as well as among the spin rooms. Thus it is possible to note any
similarity between the rates of lost time and turnover in the spinning
department and in the other departments in the same building.
The proportion of lost time to possible working time during the
3-month period is given in Table 9. In the spinning room of building
1, where the new method of spinning was in force, this was 30.8 per
cent.—a figure higher than that in the spin rooms of buildings 2 and 3
but lower than that in the spin room of building 4.
Table 9.—Time lost in Mill No. Ill during a 8-month period, by department and

building
Hours lost
Department and building

Spinning department:
Building 1 (new method)........................................................
Building 2______________ __________________________
Building 3........ .........................................................................
Building 4. ........... ............................ ............ ...... ................
Other departments:
Building 1............. ....................................................................
Building 2__..............................................................................
Building 3........ ..........................................................................
Building 4............................. ....................................................

of
of names
Per cent
on pay possible
of
working
roll
hours 1 Number possible
during
working
period
hours

132
83
32
36

63,315
40, 685
17, 615
17,000

19, 487
11,456
5,009
5,835

30.8
28.2
28.4
34.3

220
86
38
11

115,810
48, 550
20, 780
6,795

30,313
13,307
5,331
1, 548

26.2
27.4
25.7
26.7

i For the period studied, the number of working hours from date an employee’s name first appeared on the
books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books. (Hours used instead of days because
time worked was reported in hours.)

As regards time lost in the other departments, building 1 ranked next
to the lowest, instead of next to the highest as it did in the spinning
department. However, the differences among the absence rates in
the four buildings are not great, and the somewhat wider variation
in the rates of the four spin rooms can not be said to have been due to
the introduction of the new method in one of these, as the rate in this
was neither the highest nor the lowest.
Besides the proportion of lost time, two other sets of figures give
indications of the steadiness of the workers in this mill, namely, the
average amount of time lost per woman and the per cent of women
working one or more full weeks during the 3-months period for which
records were taken.




13

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

Table 10.—Average number of hours lost per woman in Mill No. Ill during a

S-month period, by department and building

Department and building

Number
of names
on pay
roll
during
period

Spinning department:
Building 1 (new method)....... .......................... .
Building 2___________ _____________
Building 3..........................
Building 4.................................
Other departments:
Building 1__...............................................
Building 2................................ .
Building 3...................................
Building 4............ ...................................

Number of hours
lost

Total

Average
per
woman

19, 487

13,307
1* 548

154.7

—-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -

In Table 10, showing average number of hours lost per woman, as
well as in Table 9, showing the per cent of time lost, the spin room
with the new method has neither the best nor the poorest record.
The average number of hours lost per woman in building 1 is in excess
of the average for building 2 but is well below the averages of the other
spin rooms operating under older methods. This last statement is
minimized, however, by the fact that building 1 had the fewest days
lost per woman in the departments other than spinning, not affected
by change of method.
Table 11.—Extent to which full lime was worked in Mill No. Ill during a S-month

;period, by department and building

Department and building

Number
of em­
ployeeweeks 1

Number and per
cent of employeeweeks in which
no time was lost
Number Per cent

Spinning department:
Building 1 (new method)............................
Building 2............................. ......
Building 3....... .......................
Building 4....... ..............................
Other departments:
Building 1__.............................................
Building 2___ ______ ____
Building 3...........................................
Building 4.........................................

1,202

132

11 0

334

110

1 The numbers of women on the weekly pay roll, totaled for the 12 weeks reported. The numbers ranged
from a minimum of 31 in one building to a maximum of 303 in another.

The effect of the new method of spinning on the number of women
working one or more full weeks in the period studied would seem to
be slight. The proportion of full weeks worked in the spin room of
building 1 was less than that in two and greater than that in the third
of the spin rooms working under the old method, but the same was
true of other departments beside spinning. However, since the
building with the new method of spinning had not only the best
working conditions but showed a lower percentage of time lost in the
other departments than did buildings 2, 3, and 4, the new method




14

CONDITIONS OP WOKK IN SPIN KOOMS

in the spin room may have been responsible for a slightly higher
absence rate than that under the old method.
The labor turnover in Mill No. Ill is shown in Table 12. Between
the spin room operating under the new method and two of those still
operating in the old way, the turnover rate varied only slightly.
The fourth spin room, running under the old method, had no final
separations during the 3-month period. This is an unusual record
for any spin room, and especially so when a comparison is made with
the other three spinning departments, whose turnover rates were well
over 40 per cent. In buildings 1 and 2 the rates of turnover in the
other departments were considerably lower than those in the spinning
departments, but the opposite was true in buildings 3 and 4.
Table 12.—Labor turnover of Mill No. Ill during a 8-month period, by depart­

ment and building

Department and building

Spinning department:
Building 1 (new method)..................................................... .
Building 2.................................................................... ............
Building 3________ ____________
Building 4..............................................................
Other departments:
Building I.................................................... .........
Building 2..................................................................................
Building 3...................................................................................
Building 4........... .............................. ...................

Number
of names Average Number Percent­
number of final
age of
on pay
roll dur­ of full­ separa­
turn­
time
ing
tions 2
over*
period workers i

132
83
32
36

69.6
46.4
20.0
17.7

31
20

44.5
43.1

8

45.2

220
86
38
11

135.7
55.9
24.5
6.7

48
10
3
5

35.4
17.9
12.2
74.fi

1 Total days worked during the period, all employees, divided by number of days mill was in operation.
8 Employees who left and did not return within the three months or who lost more than two weeks at
end of period.
3 Number of separations divided by average number of full-time workers, the result—the “separation
rate”—being converted into the more familiar “percentage of turnover” by moving the decimal point
two places.

As before stated, building 1, in which was located the spin room
operating under the new method, was the newest and best equipped
of the four buildings. Whether this would tend to decrease turnover
is uncertain, but at least it is probable that it would not increase it.
In this mill as a whole, including the four buildings, no very marked
showing in turnover appeared to indicate a favorable or an unfavor­
able effect of the new method of spinning as compared with the old.
However, the mill had modifying factors to which Mills No. I and
No. II were not subject, since its four separate buildings differed to
some extent in conditions of work and in supervision.
Mill No. IV—Day shift.
When records in the same mill were taken for more than one period,
months were selected in which general conditions were as nearly as
possible alike except for the one variable—the change of method in
the spin room. The same season of the year was chosen, and any
period having unusual conditions, such as short time in the mill or
an influenza epidemic in the village, was avoided.
In Mill No. IV the change in method of operation in the spinning
department took place in April, 1926. Accordingly, absence and




ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

15

turnover records were taken for May, June, and July of 1925 and of
1926 a 3-month period before the new method was installed and the
same three months immediately following the change. They were
taken also for December, January, and February of 1925-26 and of
1926-27 three months just before the change was made and the same
three months a year later. The three months of May, June and
July immediately following the change may have less value for
comparison than have the winter months, half a year later when
permanent effects are more likely to have appeared.
In any organization there may be a general condition throughout
the establishment that would increase absence or turnover. There­
fore, in Mill No. IV, as in two of the other mills, records were taken
lor the departments other than spinning in order to show whether
the increase or decrease found in the spin room occurred also through­
out the establishment.
&
In this mill, for efficiency of operation, the transfer of workers from
one department to another and from one shift to another was commoil. About one-fifth (20.6 per cent) of the women were in a flyin0,
squad, that worked some days in one department and some days in
another, sometimes on the night shift and sometimes on the day
shift. Phis system of “extras” not only enabled the management to
operate the machines continuously but gave the workers steady em­
ployment. In this study, however, it created great difficulties in
tabulation, bmce a change of method must be experienced over a
period of time for its effects on the workers to yield results sufficient
lor study, the workers on the flying squad were separated from those
who worked steaddy m a single department and shift during the
S-month periods taken, and only the regular workers were included
Under the new method of spinning, furthermore, there was an oc­
casional shift within the department to a different kind of work In
such cases the worker was classified for tabulation under the job held
the greater part of the period for which records were taken
I he proportion of time lost may be studied from Table 13 The
loss in the spin room in the early summer of 1925, before the change of
method took place, was 19.8 per cent, a little less than one-fifth of the
possible worlung time. This was somewhat higher than the per cent
ol lost time m the same department a year later, immediately after
the change to the new method, when 17.3 per cent of the possible
working time was lost. However, if the two winter periods are com­
pared, one in which the women worked under the old method and one
alter the new method had been in operation for eight months the
opposite of the early-summer findings is revealed. In the winter
months, 17.3 per cent of the possible working time was lost in the
spin room under the old method and 18.5 per cent under the new
method.
Before making a comparison of the spin room and the other
departments in regard to lost time it may be of interest to note the
number of names on the pay roll in the different 3-month periods
in the two periods in early summer, although the absence rate in
the spin room was only 17.3 per cent under the new method compared
to 19 8 under the old, the number of names on the payroll increased
by 39.1 per cent. In the winter periods the number of names




Table

13.—Time lost on the day shift of Mill No. IV during various 3-month periods—spinning and other departments
Spinning department (new method in
April, 1926)

All departments

8-month periods

95
110
64
87

4,271
3,629
2,697
3,380

740
667
579
598

17.3
18.4
21.5
17.7

Other departments

Days lost
Days lost
Number
Number
of names
of names Number
on pay of possible
Per cent
Per cent on pay of possible
working
roll
working
roll
of possible
of possible
days i Number working
days 1 Number working during
during
period
period
days
days
46
64
37
40

2,028
1, 906
1, 277
1,597

401
329
221
296

19.8
17.3
17.3
18.5

49
46
27
47

2,243
1, 723
1,420
1, 783

339
338
358
302

15.1
19.6

* For the period studied, the number of working days from date an employee’s name first appeared on the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books.




CONDITIONS OF W ORK IN SPIN

December, 1925; January and February, 1926----------December, 1926; January and February, 1927-----------

Days lost
Number
of names Number
on pay of possible
Per cent
roll
working
of possible
during
days i Number working
period
days

CV

S3
O

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

17

on the pay roll was only slightly greater (three women) under
the new than under the old way of working, in spite of the fact
that the absence rate was higher, which might necessitate more
workers to operate the machines. From these facts it would appear
that the result of dissatisfaction with the new method was that a
good many women quit their jobs in the period immediately after
the change, and that when the new system had been in effect for a
number of months*fewer left the department, but more time off was
taken.
In _ other departments the proportion of lost time to possible
working time was greater in the second early-summer period than in
the first, but it was very much smaller in the second winter period
than in the first. This was exactly the opposite of the condition
in the spinning department. That the variation between the two
winter periods was so much greater in the other departments than
in the spin room may be explained to some extent by the closing in
the earlier period of the cloth department, where the workers nor­
mally are steady; their inclusion would have reduced the proportion
of absence. Furthermore, between the two winter periods there
was a change of method in the weave room that resulted in a reduc­
tion in the number of its workers. Therefore, the effects of the
inclusion of a steady cloth department and a reduced force in the
less steady weave department are apparent in the lower absence rate
in the second period.
In any study of absence it is important to know not only the
proportion of lost time to possible working time but the amount of
full time worked in the period reported. When only the per cent
of lost time is considered, the steadiness of a majority of workers in
the department may be minimized because of a few women having
much absence. The table following shows, for each of the four periods
taken, the per cent of full-time weeks in the spin room and in the
other departments compared to the total weeks worked.
In the summer the spin room had a larger per cent of full-time
weeks in the second period, when the new method of spinning was in
operation, than in the first. In the winter the opposite was the case
for the spin department. The first period, when the old method
was in force, had a considerably higher per cent of full weeks than
had the later period, under the new method. For other depart­
ments the variations in the same 3-month periods did not correspond
to the differences in the spin room. Between the summer months of
1925 and those of 1926, the other departments had an increase in the
proportion of full weeks worked, though this was not so great as the
increase found in the spin room in this time. Between the two winter
periods also the other departments had an increase in the per cent of
women working full time, though the spin room experienced a marked
decline in such per cent from the first period, under the old method
of work, to the second period, under the new method.




Table 14.—Extent to which full time was worked, in Mill No. IV during various 3-month periods—spinning and other departments
Spinning department (new
method in April, 1926)

All departments

5-month periods

874
764
786
782

Other departments

Number and per
Number and per
Number and per
cent of employeecent of employeecent of employeeNumber
weeks in which
weeks in which Number
weeks in which
of em­
of em­
no time was lost
no time was lost
no time was lost
ployeeployeeweeks 1
weeks 1
Number Per cent
Number Per cent
Number Per cent
390
381
424
398

44.6
49.9
53T.9
50.9

436
393
410
369

187
199
231
169

42.9
50.6
56.3
45.8

438
371
376
413

203
182
193
229

1 The numbers of women on the weekly pay roll, totaled for the 26 weeks reported. The numbers ranged from 163 to 188 in building 1 and from 112 to 141 in building 2.




46.3
49.1
61.3
55.4

CONDITIONS OF W ORK IN SPIN ROOMS

May, June, and July, 1925........................... .........................................................-...........
May, June, and July, 1926............................ .............. -................ ...................................
December, 1925; January and February, 1926...................................................................
December, 1926; January and February, 1927....................................................................

Number
of em­
ployeeweeks 1

00

19

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

In every department of the mill most of the lost time occurred in
short absences of a few days or a week. The proportion of long
absences in the spinning department, as may be seen from Table
15, generally was less then that in the other departments, and this
was little affected by the change in method of work. Six absences
of two weeks and over occurred in the first summer period, under the
old method, and two in the second summer period, under the new.
In the winter, the earlier period, under the old method, showed three
long absences, while the later, under the new method, had four
absences of two weeks or more.
Table 15.—Number of absences of two weeks or more on the day shift of Mill

No. IV during various 8-month periods—spinning and all departments

3-month periods

May, June, and July, 1925.............................................................
May, June, and July, 1926...............................................................
December, 1925; January and February, 1926............... ..............
December, 1926; January and February, 1927...............................

Number Per cent
of names
on pay in spin­
roll
ning
during
depart­
period
ment

95
110
64
87

48.4
58.2
57.8
46.0

Number of contin­
uous absences of
2 weeks or more
in—

All
depart­
ments

Spinning
depart­
ment
(new
method
in April,
1926)

8
8
9
10

a
2
3
4

When labor turnover is higher in one department than in another
or separations are more numerous in one year than in the past years,
efficient management regards it as a symptom that conditions in
the mill are not as they should be and that the department or plant
needs examination. Quitting, like absence, may be due largely to
personal reasons. For example, in a recent cotton-mill study the
women reported 70.7 per cent of the separations to be due to personal
reasons.2 Normally, personal reasons in the same group would
not vary much from year to year nor, unless the composition were
very different, from department to department. When there has
been a change in the conditions of work in the mill, and no other
known change, an increase or decrease in the labor turnover may be
an indication of the workers’ reaction to the new method.
Most people are so constituted that any change from accustomed
ways imposed by others is unwelcome and viewed with suspicion.
For this reason, a quitting of workers directly after the installation
of any new system may be more or less expected. That this was the
case in the spin room may be seen from Table 16, which shows a
sharp rise in the separation rate, or turnover, in the early summer
of 1926, immediately after the change to the new method of working.
In 1925, the first summer period under consideration, the per cent of
turnover was 91.7, but it was 130.6 a year later, just after the change
to the new method of work.
2 U. S. Department of Labor. Women’s Bureau. Lost time and labor turnover in cotton mills. Bulle­
tin 52, 1926, p. 194.




Table 16.

Labor turnover on the day shift of Mill No. IV during various 3-month periods—spinning and other departments
Spinning department (new method in
April, 1926)

All departments
8-month periods

95

110

64
87

49.7
41.7
27.9
36.6

Number
Number Percent­ Number Average Number
of names number
of final
of final Percent­ of names
age of
of full­
on pay
age of
on
separa­ turnover 3 roll dur­
separa­ turnover 3 roll pay
time
dur­
tions 2
ing period workers 1 tions 2
ing period
74.4
122.3
75.3
106. 6

22.9
22.2

13.9
17.1

91.7
130.6
100.7
87.7

Other departments
Average Number
number of final Percent­
of full­
age of
separa­ turnover3
time
workers1 tions 2
26.8
19.5
14.0
19.5

59.7

112.8

50.0
123.1

Total days worked during the period, all employees, divided by number of days mill was in operation
: Employees who left and did not return within the 3 months or who lost more than 2 weeks at end of period
s hi umber of separations divided by average number of full-time workers, the result—the “separation rate -being converted into the more familiar “percentage of turnover'1
by movmg the decimal point two places.




CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

May, June, and July, 1925.............................. .
May, June, and July, 1926_______________
December, 1925; January and February, 1926.
December, 1926; January and February, 1927.

Number Average
of names number
of full­
on pay
roll dur­
time
ing period workers1

KD
O

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

21

It is true that the turnover rate increased during the same period,
and to an even greater extent, in other departments, but this was
largely due to the spooling department, where a new method was being
tried out. For the summer groups the percentage of turnover in
the other departments was 69.7 in the first period and 112.8 in the
second. Omitting the spooling department, the percentage of turn­
over was 50.8 in the early period and 64.2 in the later—a difference
markedly less than that in either the spinning or the spooling depart­
ment. As would be expected, the change in method in these two
departments was followed by an increase in separations rather than
by a rise in the absence rate. After the new method in the spin
room had been in operation for eight months the percentage of turn­
over was 87.7, a rate considerably lower than that for "the corre­
sponding period of the year before, under the old method (100.7).
During the periods for which these records were taken an experi­
ment was made in the spooling department and work in the weave
room was subdivided, as in the spin room, into the more skilled and
the less skilled operations. Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain just
how far the variations between the turnover rates in the different
periods in the spinning departments were similar to those in the other
departments. It would appear significant, however, that there was
a marked increase in turnover directly after the installation of the
new method of work and that the turnover was considerably lower
several months after such change in method had been put in opera­
tion. It was in the latest period that the figures showed the lowest
rate of turnover for the spinning department.
For the day shift of this mill, unlike Nos. I and II, whose absence
and turnover records have been examined, it appears that after
eight months’ experience the absence rate was unfavorably affected
and the turnover rate was favorably affected by the new method of
spinning. In short, the effect of the new method of spinning is shown
in two mills by the quitting of the dissatisfied and the steadier attend­
ance of those remaining, and in one mill by fewrer women leaving
and more women taking time off.
Mill No. IV—Night shift.
In Mill No. IV, the only one of the mills that had a regular night
shift, the night work was lighter than the day work because the women
tended fewer sides at night. The night spinning, like the day, was
put under the new method of operation, but each night spinner tended
from 12 to 16 sides compared to the day spinner’s 16 to 20. The
cleaners, also, had charge of fewer sides. Although of course this
resulted in less strenuous labor, it might be equally exhausting, since
the night shift was 11 hours long instead of 10, the length of the day
shift.
A study of Table 17 shows that the proportion of lost time to
possible working time for the night workers in the spin room was less
in the two periods after the change of method than in the period
before the change took place.




to

Table 17.—'Time lost on the night shift of Mill No. IV during various S-month periods—spinning and other departments

3-month periods

May, June, and July, 1925__________ ___________
May, June, and July, 1926......... ................................
December, 1925; January and February, 1926
December, 1926; January and February, 1927..............

Spinning department (new method in
April, 1926)

Other departments

Days lost
Number
of names Number
on pay of possible
Per cent
roll
working
during
days i Number of possible
working
period
days

Days lost
Number
of names
on pay of possible
Per cent
roll
working
during
days i Number of possible
working
period
days

Days lost
Number
of names Number
on pay of possible
Per cent
roll
working
during
days 1 Number of possible
working
period
days

101
89
64
61

2,296
2, 220
2,276
2,127

470
506
419
350

20.5
22.8
18.4
16.5

36
53
37
36

1,214
1,280
1,372
1,274

255
255
266
227

21.0
19.9
19.4
17.8

65
36
27
25

1,082
940
904
853

215
251
153
123

19.9
26.7
16.9
14.4

1 Tor the period studied, the number of working days from date an employee’s name first appeared on the books to date of its last appearance, totaled for all names on the books.




CONDITIONS OF W ORK IN SPIN ROOMS

All departments

ABSENCE AND TURNOVER AMONG OPERATIVES

23

On the night shift in the other departments the lost time increased
considerably in the second summer period, but it declined somewhat
from one winter period to the next, the latter condition coinciding
with that of the spin room. Thus the change of method in the spin
room on the night shift was followed by a decrease in absence in the
spin room in the summer and winter periods, though other occupa­
tions on the night shift experienced an increase in the absence rate
between the early summer of 1925 and the early summer of 1926.
There were fewer absences of two weeks or more on the night shift
under the new than under the old method of spinning. This agrees
with the generally better attendance under the new method shown
in the per cent of lost time of the night workers in the spinning
department.
From Table 18 it appears that there was a considerable increase in
separations immediately after the change of method in the spin
room, the turnover being half as much again as under the old method
12 months earlier. However, if the turnover figure eight months
after the change of method is compared with that a year earlier,
when the old method was in operation, it appears that the turnover
was only slightly higher under the new method, the winter showing
a marked decrease from the rate in the early summer, immediately
after the change of method.
For the winter seasons other departments had turnover rates
increasing slightly from one year to the next as did the spin-room
rate, but for the summer seasons the turnover declined in other
departments almost as strikingly as it increased in the spin room.
However, the second winter period, coming after the change of
method had been in operation for eight months, would seem a better
criterion than would the summer period directly after the new method
had been installed. It would appear, therefore, that on the night
shift of this mill the new method of spinning had results similar to
those in Mills Nos. I and II and slightly increased the turnover but
tended to reduce lost time.




Iable 18.

fcO

Labor turnover on the night shift of Mill No. IV during various 3-month periods—spinning and other departments
Spinning department (new method in
April, 1926)

All departments
S-month periods

Number Average
Number Average
Number Average
of names number Number Percent­ of names number Number Percent­ of names number Number Percent­
of final
of final
of final
of full­
age of
of full­
on pay
age of
of full­
age of
on pay
on
separa­ turnover 3 roll dur­
separa­ turnover 3 roll pay
separa­ turnover8
roll dur­
time
time
dur­
time
tions 2
tions 2
ing period workers 1
ing period workers1
ing period workers1 tions 2
101
89
64
61

30.4
29. 1
28.6
27.8

50
43
28
28

164.5
147. 8
97. 9
100.7

36
53
37
36

16.0
17.4
17.0
16.4

16
26
16
16

100.0
149.4
94.1
97.6

65
36
27
25

14.4
11. 7
11. 6
11.4

34
17
12
12

236.1
145.3
103.4
105.3

1 Total days worked during the period, all employees, divided by number of days mill was in operation.
2 Employees who left and did not return within the 3 months or who lost more than 2 weeks at end of period.
3 Number of separations divided by average number of full-time workers, the result—the “separation rate”—being converted into the more familiar “percentage of turnover”
by movmg the decimal point two places.




CONDITIONS OP W ORK IN SPIN ROOMS

May, June, and July, 1925 ...................................
May, June, and July, 1926 ___________
December, 1925; January and February, 1926__
December, 1926; January and February, 1927_
_

Other departments

PART II
TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS
INTRODUCTION

The air condition prevailing in an industry is dependent to a great
extent on the processes of the industry. In places such as steel mills,
glass furnaces, and laundries the processes themselves create heat
problems, while in others, such as chocolate-dipping rooms, a certain
temperature is necessary for the proper condition of the product.
Cotton manufacturing is more nearly allied to the latter situation
than to the former, for, although the many machines revolving rapidly
create heat, the heat thus created must not be allowed to make the
air too dry, or the electricity in the cotton will cause the thread to
break. In short, a certain amount of moisture is necessary in the
manufacture of cotton, and engineers, after careful study, know the
best humidities for the running of the lap and thread in the carding,
spinning, and weaving of cotton. However, no such exhaustive
studies have been made of the effect of the heat and humidity on the
worker, but the fact that it is far from beneficial has been realized.
Doctor Dearden speaks of dust as a possible hazard in the early proc­
esses of cotton manufacture “just as high temperature and humidity
constitute the principal menace to the health of the worker in spinning
and weaving rooms.” 1 Doctor Perry, in a study of preventable
death in cotton mills, found that the death rate per 1,000 operatives
was higher in the spin room than elsewhere in the mill and that for
women operatives the death rate from tuberculosis was above the
nonoperative rate to the extent of 207 per cent.2 It is impossible to
know just how far temperature conditions are responsible for the
high death rate from tuberculosis, but Doctor Dearden voiced the
opinion of many when he said, “I believe I am right in expressing the
view that the excessive prevalence of bronchitis among cotton-mill
operatives generally is mainly a matter of temperature and humidity,
or rather of the influence exercised by these factors on the production
of catarrhal colds.” 3
Very warm weather, especially if it is of any duration, often results
in a feeling of lassitude and even exhaustion. This being true, it is
not strange that “when temperatures are excessive, i. e., over 90° F.,
one does come across spinning-room operatives showing definite signs
of fatigue, mainly, of course, toward the end of the day’s work.” 4
What is the effect of day after day of this heat if such fatigue may be
the result of one day’s work in high temperature?
1 Dearden, W. F. Health hazards in the cotton industry. Journal of Industrial Hygiene. October,
1927, p. 453.
2 U. S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Preventable death in cotton manufacturing
industry. Arthur Reed Perry. Bui. 251, 1919, pp. 87 and 91.
8 Dearden, W. F. Health hazards in the cotton industry. Journal of Industrial Hygiene. October,
1927, p. 458.
8 Ibid., p. 464.




25

26

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

Without doubt it is true that to some extent workers get used to
the conditions under which they labor, but what such adaptation
costs and to what length it can be carried are not as yet known.
Ellsworth Huntington thinks such adjustment can be made only
within rather narrow limits and that man “adapts himself to climate
by artificial means and only slightly by changes in his own body.”
Furthermore, “In Florida,” according to Doctor Huntington, “the
cigar makers of Cuban extraction work best at a temperature only
about 5° higher than that which is best for workers in New England.” 5
The problem of adjusting temperatures in cotton mills to the human
as well as to the material element is one to be solved by engineers,
and the imperative need for such a solution is shown by figures con­
tained in the following pages. In this brief report no attempt has
been made to suggest remedies or to give results. Here are set forth
merely the various dry- and wet-bulb readings as recorded by mills
sufficiently interested to keep such records. The figures accentuate
the need of further studies in order to learn the effect such tempera­
tures may have on the worker and to determine the range most
efficient for both the worker and the work.
From the viewpoint of smooth-running yarn the important element
in temperature is the amount of moisture in the air, and this is
measured by the relative humidity. In every mill an effort is made
to keep the air for ring spinning at a relative humidity of about 60
per cent. An effort is made also to keep the humidity uniform, for
if fluctuation occurs the belt tension, machine speed, and thread
breakage are affected and the quality of the yarn is uneven.6 There­
fore, it is to the interest of both the management and the operative
that the air be moist and not too cool. Wyatt, in an English article,
says “production is stimulated physically by a high temperature and
a high relative humidity * * *. When, however, high tempera­
tures are reached, the unfavorable physiological effects of the atmos­
pheric conditions are reflected in the efficiency curves; a compara­
tively heavy reduction occurs toward the end of the afternoon
spells, * * * under such conditions the onset of fatigue is more
pronounced.”7 The attention of most mills is concentrated on the
regulation as well as the range of the humidity, because wffien this is
not done the result is directly reflected in the bad running of the work.
In relation to the worker the effect of the high temperature that
frequently accompanies the desirable humidity is not given equal
attention, because often the results are not so striking nor so imme­
diately obvious. The important thing for the worker’s comfort is
the height of the dry-bulb register and, perhaps even more, that of
the wet-bulb register. Not the relative humidity of the surrounding
air but the absolute amount of water vapor it contains affects the
well-being of the operative.8
After making an investigation in regard to the effects of atmospheric
conditions on different types of work Doctor Winslow summarizes
the results of certain studies as follows:
* Huntington, Ellsworth. Temperature and the fate of nations. Harper's Magazine, August, 1928, pp.
36« Thompson, Albert W. Air conditioning in textile mills. Parks-Oramer Co., 1924, pp. 65 and 69.
7 Wyatt, S. Variations in efficiency in cotton weaving. Industrial Fatigue Research Board. Report
No. 23. London, 1923, p. v.
, , ,
J _ .
.......
...
8 Wyatt, S. The effects of atmospheric conditions on health and efficiency (with special reference to the
cotton industry). Journal of Industrial Hygiene, July, 1925, p. 318.




TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

27

“The experiments cited furnish very clear evidence that a temper­
ature of 24° C. (75° F.) and still more one of 30° C. (86° F.) produces
a marked disinclination to any form of physical work, even such light
work as typewriting.”9
Another authority says, “For people normally clothed, and slightly
active, in still air, the most favorable temperature conditions are 68
degrees Fahrenheit on the dry-bulb and 58 degrees wet-bulb temper­
ature. This corresponds to a relative humidity of approximately 55
per cent.” He continues, “A temperature of 75 degrees dry-bulb
with the usual relative humidity, or wet-bulb reading, is likely to
lower one’s efficiency or productivity as much as 15 per cent.”10 Of
course it is possible to have both the dry and the wet bulb favorable
for the workers and a relative humidity that is good for the work.
However, this ideal condition is difficult of realization, especially in
summer when the outside heat contributes to that generated by the
machines within.
To disclose to some extent what is being achieved in heat regulation
in good mills where the management is anxious to have the work
run as well as possible is the object of the present study. It was
observed from the data obtained that under the same climatic condi­
tions one plant kept its heat down while in another the temperature
registered very high. This proves that to some extent the heat con­
ditions within a plant are susceptible of modification.
Since the temperature readings were copied from the mill records,
no assurance can be given as to the complete accuracy of the various
recording instruments. The dry-bulb readings probably were less
liable to error than those of the wet bulb, because it is difficult to keep
the wet-bulb covering clean and free from lint. Dust would tend to
lower the readings, while they would be too high if the covering of the
bulb were not kept sufficiently moist. The bureau itself could not
have taken readings covering so long a period as is here reported,
and since these records are depended on and used by the mills them­
selves they give an idea of the atmospheric conditions under which
the operatives in the various spin rooms were employed.
A year’s records, or as much of a year as was obtainable, and cover­
ing various periods from June of 1924 to November of 1927, according
to the material, were taken for eight mills in the South and for seven
mills in the North. For most of the mills complete temperature
readings for a year were available. Five southern mills reported for
6 to 8 months, or even less, because the records had been destroyed
or because some special condition (such as part-time operation)
made the records of little value. It is probable that the lack of a com­
plete year’s records for each mill does not affect the findings to any
great extent, since the totals for all mills are used as the bases for the
per cents and the seasons were fairly well balanced. The mills report­
ing much less than a year’s records gave the readings for the summer
in two cases, the readings for the summer and the winter in two
cases, and the readings for the autumn and the winter in one case.•
• U. S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Effect of atmospheric conditions upon
fatigue and efficiency, by O.-E. A. Winslow. Monthly Labor Review. February, 1917, p. 290.
18 Rowe, W. A. Ventilation. The Management Review. January, 1927, pp. 6-7.




28

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS
SUMMARY OF TEMPERATURE READINGS

Dry-bulb readings.
More than one-half (55 per cent) of all the readings were 75° and
under 85°.
Practically five times as many readings were 85° and over as were
under 75°.
The northern mills had about a third of their readings 85° and over;
the southern mills had two-fifths of their readings 85° and over.
For all mills over a fourth (28.7 per cent) of the morning readings
were 85° and over. In the afternoon nearly a half (46.8 per cent)
were 85° and over.
In the northern mills three-tenths (30.4 per cent) of the readings
in the winter months were 85° and over; in the southern mills this
figure was less than a fifth (19.8 per cent).
In the summer months temperatures of 85° and over comprised
43.3 per cent of the readings in the northern mills and 75.9 per cent
of those in the southern mills.
Sustained temperatures of 80° and over were reported for 33.8
per cent of the days in the northern mills and 59.6 per cent of those
in the southern.
No variation or one of less than 3° is reported for 16 per cent of the
days in the northern mills and for 25 per cent of the days in the
southern mills.
Wet-bulb readings.
The largest group of readings in the northern mills were 70° and
under 75°. The largest group of readings for southern mills were
75° and over.
In the winter months nearly a fifth (19.4 per cent) of the readings
in the northern mills were 75° and over; in the southern mills 14.4 per
cent were 75° and over.
In the summer months 40 per cent of the readings in the northern
mills were 75° and over; in the southern mills over three-quarters
(76.8 per cent) of the readings were 75° and over.
For all mills 27.2 per cent of the readings in the morning were75°
and over; 37.4 per cent of the readings in the afternoon were 75° and
over.
Sustained temperatures of 76° and over occurred on 6.5 per cent
of the days in the northen mills and on 21.1 per cent of the days in
the southern mills.
A variation of not more than 2 degrees with a wet-bulb reading of
75° and over was reported for 21.9 per cent of the days in the northern
mills and for 35.4 per cent of the days in the southern mills.
Relative humidity.
One-fourth of the relative-humidity records were 60° and under
70°. The northern mills had 18.2 per cent and the southern mills
33.3 per cent within this desirable range.
One-fifth of the temperature readings had a relative humidity of
70° or over.
DRY-BULB READINGS

The majority of the readings of the dry-bulb records in the 15
mills reporting were between 75° and 85°, and the remaining readings
showed a far greater proportion at 85° and over than at less than



29

TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

75°, the figures being respectively 37.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent.
The per cent of the readings in each temperature group is shown in
the table following.
Table 1.—Dry-bulb readings, by mills North and South
All mills

Northern mills

Southern mills

Dry-bulb reading
Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent
18, 687
75° and under 85°..........................................

100.0

9,344

100.0

9,343

100.0

1,436
10, 285
6,966

7.7
55.0
37.3

766
5,364
3,214

8.2
57.4
34.4

670
4,921
3,752

7.2
52.7
40.2

Less than 10 per cent of the dry-bulb readings were under 75° and
the variation between the northern and southern mills in this lowtemperature group was slight. The proportion of readings in the
group of 85° and over, on the other hand, was well over a third of all
the readings, but when the northern and southern mills are considered
separately the latter are found to have the larger per cent in this
group. The difference, however, 40.2 per cent compared to 34.4
per cent, is not so great as might have been expected from the difference
in climatic conditions.
The warmer southern climate is reflected in all the southern readings,
which are fairly uniform whether taken in the morning or in the
afternoon. In both morning and afternoon readings, the southern
mills had a slightly lower proportion in the group under 75° than had
the northern mills; a somewhat lower per cent than had the northern
mills in the middle group, where the range was 75° and under 85°;
but a larger per cent in the group 85° or more.
For both mill groups the morning showed more readings under 75°
than did the afternoon. This is not surprising, though the morning
readings were taken, as a rule, between 10 and 11 o’clock, for the
longer the machinery runs the more heat is generated, and a number
of the spin rooms were on the top floor and therefore were subject
to the accumulated heat of the sun’s rays.
Table 2.-—Morning and afternoon dry-bulb readings, by mills North and South
All mills
Dry-bulb reading

Morning

Northern mills

Afternoon

Morning

Southern mills

Afternoon

Morning

Afternoon

Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber cent ber cent ber cent ber cent ber cent ber cent
All readings................ 9,835 100.0 8,852 100.0 4,890 100.0 4,454 100.0 4,945 100.0 4,398 100.0
Under 75°....... ..................... 1,037
75° and under 85°................ 5,976
86° and over ....................... 2,822




10.5
399
60.8 4,309
28.7 4,144

4.5
541
48.7 3,096
46.8 1,253

11.1
225
63.3 2, 268
25.6 1, 961

5.1
496
50.9 2,880
44.0 1, 569

10.0
174
58.2 2,041
31.7 2,183

4.0
46.4
49.6

30

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

The- temperature readings of mills may vary to a marked degree
under much the same climatic conditions. An illustration of this
may be made by a comparison of the temperature readings in two of
the northern mills. In one mill, where 1,500 records were obtained,
nearly one-third of the morning and almost one-fifth of the afternoon
readings were under 75°, while another mill, with 1,517 records, had
only 9 of the morning and 3 of the afternoon readings under 75°.
The variations between mills occurred in the high-temperature as
well as in the low-temperature readings. The first mill mentioned
above recorded only 96 of its 1,500 readings as 85° and over; while
the latter mill had more than two-thirds of its 1,517 readings m that
temperature group. Apparently, the large number of high tempera­
tures in the second mill was to some extent avoidable, since the mill
was a northern one and the highest proportions were shown for the
winter and spring mornings.
Naturally, the temperature within a mill varied considerably with
the season of the year, and the variations were considerably greater
in the group of southern mills than in the northern mills.
According to Table 3 the variation among the seasons was much
the greatest in the high-temperature group, where the readings were
85° and over. The northern mills had a little less than a third of
the winter readings and over two-fifths of the summer readings in
this group, while the southern mills had here about a fifth of the
winter and three-fourths of the summer readings. For all the mills
combined, one-fourth of the winter readings and three-fifths of the
summer readings were 85° or more.




Table 3.—Dry-bulb readings in relation to season of the year, by mills North and South
Per cent of readings that were—
Total number of dry-bulb
readings

75° and under 85°

Under 75°

Season

85° and over

Entire year.............................................................

18,687

9,344

9,343

Winter....... ................................................. ......................
Spring............................................................................ .
Summer_________ _______________ __ _________
Autumn______________________________________

5,633
4, 352
4,467
4,235

2,565
2,565
2,118
2,096

3, 068
1, 787
2,349
2,139




7.7

8.2

7.2

55.0

57.4

52.7

37.3

34.4

40.2

12.5
9.0
1.3
6.7

13.3
9.3
2.4
6.4

11.8
8.4
.3
6.9

62.9
60.1
38.3
57.1

56.2
57.8
54.3
61.5

68.4
63.3
23.8
52.9

24.6
31.0
60.4
36.1

30.4
32.9
43.3
32.1

19.8
28.2
75.9
40.2

TEM PERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

All mills Northern Southern All mills Northern Southern All mills Northern Southern All mills Northern Southern
mills
mills
mills
mills
mills
mills
mills
mills

CO

Table 4.—Morning and afternoon dry-bulb readings in relation to season of the year, by mills North and South

03

to

Per cent of morning and afternoon readings that were—
Total number of dry-bulb
readings
Season

Morn­ After­
ing
noon

Southern
mills

Morn­
ing

Northern
mills

75° and under 85°

Southern
mills

Entire year

4,890

4,454

4, 945

4, a

li.i

5.1

10.0

1,327
1,346

1,238
1,219
998

1,657
940
1, 219
1,129

1,411
847
1,130

18.2
12.2

8.1
6.2

15.7

3.2
9.0

1.4
3.6

.7




1,097

Southern
mills

Northern
mills

Southern
mills

After­ Morn­ After­ Morn­ After­ Morn­ After­ Morn­ After­ Morn­ After­ Morn­ After­
ing
ing
ing
ing
ing
ing
noon
noon
noon
noon
noon
noon
noon

Winter.................
Spring..................
Bummer_______
Autumn_______

1,120

Northern
mills

85° and over

1, 010

12.0
10.2

63.3
7.3
4.5
3.3

50.9

58. 2

46.4

25.6

44.0

31.7

49.6

59.6
63.3
63.8
67.4

52.6
51.8
43.7
55.1

69.6

67.0
57.3
14.2
44.7

22.2

39.3
42.1
54.9
41.3

14.7
19.1 |

25.7
38.3
85.8
52.1

68.8

32.7
60.2

24.5
33.0
23.6

66.6

29.6

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

Northern
mills

Under 75°

TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

33

Table 4 shows that, according to the dry-bulb readings, there
was a very marked difference between morning and afternoon tem­
peratures in the spin rooms. During each season of the year, in the
spin rooms of both northern and southern mills, the proportion of
readings that were under 75° was higher in the morning than in the
afternoon, when it decreased at times to one-half or a third of the
early reading. The opposite is true of the group of readings of 85°
and over. The lowest per cent of morning readings in the hightemperature group was for the winter months, 22.2 for the northern
mills and 14.7 for the southern, but by afternoon these readings had
increased to 39.3 per cent in the northern and 25.7 per cent in the
southern mills. The largest per cent of the afternoon readings in
the temperature group of 85° and over was 85.8 per cent for the south­
ern spin rooms during the summer months.
It is only reasonable to suppose that these readings reflect to a
great extent climatic conditions. For example, the summer months
in the northern group of mills had only one-third of the morning
readings and somewhat more than one-half of the afternoon readings
at 85° and over, while in the southern group two-thirds of the morn­
ing readings and almost seven-eighths of the afternoon readings were
in the high-temperature group.
Doctor Deardcn states that Maloney’s observations in India
“certainly show a marked diminution in output during hot weather
in all cotton processes where machines are stopped for repairing of
breakages, and also that the coolest period of the day at this season
provided the highest efficiency figures.” 11 If, as Doctor Hunting­
ton thinks, nature is much the same everywhere, the long stretches
of continuous high temperature must have some effect on production
as well as on the workers. It is important to know, therefore,
whether these high temperatures were merely touched or existed
for a considerable period. In some of the mills only two readings
were taken during the day, one in the morning and one in the after­
noon, while in the other mills four readings were taken, two in the
morning and two in the afternoon. Whether two or four daily read­
ings were taken, the proportion of days on which no reading fell
below certain specified temperatures is the subject of the table
following.
Table 5.

Per cent of days on which no dry-bulb reading fell below temperatures
specified, by season and by mills North and South
Per cent of days on which no reading fell below—
Total number of
days
76°

Season

80°

86°

North­
South­ North­
South­
North­
South­
North­
South­
ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills
Entire year___

4,147

4,348

64.1

81.5

33.8

59.6

6.5

18.5

Winter.......................
Spring______ _____
Summer...... ........ .
Autumn...... ........ ......

1,089
1,106
994
958

1,390
835
1,123
1, 000

51.2
55.4
81.8
70.3

70.6
77.6
97.4
81.9

22.0
28.1
50.4
36.3

37.7
47.1
88.5
68.0

4.1
7.1
10.6
4.1

5.4
9.7
40.6
19.1

, ‘‘D^don, w. F.
p. 467.

Health hazards in the cotton industry. Journal of Industrial Hygiene. October,




34

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

Considering the total number of days in the southern mills for all
seasons, on about three-fifths of the days the readings did not fall
below 80°. In the northern mills the per cent with readings of 80°
and over is not so great, but even there one-third of the days had no
temperature record under 80°.
Since long periods of sustained heat are more prevalent in the
South than in the North, it is natural that temperatures within the
mills should reflect this condition. Nearly one-fifth (18.5 per cent) of
the 4,348 days in the southern mills, compared to 6.5 per cent of the
4,147 days in the northern mills, had no temperature reading below
86°. The records for the summer months in the southern mills showed
88.5 per cent of the days with no temperature reading below 80°,
and as many as 40.6 per cent of the days with no temperature reading
below 86°.
Not only were there many occasions when the thermometer re­
mained high throughout the entire day, but there were many days
with little variation in temperature. If the temperatures were not
excessively high this would not be an evil, but with readings of 85°
and over it must contribute considerably to fatigue. In the southern
mills the temperature readings had variations of less than 3 degrees
or none at all for one-fourth of the days. This was a considerably
higher proportion than that of the northern mills, which had 16 per
cent, or one-sixth, of such days. In both northern and southern mills
a small per cent of the days, 2.6 and 4.4, respectively, showed constant
temperatures with no variation in the dry-bulb readings. For the
northern and southern mills combined, a surprisingly large proportion
of the sustained temperatures were within the higher range—about
30 per cent of the consecutive readings for a day varying not more
than 2 degrees, with the lowest readings at 85° or over.
Any effects of these sustained high temperatures on the well-being
of the workers can only be surmised. However, it is significant to
note that in a study of lost time and labor turnover in cotton mills it
was found that summer was the season with the greatest amount of
lost time, for both men and women, and that labor' turnover was
highest in the three months of July, August, and September.12
WET-BULB READINGS

Wet-bulb readings give the temperatures at which evaporation takes
place, and therefore they are lower than the dry-bulb readings unless
the air is saturated up to the dew point; that is, 100 per cent. Many
authorities consider the wet-bulb readings to be of greater importance
to the comfort and health of the worker than those of the dry bulb.
According to Vernon, Doctor Haldane makes the statement that in
still warm air what matters to the persons present is neither the tem­
perature of the air nor its relative saturation—but the temperature
of the wet bulb. He also proposes that 75° wet bulb be taken as a
permissible maximum (in weave sheds) and that during the major
part of the year it should be 70°.13 In another study the statement
is made that medical evidence shows that in weave sheds a rise of
mouth temperature makes itself distinctly felt when the temperature
of the wet bulb exceeds 75° F.14
12 U. S. Department of Labor.
Women’s Bureau. Lost time and labor turnover in cotton mills. Bulle­
tin 52, 1926, pp. 67 and 112.
Vernon, H. M. Industrial fatigue and efficiency. London, Routledge, 1921, p. 235.
i« Wyatt, S. The effects of atmospheric conditions on health and efficiency (with special reference to the
cotton industry). Journal of Industrial Hygiene. July, 1926, p. 828.




35

TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

In the following exposition of the wet-bulb temperatures reported
by mills in the present study, some allowance must be made for errors
due to the cloth around the bulb becoming too dry or coated with lint
and dust. Since one of these conditions would make the readings too
high and the other would make them too low, they would, to some
extent, offset each other. Furthermore, the large number of readings
and the fact that frequently more than one reading was taken in a
single room would tend to counteract the errors in some of the readings.
Table 6.—Wet-bulb

readings in relation to season of the year, by mills North and
South
Per cent of readings that were—

Total number of
wet-bulb readings
Under 70°

Season

70° and under 75°

75° and over

North­
South­
North­
South­
North­
South­
North­
South­
ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills
Entire year___

9,344

9,343

32.2

29.7

40.9

33.1

26.9

37.2

Winter.......................
Spring.........................
Summer......................
Autumn.....................

2,665
2, 565
2,118
2,096

3,068
1, 787
2, 349
2,139

42.3
39.0
17.6
26.5

45.6
37.8
4.1
28.2

38.3
41.2
42.4
42.0

40.1
41.9
19.2
31.1

19.4
19.8
40.0
31.5

14.4
20.4
76.8
40.7

The largest proportion of wet-bulb readings for the northern mills
was in the group 70° and under 75°, while for the southern mills the
largest proportion was in the division 75° and over. As would be
expected, the summer months had much the largest proportion of
readings in the high-temperature group (75° and over) in the southern
mills—76.8 per cent, or a little over three-fourths. In the northern
mills only 40 per cent of the summer readings were as high as this,
but more than 42 per cent were 70° and under 75°. In the winter
months the northern mills had 42.3 per cent of their readings in the
low-temperature group of under 70°, while the figure for the southern
mills was 45.6 per cent. It is interesting to note that the per cent of
high-temperature readings in winter was lower in the southern than
in the northern mills, 14.4 and 19.4, respectively.
_ In most cases there were considerable differences between the morn­
ing and the afternoon readings. The proportion of readings under
70° was less in the afternoons than in the mornings, and the propor­
tion 75° and over was considerably greater in the afternoons. This
was true for both northern and southern mills. The fact that the
proportions of readings in the middle range, that of 70° and under 75°,
were fairly similar in the mornings and afternoons, in both the North
and the South, does not prove that most of the readings that started
in the middle group in the morning remained so in the afternoon.
Some temperatures that started under 70° in the morning shifted to
the middle group in the afternoon, and some that started within the
group 70° and under 75° moved into the group of 75° and over in the
afternoon. Without doubt there were many cases where the few
points of change allowed the readings to remain in the same five-point
group. In Table 7 the highest per cent of readings in any one group
was that of the summer-afternoon readings of the southern mills,
when 80.5 per cent of the readings were 75° and over.




Table 7.—Morning and afternoon wet-bulb readings in relation to season of the year, by mills North and South

CO
a>

Per cent of morning and afternoon readings that were—
readings
Season

Northern
mills

Morning

Afternoon

Morning

Afternoon

4,454

4,945

4,398

38.9

24.9

1,238
1, 219
998
999

1,657
940
1, 219
1,129

1,411
847
1,130
1,010

53.9
45.6
20.1
31.8

29.9
31.7
14.8
20.6

Mornmg

Afternoon

Entire year.................. ........................

4,890

Winter............................................-.............
Spring..............................................................
Summer................................... ...................
Autumn.........................................................

1,327
1,346
1,120
1,097




Southern
mills

Southern
mills
Morning

75° and over

70° and under 75°
Northern
mills

Afternoon

Morning

Afternoon

33.4

25.5

40.2

41.6

49.7
41.4
5.4
33.0

40.8
33.8
2.7
22.8

31.7
40.0
48.7
42.0

45.4
42.6
35.5
42.0

Southern
mills
Morning

Northern
mills

Southern
mills

Afternoon

Morning

20.9

33.4

33.5

41.5

14.4
14.4
31.3
26.2

24.7
25.8
49.7
37.3

12.7
17.6
73.3
34.3

16.3
23.5
80.5
47.9

Afternoon

Morning

33.1

33.1

37.6
41.1
21.3
32.7

42.9
42.7
16.8
29.3

Afternoon

CONDITIONS OF W ORK IN SPIN ROOMS

Northern
mills

Under 70°

37

TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

A condition that is continuous over a considerable period is of
greater significance than one that occurs only occasionally and for
short periods. This is especially true of high temperatures. Doctor
Pembery and Doctor Collis, referring to the high temperatures of
weaving rooms, state that “The prolonged exposure to the hot moist
atmosphere would appear to be more injurious than exposure to even
higher temperatures (wet-bulb) for a shorter time, and, we consider,
it would be an advantage to fix the limit of the wet-bulb temperature
as low as possible, after every allowance has been made for the
difficulties of_weaving, and the breaking of threads.”16
The following is a brief statement of the extent to which the wetbulb readings in the present study did not fall below certain tempera­
tures.
Table 8.—Per cent of days on which no wet-bulb reading fell below temperatures

specified, by season and by mills North and South
Per cent of days on which no reading fell below—
Total number of
days
68°

Season

72°

76°

North­
South­
North­
South­
North­
South­
North­
South­
ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills ern mills
Entire year___

4,147

4,348

54.3

68.8

23.9

41.6

6.5

21.1

Winter........................
Spring.........................
Summer______
Autumn_____ _____

1,089
1,106
994
958

1,390
835
1,123
1,000

34.4
43.8
78.3
64.0

50.3
59.8
96.2
71.2

12.4
15.4
40.2
30.1

15.6
28.0
80.0
46.0

3.6
3. 5
13. 0
6.5

23.0

When the total number of readings for the year is considered, the
marked difference between northern and southern mills may be
observed. The days on which the wet-bulb readings did not fall
below 76° were 1 in 15 in the northern mills and 1 in less than 5 in the
southern mills. The southern mills also had the larger per cents in
each of the other two groupings, days with no readings below 72°
and days with no readings below 68°.
With regard to the seasons, the sustained high temperatures were
more prevalent in the South than in the North with one exception,
this occurring in the high-temperature group in the winter months.
In this case there was a continuous temperature of 76° and over in
3.5 per cent of the days reported by northern mills and in only 2
per cent of the days reported by southern mills. The differences
between northern and southern mills in the high-temperature group
for the summer and autumn seasons were very great. Over onehalf of the summer days in the southern mills, compared to 13 per
cent, or about one-eighth, of those in the northern mills, had wetbulb readings never falling below 75°.
Unless the temperature is a high one, the steadiness of the wet bulb
around certain temperatures is not significant, but if it is high there
probably is more strain than when the variation is greater. Table 9,
giving the number of cases when in the same day two or more suc­
cessive wet-bulb readings did not vary more than 2°, shows that of
» Wyatt, S. The effects of atmospheric conditions on health and efficiency (with special reference to the
Cotton industry). Journal of Industrial Hygiene, July, 1925, p. 328.




38

CONDITIONS OF WORK IN SPIN ROOMS

such cases in all mills well over one-fourth, or 28.3 per cent, had the
lowest reading at 75° or over. When these cases were tabulated
separately by locality, the percentages were 21.9 for the northern
and 35.4 for the southern mills.
Table 9.—Number of cases when in the same day two or more successive wet-bulb

readings varied not more than two degrees, by season and by mills North and
South

Season

Entire year...

Autumn

Total
number
of cases

6,295
1, 680
1,455
1,740
1,420

Lowest reading
was 75° or over
Number Per cent
1,783
245
211
860
467

Southern mills

Northern mills

All mills

Total
number
of cases

Lowest reading
was 75° or over
Number Per cent

Total
number
of cases

Lowest reading
was 75° or over
Number Per cent

28.3

3,311

726

21.9

2,984

1,057

35.4

14.6
14.5
49.4
32.9

771
918
818
804

149
147
223
207

19.3
16.0
27.3
25.7

909
537
922
616

96
64
637
260

10.6
11.9
69.1
42.2

The summer months, as would be expected, had the.greatest pro­
portion of cases where the wet-bulb readings varied but little and were
high. For this season, in the northern mills more than a quarter and
in the southern mills more than two-thirds of the successive readings
that varied but slightly were 75° or over.
_
Table 9 shows that in winter and spring the northern mills, rather
than the southern, had the larger per cent of cases when the wet-bulb
readings did not vary more than 2° and were 75° or more. Since
these were not due to the outdoor temperatures, they certainly could
be more easily regulated than can high temperatures that are the
result of the heat of the weather combined with the heat generated
in the mill.
_
In both the northern and the southern mills some days had no
variation in the wet-bulb reading, but the per cent when this extreme
steadiness occurred was small, only 4.1 in the North and 7.2 in the
South. However, during the day there was no variation or there was
less than 3° in nearly a fourth of the days in the northern and nearly
two-fifths of the days in the southern mills.
RELATIVE HUMIDITY

The ideal humidity for cotton-spinning rooms is from 60 to 65 per
cent, though the spinning runs satisfactorily with the humidity as
hkh as 70. Most mills try to keep the relative humidity in the spin
rooms within these limits and also to keep it fairly uniform, as much
variation affects the processing of the work. In a recent pamphlet
the evils of fluctuations in humidity were given briefly: Fluctuations
in spinning-room temperature, i. e., in relative humidity, affect “belt
tension, machine speeds, and power consumption; band tension,
spindle speeds, and twist per inch; actual or effective draft, amount
of fiber lost as fly or clearer waste, and regain. Variations in the
quality and count of the yarn always follow closely any marked varia­
tion in the relative humidity.”16
is Thompson, Albert W. Air conditioning in textile mills. Parks-Cramor Oo., 1924, p. 69.




39

TEMPERATURE READINGS IN 15 MILLS

The humidity figures in this study, according to Table 10, show
that only a quarter of the records were between 60 per cent and 70
per cent, the most desirable limits.
Table

10.—Relative humidity, by mills North and South
Northern mills

All mills

Southern mills

Relative humidity
Number Per cent Number Per cent Number Per cent
18,675
Under 50 per cent.......................................
50 and under 60 per cent..............................
60 and under 70 per cent..............................
70 and under 80 per cent.............................
80 and under 90 per cent..............................
90 per cent and over..................... ............

100.0

9,337

100.0

9,338

100.0

4,629
5,559
4,807
2,453

24.8
29.8
25.7
13.1
5.9
.7

3,088
2,680
1,700
1,010
786
73

33.1
28.7
18.2
10.8
8.4
.8

1, 541
2,879
3,107
1,443
324
44

16.5
30.8
33.3
15.5
3.5
.5

1, no

117

This table shows that more of the cases in the southern than in
the northern mills fell in the group desired, that is, 60 and under 70
per cent—one-third (33.3 per cent) in the southern mills and only
18.2 per cent in the northern mills. One-fifth of the relative-humidity
records of both the northern and the southern mills were 70 per cent
or above, but the high figure of 80 and over was much greater in
the northern than in the southern group of mills. At the other ex­
treme, where the relative humidity was under 50 per cent, the north­
ern mills also showed much the higher figure. Therefore, the south­
ern mills attained to a greater degree than did the northern the rela­
tive humidity that has been considered desirable for the proper
running of the cotton in the spin rooms.
In spite of the efforts made to keep the relative humidity steady
in the spin room, there were a number of days on which it showed
wide variations. The figure varied 15 or more points on nearly onesixth of the days reported for all mills. The northern mills succeeded
somewhat better than did the southern mills in keeping the relative
humidity fairly uniform, since in the North 14.3 per cent of the days
and in the South 18.5 per cent of the days had fluctuations of 15 or
more points.




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