View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner

BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES >
/W HOLE O A Q
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS/ * * * \ NUMBER &\)Z)
INDUSTRIAL

ACCIDENTS

AND

HYGIENE

SERIES:

NO.

HYGIENE OF THE
PRINTING TRADES




ALICE HAMILTON, M. A., M. D.
and
CHARLES H. VERRILL

APRIL, 1917

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1917

12




ADD ITIO N AL COPIES
OF THIS PUBLICATION M A Y BE PROCURED FROM
THE SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS
G O VE RN M EN T PRINTING OFFICE
W A SH IN G TO N , D. C.
AT

20 CENTS PER COPY

CONTENTS.
Page.

Introduction...............................................................................................................
5, 6
Summary............................................................... .................................................... 6-10
Description of printing plants.................................................................................. 11-20
Ventilation.......................................................................................................... 12-14
Separation of different processes....................................................................... 14,15
Lighting............................................................................................................... 15,16
Washing facilities, drinking water, and lunch rooms..................................... 16,17
Methods of cleaning............................................................................................ 17,18
Spittoons.............................................................................................................. 18,19
Standards of cleanliness..................................................................................... 19, 20
Composition of type metal........................................................................................ 20, 21
Effects of lead in fumes............................................................................................. 21-24
Volatility tests of metals used at Government Printing Office............................. 24-26
Presence of lead in dust............................................................................................ 26, 28
Tests for lead in dust.......................................................................................... 27, 28
Effects of other poisons.............................................................................................. 28-34
Antimony............................................................................... ............................ 28-30
Type and roller cleaners.................................................................................... 30-32
Acrolein............................................................................................................... 32, 33
Carbon monoxide gas.......................................................................................... 33, 34
The composing room.................................................................................................. 34-37
Linotype machines.................................................................................................... 37-44
Monotype casting....................................................................................................... 44-46
Stereotyping............................................................................................................... 46-48
Electro typing.............................................................................................................. 48-51
The pressroom........................................................................................................... 51-53
Refining dross............................................................................................................. 53, 54
Type founding............................................................................................................ 54-56
Boys in the printing trades....................................................................................... 57-59
Women in the printing trades.................................................................................. 59, 60
Health of printers....................................................................................................... 60-98
England and Wales.............................................................................................
61
Holland................................................................................................................ 61,62
France.................................................................................................................. 62, 63
Austria.................................................................................................................
63
Italy..................................................................................................................... 63,64
Germany.............................................................................................................. 64-72
United States...................................................................................................... 72-82
Lead poisoning among printers......................................................................... 82-87
Symptoms of lead poisoning............................................................................. 87-90
Other occupational diseases............................................................................... 90-93
Results of medical examination of 200 printers....................................... . .. 93-101
Physical condition of men entering the industry............................................... 101,102
Health campaign of International Typographical U n ion ................................ 102-105
3




4

CONTENTS.
Page.

Appendix A.—Proposed scheme for the inspection of composing rooms in the
District of Columbia................................................................ 107-111
Appendix B.—Precautions for printers—Massachusetts General Hospital.........
112
Appendix C.—Hygienic regulations for printing and type-casting establish­
ments—Department of Labor of New Jersey........................ 113,114
Plate No. 1.—Mechanical exhaust system for removal of noxious fumes
from linotype machines.
Plate No. 2.—Details of construction of exhaust system for linotype ma­
chines.
Plate No. 3.—Details of construction of exhaust hood for linotype machines.
Plate No. 4.—Showing how to construct an exhaust hood for linotype ma­
chines.
Plate No. 5.—Showing installation of exhaust system for linotype machines.
Plate No. 6.—Open type of exhaust hoods for melting kettles in stereotype
room.
Plate No. 7.—Melting kettles in stereotype room completely inclosed with
exhaust hood.
Plate No. 8.—Exhaust hood on melting kettle in stereotype room, showing
slot for pump action.
Plate No. 9.—Showing details of construction of hood for stereotype ma­
chine.
Appendix D.—Timely hints No. 7—for printers—Pennsylvania Department of
Labor......................................................................................... 115,116
Appendix E.—Regulations of the imperial chancellor of Germany concerning
the erection and management of printing works and typefounding works.......................................................................... 117,118




BULLETIN OF THE

U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
WHOLE NO. 209.

WASHINGTON.

APRIL, 1917.

HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.
BY ALICE HAMILTON, M . A ., M . D., AND CHARLES H . VERRILL.

INTRODUCTION.
This study was made primarily to discover what influence, if any,
the presence of lead and of other less important toxic substances has
upon the men engaged in the printing trade, and incidentally to
observe all the features of the industry which might have an in­
direct bearing on health. In order to do this it has been necessary
to examine actual conditions in the printing trade in typical Ameri­
can cities and to make a study of the actual physical condition of
the present generation of printers. Seven cities1 were selected which
were regarded as having typical industrial conditions and a personal
inspection was made of 130 plants in which all the processes used in
printing, including type founding, were studied. As there are in
this country no complete statistics of sickness and deaths among
printers available it was decided to make an investigation of the phy­
sical condition of groups of employed printers, taking so far as
possible a typical cross section of the industry, in order to determine
the effect of their occupation upon their health. One hundred print­
ers in Chicago and 100 in Boston consented to submit to a thorough
physical examination by physicians who had had special experience
in detecting occupational disease. In addition to these examinations
all possible information concerning causes of death among printers
was collected from the records of the International Typographical
Union.
The special dangers to be considered in the printing trades, espe­
cially in hand composition, linotype and monotype casting, stereo­
typing, and electrotyping, are the exposure to lead and antimony
1 These cities are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, and
St. Louis.




5

6

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

dust and to possible fumes from molten lead; to various volatile
poisons used in cleaning press rollers and old type; to irritating and
toxic fumes from remelting ink-covered type metal, and to poisonous
fumes from the gas burners under the various type-casting machines.
The description which follows is based on visits to 130 establish­
ments—in Boston (including Cambridge), New York (including
Garden City, L. I.), Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago,
and St. Louis. Thirty-four of these were newspaper offices, 84 were
book and job publishing houses, and 12 did electrotyping only. Of
the book and job printing offices, 56 were large, employing more than
12 workpeople in the departments under investigation, and 26 were
small, employing less than 12. In 4 there were type foundry depart­
ments. The departments studied were the composing room, includ­
ing linotype operating and monotype casting, the stereotype foundry,
the electrotype foundry, the pressroom, and the department in which
used type is remelted and cast and, in some cases, lead dross refined.
Other departments, such as the bindery or those of the various
processes of photo-engraving and lithography, were not included.
The points noted were: First, the construction of the building; in­
cluding the height of the ceilings, the character of ventilation, natu­
ral and artificial, including special apparatus for carrying off fumes,
the character of flooring and of furniture, the character of lighting,
natural and artificial, and the provision of washing facilities, of lunch
rooms, of toilet rooms, and of drinking water. Second, the upkeep,
the actual condition as regards cleanliness, temperature, purity of air,
and dust prevention; the method of cleaning floors and the time of
day selected for this cleaning; the method of cleaning the dust out
of type cases and of cleaning ink off old type and press rollers; the
method of disposing of lead scrap; the care of linotype machines, and
the actual working of devices installed to prevent dust and fumes.
Other features noted were the separation of possibly dangerous
processes from safe work, the character o f work intrusted to boys
and to women, and the sanitary reforms instituted by the printers
themselves during recent years.
SUMMARY.
In all countries the printer’s trade has been considered an occupa­
tion unhealthful beyond the average, and this belief is borne out by
statistics, which show an abnormally high sickness rate and death
rate for printers as compared with all occupied males.
Examination of all available sources of information in the United
States shows that in this country the printer’s trade is productive of
more illness than would be expected in an industry where wages are
high, hours usually not long, and where there is no gross contamina­




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

7

tion of the air nor exposure to excessive heat or cold, nor overexertion.
American printers suffer far more from tuberculosis than do occupied
males in general.
Statistics compiled from the records of the International Typo­
graphical Union covering almost 12,000 deaths between 1893 and
1915, show a decided lowering of the death rate from tuberculosis
and an increase in the expectation of life. This improvement is
greater than that among men in the general population during these
years.1 It is probably to be attributed to improvements in shop
hygiene, less exposure to lead owing to the use of machines, the
educational work of the International Typographical Union in re­
gard to tuberculosis, the prompt care of tuberculous printers since the
establishment of the Printers’ Home in Colorado, and the shorter
workday. It is probable that the gradual rise in the standard of
living among printers has also tended to lower the death rate from
tuberculosis.
The unhealthful features of the industry are the following: It is
an indoor occupation, often carried on in vitiated air; it requires
little physical exertion, and in consequence the printer’s circulation is
apt to be sluggish and he is oversensitive to cold; the nervous strain
is great; the printer is exposed to the effect of various poisonous
substances, the most important of which is lead.
The importance of lead in the production of disease among
printers is emphasized especially by the Austrian, Dutch, and Italian
authorities, while the Germans are more divided on the subject, and
the British believe that the danger from lead is not great.
Lead poisoning may be acquired by handling food or tobacco with
hands which have become smeared with lead. It may also be ac­
quired by breathing lead dust and fumes.
The sources of lead dust are: In the composing room, the dust
from type cases; in the linotype room, the scraps of lead from the
machine which fall on the floor and are ground up by the feet of
passers-by and the dust from cleaning machine and plunger; in
stereotyping and electrotyping, the scraps from trimmers and
routers and saws, and the dross from the kettles. In addition most
shops melt and recast used type and scrap, and this is another
source of lead dust.
Analyses of dusts collected from various surfaces in Washington
printing plants showed the presence of lead, small in amount, but
important because even very small quantities of lead in the air
breathed for many years may cause chronic lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning may also be acquired by exposure to the fumes aris­
ing from molten lead. Analyses of the air surrounding molten lead




1 See page 77.

8

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

at the temperatures usual in the various processes of printing show
that the heat used is not great enough to cause lead to be given off
from these pots so long as the molten metal is at rest, but when it is
agitated by stirring, or by skimming off dross, or by ladling and
pouring, there is a contamination of the air by the discharge of the
fine, light coating of oxide which always forms on the surface of
molten lead. •
In stereotyping, electrotyping, and remelting and casting type,
the agitation of the metal is enough to cause lead contamination of
the surrounding air.
In linotype and monotype casting the molten metal is little dis­
turbed and there is no evidence of air contamination from this source.
It is highly probable that the symptoms of ill health complained of
by linotypists and monotype casters are in reality due to the con­
tamination of the air by carbon monoxide from the naked burners
under the melting pots. There should always be exhaust ventilation
over such burners, or electric heating should be substituted for gas
heating.
A slowly developing form of lead poisoning may occur in lino­
typists as a result of the dust incident to the work as it is usually
carried on.
Lead poisoning, when it occurs in printers, is of a slow, chronic,
insidious form, not easily recognized because not typical. The
chief injury done by lead is probably to be found, not in the pro­
duction of true plumbism, but in a lowering of the resistance to
other diseases, especially to certain infections. In this way is ex­
plained the high death rate from tuberculosis. Lead poisoning
and tuberculosis go hand in hand in this trade, both being highest
in the occupations with greatest exposure to lead and both falling
as cleanliness and good ventilation increase.
Chronic lead poisoning causes a general hardening of the blood
vessels and as a result of this, certain organs, liver and kidneys
especially, are starved for blood and degenerate. As another result
of this same change in the blood vessels there may be heart disease,
for the heart is both poorly nourished and forced to greater effort to
drive the blood through the rigid vessels. I f there is a sudden rise
in the blood pressure in the brain, one of the brittle vessels may
break and an attack of apoplexy result, with paralysis. Bright’s
disease, apoplexy and paralysis are all remote effects of chronic
lead poisoning.
Foreign experts say that lead poisoning is unimportant as a cause
of death among printers, but important as a cause of sickness. The
same thing seems to be true of American printers. An examination
o f 200 working printers in Boston and Chicago showed that 18, or




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

9

9 per cent, were suffering from chronic lead poisoning. Only 98
men, or 46.5 per cent, were free from noteworthy symptoms of ill
health; the remaining 107 had health more or less impaired.
Foreign experts attribute the ill health of printers in large part
to the fact that this industry is recruited from the weaker, less well
developed boys, who enter the trade believing it to be easy. While
this seems to be far less true of the trade in this country, the sta­
tistics of the Prudential Insurance Co. show that printers average
slightly lower in stature and weight than occupied males in general.
In addition to lead, printers are exposed more or less to certain
other poisons: Antimony in type metal; carbon monoxide from gas
burners; volatile petroleum products or coal tar products used to
clean type and press rollers; turpentine used for the same purpose;
anilin oil and possibly wood alcohol and tetrachloride of carbon,
used as roller cleaners; lye water, for washing type and forms;
acrolein fumes, which develop when old ink-covered type is heated
for remelting.
A study of conditions in 130 printing plants (including type
founding and electrotyping) in seven American cities showed that
disease-producing conditions are to be found in many shops, although
in general there has been a marked improvement in sanitation during
recent years and several model establishments are to be seen in these
cities.
Ventilation is often inadequate, for where ordinary window venti­
lation is depended on the men usually refuse to permit the windows
to be opened except in warm weather.
Type cases with lead dust are commonly blown clean with a bel­
lows, and this endangers the man who does it and sometimes others
in the composing room. Dry sweeping of lead fragments and dust
and dry dusting and cleaning of type-casting machines are usual.
Processes involving exposure to lead dust and fumes are often
carried on in the same room with processes quite free from such
danger, thus unnecessarily exposing many workmen.
Boys are required to do work exposing them to lead dust, to the
effects of which they are more susceptible than are adults.
Washing facilities are in the majority of printing shops very in­
adequate, and men who bring their lunch to the shop often eat with
hands only partly cleaned.
Naked gas burners are used for type-casting machines and melting
pots, and the gas is allowed to contaminate the air in many shops.
Prevention of occupational disease among printers requires the
following measures: Ample ventilation in all sorts of weather;
electric heating of lead pots or exhaust ventilation to carry off gas
fumes; scrupulous cleanliness of the premises; no dry sweeping or




10

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

dry dusting or blowing out of type cases, or dry cleaning of casting
machines and plungers; proper lighting; separation of processes
which produce lead dust or fumes from other processes; prevention
of excessive heat, especially moist heat; ample washing facilities; no
excessive speeding up or excessively long hours; prohibition of boys’
work in processes involving exposure to lead dust or fumes.




DESCRIPTION OF PRINTING PLANTS.
There has been a very great improvement of late years in the con­
struction of printing establishments, as can be seen when some of the
old buildings in Boston or Philadelphia or even Chicago are compared
with those constructed within the past 10 or 15 years. Formerly it was
taken for granted that printing should be for the most part carried on
in small, low, dark, crowded rooms, with dust-incrusted floors, dim
windows never opened, and furniture covered with the accumulated
dust of years. Now such a place is the exception, and in every one
of the seven cities which were visited in the course of this inquiry
more than one model establishment was found, large and clean and
even beautiful. To be sure there remains still much room for im­
provement in the average printing plant, and the very best establish­
ments sometimes reveal a surprising piece of oversight or of neglect,
so that employees who are enjoying the luxury of lunch rooms and
of bubbling fountains with iced water may at the same time be
running the risk of lead poisoning from quite preventable dust or
fumes. The sanitation of this industry has not proceeded along logi­
cal lines, doing away with the dangers in the order of their impor­
tance and providing first for safety, second for comfort and beauty;
rather it has proceeded capriciously, and the desirable has sometimes
been given more attention than the really essential. Attractively
painted walls in the composing room are pleasant, but hot water to
enable the compositor to get the lead off his hands before he eats his
lunch is decidedly more important. It is a matter of surprise to find
in an apparently model establishment, one which is an evident source
of pride to the proprietors, such a really insanitary feature as the
placing of the melting pot for old metal in the composing room.
The floor in American printing shops is almost always either of
wood or of cement or concrete. The latter is supposed to be more
modern, more durable, and cleaner, but the men themselves are usu­
ally not at all enthusiastic over cement floors. To the assertion that
cement is clean they reply that many of these floors give off a fine
powder which is more objectionable than the dust from a wooden
floor. They object also to the coldness and dampness of cement floors.
They say that they are more slippery and men are more likely to have
accidents from losing their footing, but the most frequent complaint
of all is that flat foot is likely to result from long standing on this




11

12

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

rigid, unyielding surface. To obviate this all sorts of devices are
used. Some men stand on mats composed of several layers of old
carpet, others use wooden boxes or strips of cork, and the employer
sometimes provides low wooden platforms, especially for the com­
positors. There are, however, printing plants with cement floors in
which there is no complaint at all from the employees; on the con­
trary, they say they prefer them to wooden floors.
Usually hand compositors in job shops stand at their cases, while
those in newspaper work often sit. There seems no reason why all
could not sit. The cases are not adjusted to the different statures
of the men and stools would be much easier for men who are above
or below the average height. Their use would also help to prevent
flat foot.
VEN TILATION.

Most printing plants, the great majority in fact, depend on window
ventilation entirely. Where this is carefully planned, it may give
fairly good ventilation, as when the top part of the window is made
to open in such a way as to deflect the air upward first, against the
ceiling, or when the lower sash is raised with a shield in front of it
and the air passes up between the two sashes. Even then the men
working nearest to the window may object to the cold, and when
the only way to admit fresh air is by throwing open a window, it
may be taken for granted that no fresh air will be admitted except
in summer. Work in the composing room involves very little muscu­
lar effort; it is largely standing or sitting in one place and making
movements which require the use of only the smaller muscles, and
consequently the circulation of blood is sluggish and the compositor is
oversensitive to chilling of the surface of the body. No matter how
much the men at a distance from the windows may clamor for better
ventilation the men near the windows will insist on keeping them
shut, except on the warmest days. In the pressroom, drafts must
be avoided for the sake of the ink, but on the whole the air in press­
rooms is usually better than in composing rooms, perhaps because
there are more cubic feet of air space per man, perhaps because the
movement of the machinery, especially where there are belts, tends to
keep the air stirring.
Of late years the whole conception of what constitutes bad air has
had to be revised, largely as a result of the researches of Haldane and
Hill in England, Flugge in Germany, and Benedict, F. S. Lee and
C.-E. A. Winslow in this country. We know now that bad air is not
necessarily air which has a lowered percentage of oxygen or an in­
creased percentage of carbon dioxide or is contaminated with socalled animal emanations. Bad air is stagnant, hot, and humid air.
The feeling of discomfort, of flushed face, of dulled mentality, and of




H YG IEN E OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

13

headache, which is experienced in a close room may be dispelled by
simply stirring up the air even if no fresh air be admitted, for when
air stagnates, when there are no air currents, that which is in contact
with the body becomes overcharged with both heat and humidity from
the body itself, which is,, as it were, inclosed in a blanket of moist, hot
air. This condition can be remedied only by making the air move so
that fresh, unsaturated portions take the place of the saturated. Men
in the pressroom moving about in air stirred up by the movement of
the presses suffer far less from bad air than do linotypists sitting for
hours at their machines or compositors standing at their cases. Con­
sidering how large a proportion of printing plants in this country
are provided with electric lighting it is rather surprising that the
very simple device of electric fans for improving the ventilation is
not oftener used.
I f window ventilation must be depended on, the best way to
ventilate, according to these newer ideas of what constitutes good
and bad air, is to flush the whole room thoroughly now and then,
by opening windows and thus bringing about a complete stir­
ring up and change of air. It is not possible to do this while
the men are at work, but it can always be done either the last
thing at night or the first thing in the morning, or better at both
times, and then in the middle of the day, during the pause for lunch.
This last procedure is required by the regulations governing the
Industry in several European countries—in Germany, in Switzer­
land, in Norway, and in France. The compositors might object
that it would make the room too cold for them to stay and eat their
lunch, but lunching should not be permitted in workrooms.
Artificial ventilation has been installed in some of the newer plants.
A very excellent system was seen in a large Chicago printing office,
which had been worked out by the foreman of the composing room.
Even an old, poorly constructed plant may have a very good system
of artificial ventilation which really renders it more hygienic than
many newer plants. For instance there is in New York a newspaper
plant, built down in a crowded part of the city, with very inadequate
window space, but with such good artificial ventilation in composing
room, stereotype foundry, and pressroom that it compares favorably,
as far as good air is concerned, with the finest buildings in the coun­
try. The same is true of an old newspaper plant in Chicago.
Since humidity is one of the factors in bad air it is a very poor
plan to have hot, humid work carried on where many men are em­
ployed. Many a composing room, otherwise good, is spoiled by hav­
ing the steam tables for stereotype matrices placed there, unneces­
sarily, of course, for the work is not done by compositors and there
is no reason why the tables should not be in a room apart where only




14

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the men engaged in that work need suffer from the discomfort of
the steam.
The experiments made by experts in ventilation tend to show that
stagnant air, especially when it is too warm and overcharged with
moisture, lessens a man’s capacity for work; both physical and intel­
lectual. Especially is the inclination to work diminished in such an
atmosphere. Alertness and interest are replaced by dullness and list­
lessness, and the effort which must be made to overcome this feeling
is quite disproportionate to the amount of work accomplished. Hot,
moist, motionless air in a printing shop must result in a lowering of
the efficiency of the men.
SEPARATION OF DIFFERENT PROCESSES.

Closely connected with the ventilation problem is the proper separa­
tion of certain processes involving the danger of lead poisoning from
other comparatively safe processes. It is a great mistake to place melt­
ing pots and stereotype kettles in the composing room, for this intro­
duces not only a source of heat but of air contamination from lead
dust and possibly lead oxide, and there is no reason for it but economy
of space. This is a very common fault in printing shops, even in
some that are good in all other respects. There is a job shop in Bos­
ton which has in one corner of the composing room the worst possible
accumulation of lead scrap and sweepings and in another corner a
pot for melting old linotype metal, with dross skimmings scattered
all over the floor around it. This is a rather poorly built place and
open to criticism in many ways, but in a Philadelphia job shop which
is quite good in other respects the composing room is spoiled by hav­
ing not only the pot for linotype metal but the stereotype kettle right
in the center of the room, away from the windows. Both kettles have
hoods, but that over the stereotype kettle must be lifted while work
is going on. The floor near these kettles was covered with great
heaps of old type and trimmings and lead scrap of all kinds.
A Baltimore newspaper composing room also has the steam tables
and the monotype casting machine, with its lead scrap and possible
lead oxide to contaminate the air.
These are only a few instances which might be multiplied many
times. In newspaper publishing houses it is the exception to find
the composing room free from steam from the matrix tables or from
lead dust from accumulations of scrap. In large book and job houses
the processes are more likely to be kept separate and besides there
is no stereotyping done in most of their work, but some of the
smaller plants are very bad offenders in this respect. As contrasts,
one might mention a St. Louis newspaper, one in Chicago, and one
in Boston, all of which have all their remelting and casting of
“ biscuits” for the linotypes done in special rooms, shut off from the




H YGIENE OF, THE PRINTING TRADES.

15

rest of the building. This is true also of a very large magazine
publishing house in Philadelphia, and a small job house in the same
city, of two large book and job shops in Boston, and of one in
Chicago.
The placing of linotype machines in the composing rooms is a
detriment to the men doing handwork. There is no proof that
lead fumes are given off from the linotype metal pots, rather the
contrary, but there is a contamination of the air with particles of
lead dust from the scraps thrown out by the machines, and there is
a further serious contamination with gases produced by the gas
flames under these pots. (See pp. 33, 34, 40.)
Another unnecessary source of contamination of air in many print­
ing shops is the irritating smoke which rises from the pots for
remelting used type soon after the fire is started. This smoke comes
from the ink on the used type, and contains a product of the decom­
position of the oily constituents of the ink, acrolein, an irritating
poison. (See pp. 32, 33.)
Loud noises, especially when accompanied by jarring, increase the
fatigue from work of any kind. Compositors whose work is done
in close proximity to a pressroom or a monotype casting machine
will suffer from fatigue sooner than they would if they were working
in a quiet place.
LIGHTING.

Insufficient light results in great eyestrain, especially to the far­
sighted man, who is obliged to bring his work closer to his eyes than
their natural powers of accommodation require, and this causes muscu­
lar fatigue. Only a few places, however, were found in this investi­
gation where the light was deficient. This is the criticism often made
of the printer’s trade, that it causes frequent eye trouble because of
poor lighting. As a matter of fact the opposite extreme is much
more likely to be found nowadays, glaring, naked lights, so placed
as to shine into the man’s eyes, or if shades are provided, making
small areas of brilliant illumination surrounded by the semidarkness
of the rest of the room. This condition causes eyestrain, because each
time a man looks up from the lighted to the darkened area his pupil
must respond to the change by dilating, and then when he turns back
to the brilliant light there is an instant of intense irritation to the
retina before the reflex contraction of the pupil can take place. A
room lighted in such a way as to afford great contrasts of light and
dark is a badly lighted room. This fact is coming to be recognized,
and in the better establishments an effort is made to provide welldiffused lighting in addition to the individual lights. These last
should be adjustable to suit the varying heights of the men, and it is
needless to say that clear electric-light globes should not be used
unless they are carefully shaded.




16

BULLETIN- OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

There is a great deal of disagreement as to the mercury light. It
is seen chiefly in newspaper plants, and the men who have installed
it are usually enthusiastic in its praise, but there are establishments
where it has been tried and given up because the men thought it was
a strain to the eyes. The very best kind of artificial light involves
of course some strain to the eye, and unfortunately there are few
printing plants, especially among those situated in big cities, where
the natural lighting is at all adequate. Some of the largest of the
newer printing plants are, however, built in the more sparsely set­
tled parts of the city and there the lighting may be excellent.
Overbright light is not only bad for the eyes, it is irritating to
the nervous system. The sense of relief and soothing experienced
when one steps from a sunny street into a darkened church has a true
physiological basis, and since the work of composition is, at the
best, nerve straining, it is a fact of some importance that overlight­
ing is so very common in our printing plants. While only 7 of the
130 plants studied in this investigation were found to have insufficient
lighting, no less than 45 were noted as having glaring lights, and
doubtless this number would have been increased if all the plants
had been visited on dark days when the artificial lights were in use.
WASHING FACILITIES, DRINKING WATER, AND LUNCH ROOMS.

Considering the high class of labor employed in this trade, which
requires a very fair degree of education, especially among hand com­
positors, linotypists, and make-up men, the provisions for cleanliness
and the toilet rooms in the majority of printing plants are surpris­
ingly inadequate, sometimes really wretchedly neglected and dirty.
Even when the plant is modern and in other respects very well
equipped there is often only cold water for washing and neither
soap nor towels provided, or if towels are provided, they are the
insanitary roller towels which are forbidden by law in several of
these cities.
The men can be required to provide their own towels and soap, but
no one who has been handling metallic lead can thoroughly clean
his hands without warm water. This is a point on which the health
committees of the union might well be much more insistent than
they have been so far. In this investigation the following condi­
tions were found:
Establishments providing—
Number.
Hot water, soap, and individual towels---------------------------20
Hot water, soap, and roller towels_______________________
11
Hot water only__________________________________________
12
Cold water, soap, and individual towels_________________
9
Cold water, soap, and roller towels_______________________
25
Cold water, and sometimes paper towels or roller towels,
but usually neither, and no soap_______________________
53




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

17

The larger establishments, especially in the Middle West, often
have cold drinking water piped to bubbling fountains, and a few,
in which coolers of water are provided, furnish individual paper
drinking cups, but the usual printing shop has only a cooler with a
common cup or water from the tap with a common cup.
Lunch rooms are not needed in a great many printing shops which
are situated in downtown districts, for the men usually prefer to go
out for their lunch if there is a restaurant near. Still there is more
lunching in rooms containing lead dust by men who have had only
cold water to wash with than should be allowed.
Perhaps the most striking instance of recklessness in this respect
was seen in the largest book and job house in Washington, which was
visited during the lunch hour. This plant has a very extensive metal
mixing and remelting department, in which seven to nine men are
employed. The room is full of piles of old type metal, of scraps and
shavings and trimmings, and of dross. The men went out to buy
their lunch and returned bringing sandwiches and pie, which they
proceeded to lay on the edge of one of the great melting pots in
order to heat them. There is no European country in which any
factory laws have been passed where such a dangerous thing as this
would be allowed. Such laws always contain the provision against
keeping or eating food in rooms where lead is worked over. Three
newspaper plants, one in New York, one in Boston, and one in
Philadelphia provide lunch rooms where hot food is offered for sale.
Eestaurants are also found in five large book and job houses in
Cambridge, Boston, Philadelphia, Garden City (near New York),
and Chicago.
METHODS OF CLEANING.

More care is needed in cleaning a printing shop than a factory
where there is no lead in the dust. Dry sweeping of lead scraps and
shavings and of lead dross which has been thrown on the floor will
cause a contamination of the air with tiny particles of lead and this
means a danger to the sweeper and to everyone else in the room.
Even if the sweeping is done only after working hours it should
never be done dry, for lead-laden dust may settle on the surfaces of
the benches and cases, to be stirred up and blown about as soon us
work starts up again. That the dust in a composing room is really
mixed with quite appreciable quantities of lead may be seen in the
report of Dr. Phelps on pp. 27, 28.
Dry sweeping during working hours is almost the rule in electro­
type foundries, in stereotype foundries, in the monotype casting
room, and around melting pots wherever they are placed. Usually it
is not permitted around linotypes, or in the composing room, the men
57184°—Bull. 200— 17------ 2




18

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

rightly refusing to be exposed to the risk of this dust. Two wellmanaged book and job houses, one in Chicago and one in Cambridge,
have no dry sweeping, all sweeping being done with wet sawdust,
while two Philadelphia shops use a specially prepared oily sawdust.
In some plants the floor is treated with oil often enough to keep down
the dust, this being the case in two Baltimore job offices and a news­
paper composing room, in a St. Louis job house, and in a Washington
newspaper office. A newspaper office in St. Louis has the floors
mopped once a week; a large book and job printing shop in Chicago,
with cement floors, has them mopped twice a week; and another large
shop in Chicago has no sweeping at all, only vacuum cleaning. The
largest printing plant in Washington keeps the floors of the com­
posing rooms in excellent condition by scrubbing every second day
and sweeping every day with wet sawdust. The floor here is of wood
over cement.
Strangely enough, more care is taken with the sweeping in the com­
posing room than in the stereotyping and electrotyping departments
and around the linotypes and monotype casters, where lead dust is
so much more of a danger. For instance, in the Washington printing
shop just referred to, while every effort is made to prevent lead dust
in the composing room proper, the part devoted to linotypes is scat­
tered over with lead fragments which catch in the rough edges of
the metal covering the floor, while the sweeping is done dry and is far
from thorough. Much worse is the condition in the other departments,
for the heaps of scrap around the routers and the monotype casters
and the dross around the electrotype and stereotype pots are swept
up from time to time all through the day, with no attempt to prevent
dust. If there is any place where a vacuum cleaner would be valu­
able it is in one of these foundries.
SPITTO ON S.

The problem of cleanliness includes the prevention of spitting on
the floor. This is a feature to which the health committees of the
unions have paid special attention, and with good results. Several
printing offices were visited in which spittoons were not needed.
The floors were kept in excellent condition, and the men were not
given to chewing tobacco and had not the habit of spitting, a habit
which is often quite as unnecessary for men as for women. In other
places spittoons were provided in large numbers and were well cared
for, emptied daily, disinfected, and filled with some germicidal
solution. These are, however, exceptional shops. More often spit­
toons are neglected and filthy; and though it would be quite in­
accurate to say that a dirty spittoon is a menace to health, still it
is certainly true that dirty spittoons go with dirty floors and gen­
eral neglect, and in such places the men are likely to grow careless




H YGIENE OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

19

and spit on the floor or on the walls. The best way to prevent this is
to have walls and floor scrupulously -clean, for men of the class of
life from which printers are drawn will not deliberately or even
carelessly defile a clean floor by spitting on it.
STAN D ARDS OF CLEANLINESS.

Standards of cleanliness in American printing offices are certainly
much higher than they were formerly. Not many badly neglected
places were seen in the course of this investigation; by far the greater
number were fairly clean, and a goodly number were beautifully clean
in most of the departments. The standards are, of course, largely
dependent on the character of the man in charge, and it is by no
means always the small and cheap plants that are the most neglected.
There is a building in Chicago in which the two extremes of neglect
and care may be seen on two successive stories. Both are one-room
shops, the first a dark, crowded, dirty place, with rolls of black dust
in corners, windows blackened with dirt and all tightly shut, ceiling
and walls blackened, lights few and unshaded, a dirty sink with cold
water, one much used roller towel, and no spittoons. The type cases
are blown free from dust right in the room itself. In the next story
is the second shop. This one is light, because walls and ceilings
are white and the windows are clean. Floor and cases are free from
dust, the latter being cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The ventila­
tion is not sufficient, but is helped by the belts o f the presses. There
is a clean sink, with individual towels, and there was no sign of spit­
ting on the floor.
Many foreign countries require a certain standard of cleanliness
in printing establishments and specify how often they must be cleaned
and even painted or whitewashed. Thus in Holland floors must be
wet-cleaned, either with mop or scrubbing brush, at least once a
week unless a dust-binding oil is used. The walls must be washed or
whitened once in 15 months. In Switzerland floors and furniture
must be wiped daily with a wet cloth, walls whitened or washed
once a year. The floor under frames and racks must also be washed.
The German law specifies that the floor must be of some impervious
material which can be wet-cleaned, the ceilings and walls covered
with oil paint which will permit of their being washed down once a
year, or else they are to be whitewashed once a year. The racks and
frames in the composing room must either be built flush with the
floor or high enough to permit of being swept under. The floor must
be washed or mopped once a day, and all furniture must be thor­
oughly cleaned twice a year. Among the foreign regulations govern­
ing the management of printing offices we have selected the Norwegian
as perhaps the best.




20

B U LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Norway’s regulations, briefly stated, are as follows:
1. The floor must be washed weekly with warm water and soft
soap and all furniture and other surfaces (this includes stoves) wiped
off with a wet cloth. The floor must be smooth and must either be
painted or finished with an oil that is not sticky. The cases, cabinets,
etc., must be so placed that there are no spaces between them which
can not be reached for cleaning.
2. Daily, after work is over, the floor must be wiped with a wet
cloth. No person under 18 years may do the cleaning.
3. Windows and window sills must be washed once a month.
4. Twice a year there must be a house cleaning, all the furniture
thoroughly cleaned, type cases removed and made dust free, walls and
ceilings washed or covered with whitewash.
5. There must be one spittoon for each workman, filled with water,
and emptied and cleaned daily.
6. Type cases must be cleaned at least every three months by an
adult workman outside the workroom in the open air. He must pro­
tect his nose and mouth while he does it.
7. In the composing room there must be enough water, soap, and
towels to enable each compositor to wash easily. Soap and towels
are to be supplied by the employer. Compositors must wash before
eating lunch and before quitting work.
8. The temperature of the room at the level of a man’s head must
be between 14° and 16° Reaumur (63.5° and 68° F.). There must be
proper provisions for heating and ventilating in charge of a compe­
tent person.
9. The room should be ventilated, preferably by cross draft, at
noon and after work. Smoking is forbidden.
These regulations were promulgated in 1896, and in 1907 this fur­
ther provision was added:
10. The melting pot for linotype metal must be so arranged as to
prevent heat radiation as much as possible. Gases must be drawn
away from the workroom.
COMPOSITION OF TYPE METAL,
Type metal is an alloy of lead, containing tin and sometimes copper
in varying proportions.
According to Southward’s Modem Printing (London, 1900), Eng­
lish type metal contains about 50 to 69 per cent lead, 18.8 to 25 per
cent antimony, 9.1 to 25 per cent tin, and sometimes 1.5 per cent cop­
per. The formula for American type metal, according to the same
authority, is the following: Lead, 100 parts; antimony, 35 parts; tin,
15 parts; copper, 4 parts.
No one formula is really typical of the alloy used in any country.
The proportions vary not only for the different uses—linotype, stereo­




21

HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

type, and monotype metal, etc.—but from shop to shop. Usually
linotype metal is soft, i. e., rich in lead and poor in antimony, while
stereotype metal has more antimony and monotype metal still more.
Occasionally, however, only one mixture is made and it is used both
for linotyping and stereotyping.
The proportions used are kept secret, but the foreman of a stereo­
type foundry gave some information concerning stereotype metal.
Theoretically, he said, the mixture was supposed to be the following:
Lead, 75 parts; antimony, 16 parts; tin, 9 parts. As a matter of fact,
however, tin is too expensive to be used in such large quantities, and
the real composition of the alloy is more likely to be this: Lead, 85
parts; antimony, 13 parts; tin, 2 parts.
Dr. Earle B. Phelps, of the Public Health Service, analyzed the
various type metals used in the Government Printing Office and
found their composition as follows:
■ ....... ...... <
p

Linotype........................
Monotype......................
Electrotype...................
Stereotype....................

Melting point.

237° C.
236° C.
265° C.
236° C.

[459° F.]
[457° F.]
[509° F.]
[457° F.]

Lead.

Antimony.

Tin.

Per cent.

Metal.

Per cent.

Per cent.

84.3
75.3
91.9
77.2

9.5
16.3
3.0
14.7

Arsenic.

4.4
6.9
4.1
5.7

Copper.

Per cent.
+

Per cent.

+
+
+

+
+
+
+

EFFECTS OF LEAD IN FUMES.
It is difficult to say how much exposure there is to lead poisoning
in the printing trades because there is such wide difference of opinion
among the authorities as to whether or not lead fumes are given off
from the melting pots of the linotype machines, or from the mono­
type casting pots, or from the melting pots in stereotyping and in
electrotyping. Some authorities are willing to say quite positively
that no lead fumes are given off from such molten lead, and that the
only danger is from lead dust, although they advise the placing of
hoods over all melting pots. On the other hand De Yooys thinks there
is actually an increase of lead poisoning since the introduction of the
linotype. Carozzi also believes that linotypists suffer from the com­
bined effects of lead and of nervous strain. Hahn reports that in
1907 the central committee of linotypists in Germany asked for an
inquiry as to the possibility of lead poisoning from the machines,
for they claimed that the introduction of machine work had not
done away with this danger as had been expected. Out of 3,002
linotypists 55 believed that they had contracted lead poisoning dur­
ing work on machines, but Hahn himself, after studying the ques­
tion, came to the conclusion that the symptoms they complained of
were caused by eye strain and possibly by lead dust and by gas fumes
from the heating apparatus, but not by the fumes of lead. One of




22

B U LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the Austrian authorities upon lead poisoning, Etz,1 says it is quite
impossible that linotypists could be poisoned through fumes from
the melting pots, for lead is best cast when it is only a little over its
melting point, 330° C. (626° F . ) ; a higher temperature makes it too
brittle. Etz thinks that the only danger of lead poisoning in this
sort of work comes from skimming off the oxide, the dross, and
throwing it into a receptacle. I f this is not done with care, the oxide
turns to dust and may contaminate the air.
According to Legge and Goadby 2 also, the danger in the printing
industry is greatest in work involving the handling of molten lead,
but this comes not from fumes—there is no evolution of fumes from
such metal—but from lead dust. This dust can be seen on the sur­
face of linotype magazines. There should always be a receptacle for
dross; it should not be thrown on the floor.
Silberstein3 quotes Sternberg, who was for many years in charge of
the workmen’s sickness insurance in Vienna, as holding that there is
no danger of lead fumes in the printing trades, since the melting
point of lead is 320° to 330° C. (608° to 626° F.), and the vaporiz­
ing point between 1,000° and 1,500° C. (1,832° and 2,732° F.).
The fumes which are seen to rise from melting pots consist of acro­
lein, from the fat and oil in the ink. The danger in this work, melt­
ing old type, is really from lead dust. Stereotypers are exposed to the
same dangers as type founders except that there is not so much dust,
because the type does not have to be finished by rubbing and filing.
It seems that the law in Germany (a measure passed by the Bundesrath in 1895) assumes that fumes may come from melting pots used
for casting type, and prescribes precautions which must be taken
against such fumes. This might, obviously, be applied to the pots
in linotype machines, but apparently it has not generally been ap­
plied to them, and hoods are not always required for these machines.
Various attempts have been made to decide this question positively
by testing the air of printing establishments in order to detect lead.
Roth’s experiments are quoted in the Austrian governmental report.4
He examined 10 liters (610 cubic inches) of air collected over a
kettle in which the lead was at 550° C. (1,022° F.), but he could
find no lead at all. Only after a temperature of 650° C. (1,202° F.)
had been reached was lead detected, and, inasmuch as the metal in
the linotype machines can not be heated over 360° C. (680° F.)
without injury to the machine, Roth concludes that there is no danger
of fumes from this source. Sommerfeld5 examined the air collected
1 E t z , in L e y m a n n ’ s B e k a m p fu n g d. B le ig e fa h r in d. In d u strie. Jen a, 1 9 0 8 , p. 2 1 4 .
2 L e ad P o iso n in g an d L e ad A b so rp tio n . L o n d o n , 1 9 1 2 .
3 W e y l ’s H a n d b u ch der A rb eiterk ra n k h eiten . J en a , 1 9 0 8 .
4 B le iv e rg iftu n g e n in h u tte n m an n isclien un d gew erblich en B etrieben , in k. k. A r b e its s ta tis tis c h e s A m t im H an d e lsm in iste riu m .
V ie n n a , 1 9 0 9 , V o l. V I I .
5 S o m m e rfe ld , in L e y m a n n ’ s B e k a m p fu n g d. B le ig e fa h r in d. In d u strie.
p. 2 2 0 .




Jen a,

1908,

HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

23

close to a type-casting machine in the Government printing shop in
Berlin. The lead was at a temperature of 400° to 450° C. (752°
to 842° F.) throughout the experiment, and not the slightest trace of
lead could be found in 60 cubic meters (2,119 cubic feet) of air.
Nevertheless, Sommerfeld believes that there is some danger in con­
nection with these melting pots, because even if lead is not vaporized
at the temperature maintained it becomes very quickly covered with
a layer of suboxide of lead, which is easily pulverized and blown
into the air. Workmen near the pots, and especially if bending over
them, might easily breathe in some of this light powder. Sommerfeld also thinks that melted lead is more dangerous when it con­
tains some antimony, as is always the case with type metal.
Another analysis of air over a melting pot was made by Lewin.1
He found that when the lead in the pots was kept at 500° to 520° C.
(932° to 968° F.) no lead could be detected in the air, and only after
the temperature had been raised to 800° or 900° C. (1,472° or 1,652°
F.) could it be detected. Similar tests were made by Tischler2 in
the royal printing establishment in Vienna. He collected the air
directly over the metal in a type-founding machine at 450° C.
(842° F.). No trace of lead or antimony was found in 100 liters
(3.5 cubic feet) of air. The same negative result was obtained from
air collected over a melting pot for old metal which was at 470° C.
(878° F.). Only when the heat in a stereotype metal pot was much
over 500° C. (932° F.) did he find in 100 liters (3.5 cubic feet) of
air 0.25 milligram (0.004 grain) of lead and 0.16 to 0.21 milligram
(0.002 to 0.003 grain) of antimony. It is a pity that Tischler does
not give any more specific statement than this as to the degree of
temperature in the metal which produced positive results!
So far as can be gathered from the descriptions these experiments
were all done with the molten lead at rest. Now, if one watches the
work at a melting pot it is easy to see that while the lead is undis­
turbed there are no visible fumes given off, but as soon as it is stirred,
or fresh lead dropped in, or the dross skimmed off, or if it is ladled or
pumped out into molds and pans, a very distinct bluish cloud may be
seen rising. This is what Sommerfeld referred to when he spoke
of the oxide on the surface of the molten lead being easily dislodged
*and blown about by the currents of air rising from the heated metal.
To determine this point by experiment it is obviously necessary to
test the air while the lead is being agitated. This was done for this
report by Dr. Earle B. Phelps, of the Hygienic Laboratory of the
Public Health Service, who made a study of conditions obtaining in
the Government Printing Office and then reproduced them in his
1 Lewin, in Zeitschrift fiir Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten. 1912, Vol. L X X I I , pp.
154, 161.
2 P.leivergiftunsen in Imttenm&nnischen und gewerblichen Betrieben, in k. k. Arbeitsstatistisches A m t im Handelsmi*)iste*ium. Vienna, 1909, Vol. V II.




24

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

laboratory, using type metals of the same composition and raising
them to the same temperatures as those found in the various metal
pots. He also carried the temperature higher in order to cover those
shops in which temperature variations are not well regulated and in
which it sometimes happens that the lead is allowed to reach a heat
decidedly higher than is necessary. He collected air for analysis
while the molten metal was at rest and then again while it was being
agitated.
Dr. Phelps summarizes his results as follows:
There is no detectable volatilization of lead within the range of
temperature used at the Government Printing Office, nor at a con­
siderably higher temperature, but even at the lowest temperature
used there is a formation of oxide upon the surface of the molten
metal, this oxide film being in the form of finely divided dust. It is
more or less affected by mechanical agitation and may quite readily
be carried away by currents of air. It is frequently in practice
skimmed off as dross.
Under the conditions of these tests, and it is believed under con­
ditions as observed at the Printing Office, this last effect is the only
one deserving of serious attention. It is primarily a matter of me­
chanical agitation rather than of the temperature of the metal which
determines the pollution of the surrounding air with this fine metallic
dust.
In other words, molten lead as used in printing is at a temper­
ature far below the volatilization point, and lead fumes, in the strict
sense of the term, are not given off, but stirring or skimming or
ladling out the metal disturbs the film of oxide constantly forming
on the surface of the lead, and this is carried into the air so that
there is a contamination of the air from lead as shown by actual test.1
This majr be one reason why most of the foreign authorities who
do not believe that lead fumes are a danger in printing, nevertheless,
to be on the safe side, advise that all melting pots be provided with
hoods. Legge and Goadby in Great Britain, Hahn in Germany, and
the Austrian commission all consider this a desirable precaution.
The Swiss law requires it.
Dr. Phelps’s report of his experiments follows.
VOLATILITY TESTS OF METALS USED AT GOVERNMENT
PRINTING OFFICE.
The problem was confined to the single question: To what extent
are lead and lead compounds carried into the surrounding air from
pots of molten type metal under the conditions of practice as found
in the Government Printing Office. Four distinct types of process
were inspected, namely, the linotype process, the monotype process,
the stereotype process, and the electrotype process. In each of these
cases a particular type-metal alloy is used.
In the first two named the metal is contained in small pots at each
1 This is more freely discussed in the section on “ Linotype m achines” (p. 37 et seq.).




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

25

machine, while in the case of the electrotype and stereotype work the
metal is contained in large pots from which it is ladled as used. It
was decided to secure specimens of these four type metals and to sub­
mit them to study at the Hygienic Laboratory under conditions that
could be more accurately controlled and where a more careful investi­
gation might be made. The apparatus arranged for this purpose may
be briefly described as follows:
The metal in question was melted in a 2^-inch fused quartz crucible.
This crucible was covered with a piece of asbestos perforated for the
introduction of a thermometer and of an aspirator tube. This tube
conducted the air from a point immediately over the surface of the
molten metal through suitable absorption bulbs containing dilute
nitric acid attached to the aspirator device. During the test, which
was usually continued for several hours, quantities of air varying
from 8 to 41 liters (488 to 2,502 cubic inches) were thus aspirated.
Temperature readings were taken at frequent intervals and in most
instances the metal was agitated from time to time as violently as
possible by means of a glass stirring rod. It is believed that this
agitation represents approximately the practical conditions main­
taining at the Printing Office during the ladling process, or upon the
addition of new bars of metal. In two cases more intense agitation
was given by directing a small jet of air in the one case and of carbon
dioxide in the other, directly beneath the surface of the metal. This
blast was maintained continuously during the test. The contents of
the absorption bulbs were withdrawn at the conclusion of the experi­
ment, evaporated to dryness, and submitted to careful quantitative
examination for lead, antimony, and tin. The tests were run over
various temperature ranges and in all cases the temperatures were
well above those used at the Printing Office.
A second trip of inspection was made to the Printing Office for the
purpose of collecting information upon this point and temperatures
of the various metals were taken. In the case of the small linotype
and monotype pots some half-dozen temperatures were taken in each
case. A complete chemical analysis of each of the metals investigated
was also made and the melting points of each were determined.
The results of the experimental studies have been compiled and are
shown in the table following.
T a b le

Ex­
peri­
ment
num­
ber.
1

1 .—V O L A T IL IT Y TESTS OF M ETALS USED IN G O VERNM ENT PR IN TIN G OFFICE.
Temperature.
Metal.
Printing Office.
Linotype.............

259° to 295° C.
[498° to 563° F.]
259° to 295° C.
[498° to 563° F.]
3 ........do.................. - 259° to 295° C.
[498° to 563° F.]
5 ........do..................
259° to 295° C.
[498° to 563° F.]
4 Monotype...........
378° to 416° C.
[712° to 781° F.]
8 ........do..................
378° to 416° C.
[712° to 781° F.]
6 Stereotype.......... 307° C. [585° F.]
2 ........do..................

7

Electrotype........

370° C. [698° F.]

Negative lead results less than 0.00005 grain.




Test.
268° to 290° C.
[514° to 554° F.J
310° to 460° C.
[590° to 860° F.]
294° to 320° C.
[561° to 608° F.]
380° to 410° C.
[716° to 770° F.]
320° to 380° C.
[608° to 716° F.]
454° to 508° C.
[849° to 946° F.]
340° to 400° C.
[644° to 752° F.]
350° to 370° C.
[662° to 698° F.]

\
Volume
of air
(liters).
8.5
8.0
30.0

Result—lead.

Remarks.

Negative.........
0.00126 grain.. Air blast.
Negative.........

36.0

0.00134 grain.. CO2 blast.
Sb. 0.00004

28.0

Negative.........

37.0 ........do............... Sb. 0.00002
41.0 ........do...............
34.0 ........do...............

Negative antimony results less than 0.00002 grain.

26

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

In stereotyping and in electrotyping temperatures higher than the
above are sometimes found. The following tests were made to deter­
mine the contamination of the air with lead during an agitation of
the metal at these higher temperatures such as would result from stir­
ring it, or ladling, pumping, or skimming in the course of ordinary
work.
Test No. 9 was made with stereotype metal at temperatures ranging
from 440° to 512° C. (824° to 954° F.). Thirty-six liters (2,197 cubic
inches) of air were drawn through this crucible, the metal being fre­
quently agitated by stirring; 0.03 milligram (0.0005 grain) of lead
and no antimony were found on analysis of this volume of air.
Test No. 10 was made with the electrotype metal under similar
conditions, the temperature ranging from 445° to 520° C. (833° to
968° F.). Thirty-six liters (2,197 cubic inches) of air were drawn
over the crucible containing this metal and the results of the analysis
gave 0.04 milligram (0.0006 grain) of lead and no antimony.
PRESENCE OF LEAD IN DUST.
Whatever doubt there may be as to the presence of lead in the
fumes from melting pots, there is no doubt that the air of the print­
ing shop may become contaminated with lead dust in several ways.
Cases in which type is kept contain dust with particles of lead in it
and some of this escapes into the air when the type is shaken to get
at the lower letters and especially when the cases are cleaned by
blowing out the dust. This is generally recognized as a danger and
some precautions are almost always taken, such as carrying the
case which is to be blown out over to the window, or even on to the
fire escape, or into the corridor. Around the linotypes and the
machines for trimming, shaving, and routing stereotype plates and
electrotype plates, there are quantities of lead scraps and filings
which lie on the floor and are tracked about by the men passing to
and fro. The same thing is true around the melting pots for used
type. Even dustier is the dross that is skimmed from the various
melting pots and very often thrown on the floor. Then at the end of
the day’s work the linotype machines are cleaned of lead scraps,
sometimes by wiping, but much more often by brushing or blowing.
In all of these ways particles of lead find their way into the air of
the composing rooms and the stereotype and electrotype foundries.
Several analyses of dusts collected in various printing shops have
been made and we have selected a few typical ones. The one most
often quoted is Fromm’s, reported in 1898.1 He made his tests partly
in the royal printing shops in Vienna and gives the following
results:
Two tests of dust from type cases showed 38.77 per cent and 17.27
per cent, respectively, of lead.
Three tests of dust from floors and surfaces of rooms showed, re­
spectively, 2.11 per cent, 1.83 per cent, and 2.43 per cent of lead.




1 F r o m m , in H y g ie n R u n d sch au .

1 8 9 8 , v o l. 8, p. 4 6 5 .

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

27

Fromm says that Pannwitz and Wegmann found the air in printing
shops lead free, but he himself filtered it and found a small but
appreciable percentage of lead in the dust thus gathered.
Carozzi1 examined the dust of a printing shop in Milan and found
two type cases to contain, respectively, 16.4 per cent and 28.8 per cent
of lead; that from the surface of a type case 5.6 per cent; that from
the floor of a composing room, 0.37 per cent; and that from the top
of a stove, 0.24 per cent. The dust which had accumulated in a ven­
tilator during two months’ time contained 2.5 per cent of lead.
Legge and Goadby2 say that the dust removed from a composing
box by a vacuum cleaner was found in the Government laboratory to
contain 9.8 per cent of metallic lead, and that collected from the top
of the magazine of a lintoype machine 8.18 per cent.
Fabre made analyses in the royal printing establishment in Berlin
in 1897.3 He estimated first the dust in the air and found that during
the 300 working days of the year a man would breathe about 186
milligrams (2.86 grains) of dust, but his analysis showed that there
was only about 1.6 per cent of lead in this dust, which would make a
little less than 3 milligrams (0.046 grain) of lead in a year’s time.
This he thinks too small a quantity to cause illness in an otherwise
healthy man.
None of the analyses show a large proportion of lead in the dust
from any source except the type cases, and this does not often find
its way into the air of the rooms. Even in printing shops where type
is used over and over again it is rare to find a place where a type case
has to be blown out even as often as once a week. Nevertheless, the
very small quantities of lead which are found in the dust from floors
and other surfaces become of importance when one considers that the
printers are breathing this air day after day, that lead is a slowly
cumulative poison, and that it may show itself in a lowered resistance
to infections even when it is not shown by any symptoms of typical
poisoning.
TESTS FOR LEAD IN DUST.

Analyses of dust from different sources and from several printing
shops in Washington were made by Dr. Earle B. Phelps, of the
Public Health Service. As would be expected, the largest proportion
of lead was found in that collected in type cases.
The specimens were examined in accordance with a procedure
which involved the extraction of the sample by shaking for one hour
at common temperature with 1,000 times the sample weight of
1 Inchiesta igienico-sanitaria nell’ industria poligrafica in Italia. Pubblicazione della
Sezione Ital. dell’ Associazione internaz. per la protezione legale dei lavoratori.
1908.
Parte II.
2 Lead Poisoning and Lead Absorption.
London, 1912.
8 Fabre, in Deutsche medicinische Wochenschrift. 1897, vol. 23, p. 568.




28

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

aqueous hydrochloric acid containing 0.25 per cent of HC1. The
results are recorded in percentage of lead by weight. In each case,
also, a qualitative test was obtained for antimony, and a distinct
qualitative test was obtained for arsenic in the case of sample No. 6.
Samples of dust numbered 1, 2, and 3 were taken from three news­
paper printing offices in Washington and contained, respectively,
0.51, 0.80, and 2.80 per cent of lead.
Samples numbered 4 and 5, which were from two commercial
printing offices, showed, respectively, 0.20 and 5.68 per cent of lead.
Samples numbered 6 to 11, inclusive, were all taken from the
Government Printing Office, and the original description of sources
has been retained in the following paragraphs:
No. 6. Dust from open type case. Contained 5.68 per cent of lead.
No. 7. Dust from empty case, at a level of 2 feet from floor. Fine
flocculent, mainly organic dust. Contained 0.64 per cent of lead.
No. 8. Dust from a “ box ” or compartment in a lower case, mono­
type. This dust contains microscopic particles of lead, as do all
cases wherein monotype products are “ laid.” These particles of
lead are too heavy to be air borne, except when (as occasionally oc~
curs) the case is agitated. Fingers are soiled by such dust, and
chewers of tobacco may convey such metal-contaminated fingers to
the mouth. Contained 5.12 per cent of lead.
No. 9. This dust came from a “ galley” rack, covered at top and
exposed only at the front. This rack is about 4 feet high. The dust
came from the two top shelves. This is fairly representative of the
air-borne dusts in a modern composing room. The cabinet had been
well cleaned about 10 months previous. Contained 0.72 per cent of
lead.
No. 10. Dust from an old type case (lifted from the case and not
shaken therefrom) at about 4 feet from the floor. This dust does
not contain the heavier bits of lead usually found in type cases under
the hand system. Contained 0.32 per cent of lead.
No. 11. Dust from cabinet tops, at or about 5 or 6 feet from floor.
Such dust rises from sweeping and is not the result of abrasion of
metal. Contained 0.64 per cent of lead.
EFFECTS OF OTHER POISONS.
ANTIMONY.

Next to lead the most important substance used in the printing
trades, as regards the danger of poisoning, is antimony. Type metal
consists of lead with the addition of varying quantities of antimony,
and a small proportion of tin and sometimes copper. Many authors
consider this addition of antimony as decidedly increasing the danger




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

29

of poisoning. Sommerfeld1 says that he and other experienced ob­
servers find melted lead and antimony much more dangerous than
lead alone, as such alloys generate harmful fumes at a comparatively
low temperature, so that in the production and handling of type metal
special caution is necessary even when no very high temperature is
used. Whether antimony itself is more dangerous than lead, or
whether it only favors the vaporizing of the latter, is not stated.
Legge and Goadby2 make the statement that lead melts at 325° C.
(617° F.) and antimony at 630° C. (1,166° F.), but the addition of
antimony to lead up to 14 per cent brings down the melting point to
247° C. (477° F.), after which further addition raises the melting
point.
Lewin also believes that the addition of other metals to lead results
in volatilization at a lower temperature.3 Roth calls attention to
another danger in the use of antimony and that is that commercial
antimony almost always contains arsenic, sometimes a large pro­
portion.4 This isi also true of American antimony, according to a
smelting expert, who says that practically all the antimony used in
type metal in the United States contains some arsenic.
A few writers have tried to make the antimony in type metal re­
sponsible for a well-marked and characteristic form of poisoning
among printers. The article of Schrumpf and Zabel5 is often quoted
in this connection. They believe that there is very little lead poison­
ing among printers, but that there is a clearly defined malady which
is very common and which they consider an early stage of anti­
mony poisoning. They believe that no less than 20 per cent of
printers suffer from this and that it is especially common among
young apprentices. The symptoms they describe are such as might
be attributed to severe nervous strain, bad air, and lack of exercise,
and are improved by exercise in the open air.
A Dublin physician, McWalters,6 published in 1910 an article on
printer’s palsy which he attributed not to lead but to chronic anti.monial poisoning. He claimed to have seen cases of neuritis very
like those which' follow arsenical poisoning and which he believed
were caused by antimony. He also quoted a report of the British
chief inspector of factories for 1900 in which are described cases of
antimonial poisoning in the extraction of the metal which were
similar to McWalters’s cases in printers.
1 Sommerfeld, in Leymann’s Bekampfung d. Bleigefahr in d. Industrie. Jena, 1908,
p. 220.
2 Lead Poisoning and Lead Absorption.
London, 1912.
3 Lewin, in Zeitschrift fur Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten.
1912. Vol. L X X I I ,
pp. 154, 161.
4 Roth : Kompendium der Gewerbekrankheiten. Berlin, 1909, p. 79.
5 Schrumpf and Zabel, in Archiv fur experimentalische Pathholegie un,d Pharmakologie.
1910, vol. 63, p. 242.
6 M cW alters, in Medical Press and Circular. London, 1910, n. s., Vol. X C , p. 160.




30

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The truth is that the symptoms of poisoning from arsenic, anti­
mony, and lead are similar in many respects, and when all three
metals are in use together it is almost impossible to decide which
one is wholly or chiefly responsible in any given case of poisoning.
Skin affections from arsenic or antimony are spoken of in the
foreign literature, but they are not common among printers in the
United States. Only two severe cases of eczema of the hands and
forearms were seen in the course of this inquiry, both in men who were
working with molten metal. In the examinations of printers made
by Dr. Palmer and Dr. Ellis (p. 91), only a few cases of skin affec­
tions were found, none of them severe.
Carozzi found very little skin disease among his 600 printers, and
believes that antimonial poisoning is of no practical importance in
this trade.
TYPE AND ROLLER CLEANERS.

The substances used in cleaning type—benzine, kerosene, and lye—
often give rise to rather distressing inflammation of the skin.
Turpentine is rarely used for this purpose in our country, except
sometimes for badly “ gummed ” forms, because it is too expensive,
but in Germany, where an impure variety is largely used, a good deal
of trouble has been caused. In Berlin in 1913 there was a sudden
increase in the number of applications to the printers5 sickness in­
surance office by men who were suffering from a severe dermatitis
of hands and forearms. The condition was very like that caused by
burning or scalding, a tense, reddened, hot skin with blisters and
later scaling and a condition like eczema. In one shop 5 out of the
12 men who had been cleaning type had had this form of skin disease.
Investigation showed that they were using an impure turpentine
adulterated with benzol. Two physicians, Zellner and Wolff,1 col­
lected 37 samples of the type-cleaning fluids used in Berlin and found
that 32 contained some substance harmful to the skin. Among these
were benzine, especially the lighter forms, benzol, which is more
irritating than benzine, and pine oils, which are still more so.
In American printing a great deal of petroleum—coal oil, naphtha,
benzine—is used in cleaning press rollers and type forms. Some men
are sensitive to the local effect of these substances on the skin and
also to the fumes, which cause dizziness and headache. Benzine and
naphtha are more volatile than kerosene, but the latter is said to be
more likely to cause acne. One large office in Philadelphia gave up
the use of coal oil as a wash because of its effect on the skin.
Lye, which is almost invariably used for thorough cleaning of old
type and forms, is very caustic and irritating to the skin and has a
disadvantage not found in benzine because as it dries it leaves
1
Zellner and W olff, in Zeitschrift fiir Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten.
L X X V , p. 69.




1913, Vol.

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

31

on the type a thin coating of potash unless it has been very thor­
oughly washed off, and this irritates the skin of the typesetters, caus­
ing cracking of the skin on the ends of the fingers, and the powder
may irritate the eyes and nose.
Printers differ very much in their susceptibility to these so-called
trade eczemas. Some of them can not stand contact with even mild
irritants, while others do not suffer at all. That skin diseases are,
on the whole, more common in the trade in Germany than among oc­
cupied males in general is shown by the statistics' for Berlin.
Pieraccini and Casagli1 report from Italian printing shops an
affection of the index finger and thumb, which is probably purely
mechanical, an ulceration, torpid and slow to heal, caused originally
by many tiny injuries to the skin made by the edges of the type.
These injuries result in fissures, which become infected and suppu­
rate. The authors even suggest that the process may be regarded as a
local form of lead poisoning from tiny spicules of lead entering the
skin.
A rare but serious form of poisoning in the printing trade is
anilinism. This has only quite recently come into notice, and no men­
tion of it is to be found in the foreign literature. So far as we know,
the first report of aniline poisoning in the printing trade was made
by Dr. G. L. Apfelbach, in the bulletin of the State of Illinois Depart­
ment of Factory Inspection, in 1913. The man was a press feeder,
who had been using a new sort of roller wash to remove the ink from
the press rollers. It was a black, oily fluid, which Dr. Apfelbach
found on analysis to contain aniline oil. On the day when he was
seen by the factory inspector he had cleaned more rollers than usual,
and both his fellow workmen and the inspector noticed that his
face, lips, and tongue were a deep blue. He said that he had noticed
a curious pallor on former occasions when he used this black fluid,
but that it had never been as bad as at this time. The only symp­
toms he complained of were headache, chiefly at the back of the head,
dizziness, pain in the stomach, dryness in the throat, and difficulty in
swallowing, but none of them severe enough to alarm him at all.
It was the startling change in color that sent him to seek medical
advice.
More serious cases than this were found by Dr. E. R. Hayhurst in
the course of a survey of occupational diseases in Ohio, made for the
State board of health.2 His inspectors were told of several instances
in which men using roller washes, rich in aniline oil, had lost con­
sciousness and were with difficulty revived after several hours. They
also were deeply cyanosed.
1 Pieraccini and Casagli, in II Ramazzini.
1910, vol. 4, p. 608.
2 Ohio State Board of Health. Industrial health hazards and occupational diseases in
Ohio, by E. R. Hayhurst, A . M ., M. D., director, division of occupational diseases, Ohio
State Board of Health. Columbus, Ohio, February, 1915, pp. 189, 208, 210.




32

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

In these cases the first symptom is usually a sudden flushing of
the face, which later turns deep blue in color. The man feels hot,
his head is full, he feels confused and dizzy, a severe headache usually
comes on, and a sense of weakness and apprehension; he may also feel
nausea. I f he goes out in the open air these symptoms may disappear,
but on the other hand, in almost all the instances in which loss of con­
sciousness is recorded, this came on some time after the man had left
his work. Examination shows that there are changes in the blood
due to the formation of methaemoglobin which, in contrast to oxyhsemoglobin, forms a firm combination with oxygen and does not re­
lease it to the tissues. This means that there is a condition of starva­
tion for oxygen, a condition usually described as “ internal suffoca­
tion,” for it is really just as if the man were being slowly strangled.
The oxygen is present in the blood in sufficient quantity, but the
tissues can not avail themselves of it because it is bound to the
methaemoglobin. The blood shows the effect of compensating efforts
made by the blood-building organs, for there is an increase in the
red-blood corpuscles and immature forms are seen. The urine con­
tains products of the breakdown of red-blood corpuscles and also
methaemoglobin and the odor of aniline may sometimes be noticed.
In chronic cases, anemia sets in.
Other substances said to enter into the composition of roller
washes are wood alcohol and carbon tetrachloride or tetrachlormethane. This last is a noninflammable solvent for fats and is said
to be the active constituent of some of the nonin flammable washes
which are advertised. It is closely allied to chloroform and has much
the same effect on human beings, only that it is more irritating to
the throat and eyes and the effect on the nervous system comes on
more slowly and passes off more slowly. It is not probable that in
the quantity used in roller washing a man would absorb enough to
cause loss of consciousness, but the milder symptoms of headache,
dizziness, dullness of mentality, loss of appetite, and nausea would
be quite possible.
Wood alcohol or methyl alcohol is always a dangerous compound
to work with, for not only are its effects those of a narcotic poison
but it has a selective action on the optic nerve, and many cases of
blindness, partial or complete, have resulted from its use in industry.
It is used also in electrotype foundries to clean plates.
ACROLEIN.1

In the discussion of the character of the fumes from melting
pots, it was stated that the thick, choking clouds that come roll­
ing out when used type and old linotype met&i and monotype metal
1
A c ro lein is an u n sa tu ra ted aldeh yde, a cry lic aldeh yde, w ith the fo r m u la C H 2 : C H .C H O .
I t is produced w hen fa t s are h eated to th e d e com position p o in t an d has a p e cu liarly
p u n gen t, su ffoca tin g odor.




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

33

and stereotype plates are being melted down, are not clouds of
lead fume, but chiefly acrolein, a fat-decomposition product from the
oil in the dried ink.1 It would be a mistake, however, to conclude
that because these fumes are free from lead, they are therefore harm­
less. On the contrary, acrolein is decidedly poisonous. Cases are not
unknown in this country of workmen becoming seriously affected by
these fumes. In the largest printing shop in Washington there are
four melting pots in a room which opens by a wide doorway into the
stereotype room. The windows are opposite this door and whenever
it is left open, the fumes which rise when used type is being melted
down can pour into the stereotype room. Sometimes when the
fumes are unusually thick and the wind is on that side, the air in the
latter room has become so poisonous as to overcome the men working
near the door and they have had to be helped to the fire escape to get
over the effects.
Lew in,2 who experimented with acrolein vapors on himself, re­
ported that he experienced an irritation of the mucous membranes
of the nose and throat, that he could breathe without difficulty if
the fumes were weak, but as soon as they were at all concentrated he
had the instinctive desire to hold his breath for fear of filling his
lungs with them. After a while he grew dizzy and confused, with a
sense of pressure in his head, and if he remained longer in this atmos­
phere, a distressing catarrh of the throat came on, extending to the
larynx and bronchial tubes, also a feeling of oppression in the
stomach, with slight pain and diarrhea.
Iwanoff3 experimented with animals and found acrolein very poi­
sonous, even small doses (1.5 milligrams for a cat) causing death
with oedema and hemorrhage of the lungs.
CARBON MONOXIDE GAS.

Wherever illuminating gas is used for the purpose of producing
heat there is danger that the air around may become contaminated
by gases given off when combustion is not complete. The important
one of these gases is carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, extremely
poisonous body. The presence of five-tenths part of carbon monoxide
in 1,000 parts of atmospheric air marks the beginning of danger, and
2 or 3 parts per 1,000 are perilous to life.4
Many cases of acute industrial poisoning from this gas are re­
corded, as, for instance, in the annual report of the chief inspector
of factories and workshops in Great Britain for the year 1907, when
1 Legge and G oadby: Lead Poisoning and Lead Absorption. London, 1912, p. 253.
Silberstein, in W eyl’ s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten. Jena, 1908, p. 353.
2 Lewin : Archihv fur expe^' nentelle Patkologie und Pharmakologie, 1900.
8 Iwanoff, in Archiv fur Hygiene.
1911, yo I. 73, p. 307.
4 J. Rambousek : Gewerbliche Vergiftungen.
Leipzig, 1911, p. 251.

57184°—'Bull. 209— 17------ 3




34

BU LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

81 cases, with 10 deaths, occurred. It is, however, the slow, chronic
form of poisoning which interests us, that which results from longcontinued exposure to minute quantities. The poisonousness of car­
bon monoxide consists in the fact that it has a great affinity for the
coloring matter of the blood, two hundred times as strong an affinity
as has oxygen, so that very small quantities in the air will be taken
up by the haemoglobin of the blood. Carbon monoxide thus replaces
the oxygen in the blood, and as a result the tissues are more or less
starved for oxygen. Anemia, with its attendant lowered nutrition
and loss of strength, sets in. There is also a direct effect on the ner­
vous system, shown by headaches, distaste for food, dizziness, mental
dullness and lassitude, sleepiness, and palpitation of the heart.
This form of poisoning has been described by Epstein,1 as found in
bakers, working over gas-heated ovens, and still more frequently in
tailors, both the pressers who use gas flames to heat their irons and the
men and women who work in the same room with them. Factory
inspectors in Berlin found tailor shops in which the air contained
dangerous quantities of carbon monoxide, 0.19 and 0.29 per cent.
Epstein describes the symptoms of chronic exposure as headache and
dulling of the intellectual powers. The headache may recur when­
ever the gas-vitiated atmosphere is encountered and may promptly
disappear in the open air. Provision of fresh air in the workshops
does away with this trouble.
Carbon monoxide gas is probably present in all departments of a
printing shop where gas is used to melt lead—in the linotype cast­
ing, monotype casting, remelting of old metal, stereotype casting, and
electrotyping, unless over the gas burners a good draft has been pro­
vided to carry off these fumes.
THE COMPOSING ROOM.
The dangers in the work of the typesetter should be limited to
the handling of lead type. That risk is inherent in the trade and
can not be eliminated. But if this were the only risk, then it would
be possible to protect the compositor fully from all danger of the
effects, subtle and slow, of chronic lead absorption, simply by pro­
viding him with ample washing facilities. I f then he still showed
signs of lead absorption, we could assume that he was eating his
lunch with unwashed hands or conveying lead to his mouth by
handling his chewing tobacco with unwashed hands and that he had
only himself to blame. The case is, however, not nearly so simple
as that. The typesetter may be a man of scrupulously cleanly habits
and he may yet be subject to poisoning from minute quantities of
lead in the course of his work, because there is lead dust in the room
1 Epstein, in W eyl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten.




Jena, 1908, pp. 413, 502.

HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

35

where he works or because he has to blow out old type cases or work
near a melting pot or a pile of lead dross which is blown about by
drafts of air.
Pannwitz 1 says that the chief evils in the typesetter’s trade are
all preventable. They are the lack of space, overcrowding, insuffi­
cient cleanliness of the work place, insufficient ventilation, and abun­
dant production of dust. I f the composing room is kept clean and
well aired and if nothing is carried on there but hand composition—
conditions which are not imaginary but are found in many of the best
shops—then there should be no more risk to health for the typesetter
of good personal habits than for any other worker at an indoor and
mentally exacting trade.
Cleaning dust out of the type cases is recognized by experienced
printers as a source of lead poisoning and almost never will the men
allow it to be done in the composing room unless the case is at least
carried to a window. More often it is taken to a fire escape or out
on the roof or on the stairway. In newspaper offices very little of
this work has to be done and in many job shops less and less is done
every year. Usually the compositors do the work themselves, but
sometimes they give it to the apprentices. The amount of lead con­
tained in this dust can be seen in the results of Dr. Phelps’s analyses
on pages 27 and 28. The usual method is to use- a bellows, but some­
times a current of compressed air, which is essentially the same, is
used. This is dusty and dangerous work, so regarded in every
country, and the only way to prevent the danger is to. use a vacuum
cleaner. Four shops in Chicago, two in St. Louis, and one each in
Philadelphia, Cambridge, and Washington use this method. Many
foremen when asked about the possibility of vacuum cleaning answer
that it would not work because the suction would draw in the type,
but where the suction is strong enough to do this a wire screen may
be laid over the type and in most places a weaker suction is used. A
combined brush and suction pipe was seen in use in the royal printing
office in Holland, and from the literature it seems that a similar one
is used in France. This consists of a flat brush with stiff bristles,
fastened to the pipe of the vacuum cleaner in such a way that the
opening of the pipe is in the center of the brush. The operator
presses this brush down on the type in the case and rubs it to and fro,
stirring up the dust and brushing off the type, and the suction in the
pipe carries the dust away.
A bad feature, already mentioned, in many shops is bringing other
processes, productive of lead dust and lead oxide from molten metal,
into the composing room, and exposing the typesetters to dangers
which are quite unnecessary. It is very common, especially in news­
paper offices, to find the linotypes in the composing room. One of
1 Pannwitz, in Arbeiten aus dem kaiserlichen Gesundheitsamt, 1896, Vol. X I I , p. 686.




36

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the best newspaper offices visited in Philadelphia has a composing
room which is excellent in every respect except this one. Even
though no lead fumes arise from the linotype pots there is certainly
contamination of the air by gas from the machines, unless these are
well protected, and by the lead scrap which is continually dropping
on the floor and being tracked over it.
Saws, with quantities of lead scrap on the floor, were found in
the composing rooms of two large Boston printing shops. Even
worse is the melting pot for old linotype metal, .which is sometimes
the one thing that spoils an otherwise clean and safe composing room.
A large New York newspaper and another in Philadelphia have
placed their melting pots in the composing room, and allow piles of
used type and of sweepings from under the machines to lie on the floor
near the kettle. In the Philadelphia plant two boys were working
at this kettle, one gathering up and dumping the used type and scrap,
the other shoveling it into the kettle through a feed door 18 inches
square, and as there was only a natural draft in the hood over the pot,
fumes could be seen escaping from this door. No intelligent com­
positor should be willing to put up with such an unnecessary risk as
that. In two Baltimore newspaper composing rooms remelting and
casting are carried on, but strong suction fans have been installed
in the walls near the pots, and the fumes do not spread into the rest
of the room. Putting the steam tables for the making of matrices
in the composing room does not add to the danger, but adds a good
deal to the discomfort, and is unfortunately very often seen. The
heat and humidity caused by this work are great enough to require
that it be done in a separate room.
The frames or wooden stands, in composing rooms, at which the
compositors work have sloping tops on which cases of type are
placed. The frames may be fitted with racks on which the stock
cases or the galleys of type can slide, and may either be open or
closed. Cabinets are now much used instead of frames, and the
cases are the drawers of the cabinet. Sometimes, in the newer shops,
this furniture is of metal, but usually it is of wood. Closed cases
are preferable to the open, because the type is kept free from dust
and they do not need blowing out. A feature to be noted is the
possibility of cleaning easily around or under cabinets and frames.
Either they should be built flush with the floor so that no dust can
collect under them or they should be raised high enough to allow of
being swept under. The usual height, about 3 or 4 inches, is bad, for
it means that no sweeping is done under the cabinet or that the boy
must go down on his hands and knees and use a brush, something
that should not be done in printing shops, where the dust may con­
tain lead.
It must be remembered that the work of setting type, and that of




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

37

the other processes connected with it, is rather exacting in itself and
should be carried on in surroundings as favorable a3 possible. At the
best, the typesetter is working at an occupation which requires much
standing in one position, a position which cramps his chest and
favors an unequal development of the two sides of his body; he has
far too little muscular exercise and a disproportionate amount of
nervous tension and eyestrain.1 For these reasons a meticulous atten­
tion to sanitary details is justified in printing shops.
There are some ideal composing rooms in the seven cities visited,
rooms which their owners regard with a justifiable pride, but the
majority are open to criticism in various features either of construc­
tion or upkeep.
LINOTYPE MACHINES.
The linotype is a machine which casts a solid line of type known
as a “ slug.” The operator presses the keys on the keyboard and one
brass matrix ’after another passes through a channel from a portable
magazine to an assembler where space bands mechanically wedge the
line tightly. The molten lead is then forced in a jet from the pot by
a plunger, and fills the characters which are countersunk in the sides
of the brass matrices. The lead hardens almost immediately and a
line of type has been cast. Then the space bands separate, the mat­
rices are automatically distributed to their proper receptacles, and
the finished slug is deposited on a specially provided galley.
For our purpose the important features connected with the linotype
are the melting pot with its heating apparatus and the lead scrap
which falls from the machine while it is in use. The method of
cleaning the machine and of cleaning the plunger is important also.
Then it is a matter of great interest to know whether any device is in­
stalled to carry off fumes generated in heating the melting pots and,
if there is such a device, whether it is really efficient.
Dr. Phelps’s experiments show that no lead fumes are given off
from molten lead at temperatures such as are found in the various
processes of printing unless the lead is vigorously agitated. In
linotype machine operation no such agitation takes place. The pot
tips slightly and the plunger drops, but that is all. Except when
dross is skimmed and dropped on the floor it is highly improbable
that any detachment of lead oxide occurs in linotype work which
could cause any appreciable contamination of the air.
To prove that there are no lead fumes from linotype pots is not
to prove that work on these machines is without risk to health nor
1
Some idea of the complexity of linotype work may be gained when one considers
that the newer machines have from four to eight faces of type and that the standard
of work in a newspaper office is 3,500 ems an hour. A bonus is paid for every 500 ems
in excess of this.




38

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

even that there is no risk from lead poisoning. There are many
sources of possible lead poisoning in machine composition as it is
usually carried on, and it is not hard to find justification for the dis­
appointment that was experienced when it was found that the intro­
duction of mechanical typesetting and the displacement of handwork
had not resulted in the abolition of lead poisoning as had been
claimed.
There are many sources of lead dust in this work. While work
is going on lead in the form of cuttings and powder keeps falling
to the floor and accumulates in a heap under the machines. Usually
it lies there till the day’s work or the night’s work is over and then
it is swept up and taken to the melting pot, but sometimes sweeping
goes on while the operator is working. In any case men are con­
tinually passing to and fro grinding this lead into dust and track­
ing it over the floor, and the finer parts are lifted by drafts of air
and can easily be wiped from the surfaces of the magazine.
In the royal printing establishment at The Hague* there are 12
linotypes in one room, all provided with hoods and with artificial
suction, but the best feature is a metal pan which is so shaped as to
fit accurately around the standard of the machine so that it can catch
all the fragments of lead. The floor is of yellow tiles and the bits of
lead would show quite clearly on it, but at the time a visit was made
the pans were well filled and no fragments of lead had fallen on the
tiles. At the end of the day it is a very simple thing to lift these
pans and carry them off to be emptied. In a few of the printing
shops in this country metal pans have been placed under the machines.
One of the New York newspapers has some that are fairly good;
so have two Philadelphia papers and one in Boston; but only part
of the scraps are caught, for the pans are not fitted to the standards
of the machines, simply placed where they can catch some of the
falling lead and they do not help much to solve the dust problem.
Indeed, the standards of many American machines are so complicated
that it would seem impossible to make a pan which would fit into the
irregularities. In other places there is a low wooden ledge nailed
to the floor around the bottom of the machine, or perhaps the floor
here is sunk an inch or more below the surrounding level, to catch the
lead scrap and keep it from scattering. Apparently such an arrange­
ment is not really effective and it certainly adds to the dustiness of
the work of sweeping and gathering up the scrap which always
collects along the edges. This is not the only source of lead dust in
the linotype room. A feature that was spoken of in the descrip­
tion of the composing room as adding to the danger quite unneces­
sarily is found also in connection with the linotypes, and that is the
placing of the melting pot for remelting linotype metal and casting
the “ biscuits” of lead in the same room with the machines, some­




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

39

times quite close to them. This may mean contamination of the
air with lead oxide if the melting is done during working hours, and
even if it is not, it means that great piles, of lead scrap are allowed
to lie on the floor and add to the danger from dust. In a Boston
job printing shop the kettle boy opens the melting pot every 20
minutes to skim off the dross and shovel in more lead scrap, letting
dust escape each time, for the draft in the hood is far from strong.
Still worse is the arrangement in a newspaper composing room, also
in Boston, where a linotypist works within a few feet of the chute
for lead scrap which comes down from the floor above. Not only
the melting pot for linotype metal is here but a small furnace for re­
fining dross, and once a week this is in use and as the temperature
must be at least 900° F. and the hood must be raised from time to
time to remove the scum and to feed in the very dusty charges of
dross, it is easy to see the risk of lead poisoning to which this opera­
tor is exposed, a risk with which his actual work has absolutely
nothing to do.
In a Philadelphia job shop conditions were found which might
lead to lead poisoning. The room in which the linotypes are placed
is dirty and the floor, of rough wood, is full of scraps of lead.
There is no artificial ventilation and the only windows, at one end
of the room, open on an air shaft. In this place the melting pot has
no hood at all, only a lid which can not be put on till the piled-up
lead scraps in the pot have melted down to below the level of the
edge, and after that the lid must be raised from time to time to skim
off dross and to shovel in more lead. According to the men employed
here there is always some “ smoke ” escaping. Another Philadelphia
job shop has 30 persons, 5 of them women, employed in one room
which has not only piles of dusty lead scrap but a melting pot and
stereotype kettle, the latter provided only with a hood, placed too
high, a small pipe and a broken fan. In a Washington job shop the
melting pot is within 5 feet of a make-up man and within 8 feet of a
linotype operator.
It is not necessarily dangerous to have remelting done in the same
room with linotype work, provided proper precautions are taken.
In a St. Louis newspaper plant the pot is placed over in a corner
beside a window; the hood is excellent, and when once lowered is not
raised while melting is going on, for the lead runs out to covered
molds. The scrap, instead of lying in heaps on the floor, is kept on
trucks till needed. In other places where arrangements are not so
good the melting is done outside of working hours, so that the oper­
ators are not exposed to dust and to possible fumes.
Other sources of possible lead poisoning for the linotype operator
or for the machinist are found in the cleaning of the machine and of
the plunger in the melting pot. In places where there are many ma­




40

BU LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

chines a machinist has charge of keeping them in order and the
operator has nothing to do except perhaps to feed in the lead “ bis­
cuits,” but if there are only two or three or even four machines each
operator takes entire charge of his own machine and is therefore ex­
posed to a good deal of lead dust.
To clean out the scraps of lead which scatter through the different
parts of the machine some men use compressed air, others blow them
out with a pair of bellows, but in any case there must be some brushing
with a soft brush or wiping with cloths. Then there is the cleaning
of the plunger, which is much dustier, for the plunger is covered, not
with scraps of metallic lead, but with a fine deposit of lead oxide,
which can easily be seen in the form of a gray powder coming off in
clouds when it is brushed. I f one considers all these sources of pos­
sible contamination of the air by lead in the form of metallic dust,
or still worse, oxide dust, it is easy to see that lead poisoning may
still be a danger in linotype work even if there be no fumes from the
molten metal in the pot.
In addition to the danger of lead poisoning the operator is exposed
in many instances to the effects of carbon monoxide from the gas
burners under the melting pots. The presence of even small quanti­
ties of this poisonous gas in the air of working places, such as tailor
shops especially, has been recognized as causing a gradual deteriora­
tion of health in those long exposed to it. (See pp. 33, 34.)
To summarize briefly, the symptoms of slow, chronic, carbon mon­
oxide poisoning consist in anemia and in subjective symptoms such as
headache, feeling of lassitude or languor, slowing of mental powers,
breathlessness on exertion, sleepiness while at work, and obstinate
insomnia. That it is the gas which causes these symptoms is readily
seen by disappearance of the headache when in the open air and by
the rapid improvement experienced by the men when proper meas­
ures are installed for carrying off the fumes from the burners. For
instance, in a Chicago newspaper composing room there are 30 ma­
chines. The building is low and the window ventilation not very
extensive, but the air is excellent because over each machine is a pipe
with a strong updraft caused by a fan in the chimney to which the
pipes run. The foreman in this room said that the men had felt at
once an improvement in their health and in their capacity for work
when this system was installed and that each time the fan had got
out of order they had begun to complain of bad air within an hour’s
time. Now the effects of lead fumes, in the quantity that could be
given off from small linotype pots, would come on very slowly and
would not be perceived by the men for weeks, or more probably
months, and the relief from such fumes after the installation of an
exhaust system could not possibly be felt with such promptness and
certainty as was true in this case and as was true in several other




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

41

instances related to the author. What the linotype operator is con­
scious of is the effect of the gas from the burner, not of lead fumes.
Hahn,1 who refuses to believe that there are fumes of lead from
linotype pots, still insists that the gases from the heating apparatus
must be carried off and therefore that these machines must always be
furnished with pipes and an exhaust. R oth2 also speaks of the
danger of poisonous gases from heating the lead with illuminating
gas, as do Legge and Goadby.
It follows, then, that all machines should be provided with an
exhaust system to carry off these gas fumes, for they are a menace to
the health of the operator.3 This has been demanded by the men
themselves in many instances, but not as often as one would expect.
Many a composing room is devoid of any protection of this kind,
though every operator in it is a member of the union. Apparently
the health committees of the different locals vary a good deal in their
activity in this respect. St. Louis is the only one of the seven cities
visited where at the time of this investigation all the linotypes were
provided with pipes to carry off the gas.
A great variety of devices for this purpose may be found in the
different plants, but the one essential feature is an adequate draft
in the pipes. I f the draft is strong enough nothing else is of much
importance, and if it is not, the system is a failure no matter how
elaborate it is. When there is a chimney with a good updraft and
which can be reached without the pipes traveling too long a distance
or making too many turns, an exhaust fan may sometimes not be nec­
essary, but as a usual thing the suction is not strong enough unless a
fan is installed.
A very poor system may be seen in some newspaper plants, notably
in a large one in Chicago. The pipes lead up from the pots for a
distance of 6 or 8 feet and then end free, and the fumes are ex­
pected to pass on up to the ceiling and out through ventilators in
the roof, but these openings are not directly over the pipes and
there is no artificial draft. When this particular plant was visited
at 10 o’clock at night, for it publishes a morning paper, the air was
already oppressive and the odor of gas quite perceptible. Though it
was a warm spring night all the windows were closed and the fortyodd linotypists were working in an atmosphere which must neces­
sarily have had a dulling influence on their mental powers, to say
nothing of the sense of discomfort.
A large newspaper composing room in Baltimore has 31 machines
and 2 monotype casters, none of them with pipes to carry off fumes.
1 Hahn, M. : Die Gesundheitsverhaltnesse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands,
mit besonderer Berucksichtigung der Bleivergiftung. Bericht an die Internationale Vereinigung fur gesetzliche Arbeiterschutz.
1908.
2 Ueber Bleistaub und Bleidampfe. Zurich, 1905.
3 In newspaper offices gas may burn under the linotype machines for the whole 24 hours.




42

BU LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

This room has windows along one end and one side, and in addition
a large pipe with openings at intervals has been placed below the
ceiling along the far side of the room and in this is a fan with a
good suction. Nevertheless, this is not enough to carry off the gas
fumes, and it is quite easy to perceive the odor of gas even on the
side near the windows. In other respects this composing room is
good.
In smaller shops where there are only two or three machines these
are sometimes placed close to the windows for the sake of better
ventilation, but in cold weather the men will almost always keep the
windows shut and therefore window ventilation can never be looked
on as entirely solving the problem.
The ideal linotype room is ventilated by means of individual pipes
running from each pot to larger pipes in which there is an adequate
exhaust created by a strong fan. In one of the Chicago evening
newspaper plants the composing room at 3 o’clock in the afternoon,
after seven hours of work, was found to be perfectly fresh and free
from odor of any kind, yet the room is low and the window space
far from ample. The ventilation is provided by an excellent system
of piping. The pipes from the pots run up a distance of about 10 feet
from the floor and each one ends just under a flaring hood which con­
nects with the main pipe along the ceiling, and in this pipe there is
a strong exhaust. These wide openings serve not only to draw up
the gas from the madhines but also to ventilate the whole room.
About 10 years ago one of the largest newspaper offices in New
York introduced electrically heated linotype pots in the effort to
do away with the objectionable features of the gas-heated machines.
The first system installed was unsatisfactory and was rejected, but
the second proved successful both from the financial and from the
sanitary view. There are 57 machines in this plant, all with pots
heated by means of an electric heating unit which is not applied to
the outside, but is introduced into the pot. This system not only
dees away with the escape of gas fumes and renders piping un­
necessary, but it also does away with a great deal of heat in the com­
posing room.
At the time of this investigation three other large printing shops
were experimenting with electricity in linotype casting. The largest
book and job shop in Washington had installed a few electrically
heated machines, and so had a newspaper in St. Louis and a book,
job, and newspaper house in Boston. From the sanitarian’s point of
view these are a great improvement over the gas heated machines,
and their adoption should spread rapidly.
We have spoken of the danger of lead dust in cleaning the ma­
chines and especially the plungers. When the care of only one lino­
type machine is involved, the risk is slight; but when there are many,




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

43

the man who has this work in charge runs a decided risk, a risk which
is sometimes recognized by machinists but perhaps more often ignored
or dismissed with contempt.
Such work is very commonly given over to the machinist’s helper,
who may be a boy. He may have to clean plungers every day or
only once a week. There is the greatest difference in this respect
in the different shops, some cleaning very often, others less than once
a week. Those who use automatic feeders for the pots say that very
little plunger cleaning is necessary, for the lead in the pot is kept
at the same level all the time, and the dross on the surface does not
sink down to the level of the plunger, as it often does when the
operator has to do the feeding and delays too long. It is the coming
in contact with the dross that clogs the plunger and necessitates fre­
quent cleaning. In one of the Chicago newspaper plants plungers
are cleaned each day, 12 of them in a half hour, while in another in
the same city cleaning is done only once a week.
The usual method is to take the plunger out and, without letting
it cool off, for that would mean that time would be lost in heating it
again, to brush it off briskly with a wire brush. When this is done
a very distinct cloud of gray dust comes off, and this is a finely
divided suboxide of lead, which is easily breathed in and is one of
the most dangerous of the lead compounds. In one of the large New
York newspapers a machinist’s helper was seen who had to clean no
less than 70 plungers three times a week. He took them out on the
landing of the stairway and brushed them with a wire brush, and he
bad been doing it for six months past. He complained bitterly of
the effect of the work on his health, saying that he had been perfectly
well before, but that of late he had had indigestion with loss of appe­
tite and pain. He suffered from dizziness and had lost weight and
everything seemed an effort too great for his strength. Certainly
one would regard’ this as a case of lead poisoning, especially as there
was a bluish-black line perceptible on the margin of his gums along
the lower teeth.
Machinists who recognize the danger of this work use various de­
vices to do away with the oxide dust. One man, in a St. Louis news­
paper plant, demonstrated his method of using water, which most
machinists insist is impossible. He took out the plunger and dipped
it quickly for a moment into a pail of water, whereupon the oxide
could be distinctly seen spreading out on the surface of the water in
a gray cloud. The contact with the water was momentary only, not
long enough to chill the plunger, and when it was then brushed
with a wire brush there was practically no dust at all. To show
the contrast, the machinist brushed another plunger without dip­
ping it in water, and then the cloud of gray dust was very easy to
see. This method was found in use only in this shop and in one




44

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

department of the composing room of a Chicago newspaper. Curi­
ously enough, in the other department the machinists insisted that
water could not be used without the risk of causing an explosion
when the plunger was returned to the lead, though it was being suc­
cessfully done in the other department of that very plant. Of
course if the plunger were left long enough in the water to chill it,
some drops might cling to it and explode in the hot lead, but if it is
only dipped in for a moment the heat will be sufficient to dry it off
completely, and there can be no doubt that this method does away
with the dust.
More usual is the use of a light machine oil or of lard in very
small quantities to keep down the dust. Here, too, there is a wide
difference of opinion, many machinists insisting that all the oil can
do is to “ clog ” the oxide and make it impossible to clean the plunger,
while the men who use it find no difficulty at all. The very safest
way to clean plungers is in a closed box worked from the outside.
Such mechanical cleaners are obtainable from printers’ supply houses
and are said to be saving of labor as well as sanitary.1 Certainly
they do prevent dust. They were found to be in use in several eastern
shops, but apparently had not been introduced to any extent in the
western cities.
Linotype metal is usually softer than other type metal. Dr. Phelps
found that that used in the Government Printing Office contains lead,
84.3 per cent; antimony, 9.5 per cent; and tin, 4.4 per cent.
MONOTYPE CASTING.
The monotype machine has the keyboard quite separate from the
caster; indeed, the two kinds of work are not usually done in the
same room. Perforated strips of paper are produced by the keyboard
machine and these are fed into the caster and serve as molds for
casting the type. The first need not be considered, since it is essen­
tially no more than a typewriter, but monotype casting is generally
regarded as fairly hazardous work. The temperature of the melting
pot of a monotype casting machine is always decidedly higher than of
a linotype pot, running from 500° F. in one Baltimore newspaper
up to 850° F., which was stated to be the temperature in a St. Louis
job shop. The difference depends largely on the different alloys
used. In one place where there were three casters one was kept at
700° F., the second at 750° F., and the third at 820° F. Usually it
is kept at some point between 700° and 780° F. There is very little
agitation of the metal in the monotype pots and it is unlikely that
lead oxide is given off except in skimming dross.
1 The Ewald linotype plunger cleaner is one which the author has seen in successful
use.




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

45

Gas is almost always used for heating, and all that has been said
in the section on linotype work with reference to the evils of gas
fumes and the necessity of carrying them away by a hood and exhaust
system applies also to monotype casting machines. The best devices
for this purpose were found in the largest book and job printing
shop in Washington and in the largest one in St. Louis, in both of
which hoods have been very skillfully fitted to catch possible fumes
from the pots as well as from the gas jets. As a rule, however, the
better plants only attempt to do away with the gas fumes by means
of pipes running up from that part of the caster and ending under
the flaring opening of an exhaust pipe which connects with a large
pipe running to the outer air. Less well equipped shops have either
no pipes at all over the gas jets or simply short ones which end free
about 6 or 7 feet from the floor.
As is true of the linotype machines, lead scrap is constantly fall­
ing from monotype casters onto the floor and must be swept up and
remelted. However, as a usual thing the casting is carried on in
a separate room and whatever the risks they are confined to the
few men who do the actual work. As a rule also the room is well
placed, along the outer wall with plenty of window space. It is
really the exception to find a dark, ill-ventilated, ill-kept monotype
casting room. Such a room may be seen in one of the Washington
newspaper plants, where the room devoted to casting is right in the
center of the building with no ventilation, either natural or artificial,
no pipes over the gas, and quantities of lead scrap on the floor, but
this was the only quite neglected casting room seen. On the other
hand, there are several places where casting is carried on in the com­
posing room—a poor arrangement, because it adds an unnecessary
danger to this department. One large job shop in St. Louis has seven
casters in the composing room, but has taken precautions against
possible trouble by well constructed hoods, and in addition the room
is large and very well ventilated. Instead of carrying the pipes
over the casters to the outer air another St. Louis shop has had the
pipes end close to a window where there is a good suction fan.
On the whole this department is better planned and managed than
any other in job printing and newspaper work, and in some in­
stances, such as the largest book and job shop in Washington, the
casting room with its machines is quite above criticism except for the
fact that dry sweeping of the lead scrap goes on during working
hours.
As is true of linotype metal pots, the substitution of electric heat­
ing for gas heating of monotype casting pots marks a great improve­
ment, for it means that gas fumes are abolished and that there is
much less heat given off from the pots. This method was, however,
found in only one shop, the newspaper plant in New York which first




46

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

introduced the system of electrically heated linotype metal pots.
This shop has used electricity to heat the monotype lead for almost
a year on its nine casters and testifies to the entire practicability and
economy of the method.
STEREOTYPING.
The evils to be avoided in stereotyping are: The fumes which arise
when old plates are being melted down or “ burned off,” as it is
usually called, and which come from the ink and contain acrolein
(see p. 32); the lead oxide which, as Dr. Phelps’s experiments (pp.
24 to 26) show, may be given off if the temperature is high and the
metal is agitated; the dust caused by trimming and routing the
plates; the heat from the kettles.
The work of stereotyping is as a rule badly housed and imperfectly
safeguarded. The usual habit of placing the foundry in the base­
ment does not always work out badly, for there are some basement
foundries so well ventilated by good drafts of air down shafts and
by suction fans in windows or air shafts that conditions in them are
actually better than in others situated above the ground. Such a
foundry was seen in a New York newspaper building which is situ­
ated in a very crowded part of the city and has little window' space.
Another was seen in Chicago. On the other hand, there is a stereo­
type foundry in the basement of a St. Louis building which not only
has no direct connection with the outer air, but depends on the air
sucked in from the pressroom by a fan which is placed in the oppo­
site wall of the foundry, this wall separating it not from the outer
air, but from the engineer’s room. The hood over the kettle in this
foundry, as in most foundries, is 18 inches or more above the edge of
the kettle. No melting down was in progress at the time this place
was visited, but it is easy to picture the state of the air when the
fumes of acrolein from the ink on old plates begin to roll out from
under the hood.
Still worse is the condition in a foundry in Chicago, for this
one is in one corner of the basement pressroom, so that the heat from
the three kettles and the smoke—very plainly visible when the visit
was made—are spread over the pressroom and not confined to the
foundry. A St. Louis plant also has placed its stereotype kettles in
the pressroom, but they stand along the outer wall and a good fan
in this wall serves to draw the fumes and heat away from the press­
room. The air in this place was excellent.
Occasionally it is not the stereotyping which adds unnecessary
dangers to other less dangerous work, but vice versa; as, for instance,
in a Chicago foundry, where a cupel furnace for refining dross has
been placed. Lead must be heated to a far higher temperature in




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

47

these drossing kettles than in the ones for stereotype metal, and
the lead usually runs out hot enough to give off visible fumes of
oxide. In the largest printing plant in Washington the work of
stereotyping is made not only unnecessarily disagreeable but haz­
ardous by the proximity of the room for remelting and mixing
metals, which is situated just beside the foundry. Many thousand
pounds of used type are melted down here every day, with the evolu­
tion of such thick clouds of acrolein as sometimes to overcome the
stereotypers working nearest to the door.
The lead in stereotype kettles is usually kept at about 700° to 750°
F., but it may be as low as 600° or as high as 800° F. In five places
this last temperature was found, and the statement was made several
times by foremen that the heat might run up pretty high, “ even to
fuming point, if it is not watched.” Since this lead is being con­
tinually agitated by ladling or pumping or by skimming off dross, it
follows that there should be an exhaust system to carry off the fumes.
This is generally recognized as necessary for the dense kmoke which
rises when ink-covered plates are melted down, even if the men do
not realize the necessity for also carrying off the less perceptible but
dangerous lead oxide dust.
The majority of stereotype kettles are protected by some form of
hood. Sometimes this really incloses the top, but in that case there
must be a fairly wide door for feeding and for ladling out the metal,
and naturally this is left wide open, except, perhaps, when the smoke
is bad at the beginning of melting down. When the new autoplate
attachments have been put on, the hood can not come down within 1|
or 2 feet of the edge of the kettle, for the apparatus prevents it, so
there is in this case a wide area for the escape of fumes. There
was not one kettle found in the course of this investigation from
which fumes could not be seen to escape, provided the surface of
the lead was well stirred up. Therefore it may be true, as some
foremen claim, that it is better to discard the hood altogether and
depend instead on a strong suction fan in the wall as near as pos­
sible to the pot. In the best newspaper building in Boston this has
been done, and it is said that the room is in consequence cooler and
the air better, for the hood caught and held the heat. Two other
newspaper plants in Boston have fans instead of hoods, and so have
two in Philadelphia, but in one of the latter the fan is far too small
to be effective.
Another Philadelphia foundry is unusually good and extremely
clean and free from lead dust. The pipes are covered with asbestos,
and both kettles have hoods, with a strong draft. In contrast with
this is a very hot room in the same city, with an uncovered pot in the
center, fuming, a linotype pot with a hood 2^ feet from the edge,




48

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

from which a man was ladling lead into the molds, and quantities of
lead scrap everywhere.
In addition to lead oxide from the molten metal, another source
of air contamination in these foundries is the lead dust. Routing
machines are very often placed here, and even if they are in another
room the scrap from routing is gathered up and dumped on the
floor near the stereotype pot to be remelted. Then there are the
shavings and scraps from the trimming and shaving of the plates,
and there are the dross skimmings which it is almost an invariable
rule to throw on the floor and then gather up again for the drossing
kettle. Sometimes, as was the case in a Chicago newspaper plant,
every bit of the floor of the foundry is thick with lead dust, and it is
swept up and thrown about as carelessly as if it were sand.
The discomfort of work is increased for the stereotypers when the
steam tables for matrices are placed here or when electrotyping, with
its black lead and blasts of steam, is carried on in the same room.
In the course of the inquiry among printers, made by the Illinois
Commission on Occupational Diseases (in 1910), 21 men were found
who had suffered from well-defined lead poisoning. They were
distributed as follows:
Stereotypers, 8; electrotypers, 5; linotypists, 2; compositors, 2;
routing, etc., 1; machinist’s helper, 1; all kinds of work, 2.
The stereotypers head the list, and yet they are not as numerous
as the compositors in Chicago. Another proof of the greater hazard
of this sort of work when compared with other branches of printing
was brought to light by one of the investigators, Dr. Emery R. Hayhurst, now of the Ohio State Board of Health. He examined 57
linotypists and found 2 of them probably “ leaded,” which would rep­
resent a proportion of 3.5 per cent, while of 79 stereotypers whom
he examined, 6, or 7.6 per cent, showed evidence of plumbism. These
men had all worked more than 10 years, and 2 had slight palsy of
the wrists, a symptom of slow poisoning.
ELECTROTYPING.
In electrotyping, a wax mold (usually not of beeswax but of
ozocerite, a waxlike mineral) is made from a page of composed type
or an engraved plate. This is then covered with black lead (graphite),
either dry or suspended in liquid, in order to render the wax con­
ductive to electricity, and is suspended in a bath of sulphate of cop­
per through which passes an electric current which causes the deposit
on this wax mold of a thin coating of copper. The wax is removed
and the copper shell is mounted on a lead back.
The important features in this work are the pot in which the lead
is heated, the hot pans on which the process of backing is carried




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

49

out, the trimming and routing of the plate and, in some instances,
the use of wood alcohol to clean the plates and favor the deposit of
the copper.
The lead for the backing of plates is melted in an open pot and
poured out on heated metal pans. Since it is a simple thing to cool
the lead down to just the right temperature in these pans, it does not
matter if the lead in the pot is allowed to run up to a fairly high
temperature. Usually about 650° to 700° F. is the point aimed at,
but foremen admit that it is not closely watched, that 850° F. is not
unusual and that it may even go up to “ fuming point.”
The copper shell is washed off with soldering fluid, then covered
on the reverse side with thin lead foil, laid face down on the surface
of the lead on the backing pan, the heat of which melts the foil, the
plate is removed to a cooling table and a ladle of molten lead poured
over it to back it. It is cooled, sawed or shaved to the proper height,
hammered to the right level, the edges are beveled and the super­
fluous metal removed by routing. A routing machine has a tiny
chisel which cuts away the lead from the parts of the plate where it
is not wanted, sending the fragments flying far and wide. The chisel
is grooved in such a way as to give the lead chips a downward direc­
tion on the whole, so that they are not likely to fly into the operator’s
eyes. The possibility of this is however great enough to make the use
of goggles very desirable.
There are two chief dangers in an electrotype foundry—lead
dust and lead oxide from the pot and the backing tables. As is
true of all such work in printing, old electrotype plates are remelted
and the metal used a second time, and when these ink-covered plates
are melted down there is the same evolution of acrolein fumes as is
found in linotype melting pots and stereotype pots. The same
question also arises as to the presence of lead from these pots. Ac­
cording to Dr. Phelps’s experiments it seems plain that when the
temperature reaches 450° to 520° C. (842° to 968° F.) and the lead
is stirred or skimmed or ladled, or new lead is added, there is an
evolution of oxide which rises into the air immediately surrounding
the pot. This means that some method should always be adopted
to carry off fumes, either by installing a hood with a strong up­
draft or placing a fan in the outer wall close to the kettle. As a
usual thing there is no hood over the pot, and when there is, it is
rarely adequate to serve its purpose. Often it is adjustable and is
lowered only when the metal is being melted down, to prevent the
escape of the disagreeable smoke, but is raised again just at the time
when the danger from lead begins. I f the hood is stationary, it is
likely to be placed too high to be of much use, especially when the
vent is narrow and the air exhaust weak. In a Philadelphia foundry
57184°— Bull. 209—17------ 4




50

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

the pot is right in the middle of the room and there is a small hood
in the ceiling, with no artificial exhaust. In this place both pot
and backing table were giving off visible fumes of oxide at the time
the investigation was made.
This danger, not only from the pot but also from the backing
table, is recognized in all the better-class plants. The superintendent
of an excellent foundry said that the men often let the backing pans
get hot enough to give off fumes. A large book and job printing
plant in Cambridge has a very good foundry, clean and airy, and the
pot and backing table are placed in-a corner of the room near the win­
dows, with a window in the ceiling also. The hood is 4 feet above
the#edge of the pot, so that work is not interfered with, and the suc­
tion is very strong. The largest foundry in Philadelphia has placed
hoods over both backing table and pot. The hood for the latter is
adjustable and is lowered during melting down.
Even without a hood much can be done with fans to carry off fumes
from a foundry. In the electrotype department of one of the Phila­
delphia newspapers is a ventilator with a good fan in the ceiling di­
rectly over pot and table. In the largest job house in St. Louis the
foundry is low ceiled and old fashioned in many ways, but it is well
aired by a skylight opening just over the pot, the natural draft being
apparently strong enough to work very well, though doubtless there
are times when smoke and fumes are driven down instead of being
carried up. The largest printing establishment in Washington de­
pends entirely on window and fan ventilation, but it is not successful.
The unhooded pans and pot stand near the window and there is a
fan in the wall, but at the time the inspection was made it was easy
to see the bluish fumes of lead oxide rising from the molten surfaces,
and only part was sucked out by the fan; the rest blew into the room
because the wind was in that direction. There are 130 men employed
in this foundry.
In addition to the fumes there is more or less lead scrap in an
electrotype foundry, sometimes large quantities. This collects around
the routing machines, even when they are inclosed in walls of wire
net. The smaller fragments make their way through the net, though
one Chicago superintendent has doubled his netting with the result
that very little lead escapes. There are also shavings from sawing
and beveling the plates, and there is a good deal of lead splashed on
the floor when the men are backing plates, and often dross also if it
is not dropped into a special receptacle. All this scattering of lead
is quite unnecessary. There are foundries, notably a model one in
Chicago and a beautifully clean one in St. Louis, where no lead is
permitted to fall on the floor and remain there, but these are excep­
tions; usually no care at all is taken. The large Washington foundry
referred to above is surprisingly neglected in this respect. Two of




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

51

the routers are devoid of protecting nets and are surrounded by piles
of scrap; there is great carelessness as regards splashing lead, and
sweeping goes on continually during working hours.
Another source of lead fumes is the solder which is used to fasten
together parts of plates which have had to be sawed apart to make
corrections. This is ordinary solder used in the ordinary way with
a gas flame. In very large foundries the sticks of solder are made
on the premises by ladling the metal into molds. A certain amount
of hand finishing may also be done in connection with electrotyping,
such as scraping leads and 6 mortising,” i. e., filing.
6
Black leading is dirty work. The black lead is very light and flies
all over, darkening walls and ceilings, and settling on the windows.
This may be one reason why electrotype foundries are so often dirty,
neglected places. The effort to keep them clean is too great, appar­
ently, and they are surrendered to the dirt that is looked upon as
inevitable. Still there are in every one of the seven cities foundries
which are a source of pride to their owners, where walls are painted
white, and the graphite kept under cover, where floors are smooth
and are kept clean, places really pleasant to work in. As a usual
thing the heat is great enough to be very disagreeable, and in many
places a blast of steam is used to clean plates, adding greatly to the
discomfort of the workmen.
It was impossible to discover the extent to which wood alcohol is
used in electrotyping, for questions on this point are not always
answered frankly, but it may be taken for granted that its use is
always attended with some risk, since the fumes of wood alcohol are
notoriously dangerous, and there is also a possibility of absorbing it
through the skin.
Dr. Hayhurst, of the Illinois commission, examined 12 electrotypers,
and found 1 of them with signs of “ leading.” Among 21 cases of
lead poisoning in the typographical trades in Chicago 5 were electro­
typers. They had worked more than 10 years each, and 4 of the 5
had loss of power in the wrists.
THE PRESSROOM.
The work in the pressroom has many elements of discomfort, but has
not the risk of lead poisoning. Pressrooms, like stereotype foundries,
are often placed in basements, although, as in the case of the foun­
dries, some of the basement pressrooms are better ventilated than are
those built above the ground. The air in pressrooms is often heavy,
and the excuse given for the lack of better ventilation is that a current
of air would be bad for the ink, although apparently in other places
the ink is not injured by currents of fresh air blowing in all the time.
One objection to basement pressrooms is that all the work must be
done by artificial light, and almost invariably this is provided by




52

B U LLETIN OP TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

glaring, unprotected electric bulbs, which make little islands of
brilliant illumination surrounded by semidarkness.
Pressrooms are not usually scrupulously clean, but the dirt is of
the most harmless kind—scraps of paper, chiefly—and the floor is
usually oily enough to be almost dust free. Sweeping here has none
of the undesirable features that it has in the composing room or in
the foundry. The presence of lead dust and lead fumes is excep­
tional here, for though stereotyping is sometimes carried on in the
pressroom, it is not commonly done. Of course, in small shops there
is often only one room for all the work, and the pressmen are ex­
posed to whatever dust and fumes are produced in all the processes.
Certain book and job houses have really model pressrooms, as, for
instance, one in Cambridge, where the walls are covered with white
enamel paint, the floor is of hardwood in perfect condition, the
natural lighting is excellent, and artificial light provided for by
clouded white globes. The ventilation is very good. Instances of
equally good conditions were found in New York, in Philadelphia,
and in Chicago. The worst pressrooms were in newspaper plants,
where steam tables or foundry kettles added greatly to the discom­
fort of the men and in some cases were a source of air pollution from
acrolein smoke and lead fumes. I f the routing machines are in the
pressroom, as is sometimes true, lead dust is scattered over the floor.
An important feature of work in the pressroom is the composition
of the ink, and another is the method of cleaning ink off press rollers.
The essential constituents of printer’s ink are linseed oil, varnish
(resin and boiled linseed oil), and pigment. The linseed oil may be
adulterated with cottonseed oil, fish oil, benzine, or turpentine. The
varnish may have litharge (one of the oxides of lead) or lead nitrate
or lead linoleate or manganese dioxide added as a drier.
Black is, of course, the most common pigment, and consists of car­
bon in a fine state of division obtained from burning oil or natural
gas. The former is called lampblack, the latter carbon black. The
next most common color is red, and this is always a coal-tar red.
Yellow may be lead chromate or ocher or one of the cadmium colors,
while green is often chrome yellow with an admixture of blue. For
white, both zinc and lead whites are used and both have their advo­
cates. This does not complete the list of colors used in printing, but
the others are of no hygienic importance. The lead salts are the only
ones that can be considered harmful, though certain of the coal-tar
reds are capable of producing dermatitis in men with delicate skin.
Press rollers are ma3e by boiling together glue and glycerin.
They are cleaned in a great many different ways, but usually the sol­
vent employed to soften the ink is one of the petroleum distillates,
sometimes mixed with other solvents, sometimes used alone. “ Coal
oil,” or kerosene, is common, so is benzine. Turpentine, an impure




HYGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

53

variety of which seems to be in frequent use in Europe, is not found
in pressrooms in this country.
The complaint made by men who have to use benzine is that the
fumes are irritating, while the heavier distillates, kerosene or coal
oil, cause acnelike eruptions on the hands and forearms i n some cases.
Much more serious, however, is the risk involved in handling roller
washes which contain wood alcohol or anilin oil. In one pressroom
the foreman said that he made up a mixture of glycerin and wood
alcohol. Another gave as his formula anilin oil and oleic acid, one
part each, to two parts of benzine. He admitted that the men dis­
liked to use it unless all the windows were open.
There is a great variety of roller washes on the market, some of
which are known to contain enough anilin oil to set up serious symp­
toms in men exposed to the fumes in ill-ventilated rooms. (See pp.
31, 32.) Benzol used to be a constituent of the stronger washes, but
is said to be too expensive since the war. According to a maker of
roller washes all the strong ones, those that “ cut the ink,” contain
anilin oil or wood alcohol or both, except the noninflammable ones,
which probably contain carbon tetrachloride (tetrachlormethane), a
narcotic poison with an effect very like that of chloroform, only
slower.
REFINING DROSS.
There is an increasing tendency, now that the price of lead has
risen very decidedly, for newspaper plants and large job houses to
recover the lead from dross skimmings instead of selling it to junk
dealers. Sometimes the dross is simply remelted and a small part of
the lead recovered, the oxide being sold, but in several plants a cupel­
ing furnace has been installed for the actual reduction of the oxide.
This introduces a quite new danger into the printing industry, for
in such a department are carried on processes usually confined to lead
refineries. The fumes which escape from a cupeling furnace during
feeding and tapping are lead-laden beyond question, and the risk
is greater because the work is not by any means always intrusted to
an experienced man nor is the furnace placed so as not to contami­
nate the air of the rest of the shop. Even when dross is only re­
melted the furnace may be allowed to get red hot and fuming, as is
the case in several plants in St. Louis, in one in Washington, and in
one in New York.
It is very desirable to have this work done in a separate room and
this has been provided for in three newspaper plants in Boston, in
one in Chicago, and in one in New York. The Chicago house has by
far the best arrangement, a small iron shed on the roof. The others
have placed these furnaces in basements, in some of which the venti­
lation is very poor. The plant in Boston has its furnace in a tiny, un­




54

BU LLETIN OP THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ventilated subbasement, with not even a window. Piles of dusty
dross lie on the floor and the lead runs out into an open kettle from
which it must be ladled into molds. The foreman admitted that he
had much difficulty in getting men to do the work, as it “ knocked
them out in a few days.”
One of the Chicago morning papers has placed the drossing fur­
nace in the stereotype foundry, a procedure one would consider ob­
jectionable on the face of it, but in this case it works very well, be­
cause the furnace has been set up beside a narrow air shaft the
opening of which is just on the level of the tapping door of the
furnace. The suction up through this shaft is strong enough to carry
up a large piece of paper and quite disposes of any fumes which rise
when the hot lead runs out. This furnace raises the temperature of
the lead to 1,200° F.
It is a pity that this work of lead refining should be introduced into
the printing industry.
TYPE FOUNDING,
According to German, and even more to Austrian, factory in­
spection reports, the founding of type is carried on in connection with
printing in those countries and the numbers of lead-poisoned opera­
tives are always decidedly increased by the type founders and espe­
cially by their women helpers. (See pp. 80-82.) In the United
States type founding is a separate business, carried on chiefly in three
large establishments. There are, however, some book and job houses
and a few newspaper offices that have small type-founding machines
of their own in addition to the monotype and linotype machines.
These are essentially the same as the ones in the large foundries,
which will be described briefly.
Four foundries were visited in the course of this inquiry, but one
of them was small and bought its metal already mixed. The others
mixed their own alloys. The largest one has this work done in a
separate room, large and fairly well ventilated, but with a badly
broken cement floor which could not possibly be kept clean and
which actually is covered with dross and scrap. The dross is shoveled
into the kettle through a feed door which is not protected by a hood
and the lead runs out into an uncovered pot. There is a great kettle
for mixing metal, capable of holding 15,000 pounds at a time. This
ip covered, but the feed door on the top and the tapping door are
both unprotected. The temperature of the lead is usually at about
800° F. Dross from this kettle is worked up in a small smelting
furnace. The five men working here are exposed to much lead dust
as well as fumes, but they have only cold water to wash with, no soap
or towels, nor are they forbidden to eat their lunch in this room.
In the second establishment the metal mixing is carried on at the
end of the foundry, one man being employed in mixing 3,000 to




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

55

5,500 pounds a day. There are two covered kettles, but the covers
must be raised for feeding or skimming and also for ladling out the
metal into molds. Dross is not worked up here; it is sold. Here,
too, the only provision for washing is cold water.
In the third the mixing is done in the basement beside a window.
The cement floor is new and clean, the place well ventilated, and
both mixing pot and refining furnace are well hooded. The risks in
this place consist in feeding the furnace with dross, which is always
very dusty, and in the fumes which rise from the tapping doors of
metal pot and refining furnace.
In the foundries two kinds of type casters are used, the old Bruce
machines which cast type needing to be finished in various ways
before it can be used, and the newer Barth machines, the type from
which is already finished and ready for use. There were 75 Bruce
machines in use in the largest foundry, 36 in the next largest, and
26 in the third, meaning that a great deal of hand finishing must
be done in all these plants. The Bruce casters have open lead pots,
from 4 to 8 inches in diameter, and the temperature is said to run
from 600° to 850° F. They are heated by gas.
Barth casters have largely superseded the Bruce .in the largest
foundry. Here the lead pots are large, about 11 inches in diameter
at the top, and the lead is kept at about 750° to 800° F. They, too,
are heated by gas. In none of the foundries are there any hoods
either over the molten lead or to carry off gas fumes, yet in one large
room no less than 75 Bruce casters and 250 Barth casters were found.
The evil of gas fumes is the same as in connection with linotype work
and the risk of lead fumes is greater, for the lead is kept at a higher
temperature.1
The feature always emphasized in foreign writings on the danger
of work in a type foundry is not, however, lead fumes so much as
lead dust from the hand finishing of type. The type cast by the
Bruce machine must go through various processes, all of which are
productive of dust. First the “ je t” must be broken off. This is a
little projection of lead at one end, produced in casting. Then the
broken surface on the edges of the type must be smoothed by rub­
bing on a file—this may be done by machine or by hand—and the
pieces of type must be “ set up,” placed in a row along a stick with
another stick fastened at right angles to hold them preparatory to
“ dressing” or grooving out the foot. There is also a machine for
“ kerning,” smoothing type to make certain letters fit more closely
side by side. Finally there is inspecting, assorting, and packing.
By far the greater part of this work is done by women and girls.
In one large foundry the filing and inspecting are done by men; the
1 The formula for the type metal used in this place was stated as fo llo w s : Lead, 60 to
55 per c e n t; antimony, 25 per c e n t; tin, 10 to 15 per c e n t; copper, 5 per cent.




56

BULLETIN OP THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

rest of the finishing employs some 200 women. In a smaller one all
the finishing is done by 20 women, and in a third, 7 men, 2 boys, and
24 women are employed.
Finishing is dusty work, and the dust that is produced is apt to be
inhaled by the workers, since it is fine work, requiring close atten­
tion, and the women sit bent over their benches with their heads close
to their machines or tools. The fine, gray powder can be seen on the
benches, and the women clean it off with soft brushes. They also use
pads of plush to hold the type, and these get full of lead dust and are
shaken and beaten clean from time to time. The finishing is often
carried on in the room where the casting machines, with their gas
fumes and possibly lead fumes also, are installed. In the largest
foundry 75 Bruce machines stand in the finishing room, with the lead
at 855° F. in some of them.
The only cases of lead poisoning among women in the typo­
graphical trades which were discovered by the Illinois Occupational
Disease Commission were among workers in this department of a
type foundry.1 There were four, all employed in finishing type by
hand, and they had been doing that sort of work for periods of
from
to 35 years. They, of course, represented less serious forms
of lead poisoning, since they had been able to keep on working.
There is a continually changing force of girls and women in this sort
of work, the more susceptible quitting, the more resistant staying on.
Though type founding as such is a separate industry in this
country, yet much that is done in printing shops is really type
founding. Linotyping, monotyping, and stereotyping are all meth­
ods of casting and we can not say that American printing shops
are free from the dangers connected with this branch, especially
as the mixing of metal and the casting in molds are very commonly
done in all but the smallest shops. The mixing department in the
largest printing shop in Washington is very important. There are
three large pots, with an output of 10,000 pounds a day each, and
one small pot which mixes 1,800 pounds of linotype metal and 8,000
pounds of monotype metal. The pots are all hooded, but at least
one-third of the circumference of the hood is open and the vent pipes
are too small and the draft not strong enough. When melting
down of ink-covered type is being done there are clouds of acrolein
vapors which are almost more than the men can endure, and after
this stage is over and the lead raised to its proper temperature, the
bluish fumes of oxide can easily be seen escaping from each pot
whenever the metal man stirs or ladles or skims the lead.
In the shops which have single type-casting machines these are for
the most part placed in separate rooms and the type cast needs no
further hand finishing.




2
Pasce 44.

H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

57

BOYS IN THE PRINTING TRADES.
The International Typographical Union has formulated certain
definite rules as to apprenticeship, but leaves other features to be
dealt with by the local unions. Thus the term of apprenticeship
must be at least four years, but some cities increase this to five. The
age at entrance is not specified and naturally follows more or less
the child-labor laws in different parts of the country, being anywhere
from 12 to 16 years. New York and Chicago insist on 16 as the mini­
mum, and the course in each of these cities covers five years. The
planning of the apprentices’ training course is also left to the locals,
as is the standard of competency which the boys must reach in order
to be accepted as journeymen. The International Typographical
Union maintains a correspondence school of its own and apprentices
are encouraged to enter it. In 1915 there were said to be upward of
5,000 students enrolled. The Chicago local insists on a six months’
course in the school for its apprentices.
Though the number of apprentices permitted is left to the locals,
it is always strictly limited, and consequently there are in all shops
numbers of boys who may not be old enough to enter as apprentices
or who are waiting for a vacancy and meantime acting as floor boys
or porters, and there are also boys who are simply doing the work
as they would in any shop without the intention of eventually enter­
ing the industry. Nonunion and open shops may have as many boys
as they please. There is a nonunion shop in Chicago which main­
tains its own training school and has 175 boys out of a total force
of 420 employees.
There are no rules against intrusting to apprentices work which
is hazardous because of lead fumes or lead dust as there are in many
European countries, where it is recognized that young people are
much more susceptible to lead poisoning than mature men. In Ger­
many boys are not allowed to blow out type cases, in Norway they
may not sweep the floors, in Denmark they are forbidden to work
in the stereotype department. Both the Austrian royal report and
Ducrot’s report to the French Government advised that no young
person be allowed to do any work which would bring him in contact
with lead.
The boys in American printing shops are not protected at all
from the dangers incidental to or inherent in the trade. Copyholders
and errand boys may not, according to union ruling, set or distribute
type or break up forms., but they often do the sweeping and tend
the melting pot. Apprentices have their course more or less rigidly
prescribed, but there is nothing to prevent their doing any sort of
work in the composing room. Usually they are forbidden to work




58

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

overtime or more than six days a week, which is an excellent regula­
tion. Apparently the union has not been impressed with the neces­
sity for any further protection for future printers, since boys may
be seen doing the more dangerous kinds of work in book and news­
paper shops in all the seven cities visited.
In the course of this investigation boys from 14 to 18 years of age
were actually found at work in the following occupations:
1. Sweeping around the linotypes in the composing room, and
gathering up lead scrap, in one instance going down on hands and
knees to brush the scrap from around the very complicated standards
of the machines. This was seen in two Baltimore shops, in two news­
paper composing rooms in Philadelphia, and in two in Chicago. In
one of the last the boy was sorting over the swept-up scrap to pick
out the leads and matrices.
2. Cleaning linotype machines by blowing and brushing, and
cleaning linotype plungers with a metal brush. A 16-year-old boy
was doing such work in a Philadelphia job shop. Boys were found
employed at this very dusty work in a Chicago job shop and in three
newspaper plants, one each in St. Louis, Chicago, and New York.
3. Gathering and dumping scrap, feeding it into melting pots, and
casting “ biscuits ” for the linotypes. Sometimes the metal runs out
into molds, sometimes it must be ladled out. In a very dirty, unven­
tilated job shop in Boston (a union-label shop), with an almost in­
credible amount of lead dust on the floor and heaps of it around the
pot, three boys under 18 years were sweeping and were tending the
linotype melting pot. In a Philadelphia job shop the boy doing this
sort of work did not look to be 16, and in another he was said to be
only 15. A large Boston newspaper and book shop combined was
employing a boy at this work, and so was a Washington job shop.
4. Blowing out dusty type cases. This recognizedly dangerous
work is done by boys in a large nonunion shop in Chicago, in two
Philadelphia job shops, and in one shop each in Baltimore, Cam­
bridge, and Boston. This Boston shop handles much old type and it
was said that the two boys, 16 and 17 years old, might have to blow
out cases two or three times a week.
In an electrotype foundry there is usually one boy to five or six
men, and the sweeping around routers and kettles is invariably as­
signed to them. On the other hand, in stereotyping one hardly ever
sees boys, all the work, including the sweeping, being done by men.
Among the hundred men examined by Dr. Ellis (p. 91) were two
youths who showed evidence of lead poisoning. One was a machin­
ist’s helper, who had worked only two months in a large job shop,
cleaning linotype machines and plungers. He had the lead line along
the gums, anemia, digestive disturbances, constipation, headache, and
nervousness. The other was sawing and trimming castings. He also




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

59

had the lead line, anemia, headache, abdominal pain, attacks of
dizziness, and constipation.
WOMEN IN THE PRINTING TRADES.
Women are accepted as members of the typographical union on
exactly the same terms as men. They must go through the same
apprenticeship, and after becoming journeymen they have the same
hours and receive the same pay as men. They are found in large
numbers as proof readers and are usually the operators on the mono­
type keyboards. In nonunion shops they are press feeders, some­
times doing all that work, and always there are large numbers em­
ployed in the bindery departments. As compositors and linotypists
they are not numerous. In the course of this investigation, which
took in only those processes involving exposure to lead or other
poisons, only 14 women linotypists were found out of a total of about
1,532 operators, and only 103 hand compositors out of a total of about
3,800. These 117 women were, for the most part, in nonunion or
open shops—49 were found in one large nonunion shop in Chicago,
37 in nine open shops (seven of them in Boston and Cambridge), and
31 in eight union shops.
As is true of women’s work in all trades, there is a wide difference
of opinion as to whether it should be permitted in the printing
trade. This difference was brought out clearly at the meeting of
the International Association for Labor Legislation in Lugano in
1910 and at the following meeting in Zurich in 1912. The Italians,
under Carozzi, took the stand that for the good of the race women
must be forbidden to work in this industry, since the danger of lead
poisoning is too great and not only are women more susceptible to this
form of poisoning, but the results are transmitted to their offspring.
The Austrians also were in favor of forbidding women to work at any
occupation in printing which involved contact with lead, and the
regulations now in force in Austria contain this provision. Carozzi
has since reiterated most emphatically his conviction that this trade
must be closed to women, though he admits that he has no proof of
injury to those employed in Italy, since their number is too small
to warrant any conclusions.
The British, on the other hand, maintained that it was entirely
possible to do away with the danger of lead poisoning in the printing
trade and that efforts should be directed toward that rather than
toward the shutting out of women from an industry in which they
had long been employed and which was in many ways suited to their
powers. The French and the American delegates stood with the
British.
The typographical industry is not the only one in which efforts
have been made to prohibit work by women on the ground of danger




60

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

to health, but whenever, as is certainly true in printing, the dangers
are all avoidable the only logical and fair thing to do is to abolish
these dangers. The Austrian statistics of lead poisoning in women,
on which so much stress has been laid, depend on the fact that
women were employed in hand finishing of type, work which is
dangerous for men also and which should be replaced by mechanical
means. (See p. 55.) Whatever process in printing is dangerous
for women has dangers for men also, and, as we have repeatedly
shown, all these dangers can and should be prevented.
•In the United States women are, of course, freely admitted to the
trade, and while some foremen believe that the work is not well
adapted to feminine strength and endurance others say that women
hold out quite as well as men on the machines and that there is
nothing in the work of the composing room that is beyond their
strength. All agree that women make excellent proof readers, and
in union shops proof readers must be practical printers, as must
also the keyboard operators for the monotype machines. The occu­
pations entered upon by women are largely those which do not ex­
pose them to lead poisoning or to other special dangers.
HEALTH OF PRINTERS.
There is a general impression in all European countries that print­
ing is among the more unhealthful industries and that printers have
disproportionately high sickness and death rates. The same im­
pression has prevailed in this country. In Europe the statement is
very generally made that part of the undue amount of sickness
among printers is to be attributed to the fact that the industry
is recruited from the less robust, less sturdily developed boys who
reach working age, that the work attracts especially those who are
not able to stand a great deal of muscular exertion. This is not
usually held to be true of the printing trade in the United States.
(See p. 98.)
Since printing is an old industry, always employing men who are
decidedly above the average of wage earners in intelligence and in­
fluence, it has attracted the attention of sanitarians in all countries,
and it is possible to gain much information from the literature of
industrial hygiene and from the reports of factory inspectors con­
cerning conditions in the printing trade and the sickness and death
rates among printers in Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, and
Holland. Some of this material, however, relates to conditions in
former years, since which time marked improvement in working
conditions and in mortality rates may have been made, as in the
printing industry in the United States. This should be borne in
mind in considering the figures for European countries.




61

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

ENGLAND AND WALES.

The mortality statistics for England and Wales show that for each
age group up to 35 years the death rate from all causes is decidedly
higher for printers than for all occupied males, the excess being from
0.45 to 1.62 per 1,000. For ages 35 and over the proportionate differ­
ence in rates is small.
In the table following the mortality from all causes among printers
is compared with that of all occupied males for the years 1900 to 1902.
Figures for a more recent period are not yet available.
T a bl e 2 .— M O R T A L IT Y FROM A L L CAUSES AMONG PR IN TER S, COMPARED W IT H TH A T

OF A L L OCCUPIED M ALES IN EN GLAND AND W A L E S , 1900 TO 1902, B Y AGE GROUPS.
[Source: The Mortality from Consumption in Dusty Trades, by Frederick L. Hoffman, in Bulletin No.
79, U. S. Bureau of Labor. Compiled from data in Supplement to Sixty-fifth Annual Report of Regis­
trar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in England and Wales, Part II, London, 1908.]
Death rate for printers.
Death rate
per 1,000
for all
occupied
males.

Age at death.

2.44
4.41
6.01
10.22
17.73
31.01
88.39

15 to 19 years.............................................................................
20 to 24 years.............................................................................
25 to 34 yeafs.............................................................................
35 to 44 years...........................................................................
45 to 54 years.............................................................................
55 to 64 years.............................................................................
65 years and over.......................................................

Rate per
1,000.

3.19
6.03
6.46
10.19
17.76
30.76
87.61

Greater
( + ) or less
Ratio to
( - ) than rate for all
rate for all occupied
occupied
males.
males.
+0.75
+1.62
+ .45
— .03
+ .03
- .75
- .78

131
137
107
100
100
99
99

HOLLAND.

An inquiry into the printing trade in the Netherlands was
made in 1908 by De Vooys.1 He compares the death rate of printers
with that of men in certain other trades, selecting painters be­
cause they also are exposed to lead, indeed to a much greater extent
than are the printers; shoemakers, because they work in closed rooms
and are often not naturally robust; and carpenters and gardeners
because they represent unusually healthful trades. De Vooys shows
that in Holland a very large percentage of the printers are found
massed in the early age groups. Almost one-half, 46.43 per cent, are
under 23 years of age, while shoemakers have only 29.21 per cent in
that age group, painters 30.63 per cent, carpenters 29.85 per cent, and
gardeners 25.23 per cent. This points to something abnormal in the
printing industry as does also the fact that there is a larger number
between the ages of 12 and 17 years (26.71 per cent) than between the
ages of 18 and 22 years (19.72 per cent).
De Vooys found an excessive death rate among printers compared
with occupied males generally for all the age groups up ta 35 years.
As shown by the table following, it is most striking in the group 18 to
22. The figures, it should be noted, are for the period 1896 to 1900.
1 De Vooys, P .: Berieht der Niederl&nd.
fur gesetzliche Arbeiterschutz, 1908.




Sektion der Internationalen Vereinigung

62

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

T a b l e 3.—D E A T H R A T E P E R 1,000 FROM

A L L CAUSES AM ONG PR IN TER S, AMONG
MEN OF FOUR O THER SELECTED TR A DE S, AN D AMONG A L L OCCUPIED M ALES,
B Y AGE GROUPS, 1896 TO 1900.

[Source: De Vooys, Bericht uber Bleivergiftung in den polygraphischen Gewerbenin den Niederlanden,
1908, p. 8.]
71 years
12 to 17 18 to 22 23 to 35 36 to 50 51 to 60 61 to 65 66 to 70
and
years. years. years. years. years. years. years.
over.

Occupation.

Printers....................................................
Shoemakers.............................................
Painters....................................................
Carpenters...............................................
Gardeners................................................

2.15
2.19
1.54
2.06
1. 77

8.78
7.02
6.45
4.67
3.16

6.90
6.47
6.19
6.10
3.86

7.37
9.00
9.29
7.84
5.70

15.38
16.72
18.59
18.18
11.66

20.53
34.93
35.15
30.42
20.99

47.17
53.37
59.61
46.41
34.09

94.59
110.31
101.00
100.42
76.79

All occupied m ales.....................

1.85

4.84

5.24

8.23

17.56

28.97

47.39

96.24

FRANCE.

In regard to the mortality rates among French printers no recent
figures are available. In 1880 Guignard1 wrote a report of the
printing trade in France, declaring it to be a very unhealthful
occupation. He was especially impressed with the evils of excessive
speeding up and of nightwork. The death rate of Paris printers was
decidedly above the average for all men of the same ages, and these
deaths occurred especially in early life. In 1879, out of 65 printers
dying in that year, 14 were between 20 and 30 years old and 22 be­
tween 30 and 40. The average death rate per 1,000 for printers
between 1876 and 1879 was no less than 24.7, while it was only 15.7
for all Parisian men between 25 and 65 years of age.
Bertillon, at the International Congress of Hygiene and Demog­
raphy held in London in 1891, gave the statistics for Parisian print­
ers during the five years from 1885 to 1889. The deaths are grouped
by ages, and in all the age groups the printers have a higher rate
than that for the general male population of the same age. I f we
select for comparison the trades chosen by De Yooys, we shall have
the following table:
T a b l e 4 .—A N N U A L M O R T A L IT Y

R ATES OF PR IN TER S, OF M EN OF FO U R O TH ER
SELECTED TRA DE S, AN D OF A L L M ALES, IN PARIS, B Y AGE GROUPS, 1885 TO 1889.

[Source: Report of Seventh International Congress of Hygiene and Demography.
pp. 54,55.]

London, 1891, Vol. X ,

Death rate per 1,000.
Occupation.
20 to 29
years.

Shoemakers..............................................................................................
Painters....................................................................................................
Carpenters................................................................................................
OarrtanArs_____ •
___________________________ ______
- ____
All malfts___

_

1 Guignard, in Journal d’ Hygifcne.
2 Not reported.




40 to 49
years.

17.8
13.4
14.8
10.5
11.1

23.7
19.2
23.0
18.8
13.6

26.7
20.4
28.8
24.3
21.6

40.6
35.3
42.0
30.7
(2)

11.1

Print,Arq____________

30 to 39
years.

14.9

21.2

31.0

Paris, 1880, vol. 5, p. 184.

50 to 59
years.

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

63

Bertillon was obliged to include among the printers, engravers
and lithographers, but not bookbinders. A comparison between his
table and that of De Vooys shows that in France also the mortality
for printers is high, but not as high as in Holland, nor is there the
same excessive rate in the early age groups among the French
printers as among the Dutch.
AUSTRIA.

The Austrian Government ordered an inquiry into health con­
ditions in the printing trade, the report of which was published in
1909.1 The investigators declared that among the trades which
expose workers to constant danger from lead poisoning, the typo­
graphical trades take a conspicuous place. The dangers in this
industry are lead dust, irritation of the skin from using benzine or
turpentine in cleaning type, flat foot from constant standing, eye­
strain, bad posture, air vitiated by gas and overcrowding, great heat
especially for stereotypers, and the fact that the trade attracts the
less robust youths.
ITALY.

Carozzi’s study of this trade in Italy2 was published in 1912
as a contribution of the Italian section of the International Associa­
tion for Labor Legislation. Carozzi believes that printing is an un­
usually unhealthful industry, with sickness and death rates decid­
edly above the average, especially from respiratory and digestive dis­
eases. The statistics he gives are for Milan for the 10 years between
1900 and 1909.
T a b l e 5 .—N UM BER AN D PER CENT OF D EATH S IN EACH AGE GROUP AMONG PR IN ­

TERS OF M ILAN , 1900 TO 1909.
[Source: Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation.
No. 4, Pt. II, p. 36.1

Italian section, new series,

Deaths in each age
group.
Age group.
Number.

Per cent.

Under 15 years.........................................
16 to 25 years............................................
26 to 35 years........... .*...............................
36 to 50 years............................................
51 to 60 years............................................
61 to 70 years............................................
Over 70 years............................................

22
ISO
99
112
75
69
38

3.6
30.3
16.7
18.8
12.6
11.6
6.4

Total...............................................

595

100.0

1 Bleivergiftungen in hiittenmannischen und gewerblichen Betrieben, in k. k. Arbeitsstatisticher Am t im Handelsministerium. Vienna, 1909, Vol. V II.
2 Inchiesta igienico-sanitaria neir industria poligrafica in Italia. Pubblicazione della
Sezione Ital. dell’ Associazione internaz. per la protezione legale dei lavoratori.
1912.
Parte II.




64

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Evidently many young persons are employed, since a strikingly
large proportion of deaths were in early life, no less than one-third
of the deaths occurring under 26 years of age. In contrast with
these figures it may be noted that in the United States in the Inter­
national Typographical Union in 1913 to 1915 only 3.3 per cent of
the deaths were under 25 years of age, 16 per cent under 35 years,
and 38.9 per cent under 45 years.
Carozzi followed for two years the histories of 600 Italian printers
and found, as almost all students of this industry have found, an
abnormally high morbidity rate, caused in part, he believes, by the
admission of large numbers of comparatively weakly individuals
who are incapable of undertaking heavy work and are under the
mistaken impression that this is an easy occupation which makes
little demand on the strength. He says it is a matter of everyday
observation that printers are less robust than the average working­
man, and therefore it is easy to understand why they succumb to the
effects of handling lead, holding type in the mouth, failing to wash
their hands before eating, and standing on the feet for long hours.
The nervous strain of the work also is very great, especially in nightwork and in newspaper offices, and this results in a high proportion
of functional nervous diseases, irritability, heightened reflexes, in­
somnia, and tremors. The high morbidity rate is caused chiefly by
digestive troubles, second by respiratory diseases. Disturbances of
metabolism and neurasthenia are common.
GERMANY.

Several valuable studies of the printing trade in Germany have
been published. All the earlier authorities on industrial diseases in
Germany and a few of the later ones maintain that printing is a
decidedly dangerous trade. Aside from the fact, which is always
emphasized, that this industry attracts poorly developed apprentices,
various other causes are given for its unhealthfulness. Silberstein1
explains the high death rate among printers on the following
grounds: First and most important is dust, because in a printing
shop the dust may contain lead. In addition, it is an occupation that
requires continual standing and this means poor circulation, chilli­
ness, unwillingness to have the windows open. In many parts of the
printing shop the temperature is always too high, and heat makes
the man oversensitive to exposure. Pannwitz2 made an exhaustive
study of this industry, and as a result of his report on conditions in
the trade in Germany the regulations of 1897 were passed to remedy
1 Silberstein, in W eyl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten. Jena, 1908, p. 251.
2 Pannwitz, in Arbeiten aus dem kaiserliclien Gesundheitsamt, 1896, Vol. X I I , p. 686.




H YG IEN E OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

65

unhealthful conditions in printing shops.1 Pannwitz lays great stress
on the poor physical development of those who enter the trade, and
believes that the fact that narrow-chested boys, predisposed to tuber­
culosis, are especially apt to select this industry is one explanation for
its high morbidity rate. People have the mistaken idea that the
work is light, whereas really it is very strenuous, requiring both
physical and nervous endurance. The hours of standing at a frame,
not always adapted to the man’s height, are more exhausting than
work which involves walking and making larger muscular move­
ments. The lack of movement causes shallow respiration and this
results in gradual weakening of the lungs. There are in addition
many common though quite preventable evils in the industry, such
as poor ventilation, overcrowding, lack of cleanliness, and abundant
production of dust.
Statistics of a few decades ago show a very high sickness rate
among German printers and also a high death rate. In 1875 Stumpf2
wrote that compositors and type founders had the highest death rate
of all the trades and that they suffered especially from pulmonary
and digestive diseases. Albrecht3 writing in 1891 classed the print­
ing trade among the more dangerous industries and emphasized the
respiratory diseases especially. Wegmann4 compared the deaths of
Berlin printers with those of men in other industries in the years
1886 and 1887. Out of 1,000 printers employed 16.8 died, while in
other trades out of an equal number of men the turners lost 13.8,
the painters 11.9, the weavers 11.4, the shoemakers 11.3, the carpenters
11.1, and the tailors 9.
Following the passage of the law of 1897, there was a decided im­
provement in sanitary conditions in printing shops and since that
time there has been a corresponding improvement in the sickness
and death records of this industry especially in some of the large
cities. Thus Hahn5 whose careful study of this trade was pub­
lished in 1908 shows that while, the printers’ union in Germany
with 54,000 members had a higher sickness rate than the average for
all trades in the German sick funds for 1891 to 1904—46.10 per 100
printers, 37.58 per 100 members of the sick insurance funds—in three
cities the sickness rate for printers had fallen below the average, and
the death rate also was lower.
1 For present German regulations, see Appendix E, p. 117 et seq.
2 Stumpf, in Archiv der Heilkunde, 1875, vol. 16, p. 465.
3 Albrecht, in Schmoller’s Jahrbuch fur Gesetzgebung 1891, H eft 2, p. 213 ; also quoted
in W e yl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten. Jena, 1908, p. 254.
1 Wegmann, in Archiv fur Hygiene, 1894, vol. 21, p. 359.
5
Hahn, M . : Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, mit
besonderer Beriicksichtigung der Bleivergiftung.
Bericht an die Internationale Vereinigung fur gesetzliche Arbeiterschutz, 1908.

- 57184°— Bull. 209—17------ 5




66

BU LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

T a b l e 6 . — D E A T H RATES PER 1,000 FOR THE PR INTING TRA D E S A N D FOR A L L T RA D E S
IN T H R E E GERM AN CITIES, 1891 TO 1904.

[Source: Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, 1908, p. 15.]
Printing
trades, i

All
trades.

City.

Berlin.................................................
Munich...............................................
Dresden..............................................

12.6
8.9
8.4

9.2
5.7
6.7

x Rates for Berlin include male book printers only ; those for Munich and Dresden
include all printing trades, both sexes.

As we shall see later, however, printers even in these cities have
an excessive death rate from tuberculosis.
The following table, based on the experience of the Leipsig (Ger­
many) Local Sick Fund, 1887 to 1905, shows the death rates due to
all causes and to certain selected causes for several occupations in
the printing industry and for other selected occupations. Printers
and painters (lead-using occupations) are conspicuous for high rates
both from all causes and from tuberculosis. Unfortunately, the
experience in later years is not shown separately, and the changes
which may have occurred in the rates between the earlier and later
years of this long period can not be determined from any information
available.
T a b l e 7.— D E A T H S D U E TO A L L C AU SES A N D TO S P E C IF IE D C A U SE S P ER 1,000
M E M B E R S IN C E R T A IN O CC UPATIONS OF T H E L E IP S IG LO C A L SIC K F U N D ,
1887 TO 1905.
[Sou rce: Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the United States Commissioner o f Labor,
pp. 1 3 4 2 -1 3 4 7 .]
Deaths, per 1,000 persons, from-

Occupation.

Persons
under
observa­
tion one
year.

All
causes.

Diseases
Injuries
of the
Tuber­ and other
respira­ culosis of external
tory
all kinds. influ­
organs.
ences.

MALES 25 TO U YEARS OF AGE.

Compositors..............................................................
Type founders, etc....................................................
Bookbinders..............................................................
Painters.....................................................................
Shoemakers...............................................................
Carpenters, roofers, etc..............................................
Joiners.......................................................................
Bookkeepers, cashiers, copyists, stenographers,
draftsmen, etc................................................ .......
Shop employees, salesmen, clerks, etc.......................
Laborers in agriculture, gardening, etc.....................

8,508
2,196
3,685
6,305
3,992
8,133
14,797

7.99
5.46
4.88
5.39
6.51
4.55
5.07

0.94
.91
.81
1.11
.75
.61
.74

4.58
3.19
2.99
2.85
2.76
1.60
2.57

25,300
4,071
3,502

6.88
4.67
4.00

1.26
1.23
.86

2.61
1.97
1.14

7,129
2,033
2,781
4,164
1,965
9,973
13,337

10.24
19.68
6.47
13.69
14.76
8.02
10.50

1.12
1.97
1.08
2.64
1.02
2.01
1.95

4.21
4.43
2.52
3.12
4.07
2.01
3.82

.36
1.20
1.02
.90
.37

13,857

11.33
13.22
16.04

2.24
3.31
5.27

2.89
4.13
4.07

i. 68

0.24
.32
.75
.98
.27
.16
.29

MALES 35 TO 54 YEARS OF AGE.

Compositors...............................................................
Type founders, etc.....................................................
Bookbinders..............................................................
Painters.....................................................................
Shoemakers...............................................................
Carpenters, roofers, etc..............................................
Joiners.......................................................................
Bookkeepers, cashiers, copyists, stenographers,
draftsmen, etc........................................................
Shop employees, salesmen, clerks, etc......................
Laborers in agriculture, gardening, etc.....................




1,210
4,176

.14

.14

H YG IEN E OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

67

T a b le 7 _
_

DEATHS DUE TO ALL CAUSES AND TO SPECIFIED CAUSES PER 1,000
MEMBERS IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS OF THE LEIPSIG LOCAL SICK FUND,
1887 TQ 1905— Concluded.
Deaths, per 1,000 persons, from—
Persons
under
observa­
tion one
year.

Occupation.

All
causes.

Injuries
Diseases
Tuber­ and other
of the
respira­ culosis of external
tory
all kinds.
influ­
ences.
organs.

FEMALES 25 TO 34 YEARS OF AGE.

1,427
2,935
1,212

9.81
6.81
2.48

2,803
4,496
2,515

1.40
.68

5.61
4.09

2.85
4.00
5.57

.89
.40

.71
1.11
.80

538
1,300
1,750

9.29
8.46
6.86

3.72
1.54
.57

1.86
3.85
2.86

735
912
4,639

Printers’ helpers..................................................................
Bookbinders
...........................................................
Laundresses ironers etc
..........................
Bookkeepers, cashiers, copyists, stenographers,
draftswomen, etc
.
................. .
Shop employees, saleswomen, clerks, etc......................
Gardening, agriculture, and forestry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5.44
5.48
5.60

1.36
1.10
1.29

0.70

1.36
1.10
1.29

FEMALES 35 TO 54 YEARS OF AGE.

Printers’ helpers..................................................................
Bookbinders
.................................................................
Laundresses ironers, etc
Bookkeepers, cashiers, copyists, stenographers,
draftswomen, etc
.......................................................
Shop employees saleswomen, clerks, etc......................
Gardening agriculture, and forestry..............................

.22

The experience of the Leipsig Local Sick Fund also permits com­
parisons of the amount of sickness among compositors, type founders,
and other occupations. The compositors show notably high sickness
rates from tuberculosis and from diseases of the nervous system.
Two other occupations in which exposure to lead is even greater than
in the case of compositors, namely, type founders and painters, show
rates for diseases of the nervous system considerably below those of
compositors. Diseases of the nervous system are most serious among
clerical and shop employees.
8.— ANNUAL DAYS OF SICKNESS PER 1,000 MEMBERS OF THE LEIPSIG
LOCAL SICK FUND ENGAGED IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS, BY CAUSES, 1887
TO 1905.

T a b le

[Source: Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the United States Commissioner of Labor, pp. 1342-1347.]
Number, per 1,000 persons, of-

Occupation.

Persons
under
obser­
vation Cases
of
one
sick­
year.
ness.

Days of sickness due to—
Dajp
sick­
ness.

Diseases
of the
respi­
ratory
or­
gans.

Dis­
Dis­
Dis­
Dis­
Dis­
Tuber­ eases eases eases Dis­
eases eases
culo­ of the of the of the eases of the of the
ner­ circu­ diges­ of the organs eye (in­
sis
of all vous latory tive exter­ of lo­ clud­
kinds. sys­
sys­
sys­ nal or­ como­ ing in­
tem.
tem.
tem. gans. tion. juries).

MALES
25
TO
34
YEARS OF AGE.

Compositors...............
Type founders, etc...
Bookbinders..............
Painters......................
Shoemakers...............
Carpenters, roofers,
etc.............................
Joiners.........................




8,508
2,196
3,685
6,305
3,992
8,133
14,797

378 11,852
401 9.784
274 6,936
439 9,767
292 6,831

2,419
2,465
1,240
1,344
1,386

1,453
885
897
935
971

843
166
424
253
303

431
248
163
441
319

1,373
1,012
1,026
939
927

478
310
280
407
549

773
767
772
1,141
563

128
44
113
169
191

370
347

1,109
1,335

367
629

293
349

127
237

878
884

422
468

943
633

77
100

7,044
7,133

BULLETIN OP TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

68

8.— ANNUAL DAYS OF SICKNESS PER 1,000 MEMBERS OF THE LEIPSIG
LOCAL SICK FUND ENGAGED IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS, BY CAUSES, 1887
TO 1905— Concluded.

T a b le

Number, per 1,000 persons, of—
Days of sickness due to—

Persons
jOccupation.

obser­
vation
one
year.

Cases
of
sick­
ness.

Da^s

195

4, 702

sick­
ness.

Dis­
eases
of the
respi­
ratory
or­
gans.

Dis­
D is-. Dis­
Tuber­ eases eases eases Dis­
culo­ of the of the of the eases
ner­ circu­ diges­ of the
sis
exter­
of all vous latory tive nal or­
kinds. sys­
sys­
sys­
tem.
tem.
tem. gans.

Dis­
eases
of the
organs
of lo­
como­
tion.

Dis­
eases
of the
eye(including in­
juries).

MALES
25 TO
34
YEA RS OF AGE— COn.

Bookkeepers, cash­
iers, copyists, ste­
nographers, drafts­
men, etc..................
Shop e m p lo y e e s ,
salesmen, clerks,
etc.............................
Laborers in agricul­
ture, gardening, etc.

25,300

929

560

624

266

563

168

326

80

4,071

165

3,680

628

176

527

254

617

175

190

109

3,502

334

5,998

905

270

142

85

651

536

782

105

7,129
2,033
2,781
4,164
1,965

358 14,103
399 13,067
295 9,842
490 14,200
330 9,010

2,194
2,098
1, 462
1,885
2,070

1,560
958
1,038
1,260
1,004

1,238
1,012
1,177
1,045
1,040

547
252
521
312
490

1,094
1,108
1,198
1,117
901

596
504
560
699
520

1,647
1,853
1,252
1,972
907

322
170
210
160
237

9,973
13,337

414 10,097
380 9,523

1,661
1,706

583
849

529
732

325
343

891
1,109

674
604

1,633
1,138

88
130

13,857

234

6,737

1,122

644

1,249

369

655

228

713

210

MALES
35
TO 54
YEAES OF AGE.

Compositors...............
Type founders, etc...
Bookbinders..............
Painters......................
Shoemakers................
Carpenters, roofers,
etc.............................
Joiners.........................
Bookkeepers, cash­
iers, copyists, ste­
nographers, drafts­
men, etc..................
Shop e m p lo y e e s ,
salesmen, clerks,
etc.............................
Laborers in agricul­
ture, gardening, etc.

1,210

215

6,338

880

641

1,469

605

621

199

618

207

4,176

535 12,330

2,381

938

625

405

1,054

1,124

1,706

209

1,427
2,935

549 14,671
505 13,812

2,124
2,047

1,304
951

706
468

699
374

2,094
1,936

554
859

504
632

131
32

1,212

397

8,908

1,380

23

312

176

1,500

642

726

20

2,803

244

6,158

1,144

286

810

269

696

116

324

20

4,496

279

7,550

1,108

200

501

397

1,364

270

343

97

2,515

522 10,913

1,412

258

363

161

2,133

734

1,198

235

538
1,300

610 18,723
477 16,378

1,989
3,550

599
1,475

1,444
978

907
693

3,556
2,195

472
1,184

1,320
1,170

26
78

1,750

402 11,223

1,830

509

747

439

1,549

1,965

1,200

94

231

7,072

1,143

512

1,464

188

716

152

263

190

6,493

921

354

1,113

293

382

249

854

308

589 14,157

2,395

281

434

517

2,363 ’ 1,141

2,117

227

FEMALES 25 TO 34
YEARS OF AGE.

Printers’ helpers.......
Bookbinders..............
Laundresses, ironers,
etc...........: ................
Bookkeepers, cash­
iers, copyists, ste­
nographers, draftswomen, etc.............
Shop e m p lo y e e s ,
sales w om en,
clerks, etc...............
Gardening, agricul­
ture and forestry..
FEMALES 35 TO 54
YEARS OF AGE.

Printers’ helpers.......
Bookbinders..............
Laundresses, ironers,
etc.............................
Bookkeepers, cash­
iers, copyists, ste­
nographers, draftswomen. etc.............
Shop e m p l o y e e s ,
sal e s w o m e n ,
clerks, etc................
Gardening, agricul­
ture and forestry. .




735
912
4,639

69

H YG IEN E OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

The German statistics which give deaths according to age periods
do not show the excessive mortality in the early groups that we have
seen in the Dutch records or even in the Italian. Evidently the
employment of children in the industry is not as common in Ger­
many as in those countries.
Tuberculosis is the great enemy of the printer. Wherever his death
rate has been found to be high the cause has been found in a dis­
*
proportionately large number of deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis.
This is found in the records of all countries.
The table following shows for England and Wales the compara­
tive mortality rates from tuberculosis and from all causes. Com­
parative figures are given for all males, for occupied males, and for
printers, the per cent of deaths due to tuberculosis having been com­
puted for each of these classes. The table shows that tuberculosis
was the cause of 31 per cent of the deaths among printers, and that
only 18.6 per cent of the deaths among all males and 18.9 per cent
among occupied males were from this cause.
T a b le 9 .—COM PARATIVE M O R T A L IT Y OF M ALES A G E D 25 TO 65 Y E A R S , FROM ALL

CAUSES AN D FROM T UBER CU LO SIS: PR INTER S COMPARED W IT H OCCUPIED M ALES
A N D W IT H A L L M ALES IN E N G L AN D AN D W A L E S , 1900 TO 1902.
[Source: Supplement to Sixty-fifth Annual Report of Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages
in England and Wales, Part II. London, 1908, pp. clviii, clxvii. The number of deaths among all males
from all causes is used as a basis for comparison and considered as 1,000.]

Class.

All males.........................................................................................................
Occupied m ales.............................................................................................
Printers...........................................................................................................

All causes.

1,000
925
935

Tuber­
culosis.

186
175
290

Per cent
of deaths
due to
tubercu­
losis.
18.6
18.9
31.0

In the next table the mortality rates for printers from tuberculosis
and from other diseases of the respiratory system are compared with
those of all occupied males, by age periods. The death rates from
tuberculosis are higher for the printers by from 0.49 to 2.11 per
1,000 than for the males of all occupations, the difference being most
marked in the age group 35 to 44 years. For other diseases of the
respiratory system the rate for printers is slightly excessive at ages
under 20 and comparatively high at ages 65 and over, but is below
the average at ages 20 to 64, inclusive.




70

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

T a b l e 1 0 — .M O R T A L IT Y FROM CONSUMPTION AN D FROM O T H ER DISEASES OF THE

R E SP IR A T O R Y SYSTEM AMONG PR IN TER S, COMPARED W IT H T H A T OF A L L OCCU­
PIED M ALES IN EN G LAN D AN D W A L E S , 1900 TO 1902, B Y AG E GROUPS.
[Source: The mortality from consumption in dusty trades, by Frederick L. Hoffman, in Bulletin No.
79, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compiled from data in Supplement to Sixty-fifth Annual Report
of Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in England and Wales, Part II, London, 1908.]
Mortality from consumption.

Mortality from other diseases of the res­
piratory system.

Death rate for printers.
Age at death.

15 to 19 years...............
20 to 24 years...............
25 to 34 years...............
35 to 44 years...............
45 to 54 years...............
55 to 64 years...............
65 years and over.......

Death
rate per
1,000 for
all occu­
pied
males.

Greater
Ratio to
( + ) or
less ( —) rate for
Rate per than rate all occu­
1,000.
for all
pied
occupied males.
males.

0.54
1.55
2.03
2.74
3.04
2.16
1.11

1.03
3.41
3.65
4.85
4.27
3.42
1.60

+0.49
+1.86
+1.62
+2.11
+1.23
+1.26
+ .49

191
220
180
177
140
158
144

Death rate for printers.
Death
rate per
1,000 for
all occu­
pied
males.

0.24
.48
.77
1.66
3.32
6.54
17.77

Greater
Ratio to
( + ) or
less ( —) rate for
Rate per
than rate all occu­
1,000.
for all
pied
males.
occupied
males.
0.36
.37
.55
1.24
2.17
5.16
20.76

+0.12
- .11
- .22
- .42
-1 .1 5
-1 .3 8
+2.99

150
77
71
75
65
79
117

In Holland, De Vooys selected certain trades for comparison with
the printers and his figures, which are given in the table following,
show unmistakably how high a death rate there is from tuberculosis
among Dutch printers, especially in the early years of life.
T a b le 1 1 .—D EATH S PER 1,000 D U E TO TUBERCULOSIS IN H O L L A N D : PR IN T E R S COM­

PAR ED W IT H FOUR O TH ER SELECTED OCCUPATIONS A N D W IT H A L L OCCUPIED
M ALES, B Y AGE GROUPS, 1896 TO 1900.
tSource: De Vooys, Bericht fiber Bleivergiftung in den polygraphischen Gewerben in den Niederlanden,
1908, p. 9.]

Occupation.

years
12 to 17 18 to 22 23 to 35 36 to 50 51 to 60 61 to 65 66 to 70 71and
years. years. years. years. years. years. years. over.

Total.

Printers.....................................
Shoemakers..............................
Painters.....................................
Carpenters................................
Gardeners ...............................

1.18
.81
.7 /
.79
.41

6.25
4.36
2.96
2.61
1.52

4.53
3.87
3.11
3.03
1.60

3.57
3.23
3.17
2.80
1.48

3.38
3.03
3.33
2.91
1.61

1.41
1.47
2.97
3.91
.68

5.66
1.09
3.87
4.22
.91

2.70
1.81
.98
1.50
1.05

3.75
3.06
2. 77
2.58
1.32

All occupied males___

.54

2.39

2.48

2.25

2.43

2.24

2.20

1.36

2.13

Even the painters do not have as high a rate as the printers until
the sixtieth year is passed.
Bertillon, in his study of 1891, already referred to, stated that
in France and in Switzerland tuberculosis was very prevalent in
this industry. Swiss printers had twice as high a death rate from
tuberculosis in every age group as the population as a whole. The
same statement is made concerning Swiss printing trades as has
already been made concerning the trade in Germany and Aus­
tria, that part of its high sickness rate must be attributed to the




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTIN'G TRADES.

71

large number of underdeveloped apprentices who enter the printing
trade because it is looked upon as light and easy work.
Carozzi gives statistics for Italy which demonstrate the same
prevalence of tuberculosis among the printers there. He quotes a
report of Felice Pollini for the printers of Milan during eight
decades.
Table

1 2 .—NU M BER AND PER CENT OF D EATH S D U E TO TUBERCULOSIS AMONG THE
PR IN TER S OF M ILAN , B Y DECADES, 1815 TO 1894.

[Source: Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation, Italian section, new series. No. 4,
Pt. II, p. 45.]

Period.

1815 to
1825 to
1835 to
1845 to
1855 to
1865 to
1875 to
1885 to

Deaths
from all
causes, i

1824....................
1834....................
1844.....................
1854....................
1864....................
1874....................
1884.....................
1894....................

Deaths from tu­
berculosis.
Number. Per cent.

62
95
115
162
234
2 175
301
241

26
46
59
76
112
2 101
153
92

41.9
48.4
51.3
46.9
47.9
50.8
38.2

1 The numbers in this column are as shown in the source given, but are not the correct sum of the death
shown therein by causes.
2 Data are incomplete for this period.

Carozzi’s own figures are for the city of Milan, which is one of
the centers of the printing trade of Italy, and he compares them with
the general mortality for all Italy.
PER CENT OF D EATH S DUE TO TUBERCULOSIS IN TH E G EN ER A L PO PULA­
TION OF IT A L Y , OF M ILAN , AN D IN THE TYPO G R AP H ICA L TR A D E IN M ILAN.

T able 1 3 .—

[Source: Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation, Italian section, new series, No. 4,
Pt. II, p. 36.1
Per cent of deaths due to tuberculosis.
Item.
1905
General population of Italy.............................................
General population of Milan............................................
Typographical trade of Milan .........................................

12.09
14.82
41.33

1906
12.11
15.84
50.84

1907
12.43
16.95
43.39

1908
12.19
15.82
48.68

1909
12.23
14.13
35.93

In the Austrian Government report already referred to it is said
that tuberculosis is the disease typical of the printing trades. The
report, however, deals specially with the menace of lead, and the
statistics, which are chiefly those of lead poisoning, will be given
farther on.
. In Germany all of the writers who have taken this trade as their
subject state that tuberculosis is very prevalent among printers.
Albrecht emphasizes the danger of respiratory diseases, especially
tuberculosis, as shown in some early statistics from the Berlin sick­
ness insurance office. Between 1857 and 1859, 48.13 per cent of all




72

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

deaths among printers were from pulmonary tuberculosis and when
other kinds of tuberculosis were reckoned with them, the proportion
was 50.2. If all respiratory diseases are included the proportion
reaches 60.96.
Among the printers of Berlin deaths due to tuberculosis of the
lungs during the period 1857 to 1889 were, according to Albrecht,
49.43 per cent of the deaths from all causes; for the period 1889 to
1891 Sommerfeld gives the proportion as 44.44 per cent; for 1901 to
1907 Hahn gives 37.7 per cent; and for 1903 to 1905 Silberstein re­
ports that 37.33 per cent of the deaths among the printers of Berlin
were due to this cause. The improvement in conditions which fol­
lowed the passage of the law of 1897, is shown plainly in more recent
statistics given by Silberstein although, as he says, tuberculosis is
still unduly prevalent among German printers.
This decrease in tuberculosis in Berlin corresponds in general to
the decrease in all Germany. However, even in those German cities in
which the death rate among printers has been very notably lowered
of late years, actually below that of the general population, yet if one
takes the tuberculosis rates alone, the printers are always in the lead.
For instance, in Munich, in 1907, tuberculosis caused 30.4 per cent of
all deaths among members of the general sick fund, while among
the printers 46.3 per cent were from this cause.1 Hahn gives also
the following figures for Berlin’s mortality rate from tuberculosis
of the lungs:
1 4 .— PER CEN T OF D E A T H S DU E TO T U B E R C U L O SIS AM O N G M E M B ER S
OF T H E G E N E R A L LO C A L SIC K F U N D A N D O F T H E P R IN T E R S ’ SIC K F U N D
OF B E R L IN .

T a b le

[Source : Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, p. 2 1 .]
Per cent of deaths due to tu­
berculosis.
Fund.
Males.

General local sick fund (1902 to 1907)....................................................................
Printers'sick fund (1901 to 1907)............................................................................

29.5
37.2

Females.

33.1
39.4

Both
sexes.
30.9
37.7

UNITED STATES.

Several State and Federal inquiries have been made in the United
States concerning health conditions in the printing trades. In a
very complete report of the history of Typographical Union No. 6—
the New York City printers’ union—which was made in 1911 for the
New York State Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a long dis­
cussion of the healthfulness of the industry.2 It is a subject which
1 Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, p. 21.
2 New York State Department of Labor. Annual Report for 1911. Vol. II. Albany,
1912.




H YGIENE OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

73

has occupied the attention of the more intelligent class of printers
for a long time, because it was evident to them that their trade had
an undue amount of sickness and early breakdown. Nevertheless
in this same report it is shown from the union’s own books that a
very notable improvement in the health and longevity of the mem­
bers has taken place from decade to decade. Thus they show from
their union statistics that the average duration of life for a com­
positor was only 28 years in 1850, while 18 years later, in 1868,
it had risen to 35 years, and in 1893 to 38.78. The average age at
death of printers in New York City during the five years ending
with 1905 was 46.48, and for the five years ending with 1910 it was
49.44. For those who died from tuberculosis the average of 37.36
years at death in the first five-year period had risen to 42.42 in
the second five-year period. During the first period 97 of the 508
printers who died had passed their sixtieth birthday, a proportion
of 19.1 per cent, but during the later period 141 out of 583, or 24.2
per cent, were over 60 years of age.
The report also gives an account of the medical examination of
203 members of the union under the supervision of Dr. James Alex­
ander Miller. Thirty-one per cent of them were found to be abso­
lutely normal, 15 per cent (31) had evidence of tuberculosis, although
it was active in only 16. The 16 per cent who had pleurisy were also
possibly tuberculous. The only other complaints which affected large
numbers were catarrh (27.5 per cent) and constipation (10.3 per
cent). On the whole, with the exception of tuberculosis, the showing
of this group of men is excellent.
The Illinois Commission on Occupational Diseases took up the
printing trade as one of the industries in which lead is handled.
Its report, published in 1911, not only considers the use of lead
in printing, but it also states that the conditions found in printing
establishments in Illinois were often very bad, and, though the
work is not inherently dangerous, it may be made actually very
unhealthful because of dirty, neglected premises, vitiated air, unnec­
essary dust and fumes, and lack of proper washing facilities.
The New York State Factory Investigating Commission in 1913
published a report concerning 348 printing plants employing 9,047
persons. .These plants were chiefly in New York City. In the ma­
jority of cases the sanitary conditions were characterized as de­
plorable, the main defects being improper location, inadequate and
improper lighting, lack of ventilating devices, sometimes very badly
vitiated air, excessively high temperature, general neglect of cleanli­
ness, and inadequate washing facilities. In addition to these possible
causes of disease among printers the investigators mention the lack
of exercise and the mental strain of the work.




74

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

In 1915 the Ohio State Board of Health issued a report on Indus­
trial Health Hazards and Occupational Diseases in Ohio, prepared
by Dr. E. R. Hayhurst. Thirty-four printing establishments, em­
ploying 2,715 persons, were visited. The complaints made by the
workmen themselves had to do with poor ventilation, fumes, dust,
and the necessity of working with men they believed to be tu­
berculous. The investigators found actually only 6 out of the 34
plants in model condition; in the other 28 the air was more or less
badly vitiated, especially in those where gas was used.
The printing trade in Ohio, as everywhere, has more than its
share of pulmonary tuberculosis. Vital statistics for 1910, 1911, and
1912 show that out of 273 deaths of compositors and pressmen
58, or 21.25 per cent, were from pulmonary tuberculosis, while
in these same years the proportion of deaths from this disease among
occupied males in general in Ohio was 13.3 per cent and among men
in agricultural life only 7.13 per cent.1
It is interesting to compare Hayhurst’s statistics of the ages of
Ohio printers with those given by De Vooys2 for Holland. The age
groups do not quite correspond, but the difference in grouping is not
great enough to make comparison impossible. The great difference
is in the early age groups, there being a large proportion of youthful
workers in Holland and a small proportion in Ohio.
T a b le 1 5 .—PER CENT OF PR INTER S IN EACH AGE GROUP IN OHIO A N D IN H O L L A N D .

Ohio.3

Age group.

Under 20 years.............................................
20 to 40 years................................................
Over 40 years................................................

Holland.
Per cent at
each age.
4.2
82.7
13.1

Age group.

12 to 17 years.............................................
18 to 22 years.............................................
23 to 35 years...........................................
36 to 50 years.........................................
51 to 60 years.............................................
Over 60 years.............................................

Per cent at
each age.
26.71
19.72
30.14
16.19
5.13
3.11

The death records of the International Typographical Union are
available for the period 1893-1915, and the nearly 12,000 deaths
furnish the largest body of data anywhere existing in regard to the
causes of deaths of printers. Most of the material here presented is
taken from the January, 1917, issue of the M o n t h l y R e v i e w of the
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mortality experience
of the International Typographical Union shows such marked im­
provement within this period as to suggest that possibly European
data relating to experience prior to 1900 may not be fairly indicative
of conditions in 1914. The supplement to the Typographical Journal
1 Hayhurst, op. cit., p. 73.
2 Bericht iiber Bleivergiftung in dem polygraphischen Gewerben in den Niederlanden,
1908, p. 6.
8 Hayhurst, op. cit., p. 186.




H Y G IE N E

75

0E T H E P R IN T IN G TRADES.

for August, 1915 (p. 64), shows the membership, number of deaths,
the deaths per 1,000 members, the per cent of deaths due to tuber­
culosis, and the average age at death for each year, 1900 to 1915,
inclusive. During this period the membership increased from 32,105
in 1900 to 59,571 in 1915. During this same period the per cent of
deaths due to tuberculosis decreased from 31.2 to 19.1, a slight de­
crease occurred in the death rate, and the average age at death
showed an increase of over 9^ years. These facts are shown in detail
in the following table:
T a b le 1 6 .—DEATHS PER 1,000 MEMBERS, AVE R A G E AGE AT D E A T H , AN D PER CENT OF

DEATHS DUE TO TUBERCULOSIS OF THE LUNGS AMONG MEMBERS OF THE IN TER N ATIO N AL T YPO G R APH IC AL UNIO N , 1900 TO 1915.

Average
age at
death.

Number of
deaths.

1900......................................................................
1901.......................................................................
1902......................................................................
1903.......................................................................

32,105
* 34,948
1 38,364
42,436

419
406
474
476

13.00
11.60
12.35
•11.21

31.2
32.9
31.2
24.7

41.25
41.94
42.94
42.62

1904......................................................................
1905.......................................................................
1906.................................................... ; ................
1907......................................................................

2 46,165
46,734
44,980
42,357

578
567
512
561

12.52
12.13
11.40
13.20

19.8
25.7
25.2
24.2

45.50
45.26
44.02
46.07

1908......................................................................
1909......................................................................
1910......................................................................
1911......................................................................

43,740
44,921
47,848
51,095

538
509
574
639

12.30
11.50
12.00
12.50

23.8
22.8
22.5
18.7

45.05
46.09
46.07
49.12

1912.......................................................................
1913......................................................................

53,807
55,614
58,537
59,571

655
687
713
696

12.50
12.30
12.18
11.70

21.3
19.1
15.9
19.1

48.09
49.24
48.70
50.84

1915.......................................................................

1 Including stereotypers and electrotypers, 7 months.

Deaths
per 1,000.

Per cent of
deaths due
to tuber­
culosis.

Members.

Year.

2 Including photo-engravers, 7 months.

It is evident from this table that some important improvement
in working conditions within this period is the cause of this marked
improvement in the mortality experience among members of the
International Typographical Union. The increase in membership
within the period, accompanying a large expansion in the printing
and publishing industry, has resulted in the entrance into the indus­
try of many new workers, probably with a lowering of the average
age of membership. A lowering of the average age of membership,
however, would tend, temporarily at least, to reduce the death rate
and the average age at death. The supplement to the Typographical
Journal, from which the figures are quoted, presents as an explana­
tion of this improvement the introduction of a shorter workday and
improved sanitary conditions in the shops, due in large part to the
activity of the health committees of the organization. It is probable
also that the introduction of machine composition and the consequent
reduction of lead poisoning has contributed in bringing about this
improvement, since the indirect effects of lead poisoning among




76

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

printers are far more serious than its direct effect as a primary cause
of death.
The table which follows gives the number of deaths due to all
causes, the number of deaths due to tuberculosis, and the percentage
of total deaths due to tuberculosis, by age groups, for the period
1893 to 1915. The figures are given for five-year periods except for
1913 to 1915, in order to eliminate the irregularities of individual
years. The total number of deaths covered by the table is 11,746.
T a b le 17 .—NUM BER OF D EATH S DUE TO A L L CAUSES AN D N UM BER AN D PER CENT

DUE TO TUBERCULOSIS AMONG MEMBERS OF IN T E R N A T IO N A L TYPO G R APH ICAL
UNION, B Y AGE GROUPS, 1893 TO 1915.
Deaths due to all causes.
Period.
15 to 24
years.

25 to 34
years.

35 to 44
years.

45 to 54
years.

55 to 64
years.

65 years
and over.

1897.....................................
1 9 0 2 ..,................................
1907.................1..................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

218
101
114
111
69

646
617
576
450
261

512
543
722
* 720
471

303
334
557
658
511

218
254
390
437
379

164
222
333
485
370

2,061
2,071
2,692
2,861
2,061

Total.....................................

613

2,550

2,968

2,363

1,678

1,574

11,746

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Total.

Deaths due to tuberculosis.
1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

106
47
37
47
22

348
300
255
193
95

175
204
235
227
137

86
66
80
112
81

25
19
28
32
27

8
15
10
8
7

748
651
645
619
369

Total.....................................

259

1,191

978

425

131

48

3,032

11.5
7.5
7.2
7.3
7.1

4.9
6.8
3.0
1.7
1.9

36.3
31.4
24.0
21.6
17.9

7.8

3.1

25.8

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Per cent, of total deaths, due to tuberculosis.
1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

48.6
46.5
32.5
42.3
' 31.9

53.9
48.6
44.3
42.9
36.4

34.2
37.6
32.5
31.5
29.1

28.4 ,
19.8
14.4
17.0
15.9

Total.....................................

42.3

46.7

33.0

18.0

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

A study of the table shows that for all age groups combined the
percentage of deaths due to tuberculosis has declined from 36.3 in
the five-year period, 1893 to 1897, to 17.9 in the three-year period,
1913 to 1915. Marked reductions are apparent in every age group.
A comparison of the per cent of deaths due to tuberculosis among
members of the International Typographical Union and among
males in the registration area of the United States shows a large
excess among the printers. The decline in recent years, however, has
been much greater in the International Typographical Union than in
the country as a whole. This is brought out in Table 18.




H Y G IE N E OF T H E F E IN T IN G TRADES.

77

T able 1 8 .—PER CENT OF TO TAL D EATH S D U E TO TUBERCULOSIS OF T H E L U N G S :
COMPARISON OF MALES IN R EG ISTR ATIO N A R E A OF T H E U N IT E D STATES W IT H
MEMBERS OF IN T E R N A TIO N A L TYPO G R APH ICAL U N IO N .

Males in registration
area, United States.

Members International
Typographical Union.

Age group.
1912 to 1914 1898 to 1902 1913 to 1915

1900
15 to 24 years.............................................................................
25 to 34 years.............................................................................
35 to 44 years.............................................................................
45 to 54 years.............................................................................
55 to 64 years.............................................................................
65 years and over.....................................................................

28.3
32.0
23.5
15.2
8.6
3.1

25.7
29.1
23.0
14.1
7.5
2.3

46.5
48.6
37.6
19.8
7.5
6.8

31.9
36.4
29.1
15.9
7.1
1.9

Total................................................................................

15.2

12.7

31.4

17.9

It will be of interest to compare the per cent of total deaths due
to tuberculosis of the lungs among the members of the International
Typographical Union with similar figures for white males 15 years
of age and over in the registration area of the United States and
for printers in the industrial membership of the Metropolitan and
Prudential insurance companies. The result of such comparison is
shown in Table 19. In making this comparison it is important to
note that the average age at death of members of the International
Typographical Union in 1915 was 50.8 years, the high point, follow­
ing a fairly steady increase since 1900. The Metropolitan experience
for 1911 to 1913 shows for printers an average age at death of 40.2
years.
TABLE

1 9 .— PER

CEN T

OF

T O TA L

DEATHS
LUNGS.

DUE

TO

T U B ER CU LO SIS

OF

THE

Total
15 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 years 15 years
and
years. years. years. years. years.
and
over.
over.
International Typographical Union, 1913-1915.
Printers, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co,
1911-1913...............................................................
Printers, Prudential Insurance Co., 1907-1910.
Registration area, United States, 1909 (white
males)....................................................................

31.9

36.4

7.1

1.9

17.9

45.2
49.8

49.8
39.1
49.5

15.8
23.9
21.9

3.1
4.7

34.1
38.4

29.0

31.0 |

14.4 |

2.8

15.2

29.1

23.6

15.9

7.5'

The explanation of the great differences in age at death and per­
centage of deaths due to tuberculosis between the industrially insured
printers and the members of the International Typographical Union
is not known.
In Table 20 is shown the per cent of total deaths due to each
specified cause among members of the International Typographical
Union for the same period, 1893 to 1915. The percentages are given
in a form similar to that used in Table 17. One of the difficulties
of the percentage method of presenting mortality statistics must




78

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

be borne in mind in studying this table. The reduction of the per
cent of total deaths due to tuberculosis from 36.3 to 17.9 in the period
covered means the transfer of 18.4 per cent of the deaths from this
cause to other causes shown in the table. This is obvious from the
very fact that the total of all deaths expressed as 100 per cent is
taken as a basis for all the computations.
T a b le 2 0 .— PER CENT OF TO TAL DEATHS DUE TO SPECIFIED CAUSES, AM ONG MEMBERS

OF IN T E R N A TIO N A L TYPO G R APH ICAL UNION , B Y AGE GROUPS, 1893 TO 1915.

Per cent of total deaths due to—
Tuberculosis of the lungs.

Period.
15 to 24
years.

25 to 34
years.

35 to 44
years.

45 to 54
years.

55 to 64
years.

1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

48.6
46.5
32.5
42.3
31.9

53.9
48.6
44.3
42.9
36.4

34.2
37.6
32.5
31.5
29.1

28.4
19.8
14.4
17.0
15.9

11.5
7.5
7.2
7.3
7.1

4.9
6.8
3.0
1.7
1.9

36.3
31.4
24.0
21.6
17.9

Total.....................................

42.3

46.7

33.0

18.0

7.8

3.1

25.8

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

65 years
and over.

Total.

Pneumonia.
1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

7.8
9.9
11.4
5.4
2.9

5.37.1
9.4
7.8
5.4

8.6
8.7
9.0
8.6
8.3

8.6
9.9
10.6
7.9
8.6

9.2
11.0
10.3
10.6
6.6

9.1
5.9
8.7
9.0
11.1

7.6
8.5
9.6
8.6
8.0

Total.....................................

7.8

7.1

8.7

9.1

9.5

9.0

8.5

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Other respiratory diseases.
1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

1.4
3.0
2.6
.9
2.9

2.8
3.1
2.3
.9
1.5

4.3
2.8
2.2
2.9
.4

2.0
3.9
2.9
2.9
2.0

1.8
8.3
4.1
3.0
2.9

7.1
5.0
4.8
4.7
2.7

6.5
4.0
3.0
2.8
2.0

Total.....................................

2.0

2.3

2.6

2.7

3.9

4.6

3.6

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Heart disease.
1897.....................................
1902...............................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

2.3
1.0
3.5
3.6
5.8

2.8
3.7
3.8
6.0
5.7

4.5
4.8
5.1
7.5
7.6

5.9
6.6
8.3
11.7
10.2

9.2
11.8
13.3
14.9
14.2

6.7
9.0
14.4
17.3
13.8

4.6
5.9
7.8
10.9
10.3

Total.....................................

2.9

4.1

5.9

9.1

13.2

13.6

8.0

14.2
11.8
14.1
11.9
13.5

22.6
18.0
15.3
12.6
17.0

6.6
6.9
7.5
7.2
10.2

13.1

16.0

7.6

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Apoplexy and paralysis.
1.7
1.9
2.3
2.9
3.1

5.1
3.9
5.0
4.7
6.6

Total.....................................

2.1

2.2

5.0
1




8.9
11.1
8.3
6.7
10.6
0
0

2.3
2.0
.9
.9
5.8

CO

1893 to 1897.....................................
1898 to 1902.....................................
1903 to 1907.....................................
1908 to 1912.....................................
1913 to 1915.....................................

H Y G IE N E OF T H E P R IN T IN G TRADES.

79

T a b l e 2 0 . — PER

CENT OF TO TAL DEATHS DUE TO SPECIFIED CAUSES, AMONG MEM­
BERS OF IN T ER N ATIO N AL TYPO GR APH ICAL UNION, B Y AGE GROUPS, 1893 TO
1915—Concluded.
Per cent of total deaths due to—
Bright’s disease and nephritis.

Period.
15 to 24
years.

25 to 34
years.

35 to 44
years.

45 to 54
years.

1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907......................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

1.4
4.0
4.4
.9
2.9

1.4
4.5
3.1
3.8
3.8

5.5
6.1
6.4
7.1
7.0

5.0
8.4
11.1
9.6
10.4

10.1
12.2
10.8
14.2
10.0

7.9
10.8
14.4
12.8
10.5

4.4
7.1
8.2
8.9
8.5

Total.....................................

2.7

3.2

6.4

9.4

11.6

11.8

7.6

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

55 to 64 65 years
years.
and over.

Total.

Diseases of digestive system.
1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

4.2
7.9
7.9
7.2
7.2

6.2
3.6
3.8
5.3
6.8

5.8
4.8
6.3
6.3
9.1

5.0
7.5
9.5
10.2
8.2

6.0
5.9
6.9
6.7
6.1

6.7
5.9
4.8
5.6
5.1

5.7
5.3
6.4
7.0
7.3

Total.....................................

6.5

5.0

6.4

8.5

6.4

5.5

6.4

1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

Cancer.
1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

Total.....................................

1.8
1.4

0.2
.8
.5
.9
.4

2.1
1.7
1.8
1.9
2.3

3.6
3.3
3.6
5.0
3.7

2.3
2.8
4.1
6.9
7.1

2.4
3.6
3.9
7.4
4.3

1.6
1.9
2.4
4.2
3.6

.5

.5

2.0

4.0

5.1

4.9

2.8

Accident.
1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

8.3
5.9
5.3
10.8
14.5

7.3
5.0
8.7
7.3
9.2

7.0
6.3
7.5
7.4
4.9

6.6
6.6
6.6
4.1
4.3

4.6
3.9
6.4
2.5
3.7

1.2
2.7
1.8
2.5
3.8

6.5
5.3
6.6
5.2
5.2

Total.....................................

8.5

7.3

6.7

5.4

4.2

2.5

5.7

All other causes.
1893 to
1898 to
1903 to
1908 to
1913 to

1897.....................................
1902.....................................
1907.....................................
1912.....................................
1915.....................................

23.9
19.8
32.6
26.1
24.6

18.8
21.6
21.8
22.3
27.7

22.7
23.6
24.0
22.0
24.6

26.1
23.1
24.9
25.1
26.3

32.3
24.9
22.8
21.8
28.8

31.0
32.5
28.8
26.4
29.7

23.7
23.8
24.5
23.6
27.1

Total.....................................

25.2

21.6

23.3

25.0

25.3

29.1

24.4

From a study of this table there is indicated no change in the
percentage of deaths due to accident and to pneumonia, but a marked
decline in the deaths due to other respiratory diseases, and an appar­
ent increase in the percentage of deaths due to heart disease, apo­
plexy and paralysis, Bright’s disease and nephritis, diseases of the
digestive system, and cancer.




80

B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

A careful comparison of the causes of death in the earlier and
later years of the period covered in the above table shows that what
has actually happened in recent years is that as an increasing pro­
portion of the printers have reached old age they have in increasing
numbers become subject to and have died of diseases of age—heart
disease, apoplexy and paralysis, and Bright’s disease and nephritis—
but an increasing proportion of the deaths which are due to these
diseases have occurred at advanced ages. This will be seen quite
clearly in the table which follows. Thus, in the period 1893 to 1897,
48.4 per cent of the deaths due to heart disease were deaths of printers
under 45 years of age, and only 32.7 per cent occurred at 55 years or
over. In 1913 to 1915, the last period shown, however, only 26 per
cent of the deaths from heart disease were under 45 years, and 49.6
per cent were in the group 55 years and over. A similar shifting of
the deaths from old-age causes from the younger to the older age
groups is shown in the table.
T

able

2 1 .— PER CENT OF T O T A L D E A T H S D U E TO S P E C IF IE D CAU SE
O CCURRED IN S P E C IF IE D A G E GROUPS, 1893 TO 1915.

Period.

Tuberculosis of the lungs:
1893 to 1897.................................................
1898 to 1902.................................................
1903 to 1907.................................................
1908 to 1912.................................................
1913 to 1915..:............................................
Heart disease:
1893 to 1897.................................................
1898 to 1902.................................................
1903 to 1907...........................................
1908 to 1912.................................................
1913 to 1915.................................................
Apoplexy and paralysis:
1893 to 1897.................................................
1898 to 1902.................................................
1903 to 1907.................................................
1908 to 1912.................................................
1913 to 1915.................................................
Bright’s disease and nephritis:
1893 to 1897.................................................
1898 to 1902.................................................
1903 to 1907.................................................
1908 to 1912.................................................
1913 to 1915.................................................
Diseases of digestive system:
1893 to 1897.................................................
1898 to 1902.................................................
1903 to 1907.................................................
1908 to 1912.................................................
1913 to 1915.................................................

W H IC H

15 to 24
years.

25 to 34
years.

35 to 44
years.

45 to 54
years.

55 to 64
years.

65 years
and over.

14.2
7.2
5.7
7.6
6.0

46.5
46.1
39.5
31.2
25.7

23.4
31.3
36.4
36.7
37.1

11.5
10.1
12.4
18.1
22.0

3.3
2.9
4.3
5.2
7.3

1.1
2.3
1.6
1.3
1.9

5.3
.8
1.9
1.3
1.9

18.9
18.8
10.5
8.7
7.1

24.2
21.3
17.7
17.4
17.0

18.9
18.0
22.0
24.8
24.5

21.1
24.6
24.9
20.9
25.5

11.6
16.4
23.0
27.0
24.1

3.6
1.4
.5
.5
1.9

8.0
8.5
6.4
6.3
3.8

19.0
14.8
17.8
16.6
14.7

19.7
26.1
22.8
21.5
25.6

22.6
21.1
27.2
25.4
24.2

27.0
28.2
25.2
29.8
29.0

3.3
2.7
2.2
.4
1.1

10.0
18.9
8.1
6.6
5.7

31.1
22.3
20.8
19.9
18.9

10.7
18.9
28.1
24.6
30.3

24.4
20.9
19.0
24.2
21.7

14.4
16.2
21.7
24.2
22.3

7.6
7.3
5.2
4.0
3.3

33.9
20.2
12.7
11.9
12.0

25.4
23.9
26.6
22.9
28.7

12.7
22.9
30.6
33.3
28.0

11.0

9.3
11.9
9.2
13.4
12.7

13.8
15.6
14.4
15.3

The effect of lead in causing deaths from heart disease, apoplexy
and paralysis, and Bright’s disease and nephritis has been the sub­
ject of some controversy. To throw light upon this question, some
comparisons have been made of the experience of the membership
of the Internationa] Typographical Union and of the deaths among
white males in the registration area of the United States. These
latter deaths would seem to furnish a reasonable basis for comparison,




H Y G IE N E OF T H E P R IN T IN G TRADES.

81

representing as they do all occupied and unoccupied white males 15
years of age and over. There has also been included in the compari­
son the experience of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company cov­
ering white males in all occupations 15 years of age and over. It is
probably to be expected that the experience in this last group, limited
as it is to industrial policy holders, will be somewhat less favorable
than that of the white males of the registration area. The results of
the comparisons are shown in Table 22.
2 2 .— PER CEN T OF T O T A L D E A T H S D U E TO SP E C IF IE D CAU SE W H IC H
OCCURRED U N D E R 45 Y E A R S A N D PE R CEN T W H IC H OCCU RRED A T 55 Y E A R S
A N D OVER— IN T E R N A T IO N A L T Y P O G R A P H IC A L U N IO N CO M PAR ED
W IT H
W H IT E M A L E S 15 Y E A R S OF A G E A N D OVER IN R E G IS T R A T IO N A R E A OF
T H E U N IT E D S T A T E S A N D W H IT E M A L E IN D U S T R IA L E X P E R IE N C E , M E TR O ­
P O L IT A N L IF E IN SU R A N C E CO.

T a b le

Per cent of total deaths
due to specified causes
which were in age
groups—
Under 45
years.
Heart disease:
United States registration area, 1909..........................................................................
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., all occupations...................................................
International Typographical Union (1913-1915)......................................................
Apoplexy and paralysis:
United States registration area, 1909..........................................................................
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., all occupations...................................................
International Typographical Union (1913-1915)......................................................
Bright’s disease and nephritis:
United States registration area, 1909..........................................................................
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., all occupations...................................................
International Typographical Union (1913-1915)......................................................

55 years
and over.

18.6
22.2
26.0

64.8
61.4
49.6

9.1
9.6
20.4

76.6
75.5
54.1

20.6
22.6
25.7

59.5
57.0
44.0

The method of comparison, it will be noticed, is to ascertain what
per cent of the total deaths due "to each of the selected causes occur
under 45 years of age and what per cent occur at 55 years or later.
The theory, of course, is that we may assume in the case of these
diseases, all of which are old-age diseases, that, where a person
died before 45 years of age, the death from such a cause is evidence
of premature aging. Forty-five years was taken as sufficiently con­
servative to put the assumption beyond controversy. On the other
hand, a high per cent dying at 55 years and over appears to be a
favorable indication.
Examining then the figures of the table, we find that, while among
white males in the registration area 18.6 per cent of all the deaths
from heart disease occurred under 45 years, among members of
the International Typographical Union, in 1913 to 1915, 26 per
cent of the deaths from heart disease were in that early age group.
Among the deaths from apoplexy and paralysis a much greater
excess appears, 9.1 per cent of the deaths from these causes occurring
57184°—Bull. 209— 17------ 6




82

B U L L E T IN OF T H E B U REA U OF LABOR STATISTICS.

under 45 years among males in the registration area and 20.4 per
cent among members of the International Typographical Union.
The excess in deaths from Bright’s disease and nephritis appears
to be comparatively small, 20.6 per cent of the deaths from this
cause occurring under 45 years among males in the registration area
and 25.7 per cent among members of the International Typographi­
cal Union. If, however, we examine the next 10-year group, 45 to
54 years, we find the percentage for males in the registration area
to be 19.9, while for members of the International Typographical
Union it is 30.3. Apparently then the excess of Bright’s disease
and nephritis developed somewhat later than that of heart disease,
and apoplexy and paralysis, but if the record is followed up to 54
years, we find an excess which it would seem to be proper to refer
to an occupational cause.
It will be noted that, when the figures for the Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company are studied, the percentage of deaths due to
the specified causes which occur under 45 years is excessive as com­
pared with males of the registration area, but that the excess is
not so great as in the case of members of the International Typo­
graphical Union. It is probable that the explanation of this dif­
ference is to be found in the very high percentage of deaths due to
tuberculosis of the lungs among the industrial membership of the
Metropolitan Company.
These comparisons seem to indicate that something in the printing
trades tends to produce an excess of early deaths from heart disease,
apoplexy and paralysis, and Bright’s disease and nephritis. But
Table 21 shows that this excess has diminished in the last 20 years.
LEAD POISONING AMONG PRINTERS.

It is impossible to understand clearly the discussions concerning
what are and what are not occupational diseases of printers without
a careful consideration of the part played by lead in the causation of
disease. The question of lead poisoning in the printing trades must
be taken up as a separate problem, for there is a wide diversity of
opinion concerning the importance of the presence of lead in this
industry, some authorities believing it to be the most important factor
in the causation of disease, even of tuberculosis, while others, though
they consider printing a distinctly unhealthful trade, do not believe
that the lead is responsible. No one claims that acute lead poisoning
is common among printers. Lead colic, lead convulsions, even the
lead line, are admitted by all to be very rare and when they do occur
it is usually in a young man naturally oversusceptible to lead. As far
back as 1858 Van Holsbeek,1 of Brussels, in a report on the printing
1Van Holsbeek, in Journal de Medicine de Bruxelles, 1858, vol. 27, p. 30.




H Y G IE N E OF T H E P R IN T IN G TRADES.

83

trade said that he found printer’s colic much less common then than
it used to be because of greater cleanliness among printers who no
longer held type in their mouths as they formerly did. Only occa­
sionally was there a case of lead poisoning in a young printer and
then it was usually not severe.
The disagreement concerns the degree to which printers are ex­
posed to lead poisoning, the prevalence among printers of the ob­
scurer forms of chronic lead poisoning, and the part played by lead
absorption in the development of other diseases, especially tubercu­
losis. It is agreed that there is still a decided danger of lead poison­
ing in type founding and finishing, much greater than in composing
or in the other branches of the trade. Stumpf1 found that of the
men treated for lead poisoning in theLeipsig clinic in 1872 there were
twice as many founders as compositors. H irt2 puts the proportion
as one compositor to five founders. The danger is practically limited
to these two classes if we include stereotypers among the founders.
Hahn says that from 60 to 90 per cent of all cases of lead poisoning
in the printing trade are among these two classes of men. There was
only 1 case of lead poisoning in 600 cases of illness in a group of
Bavarian photo-engravers, lithographers, and copper-plate workers.
Where type founders are not included the rate of lead poisoning
clearly recognized as such is certainly not high. Silberstein found in
Berlin in 1903, among 8,699 men compositors and pressmen, 65 cases,
a rate of 0.75 per cent; among 4,039 male helpers, 12 cases, or less
than 0.3 per cent; and among 5,081 women, only 4 cases. According
to Sommerfield3 lead poisoning accounted for only 1.7 per cent of
the sickness among male printers in 1903 and only 0.8 per cent of the
sickness among apprentices. In spite of this excellent showing, how­
ever, Kaup,4 one of the most experienced Germans in the field of in­
dustrial hygiene, says that he considers that compositors are subject
to a decided danger of poisoning from lead. He even puts printing
fourth in the list of dangerous lead trades, the first of which is mak­
ing white lead and red lead, the second smelting lead and zinc, and
the third painting. Kaup says, moreover, that more than half the
cases of severe lead poisoning in this industry are among the type
setters. Roth5 also believes there is a decided danger from lead, and
points out the fact that with the introduction of linotype and mono­
type machines the dangers formerly confined to type founders have
been introduced into the composing rooms. Albrecht says that lead is
insignificant as a cause of death among printers but important as a
cause of sickness. Sommerfeld believes that, next to painters, the
1 Stumpf, in Archiv der Heilkunde, 1875, vol. 16, p. 471.
2 H irt, quoted by Silberstein.
3 In W e yl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankenheiten. Jena, 1908, p. 257.
* Kaup, in Archiv fur Sozial Hygiene, 1911, Vol. V I, p. 1.
5 Roth, in Kompendium der Gewerbekrankheiten.
Berlin, 1909, p. 79.




84

B U L L E T IN OF T H E BU REAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

printers suffer most from chronic lead poisoning. He emphasizes
the danger of lead dust from the lead which is allowed to fall on the
floor.
In the report of the Austrian Government already quoted the typo­
graphical trade is placed among those which expose the workers to
a constant danger from lead poisoning. Not only do lead poisoning
and tuberculosis go hand in hand in this industry, but the lead is
apparently responsible, at least in part, for the large amount of neu­
rasthenia among compositors.1 Statistics of plumbism in this indus­
try can always be only tentative, since many cases fail to be cor­
rectly diagnosed, chronic poisoning being so varied in its manifesta­
tions. However, in a printers’ union in Vienna which had an average
of 7,000 members there was an annual average of 155 clear cases of
lead poisoning during a period of six years. The women foundry
helpers had much the highest rate, one in 9 employed; the male
type founders, one in 15; the compositors, one in 35; pressmen and
mechanics, one in 40; male helpers, one in 68; women not in the
foundry, one in 265.
The table following shows the average annual number of cases of
sickness per 100 members in this industry in Austria during the six
years 1901 to 1906 among about 9,000 workers and the cases of lead
poisoning per 100 members:
T a b le 2 3 __ AV ER AG E NUM BER OF CASES OF SICKNESS AN D OF LE A D POISONING

PER

100 MEMBERS PER Y E A R IN SPECIFIED OCCUPATIONS, 1901 TO 1906.
[Source: Arbeitsstatistisches Amt Bleivergiftungen in huttenmannischen und gewerblichen Betrieben.
Vienna, 1909, Vol. V II, p. 3.]
Average annual number of cases per 100
members.
Item.
Press­
men.

Sickness of all kinds...............................................................................
Lead poisoning........................................................................................

45.61
2.47

Stereo­
typers.

48. 55
6.64

Women
Com­
in type
foundry. positors.
68.92
10.81

53.33
2.83

Pressmen are exposed to lead only in handling stereotype plates
or colored inks, which may contain white lead or lead chromate or
the oxides. Compositors get lead on their hands during their work
and they may breathe dust from the type cases, especially if they
shake them to get at the lower letters or to blow out the dust
with bellows. Stereotypers and founders get lead on their hands
and may also breathe lead dust from the trimmings and filings.
There is a great deal of lead poisoning among the women who
finish, sort, and pack type. Teleky,2 of Vienna, thinks that while
typical lead poisoning is rare, obscure forms of digestive disturb­
1 Compare pages 67 and 91.
2 Teleky : Wiener klinische W ochenscrift, 1907, nr. 48.




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

85

ance and kidney trouble in printers should sometimes be attributed
to the absorption of lead, for they are certainly more common
among these men than among wageworkers in general. Sternberg,
chief physician for many years to the Vienna sickness insurance
bureau, believes that the effect of lead upon printers is to be seen
in an undue degree of intestinal and kidney disease. These state­
ments are all founded, not upon mortality records, but upon sickness
records of which we have unfortunately none in the United States.
De Vooys, of Holland, regards lead as an important factor in
lowering the resistance to tuberculosis. He says also that diseases
which are caused by gradual hardening of the blood vessels are
commoner among printers than among workingmen in general and
this is another indication of the slow action of lead. In stereotyping
and linotyping especially, the exposure to lead is far from slight.
The fact that few cases of plumbism among printers are known in
Holland is no proof of the rarity of the disease, for no thorough
medical examination has ever been made of the men in this industry.
Carozzi believes that in many cases when dyspepsia is diagnosed
in a printer it is really an obscure or early form of lead poisoning.
He describes such a case as follows: Ill-defined symptoms of indi­
gestion, loss of appetite, sense of fullness after meals, regurgitation
of food or eructations of gas, foul mouth, vague epigastric pain,
increasing constipation, and sometimes enlargement of the liver,
the edge palpable and tender. He holds the theory that the absorp­
tion of metallic lead gives rise to clinical symptoms different from
those caused by the soluble salts of lead, the arthritic diseases being
especially frequent in this form of poisoning. There were 28 cases
of arthritis and arthralgia among his printers and 26 others who gave
a history of such troubles in the past. There were also 7 who suf­
fered from gout. On the other hand Carozzi found little chronic
disease of the kidneys among printers. Lead palsy is also rare.
He found but 1 case, though there were 5 who had had it in former
years.
Carozzi quotes a Belgian report,1 inaccessible to us, of Buyse, in­
spector of the region of Ghent. In 1905 Buyse visited 153 printing
establishments. The number of workmen employed is not given, but
the statement is made that he found 53 with symptoms of chronic
plumbism; 30 had the lead line only; 3 had colic only; 3 had the line
and constipation; 6 the line and colic; 3 colic and constipation with­
out the line; 7 colic, constipation, and the line; and 1 had all of these,
with paralysis of the upper extremities and contractures.
The figures given in the British reports are unfortunately of little
value, because it is impossible to discover what is the rate of poisoning
1
Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation.
series, No. 4, Pt. II, p. 52.




Italian section, new

86

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

among printers. The factory inspector’s report1 states that during
10 years—1900 to 1909, inclusive—there were 200 cases of lead poi­
soning among printers, with 17 deaths, but in the absence of any in­
formation as to the number of men engaged in printing in the United
Kingdom, it is impossible to say whether these figures mean a mod­
erate rate of poisoning or a low rate. Legge and Goadby do not be­
lieve the danger from lead in this industry is great; they attribute
the tuberculosis of printers to the vitiated air, sensitiveness to cold,
and fumes of gas from the linotypes. Oliver says that lead poisoning
is not extremely prevalent among British printers, but that when
tuberculosis develops in a “ leaded ” printer it usually runs a rapid
course, the combined effect of lead and tuberculous infection being
always greater than of either alone.
The best analysis of the actual part played by lead in the sickness
of printers is in the study of Hahn already referred to. His sta­
tistics show the close connection between lead poisoning and tuber­
culosis in this industry, for the two rise and fall together, both
being highest among those men whose work brings them most in con­
tact with lead—the compositors, stereotypers, and type founders—
and both diminishing as conditions in the printing trade improve.
Between the years 1900 and 1907 tuberculosis decreased 40 per cent in
Berlin and 57 per cent in Vienna, while lead poisoning decreased 46
per cent in Berlin and 48 per cent in Vienna.2 As shown in the fol­
lowing table, the decrease in tuberculosis was greater in the typo­
graphical trades than among Germans in general, probably because of
the new protection against lead poisoning.
T a b le

2 4 ___ P E R C E N T O F D E A T H S D U E T O T U B E R C U L O S IS O F T H E L U N G S I N B E R L I N :
A L L I N D U S T R I E S C O M P A R E D W I T H C O M P O S IT O R S A N D

PR ESSM EN.

[Source: Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, p. 33.]

Years.

1891 to 18931...........................................
1900 to 19072..........................................

Compos­
A ll in­
itors and
dustries.
press­
men.

32.8
30.3

45.5
35.4

1 D ata are for general population.
2 Data are for local sick fund only.

Loriga3 experimented with guinea pigs to determine whether lead
poisoning favored the development of tuberculosis, and although his
results were inconclusive when he used the relatively insoluble lead
sulphate, they were (|uite clear when he used the soluble lead nitrate.
Eight gminea pigs were fed this lead nitrate and then inoculated
1 Annual Report of Chief Inspector of Factories and W orkshops for 1909.
London,
1910, p. 193.
2 Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, p. 22.
3 II Ramazzini, in Giornale Italiano di Medicina Sociale, 1912, vol. 6, p. 87.




87

H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

with tubercle bacilli. One died with acute lead poisoning and the
others succumbed to tuberculosis after an average of T9 days; while
eight other guinea pigs inoculated at the same time with tubercle
bacilli but not fed lead, lived an average of 92 days.
Hahn examined 52 working printers and found that 5 had a his­
tory of lead poisoning and 1 showed the lead line. Their symptoms
at the time were chiefly nervous irritability, headache, constipation,
and rheumatism. The lead poisoning in this small group was almost
10 per cent, but the general statistics given by Hahn show a much
lower rate. The following table gives the per cent of sickness due
to lead poisoning among workmen in general and among printers:
25.— PER CENT OF SICKNESS DUE TO LEAD POISONING AMONG PRINT­
ERS AND AMONG MEMBERS OF GENERAL LOCAL SICK FUNDS OF SPECIFIED
CITIES, 1907.

T a b le

[ Source: Die Gesundheitsverh&ltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, pp.
16, 17.]
Per cent of sickness due to
lead poisoning.
City and class of workers.
Males.

Females.

Both
sexes.

Dresden.
Members of general sick fund.................................................................................

0.80
5.15

0.02

0.50
2.93

.42
2.42

.06
.13

.29
1.32

.15
.96

.03

.07
.68

.34
2.51

.03
.25

.25
1.14

Munich.
Members of general sick fund.................................................................................
Berlin.
Members of general sick fund.................................................................................
Stuttga/t.
Members o. general sick fund.................................................................................
Printers.......................................................................................................................

SYMPTOMS OF LEAD POISONING.

The diagnosis of lead poisoning is especially difficult in this in­
dustry, because only in rare instances are the symptoms typical. The
lead line is usually absent, especially if the teeth are well cared for.
There may be no symptom of lead poisoning except anemia or
granular changes in the red-blood corpuscles—the so-called stip­
pling—and the principal help in diagnosis is, according to Oliver,
the patient’s occupation. Oliver does not find the changes in the
red-blood corpuscles often enough in lead poisoning to be of much
help in diagnosis; he depends more upon the general symptoms and
upon the record of occupation. This means that disturbances of health
occurring in a printer, as in any other lead worker, must be regarded
somewhat differently from similar symptoms in a man who does not




88

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

come in contact with lead. It would be a fair comparison to say
that just as a fever occurring in a man who has been living in a
malarial region would have a somewhat different significance to the
physician from a similar fever occurring in a man who had not been
exposed to malaria, so the physician who examines a printer will pay
more attention to certain symptoms often regarded as unimportant
because he must always bear in mind the possibility of lead poison­
ing in such a case.
The symptoms of a typical case of chronic industrial lead poison­
ing are pallor; sallowness; metallic taste or foul taste, especially in
the morning; disinclination for food, especially for breakfast; more
or less obstinate constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhea;
and gastric or intestinal discomfort, sense of oppression, or even pain.
There is often a loss of strength, shown by fatigue out of proportion
to the amount of energy expended. Some men suffer more from
headache, insomnia, and nervous irritability than from gastric
symptoms and the irritability may be followed by extreme listless­
ness. In the course of this ill-defined, slowly progressing loss of
health, a typical attack of acute poisoning may occur, rendering the
diagnosis much easier. Such an attack is characterized by consti­
pation lasting several days and then severe abdominal pain, head­
ache, and perhaps pains in the joints or painful cramp of the muscles.
The so-called “ lead triad ” consists in abdominal pain, constipation,
and headache and is distinguished from an attack of appendicitis
by the absence of fever and of that increase in the white-blood
corpuscles which always accompanies acute appendicitis. Such at­
tacks of acute poisoning may recur at long intervals and between
them the man may return to work but almost always with symptoms
of chronic poisoning, either referable to the digestive system or to
the neuromuscular system.
In some cases the effect of the slow absorption of lead is shown
especially in the neuromuscular system. Such cases suffer from
headaches, pains in the joints, muscular cramps, nervous twitchings
or tremors, insomnia, even depression and weakening of the memory.
The typical form of lead palsy, loss of power in the muscles which
extend the wrists and fingers, is not common among printers, though
it does occur, but a weakening of wrists and fingers is fairly com­
mon. Rarely in this occupation is the brain affected, with a resulting
lead psychosis. This condition is much more frequently found in
industries which expose the worker to danger of rapid absorption of
large quantities of lead, especially of the soluble compounds, than
in the printers’ trade, where absorption of lead by the worker is
very slow. The effect of lead on the brain of printers is more likely
to be that of degeneration which follows a hardening of the arteries,
either softening of the brain or a stroke of apoplexy. This is because




89

H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

a gradual absorption of lead continued over long periods results in a
form of arteriosclerosis, and this means a slow starvation of such
organs as the brain, the kidneys, the liver, and heart through a gradual
shutting off of their blood supply. Softening of the brain may result
from this loss of blood or if a sudden strain is put upon the brittle
arterial wall, as when the blood pressure is suddenly raised, the wall
may give way and an apoplectic stroke be the result. Cardiovascu­
lar disease and apoplexy are said by most authorities to be more
common among printers than among occupied males in general.
Yon Jaksch says lead always selects the weakest organ for its at­
tack. In a man with damaged kidneys lead manifests itself by setting
up nephritis. In one with a predisposition to nervous disease it may
give rise to epilepsy.
The changes in the red-blood cells, known as stippling or basophilic
granulation, are thought by Silberstein to be very characteristic of
the lead poisoning among printers, while Hahn and Oliver dissent
absolutely from this opinion. Carozzi takes a middle ground. He
finds basophilic granular cells in the blood of printers with chronic
plumbism but not as frequently as in men who have been exposed to
the soluble salts of lead, for this change in the blood is always in
direct relation to the rapidity of the diffusion of the poison, and in
typesetting the absorption of poison is of the slowest. Carozzi finds
polychromatophilia (a method of staining which indicates newly
formed cells) more common in printers than granular cells. His
record of blood examinations is as follows:
Among 135 printers examined he found 23, or 17.04 per cent, with
basophilic granular cells; 35, or 25.92 per cent, showed polychro­
matophilia; and in 77, or 57.04 per cent, there were no abnormal
cells.1
Carozzi also quotes Cosolo’s examination of 111 printers, in which
quite different results were obtained, as shown in the table following:
T a b le

2 6 .— CO N D IT IO N S F O U N D IN BLO OD E X A M IN A T IO N S OF P R IN T E R S AN D
OF M E N IN O T H E R T R A D E S IN T R IE S T E .

[ Source : Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation, Italian section,
new series, No. 6, Pt. IV , p. 39.]

Number having—
Class.

Printers with known plumbism.........................................................
Printers with suspected plumbism....................................................
Printers without plumbism.................................................................
Men in other trades................................................................................

Number
examined. Granular
Polyctiromacells.
tophilia.
35
27
49
27

13
10
19
11

2
2
5
1

Normal
blood.

20
15
25
15

1 Publication of International Association for Labor Legislation, Italian section, new
series, No. 6, Pt. IV , p. 40.




90

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR, STATISTICS.

Here the proportion of men with granular cells is really larger
* among the men in other trades than even among the printers known
to have lead poisoning. It is evident from these records that the
diagnosis of lead poisoning can not be absolutely decided by the blood
examination, although it may be greatly assisted.
All this shows the difficulty of making a positive statement as to
the amount of lead poisoning in the printer’s trade. Probably no two
medical men would interpret in the same way the symptoms or
signs of disease presented by any given group of printers, for one of
them would look with suspicion upon any digestive or nervous or
arthritic disorder as possibly plumbic in origin, while the other
would attribute it to errors in hygiene or to a fatiguing indoor occu­
pation or to alcoholism. Therefore in summarizing the results of a
physical examination of 200 printers made for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics by physicians in Boston and Chicago, we have endeavored
to treat the question of lead poisoning with caution and not to exag­
gerate its importance as a cause of disease among these men. (See
page 91.)
OTHER OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES.

Printers are said to suffer from other occupational diseases besides
tuberculosis—from digestive disturbances, from urinary, nervous,
and skin diseases. No two students of the industry ever come to
exactly the same conclusion as to the relative frequency of these dis­
turbances, or as to the question whether they are all to be regarded as
occupational in character. Even the morbidity statistics of the differ­
ent authors are not really comparable, because the classification of
diseases differs so much between different countries or even between
two authors in the same country.
Silberstein1 believes that the occupational diseases of printers are
tuberculosis, lead poisoning, varicose veins, leg ulcers, flat foot, and
neurasthenia. Printers also suffer more from skin diseases than do
workmen in general. For instance, in the years 1904 and 1905 there
were 20 cases of skin disease per 1,000 Berlin printers, while for
each 1,000 members of the sickness insurance fund of Berlin there
were only 9.3 cases in 1904 and 4.4 cases in 1905. This was largely
an occupational eczema of the hands and arms caused by printer’s
ink, turpentine, lye, and other chemicals. Under the head of neu­
rasthenia, including also the neuralgias, he gives the following fig­
ures |or Berlin:
1 Silberstein, in W eyl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten, Jena, 1908, p. 251.




91

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

T a b l e 2 7 .— PE R C EN T OF M E M B E R S OF P R IN T E R S ’ LO CAL SIC K F U N D AN D OF
M E M B E R S OF T H E G E N E R A L SIC K F UN D OF B E R L IN A F F E C T E D W IT H N E U ­
R A S T H E N IA , 1904 A N D 1905.
[Source: W eyl’s Handbuch der Arbeiterkrankheiten, Jena, 1908, p. 259.]
Per cent affected with neurasthenia.

Year.

Male members.

Female members.

Printers’
fund.
1904............................................................................................................
1905............................................................................................................

General
fund.

Printers’
fund.

3.73
4.09

1.56
1.25

General
fund.

2.43
2.66

2.76
2.24

The contrast here between male printers and all occupied males
is striking, and it is also shown that there is a nervous strain among
men printers to which women in the industry are not subject, for
their sickness rate from neurasthenia averages about the same as that
of women in other industries.
Silberstein also finds bronchial and throat catarrh, as well as gas­
tric catarrh, rheumatism, and gout, frequent among printers, but he
can not show that they are more frequent in this trade than in others.
He considers it a mistake to look on the work as not strenuous, for the
speed is great, and the work itself is nerve-exhausting. Especially
is there a high degree of exhausting speed and worry and anxiety in
newspaper work. A nine-hour day, even broken by three rest pe­
riods, is too long for such work. The characteristic nervous dis­
turbances in printers consist of exhaustion, sense of depression, sleep­
lessness, palpitation of the heart, pains that have no anatomical
cause, and loss of appetite. Weariness prevents the man from taking
out-door exercise after his work is over.
Hahn says that many cases of obscure lead poisoning are prob­
ably diagnosed as constipation, colic, anemia, nephritis, or gastric
or intestinal catarrh. He too finds a very decided excess of nervous
diseases among male printers, but not among the females, as can be
seen from the following table:
28

.— PER CENT OF SICKNESS DUE TO NERVOU S DISEASES AMONG PRINTERS
AND AMONG MEMBERS OF GEN ER AL LOCAL SICK FUNDS OF SPECIFIED CITIES.

T a b le

[Source: Die Gesundheitsverhaltnisse im polygraphischen Gewerbe Deutschlands, p. 24.]
Per cent of sickness due to
nervous diseases.
City and class of workers.
Males.
Munich (1907).
Members of general sick fund..................................................................................
Printers........................................................................................................................
Dresden (1907).
Members of general sick fund..................................................................................




Females.

Both
sexes.

4 .1
7.6

5.2
4.4

4.5
6.0

5.7
10.8

6.9
5.8

6.2
8.6

92

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

3 8 .—PER CENT OF SICKNESS D U E TO N ER V O U S DISEASES AMONG PR IN TER S
AND AM ONG M EM BERS OF G E N E R A L LOCAL SICK FU N D S OF SPECIFIED CITIES—Con.

T a b le

Per cent of sickness due to
nervous diseases.
City and class of workers.
Males.

Females.

Both
sexes.

Stuttgart (1906).
Members of general sick fund................................................................................
Printers........................................................................................................................

3.6
5.5

4.8
4.7

3.9
5.0

7.2
11.4

7.9
8.0

7.6
10.4

Berlin (1907).
Members of general sick fund..................................................................................
Printers........................................................................................................................

However, Hahn does not believe that this excess of nervous diseases,
though distinctly occupational, is caused by the lead, because it is
the compositors who suffer most. I f the lead were responsible, the
greatest amount of nervous diseases would be found among the type
founders, not the typesetters. The prevalence of nervous diseases
seems to depend upon the nervous strain in the work, and while lead
poisoning is diminishing, this class of diseases is increasing. Short­
ening the working-day, as has been done in recent years, has made the
speed greater and the nervous strain more intense. Nor does Hahn
find any connection between digestive disturbances in printers and
their exposure to lead, for there is less trouble of this kind among
type founders than among the women in the trade who never touch
lead. He concludes that the real occupational diseases of printers are
lead poisoning, tuberculosis, and nervous diseases, the last depending
upon the character of the work, the other two being interdependent,
for where the rate for one is high the rate for the other is also high.
There are available from four German cities statistics of diseases
among printers, classified under general heads, as respiratory, di­
gestive, nervous, arthritic, and saturnine, and these are compared
with like figures for the whole insured population. It is easy to see
from the table following that the printers have a higher rate for all
of these groups except the arthritic—gout and rheumatism. Diseases
of the kidneys are, singularly enough, not included in the list. Hahn
finds them more common among printers than among occupied males
in general.




93

H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.
T a b l e 2 9 .— P E R C E N T O F M E M B E R S O F G E N E R A L
B E R S O F P R IN T E R S ’ F U N D S W H O W E R E
B Y N A T U R E O F S IC K N E S S .
[ Sou rce:

D ie

G e su n d h eitsv erh a ltn isse

S IC K F U N D S A N D O F M E M ­
S IC K D U R IN G 19 0 7 , B Y C IT IE S , A N D

im p o lyg rap h isch en
5 2 , 5 3 .]

G ew erbe

D eu tsch la n d s,

pp.

Per cent ill during year.

All diseases.
City.

Respiratory
diseases.

Diseases of
digestive
organs.

Diseases of
nervous
system.

Gout and
rheumatism.

Lead
poisoning.

Gen­ Print­ Gen­ Print­ Gen­ Print­ Gen­ Print­ Gen­ Print­ Gen­ Print­
ers’
eral
ers’
eral
eral
eral
eral
ers’
ers’
ers’
eral
ers’
funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds. funds.
Dresden.............
Munich..............
Berlin................
Stuttgart...........

36.6
47.1
48.9
52.1

33.4
44.3
45.5
C
1)

5.2
6.6
17.5
6.8

5.4
10.1
17.5
10.1

6.7
7.1
7.6
13.1

6.8
7.8
9.2
17.2

6.2
4.5
7.6
3.9

8.6
6.0
10.4
5.0

7.9
7.8
9.0
14.3

5.5
5.1
9.4
11.9

0.5
.3
.1
.3

2.9
1.3
.7
1.1

1 N ot reported.

In all these statistics that have been given there are sources of
error in the fact that different groups of workmen are included
under the same heading. Bookbinders do not do the same sort of
work as compositors; pressmen are not exposed to the same dangers
as stereotypers, but all four classes are often included under the
same head, as, for instance, in the German reports. The Italian fig­
ures usually include compositors and pressmen, and the Dutch and
English seem to cover the whole industry.
RESULTS OF MEDICAL EXAMINATION OF 200 PRINTERS.

Medical examinations were made of 100 printers in Boston and
100 printers in Chicago for use in this report. The method used by
the two physicians was practically the same, but they worked inde­
pendently. In Boston the examining physician was Dr. Walter W.
Palmer, resident physician of the Massachusetts General Hospital,
with which is connected the oldest clinic for occupational diseases
in the United States. In Chicago it was Dr. John D. Ellis, who
was at the time in charge of the occupational disease clinic of Rush
Medical College. The results obtained by these two men were sur­
prisingly similar; 45 of the 100 Boston men were found to be quite
free from disease and 48 of the Chicago men; the remaining 107
suffered from various forms of ill health which will be detailed
farther on. Following is a brief resume of the most essential facts
concerning these 200 men:
Age group.
N u m ber.

Under 20 years______________________________________________
20 to 29 years________________________________________________
30 to 39 years------------------------------------------------------------------------




5
54
61

94

BULLETIN' OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOK STATISTICS.

40 to
50 to
60 to
Over

49
59
69
70

Number.
years________________________________________________ 40
years________________________________________________ 32
years________________________________________________
7
years________________________________________________
1

Marital condition.
Married______________________________________________________ 120
Widowers____________________________________________________ 13
Single________________________________________________________ 67

Branch of trade

.

Compositors, including stonemen____________________________ 113
43
Linotype operators__________________________________________
Compositors, both hand and machine_______________________
14
7
Monotype casters____________________________________________
Electrotypers and stereotypers______________________________
23

Years at work.
1 to 9 years__________________________________________________
10 to 19 years-----------------------------------------------------------------------20 to 29 years________________________________________________
30 to 39 years________________________________________________
40 to 49 years________________________________________________
50 to 59 years-----------------------------------------------------------------------Not reported_________________________________________________

50
51
47
36
14
1
1

T h e n a tio n a litie s are g iv e n se p a ra te ly f o r th e tw o cities, as th ere
w as a g re a t d iffe re n ce b etw een th e tw o in th is resp ect.

Birthplace.
Boston:
Number.
United States_______________
70
England_____________________ 10
Canada______________________ 11
Ireland______________________
3
Russia_______________________
2
Newfoundland_______________
1
Barbadoes___________________
1
Holland______________________
1
Armenia_____________________
1

Chicago:
Number.
United States------------------------ 75
Germany-------------------------------5
Bohemia----------------- _
-------------4
Poland----------------------------------4
England-------------------------------2
Russia----------------------------------2
Denmark____________________
2
Ireland______________________
2
Canada______________________
1
Belgium_____________________
1
Sweden______________________
1
Switzerland__________________
1

H ours of W o r k .— I n B o s to n th e m en w ere a ll m em bers o f th e
u n io n an d th e h o u rs o f w o r k w ere th e r e fo r e d e fin ite ly k n ow n . N e w s­
p a p e r m en w o r k seven h o u rs a d a y , w ith o n e -h a lf h o u r f o r lu n ch .
I n jo b p r in t in g th ere is an e ig h t-h o u r d a y a n d th e m en tak e on e h o u r
f o r lu n ch . T h e lu n ch h o u r is, o f cou rse, n o t in c lu d e d in th e e ig h t
hours. I n C h ic a g o th e u n io n m en w o r k 48 h ou rs a w eek a n d the tim e




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

95

at noon varies from one-half to one hour, depending on whether the
men wish to have Saturday afternoon free, in which case they volun­
tarily shorten the noon hour. The union does not regulate this.
Some of the men came from a job printing office which is an open
shop, employing union men for the union maximum of 48 hours a
week and nonunion men 52 hours. Also, a few were employed
in a nonunion shop which has a 54-hour week. Even in the union
shops occasional overtime work is allowed, for which the union has
a special scale of prices.
C o n d i t i o n s o f W o r k .—Dr. Palmer reported that practically all the
linotype and monotype operators in the Boston group complained
of the contamination of the air with fumes from gas burners and
lead pots. Many of the hand compositors work in-the same rooms
with the machines. It was, however, impossible to get accurate
information as to the condition of the air, for the men’s state­
ments naturally depend very much on personal prejudices. The
hand compositors come in contact with benzine and gasoline in clean­
ing the type, but none of them complained of skin troubles caused
by these substances. Every one of them emphatically insisted that
he washed his hands before eating his regular meals, but several
admitted eating fruit and handling chewing tobacco while at work
without first cleansing the hands. In Chicago, Dr. Ellis stated that
69 of the men examined made no complaint as to hygienic working
conditions, such as the presence of dust or fumes or poor light or
ventilation. Among the 31 who did make complaint there were 23
who mentioned annoying fumes from melting pots or stereotyping
rooms, and dust from the type cases and linotype machines. Several
mentioned graphite powder used to sprinkle the forms of type during
the process of electrotyping, claiming that this dust causes
a chronic bronchitis and stains the sputum gray or black. Eight
men said that they had had to work in company with men who were
suffering from tuberculosis, and who expectorated on the floors. All
the men said that they washed their hands carefully before leaving
the plant and before meals.
As to alcoholism it is noteworthy that one-third of the Chicago
printers who were examined freely admitted that they used alcohol
to excess arid occasionally became intoxicated. Dr. Ellis considered it
reasonable to suppose that a large proportion of the nervous symp­
toms complained of by this type of men was due to alcoholism. Es­
pecially was this true of the men who complained of tremor of the
hands or muscular cramps. There were 29 nonusers of alcohol
among the Chicago printers, 25 occasional users, 16 moderate users,
and 30 excessive users. This was on the men’s own statement. In
Boston, 35 men told Dr. Palmer that they did not use alcohol at




96

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

all, 21 used it occasionally, 40 moderately, and only 4 stated that they
were excessive drinkers.
Of the whole number 93 men, or 46.5 per cent, may be classed as
normal, for either they complained of no symptoms, and no abnormal
physical condition of any importance was disclosed by examination,
or the symptoms they complained of seemed to have no real basis.
The remaining 107 had some disturbance of health. They were all,
with one exception, working at the time the examination was made.
In discussing the typical cases of lead poisoning, we must remem­
ber how difficult it is to establish the diagnosis of chronic lead poison­
ing in printers. There were only two of these 200 men who showed
the lead line on the gums. Only one had the characteristic stip­
pling—basophilic granulation—of the red-blood corpuscles, yet there
were 21 who had been treated by physicians for lead poisoning and in
18 of them this diagnosis seemed to have been correct, since the
men still showed evidences of chronic plumbism. In addition to these
18 cases which the two physicians diagnosed to be lead poisoning,
there were four whose history and symptoms were highly suggestive
of the same diagnosis. If, however, we accept only the 18, we have
9 per cent of lead poisoning among the 200 printers.
The next group considered is one containing 10 men, all ha­
bitual drinkers and all given to fairly frequent periods of alcoholic
excess. The symptoms of which they complain would in temperate
men be strongly suggestive of lead poisoning: Gastric distress, morn­
ing vomiting, foul taste and foul breath, constipation, with occasional
diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, arthritic pains or muscular cramps,
tremor of the hands, weakness of grip, premature ageing, but all of
these may be caused by the excessive use of alcohol, so that this group
must be looked upon as very dubious. According to an Italian au­
thority—Pieraccini—alcohol and lead form a vicious circle, for lead
renders the man more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and alcohol
makes him more susceptible to the effects of lead.
As for the remaining 79, who had no undoubted history of lead
poisoning and showed no positive evidence of it at the time of ex­
amination, it is difficult to interpret with any degree of certainty
the significance of the symptoms complained of by them, and prob­
ably no interpretation could be made which would be convincing to
all physicians. It is agreed by all authorities, however, that the
fact that printers are exposed in some degree to lead poisoning makes
it necessary to lay greater stress upon certain symptoms in printers,
and especially certain groups of symptoms, than would be the case
with men engaged in a trade where there was no exposure to lead.
Both Dr. Palmer and Dr. Ellis were unwilling to make any positive
statement as to how much influence the men’s contact with lead could
be thought to have had in the production of such symptoms of ill




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

97

health as abdominal pain, constipation, headache, and articular pains,
but the mere fact that these symptoms were present far more fre­
quently than any others is in itself an indication that chronic lead
intoxication might have been the basis. It is also possible, however,
that all such symptoms might be attributable to irregular living and
lack of hygiene, especially oral hygiene. In this connection Dr.
Palmer points out the fact that 60 per cent of the Boston printers
suffered from pyorrhea alveolaris, and Dr. Ellis found decayed or
loosened teeth in 38 per cent of the Chicago men and pyorrhea in
23 per cent.
In examining a group of men for symptoms of lead poisoning,
those which are specially significant are the following: Gastric pain
and discomfort, constipation, headache, loss of appetite, foul taste
in the mouth, weakness of muscles—the muscles of the hand in
printers—loss of weight, loss of strength, nervous disturbances, pre­
mature hardening of the arteries, premature senility, pains in joints
and,*muscles. The usual way in which such examinations are re­
ported is by giving a list of the symptoms found and the number of
instances in which they were found, regardless of the fact that the
same man may have had several of them and thus appear several
times in the list. The following table is made out in this way from
the examination records of these 200 printers.
Symptoms.
Number
of cases.

Gastric distress (pain in intestines, colic, distensions)_________ 49
Constipation___________________________________________________ 48
Diarrhea___________________ ,__________________________________ 7
Loss of appetite______________________________________________ 13
Foul taste_____________________________________________________ 17
Nausea__________ ____________________________________________ 12
Vomiting________________________________________ ______________ 5
Loss of strength______________________________________________ 8
Loss of weight_______________________________________________
5
Headache_____________________________________________________ 43
Dizziness______________________________________________________ 19
Syncope__________________________ ____________________________
5
Nervousness___________________________________________________ 26
Insomnia______________________________________________________ 14
Paraesthesia and anaesthesia___________________________________ 5
Psychosis______________________________________________________ 1
Tabes_________________________________________________________
1
Epilepsy----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1
Wrist palsy___________________________________________________
1
Diplopia_______________________________________________________ 4
Arthritic pains________________________________________________ 22
Gout__________________________________________________________
6
Muscular cramps______________________________________________ 23
57184°—Bull. 209—17------ 7




98

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Of the symptoms discovered by physical examination the follow­
ing are the most important:
25 men looked older than their age.
25 had radial arteriosclerosis but only 4 of them were under 50 years o f age.
57 had a blood pressure of oyer 140 m. m. and of these 30 were under 50
years, as follow s: 20 to 29 years, 7; 30 to 39 years, 10; 40 to 49 years, 13.
7 men had valvular heart disease (mitral insufficiency, compensated).
4 had enlargement and increased consistency of the liver.
10 had tremors of the hands.
17 had hemorrhoids.
1 had varicose veins of the legs.
24 had a slight degree of anemia, haemoglobin between 70 and 75 per cent.
1 had granular blood cells.

Tested with a dynamometer, the general average for the right hand
among the Boston men was 112, while the general average of non­
printers who were tested by the same machine was 129. In Chicago,
where another dynamometer was used, the average for printers was
97, for nonprinters 120. Three cases showed loss of power of exten­
sion of wrist and fingers. One of them gave a clear history of typi­
cal wrist drop following an attack of lead colic. A fourth, who also
gave a history of lead poisoning, had complete loss of extension at
the time of examination.
The lead line was seen in two cases only. Polychromatophilia was
found in two cases, granular cells in one; the last gave a history of
recent symptoms of lead poisoning. It was not possible to examine
the urine for the presence of lead, but a routine examination by the
ordinary tests was made in 101 of the 200 cases. Albumen was found
five times, but casts only once.
The complaint of pains in the joints was frequently made, but al­
though such pains are characteristic of lead poisoning, yet in the
majority of these cases they could be accounted for on other grounds,
such as a previous attack of acute articular rheumatism, gonorrheal
infection, or alcoholism.
Diseases of the skin, as shown below, were rather noticeably absent,
and certainly no one could consider the slight lesions found to be of
much significance when considered as occupational diseases. The
acne, eczema, and dermatitis were all mild in character.
Skin diseases

.

Cases.
Mild acne, back and neck.
7
Mild acne, face___________
2
Slight eczema_____________
3
Dermatitis, hands____________________________________________
1
Dermatitis, hands and ankles_______________________________
1
Tinea versicolor_____________________________________________
1
Keratosis senilis_____________________________________________
1
Severe seborrhea sicca of scalp__ „___________________________
1
Carbuncles, n eck ____________________________________________
3
Festering cuts___________________________ 1___________________
5




H YGIENE OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.

99

The above method of analyzing the physical examination of these
printers is the customary one and is given in order to make it pos­
sible to compare this with other similar examinations, but it is always
a somewhat confusing method, for it does not give at all a clear
picture of how these symptoms were grouped in one man, and it is
this grouping which is the really significant feature. I f we omit the
18 men in whom lead poisoning seemed undoubted and the 10 alco­
holics, we have left 79 men who suffered from symptoms of sickness
not obviously caused either by lead or by alcohol. We have divided
them according to their predominating symptoms as follows:
Cases.

Symptoms referable chiefly to the gastrointestinal tract_______
Symptoms referable chiefly to the neuromuscular system______
Symptoms referable chiefly to both of above_________________
Arteriosclerosis and premature senility_______________________
Arrested tuberculosis, gastric symptoms, alcoholism__________
Anemia and poor nutrition (boys under 20 years)____________
Probable renal stone_________________________________________

30
18
25
2
1
2
1

Of these 79 men there were 19 whose symptoms were slight and
fairly negligible. On the other hand, there were 9, belonging to the
group with neuromuscular and intestinal symptoms, whose histories
and symptoms at the time of the examination showed decided de­
rangement of health and were at least suggestive of chronic lead
poisoning. It is impossible to say whether or not work at the
printers’ trade had any influence on the ill health of these 9 men
or of the 79 in this group. It may be that 200 men taken from any
indoor occupation which involves great nervous strain and continual
standing without much muscular work, and in which nightwork is
fairly common and meals are taken more or less irregularly and hur­
riedly, might show as large a number of digestive and nervous de­
rangements as were found among the 200 printers. On the other
hand, we know that long-continued absorption of minute quantities
of lead does cause symptoms of just this character.
The most striking thing in this examination is the absence of
lesions in the lungs. As we have seen, the occupational disease of
printers is always held to be pulmonary tuberculosis and the statistics
of all countries show the prevalence of this disease in the industry.
Both of the physicians who made the examination fully expected
to find a fairly large proportion of men suffering from some form of
this complaint. That only one arrested case was found among 100
Chicago men and no case at all among the Boston men is hard to
understand unless the reason be found in the method used in secur­
ing the cases for examination. The men were practically all volunteers.
Those in Boston were requested by the Boston Typographical Union
to present themselves for examination. In Chicago, the men who were
examined were in part secured through the union and in part through




100

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

visits to the plants in which they were employed. But in the latter
case as well as in the former the men’s consent had to be obtained
and both physicians were convinced that the men who suspected that
they had tuberculosis shrank from being examined. This means
that although every effort was made to secure groups of men in both
cities who would represent a typical cross section of the printers’
trade it was practically impossible to do this, and a certain selective
action was exerted by the men themselves which resulted in a better
showing than was probably actually true. However, even allowing
for this, the entire absence of even the early stages of pulmonary
tuberculosis is surprising.
Dr. Palmer speaks as follows as to this part of his examination:
None of the men showed any definite lung pathology. In several
instances there was a marked degree of physiological dullness and
broncho-vesicular respiration at the right apex. There were no sub­
jects with symptoms or physical evidence of tuberculosis.
Dr. Ellis writes:
In one case, who told me he had been in the Printers’ Home in
Colorado for tuberculosis, I found marked dullness and bronchial
breathing over the upper right lobe, posteriorly, but there were no
rales. There was chronic generalized bronchitis in one case. None
of the other men showed any definite lung changes in the percussion
note or width of the apical isthmus on percussion or breath sounds
over the apices.
When the ages of the 200 men are considered, it can be seen that a
larger proportion of healthy men than of diseased men belong to the
earlier age groups. This would naturally be expected. Of the
healthy men 40 per cent are under 30 years of age, while only 21.5
per cent of those with some form of ill health are in this age group.
As we go up in the scale of years the difference becomes less marked—
68 per cent of the healthy men are under 40 years, and 54 per cent of
the unhealthy; in the ages under 50 years are 83.8 per cent of the
healthy, and 77.5 per cent of the diseased.
It is impossible to say to what extent these differences are caused
by the unhealthfulness of the industry and to what extent by advanc­
ing years. If, however, the men are grouped according to the number
of years they have spent in the printing trade, it is impossible to
escape the conviction that the work itself has an unfavorable effect
upon the men’s health, for the differences here are greater than
those in the percentages based upon actual age. Almost half of the
healthy men (49.4 per cent) have worked less than 15 years; less than
one-third of the diseased (30 per cent) have worked so short a time
as that. Only 29 per cent of the healthy have worked as long as 25
years, while 35.6 per cent of the unhealthy have been at the trade
for 25 years or more.




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

101

It seems probable that the differences here are attributable to the
influence of occupation, though the figures upon which the percent­
ages are based (only 200 men) are too small to be used as a basis for
any positive conclusions.
PHYSICAL CONDITION OF MEN ENTERING THE INDUSTRY.
The statement is very frequently made by foreign writers that
one reason why the printing trade has an undue amount of illness,
especially of tuberculosis, is that it naturally attracts boys who
are undersized, narrow chested, deficient in muscular development,
and therefore predisposed to tuberculous infection. Pannwitz,1 who
made a thorough study of the printing trade in Germany, lays great
stress on this feature and is able to show by figures that the trade
in that country is really recruited largely from among the less vig­
orous. Germany’s system of compulsory military service for all
physically fit men involves physical examination of all, and it is from
the records of the examining medical officers that Pannwitz draws
his conclusions. He finds a startlingly small percentage of the men
in the typographical trades fit for military service. For instance,
in one newspaper plant there were only 8 fit men out of 92, only
2 compositors out of 20. The average number of men accepted for
service out of 55 districts during three years, 1889, 1890, and 1891,
was 427.3 out of 1,000 employed in all trades, but for the printing
trades it was only 238.1. Taking one of the three years, 1891, he
finds that out of 1,000 printers an average of 205.4 were found fit for
regular service, 183 for second-class service, 526.8 for nonactive
service (Landsturm), and 84.8 absolutely unfit.
The pressmen were the lowest in the scale, the founders next, the
compositors highest. In these same three years the pressmen had
an average of only 173.4 fit men out of 1,000, the founders had 211.5,
and the compositors 213.3. Rejections were based chiefly on the
ground of weak physical constitution, poor development of skele­
ton and muscles, “ which does not permit the expectation that his
strength would suffice for service in the field or in the reserve.”
Weakness of vision also is a frequent cause of rejection. Pannwitz
concludes that not only are there unusual numbers of weaklings in
this industry but the sanitary conditions under which they work are
more productive of illness than the work itself warrants. This is
said by Layet2 to be true of the industry in France also, and the
Austrian governmental report makes the same statement for Austria.
No one casually observing American printers would gain the im­
pression that this is an industry attracting weaklings chiefly.
1 Pannwitz, in Arbeiten aus dem kaiserlichen Gesundheitsamt, Berlin, 1896, Vol. X I I ,
p. 686.
2 Hygiene des Professions et des Industries, Paris, 1875.




102

BU LLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Their general appearance is that of well-developed men in aver­
age health. Yet the figures of one of the large life insurance com­
panies for 589 industrial policyholders show that in the United
States the men who enter this trade are somewhat lower in height
and weight than the general average for all other occupations. These
records of weights and heights are given by Frederick L. Hoffman,
statistician of the Prudential Insurance Co.
3 0 .—A V E R A G E AND R E L A T IV E W E IG H T AN D A V ER AG E H EIG H T OF MALE
PR INTER S AN D OF MALES IN A L L OTH ER OCCUPATIONS, B Y AGE GROUPS, 1886 TO
1914.
[Source: Records of the Prudential Insurance Co.]

T able

Age at entry.

Number
at each
age.

Average weight at
entry (pounds).

Printers.

15 to 24 years.................................
25 to 34 years.................................
35 to 44 years.................................
45 to 54 years.................................
55 to 64 years.................................
65 years and over..........................
Total............................... ..

Relative weight at
entry (pounds
per inch).

Average height at
entry (inches).

All other
All other
All other
occupa­ Printers. occupa­ Printers. occupa­
tions.
tions.
tions.

126
230
150
51
31
1

140
149
154
159
154
195

145
155
160
163
163
162

2.05
2.20
2.28
2.37
2.29
2.91

2.12
2.26
2.35
2.40
2.40
2.38

68.2
67.6
67.7
67.0
67.4
67.0

68.1
68.3
68.1
67.9
67.8
67.9

589

149

157

2.21

2.30

67.7

68.1

HEALTH CAMPAIGN OF INTERNATIONAL TYPO­
GRAPHICAL UNION.
In 1892 the International Typographical Union opened a home for
invalid, aged, or infirm union printers in Colorado Springs, and it
became clear very soon after that a large number of the printers who
were incapacitated from illness and applying for entrance to the
home were suffering from tuberculosis. This knowledge spread
gradually among the members of the union, was discussed at the an­
nual meetings, and interest in the sanitation of working places and
in the prevention of disease, especially of tuberculosis, grew steadily.
Finally, in 1907 a permanent committee on health and sanitation was
formed primarily to deal with the danger of tuberculosis—“ to es­
tablish healthful conditions in printing shops and to arrange for the
best treatment of members of this union suffering from tuberculosis.”
Each local has now a sanitation committee and all chairmen of
chapels—the union printers in each shop constitute a chapel—are in­
structed to report insanitary conditions to this committee.
Naturally, the development of this movement has followed dif­
ferent lines in the seven cities visited. Some committees are much
more aggressive and full of initiative than others. Those of Baltimore
and Washington have struck out on original lines and have made
personal inspections of the shops and newspaper plants in those




H YGIENE OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

103

cities and brought specific suggestions before the employers. They
have also secured the best available expert advice on these sug­
gestions before pushing them. Chicago, also, has a vigorous sani­
tary policy and employs one printer to devote his time to this work.
On the other hand, Philadelphia depends on complaints from the
chapels, though the men say that this does not work well and that it
is far easier for an outsider to come in and criticize than it is for an
employee to run the risk of making himself disliked by his em­
ployer and by his fellow workmen. St. Louis also depends on fol­
lowing up complaints made by the chapel chairmen. There is not,
however, so much room for complaint in St. Louis as in the other
cities, since one great source of trouble, the piping of linotype pots,
is provided for by a State law.
The New York union, in addition to the usual sanitary activities,
makes provision for sick members by maintaining beds in four hos­
pitals. The union cooperates closely with the division of occupa­
tional diseases of the health department, and the two have recently
formulated a series of recommendations for the conduct of printing
establishments and for individual hygiene which is excellent. In
Boston the local union cooperates with the occupational disease clinic
of the Massachusetts General Hospital and distributes the leaflet on
“ Precautions for Printers ” which was prepared by the latter.
Very good publicity work is carried on by the local sanitation
committees and by the central body in Indianapolis. A little pam­
phlet recently issued by the latter discusses in clear language the
nature of tuberculosis and all the factors in its production which are
to be found in the printing trade. The Baltimore local has carried
on a very intelligent educational work of this kind in its monthly
bulletin.
The effects of this activity on the part of the union are very evi­
dent. Such evils as spitting on the floor and sweeping floors during
working hours are more easily controlled by the men themselves than
by factory inspectors. The importance of good ventilation is in­
creasingly insisted on by the men, and this also is a matter largely
within their own control. It is certainly only fair to ascribe a great
deal of the recent improvement in conditions prevailing in this indus­
try to the efforts made by the union. That much remains to be done
is also true. Some of the dirtiest, worst ventilated, worst lighted shops
visited were not only union shops, but label shops. Union men put
up with roller towels, even in cities where they are forbidden by law,
with noisome toilets, and with utterly inadequate washing provi­
sions. There must also be a much livelier sense on the part of the
trade itself that lead dust, even in minute quantities, is dangerous,
before the union can say that it is safeguarding the health of its
members.




104

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The Union Printers’ Home in Colorado Springs is a very remark­
able instance of self-help on the part of an industry. The move­
ment to provide for the aged and infirm was given impetus in 1886
by a gift of $10,000 from A. J. Drexel and George W. Childs. The
international union and the locals added enough to this to erect, on
land donated for the purpose, a building costing $62,700. In 1898 a
hospital building was added and it became necessary to open a tent
colony for the tuberculous. In 1907 there were 20 tents and a central
building for these patients, the latter built in the form of a solarium.
The home has a library of almost 10,000 volumes and 228 periodicals.
Between July, 1892, and May, 1911, 1,198 printers were admitted
to the home, which is open to any one who has been a member of the
International Typographical Union for ten continuous years. Mem­
bers who are suffering from tuberculosis may be admitted to the
sanatorium at any time. The average number of residents during
1911 was 127, and the per capita cost of their maintenance was
$45.10 a month, in. addition to which each man receives at least 50
cents a week for his personal expenses. This little pension is usually
paid by his local—the New York local gives each of its members in
the home a dollar a week—or if the local does not provide it, the
sum is paid by headquarters at Indianapolis.
The union has also indirectly improved health conditions in the
industry by shortening the working-day. In 1869 the international
union reported instances of a 12-hour, a 15-hour, and even an 18-hour
day. Newspaper men often had to spend several hours in the after­
noon distributing type and then go to work on composition at 7 in
the evening and keep on till morning. With the introduction of the
linotype machine the hours came to be defined and there was a gen­
eral movement for a shorter day. At present the day in newspaper
offices does not exceed 8 hours, but in book and job shops it may
still be from 9 to 10 hours.
The union allows overtime work at time and a half pay from 5 in
the afternoon till 10 in the evening, at double pay after 10 o’clock
and on Sundays, and also on Saturdays if the 48-hour week has
already been made up. On the advertising part o f a newspaper the
men sometimes work 15 or 16 hours with only a half hour off for
lunch, but overtime is not usual now; it is too expensive. Newspaper
offices may work 7 days in the week but each man works only 6. The
day of the linotypist is fixed by international agreement at 8 hours
on newspapers. Operators in job shops are not included.
There is general testimony to the fact that with this shorter day
and lessening of overtime work has come a great improvement in the
habits of the printer and consequently in his health. Men who drink
to excess can not keep up as linotypists as a usual thing. The oldtime “ tourist ” compositor also has largely disappeared. He was




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.

105

notoriously a heavy worker and a heavy drinker, alternating periods
of excessive overtime work with periods of drink and idleness. The
last 10 years are said to have wrought great changes in this respect
in the trade.
The International Typographical Union includes all employed in
the composing room, and proof readers, monotype casters, and oper-'
ators on the monotype keyboards. Stereotypers and electrotypers be­
long to the Allied Printing Trades, but have separate unions. They
have not as high a standard of education for apprentices as has the
typographical union.







APPEN DIX A.— PROPOSED SCHEME FOR THE INSPECTION OF COMPOSING ROOMS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
[H E A L T H

D E P A R T M E N T OF T H E

I n s t r u c t io n s

to

D IS T R IC T OF C O L U M B IA .]

I nspector.

the

The inspector will devote so much time to the filling in o f this schedule as
the circumstances of the case require. His work should be done with the least
possible interference with the work o f the establishment. It is not expected that
he will in any case be able to fill in this schedule at a single visit. The in­
spector will ask instructions from the health officer, the assistant health officer,
and the chief sanitary inspector from time to time as his work progresses, when­
ever he deems it desirable.
Establishment named_______________________________________________________
Located at_____________________________________________________________
Owned by_______________________________________________________________
Managed by____________________________________________________________
I.

B U IL D I N G .

S tr u c tu r e : Frame___________ ; brick, stone, or concrete____________; kind of

flo o rs__________ ; stories h ig h ____________
F ir e p r o te c tio n :

Automatic sprinkler system __________
Fire hose__________ ; where located___________
Fire extinguishers: Kind___________________; number____________________
Where located______________________________
Fire-alarm system : Kind___________________
Are stairways walled against fire? _____________________________________
To what use is the portion of building put which is not used for this printing
establishment ? __________________________________________________________
Is it clean and in a generally satisfactory condition? _____________________
Remarks____________________________________________________________________
II.

C O M P O S IN G

ROOM.

What varieties of work are done in this room?
Where located?________________________________
Cleaning.
Material.

Structural
condition.
Method.

Frequency.

Condition as to
cleanliness.

Walls...............................
Floors.
Ceilings...........................

Floor area____square feet.




Height o f ceiling____feet.

Air space____cubic feet.
107

108

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

n.

c o m p o s in g

room—

c o n tin u e d .

V e n tila tio n :
No.

Location.

Total area.

Windows..

1

Total.........
Doors.........
Total.........

Yes__________ ; No.

A rtificia l v e n tila tio n :

Number fans.

Diameters.

Plenum svstem _______ ___________________

Exhaust system...................................................................................
Other mechanical contrivances........................................................

Nature and extent o f odors____________
Does room seem adequately ventilated?
Rem arks_______________________________

L ig h tin g :

Windows and doors. (See also Ventilation.)
Condition of windows as to cleanliness___
Are window shades provided? _________
Are awnings provided? ___ ____________
Does natural light seem adequate? ________
Condition of atmosphere.

Time of inspection.

Remarks.
Day.

Hour.

Bright.

Dull.

Dark.

1
[Report should cover at least three inspections, avoiding the same hour and day of same type.]

A rtificia l lig h t:

Kind—
G as: Open flame_____________________ ; mantle_____________________
Electricity: Arc___; carbon filament___ ; tungsten___ ; nitrogen___
Number o f burners or globes____________________________________________
Location of lights_______________________________________________________
Total candlepower______________________________________________________
What is done to obtain proper distribution of light? ___________________
What is done to prevent glare? ________________________________________
Does artificial light satisfactorily make up for deficiencies of natural
lighting? _____________________________________________________________
To what extent is nightwork done? -----------------------------------------------------Remarks____________________________________________________________________




H YG IEN E OF THE PRINTING TRADES.
ii.

c o m p o s in g

room—

109

c o n c lu d e d .

Heating:
Hot air_________ ; hot water__________; steam__________; direct__________;
indirect_________________________ ; combined___________________________
Are facilities for heating adequate? ____________________________________
Are facilities for carrying off surplus heat from machines, etc., adequate?
Are thermometers in use for regulating temperature?
Is automatic heat regulation in use? ______________
Remarks________________________________________________

I II. EQUIPM ENT.

Piped to carry off heat and gases.
Not piped.
Number
satisfactory.
Linotype machines.......
Monotype machines___
Casters.............................
Remelting furnace........

Total.

Number
unsatisfactory.

1

i
J
!
|
................................... | ................................ ............................... i
1
1

1

.............................

Is remelting furnace in composing room?__________
Can linotype pots be closed?__________ ; were they found closed at times of
inspections?__________
How are linotype pots heated? Gas?__________ ; electricity?___________
How are linotype plungers cleaned?__________
Was scrap lead found on floor about machines at times of inspections?_________
Keyboards: Number?____________ ; kind?_____________
Cases: Number?____________ ; kind?_____________
Are bottoms of cases set flush with floor?__________
On sanitary leg base?__________ ; if not, how high is bottom of case
above floor?__________
How are cases cleaned?__________
Condition as to cleanliness at times of inspections?__________
Was space under cases clean at times of inspections?__________
How are type cleaned?__________ Potash?__________ ; benzine?___________
Remarks____________________________________________________________________

IV. SA N IT A B Y PROVISIONS FOR EM PLOYEES.

Toilet accommodations:
For males—
Location____________________________________

Number.

Water-Wosets...........
U rim ls.....................




Structural conditions.

Condition as to
cleanliness.

110

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
iv .

s a n it a r y

p r o v is io n s

for

em ployees—

c o n tin u e d .

T o ilet a cco m m o d a tion s —Concluded.

For males— Concluded.
Spigots for washing hands, etc.
Location_____________________________
Number__________ ; hot water___________; cold water__.
Shower baths_____________________________
T ow els:
Number________ ; kind________ ; frequency of changing.
Condition as to cleanliness_____________________
Spittoons:
Number__________ ; kind___________; how cared for__.
For females—
Location_______________________________

Number.

Structural conditions.

Condition as to
cleanliness.

W ater-closets___

Spigots for washing hands, e tc.:
Location_____________________________
Number__________ ; hot water___________; cold water. _
Shower baths_____________________________
T ow els:
Number________ ; kind________ ; frequency o f changing.
Condition as to cleanliness.
Are toilet accommodations adequate?_________________
Are toilet accommodations in good condition?________________
Remarks____________________________________________________________
Is a dressing room provided?—
For males____________ ; for females-------------------Are lockers provided?—
Number____________ ; kind-------------------Location_________________ ; condition as to cleanliness_______
Is a lunch room provided? ____________
Location ? ___________________
Is it screened? ___________________
Nature of accom m odations?-------------------

Drinking water:
How secured?
Bubbling fountains-------------------; number-------------------Ice coolers_____________ ; number_____________ ; kind—
How cleaned_______________________________
How frequently cleaned-------------------------------------------Common drinking cups--------------; number---------------; kind.
How cleaned? ___________________________
How frequently cleaned------------------------------------------Individual drinking cups-----------------------------------------------Remarks________________________________________________




Ill

H YG IEN E OF TH E PRINTING TRADES.
IV. SA N IT A R Y PROVISIONS FOR EM PLOYEES---- c o n c l u d e d .

Is washing of hands compulsory?________________ ; of face?_________________
Are rules posted for sanitary guidance of employees?_________________________
If so, how enforced?_______________________________
If not, are recommendations posted ? ______________________________
Obtain a copy of any such regulations or recommendations, if practicable.
Are medical examinations of employees required? ____________ ________ ,_____
If so, how are they provided for? ______________________________________
Is there any professional supervision over sanitary conditions of the establish­
ment ? _______________________________
If so, what? _______________________________
Remarks____________________________________________________________________
V. EMPLOYEES.

Hand composi­
tion.

Machine composi­
tion.

Other work.

Total.

Number of males...........
Number of females........
Total.....................

State per employee—
Floor sp ace,__________ sq. f t . ; air sp a ce,___________ cu. ft.
Window a r e a ,______________ sq. f t .; lo c k e rs ,_______ _________ ; drinking
cu p s ,__________ ; to w e ls ___________
Water-closets for males, per male em ployee__________ ; urinals, per male
employee_______________ ; water-closets for females, per female em­
ployee_______________
Number of tuberculous employees, known to the manager as such___________
Precautions taken against the spread of the disease__________________________
Remarks __________________________________________________________________
VI. RECOMMENDATIONS.
N o t e . — Embody

each recommendation in a separate paragraph and number the para­

graphs serially.




-------------------1 Sanitary Inspector.

APPENDIX B.—PRECAUTIONS FOR PRINTERS.
[M A S S A C H U S E T T S

GENERAL

H O S P I T A L .]

I. Remember pig lead used in linotyping is softer than lead o f type. Handle
it as little as possible.
II. Drop pig lead carefully into melting pot. Splashings o f molten lead dry
and become lead dust.
III. Do not shake crucible in order to blend molten lead better. It will
blend o f itself.
IV. Plungers on linotype machines should never be cleaned in the work­
room. Clean them in boxes in the open air.
Y. Avoid lead dust, as much as possible, when trimming and mitering, or
when sawing and routing. Wear a respirator when routing.
YI. Graphite used for lubricating is not poisonous, but all dust is irritating
to the lungs.
VII. Lead dust in type cases should be removed in the open air, or by means
o f a vacuum cleaner.
VIII. Benzine and lye are skin irritants. Wear gloves when cleaning type
with them, and carefully wash the benzine and lye from the type.
IX. Never put type in the mouth, or moisten the fingers to get better hold
o f type.
X. Insist upon having good ventilation in the office or factory, and insist that
floors should not be swept during working hours.
XI. Suggest to your employer that walls and ceilings of workroom, if not of
smooth washable surface, should be limewashed once a year; that close-fitting
floors which can be cleaned by moist methods are desirable; and that type
cases should fit closely on the floor, or have legs high enough to brush under.
X II. Eat a good breakfast before beginning work. Food in the stomach helps
to prevent lead poisoning.
X III. Do not eat food, or use tobacco, while working, because o f the danger
o f getting lead into the mouth.
XIV. Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, and rinse the
mouth and clean the finger nails before eating.
XV. Have your own towel and cake of soap.
XVI. Eat your lunch outside the workroom.
X VII. Do not wear working clothes too long without change.
XV III. Hang street clothes apart from the dust o f the workroom.
X IX . Bathe frequently and brush the teeth each night.
X X . Avoid alcohol. It increases the danger o f lead poisoning.
X X I. Have a good bowel movement each day.
X X II. Exercise in the fresh air as much as possible.
X X III. Be examined by a doctor occasionally, and do preventive work by
keeping in good health.
112




APPENDIX C.—HYGIENIC REGULATIONS FOR PRINTING AND TYPE­
CASTING ESTABLISHMENTS.
[D E P A R T M E N T O F LABO R OF N E W

J E R S E Y .]

Suitable toilet accommodations shall consist of separate toilet rooms for
the sexes, properly heated, ventilated either by natural or mechanical means,
and provided with a vestibule so as to insure privacy to the users thereof.
One siphon action toilet shall be provided for every 20 persons or fraction
thereof. One urinal for each 50 persons or fraction thereof.
Washing accommodations shall be provided on a basis of one hot and one
cold water tap for each five persons.
Sanitary steel lockers shall be provided in a clean, heated, and ventilated
dressing room. Lockers shall have the following minimum dimensions, it being
understood that larger ones may be used if so desired: 60 inches high, 12
inches wide, and 15 inches deep.
Floors of all rooms where lead is used or handled must have smooth even
surfaces so as to permit of thorough cleaning. Floors that are cleaned with
a broom must be thoroughly moistened before cleaning.
All floors must be cleaned by a vacuum system where it is impossible to
clean with a broom without raising dust.
Dross skimmings from lead pots must be poured into a container provided
for this purpose. Plungers must be cleaned either under an exhaust hood
or else in a cleaning box.
Gas-pipe joints connected with linotype machines must be examined at least
once each day so as to prevent air pollution from gas leaks. Type metal must
be cleaned either under an exhaust hood or else by means o f a vacuum system.
All lead melting pots, including linotype and monotype pots, stereotype kettles,
and remelting kettles, must be equipped with mechanical exhaust hoods. Lino­
type machines shall be provided with the following exhaust equipment:
Each lead pot shall have a hood with the following dimensions: 10 inches
long and 10 inches wide at the largest end. Hood when ig position shall hang
at a distance no greater than 6 inches above the rim of the melting pot. Hood
shall be so constructed as to permit it to slide on the branch pipe to which
it is connected. Each hood shall have a suction pipe 4 inches in diameter.
Main suction pipe to which all branch suction pipes shall be connected must
at all cross-sectional points have an area at least equal to the combined areas
of branches at each cross-sectional point.
The exhaust fan must operate at a speed sufficient to generate an air move­
ment in each branch pipe of at least 1,000 linear feet per minute. Test to be
made by placing an anemometer at the end of the branch pipe where it connects
with the hood. Entire line must be open and unobstructed when test is made.
Stereotype kettles must be completely hooded in, proper slots and doors being
provided, as per detailed blue print, to permit of dross skimming and pump
action.
Each hood shall have an 8-inch exhaust pipe in which an air movement of at
least 1,000 linear feet per minute shall be generated. Test to be made by placing
an anemometer in the branch pipe at the point where it connects with the hood.
Remelting kettles, where lead slugs are remelted and cast into bars, must be
equipped with an exhaust hood o f a type to be decided by the type o f melting
57184°— Bull. 209— 17------ 8




113

114

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

pot. In all cases an air movement of 1,000 linear feet per minute must be
generated in the branch pipe leading from the exhaust hood. Test to be the
same as in the case o f a stereotype kettle.
The fumes passing through the exhaust fan must be discharged outside the
workroom at a point whefe they can not return through openings in the building.
Exhaust systems shall be constructed o f galvanized sheet steel in accordance
with the following details:

Piping— Diameter.
4 to 10 inches_______________________________________ No.
11 to 18 inches______________________________________ No.
19 to 26 inches______________________________________ No.
27 inches and larger________________________________No.
H oods------- : ------------------------------------------------------------ No.
-

24
22
20
18
22

gauge.
gauge.
gauge.
gauge.
gauge.

E lb o w s .— One gauge heavier than the pipe to which they are attached.
R iv e tin g .—All straight seams should be riveted with tinned rivets placed on

2Hnch centers. All round seams should be riveted as follow s:
P ip in g — D ia m e ter.
4 to 8 inches____________________________________________
9 to 12 inches____________________________________________
13 to 18 inches___________________________________________
19 to 24 inches___________________________________________
25 to 30 inches___________________________________________

4
5
6
7
8

rivets.
rivets.
rivets.
rivets.
rivets.

All elbows to be riveted on 2^-inch centers.
S o ld erin g .— All seams should be heavily soldered with pure half-and-half

solder. The soldering is very important, as it prevents loss o f air due to leak­
age. (Engineers claim that usually 10 per cent of power loss is due to leak­
age.) Soldering also prevents corrosion of the edges of the metal which have
become exposed by cutting into the stock-sheets.
E d g es *—All exposed edges not attached to other metal should be wired. It is
especially1important to have all hoods wired. This strengthens the hoods and
prevents the operators from receiving cuts from raw edges.
L a p s .—All piping, etc., should have at least a 1-inch lap, made in the direc­
tion o f the flow o f ^he air current. This prevents dust clogging and friction
loss.
E lb o w s .—All elbows should be made on a radius o f not less than 1\ times the
diameter o f the elbows. Said radius to be measured from* the throat of the
elbow. All elbows should be made o f hand-swagged riveted sections, and be
hand-pounded as smooth as possible.
C olla rs .— All pipe collars should enter the main pipes at not more than a 45degree angle, and should be riveted and soldered to the main pipes.
B la st g a te s .— Every branch pipe shall be fitted with a blast gate, with the
slide attached to the. gate with a chain.
T elesco p ic slip jo m t s .— All telescopic slip joints should be made with a wired
outer edge, and with felt packing between them to prevent air leakage.
F<in in let co n n ectio n .—At the point where the piping connects’ to the suction
side of the exhaust fan, there should be a detachable sleeve, so that ready access
to the interior o f the fan may be had at any time without damaging the piping
system.
A u to m a tic fir e d a m p ers .— Wherever piping passes through a wall or floor, or
from one building to another, an automatic fire damper should be installed.
This should be so constructed with balance weights that it remains closed when
the fan is not in operation, or will fall shut should fire strike the fusible link
holding the balance weight.







PLATE NO. 1.— MECHANICAL EXHAUST SYSTEM FOR TH E REMOV AL OF NOXIOUS FUMES FROM LINOTYPE
MACHINES.

P L A T E NO. 2.— M E C H A N I C A L D R A W I N G S H O W I N G D E T A IL S OF C O N S T R U C T I O N OF E X H A U S T S Y S T E M FOR L I N O T Y P E M A C H I N E S .




P L A T E NO. .3.— M E C H A N I C A L D R A W I N G S H O W I N G D E T A I L S O F C O N S T R U C T I O N
OF E X H A U S T H O O D FOR L I N O T Y P E M A C H I N E S .




S P E C I F I C AX IONS
C R O S S S E C T I O N A L . A R E A OF" M A I N
DUCT A T ANY P O I N T TO BE AT L E A S T
EQUAL. T O C O M B I N E D AR EA OF BRANCHES
FROV\' DEAD END OF -SYSTEM UP TO T H A T
POINT.
SEE
P I G . I.
BRANCH
P I P E 3 T O M O O D S T O BE
4 "'IN
D I A M E T El R.
l_ I M O T V P E HOODS, T O B E A S
Shown
inj f i g . 3 .
c o n n e c t io m
IWONOTYPE
H O O D S T O B E AS
S H O W N I N F I G. 2. .
^ ” CONNECTION
HO ODS T O S L I D E
AS S H O W N
F | G .A S U C TIO N
TO
B E -S U F FIC IE N T
TO P R O D U C E AM A I R ( S A O V E M E N T
IN E A C H B R A N C H
P I P E OF l O O O
FEET PER M IM .
T E S T T O B E f<AAOE
W ITH
ANEMOMETER

KH

IN

Dis t a n c e
from
t o p
of
LOWEST
P O I N T OF* H O O D
e ” WHELM M OOD I S D O W N

p o t

TO

to

BE

FIG. 4
z • 4D A .
< 1 IM




—

I" D A .
O IM
—

V

..- " \ \

'

F

I G.

\\

t
6”r N
l
e"D A A.
> — rv---------—O r -------- D A \
IN
—O:--- --" A

\ C

I

PLATE NO. 4.— ME C H AN IC A L DRAWING SHOWING HOW TO CONSTRUCT AN EXHAUST HOOD FOR LINOT YPE MACHINES.




PLATE NO. 5.— SHOWING INSTA LLATION OF EXHAUST SYSTEM FOR LINOT YPE MACHINES.




P L A T E NO . 6.— OP E N T Y P E OF E X H A U S T H O O D S FO R M E L T I N G K E T T L E S IN S T E R E O T Y P E R O O M .




P L A T E NO . 7.— M E L T I N G K E T T L E S IN S T E R E O T Y P E R O O M C O M P L E T E L Y IN C L O S E D W I T H E X H A U S T
H O O D . ACCESS T O K E T T L E G A I N E D BY M E A N S OF A S L I D I N G D O O R .




P L A T E NO. 8 — E X H A U S T H O O D ON M E L T I N G K E T T L E IN S T E R E O T Y P E R O O M , S H O W I N G S L O T FOR
PUMP AC TIO N.




*2

/ ?H

n tV C T

b o t to m

or /

s lid e d o o r

SZCTtOH B &
SHOW/MS BO TTO M o r HOOD

sccr/ory A'-'n
Shou/mg ror> o r n o o o

P L A T E NO. 9.— M E C H A N I C A L D R A W I N G S H O W I N G D E T A I L S O F C O N S T R U C T I O N FOR H O O D FOR
STEREOTYPE M AC H IN E.

APPENDIX D.—TIMELY HINTS NO. 7.
[P E N N S Y L V A N IA LABOR D E P A R T M E N T .]

F or P r in t e r s .
L E N G T H E N YOUR L IF E BY GUARDING YOUR H E A L T H .

LEARN T H E D ANGERS OF YOUR TRAD E A N D -

T H E N AVOID T H E M .

POISONS IN PRINTING.

Lead, the main constituent o f type metal, is absorbed into the system chiefly
from the stomach and in small part from the lungs and possibly from the skin.
The dust o f the workroom always contains lead in very finely divided form.
Unless very great precautions are taken this settles on the floor, the hands,
or the lips, and is in this way carried to the stomach.
Taken into the body, it produces:
Colic.
Constipation.
Paralysis.
Disease of the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys.
Insanity.
Death.
Protect yourself from it in every w a y :
Do not splash metal from your melting p ots; it dries, becomes dust, and you
inhale the lead.
Never hold type in your mouth.
Do not permit dry sweeping o f your workroom or dusting of the fonts while
you are present. The only safe way of cleaning during working hours is
vacuum cleaning.
Do net keep your lunch exposed to the dust of the workroom.
Never touch food or place your fingers in your mouth without first washing
your hands thoroughly. A nail file or other instrument for cleaning the nails,
a brush, hot water, and soap are necessary if the lead is to be removed thor­
oughly.
Benzine is often used to clean the ink from the rolls of the printing presses.
Poisoning from this substance produces:
Faintness.
Dizziness.
Headache.
Vomiting.
This material should be used only in places that are well ventilated.
Anilin oil oil forms a part o f some o f the mixtures used in cleaning rolls. It
is more poisonous than benzine, and, in addition to the symptoms given under
benzine, may, in severe cases, cause:
Convulsions.
Death.
Find out whether or not the cleaning mixture contains anilin oil. I f it does,
use it only in well-ventilated rooms. Do not splash any o f it on your body,
your clothes, or the floor. You may be poisoned by absorbing it through the
skin or by breathing the fumes as the liquid evaporates.




115

116

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

Poisonous gases are given off by all fires. In addition, most gas fires do not
burn up all the gas but allow some of it to escape into the room. See that all
fires have flues in good working order leading to the outside air, in order to
carry away any gases that might injure your health.
TUBERCULOSIS.

Of every 1,000 deaths among printers 292 are caused by tuberculosis. To
have this disease you must take the germ into your body. You may get it
from the common drinking cup, the common towel, or from your coughing
neighbor who spits on the floor. I f your employer does not provide individual
cups and towels, provide your own. Your health is worth it. Plenty of cus­
pidors conveniently placed and in a clean shop ought to prevent everybody from
spitting on the floor.
IN A C TIV ITY.

Long sitting or standing in one position, especially in rooms without plenty
o f fresh air, causes poor circulation o f the blood. Overcome this by plenty
of exercise in the open air after working hours.
LIGH T.

I f you can’t have daylight for your work, endeavor to have all artificial lights
properly placed and shaded so as to keep the glare from your eyes. You need
the best light possible to do your work quickly and well. A printer with eye­
sight ruined is a printer out o f a job.
Death from tuberculosis or lead poisoning is absolutely unnecessary. I f
you contract either of these diseases, see your physician at once. Both are
curable if treatment is begun early and carefully carried out.




APPENDIX E.— REGULATIONS OF THE IMPERIAL CHANCELLOR OF
GERMANY OF JULY 31, 1897, CONCERNING THE ERECTION AND
MANAGEMENT OF PRINTING WORKS AND TYPE-FOUNDING
WORKS, AMENDED BY THE REGULATIONS OF JULY 5, 1907, AND
THOSE OF DECEMBER 22, 1908.
On the basis of paragraph 120(e) of the Factory Act the Bundesrath has
decided upon the following regulations:
I.
The following regulations are to be in force for workrooms in which per­
sons are employed in setting up type or in stereotyping:
(1) The floor o f the workroom must not be more than half a meter [1.64
feet] below the roadway. Exceptions may be permitted if, with satisfactory
isolation o f the site and provision for sufficient light and air, health require­
ments are otherwise observed.
Rooms underneath a roof can only be made use of as workrooms if the roof
is lined with wood or plaster.
(2) In workrooms wherein type or stereotype plates are made the air space
must be such that each employee shall have at least 15 cubic meters [529.7
cubic feet]. In rooms in which persons are employed in other processes at
least 12 cubic meters [423.8 cubic feet] of air space must be provided.
In cases of temporary exceptional exigency the higher administrative au­
thorities may on request o f the undertaker permit during a maximum period
of 30 days, the air space of the workrooms to be utilized in a more intensive
manner, requiring, however, at least 10 cubic meters [353.1 cubic feet] to each
employee.
(3) The workrooms must be at least 2.6 meters [8.53 feet] high when 15 cubic
meters [529.7 cubic feet] of air space are allowed to each person; in all other
instances they must be 3 meters [9.84 feet] in height.
-\
r
The rooms must b e provided with windows in sufficient numbers and size to
obtain t h e m a x i m u m o f light i n all p l a c e s w h e r e w o r k i s c a r r i e d o n . The
windows must be so constructed as to allow of being opened for the purpose of
ventilation.
Workrooms with a slanting ceiling must have an average height, as mentioned
in the first part of this paragraph.
(4) The workrooms must be provided with hard and nonporous floors, so as
to permit moistening for the ready removal of dust. I f the floors are o f wood
they must be well planed and nonabsorbent.
Where the walls and ceilings are not paneled or painted with oil they must
be whitewashed at least once a year. Paneled and oil-painted walls must be
washed at least once a y ea r; oil-painted walls if varnished must be revarnished
at least once in every 10 years, and if not varnished must be repainted every
5 years.
The typesetters’ stands and the shelves for the cases which hold the type
must either be so fixed to the floor that no dust can accumulate below them, or
they must be provided with such high feet that the floor beneath them can be
easily cleaned.
(5) Workrooms must be thoroughly ventilated at least once a day. Care
must also be taken that a sufficient change of air is obtained during the working
hours.
(6) The melting pots for type and stereotype metal must be provided with
proper exhausts and hoods.




117

118

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The fusion of mixed type metals and the remelting of scums must be carried
on in special workrooms. I f these do not exist, employees not concerned in
this work must be excluded while it is being done.
(7) The workrooms and all furnishings, but especially walls, shelves, and
window sills, must be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year.
The floors must be thoroughly cleaned once a day, either by washing or by
mopping, so as to keep them free from dust.
In the case of wooden floors or where there is linoleum treated with an
itbsorbing oil (a nondrying mineral oil), washing may be dispensed with, but a
daily sweeping will be necessary. The treatment with oil must be renewed in
the case of wooden floors at least every eight weeks and in the case o f linoleumcovered floors at least every two weeks.
(8) Type cases must be cleaned before being used and as long as they are
being used must be cleaned at least twice a year.
The dusting of these cases must be done in the open air by means of bellows,
and must not be attempted by young persons.
(9) Spitting on the floor is forbidden. Spittoons containing water must be
provided in the ratio of one for every five men.
(10) For typesetters as well as for type founders, polishers, and grinders
there must be provided either in the workrooms or in suitable rooms close at
hand sufficient washing conveniences, including soap and one clean towel, for
each person at least once a week.
I f there is no running water, there must be one washstand for at least every
five workmen. The water must be o f sufficient quantity, and there must be
means of emptying it.
Employers must exercise strict vigilance that no food is taken into the fac­
tory, and they must see that no man leaves without first having had a wash.
(11) Wearing apparel which is not worn during working hours must be kept
outside of the workrooms. The keeping o f such apparel within the workrooms
is permitted only in lockers or in cupboards protected from dust by tightly fit­
ting curtains. During working hours these lockers and cupboards must be kept
closed.
(12) All lighting arrangements which give rise to considerable heat must be
provided with necessary exhausts.
(13) Employers must draw up regulations for the carrying out o f para­
graphs 8, 9, 10, and 11.
In any factory where there are 20 or more workmen employed the above
rules must be incorporated with the regulations of the factory.
II. In every workroom there shall be hung a notice signed by the local
authority, stating:
(a ) The length, breadth, and height o f the workroom.
(b) The cubic capacity of the room.
(c) The number of men allowed to work in the room.
In every workroom there must/be, in addition, a notice printed in large type
giving the regulations under No. I.
III. Exemptions from the regulations under No. I may be granted by the
administrative authorities when there are not more than five workmen employed.
IV. The above regulations come into force immediately for all new factories.
For all factories which are in existence at the time o f the announcement
paragraphs 5, 7, and 9 of No. I come immediately into force and the remainder
a year after the publication o f the regulation.




o