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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
ROYAL MEEKER, Commissioner

j W H O L E I7C
BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES )
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS J ‘ * • 1 NUMBER 1 / J
W O M E N

IN

I N D U S T R Y

SE

R I E S

:

No .

SUMMARY OF THE REPORT
ON CONDITION OF WOMAN
AND CHILD WAGE EARNERS
IN TH E UNI TED STATES




/ v \
L nn J

DECEMBER, 1915

WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1916

5




CONTENTS.
Page.

Introduction........................................................................................................................ 13-35
Purpose and scope of the report............................................................................. 13-15
Proportion of women and children in the industries.........................................
15
Age of women at work.............................................................................................. 15-17
Married women at work................................................ .......................................... 17,18
Families having daughters at work....................................................................... 18,19
Contributions to family income of daughters at work....................................... 19,20
Girls giving all their earnings to family............................................................... 20, 21
Percentage of earnings contributed to family.....................................................
21
Low earnings of woman wage earners......................................... ....................... 21,22
Causes of differences in earnings of men and women........................................ 23,24
Age and earnings of women and girls.................................................................... 24-28
Accidents to women..................................................................................................
28
Substitution of women for men in industry........................................................ 28,29
Employment of children.......................................................................................... 29,30
Income from children at work................................................................................ 30,31
Need of children’s earnings............................................... .................................... 31,32
Reasons why children are at work......................................................................... 32, 33
Opportunities for children in occupations........................................................... 33, 34
Decrease of proportion of children at work......................................................... 34, 35
Chapter I.—The cotton textile industry..................................................................... 37-82
Establishments covered and men, women, and children employed............. 37, 38
Localization of the industry.................................................................................. 38,39
The labor force........................................................ .................................................. 39 -49
Age of employees, by sex................................................................................ 39-41
Occupations, by sex and age........................................................................... 41,42
Relative importance of women in different occupations.......................... 42,43
Race of employees............................................................................................. 43-45
Source of labor supply in the South......... .................................................. 45,46
Mountaineers in the mill................................................................................
46
Conjugal condition of employees.................................................................... 47,48
Condition of female employees in New England, by race...............
48
Summary as to labor force............................................................................... 48,49
Employment of children.......................................................................................... 49-60
Extent of their employment...........................................................................
49
Age and sex of children employed................................................................
49
Occupational distribution................................................................................
50
Illegal employment of children in New England mills............................ 51-53
Children under legal a ge......................................................................... 51,52
Children without certificates.................................................................. 52,53
Illegal employment of children in Southern mills.................................... 53-59
Children under legal a g e......................................................................... 53-56
The helper system.......................... ..........................................................56,57
Difficulties in way of investigation.......... ..........................................
57
Children without certificates or affidavits...........................................
57
Improvement in Southern conditions since investigation................ 57-59
Summary of employment of children.......................................................... 59,60




3

4

CO TEN
N TS,

Chapter I.—The cotton textile industry— Concluded.
Page.
Hours of labor, overtime, and night work......................................................... .. 60,61
Maximum legal hours, by States................................................ ...................
60
Mills exceeding maximum legal hours.......................................................... 60, 61
Extent of overtime and night work...............................................................
61
Eaming3 of operatives, as shown by pay rolls.................................................... 61-66
Classified weekly earnings, by sex and age................................................. 61,62
Difference between earnings of sexes, by locality......................... ...........
63
Rates of pay and actual earnings...................................................................
64
Fines and other deductions............................................................................. 64-66
Premiums............................................................................................................
66
The cotton mill and working conditions.............................................................. 66,67
Light, ventilation, fire escapes, and sanitary provisions............ , ...........
66
Physical strain on operatives...................................... ...................................
67
Family conditions and sources and amount of family income...... ................ 67-77
General character of families...........................................................................
67
Composition of families; employment of members...................................
68
Sources and amount of family income.......................................................... 68-70
Average net income of families, according to members at work___
69
Proportion of family income contributed by different members.. 69,70
Earnings and contributions of children 16 years of age and over..
70
Families with noncontributing fathers......................................................... 70-72
Family conditions of married women at work............................................ 72,73
Single women 16 years of age and over at work......................................... 73,74
Children at work................................................................................................ 74-77
Children under 14 years of ago at work............................ ................. 75,76
Children 14 and 15 years of age at work..............................................76,77
Summary as to family conditions and family income...............................
77
The mill community................................................................................................ 77 -82
Mill villages, home ownership, and sanitary conditions........................... 77,78
Means of education available for cotton-mill children..............................78. 79
Social status of cotton-mill operatives.......................................................... 79, 80
Moral condition of cotton-mill operatives....................................................
80
Welfare work.......................................................................................................
81
Company stores.................................................................................................. 81,82
Summary.....................................................................................................................
82
Chapter II.—Men’s ready-made clothing.................................................................. 83-115
83
Establishments covered and men, women, and children employed.............
Concentration of the industry.................................................................................
84
The labor force........................................................................................................... 84-87
Proportion of men, women, and children.................................................... 84,85
Age distribution of employees........................................................................ 85,86
Race of employees.............................................................................................
86
Conjugal condition of female employees......................................................
87
Employment of children.......................................................................................... 88-92
Age and sex of children employed................................................................
88
Occupations of children................................................................................. 88,89
Character of children’s work...........................................................................
89
Illegal employment of children...................................................................... 89-91
Number and per cent illegally employed............................................
90
Employment of children under legal age.............................................
90
Employment of children without proper certificates........................
90
Employment of children in excess of legal hours..............................
91
Failure of employers to keep certificates on file.................................
91
Summary of employment of children.......................................................... 91,92




CONTENTS.
Chapter II.—Men’s ready-made clothing— Concluded.
Page.
Hours of labor and overtime................................................................................... 92-94
Illegal overtime employment of women....................................................... 93,94
Earnings of employees.............................................................................................. 94-97
94
Earnings of employees 16 years of age and over...................... ................
Average weekly earnings of employees, by sex and age.................... . . .
95
Earnings of home workers................................................................................ 95,96
Earnings of employees, by race......................................................................
97
Home work in the clothing industry.................................................................. 97-101
Extent of home work........................................................................................
98
Race, age, and conjugal condition of home workers.................................
98
Hours, earnings, and helpers of home workers............................................
99
General conditions of home workers............................................................ 99-101
Reasons for home work....................................................... .............. ............
101
The clothing shop and working conditions...................................................... 101-103
Light, ventilation, fire escapes, and sanitary provisions...................... 101-103
Family conditions and sources and amount of family income.................. 103-111
General character of families...................................................................... 103,104
Composition of families and employment of members..............................
104
Sources and amount of family income....................................................... 104-106
Average net income of families, by members at work.................... 104,105
Proportion of family income contributed by different members...
105
Earnings and contributions of children 16 years of age and over. 105,106
Married women at work; earnings and family conditions........ ........... 106,107
Care of children of married women at work.............. *.........................
107
Single women 16 years of age and over at work..................................... 108,109
Children under 16 years of age at work.................................................... 109-111
Age and racial distribution................................................ ................. 109,110
Parental condition................................................................................. 110, 111
Family incomes and attitude toward employment of children___
111
Organization and development of the industry.................... ......................... 111-113
Lack of centralization................................................................................... I ll , 112
Types of shops................................................................................................ 112,113
Development of the industry............................................................................. 113,114
Summary................................................................................................................. 114,115
Chapter III.—The glass industry.............................................................................. 117-170
Number and location of establishments covered, by products.......................
117
Number of men, women, and children employed......................................... 117,118
Division of work between the sexes.....................................................................
119
AVork of boys in the furnace room..................................................................... 119-135
Description of principal occupations........................................................ 120-121
Working conditions....................................................................................... 121,123
Hours of labor, night work, and overtime............................................... 123-128
Night work.............................................................................................. 124-127
Overtime................................................................................................. 127,128
Earnings.......................................................................................................... 128-130
Rates of pay and actual earnings....................................................... 129,130
Importance of boy labor in glassmaking.................................................. 130,131
Substitutes for boy labor............................................................................. 131,132
Opportunities for boys to learn the trade................................................. 132,133
Illegal employment of boys................................................................... ..
133,134
Employment below legal age..................................................................
133
Employment without required certificates..........................................
134
Employment at night...............................................................................
134
Summary of employment of boys in furnace room................................. 134,135




6

CONTENTS.

Chapter I I I .— The glass industry— Concluded.
Page.
Health conditions of the furnace room as indicated by causes of death of
glass blowers.......................................................................................................135-137
Employment of women and girls in the glass industry................................. 137-154
Importance of women in the industry..........................................................
137
Age distribution of female glassworkers.............................. .........................
137
Work of women in the leer room................................................................ 138-140
Taking off the leer................................................................................. 139,140
Other occupations......................................................................................
140
Work of women in the finishing room....................................................... 140-150
Preparatory processes............................................................................ 141,142
Cutting off, grinding, and glazing.............................................. 141,142
Decorating processes.............................................................................. 142-144
Sand blasting......................................................................................
142
Acid etching.................................................................................... 142,143
Flute cutting and smoothing................................. .........................
143
Color decoration.............................................................................. 143,144
Working conditions............................................................ ................. .. 144,145
Hours of labor, night work, and overtime.................... ................... 145-147
Earnings of women and girls............................................................... 147-150
Full time and actual weekly earnings...........................................
148
Local variations in earnings..................................... ................... 148,149
Age and earnings............................................................................ 149,150
Illegal employment of women and girls.............. . .......................................
151
Relation of the work to health................................................................... 151-153
Injurious conditions and surroundings.............................................. 151-153
Harmful occupations.................................................................................
153
Reasons for entering industry..................................................................... 153,154
Summary of employment of women and girls.............................................
154
Employment of women and girls in making incandescent lamps.............. 154r-159
Speed rate........................................................................................................ 155-157
Maintenance of uniform position....................................................................
157
Composition of the labor force........................................................................
157
Age distribution..........................................................................................
158
Hours of labor.....................................................................................................
158
Earnings........................................................................................................... 158,159
General conditions.............................................................................................
159
Summary..............................................................................................................
159
Family conditions and sources and amount of family income.................... 159-169
General character of families...........................................................................
160
Composition of families; employment of members................................ 160,161
Sources and amount of family income...................................................... 161-169
Average net incomes of families, by members at work......................
161
Proportion of family income contributed by different members...
161
Earnings and contributions of children 16 years of age and over..
162
Married women at work........................................................................ 162-164
Single women 16 years of age and over at work.............................. 164,165
Children at work.................................................................................... 165-167
Employment of orphans............................................... ............... 166,167
Relation of employment of children to family income................. 167,168
Reasons, other than economic, for employment of children...........
169
Illiteracy among children under 16.......................................................
169
Company stores....................................................................................................... 169,170
Summary......................................................................................................................
170




CONTENTS.

7
Page.

Chapter IV.— The silk industry................................................................................. 171-208
171
Establishments covered and men, women, and children employed..............
The industry.......................................................................................................... 172-174
Geographical distribution— ..........................................................................
172
Growth of industry and change in proportion of women and children
employed...................................................................................................... 172,173
Differences in development of industry in New Jersey and in Penn­
sylvania......................................... ............................................................... 173,174
The labor force........................................................................................................ 174r-177
Age and sex distribution of employees.............................................. ..
174,175
Race......................................................................................................................
175
Conjugal condition.............................................................................................
176
Occupations, by sex and age..........................................................................
177
Silk-mill processes and occupations................................................................... 177-183
Throwing-mill processes............................................................................... 178-180
Weaving-mill processes................................................................................. 180-183
Cloth picking.....................................................................................................
183
Miscellaneous occupations................................................................................
183
Children in the silk industry.............................................................................. 184-1C4
Occupations..................................................................................................... 184,185
Hours of labor, overtime, and night work................................................ 185,186
Earnings.............................................. ............................................................. 186-188
Earnings by sex and State................................................................... 186,187
Average actual and average full-time earnings............................... 187,188
Illegal employment of children...................................................... ........... 188-194
In New Jersey......................................................................................... 188-190
Children employed under age..................................................... 189,190
Children employed without required legal papers......... ..........
190
In Pennsylvania..................................................................................... 190-194
Children employed under legal age........................... ............... 191,192
Race of children illegally employed..............................................
192
Children leaving school to go to work....................................... 192-194
Summary of employment of children............................................................
194
Women in the silk industry................................................................................ 195-197
Proportion of women in the industry............................................................
195
Occupations.......................................................................................................
195
Hours of labor.....................................................................................................
196
Earnings........................................................................................................... 196,197
Comparison with men’s........................................................................ 196,197
Average full-time rate and average actual earnings...........................
197
Working conditions............................................................................................... 198,199
Buildings and fire escapes...............................................................................
198
Light and ventilation.................................................................................... 198,199
Wash rooms, toilets, etc...................................................................................
199
Family conditions and sources and amount of family income.................... 200-206
General character of families..........................................................................
200
Composition of families; employment of members................................. 200,201
Amount and sources of family income.......... ........................................... 201-203
Average net income of families, by members at work.......................
201
Proportion of family income contributed by different members. 201,202
Earnings and contributions of children 16 years of age and over. 202,203
Families without contributing fathers..........................................................
203
Married women at work................................................................................ 203-205




8

CONTENTS.

Chapter IV.—The silk industry— Concluded.
Page.
Family conditions and sources and amount of family income— Concluded.
Single women 16 years of age or over at work.............................................
205
Children under 16 years of age.................................................................. 205, 206
Children 14 and 15 years of age at work........................... ...........................
206
Children under 14 years of age at work............................. ...........................
206
Labor organizations in the silk industry......... ....................................................
207
Summary.....................................................................................................................
208
Chapter V.—Wage-earning women in stores and factories................................... 209-226
Scope and method of investigation................................................................... 209,210
Number and proportion of women studied..........................................................
210
At home, by kind of employment.................................................................
210
210
Adrift, by kind of employment............................................................... .
Economic status of women at home....................... ........................................... 210,211
Factors determining earnings..................................................................................
211
Earnings, by age and experience............................................................... 212-215
Earnings and opportunities for advancement................................................. 215-218
In department stores..................................................................................... 215-217
In factories................................................................................................ .........
218
Living conditions.................................................................................................. 218-224
Classification of women according to living conditions......................... 218-220
Earnings and specified expenditures for each class...................................
220
Women keeping house.......................................................................... 220,221
Boarders in private families................................................................ 221,222
Women in regular boarding houses...................................................... .
222
223
Women in organized boarding houses...................................................
Expenditures for all purposes..................................................................... 223,224
Moral influences surrounding department-store employees.............................
224
Waitresses in hotels and restaurants.................................................................. 224,225
Summary................................................................................................................. 225,226
Women in department and other stores........................................................
225
Women in mills and factories.........................................................................
226
Chapter V I.—The beginnings of child-labor legislation in certain States___ 227-261
Scope of report...........................................................................................................
227
Child labor in the Colonies................................................................................. 227-229
Effect of English attitude................................................................................
227
Need for laborers............................................................................................ 227,228
Legislation enforcing child labor................................................................ 228,229
Public opinion concerning child labor in the nineteenth century............ 229-231
Early approval................................................................................................ 229,230
First grounds of attack.................................................................................. 230, 231
Changed attitude after Civil War...................................................................
231
Children in the cotton industry....................................................................... 231-235
Changes in extent of their employment since 1870................................ 231,232
Differences between their employment in N ewEngland and the South. 232-234
Early employment of children in cotton mills in the North............... 234,235
Child-labor legislation in the North before 1860............................................. 235-240
Previous to 1830............................................................................................. 235-237
From 1830 to 1860, by decades................................................................... 237-240
Summary..............................................................................................................
240
Child-labor legislation in four Southern States............................................... 241-246
Earlier legislation........................................................................................... 241,242
Legislation after 1900..................................................................................... 242-246




CONTENTS.

9

Chapter V I.—The beginnings of child-labor legislation, etc.— Concluded.
Page.
Conclusion............................................................................................................... 246-261
Analysis of child-labor legislation prior to 1860...................................... 246-249
Analysis of child-labor legislation in four Southern States.................. 250-254
Differences and similarities in the legislation of the two sections.. . 254-261
Chapter V II.— Conditions under which children leave school to go to work. 263-272
Scope of investigation; number of children studied.........................................
263
Race of children studied.........................................................................................
263
Causes for leaving school..................................................................................... 264, 265
Grades reached by children before leaving....................................................... 265, 266
Industrial experiences of children studied...................................................... 266,267
Hours and wages............................................................................................ 266, 267
Degree of choice exercised in getting work.........................................................
267
Illegal employment..................................................................................................
268
Retardation, repeating, and elimination.......................................................... 268-272
Chapter V III.—Juvenile delinquency and its relation to employment.......... 273-284
Scope of report...........................................................................................................
273
Number and proportion of working and nonworking offenders.................. 274,275
Conditions possibly contributory to delinquency.......................................... 275, 276
Age......................................................................................................................
275
Parental condition.............................................................................................
275
Foreign parentage..............................................................................................
276
Character of homes............................................................................................
276
Occupations from which delinquents came.......................................................
277
Boy delinquents from six specified pursuits.................................................. 277-281
Offenses showing direct connection with occupation:
Boys................................................................................................................. 281, 282
Girls............................................................................................................. .. 282,283
Night work, hours of labor, and environment of children studied.......... 283,284
Chapter I X .—History of women in industry in the United States................... 285-297
Scope of study; sources of data..............................................................................
285
Reasons for change from home to factory work............................................. 285-287
Women in the textile industries........................................................................ 287-292
Hours and the effort to modify them........................................................ 288, 289
Intensity of work........................................................................................... 289,290
Wages...................................................................................................................
290
Relative proportion of the sexes................................................................ 290-292
Summary of section........................................... ..............................................
292
Clothing and the sewing trades.......................................................................... 292-295
Boot and shoe making................................................................................... 293, 294
Extent of employment of women..........................................................
293
Wages, earnings, and conditions of work.......................................... 293, 294
Garment making............................................................................................ 294, 295
Other sewing trades..........................................................................................
295
Relative proportion of the sexes in sewing trades.....................................
295
Other groups of industries................................................................................... 295-297
Conclusion...................................................................................................................
297
Chapter X .—History of women in trade-unions.................................................... 299-311
Sources of data...........................................................................................................
299
Four periods of development.............................................................................. 299-310
First period: 1825 to 1840............................................................................ 299-301
Cotton-mill operatives...............................................................................
300
Workers in other industries................................................................. 300,301




10

CONTENTS.

Chapter X .— History of women in trade-unions— Concluded.
Four periods of development— Concluded.
Page.
Second period: 1840 to 1860........................................................................ 301-304
Character of period................................................................................ 301,302
Female labor reform associations........................................................ 302, 303
Strikes during period............................................................................ 303, 304
Third period: 1860 to 1880........................................................................... 304-306
Character of period....................................................................................
304
Organizations in separate trades........................................................ 305, 306
Fourth period: 1880 to 1908........................................................................ 306-310
306
Women in the Knights of Labor............................................................
Women’s trade-unions, 1890-1908.....................................................« 307-310
Women in general organizations................................................. 308, 309
The American Federation of Labor.......................................
308
The National Women’s Trade-Union League.................. 308,309
The Women’s International Union Label League..............
309
Women’s unions in separate trades............................................ 309,310
Conclusion............................................................................................................... 310,311
Chapter X I .— Women in the metal trades.............................................................. 313-326
313,314
Scope of investigation....................................................................................
Industries covered............................................................................................
313
Number of men, women, and children employed.....................................
313
314
Extent of employment of women and children.........................................
Working conditions for women and children.................................................. 314-316
Fire escapes.................................................................................................... 314, 315
Light, ventilation, and sanitary conditions.................................................
315
Hours................................................................................................................ 315,316
Kind of work done............................................................................................
316
Accidents................................................................................................................ 316-326
Principal sources of danger......................................................................... 316,317
Unnecessary hazards..................................................................................... 317,318
Underlying cause of accident..................................................................... 318,319
Accidents in connection with presswork.................................................. 319-322
Comparative danger of presswork..................................................... 319,320
Variations between factories....................................................................
320
Special hazard of women..................................................................... 320,321
Unfamiliarity with machine as cause of danger.............................. 321, 322
Distribution of accidents through working hours................................... 322,323
Carelessness as a cause of accidents........................................................... 323-326
Chapter X I I .—Employment of women in laundries............................................ 327-335
Number of laundries visited; number and sex distribution of employees___
327
General working conditions................................................................................. 327, 328
In power laundries........................................................................................ 327, 328
In hand laundries..............................................................................................
328
Hours of work......................................................................................................... 328,329
Character of work.................................................................................................. 329-332
Effect of work on health....................................................................................... 332, 333
Classification of women by kind of ill health suffered......................................
333
Connection between ill health and specific conditions of work.................. 334,335
Chapter X I I I .— Infant mortality and its relation to the employment of mothers 337-359
Introductory........................................................................................................... 337-340
Reason for selection of Fall River..................................................................
339
Scope and methods of investigation.............................................................
340




CONTENTS.

11

Chapter X I II .— Infant mortality, etc.— Concluded.
Page.
Excessive infant mortality in Fall River............................... ........................ 340-343
Comparative per cent of deaths under one year from specified causes in
Fall River and elsewhere.............................................................................
341
Death rates per 1,000 births from specified diseases in Fall River and
elsewhere..................................................................................................... 341,342
Death rates at different ages under one year in Fall River and else­
where................................................................................................................
342
Reduction of infant death rates in England............................................ 342,343
Effect of industrial employment of mother before birth of child................... 343-351
Relative mortality of infants of mothers at home and mothers at work. . .
344
Stillbirths in relation to mothers’ work before childbirth....................... 344,345
Condition of children at birth in relation to mothers’ work before child­
birth.............................................................................................................. 345-348
Discontinuance of mothers’ work before childbirth............................ 348,349
Relation between mother’s work and child’s condition at birth............ 349,350
Summary of section....................................................................................... 350,351
Effect of industrial employment of mother after birth of child...................... 351-357
Children dying under one year from specified causes, by mothers’
employment................................................................................................ 352, 353
Artificial feeding............................................................................................ 353,354
Deaths from diarrheal diseases in relation to mothers’ work after child­
birth.............................................................................................................. 354-357
Conclusion............................................................................................................... 357-359
Chapter X IV .— Causes of death among woman and child cotton-mill operat­
ives................................................................................................................................ 361-373
Plan of report.............................................................................................................
361
Advantages of method of investigation used................................................... 361-363
Scope of the investigation.......................................................................................
363
Mortality in age group 15 to 44 years................................................................ 364-371
Relative death rates of operatives and nonoperatives, all causes.......... 364-366
Relative mortality of operatives and nonoperatives from tuberculosis. 366-369
Grounds for believing operative work injurious to females.......................
369
Mortality by race.................................. : ..................................................... 369,370
Relative importance of different causes of death................................... 370,371
Mortality in the population 10 years of age and over......................................
371
Suggested explanations of high death rate of operatives............................ . 372,373
Conclusion....................................................................................... ...........................
373
Chapter X Y .— The relation between occupation and criminality of women.. . 375-382
Purpose of report...................................................................................................
375
Study of female offenders.................................................................................... 375-380
Number of women studied.......................................................................... \ .
375
Age, education, and offenses...........................................................................
376
Occupations.................................................................................................... 376, 377
Proportional representation of occupations among offenders.....................
377
Small representation from newer pursuits................................................ 377,378
Apparent decrease in number of female offenders.....................................
379
Relation between occupations and offenders ........................................ 379, 380
Immorality and occupation................................................................................. 380-382
Lack of direct connection between industrial employment and immo­
rality............................................................................................................. 380-381
Morally dangerous occupations................................................................... 381, 382




12

CONTENTS.
Page.

Chapter X V I .—Family budgets of typical cotton-mill workers........................... 383-389
Purpose of report.......................................................................................................
383
Localities and families studied........................................................................... 383, 384
Cost of living in localities selected.................................................................... 38*1,385
Average weekly earnings and cost of living........................................................
385
Fluctuation of earnings........................................................................................ 385, 386
Number of wage earners; family wage............................................................. 386, 387
Families without male heads..................................................................................
388
389
Conclusions....................................................................................................... ........
Chapter X V II.—Hookworm disease among cotton-mill operatives................... 391-396
Plan of report................................................................ ...........................................
391
Scope and methods of study...................................................................................
391
Number of suspected cases found...................................................................... 391,392
Age distribution of suspects................................................................................ 392,393
Cotton-mill anemia and hookworm disease................................................... 393,394
Relative effect of farm and cotton-mill life upon spread of disease...............
394
Number of cases among mill workers of first and of second generations___
395
Conclusions............................................................................................................. 395, 396
Chapter X V III.— Employment of women and children in selected industries 397-419
Introductory........................................................................................................... 397-400
Purpose and scope of investigation........................................................... 397,398
Industries and employees........................................................................... 398,399
Change in character of women’s work....................................................... 399,400
Age of female workers by industries................................................................. 401-404
Duration of industrial life of women......................................................... 402,403
Proportion of older women in industries studied................................... 403,404
Age of greatest massing....................................................................................
404
Earnings, by industries................................................................................... 405-409
Relation of skill to earnings............................................................................
406
Relation of age to earnings...................................................................... .. 407-409
Conjugal condition and industry....................................................................... 409-411
Proportion married women form of female employees by industry and
age............................................ .................................................................... 409-411
Race and age.......................................................................................................... 412,413
Race and conjugal condition.............................................................................. 413-416
Summary................................................................................................................. 416-419
Chapter X I X .—Labor laws and factory conditions............................................... 421-437
Introductory........................................................................................................... 421-423
Purpose and scope of investigation...............................................................
421
Methods used.................................................................................................. 421,422
Industries studied and number of men, women, and children em­
ployed.......................................................................................................... 422,423
Attitude of States toward enforcement of labor laws.................................... 423-425
Number of prosecutions for violations, by States................................... 423,424
Provisions made for enforcement of labor laws....................................... 424,425
Conditions found in factories studied............................................................... 425-429
Overtime...................................................................................... ................... 425-427
Protection against fire............................................................... .......................
427
Reports of accidents.................................................................. ................... 427,428
Ventilation, sanitation, and comfort of employees................................ 428,429
Changes in legislation affecting the employment of women and children,
1908 to 1915 ...................................................................................................... 429-437




BULLETIN OF THE
U. S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
WHOLE NO. 175.

WASHINGTON.

DECEMBER, 1915.

SUMMARY OF THE REPORT ON CONDITION OF WOMAN AND
CHILD WAGE EARNERS IN THE UNITED STATES.
INTRODUCTION.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE OP THE REPORT.
The investigation of the condition of woman and child wage
earners in the United States, the results of which are summarized in
this bulletin, was undertaken late in 1907 in compliance with an act
of Congress approved January 29, 1907, which provided a That the
Secretary of Commerce and Labor be, and he is hereby, authorized
and directed to investigate and report on the industrial, social, moral,
educational, and physical condition of woman and child workers
in the United States wherever employed, with special reference to
their age, hours of labor, term of employment, health, illiteracy,
sanitary and other conditions surrounding their occupation, and the
means employed for the protection of their health, persons, and
morals.”
The investigation, begun in 1907, was continued through 1908 and
for several months of 1909. For the most part, however, the report
relates to conditions as they were found in 1908. Inquiry was con­
fined almost wholly to States east of the Mississippi, owing partly
to limitations of time and money, and partly to the fact that the
investigation dealt with industrial and social problems, which have
had a longer development in the East than in the West.
The full report as published is in 19 volumes. While each volume
relates to a distinct subject and is complete in itself, the subjects of
the report considered as a whole fall into several groups. The first
four volumes deal with four important industries—cotton, glass,
men’s ready-made garments, and silk—considering them especially
as employers of women and children. With these may well be
grouped three other volumes—women in stores and factories, women
in the metal trades, and women and children in miscellaneous fac­
tory industries. Two deal with particular child-labor problems:
The reasons why children leave school to go to work, and the con­
nection between the employment of children and juvenile delin-




13

14

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

quency. Three are historical, giving the history of child-labor legis­
lation, the history of women in industry, and the history of tradeunionism among women. Four deal with questions of health: The
effect of laundry work upon women, a study of infant mortality in
Fall River, a study of the causes of death among cotton-mill opera­
tives, and a study of hookworm disease, especially as found in
southern cotton-mill communities. Three others—a study of family
budgets of cotton-mill workers, a discussion of the connection be­
tween occupation and criminality of women, and a study of the
enforcement of labor laws and laws concerning factory inspection in
the States visited—complete the list.1
The first volume of the report was transmitted to Congress June 14,
1910, and nine other volumes followed during the year 1910. Of the
other volumes, four were transmitted in 1911, four in 1912, and one
early in 1913.
As no special appropriation was made for the printing of these
volumes, the number printed and distributed has been limited to the
number, approximately 1,500, regularly printed for the use of Mem­
bers of Congress and for those libraries which as Government de­
positaries regularly receive all Government publications, and to 1,000
copies of each volume for distribution directly by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Since the issue of these volumes requests for copies
have been numerous and constant, but because of the cost of reprint­
ing the volumes an edition adequate to meet demands has been im­
possible in the absence of a special appropriation for that purpose.
This summary has, therefore, been prepared for the purpose of pre­
senting briefly the more important results of the investigation within
limits which will permit printing in sufficient quantity to supply
reasonable demands upon the Bureau.
*A full list of the volumes of this report is as fo llo w s:
Vol. I. Cotton Textile Industry, pp. 1044.
Vol. II . Men’s Ready-Made Clothing, pp. 878.
Vol. III. Glass Industry, pp. 970.
Vol. IV . Silk Industry, pp. 592.
Vol. V . Wage-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, pp. 384.
Vol. V I. The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain S ta te s ; a Comparative
Study, pp. 225.
Vol. V II . Conditions Under W hich Children Leave School to Go to Work. pp. 309.
Vol. V I I I . Juvenile Delinquency and Its Relation to Employment, pp. 177.
Vol. I X . History o f Women in Industry in the United States, pp. 277.
Vol. X . History of W omen in Trade-Unions. pp. 236.
Vol. X I . Employment of W omen in M etal Trades, pp. 107.
Vol. X I I . Employment of Women in Laundries, pp. 121.
Vol. X I I I . Infant M ortality and its Relation to the Employment of Mothers, pp. 174.
Vol. X I V . Causes of Death Am ong W om an and Child Cotton-Mill Operatives, pp. 430.
Vol. X V . Relation Between Occupation and Criminality of Women, pp. 119.
Vol. X V I. Fam ily Budgets of Typical Cotton-M ill Workers, pp. 255.
Vol. X V I I . Hookworm Disease Am ong Cotton-Mill Operatives, pp. 45.
Vol. X V I I I . Employment of W om en and Children in Selected Industries, pp. 531.
Vol. X I X . Labor Laws and Factory Conditions, pp. 1125.




15

INTRODUCTION.

The present bulletin gives summaries of the 19 volumes of the
report in order. No complete summarization of these summaries has
been attempted, but some of the more significant points have been
indicated, which appear not in any one volume but from a study
of the report as a whole.
PROPORTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE
INDUSTRIES.
The total number of employees in the establishments included in
the investigation, or the total number of female employees (in one
study where only female employees were included), with the per
cent of boys and girls under 16 years of age and of women 16 years
of age and over, are shown in the following table. Over 335,000
persons were employed in the establishments covered, and of this
number over 167,000 were females.
PEE CENT OP W O M AN AND CHILD W O R K E R S IN TH E ESTABLISH M ENTS INCLUDED
IN TH E IN VEST IG AT IO N , B Y INDUSTRIES.

Industry.

Cotton textiles (Vol. I):
New England group1......................................................
Southern group1..............................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing (Vol. I I )2. ...............................
The glass industry (Vol. I ll) 8.............................................
The silk industry (V ol. I V ) * ........ ........................................
Retail stores (Vol. V ):
Pay-roll data 6....................................................................
Personal data7..................................................................
Factories, etc. (Vol. V ): Personal data8............................
Miscellaneous factory industries (Vol. X V I I I )9.............

Per cent of total employees.

Total
employees
in estab­
lishments
covered.

Women
16 years
and over.

Girls
under 16
years.

33,030
48,305
23,683
54,964
21,946

43.3
27.0
49.6
7.4
54.9

2.7
9.5
2.9
1.0
8.3

2.5
10.5
.7
9.3
2.7

«35,772
«1,698
6 4,373
112,322

49.8

2.9
4.4
5.0

2.1

Boys
under 16
years.

1 Vol. I, p. 16.
Vol. II, p. 33.
s Vol. I l l , p. 18.
* Vol. IV , p. 14.
« Vol. V , p. 41.
6 Female employees only; total number of employees in the establishments not reported,
2

s Vol.* v 'p p . 23,46.
• Vol. X V III, p. 17; for percentages for the separate industries included in Volume X V III, see Chapter
X V III of this bulletin.

AGE OF WOMEN AT WORK.
In all the industries where the employment of women was studied
one fact of striking importance was the youthfulness of the women
and girls found at work. The age grouping is not identical in the
various reports, due to defects in the original data, but for those
reports in which the age data are on a comparable basis the age dis­
tribution of the female employees was as follows:




16

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

AGES OF W O M EN AN D GIRLS EM PLO YED IN T H E ESTABLISHM ENTS COVER ED IN
TH E IN D U STR IES INCLU DED IN T H E IN VESTIG ATIO N .
[Women whose exact ages were not reported are not included in this table.]

Industry.

Cotton textiles (Vol. I):
New England group1..................................................
Southern group1
..........................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing (Vol. II) *............................
Glass industry (Vol. I ll) 3................................................
Silk industry (Vol. IV ):
New Jersey4..................................................................
Pennsylvania®..............................................................
Retail stores (Vol. V ):
Pay-roll data 9 .............................................................
Personal data ®.............................................................
Factories, mills, etc. (Vol. V ): Personal data1 ...........
2
Miscellaneous factory industries (Vol. X V I I I ) 13........

Total
female
em­
ployees.

Per cent of total females in specified
age groups.
25 years
and
over.

Under
16 years.

16 to 19
years.

20 to 24
years.

13,727
13,762
10,906
3,073

6.48
33.32
6.22
15.68

27.00
37.89
40.64
54.57

27.91
16.94
27.09
19.56

38.61
11.85
26.06
10.19

«6,641
5,542

10.92
22.77

27.51
45.67

24.17
7 5.88

37.40
825.68

35,772
1,584
4,017
61,528

3.16
4.75
9.10

W37.56
W50.56
40.80

u 21.97
n 20.09
25.80

37.31
24. €0
24.30

i Vol. I, p. 617.
* Vol. II, p. 517.
3 Vol. I l l , p. 641.
* Vol. IV , p. 52.
Ages in detail were not secured for employees of the establishments covered in the investigation in
Paterson, N . J., as data were already available in the records of the New Jersey State census of 1905. From
these data the figures here given were compiled. Per cent under 16 years, as shown by the present study,
including 5,067 female employees, was 6.4.
6 Vol. IV , p. 59.
7 The per cent given is for those 20 years of age.
s The per cent given is for those 21 years of age and over.
9 Vol. V , p. 41.
m The per cent given is for those 16 to 20 years of age, inclusive.
11 The per cent given is for those 21 to 24 years of age, inclusive.
» Vol. V , p. 46.
is Vol. X V III , p. 19.

It will be observed that the percentage of females under 16 years
of age varied greatly in the different industry groups and in the dif­
ferent localities. Thus, in the cotton textile industry in the South
33.3 per cent of all the females were under 16 years of age; in the silk
industry in Pennsylvania the percentage was only slightly less, 22.8.
On the other hand, in the cotton textile industry in New England
only 6.5 per cent of the female employees were under 16 years of age,
and in the silk industry in New Jersey only 11 per cent fell in that
age group. In both cases the high percentage found under 16 years is
accounted for by the legal standards regulating the employment of
children. In the Southern States it was legal and customary for
children to go to work as early as 12 years. In Pennsylvania, while
the legal age of employment was not as low, the machinery provided
for the enforcement of the law was neither adequate nor effective.1
Perhaps the most striking feature of this table is the great per­
centage of the women in the age group 16 to 19 years. In three of
the industry groups—the southern cotton group, the glass mdustry,
1
For further details as to actual conditions found in Pennsylvania, see Chapter IV,
pp. 1 7 4 -1 7 7 .




INTRODUCTION.

17

arid the Pennsylvania silk group—more than two-thirds of the women
employed were found to be under 20 years of age.
While a large majority of these women are young, the proportion
25 years of age and over is considerable, enough to emphasize the
importance of the industrial or vocational training of women. It
is frequently stated that a woman’s industrial life is from 6 to 8
years long, that she begins work from 14 to about 18, and drops out
between 20 and 25, if not before. The figures given above show that
in the industries studied most of the workers conformed to this
theory, but a proportion varying from one-eighth to two-fifths had
not left by 25. How long this remainder stayed is not clearly trace­
able from the data given. Excluding children under 16 years of
age, in the New England group of cotton workers, 20 per cent, and
among the garment makers 12.2 per cent were 35 years of age and
over, while among the southern cotton workers and the glassworkers
the proportion in this group were, respectively, only 6 and 4.1 per
cent. Among the workers in the miscellaneous factory industries,
15.8 per cent were 30 years of age and over. Some of these did not
come into the industry as young girls; some entered the industry as
adult immigrants, while others began work later in life under the
pressure of unanticipated need; but in either case the fact remains
that there is in the industrial world a considerable body of women
who can not be called young.
MARRIED WOMEN AT WORK.
Somewhat in line with this is the fact brought out in several of
the reports that for many women marriage and industrial life are not
mutually exclusive. The proportion which married women formed
of the women employees in different industries is discussed at some
length in connection with the separate industries in the present
volume. It is sufficient here to mention that of 27 industries studied
only three were found in which the proportion of married women
among those 20 years of age and over was under 10 per cent, and from
this it ran up to two-fifths, and even in one industry to three-fifths.
But another aspect of this question was brought out in the investiga­
tions into the cotton, clothing, glass, and silk industries. In each of
these the names of a number of women and children were taken from
the pay rolls of each establishment visited, agents were sent to their
homes and full details were learned as to the amount and sources of
the family income. The following figures show the extent to which
the married women of these families were employed:




18

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

NUM BER OF FAMILIES W IT H MOTHERS LIVING W IT H F A M ILY , AND N UM BER A N D
PER CENT OF SUCH FAMILIES W IT H MOTHERS G AIN F U L LY EM PLO YED , B Y IN ­
DUSTRIES.

Families having mothers living
with family.

Industry.
Total.

Cotton:
New England group...............................................................................
Southern group........................................................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing..........................................................................
Glass..................................................................................................................
Silk....................................................................................................................

794
1,518
2,204
2,0S7
1,837

Number i Por cent
in which i in which
mother
mother
was gain­
was gain­
fully em­
fully em­
ployed.
ployed.

163
252
948
291
263

20.5
16.6
43.0
13.9
14.3

In the clothing industry a special effort was made to secure for
study the families of home finishers, and as the home finishers are
usually married women, the results given above can not be taken as
representing the situation in the garment-making industry gener­
ally. In the other industries, however, the names of woman and
child workers were taken from the pay roll without selection of any
kind, so that there is no reason to doubt the typical character of the
results secured. They show nothing inconsistent with the results
of the study of employees already referred to. When all the female
employees of the separate industries were considered it was found
that about one-eighth were married, the proportion running up in
single industries to two-fifths or over. When a number of families,
selected on the basis of having at least one woman or child employed
in a given industry, were studied, it was found that from something
over one-eighth to one-fifth of the mothers were industrially em­
ployed. The two studies point to the same conclusion—that the mar­
ried woman is by no means an exceptional figure in the industrial
world.
FAMILIES HAVING DAUGHTERS AT WORK.
Another point of interest brought out in these family studies is
the attitude of families toward the industrial employment of their
womankind. In general, the mothers were not working for wages
unless their earnings were needed for the actual subsistence of the
family, but the daughters were apt to be at work even though the
family were in more prosperous circumstances. The following fig­
ures show the extent to which the daughters of 16 years and over
were employed.




19

INTRODUCTION.

PER CENT OF FAMILIES H AVIN G DAUGHTERS 16 Y E A R S OF AG E AN D OVER IN W H IC H
SUCH DAU GHTER S W E R E A T W O R K AN D PER CENT OF TO TAL D AU G HTER S 16
Y E A R S OF AGE AND OVER AT W O R K , B Y INDUSTRIES.

Families having
daughters 16 years of
age and over.
Industry.
Total
number.

Cotton:
New England group........................................................
Southern group.................................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing...................................................
G l a s s ............................... ; .....................................................
Silk..............................................................................................

' 613
938
1,392
1,129
1,111

Per cent
in which
such
daughters
were
at work.

98.2
94.5
97.1
82.3
93.4

Daughters 16 years of
age and over.

Total
number.

1,080
1,415
2,186
1,583
1,681

Per cent
at work.

95.3
93.9
93.9
80.2
88.8

Even these figures do not show the extent to which the women of
this group were really working, since they show only those who
worked during the year preceding the investigation, a year of busi­
ness depression and slack employment in many industries. Most
of those who do not appear in this table as being at work had been
industrially employed in previous years and expected to be so
employed again as soon as work could be obtained.
The industrial employment of daughters in this age group is
almost universal. It does not seem to be a racial matter. The pro­
portion of families having their daughters at work is larger among
the cotton workers of the South, who were of pure American stock,
than among the silk workers of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who
were predominantly of foreign birth or descent, and the proportion
of their daughters at work is exactly the same as among the garment
workers, who were practically all foreigners. It seems certain that
they are at work either because of economic necessity or because the
standards of their class demand wage earning from daughters as
completely as from sons, or, which is probably the real situation,
from both reasons combined.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO FAMILY INCOME OF DAUGHTERS AT
WORK.
The economic reason, however, certainly counts for much. The
following table shows the importance of the contributions of these
daughters to the family income as compared with those from other
wage-earning members.




20

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

PER CENT OF F A M ILY INCOME CONTRIBUTED B Y EACH CLASS OF W O R K E R S , B Y
INDUSTRIES.i

Per cent of family income contributed by each
class of workers i n Cotton industry.

Class of workers.

New
England
group.
Fathers..............................................................
Mothers.............................................................
Male children 16 years of age and over___
Female children 16 years of age and over.
Children 14 and 15 years of age....................
Children 12 and 13 years of age....................
Children under 12 years of age.....................

37.7
32.4
31.1
42.6
18.7
14.3
23.6

South­
ern
group.
34.0
27.9
27.3
35.2
22.9
17.6
13.5

Ready­
made
clothing
indus­
try.

48.4
26.8
36.5
39.7
14.2
10.0

Glass
indus­
try.

Silk
indus­
try.

56.0
25.1
37.8
26.7
18.9
15.7

50.5
33.0
37.0
35.1
16.6
13.3

1 These per cents apply only to the incomes of families having wage earners of the specified class.
2 Based on incomes of two families, each having one child under 12 at work.

Since the contributions made by the daughters range from onefourth to two-fifths of the total family incomes and since few work­
ingmen’s families are sufficiently prosperous to lose such a fraction
of their income without feeling it severely, it seems fairly evident
that these young women are not forcing themselves into the industrial
world through mere restlessness or distaste for home duties.
GIRLS GIVING ALL THEIR EARNINGS TO FAMILY.
Another fact tending to show that economic necessity is the cause
for the presence of these girls and young women in the industrial
world is the extent to which their earnings are looked upon as
family property. Two of the reports show how many of the single
women at work turned all of their earnings into the family fund.
Among the clothing workers the number and proportion of females
16 years of age and over who contributed all their earnings to the
family fund were, for the different cities studied, as follows:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF FEM ALE W O R K E R S 16 Y E A R S OF AGE AND OVER IN
TH E M EN’S R EAD Y-M AD E CLOTHING IN D U ST R Y W H O CONTRIBUTED A L L TH E IR
EARNINGS TO THE F AM ILY FUND, B Y CITIES.

City.

Number.

Chicago....................................................................................................................................
Rochester................................................................................................................................
New York...............................................................................................................................
Philadelphia...........................................................................................................................
Baltimore................................................................................................................................
Total........................... ...................

T . ......... ........... ... ..........................
,

Per cent.

526
98
566
257
295

90.1
68.5
92.3
92.8
79.7

1,742

87.7

Of 1,214 women employed in retail stores and living at home, 68.5
per cent turned in all their earnings to the family, 26.9 per cent
turned in part, and 4.5 per cent kept all for their own use. Of




21

INTRODUCTION.

3,370 female workers employed in factories and living at home, 77.2
per cent gave in all their earnings, 21.5 per cent gave part, and 1A
per cent kept all for themselves.
PERCENTAGE OF EARNINGS CONTRIBUTED TO FAMILY.
In the family studies made in connection with the four large
industries, information was secured as to the average proportion
of their earnings turned into the family fund by children 16 years
of age and over, whether male or female. The earnings of the
female workers and proportions contributed were as follows:
NUM BER OF FAMILIES W IT H FEMALE CHILDREN 16 Y E A R S OF AG E AN D OVER AT
W O R K , AVER AG E EARNINGS OF SUCH CH ILDREN , AN D PER CENT OF T H E IR EAR N ­
INGS CONTRIBUTED TO F A M ILY , B Y INDUSTRIES.

Earnings of female
children 16 years of
age and over.
Industry.

Number
of
families.
Average.

Cotton:
New England group...............................................................................
Southern group........................................................................................
Men's ready-made clothing..........................................................................
........................
Glass.............................................................................
Silk....................................................................................................................

602
886
1,352
929
1,048

$321
237
263
204
283

Per cent
contrib­
uted to
family.

96.6
89.0
93.2
86.4
9o.O

It is evident that the amounts these workers retain for their own
individual use are too small to account for their going to work. In
the main their earnings go into the family fund, from which they are
fed and clothed, but no part of which is looked upon as peculiarly
theirs.
LOW EARNINGS OF WOMAN WAGE EARNERS.
One of the most significant facts brought out by the investigation
in practically all industries was the large proportion of woman wage
earners who were paid very low wages—wages in many cases inade­
quate to supply a reasonable standard of living for women dependent
upon their own earnings for support.
In the group of women employed in the four great industries, cot­
ton, men’s ready-made clothing, glass, and silk, from two-fifths to
two-thirds of those 16 years of age and over earned less than $6 in a
representative week. The exact percentages of women 16 years of
age and over whose earnings fell below $6 and $8 were found to be
as follows:




22

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

P E R CENT OF W O M EN 16 Y E A R S OF AGE AND OVER EAR N IN G U N D ER $6 AND U N D E R
$8 IN A R E P R ESEN TA TIVE W E E K .
Per cent earning—
Industry.

Total
number.
Under $6.

Cotton:
New England...........................................................................................
Southern..................................................................................................
Men’s ready-made clothing........................................................t ................
Glass................................................................................................................
Silk....................................................................................................................

13,744
12,654
10,149
2,774
8,596

38.0
68.0
49.0
64.0
45.4

Under $8.

67.4
92.5
73.1
91.2
71.1

In a group of 1,655 women reporting earnings in department and
other retail stores in seven of the principal cities, the average weekly
earnings of 30.8 per cent were found to be under $6, and of 66.2 per
cent under $8. A study of the pay rolls of department and other
retail stores in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, including
nearly 36,000 female employees, showed that the weekly rates of pay
of 26.4 per cent fell below $6, and of 57.5 per cent below $8. In a
group of 4,160 women employed in mills and factories in seven of the
principal cities the average weekly earnings of 40.1 per cent fell
below $6, and of 74.3 per cent below SS.1
In another section of the investigation, where the earnings of over
38,000 women 18 years of age and over in 23 industries were secured,
the story of low wages which the pay-roll figures tell is equally
striking. The per cent of women earning under $6 and under $8 in
a representative week in each of these 23 industries is shown in the
following table:
PER CENT OF W O M EN 18 Y E A R S OF AGE AND OVER EA R N ING U ND ER $6 AND U N D ER
$8 IN A R EPR E SEN TA TIVE W E E K , B Y INDUSTRIES.2
Per cent earning—
Industry.

Number,.
Under $6.

Canning and preserving, fruits and vegetables
Canning and preserving, oysters........................
Cans and boxes, tin...............................................
Cigar boxes..............................................................
Cigarettes.................................................................
Cigars........................................................................
Clocks and watches...............................................
Confectionery..........................................................
Core making............................................................
Corsets......................................................................
Crackers and biscuits............................................
Hardware, etc.........................................................
Hosiery and knit goods.........................................
Jewelry.....................................................................
Needles and pins....................................................
Nuts, bolts, and screws.........................................
Paper boxes.............................................................
Pottery.....................................................................
Rubber and elastic goods.....................................
Shirts, overalls, etc................................................
Stamped and enameled ware..............................
Tobacco and snuff..................................................
Woolen and worsted goods..................................
Total...............................................................

59.2
99.4
50.2
61.8
33.1
39.3
33.5
55.6

93.5

100.0

29.7
54.0
57.9
31.7
31.8
27.2
61.7
40.1
45.5
28.8
55.5
45.0
55.6
29.7

79.5
84.5
75.4
71.3
72.3
81.3
61.9
58.9
82.0
88.2
64.0
67.4
61.6
92.1
74.5
65.8
56.7
89.9
72.7
79.7
68.9

41.1

72.7

22.1

38,182

1 Vol. V , Wage-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, pp. 41,45, and 46.
2 Vol. X V III, Employment of Women and Children in Selected Industries, p. 23.




Under $8.

INTRODUCTION.

23

CAUSES OP DIFFERENCES IN EARNINGS OF MEN AND
WOMEN.
The detailed studies of different occupations throw some light on
the relation between the earnings of male and female workers in the
same industries. In practically every industry studied the men’s
wages ranged higher than the women’s, and the proportion earning
fair or good wages was much larger among the men than among the
women. To a very large degree this was due to a difference in the
work done by men and women; to a less degree it seemed due to a
difference in strength, swiftness, or skill when they were doing the
same work; and in a very few instances, so few as to be negligible, it
seemed due to no cause but that the women were willing to do the
work for less and therefore were employed.
The first cause, a difference in the kind of work done, was espe­
cially noticeable in the group of miscellaneous factory industries
studied. In industry after industry a clear-cut division of work be­
tween the sexes was found. Ordinarily the occupations involving
skill, training, and responsibility were in the hands of the men,
while the work of the women was apt to be at best only semiskilled
and in many cases was purely mechanical. Under these circum­
stances the difference in earnings of the sexes was very marked.
Thus of 31,288 male workers 18 years of age and over engaged in
these industries, well over one-half (56.5 per cent) earned $10 or
more a week, while of the 38,182 female workers in the same age
group employed in these industries, only one-tenth (10.5 per cent)
earned as much or more than $10. Two-fifths of the women (41.1
per cent), as against 9.5 per cent of the men, earned under $6 a week.
Even when men and women were nominally engaged in the same
occupation there was frequently a difference in the kind and quality
of work undertaken by them. Thus in gilding pottery, the simplest
form, lining, is done almost wholly by women, while the more diffi­
cult form, filling in designs, is done by both sexes.
But there is no competition between them, as the men do the artistic
work which requires long preliminary training, while the women do
those parts which may be learned in a few months. The men receive
higher wages and are said to be displacing the women, partly because
they do better work and partly because they can move their ware
about without assistance.1
When men and women were engaged in exactly the same work
under the same circumstances it was apt to be at piece rates. Under
these circumstances the difference in earnings was usually less and
sometimes was in favor of the female workers. Thus in the New
1 Vol. X V I I I , Employment of W omen and Children in Selected Industries, p. 268.




24

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

England cotton mills the average earnings per hour of male weavers
16 years of age and over were 17 cents, while for female weavers in
the same age group they were 15.4 cents. Male ring spinners 16
years of age and over averaged 11.6 cents per hour, while female ring
spinners averaged 12.6 cents per hour. When in such occupations men
made higher earnings it seemed to be due sometimes to their greater
strength which enabled them to handle their machines to better ad­
vantage, sometimes to an ability to work at greater speed, and some­
times to greater skill or longer experience.
In general the lower earnings of women seem due to a variety of
causes, such as their lack of training which keeps them out of the
better-paid work, a lack of self-assertion which makes them willing
to accept low wages, and a lack of experience and organization which
makes it impossible for them to secure the wages which men would
probably insist upon having.
Almost everywhere women predominated in the unskilled work,
probably because they could be secured for this at wages which would
not attract men.
This was written of the cigar-making industry, but applies equally
well to many others of the industries studied. Women were rarely,
if ever, paid less than men for doing exactly the same work, but the
less skilled branches were frequently turned over to them at wages
which men would not accept.
AGE AND EARNINGS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.
A point of decided interest, especially in view of recent minimumwage legislation, is the relation between the age and the earning
capacity of women and girls. Inquiry into this matter is handi­
capped by the lack of any standard of wages for female workers.
Nevertheless, it is possible to get some idea of the age up to which
the earning capacity increases even under the present arrangement—
or lack of arrangement—of women’s wages. The following table,
based on the girls and women found at work in the four great
industries of which detailed studies were made, shows their average
earning power for each year up to 24, and after that for 5 or 10
year periods:




25

INTRODUCTION.
A G E AN D EARNINGS OF FEM ALE W O R K E R S IN FOUR SPECIFIED IN D U STR IES.

Female cotton-mill
workers,
Massa­
chusetts.
Age.

Under 11 years.
11 years.............
12 years.............
13 years.............
14 years.............
15 years.............
16 years.............
17 years.............
18 years..............
19 years.............
20 years.............
21 years.............
22 years.............
23 years.............
24 years.............
25 to 29 years...
30 to 34 years...
35 to 39 years...
40 to 44 years...
45 to 49 years...
50 to 54 years...
55 to 59 years...
60 to 64 years...
65 years and
over................

Female cotton-mill
workers,
North
Carolina.

Female shopworkers
Female silk- Female silkon men’s
mill workers, Female glassready-made mill workers,
Pennsyl­
workers.
New Jersey.
garments,
vania.
Chicago.

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
age
age
age
age
age
age
full­
Num­ eara- Num­ earn­ Num­ week­ Num­ earn­ Num­ earn­ Num­ time
ber.
ber.
ings
ber.
ber.
ber.
ings
ings
ber. week­
ly
per
per
earn­
per
per
ly
hour.
hour.
ings.
hour.
hour.
earn­
ings.

1

106
209
333
436
553
496
501
572
470
338
292
986
616
550
415
239
137
52
17

8

$0,095
.082
.104
.108
.115

.122
.129
.129
.134
.141
.138
.141
.148
.148

•154
.154
.151
.147
.144
.133

.111

23 10.047
36
.056
.058
159
.065
210
.070
299
.078
311
.082
338
.089
300
391
.091
.090
266
265
.093
.097
190
.096
159
.097
111
.102
80
322
.101
158 •106
.096
76
62
.095
29
.096
.102
11
.052
2

2

.066

1 $0,064
118
185
338
456
469
443
357
236
185
137
94
289
118
81
73
44
33
14
13
5

.065
.079
.091
.106
.121
.140
.138
.158
.164
.163
.163

6
35
193
332
346
176
116
86
47
34
29

$0,050
.051
.050
.055
.058
.069
.079

$3.16
3.81
5.60
6.30
6.86
7.32
7.46
8.17
8.16
8.47
8.35
8.02
8.47

18
81
128
96
92
82
76
57
47
49
49
41

.179

175

.171

.137

8.85

70

.164

.135

24

3
12
161
305
523
450
411
260
203
146
98
77
66
135
62
69

$4.33
3.83
3.87
4.26
4.75
4.99
5.32
5.68
5.81
5.93
5.73
6.06
6.36

.172

8.48
6.98
8.01
5.93
5.93

.151

22
22
9

.094
.098

.112
.128

.120
.117

6.99
5.92
5.92

.091

5.96

In every case there is a steady increase in the average earnings
up to about 21 or 22 years, at which point a kind of preliminary
maximum is reached. At this point earnings either stand still or
actually fall off for a year or two, after which they resume their
progression, though less regularly than before, and reach their real
maximum at from 30 to 39 in cotton and men’s garment making,
and at from 24 to 29 in silk and glass making.
This table is based on the earnings of all female workers, skilled
and unskilled alike. A similar study of occupations would be more
satisfactory, but figures of this kind are available only for the
weavers in the cotton mills of Massachusetts and of North Carolina.
For these the number of women studied and their hourly earnings
at each age were as follows. These weavers were all pieceworkers.




26

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

H O U R L Y EAR N IN G S OF FEM ALE W E A V E R S IN COTTON MILLS IN MASSACHUSETTS
AN D N O R TH CAROLINA. B Y A G E .
Massachusetts.
Age.
Number.

North Carolina.

Hourly
earnings.

12 years......................................................................................
13 years......................................................................................
14 years......................................................................................
15 years......................................................................................
16 years......................................................................................
17 years......................................................................................
18 years......................................................................................
19 years......................................................................................
20 years......................................................................................
21 years......................................................................................
22 years......................................................................................
23 years......................................................................................
24 years......................................................................................
25 to 29 years............................................................................
30 to 34 years............................................................................
35 to 39 years............................................................................
40 to 44 years............................................................................
45 to 49 years............................................................................
50 to 54 years............................................................................
55 to 59 years............................................................................
60 to 64 years............................................................................
65 years and over.....................................................................
Others, reported as 16 years and over.................................
Others, reported as 21 years and over.................................

15
30
37
65
115
127
145
194
182
114
100
367
235
240
207
123
64
28
8
5
10
292
2,703

3
15
27
44
48
44
77
51
49
48
50
29
30
111
59
26
19
11
1
1
1

.082
.121

760

.151

$0,066
.065
.075
.079
.085
.089
.094
.105
.101
.110
.111
.108
.113
.113
.1 1 9
.106
.117
.107
.185
.094
.128

1
15

$0,100
.140
.131
.129
.129
.140
.135
.138
.148
.153
.153
.166
.160
.1 7 2
.166
.163
.162
.152
.159
.095
.149
.131

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

Hourly
earnings.

Number.

.103

The earnings of these skilled workers range higher than those of
the general mass of cotton workers, but their course is almost iden­
tical, except that among the weavers the preliminary maximum is
reached at 19. The real maximum is found at exactly the same age as
among the general workers—at from 35 to 39 years in Massachusetts
and at from 30 to 34 years in North Carolina. This difference is inter­
esting because of its agreement with the results obtained in another
part of the investigation of the four special industries. A number of
family studies were made in connection with each, and in the course of
these the age and yearly earnings of the single women 16 years of age
and over found at work were ascertained. They were as follows:
AGE AND EARNINGS OF FEM ALE W O R K E R S, AGED 16 OR OVER , IN FOUR SPECIFIED
INDUSTRIES.

Cotton mills,
Northern.

Age.

16 years.............
17 years.............
18 years.............
19 years.............
20 years.............
21 years.............
22 years.............
23 years.............
24 years.............
25 to 29 years...
30 years or over.

Cotton mills,
Southern.

Men’s ready­
New Jersey
made gar­
Glassworkers. silk workers.
ments.

Pennsylvania
silk workers.

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
age
age
age
age
age
age
earn­ Num­ earn­ Num­ earn­
earn­ Num­ earn­ Num­ earn­
Num­
Num­
ings
ings
ings
ings
ings
ings
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
ber.
dur­
dur­
dur­
dur­
dur­
dur­
ing
ing
ing
ing
ing
ing
year.
year.
year.
year.
year.
year.
164
151
158
116
98
64
58
36
38
73
61




$272
302
304
350
321
347
354
345
369
374
340

298
217
212
140
98
82
56
32
43
68
42

$227
231
234
248
246
243
244
260
243
248
265

405
338
289
230
183
136
119
64
43
112
68

$207
238
273
287
281
310
310
313
274
309
313

283
233
197
106
106
75
56
45
36
52
43

$163
182
214
206
232
219
214
244
246
292
263

105
101
85
77
67
45
44
42
35
95
84

$257
280
335
320
356
391
409
404
443
419
418

192
142
102
55
47
38
29
27
11
29
14

$166
188
187
201
215
238
276
255
249
302
322

27

INTRODUCTION.

Average yearly earnings are less satisfactory than hourly or
weekly earnings, since they are less apt to be learned accurately.
In this case, however, the numbers involved are large and the simi­
larity of the results seems to indicate that the figures are reliable.
In one group, it will be noticed, the preliminary maximum is reached
at 18, in three at 19, in one at 20, and in one at 22. On the whole,
the age of the temporary maximum of earning power among these
workers corresponds more nearly to that among the weavers than
among the whole mass of female workers in the different industries.
Considering the three sets of figures, it appears that a girl going into
industry earns more with each successive year up to somewhere about
20, the exact point varying from 18 to 22 or over, but in a consider­
able proportion of cases falling at 19 years.
In this connection it is of interest to notice that the British trade
boards, appointed to fix minimum rates of wages in certain indus­
tries, have rather generally fixed upon 18 as the earliest age at which
a female worker may become entitled to the full minimum wage.
Under that age she is looked upon as a learner, for whom rates of
wages are carefully adjusted according to a scale of increase which
will bring her up to the minimum established for adult workers
not earlier than 18. The care with which rates of wages for learners
at various ages have been worked out is shown by the following
table, giving the minimum rates per week for girls employed in the
men’s garment-making industry:
MINIMUM R A T E S OF W A G E S PER W E E K FO R FEM AL E L E A R N E R S IN T H E M E N ’S
R E A D Y -M A D E T AIL O R IN G T R A D E , AS F IX E D U N D E R T H E BR IT ISH T R A D E
BO AR D S ACT.
Wages (per week) of learners commencing at—
14 and under 15 15 and under 16 16 and under 21
years of age,
years of age.
years of age.

During first six months of
employment.
During second six months
of employment.
Daring third six months
of employment.
During fourth six months
of employment.
During fifth six months
of employment.
During sixth six months
of employment.
During
seventh
six
months of employment.
During
eighth
six
months of employment.

s.

d.
3 0($0.73)

s. d.
3 8 ($0.89)

s. d.
5 2 ($1.26)

4 6 ( 1 .1 0 )

5 2 ( 1.26)

6 9 ( 1.64)

6 0 ( 1.46)

7 3 ( 1.76)

9 5 ( 2.29)

7 3 ( 1.76)

8 10 ( 2.15)

12 6 ( 3.04)

8 4 ( 2.03)

10 11 ( 2.66)

9 5 ( 2.29)

21 years of age and over.

12 6 ( 3.04)

First 3 months, 6s. 9d. ($1.64),
Second 3 months, 8s. 4d«
($2.03).
Third three months 10s. lid .
($2.66).
Fourth 3 months, 12s. 6d.
($3.04).

11 5 ( 2 .7 8 )
12 6 ( 3.04)

This table shows a more rapid rate of increase than appears in the
three tables just given, which may be accounted for by the much
lower wages at which the English earnings begin. The point of




28

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

special interest is that the rates are adjusted with the evident purpose
of enabling the learner to claim the full minimum by the time she is
between 18 and 19 years old, an age not far from that at which the
American worker reaches her first or temporary maximum of earning
capacity.
ACCIDENTS TO WOMEN.
The reports on health and safety bring out several points not
usually recognized. They show that in the metal-working trades,
where accidents are common, a woman’s peril comes first from her
lack of familiarity with machinery and second from the automatism
which is invariably and inevitably established by a worker who is
attendant upon a machine, and that so-called carelessness is often
the line of conduct best adapted to secure safety. They establish
conclusively the fact that the death rate is much higher among women
working in cotton mills than among women not so employed, and
that female operatives are especially susceptible to tuberculosis.
Most unexpectedly they show that it is impossible to connect any con­
siderable part of the high infantile mortality rate of Fall River with
the employment of married women in the mills, but that the ignorance
of the mothers as to the proper care and feeding of their babies is the
leading cause to which the numerous deaths of children under one
year of age must be attributed, and that all other causes are sub­
sidiary to this.1
SUBSTITUTION OF WOMEN FOR MEN IN INDUSTRY.
The investigation as a whole brings out several general facts about
women in industry. It shows that for over half a century a process
of substitution has been going on by which men have been gradually
taking the leading part in industries formerly carried on chiefly’ in
the home and considered distinctively feminine, such as spinning and
weaving and garment making and knitting. As the women have
been more or less dispossessed in their specialties they have either
gone into work formerly considered men’s, such as the printing trade,
or entered newly established industries which had not been definitely
taken over by either sex. In both cases they are usually found doing
the least skilled and poorest paid work.
The individual woman entered the industrial world under the
pressure of necessity. The employer invited their entrance en masse
because they were cheap, and above all because they were docile
and easily managed.2 They were cheap and easily managed partly
1 See pp. 3 5 7 -3 5 9 .
2 Instances were found of employers who declared that they would rather have women,
although men could do the work better, because the women were unorganized and there­
fore more readily controlled.




29

INTRODUCTION.

because they were in the main young, partly because they were un­
organized, and partly because, as they expected to stay in the in­
dustrial world only a short time, they considered it better to accept
conditions as they found them than to fight for improvements.
To a considerable extent this is still the situation, but there are
indications that it is changing. As already mentioned, there are a
considerable number of older women in the industrial field, and the
married woman is becoming a more and more common figure. Also
the idea of organization seems to be increasing among women and
the woman’s trade-union movement, which seemed to reach its lowest
ebb in 1907-8, was already reviving before these reports appeared.
Most important, perhaps, of all, their early experiences with tradeunionism have convinced women that the hopeful line of activity
for them is the effort to secure protective laws with careful provision
for their enforcement, and this effort they are pushing vigorously.
EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.
The family studies already mentioned brought out also some facts
as to the employment of children. In every State visited the em­
ployment of children of 14 and 15 was legal and customary. The
extent to which in the families studied children of these ages were at
work is shown by the following figures:
PER CENT OF FAM ILIES H AV IN G C H IL D R EN 14 AN D 15 Y E A R S OF AGE IN W H IC H SUCH
CH ILD REN W E R E A T W O R K , AN D PER CENT OF TO TAL CH ILD R EN 14 AN D 15 Y E A R S
OF AGE A T W O R K , B Y IND USTRIES.
Families having chil­
dren 14 and 15 years Children 14 and 15 years
of age.
of age.
Industry.
Total
number.

Cotton:
...................... - ..........
New England group
Southern group.................................................................
Men's ready-made clothing....................................................

...............................................
gilk

539
960
865
1,681
1,258

Per cent in
which such
children
were at
work.

87.2
96.9
75.0
92.9
91.7

Total
number.

624
1,072
958
1,894
1,437

Per cent
at work.

83.8
96.2
71.8
89.5
89.6

Since these families were selected on the basis of having at least
one woman or child gainfully employed, it is possible that they do
not represent conditions among wage earners generally, but they do
unquestionably show that there are large numbers of wage earners
among whom it is a matter of course that children should go to work
as soon as the law permits and an opportunity is found. The con­
trast between the southern group of cotton workers and those in the
other industries studied is marked. No other group shows either as
large a proportion of families putting their children in this age group



30

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

to work or as large a proportion of the children at work. The con­
trast between the northern and southern cotton workers in this re­
spect suggests that the laws restricting child labor in the North or the
public sentiment back of those laws have had some effect in keeping
children from being put to work, even when they have reached
the legal age. The extent to which the children are at work does not
seem to be wholly a matter of economic necessity, for the garmentmaking families, who had the lowest average incomes of any group
studied, showed also the smallest proportion of children at work.
And it is to be hoped that it is not a matter of race, since the southern
cotton workers were of pure American stock, while the other groups
were very largely foreign.
INCOME FROM CHILDREN AT WORK.
The proportion of the family income in each group contributed by
the children of 14 and 15 was as follows:
Cotton :
Per cent.
New England group------------------------------------------------------------ 18. 7
Southern group------------------------------------------------------------------- 22. 9
Men’s ready-made clothing-------------------------------------------------------14. 2
Glass___________________________________________________________ 18.9
Silk_____________________________________________________________16.6

CHILDREN UNDER 14 AT WORK.

The employment of children under 14 presents a very different ques­
tion, since in most of the Northern States it was illegal, while in the
Southern States it was permitted. Hence the figures concerning it do
not show the attitude of the northern families themselves, as in the
case of children of 14 and 15. The following figures show the extent
to which children under 14 were at work in the families studied:
PER CENT OF FAMILIES H AVIN G CH ILD R EN UN D E R 14 Y E A R S OF AGE IN W HICH
SUCH C H IL D R EN W E R E AT W O R K AN D PER CENT OF T O TA L CH ILD REN U N D E R 14
Y E A R S OF AGE AT W O R K , B Y IND USTR IES.
Families having chil­
dren under 14 years Children under 14 years
of age.
of age.
Industry.
Total
number.

Cotton:
New England group........................................................
Southern group .............................................................
Men's ready-made clothing....................................................
ffilTr..............................................................................................

0)
(2
)
1,544
1,646
1,459

Per cent in
which such
children
were at
work.

3.6
10.9
35.1

Total
number.

1,748
4,145
3,939
4,768
4,470

Per cent
at work.

2.9
34.5
1.5
4.1
11.7

1 In the New England group 360 families had children 12 and 13 years of age, and in 46 of these families
(12.8 per cent) such children were at work; 518 families had children under 12, and in 2 of these (0.4 per cent)
such children were at work.
2 In the southern group 932 families had children 12 and 13 years of age, and in 865 (92.8) of these one or
more such children were at work; 1,161 families had children under 12, and in 399 (34.4 per cent) of these
one or more such children were at work.




31

INTRODUCTION.

The southern group of cotton workers and the silk workers are
the only groups in which children under 14 were employed to any
great extent. Among the cotton workers a considerable proportion
of such children were illegally employed; among the silk workers,
practically all.
A N N U A L E A R N IN G S .

The importance to the family of the earnings of children under
14 is shown by the following figures:
NUM BER OF CH ILD R EN U N D E R 14 Y E A R S OF AGE A T W O R K , T H E IR A VE R A G E
A N N U A L E AR N IN GS, AN D PER CENT SUCH EAR N IN G S A R E OF N E T F A M IL Y INCOME,
B Y INDU STR IES.

Industry.

Cotton:
New England group...............................................................................
Southern group........................................................................................
Men's ready-made clothing..........................................................................
Glass..................................................................................................................
Silk....................................................................................................................

Number of
children
under 14
years ofage
at work.

Annual earnings of
children under 14
years of age at work.

Average.

50
1,428
58
197
416

(2)
(2)
$78
119
112

Per cent of
net family
income.i

(2)
< ,
2> 10.0
15.7
13.3

1Based on incomes of families in which children under 14 were at work.
2 In the study of the cotton industry the children under 14 were divided into two groups, those 12 and 13
years old and those under 12. Those 12 and 13 years old in New England numbered 48 and earned an
average of $153 per annum, or 14.3 per cent of the net family income; in the South this group numbered
952 and earned an average of $160 j>er annum, or 17.6 per cent of the net family income. Those under 12
in New England numbered 2, earning an average of $22 per annum, or 3.6 per cent of net family income;
in the South this group numbered 476, earning an average of $114 per annum, or 13.5 per cent of net family
income.

The children’s earnings, it will be noted, form from one-tenth to
something under one-sixth of the family income. Yet in themselves
the earnings are small, and their importance is due more to the low
average incomes of the families than to the real value of the chil­
dren’s earnings. The low average, however, includes some com­
fortably high incomes, and in a number of cases it was apparent that
the work of the children was not due to absolute necessity.
NEED OF CHILDREN’S EARNINGS.
Two studies were undertaken to see to what extent the employment
of children was due to the pressure of actual want. In connection
with the study of the glass industry, 864 families having children
under 16 at work were given special and detailed study to ascertain
whether the earnings of the children were really necessary to save
the family from economic distress; and in the study of why children
leave school to go to work, based on 620 children, this question was
gone into with great care. In the first case it was concluded that




32

BULLETIN OP THE BUEEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

of the 864 families there were 314, or 36.3 per cent, in which the
earnings of the children were necessary to avoid absolute distress and
in which there was neither any convertible capital which might have
been used in lieu of the children’s earnings, nor any adults idle from
choice whose wages, if they had been at work, would have obviated
che necessity for the work of the children. Of the 620 children con­
sidered in the other study, 186, or 30 per cent, were at work owing
to pressing necessity which could not be met by any other resources
the families possesssed. In both of these studies children were found
at work whose wages were necessary to enable the family to keep
up a desired standard of living, to pay for the home, to educate other
children, or to accomplish some other purpose the family had at
heart, but these have not been counted as cases of necessity.
REASONS WHY CHILDREN ARE AT WORK.
The conclusion seems to be that numbers of children are at work
whose families would not really suffer hardship if the employment
of the children were forbidden, and another considerable number
whose families could very well afford to spare their earnings. The
question naturally arises why children of the latter group are at
work. To a considerable extent it seems due to indifference or active
hostility to the schools on the part of both parents and children.
This is referred to in several of the reports.
There was developed, especially in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and
West Virginia, a deep-seated distrust of the efficiency of schooling
as a help to win in the battle of life if one was to be a worker at the
trades or at common labor. There was, moreover, especially in the
States named, almost a settled conviction that the efficiency of schools
and school models and ideals and its methods of attaining them were
alike inadequate to the needs of real life and that the boy would
learn more of real use to him in the factory than in the schools.1
The parents in the cotton-mill town or village of the South may be
grouped in two classes: (1) Those who do all they can to have their
children get all the school training available in the town or village
and (2) those who are indifferent or hostile to the schools. The lat­
ter outnumber the former. In the former group are many parents
who do wonders upon their slender incomes to educate their chil­
dren. In the latter group are many who would not see to it that
their children attended school regularly even if strict labor laws
excluded the children from the mill. Poverty and the generally low
earning capacity of the mill people, who get lower wages than the
people in almost any other great industry, are among the prime
causes of the indifference and hostility of the parents toward the
schools.2




1 Vol. I l l , The Glass Industry, p. 588.
2 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 581.

INTRODUCTION.

33

In the study of the causes for which children left school special
inquiries were made as to the attitude of the children toward the
school, which showed that almost one-half (48.9 per cent) of the
children studied were not satisfied at school, their attitude ranging
from a mere dislike to a positive hatred of everything connected with
the schools. “ The leading cause of dissatisfaction, taking all places
together, seemed a dislike of the general manner of life in school,
which was responsible for the dissatisfaction of 19 per cent of the
children.” 1
OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN IN OCCUPATIONS.
The scope of the investigation did not include an inquiry as to
how far this attitude of parents and children was justified. Inci­
dentally, however, some information was obtained as to the way in
which the work the children took up counted toward a preparation
for their future life. In the cotton industry the children who entered
it, in the South at least, were very likely to remain in it, but the
work at which they were most likely to begin—doffing for boys and
ring spinning for girls—did not in itself give them any training for
the future. In the garment-making industry there were very few
openings for boys. Girls were employed to some extent, but no
system of training them existed, and it depended upon the individual
girl whether or not she worked up to one of the relatively well-paid
occupations. In the glass industry a boy has about one chance in
from three to seven of being chosen as an apprentice and thereby
gaining an opportunity to acquire a skilled trade. In the silk indus­
try no system of apprenticeship existed and entering a silk mill gave
no promise of securing a trade for life. Among the 620 children
whose reasons for leaving school and going to work were studied only
43 (6.9 per cent) had secured positions on first beginning work
which offered chances to learn a trade, and in many of these cases
the opportunity to enter such work had been secured by friends or
relatives already in the trade.
There is nothing in any of the cases considered to show that the
children with neither friends nor relatives in a trade could not have
secured a foothold in it had they tried. But there is much to indi­
cate that unless they had some such connection with a trade or indus­
try its opportunities and advantages were alike apt to remain un­
known to them. Nothing served to suggest to a child the desirability
of learning a trade or entering on an industry in which he would
have a chance of rising, so he took the first thing which came to
hand.2
1 Vol. V II, Conditions Under W hich Children Leave School to go to W ork, p. 111.
2 Idem, p. 186.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------3




34

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

On the whole, it seems a fair inference from these studies that if,
as some of the parents believe, the schools do not fit children for real
life, the occupations which the children are apt to take up on leaving
school are equally defective. They fit the children to earn children’s
wages for a few years, but give them no training for the day when
they find themselves too old for children’s work, but unequipped with
any trade by which to support themselves through the coming years.
On the whole the picture presented by the various studies of chil­
dren at work is in itself rather depressing. Numbers are shown go­
ing to work as soon as the law permits and not infrequently sooner.
Their hours are long, the conditions under which they work fre­
quently undesirable, their occupations have little value as a training
for life, their school days are cut short, and their work offers little
mental stimulus as a substitute for the schooling they miss.
DECREASE OF PROPORTION OF CHILDREN AT WORK.
But there is another side to the picture. Unquestionably there are
many indications that the general attitude toward the employment
of children is changing rapidly for the better. Relatively children
are less numerous in the great industries now than they were 20 years
ago, partly because increasing legal restrictions make them less avail­
able as a source of labor supply, and partly, no doubt, because of a
growing sentiment against their employment. In one of the four
large industries studied—garment making—children are used but
little under any circumstances. The cotton and glass industries both
showed marked decreases in the proportion children formed of their
total employees, while in the glass industry at the time of this inves­
tigation it seemed possible that the growing use of machinery might
soon do away altogether with the employment of boys under 16.
This does not, of course, mean that the employment of children
is not extensive and serious. The different reports show not only
that children were found employed in great numbers, but that they
were found employed below the legal age, employed at work legally
prohibited to children of their years, employed for illegally long
hours or at illegal times, employed under evasions of the law or
on false certificates of age, and so on through a long category of
undesirable conditions. But in spite of all this there is evidence of
a diminution in the relative number of children employed and very
plain indications that a public sentiment against their exploitation
is beginning to make itself felt effectively.
The history of legislation directed against child labor shows an
interesting parallel between the growth of public concern over this
matter in the North during the middle and later years of the last




INTRODUCTION.

35

century and the similar process now going on in the South. As the
industrial development of the North came earlier, the North natu­
rally first perceived the evils of the unrestricted employment of
children and tried to apply some check. The arguments heard in
the South to-day for and against child labor might be duplicated
almost word for word from the legislative records of Massachusetts
or New York or almost any one of the great industrial States of
the North. But the South, coming into its problem later, is moving
more rapidly toward its solution. The two sections are drawing
closer in their attitude toward this question, and their combination,
which furnishes a national sentiment, renders much easier the local
regulation of child labor.







CHAPTER I.—THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.
The first volume of the report on Condition of Woman and Child
Wage Earners in the United States is based upon an investiga­
tion carried on through the fall of 1907 and the spring and early
summer of 1908 in four States of New England and in six States of
the South, the States chosen being those where most of the cotton
mills are located. The mills investigated numbered 198, being 18.3
per cent of the total mills, and employing 25.4 per cent of the total
spindles in the States covered. Of the 198 mills, 154 manufactured
cloth and the yarn from which cloth is made, 1 manufactured cloth
only, and 43 manufactured yam only. Some were located in cities,
some in towns, and some in the country districts. In selecting mills
for investigation the aim was to choose in each locality those that
would be representative of the industry, including some that showed
the best conditions, some that showed the worst, and some in which
average conditions prevailed.
The proportion of the industry covered in the States in which the
investigation was made is indicated in the following table. The
table shows the number of cotton-consuming establishments and
the number of their spindles in 1908 in the 10 States in which
mills were investigated,1 together with the number of mills investi­
gated and the number of spindles in such mills. The table also
shows the per cent that the mills investigated were of the mills which
were reported by the census for the same States and, similarly, the
per cent which the spindles of the mills investigated formed of the
spindles which were reported by the census.
TO TAL NUM BER OF COTTON MILLS AN D OF SPINDLES IN STATES CO VER ED B Y TH E
INVESTIGATIO N, AN D NUM BER A N D PER CENT IN V E S T IG A T E D .
Establishments.

Spindles.

Reported Included
in this Per cent
investi­ investi­ Reported by
census,
census, 1908.
gation,
gated.
1908.
1907-8.

State.

Included in
this investi­
gation,
1907-8.

Per cent
investi­
gated.

Maine..........................- .......................
New Hampshire................................
Massachusetts.....................................
Rhode Island.....................................
Virginia................................................
North Carolina...................................
South Carolina...................................
Georgia................................................
Alabama..............................................
Mississippi..........................................

35
41
203
77
30
293
150
154
71
28

7
7
22
10
4
59
36
31
13
9

20.0
17.1
10.8
13.0
13.3
20.1
24.0
20.1
18.3
32.1

978,188
1,320,503
9,446,380
2,388,105
295,579
2,944,404
3,713,006
1,792,790
939,942
173,216

429,200
183,556
1,696,632
614,114
183,740
673,438
1,127,720
709,376
369,860
118,071

43.9
13.9
18.0
25.7
62.2
22.9
30.4
39.6
39.3
68.2

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

1,082

198

18.3

23,992,113

6,105,707

25.4




1 Census Bulletin No. 97, pp. 10, 11.

37

38

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The latest figures available of the total number of employees in
the entire industry at the date of the investigation were those of the
census of 1905. But as the industry grew rapidly, especially in the
South, between 1905 and 1908, these figures are not satisfactory for
comparison with the number of employees included in this investi­
gation in 1908. This must be borne in mind when the statement is
made that 81,335 employees covered by the investigation in 1908
comprised 32 per cent of the total operatives in the same States in
1905.
In this investigation each establishment reported was personally
inspected by agents of the Bureau of Labor. No establishment was
reported unless its officers permitted the agent to have full access to
all departments of the mill and to examine the pay rolls. The in­
formation thus obtained was supplemented by further details gained
by personal interviews with both employers and employees.
The following table shows the number, location, and working force
of the mills investigated:
N U M BER OF ESTABLISHM ENTS IN VEST IG AT ED AN D N U M BER AN D PER CEN T OF
EM PLOYEES OF EACH S E X AND EACH AGE GROUP, B Y STATES.

Number of employees.

Per cent of total employees.

Estab­
lish­
16 years and
Under 16 years.
ments 16 years and
Under 16 years.
over.
over.
in­
vesti­
Total.
gated.
Fe­
Fe­
Male. Fe­ Male. Fe­ Total.
Male. male. Male. male. Total.
male.
male.

State.

NEW ENGLAND GROUP.
2,855
961
7,773
2,701

244
43
285
249

253
68
320
249

497 5,934
111 2,285
605 18,001
498 6,810

43.5
53.1
53.4
53.0

48.1
42.0
43.2
39.6

4.1
1.9
1.6
3.7

4.3
3.0
1.8
3.7

8.4
4.9
3.4
7.4

46 17,029 14,290

821

890

1,711 33,030

51.5

43.3

2.5

2.7

5.2

219
264
918
3,175 1,223 1,124
3,341 1,803 1,499
927
900
3,277
594
573
1,558
290
249
788

483 3,292
2,347 11,411
3,302 14,421
1,827 11,352
1,167 5,569
539 2,260

57.4
51.6
53.9
55.0
51.1
41.3 j

27.9
27.8
23.2
28.9
28.0
34.9

8.0
10.7
12.5
8.2
10.3
12.8

6.7
9.9
10.4
7.9
10.6
11.0

14.7
20.6
22.9
16.1
20.9
23.8

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

152 25,583 13,057 5,080 4,585

9,665 48,305

53.0 ; 27.0

10.5

9.5

20.0

Grand total........

198 42,612 27,347 5,901 5,475 11,376 81,335

7.3

6.7

14.0

Maine..............................
New Hampshire..........
Massachusetts...............
Rhode Island...............
Total...................

7
7
22
10

2,582
1,213
9,623
3,611

SOUTHERN GROUP.
Virginia..........................
North Carolina.............
South Carolina.............
Georgia..........................
Alabama........................
Mississippi.....................

4
59
36
31
13
9

1,891
5,889
7,778
6,248
2,844
933

52.4

33.6

LOCALIZATION OF THE INDUSTRY.
The cotton textile industry was selected for investigation as being
not only one of the leading industries in the United States, but as
being by far the most important of the woman and child employing
industries.




THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

39

It employed, in 1905, nearly 60,000 more women than any other
manufacturing industry and more children than any other four in­
dustries combined. In 1905 the woman walge earners in the manu­
facturing industries in the United States numbered 1,065,884. Of
these 128,163, or about one-eighth, were engaged in cotton manufac­
ture, including cotton small wares. The children who were wage
earners in manufacturing industries in 1905 numbered, according to
the census of manufactures for that year, 159,899, of whom 40,428, or
more than one-fourth, were employed in the manufacture of cotton.1
The industry is strictly localized, being practically confined to New
England and the Southern States. In New England the tendency is
toward concentration in large mills, while in the South the establish­
ments are apt to be smaller and more scattered. In 1880 New
England had 439 mills averaging 19,663 spindles apiece and the
South 161 mills averaging 3,366 spindles apiece; by 1905 the number
of mills in New England had decreased to 308, but these had an
average of 45,166 spindles per mill, while the Southern mills had
increased to 550, with an average of 13,652 spindles apiece. In the
main the mills in the South are employed on a coarser grade of work
than are those of New England, and the proportion of mills doing
spinning only is larger in the South than in the North. This has a
direct bearing upon the question of child labor, since spinning is one
of the occupations in which children can be employed most effec­
tively.
In the development of the cotton industry there has been a grad­
ual displacement of women by men and a gradual decrease in the
proportion of children employed. In 1880 males 16 years of age and
over formed 34.6 per cent of the total employees in the industry,
females 16 years of age and over 49 per cent, and children under 16
formed 16.4 per cent. In 1905 these proportions were respectively
46.9 per cent, 40.2 per cent, and 12.9 per cent.
THE LABOR FORCE.
AGE OF EMPLOYEES, BY SEX.

The table already given shows that the study deals with a total
of 81,335 employees, of whom 52.4 per cent were males 16 years of
age and over, 33.6 per cent were femajles 16 years and over, and 14
per cent were children under 16. The following table shows the age
distribution of these employees in greater detail.




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 19.

4:0

BULLETIN OF THE BTJBEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

NUM BER AN D PET? CENT OF COTTON-MILL EM PLO YEES IN SPECIFIED AG E GROUPS,
B Y SE X . 1907-8.
[Males 16 years of a^e ani over in occupations employing no women and children
table.]

Southern group.

New England group.
Male.

Age.

Num ­
ber.

Per
cent.

not included in this

Female.

Male.

Female.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Under 12 years........................................
12 and 13 years.........................................
14 and 15 years........................................
Others, reported as under 16 years

14
46
761

' 0.19
.61
10.17

2
63
825

0.01
.42
5.44

560
1,840
2,654
26

3.76
12.36
17.82
.17

389
1,511
2,653
32

2.21
8.56
15.04
.18

Total under 16 years...................
16 and 17 years........................................
18 to 20 y e a rs.........................................

821
880
1,096

10.97
11.76
14.64

890
1,708
2,962

5.87
11.25
19.51

5 ,0S0
1,4,9
1,745

34.11
10.00
11.71

4 ,5C5
2,674
3,4G0

25.99
15.16
19.61

Total under 21 years.............
21 years and over....................................
Others, reported as 16 years and over. .

2,797
4,684
4

37.37
62.58
.05

5,560
9,516
104

36.63
62.69
.68

8,314
6,313
266

55.82
42.39
1.79

10,719
6,565
358

60.76
37.21
2.03

Grand total...................................

7,485

100.00

15,180

100.00

14,893

100.00

17,642

100.00

A striking feature of this table is the marked difference in the age
level, especially for female employees, in the two sections. In the
South less than two-fifths while in New England well over threefifths of the female workers were 21 years of age and over. The
higher age level in the North is very possibly connected with the finer
grade of work done there and the relative rarity of mills which do
only spinning, and in which therefore young workers can be more
largely employed. In both sections, however, the proportion aged 21
years and over was relatively large as compared with the other in­
dustries of which a special study was made. In the silk industry in
Pennsylvania the proportion of female workers 21 years of age and
over was 25.8 per cent,1 in the glass industry it was 28.7 per cent,2
and in the manufacture of men’s ready-made clothing it was 47.9
per cent3 thus exceeding the proportion for cotton workers in the
Southern States but not reaching that for cotton workers in the New
England States.
The age at which the greatest number of women was employed
was in each State as follows: Maine, 20 years; Massachusetts and
Rhode Island, 21 years; Virginia, 16 years; and in each of the other
States 18 years. In the New England States as a whole the two
ages 18 and 21 years had approximately the same number of female
employees. In the Southern States as a whole 18 was the predomi­
nant age, and if the totals of the two sections are combined the




1 Vol. IV , The Silk Industry, p. 51.
2 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 641.
3 Vol. II, Men’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 36.

41

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

number of female employees at 18 is much in excess of those at any
other age.
The difference in the number and proportion of children under 16
and under 14 in the two sections is very marked. This is discussed
in detail in a later section. (See pp. 49 to 60 below.)
OCCUPATIONS, BY SEX AND AGE.

The following table shows the distribution of these workers among
some of the leading occupations:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF EM PLOYEES IN SELECTED OCCUPATIONS IN COTTON
MILLS IN VEST IG AT ED , B Y AGE AN D S E X .

Per cent of employees in each occupa­
tion.

Number of employees.

Occupation.

16 years and
over.

16 years
and over.

Under 16 years.

Under 16 years.

Total.
Male.

Fe­ Total.
Fe­
male. Male. male.

Total.
Fe­
Fe­
Male. male. Male. male. Total

NEW ENGLAND GROUP.

498
Doffers...............................
420
Ring spinners...................
111
Scrubbers and sweepers.
225
Speeder tenders...............
3
Spoolers.............................
Weavers............................. 4,404
Other occupations em­
ploying women and
children.......................... 1,003
Occupations employing
men only....................... 10,365

275
2,194
88
1,675
1,214
5,318 “

126
92
74
2

3,526

*62'

110
307
12
14
114
92

236
399
86
16
114
154

465

241

706

1,009
3,013
285
1,916
1,331
9,876

2.9
2.5
.6
1.3
(*)
25.9

Total....................... 17,029 14,290

821

5,235

5.9

10,365

1.9 15.4
15.4 11.2
9.0
.6
.2
11.7
8.5
37.2 ' *7.6*

13.8
23.3
5.0
.9
6.7
9.0

27.1

41.3

60.9

24.7

56.6

12.4
34.5
1.3
1.6
12.8
10.3

3.1
9.1
.9
5.8
4.0
29.9
15.8
31.4

890 1,711 33,030 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

100.0

SOUTHERN GROUP.

Doffers...............................
Ring spinners...................
Scrubbers and sweepers.
Speeder tenders...............
Spoolers.............................
Weavers.............................
Other occupations em­
ploying women and
children..........................
Occupations employing
men only.......................

820
168
252
1,218
10
5,515

8 2,995
47 3,042
2,931
359 3,009 3,368
14
421
130
407
41
608
39
80
10
469
2,529
479
3,834
627
290
337

1,830

3,017

15,770

978

670 1,648

3,870
6,467
803
1,906
3,018
9,976

3.2
.7
1.0
4.8

&

6,495

7.1

15,770

.1
22.4
1.0
4.6
19.4
29.4

59.0
7.1
8.0
.8
.2
5.7

1.0
65.6
.3
.9
10.2
7.4

31.5
34.8
4.4
.8
5.0
6.5

23.1

19.2

14.6

17.0

61.6

Total....................... 25,583 13,057 5,080 4,585 9,665 48,305 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

8.0
13.4
1.7
3.9
6.2
20.7
13.4
32.7
100.0

1 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

Weaving, the most skilled of the occupations listed here, employs
a larger proportion of the females 16 years of age and over than
any other single occupation, both in the northern and in the south­
ern group, but relatively it is more important in the northern group.
In the New England group no other occupation employs half as
many women, the next most important, ring spinning, accounting
for only 15.4 per cent against the 87.2 per cent engaged in weav­
ing, while in the southern group both ring spinning and spooling



42

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

come much nearer to it in importance, the first showing 22.4. per cent
and the second 19.4 per cent against the 29.4 per cent employed as
weavers.
None of the other occupations shown in this table can be con­
sidered skilled. Scrubbing and sweeping, of course, are frankly
unskilled; doffing is not much better, and ring spinning, spooling, and
speeder tending demand very little skill. Some of those engaged
in “ Other occupations employing women and children ” were skilled
workers, but what proportion they formed of the whole can not be
stated. It appears, however, that in the northern group 38.1 per
cent and in the southern group 47.5 per cent of the female workers
16 years of age and over were known to be in either unskilled occu­
pations or those demanding only a very low degree of skill.
RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN IN DIFFERENT OCCUPATIONS.

The relative importance of women in the different occupations is
not the same in the two sections. The following figures show for
each group the proportion which women 16 years of age and over
form of the total workers in each of the specified occupations:
PER CENT W H IC H FEM ALES 16 Y E A R S OF AG E AN D OVER FORM OF W O R K E R S IN
SPECIFIED OCCUPATIONS.

Occupation.

New
England
group.

South­
ern
group.

Doffers............................................................................................................................................
Ring spinners................................................................................................................................
Scrubbers and sweepers..............................................................................................................
Speeder tenders.............................................................................................................................
Spoolers.........................................................................................................................................
Weavers..........................................................................................................................................
Other occupations employing women and children.............................................................

27.2
72.8
30.9
87.4
91.2
53.9
67.3

0.2
45.3
16.2
31.9
83.8
38.4
46.4

Total occupations employing women and children...................................................

63.0

40.1

Several points of interest are brought out by these figures. One
is the different custom of the two sections in regard to employing
women as doffers, their employment in this capacity being practically
unknown in the southern group, while in the New England group
they form over a quarter of the doffers. Another is the small part
taken by women in such traditionally feminine pursuits as scrubbing
and sweeping and their importance in the skilled work of weaving;
nearly twT
o-fifths of the whole number of weavers in the South and
over half in the New England group were women. The reason
usually advanced for the employment of a higher proportion of
women both as weavers and as speeder tenders in New England
is their adaptability to the finer grade of work done in that section,
which demands a nimbleness and dexterity not always found in



43

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

men’s fingers. In the South a coarser grade of work is done, which
requires more manual strength and less dexterity.
Turning to the employment of children under 16, doffing and ring
spinning are the two most important occupations, employing 37.1
per cent of all children in the New England mills and 66.3 per cent
in the southern mills. In the northern group 23.4 per cent of the
doffers and 13.3 per cent of the ring spinners were children under
16, while in the southern group these percentages were, respectively,
78.6 and 52.1.
RACE OP EMPLOYEES.

In the New England States the race was learned of 21,915 em­
ployees in occupations in which women and children worked. The
number of workers belonging to each of the leading races and the
proportion they formed of the total group were as follows:
Num­
ber.

Race.

Per
cent.

1,669
2,114
9,152
2,735
623

American.....................................
English.........................................
French. Canadian.......................
Irish
Italian.........................................

Num­
ber.

Race.

7.2
9.6
41.8
12.5
2.8

Per
cent.

Polish...........................................
Portuguese.......................... .
Other races.................................

2,743
1,077
1,902

12.5
4.9
8.7

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

21,915

100.0

Anyone familiar with New England mills would expect the pre­
dominance of French Canadians here shown. More significant is the
fact that the Poles, who at the time of this investigation were among
the most recent comers in the industry, were already equal in number
to the Irish, who had been in the mills for more than half a century.
The distribution, by age and sex, of these leading races was as
follows:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF M ALE A N D FEM ALE EM PLO YEE S 16 Y E A R S OF A G E AN D
OVER A N D OF THOSE UN D ER 16 Y E A R S OF AG E, IN COTTON MILLS IN TH E N E W
EN GLAND GROUP, B Y RACE.

Employees 16 years and over.

Employees under 16 years.
Total.

Race.

Males.
Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Females.

Males.

Females.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

American...... ............
English.......................
French Canadian___
Irish............................
Italian.........................
Polish..........................
Portuguese.................
Other races................

286
604
2,610
334
303
920
322
1,001

18.2
28.6
28.5
12.2
48.6
33.5
29.9
52.6

1,134
1,350
5,633
2,288
249
1,759
680
803

72.3
63.9
61.5
83.7
40.0
64.1
63.1
42.2

76
87
410
50
36
26
34
61

4.8
4.1
4.5
1.8
5.8
1.0
3.2
3.2

73
73
499
63
35
38
41
37

4.7
3.4
5.5
2.3
5.6
1.4
3.8
2.0

1,569
2,114
9,152
2,735
623
2,743
1,077
1,902

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

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

6,380

29.1

13,896

63.4

780

3.6

859

3.9

21,915

100.0




44

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The large proportion which women 16 years of age and over form
of the Irish workers is noticeable; among the workers under 16, too,
the Irish show a greater proportion of female than of male workers.
In regard to the racial attitude toward the employment of children,
the Italians show the largest proportion of workers under 16 (11.4
per cent), but their numbers are so few and they are found in so few
places that it is impossible to say whether this indicates a general
tendency or whether it is due to local conditions. The French Cana­
dians 1 come next with 10 per cent under 16, closely followed by the
Americans with 9.5 per cent, and the English with 7.5 per cent stand
fourth.
The occupational distribution of these different races is shown in
the following table:
N UM BER AN D PER CENT OF EM PLO YEES IN SPECIFIED OCCUPATIONS IN COTTON
MILLS IN THE N E W EN G LAN D GROUP, B Y RACE.

Number .

Occupation.

Ameri­
can.

Eng­
lish.

French
Cana­ Irish.
dian.

Italian. Polish. Portu­
guese.

Other
races.

Total.

Doffers.......................................
Ring spinners..........................
Scrubbers and sweepers.........
Speeder tenders.......................
Spooler tenders.......................
weavers.....................................
Other occupations...................

52
103
16
104
106
487
701

50
73
13
265
62
1,202
449

519
1,481
84
542
702
4,078
1,746

52
165
55
409
145
1,209
700

38
117
18
42
17
291
100

121
279
39
345
103
1,499
357

59
347
15
99
113
223
221

115
3C1
44
93
59
837
393

1,006
2,926
284
1,899
1,307
9,826
4,667

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

1,509

2,114

9,152

2,735

623

2,743

1,077

1,902

21,915

Per cent .
DolXers.......................................
King spinners...........................
Scrubbers and sweepers.........
Speeder tenders.......................
Spooler tenders........................
Weavers.....................................
Other occupations...................

3.3
6.6
1.0
6.6
6.8
31.0
44.7

2.4
3.5
.6
12.5
2.9
56.9
21.2

5.7
16.2
.9
5.9
7.7
44.5
19.1

1.9
6.0
2.0
15.0
5.3
44.2
25.6

6.1
18.8
2.9
6.7
2.7
46.7
16.1

4.4
10.2
1.4
12.6
3.8
54.6
13.0

5.5
32.2
1.4
9.2
10.5
20.7
20.5

6.0
19.0
2.3
4.9
3.1
44.0
20.7

4.6
13.3
1.3
8.7
6.0
44.8
21.3

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

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Weaving is the most skilled of these occupations, and it is note­
worthy that Americans show a smaller proportion in this than is
shown by any other race except the Portuguese. The English show
the largest proportion of weavers, over half their number being in
this occupation, but the Polish workers very nearly equal them in this
respect. On the whole the Portuguese show the lowest level of skill
among the races here presented.
In the southern mills the question of race scarcely presents itself,
the workers being practically without exception native born and of
1
In this discussion the race is that of the parents. Thus the Americans are children
of the native born, the English are children of English parents whether born in England
or the United States, and so on.




THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

45

American descent. Negro labor was scarcely utilized except for the
roughest work about the mills.
In some mills Negro men are employed in the picker room, where a
large amount of floating lint, dust, and dirt is always found, and
where the work is heavier and more disagreeable than in any other
department of the mill. In a few mills Negro men are employed for
the heaviest work in the card room, which is the next dustiest room
in a cotton mill. Negro men are employed as dyehouse hands, as
teamsters, as yard hands, as firemen, sometimes as engineers, and
sometimes as assistants in machine repair shops connected with cotton
mills, but in the manufacturing process Negro men never go beyond
the card room, except that occasionally they work in the dyehouse.1
Negro women and girls were employed in 18 of the southern mills,
but in very small numbers. In a total of 3,760 women and children
employed in these 18 mills there were only 166 Negroes.
SOURCE OF LABOR SUPPLY IN THE SOUTH.

Since immigrants and children of immigrants have not been avail­
able as a labor supply for the southern mills, they have recruited
their working force very largely from the country around. Of 2,122
women and children whose early environment was learned, 75.8 per
cent had come from farms, 20.2 per cent from villages, and only 4
per cent from cities.
So much has been said and written concerning the extent to which
the mills make use of the mountaineers as a labor supply that the
report discusses at some length the degree of truth in these state­
ments, the general conclusion being that the numerical importance
of the mountaineers among the cotton-mill workers has been over­
estimated.
Some of those who reported that their early childhood was spent
on a farm came from small farms in the mountains of Virginia,
North Carolina, and Tennessee. The exact proportion of those
coming from the mountains was not secured and the proportion
varies greatly in different sections. Taking the mill population as a
whole, for the mills visited during this investigation, the percentage
of such operatives was very much smaller than the percentage of
those who come from the lowland farms surrounding the cotton-mill
villages.
For varying reasons the small farmers leave the farm and move
to the mill village. Some have been unsuccessful as farmers. Some
have been disheartened by poor crops or by low prices. * * *
Whatever discontent with their conditions or desire for improvement
exists is fostered by the labor agent, who is usually the head of a
family which has been successful at the mill and who canvasses the
country thoroughly and frequently. * * *
Some of the larger mills have sent agents into the mountains and
secured a goodly number of mountain farmers. Mills in western




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 118.

46

BULLETIN OP THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

North Carolina, mills at Spartanburg, Greenville, and other large
towns in upper South Carolina, and mills in northern Georgia and
northeastern Alabama were found to have many mountain people
among their employees. Mountaineers were not found at any great
distance from the mountains, however, except occasionally among
migratory families.
Attempts to import mountaineers in large numbers have usually
proved unsatisfactory. One mill in South Carolina secured a car­
load of people, about eight families, at one time. Of these only one
family remained at the mill. Another mill, which doubled its capac­
ity in 1896, brought 1,295 individuals from the North Carolina moun­
tains at one time, but the experiment was not successful. * * *
In the mill the teaching of so large a green force presented great
difficulties, and taken all in all the result of the experiment was most
demoralizing. Many of these families soon became discontented by
their slow progress and because of changed conditions of living and
they gradually moved away.1
Some of the cotton-mill families, it was found, remain at the mill
during the winter months only and return to the farm each spring in
time to begin its cultivation, while others return to the farm at in­
tervals of a few years. The people who have lived in the moun­
tainous section are quite likely to go back to the mountains during
the hot months.
MOUNTAINEERS IN THE MILL.

A particular study was made in the mountain regions from which
a part of the labor forces of the cotton mills was recruited as to the
conditions of life among the class from which this labor comes.
Among the poorer class of farmers in the remote mountain districts
extreme poverty and hard conditions of life were found. Living
isolated in mountain coves, eking out, in many cases, a wretched
existence from small and barren patches of land, with few or no
facilities either for the education of their children or anything ap­
proaching a normal social development, the comfort of this class and
the opportunity for the education of their children could not fail to be
improved by their migration to industrial communities. The coming
to the cotton mills works a greater change in the living and housing
conditions of this class of operatives than in the case of employees
secured from the lowland farms in the localities near the cotton
mills. Data were secured concerning 844 of these mountain families,
which showed that the majority were living in the crudest and most
primitive manner.2
South Carolina has made some effort to secure direct immigration
from Europe as a means of supplying the demand for labor both on
farms and in the mills, but the experiment was unsatisfactory and
was soon given up.
1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, pp. 120, 121.




2 Idem, p. 123.

47

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

CONJUGAL CONDITION OF EMPLOYEES.

Detailed information as to age, sex, and conjugal condition was
secured for 21,915 employees in New England and for 31,220 in the
southern mills. The difference in the customary age of beginning
work in the two sections, however, makes any comparison between
the totals for the two groups misleading, since in the South there
are a number of children at work at 12 and 13 years of age, who
weight unduly the number of the single. Considering only those
who have reached or passed 16,1 the following table shows the extent
to which in the mills studied the employees were or had been married:
NU M BER AN D PER CENT OF M ALE A N D OF FEM ALE EM PLO YEES 16 Y E A R S OF AGE
AN D O VER OF EACH CONJUGAL CONDITION IN COTTON MILLS IN V EST IG A T ED .

Male.

Female.

Conjugal condition.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
NEW ENGLAND GROUP.

Single.........................................................................................................
Married.....................................................................................................
Widowed, divorced, separated, or deserted.....................................

3,560
2,724
96

55.8
42.7
1.5

9,161
4,110
625

65.9
29.6
4.5

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

6,380

100.0

13,896

100.0

Single........... . ...........................................................................................
Married.....................................................................................................
Widowed, divorced, separated, or deserted.....................................

5,070
4,187
74

54.3
44.9
.8

8,192
3,470
791

65.8
27.9
6.3

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

9,331

100.0

12,453

100.0

SOUTHERN GROUP.

For both sexes the two groups of workers show a close similarity
in their distribution by conjugal condition. The northern group
shows a slightly larger proportion of married women with husbands
presumably able to work, and the southern group shows a slightly
larger proportion of widows or other married women deprived of the
husband’s support, but the proportion of single women in the two
groups is practically identical. In both, too, the proportion of mar­
ried women living with their husbands is impressively large, amount­
ing to over one-fourth of all the female employees 16 years of age and
over.2
In the southern mills, as already stated, practically all the female
workers were white Americans, but in the New England mills, where
a number of races were represented, the proportion of married women
1 In the southern group 38 girls under 16 were married and 4 were widowed, divorced,
deserted, or separated; in the northern group 4 under 16 were married, but none under
that age were widowed or otherwise separated from their husbands.
2 For comparison o f proportion of married women engaged in different industries see
Report on W om an and Child Wage-Earners, Vol. X V I I I , pp. 27, 28.




48

BULLETIN OF THE BTJBEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

at work differs considerably from one race to another. The following
table shows the extent of this difference:
PROPORTION OF FEM ALE EM PLO YEES 16 Y E A R S OF AG E A N D OVER OF EACH CON­
JUGAL CONDITION IN N E W ENG LAN D MILLS IN V E ST IG A T E D , B Y RACE.

Per cent
widowed,
Per cent divorced,
sepa­
married.
rated, or
deserted.

Total
number.

Percent
single.

American..................................................................................................
English..................................... ................................................................
French Canadian....................................................................................
Irish...........................................................................................................
Italian.......................................................................................... ...........
Polish........................................................................................................
Portuguese...............................................................................................
Other races...............................................................................................

1,134
1,350
5,633
2,288
249
1,759
680
803

68.9
58.1
66.6
67.8
66.3
64.7
62.1
70.5

23.4
37.2
29.7
24.5
30.1
32.9
35.4
26.5

7.7
4.7
3.7
7.7
3.6
2.4
2.5
3.0

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

13,896

65.9

29.6

4.5

Race.

It is difficult to account for the variations shown in the proportion
of married women at work. Neither the age nor the occupational
distribution seems to furnish any explanation. The fact remains
that the English show the highest proportion of married women
working, the Americans show the lowest, and the other races are
ranged between; but whether this indicates a racial attitude toward
the employment of married women or is explicable on other grounds
can not be determined from the data at hand.
SUMMARY AS TO LABOR FORCE.

The investigation covered in the New England States 46 mills
employing 33,030 hands, and in the South 152 mills, employing 48,305
hands. In both sections males outnumbered females among the
employees, forming 54 per cent of the total in New England and
63.5 per cent in the South. Children under 16 formed 5.2 per cent
of the working force in the New England mills and 20 per cent in
the South. Excluding from consideration occupations in which
women and children are not employed, females aged 16 or over
formed 63 per cent of the northern workers and 40.1 per cent of the
southern, while children under 16 were in New England 7.6 per cent
and in the South 29.7 per cent.
The age distribution of the female workers was very different,
62.69 per cent of those in New England against 37.21 per cent of
those in the South being 21 years of age and over. In the South the
workers were practically all native-born Americans, while in the
New England mills these constituted but 7.2 per cent of the total.
In the northern group the French Canadians were the most numerous
element, forming 41.8 per cent of the total, the Irish and the Polish




49

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

each formed one-eighth, the English were nearly one-tenth, and other
races were but scantily represented. Of the female workers 16 years
of age and over, 29.6 per cent in New England and 27.9 per cent in the
Southern States were married and living with their husbands. Of
the different races in the New England mills the English showed the
largest proportion of married women.
EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.
The importance as cotton-mill employees of children under 16 has
been diminishing for a number of years in the North, and since 1900
has been decreasing in the South. The following figures show the
extent of this decrease:
PER CENT W H IC H CH ILDREN U N D E R 16 FORMED OF T O TA L COTTON-MILL
OPERATIVES.

New
Southern
England. States.

Year.

14.1
6.9
6.7
6.0

18801........................................ - ......................................................................................................
18001................................................................................................................................................
1900
...........................................................................................................................................
1905............................................................ .....................................................................................

25.1
24.2
25.0
22.9

i In 1880 and 1890 males under 16 years and females under 15.

In the New England States their number as well as their propor­
tion decreased during these 25 years, but in the Southern States the
slight decrease in their proportion has been coincident with a rise
in their numbers from 4,097 in 1880 to 27,571 in 1905.
The age and sex distribution of the children at work in the mills
visited are shown for each section in the following table:
AGE AND S E X D ISTRIBUTIO N OF CH ILD REN U N D E R 16.

New England group.

Southern group.

Age.
Male.

Female.

Total.

Male.

6 years................................................................
7
7 years................................................................
8 years................................................................
29
9 years................................................................
65
i
1
2
10 years..............................................................
173
1
13
11 years..............................................................
14
286
5
13
12 years..............................................................
18
760
41
13 years..............................................................
50
91
1,080
304
275
14 years..............................................................
579
1,427
457
15 years..............................................................
550
1,007
1,227
Others under 16................................................
26
Total........................................................

821

890

1,711

5,080

Female.

Total.

1
9
19
42
110
208
634
877
1,333
1,320
32

1
16
48
107
283
494
1,394
1,957
2,760
2,547
58

4,585

9,665

The relative proportions of boys and girls are almost exactly
reversed for the two sections, girls forming 52 per cent of the
northern group, while boys form 52.6 per cent of the southern group.
95053°— Bull. 175— 16------- 1




50

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

OCCUPATIONAL DISTRIBUTION.

Their occupational distribution differs considerably between the
two sections, although both doffing and ring spinning are the
two most important children’s occupations. The following table
shows the per cent which they form of the workers in six specified
occupations: 1
PROPORTION CH ILDREN U N D E R 16 FORM OF T O TA L W O R K E R S IN SPECIFIED
OCCUPATIONS.

New England group.

Southern group.

Occupation.
Male.
Doffers (spinning frame)................................
Ring spinners....................................................
Scrubbers and sweepers.................................
Speeder tenders................................................
Spoolers..............................................................
W eavers..........................................................
Other occupations............................................

12.5
3.1
26.0
.1
.6
8.9

Female.
10.9
10.2
4.2
.7
8.6
.9
4.6

Total.
23.4
13.3
30.2
.8
8.6
1.5
13.5

Male.
77.4
5.6
50.7
2.2
.3
2.9
15.1

Female.
1.2
46.5
1.7
2.0
15.6
3.4
10.3

Total.'
78.6
52.1
52.4
4.2
15.9
6.3
25.4

This table is of special interest from its bearing on the contention
sometimes brought forward that the employment of children is a
physical necessity, since the fingers and hands of adults being larger
and less pliant can not do the same work. In the northern mills
visited the only occupation in which employees under 16 formed as
much as one-fourth of the workers was scrubbing and sweeping, in
which small and pliant hands are conspicuously unnecessary. In
doffing small hands are an advantage, as they can more easily slip in
between the spindles; but although nearly four-fifths of the south­
ern doffers are under 16, almost precisely the same proportion in
the northern mills were over that age. In ring spinning, where, if
in any occupation, pliant fingers would be an advantage, less than
one-sixth of the New England operatives were under 16. It seems
quite evident that no physical necessity exists for the employment of
children in any of these occupations.
For the most part the work done by these children is not in itself
heavy. Generally it must be done standing. In some occupations
there are occasional opportunities for sitting. Doffing leaves the
worker unoccupied from one-third to one-half of the time, but the
other occupations show no such vacant periods. The dust and lint
in the air, the constant watchfulness required in many of the proc­
esses, the nerve-racking noise of the machinery, and the hot, moist
atmosphere are the principal drawbacks to the work.
1 The number of children in each of these occupations and the per cent they form of
the total group of child employees are shown in the table already given, p. 41.




51

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN IN NEW ENGLAND MILLS.
CHILDREN U N D ER LEG AL AGE.

Two forms of illegality are considered—the employment of chil­
dren under legal age and the employment of children without the
certificates required by law. In the four New England States visited
14 was the legal age for beginning work in factories. New Hamp­
shire permitted the employment of children 12 years old when school
was not in session, but this was the only exception to the 14-year
limit. The following table gives sundry data concerning the children
found at work below the legal age in New England:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF COTTON MILLS IN VESTIG ATED IN T H E N E W EN G L A N D
GROUP EM PLO YING CH ILDREN U N D E R L E G A L A G E (14 Y E A R S ), A N D N U M BER A N D
PER CENT OF SUCH CH ILD REN , COMPARED W IT H T O TA L CH ILD RE N U N D E R 16
Y E A R S , B Y STATES.
[In New Hampshire a child 12 years of age and over may be legally employed when school is not in session.]

States

Estab­
lish­
ments
investi­
gated.

E stab lish m en ts
Total
Children employed
employing chil­ children
under legal age
dren under legal under 16
(14 years).
age (14 years).
years em­
ployed
in all es­
tablish­
Per cent
of total
ments
Number. Percent. investi­ Number. children.
gated.

Maine..................................................................
New Hampshire...............................................
Massachusetts............................................ .
Rhode Island....................................................

7
7
22
10

7
12
1
5

100.0
28.6
4.5
50.0

497
111
605
498

64
25
1
50

12.9
4.5
.2
10.0

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

46

U5

34.8

1,711

3 120

7.0

i Not including 1 establishment employing children under 14 years of age when school was not in session.
* Not including 5 children under 14 years of age employed when school was not in session.

Maine makes the worst showing here, violations of the law being
found in every factory visited, and more than half of the children
employed under age being in this State. In some mills the propor­
tion of under-age children was decidedly large. Thus, in one which
employed only 34 children under 16 there were 15, or 44.1 per cent,
who were under 14. This was the highest proportion of illegally
employed children found in any New England mill, the next being
28.9 per cent in a Rhode Island mill, in which 33 children were work­
ing under age. Only 1 child under 14 was found at work in Massa­
chusetts. In this case the employer had on file her age and school­
ing certificate, so that he had not been guilty of any violation of the
law. Investigation, however, showed that the child was really only
13, and that the certificate had been issued without due care.




52

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The ages of the children thus illegally employed were as follows:
NUM BER OF CH ILDREN OF EACH AGE U N D ER TH E L E G A L AGE (14 Y E A R S ) EM PLO YED
IN COTTON MILLS INVESTIGATED IN TH E N E W EN G LAN D GROUP, B Y STATES.

Age.

Maine.

New
Hamp­
shire.

10 years..................................................................................
11 years..................................................................................
12 years..................................................................................
13 years..................................................................................

2
10
11
41

18

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

64

Massa­
chusetts.

110

Rhode
Island.

Total.

1

2
7
41

2
14
18
191

1

50

U25

2

iIncluding 5 children employed when school was notin session, and so legally employed.

The ages of the two children 10 years old were obtained from city
birth records. One of these was nearly 11 at the time of the investi­
gation. Both these children were employed in Maine, and it will
be observed that of the 34 children below 13 years of age 23 were at
work in that State. Of the 125 children at work under 14 nearly
three-fourths (72.8 per cent) were 13 years old.
It must not be assumed that the above tables show the full extent
to which children under legal age were employed in the establish­
ments visited. To determine the extent of such employment was
one of the most difficult tasks of the investigation. The mill officials
almost invariably reported that they employed no children under
the legal age. * * * Sometimes the true ages of children under
14 could be obtained from the parents, but this was frequently im­
possible, as parents were not disposed to admit the illegal employ­
ment of their children. Only when the birth records of the city
showed the date of birth of the child could the age be determined
with certainty, and as a large proportion of the children were for­
eign bom, it was seldom possible to ascertain the full extent of the
violation of the age law.1
C H IL D R E N W IT H O U T C E R T IF IC A T E S.

Each of the four States covered by this study forbade the employ­
ment of children under 16 without an age or employment certificate.
In Maine the proof of the child’s age was to be presented to the
employer, who was to retain it and issue to the child a certificate,
a duplicate of which was to be sent to the factory inspector. This
law has since been changed and the school authorities are now au­
thorized to issue age and schooling certificates. In the other States
the employer had no responsibility for issuing the certificate, but
was expected to demand one from every child under 16 before em­
ploying him, to keep the certificate on file, and to return it to the
child when the latter left his employ.




i Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, pp. 151, 152.

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

53

Thirty-nine mills were investigated as to their observance of these
certificate laws, and of these 21 were found to have some children
employed for whom they had no certificates. This was most common
in Maine and Rhode Island, 6 mills in the first and 9 in the second
State showing violations, while in the other two States only 3 mills
apiece showed violations. Of the 1,283 children working in these
mills 352, or 27.4 per cent, lacked certificates.
In the establishments visited the law was well observed in Massa­
chusetts and fairly well observed in New Hampshire. In both
Maine and Rhode Island the law was flagrantly violated. None of
the establishments investigated on this point in these two States
had certificates for all children as required, and in 3 establishments
in each State more than half of the children 14 and 15 years old
were without the certificates required by law. In these two States
not only were many children employed without certificates, but some
were employed on certificates which on their face were illegal or
fraudulent.1
A number of devices were used for securing fraudulent certificates.
In all four States a baptismal certificate is accepted as satisfactory
proof of age, but in this investigation a number of such certificates were
found in which the date had been altered, sometimes simply by cross­
ing out the figures and writing others above and sometimes by more
careful substitution.
In some communities in these States the opinion prevails to some
extent that birth certificates for foreign-born children can be made
to contain anything desired. A case is cited of a Portuguese girl
at work at a mill in Massachusetts, who, according to her certificate,
was two days less than 15 years old, yet she was only 4 feet and 1
inch tall and weighed only 67 pounds. She appeared to be not more
than 10 or 11 years old. Other cases of the same character were
observed in the same community, although none so pronounced as
this one.2
Other instances were found, especially in Rhode Island, where
children had used the birth certificates of older brothers or sisters
in order to get their working papers, or where a child under age had
obtained employment on the work certificate of some older child,
borrowed or bought for the purpose. In such cases the employer
may have complied with every legal requirement, yet the child is
illegally employed.
ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN IN SOUTHERN MILLS.
CHILDREN UNDER LEGAL AGE.

At the time of this investigation the laws of five of the Southern
States visited forbade the employment of children under 12 years
old. Mississippi had no child labor law. The laws of South Caro­
1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, pp. 158, 159.




2 Idem, p. 160.

54

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

lina and Georgia excepted orphans, children of widows, and children
of disabled fathers from the provisions of the law, if they were de­
pendent upon their own labor for support. Georgia permitted the
employment of such children at 10 years of age, and South Carolina
had no age restriction for them. Since this investigation the age
limit in Virginia has been raised to 14 years, in North Carolina
to 13 with the employment of apprentices permitted at 12, and Mis­
sissippi has enacted a law forbidding the employment of children
under 12.
The age limit laws in effect at the time of the investigation were
openly and freely violated in every State visited. The following
table shows the extent of these violations:
N UM BER AND PER CENT OF COTTON MILLS IN VEST IG AT E D IN TH E SO U THERN GROUP
EM PLO YING CH ILD REN U N D E R L E G A L AG E (12 Y E A R S ) AN D NUM BER AN D PER
CENT OF SUCH CH ILDREN COMPARED W IT H T O TA L CH ILD REN U N D E R 16, B Y
STATES.
[In South. Carolina and in Georgia a child under 12 years of age who is an orphan, or whose mother is a
widow, or whose father is disabled may be legally employed under certain conditions. Such children
are not included in this table.]

State.

Estab­
lish­
ments
investitigated.

Establishments em­
Children employed
Total
ploying children
under legal age
under legal age children
(12 years).
under 16
(12 years).
employed
in all
establish­
Per cent
ments
Number. Per cent. investi­ Number. of total
children
gated.
employed.

Virginia................ - , _____________ ____ ___
North Carolina..................................................
South Carolina..................................................
Georgia...............................................................
Alabama....... - ................

_______ ____

4
59
36
31
13

2
44
133
320
8

50.0
74.6
1 91.7
3 64.5
61.5

483
2,347
3,302
1,827
1,167

9
202
2 405
<66
71

1.9
8.6
2 12.3
<3.6
6.1

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

143

U07

6 74.8

9,126

6 753

6 8.3

1 Not including one establishment employing children under 12 years of age under legal exceptions.
2 Not including 42 children under 12 years of age employed under legal exceptions.
s Not including two establishments employing children under 12 years of age under legal exceptions.
4 Not including 41 children under 12 years of age employed under legal exceptions.
5 Not including three establishments employing children under 12 years of age under legal exceptions.
e Not including 83 children under 12 years of age employed under legal exceptions.

In considering these figures it must be borne in mind that no child
was entered as under 12 years old unless the age was admitted by the
family of the child or was proved by indisputable evidence. Many
others had all the appearance of being considerably below 12 years
old, but as it was impossible to secure any record of their birth it was
deemed necessary to take their age as it was given.
Nevertheless, the table shows a depressingly large number of chil­
dren at work under 12 years of age. South Carolina led both in the
number of such children and in the proportion they formed of all
employees under 16.
In view of the situation in these States a question might be raised
as to whether the child-labor laws had any force at all. Partly by



55

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

way of testing this a comparison was made between conditions in
these States and in Mississippi. In the latter State nine mills were
visited, employing 589 children under 16, of whom 118, or 21 per cent
were under 12.
In Mississippi every establishment investigated employed children
under 12 years of age. This was not true of any other State. * * *
Of the total employees in the establishments visited, children under
12 constituted 5 per cent, a much higher proportion than in any other
State. In the five States having child-labor laws 753 out of 9,126
children, or 8.3 per cent, were found to be under the legal age. If
those under 12, but legally excepted are added, the total is 836, or 9.2
per cent. * * * In Mississippi 113 of the 539 children, or 21 per
cent, were under 12 years of age. This again is a much higher pro­
portion than in any other State.
It appears, therefore, that though the child-labor laws were found
to be flagrantly violated in all Southern States visited having such
laws, * * * yet these laws have had no little effect in reducing the
number of child employees under 12 years of age. The industry in
Mississippi is newer than in the other States, and this would account
in part for the higher proportion of children. The difference, how­
ever, was too great to be accounted for in this way, and was without
doubt due to the absence of law on the subject in Mississippi.1
The age distribution by States of the children under 12 is shown
in the following table:
NUM BER OF CH ILDREN OF EACH AGE U N D E R 12 Y E A R S , ON P A Y RO LLS, AN D N UM BER
NOT ON P A Y ROLLS, EM PLO YED IN COTTON MILLS IN VESTIG ATED IN T H E SOUTH­
ER N GROUP, B Y STATES.
[Only children admitted or positively proved to be under 12 are included in this table as under that age.)
North Caro­
lina.

Virginia.

South Caro­
lina.

Age.

Not
On Not To­ On on To­ On
on
tal.
tal.
SE
sa
8 f SZ
s r

7 years
8 years
9 years
10 years..
11 years..

1
4

1
3

2
7

1
8
21
37
94

Total.

5

4

9 161

Alabama.

Georgia.

Mississippi.

Total.

Not
Not
Not
Not
Not
on To­ On on To­ On on To­ On on To­ On on To­
pav tal.
tal.
tal. roll7
tal.
pav tal.
S K rolL
18. H f
S K roll.
roll.
Z i

3
4
i7
7 15
9 15
6 27 32 20
12 49 110 37
13 107 202 15

1

17
24
52
147
217

4
19
68

41 202 353 194 1447

91

1

2
8
5

6
27
73

1
3
3
20
38

16 107

65

1
3
*i’ 4
3 23
2 40
6

2
2
6
17
i
35
49 * T

71 109

4
4
6 26
18 77
35 222
50 455

113
22
30
61
39

117
48
107
233
494

4 113 784 1165 1949

i Including one child 6 years of age.

Of the 949 children under 12 shown here, 560 were boys and 389
were girls. A question naturally arises as to what such young chil­
dren can do. One girl of 7 and two boys and six girls of 8 were ring
spinners, while six boys of 8 were doffers. The distribution of the
whole group among some of the leading occupations was as follows:




x Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 188.

56

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

OCCUPATIONS OF CH ILD R EN U N D E R 12 Y E A R S OF A G E EM P LO Y E D IN COTTON
MILLS IN V E ST IG A T E D IN T H E SO U TH ER N GROUP.
Occupaticn.

Boys.

Girls.

Total.

Doffing.......................................................................................................................
Ring spinning............................................................................................................
Spooling.....................................................................................................................
Weaving................................................................................................................
Other occupations.....................................................................................................

278
49
1
6
226

5
246
7
4
127

283
295
8
10
353

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

560

389

949

Two of the weavers were girls 10 years of age; the other two girls
and all the boys were 11 years of age. The large proportion in
“ Other occupations” is partly accounted for by the fact that the
occupations were not learned for the children whose names did not
appear on the pay roll, and consequently they were perforce included
in this group.
TH E H E L P E R SYSTE M .

The 165 children under 12 whose names, as shown in the table given
on page 55, did not appear on the pay rolls belonged to the class
known as helpers. In a |ew cases a helper may mean a child who
merely assists some member of the family before and after school
and on Saturday. But this is not always, nor even often, the case.
Ordinarily the children tabulated as “ not on pay roll” are em­
ployees who work as regularly as other workers and who are relied
upon to do their share of work the same as are other employees. Be­
cause they are unquestionably under the legal age, however, and are
admitted so to be, the employer refuses to place their names upon
the books of the company, but raises no objection and does not re­
fuse to give them work if some other member of the family can be
induced to carry the helper’s wages home.1
The manufacturer under such circumstances argues that he does
not employ the child since he pays no wages to it. Some other mem­
ber of the family is credited with the work and the employer shuts
his eyes to the fact that a child under age is working regularly and
steadily in his mill. Where the law provides that a child under a
certain age “ shall not be employed or suffered or permitted to work
in or about any manufacturing establishment,” the helper system
does not afford a legal means of evading its terms, but up to the date
of this investigation such a provision had been kept out of the childlabor laws in North and South Carolina, in which States the helper
system was most in use.
It is impossible to say how extensively children were employed
under this system. If a child’s name was not on the pay roll the
fact that it was at work in the mill was apt to remain unknown.




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. ISO.

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

57

Most of the helpers listed in the above table came to the notice of the
agents in an investigation carried on among certain mill families.
D IF F IC U L T IE S IN W A Y O F IN V E S T IG A T IO N .

The tables given show the number of children at work who were
proved to be under 12, but do not show the full number who were
so. In 11 mills it was known that deliberate and determined efforts
were made by mill officials to cover up the actual conditions in re­
gard to child labor.
Children were discharged temporarily, sent home for a few hours or
a few days, or hidden in entries, in water-closets, or in waste boxes—
anywhere so that they would not be discovered by the agent when
going through the mill. Of these facts proof was obtained in every
case.1 * * * When attempts were made to ascertain, independ­
ently of mill officials, the extent of the illegal employment of
children, the agents were confronted with new difficulties. No proof
of age was on file in the mill office. There was no register of births
with city or town officials which could be consulted. Little or no
use could be made of school enumerations or teachers’ records, partly
because they had not been compiled or kept with care and partly
because of the migratory character of employees. In some cases
where school children had been transferred from one room to another
there was as much as two years’ difference in the ages recorded.
Ordinarily a visit to the family was the only method by which the
true ages of children could be obtained.2
Even this method did not always bring out the truth, for fre­
quently the parents, fearing that the agent had authority to forbid
the child’s employment if it were under legal age, would insist that
it was 13, 14, or 15, when it had every appearance of being 10 or
younger. In such cases, however, the parents’ statement was ac­
cepted and the child put down as of the age they gave, unless some
documentary proof, such as the record of its birth entered in a family
Bible, could be found to disprove their assertions. Not infrequently,
also, parents actually did not know the ages of their children.
C H IL D R E N W IT H O U T C E R T IF IC A T E S O R A F F ID A V IT S .

At the time of this investigation all of the Southern States visited
except Virginia and Mississippi required something in the way of
documentary proof of age, school attendance, or parental condition
as an antecedent to employment. The disregard of these provisions
was so general that no attempt was made to tabulate the violations;
practically, it was the exception for the law to be regarded.
IM P R O V E M E N T IN SO U T H E R N C O N D ITIO N S SIN C E IN V E S T IG A T IO N .

Since this investigation was made the situation in regard to child
labor in the Southern States has shown signs of improvement. Sev­
1 Vol. I. Cotton Textile Industry, p. 193.




2 Idem, p. IDS.

58

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

eral of the States have passed stronger laws, and in some at least an
effort is being made to enforce the laws. The report of the Alabama
inspector gives the most definite statement of what is being done to
make child-labor legislation something more than a mere nominal
concession to those who seek it.
According to the Alabama law now in force, children may begin
work at 12, the parent’s affidavit being the only proof of age required.
But the law also provides that no child under 16 may be employed
unless it attends school at least eight weeks in each year, six of which
must be consecutive. As soon as any company employs a child it
must file the child’s affidavit of age with the probate judge o f the
county and within 10 days must send a copy to the State factory
inspector. A careful system of filing and checking the affidavits thus
received enables the inspector to keep track of the children at work
and to avoid the duplications and omissions which often render the
data compiled by such offices useless. As a method of preventing the
employment of children under 12 the system, in the opinion of the
inspector, has little value.
That this affidavit is absolutely worthless in so far as it shows
the actual age of the child is shown by the fact that in numerous
cases parents have, when moving from one establishment to an­
other, given different dates of birth for the same child. * * *
Since the department began to be more rigid in the enforcement of
section 2 of the law, which requires eight weeks5 school attendance
during the year, a number of establishments have sent to this office
corrected affidavits to be substituted for those on file in the office.
On investigating the matter it was found that the corrected affidavits,
without a single exception, increased the age of the child at least one
and in some instances two years. It was also found that the cor­
rected affidavit invariably gave the child’s age as 16 years—just old
enough to avoid this feature of the law.1
In order to enforce the educational requirement the inspector ruled
that certificates, signed by teacher and principal, testifying that the
child had attended school for the necessary time, must be filed with
him before January 1, 1913. By comparing these certificates with
the affidavits already on file it was possible to find what children had
T
been employed in violation of this provision of the law during 1912.
The report for 1912 contains a list of these children, numbering over
1,100, by name, with the warning that according to the terms of the
law their employment hereafter until they reach the age of 16 is
illegal, and that any establishment employing them will be prose­
cuted. It is evident that such intelligent and determined enforce­
ment of the law as this must soon effect a decided improvement in
the situation.
1 Report of the Factory Inspector of the State of Alabama for the Year Ending Dec. 31,
1912, pp. 11, 15.




59

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

Incidentally, the Alabama factory inspector’s report for 1912
affords a proof of the conservative nature of the findings of the
Bureau of Labor’s agents in their investigation of the cotton indus­
try. These agents investigated 13 establishments in Alabama in
1907-8. In these 1,691 minors under 18 were employed. Using all
the diligence they could to secure the real ages of these workers, the
agents found the number and proportion in the one year age groups
were as follows:
N UM BER A N D PER CENT OP MINORS OF EACH AG E U N D E R 18 Y E A R S IN 13 A L A ­
BAM A COTTON M ILLS, AS FOUN D B Y T H E AG EN T S OF T H E B U R E A U OF L A B O R ,
1907-8.

Ag© group.
12 and under...............................
13...................................................
14
15...................................................

Number.

Per cent.

294
272
324
277

17.4
16.1
19.2
16.4

Age group.

Number. Per cent.

16..................................................
17..................................................

278
246

16.4
14.5

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

1,691

100.0

The Alabama State factory inspector’s report for 1912 shows that
the age distribution of the minors under 18 employed in the Alabama
cotton mills during the three years 1910-1912 were as follows:
NUM BER A N D PER CENT OF MINORS OF EACH A G E U N D E R 18 Y E A R S IN A L A B A M A
COTTON M ILLS, AS R E P O R TE D B Y T H E STATE F A C T O R Y IN SPECTO R , 1910, 1911,
AND 1912.

1910

1912

1911

Age.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
12 years...............................................................
13 years...............................................................
14 years...............................................................
15 years.............................................................
16 years..............................................................
17 years..............................................................

621
336
278
182
201
132

35.5
19.2
15.8
10.5
11.5
7.5

775
482
512
365
380
247

28.0
17.4
18.6
13.2
13.8
9.0

1,150
652
603
483
576
270

30.8
17.4
16.2
13.0
15.4
7.2

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

1,750

100.0

2,761

100.0

3,734

100.0

It will be seen that the proportion in the youngest groups is
decidedly larger in the official figures than in those secured during
the investigation. Either the employment of young children has
been increasing very rapidly in Alabama or the investigating agents
worked with a care which made their data err on the side of con­
servatism.
SUMMARY OF EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.

Child workers form a useful but by no means an indispensable
part of the cotton-mill force. During the last 30 years while the
number of cotton textile employees increased steadily, the propor­
tion of children employed decreased steadily. In the Northern




60

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

States visited workers 16 years of age and over formed a majority
of those engaged in the so-called children’s occupations, disproving
conclusively the contention that the slender and supple fingers of
children are necessary in these occupations. Violations of the childlabor law were discovered in both sections. In the New England
States the employment of children 14 or 15 years old without the
certificates required by law was the commonest offense. Some
instances were found in which children under the legal age were
employed in defiance of the law, and some others in which children
under age were employed on certificates which were plainly fraudu­
lent. It was suspected, though not proved, that this situation existed
in a number of other cases. In the South the legal provisions relat­
ing to certificates were practically ignored and violations of the agelimit laws were frequent and conspicuous.
HOURS OF LABOR, OVERTIME, AND NIGHT WORK.
MAXIMUM LEGAL HOURS, BY STATES.

At the time of this investigation the maximum hours of labor per­
mitted by law were, for each State included in the study, as follows:
Maine, 60 hours for all females and for males under 16.
New Hampshire, 58 hours for all females and for males under 18.
Massachusetts, 58 hours for all females and for males under 18.
Rhode Island, 58 hours for all females and for males under 16.
Virginia, 60 hours for all females and for males under 14.
North Carolina, 66 hours for all persons under 18, except
machinists, etc.
South Carolina, 60 hours for all persons except machinists, etc.
Georgia, 66 hours for all persons under 21 except machinists, etc.
Alabama, 60 hours for children under 14.
Mississippi, no restrictions at time of investigation.
MILLS EXCEEDING MAXIMUM LEGAL HOURS.

In the New England group only one mill was found operating
more hours per week than the legal maximum. This was a mill in
Maine employing 275 hands, which ran 61.8 hours per week. In the
southern group two mills in Alabama employing 660 persons were
operating, one 66 hours 30 minutes, and the other 67 hours 15
minutes a week. In South Carolina 17 mills were working more
than 60 hours a week, but only three of these were investigated after
January 1,1908, at which time the 60-hour law became effective.
The hours of individual employees often varied widely from those
during which the mill operated. Illness, slack work, a delay in
securing material, an accident to his machine, or staying out of the



61

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

mill for some personal reason might reduce the worker’s weekly
hours to much below the regular hours for the mill.
EXTENT OF OVERTIME AND NIGHT WORK.

Overtime work was not common in the New England mills investi­
gated, only four mills being found which frequently required over­
time. In the Southern States 16 mills were found in which it was
frequently required. Night work was found only in North and South
Carolina. In the first State 28 and in the second 4 establishments
were found regularly employing women or children at night. The
following figures show the age and sex of the nightworkers:
N UM BER OF E M PLO YEES ENGAG ED A T NIG H T W O R K IN SO U T H E R N M ILLS, B Y
AGE AND SEX.

Total
number.

16 years of age and
’ over.
Male.

North Carolina (28 establishments)................................
South Carolina (4 establishments)..................................

1,722
343

Female.

874
155

411
76

Under 16 years.

Male.
223
69

Female.
214
43

In the majority of these mills it was customary to work 12 hours
a night five nights in the week. Two mills in North Carolina were
found in which night employees frequently worked in the daytime
in addition to their regular night work and where day employees fre­
quently worked at night after a full day’s work.
In one of these mills the day shift worked 66 hours per week and
the night shift 60 hours. Owing to a scarcity of help, dayworkers
were frequently requested to return to the mill immediately after
supper and work until midnight, and frequently some one was sent
to the homes of employees early in the evening or at midnight to
request dayworkers to come and work half of the night. Some em­
ployees usually declined to do overtime work. Others worked alter­
nate nights as a regular custom.1
EARNINGS OF OPERATIVES, AS SHOWN BY PAY ROLLS.
In order to secure accurate data in regard to the earnings of em­
ployees in cotton mills transcripts were made of the pay rolls of
each of the establishments investigated, showing for each employee,
in occupations in which women and children worked, the name, oc­
cupation, sex, hours worked, and earnings in a representative pay
period. This information was obtained from 44 mills in the New
England States and 151 mills in the Southern States.
The following table shows the classified weekly earnings of these
employees by sex and age:




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 290.

62

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

NU M BER A N D PER CENT OF EM PLO YEES E A R N IN G CLASSIFIED AM OUNTS IN A
R E P R ESEN TA TIVE W E E K IN COTTON MILLS IN V E S T IG A T E D , B Y S E X AN D AG E .
NUM BER.

Classified
weekly
earnings.

Under 12
years.

12 and 13
years.

14 and 15
years.

16 and 17
years.

18 to 20
years.

21 years
and over.

Total.

Fe­
Fe­
Fe­
Msde. male. Male. male. Male. male. Male. Fe­ Male. Fe­ Male. Fe­ Male. Fe­
male.
male.
male.
male.

NEW ENG­
LAND GROUP.

Under $2.......
$2 to $2.99....
$3 to $3.99....
$4 to $4.99....
$5 to $5.99....
$6 to $6.99....
$7 to $7.99....
$8 to $8.99....
$9 to $9.99....
$10 to $10.99.,
$11 to $11.99..
$12 and over..

21

55
80
162
164
144
114
40
17

7

11

50
63
106
199
144
84
56

2
3
2

42
63
95
129
187
144

110
30
38
13
4
4

79
87
222
285
337
279
155
95
51
31

11

46
46
109
91
180
182
125
70
71
51
37
40

25

Total...

46

736

794

859 1,638 1,048

395
580
380
64
25
7

341
354
254

383
706
647
2G3
146
44
19
5

361
401
604
560
374
223
74
23
7
2

159
143
268
334
242
193
74

81
109
258
308
460
544
432
266
204
117
41

146
135
190
266
353
451
436
434
492
459
433
790

221
231
526
844
1,174
1,297
1,335
1,006
990
740
422
460

4,585 9,246

291
309
510
690
867
863
727
555
608
526
477
834

445
514
1,179
1,614
2,118
2,238
1,962
1,384
1,256
890
477
508

7,257 14,585

SOUTHERN
GROUP.

Under $2____
$2 to $2.99...
$3 to $3.99...
$4 to $4.99...
$5 to $5.99...
$6 to $6.99...
$7 to $7.99...
$8 to $8.99...
$9 to $9.99...,
$10 to $10.99.
$11 to $11.99.
$12 and over.

145
133
129
52
5
5

Total...

470

106
80
53
34
14

1
1

1

111

51
15

1

2

1
1

1

283
285
458
574
528
336
129
48
17
8

1
1

177
113
155
257
242
271
214
119
80
48
24
15

498
698
657
491
250
114
61
18

483
602
297
552
419
799
541
965
743 1,063
884
981
791
704
663
422
584
250
381
131
212
44
245

290 1,820 1,492 2,609 2,630 1,481 2,668 1,715 3,450

1,726
1,464
2,257

2,211

1,559
1,524
1,130
835
695
435
241
261

2,041
1,981
2,766
3,085
2,747
2,083
1,173
609
337
159
54
31

6,536 1
14,338 17,0G6

PER CENT.
NEW ENG­
LAND GROUP.

Under $2........ 50.0 100.0
$2 to $2.99....
$3 to $ 3.99.... '25*6'
$4 to $4.99....
$5 to $ 5 .99....
$6 to $6.99.... *25.0*
$7 to $7 99
$8 to $8.99
$9 to $9.99
$10 to $10.99
$11 to $11.99
$12 and over

20.0
8.0
36.0
20.0
12.0
4.0

17.4
15.2
23.9
28.3
6.5
8.7

6.8
8.6
14.4
27.0
19.6
11.4
7.6
2.9
.9
.4
.4

6.9
10.1
20.4
20.6
18.1
14.4
5.0
2.1
1.4
.3
.4
.3

4.9
7.3
11.0
15.0
21.8
16.8
12.8
3.5
4.4
1.5
.5
.5

4.8
5.3
13.5
17.4
20.6
17.0
9.5
5.8
3.1
1.9
.7
.4

4.4
4.4
10.4
8.7
17.2
17.4
11.9
6.7
6.8
4.8
3.5
3.8

2.8
3.8
9.0
10.8
16.1
19.0
15.1
9.3
7.1
4.1
1.5
1.4

3.2
3.0
4.2
5.8
7.7
9.8
9.5
9.5
10.7
10.0
9.4
17.2

2.4
2.5
5.7
9.1
12.7
14.0
11.4
10.9
10.7
8.0
4.6
5.0

Total... 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

4.0 ‘ 3.0
4.3
3.5
8.1
7.0
9.5
11.1
11.9
14.5
11.9
15.3
10.0
13.5
7.6
9.5
8.4
8.6
7.3
6.1
6.6
3.3
11.5
3.5
leo.o

100.0

9.2
8.4
12.2
14.8
16.3
15.0
10.8
6.5
3.8
2.0
.7
.3

12.0
10.2
15.8
15.4
10.9
10.6
7.9
5.8
4.9
3.0
1.7
1.8

11.9
11.6
16.2
18.1
16.1
12.2
6.9
3.6
2.0
.9
.3
.2

Total... 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

100.0

100.0

SOUTHERN
GROUP.

Under $2........
$2 to $2.99....
$3 to $ 3 .99....
$4 to $4 .99....
$5 to $5.99....
$6 to $6.99 ....
$7 to $7 .99....
$8 to $8.99....
$9 to $9.99
$10 to $10.99..
$11 to $11.99
$12 and over..

30.8
28.3
27.4
11.1
1.1
1.1

.....
.2

36.6
27.6
18.3
11.7
4.9
.3
.3
.3

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




20.2
21.7
31.8
20.9
3.5
1.4
.4

......
.1

24.3
22.9
23.7
17.0
7.5
3.4
1.0
.1
.1

15.1
14.7
27.1
24.8
10.1
5.6
1.7
.7
.2
0)

(1)

13.7
15.2
23.0
21.3
14.2
8.5
2.8
.9
.3
.1
0)

10.7
9.7
18.1
22.5
16.3
13.0
5.0
2.2
1.8
.3
.3
.1

10.6
10.7
17.2
21.5
19.8
12.6
4.8
1.8
.7
.3
(i)
w

10.3
6.6
9.0
15.0
14.1
15.8
12.5
6.9
4.7
2.8
1.4
.9

i Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

9.5
9.3
14.4
20.2
19.1
14.2
7.3
3.3
1.8
.5
.2
.2

7.7
4.8
6.7
8.7
11.9
14.2
12.7
10.6
9.3
6.1
3.4
3.9

63

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

This table shows both the influence of age on wages and the dif­
ference in earnings in the two sections. The children under 14
employed in New England are too few to permit any fair compar­
ison between their earnings and those of the children of the same
age groups in the South. Among those of the older age groups
earnings range distinctly higher in the New England States.
As between the sexes it is noticeable that, while in almost every
case the males show the larger proportion in the highest-earnings
groups, the proportion of each sex reaching a moderate wage, such
as $5 a week, is often nearly the same, and occasionally, especially
among the younger workers, shows a slight excess on the side of the
females. Taking $5 as the dividing line, the proportion in the vari­
ous age and sex groups earning as much or more were as follows:
PER CENT OF EM PLO YEES EA R N IN G $5 A W E E K AND O VER IN A R E P R E S E N TA TIV E
W E E K IN COTTON MILLS IN VEST IG AT ED , B Y S E X AN D A G E.

Per cent Per cent Per cen t!
14 and 15 16 and 17 18 to 20 Per cent Per cent
of all
years of years of years of 21 years
ages.
and oyer.
age.
age.
age.
i[

NEW ENGLAND GROUP.

43.2
42.0

61.8
59.0

72.1
73.6

83.8
80.3

75.2
74.3

18.3
26.8

39.0
40.0

59.1
46.6

72.1
55.4

46.6
42.2

SOUTHERN GROUP.

Females

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ____ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This table shows the relation between the sections as well as be­
tween the sexes. In the North the proportion earning $5 and over
is much more nearly the same for each sex than in the South, and
for every group the proportion above this dividing line is larger.
If some higher rate of earnings is taken, the difference between the
two sections is even more marked. Thus the proportion of those 18
to 20 years of age earning $7 a week or more is for the New England
group, males 37.5 per cent, females 38.5 per cent, and for the south­
ern group, males 29.2 per cent, females 13.3 per cent. In general it
may be said, first, that the earnings of all the workers studied were
noticeably higher in the Northern than in the Southern States con­
sidered, and, second, that the earnings of female workers approach
those of the male workers much more nearly in the New England than
in the Southern States. Presumably both these differences are closely
related to the kinds of work done in the two sections. The finer
work of the New England mills calls for a skill and deftness which
women can acquire, while the coarser work of the southern mills
needs less skill but does in some occupations call for more strength.




64

BULLETIN OP THE BUREAU OP LABOR STATISTICS.

In both sections there was considerable difference between the full­
time rates of pay and the actual average earnings. The following
table shows these differences for six of the leading occupations:
A V E R A G E ACTUAL AN D FULL-TIM E (COMPUTED) EAR N IN G S IN A R E P R E SE N T A T IV E
W E E K OF M ALE AN D FEM ALE EM PLO YEES 16 Y E A R S OF AG E AN D OVER IN T H E
N E W ENG LAND AND IN T H E SO UTH ER N MILLS IN VEST IG AT ED .
44 New England mills.
Males.

Females.

Actual
earn­
ings
per
week.

Com­
puted
full­
time
earn­
ings
per
week.

$5.62
5.63
5.32
8.44

$6.77
6.77
6.02
9.64

8.76

9.93

Occupation.

Doffers.......................................................
Ring spinners..........................................
Scrubbers and sweepers........................
Speeder tenders.......................................
Spoolers.....................................................
Weavers....................................................

151 southern mills.
Males.

Females.

Actual
earn­
ings
per
week.

Com­
puted
full­
time
earn­
ings
per
week.

Actual
earn­
ings
per
week.

Com­
puted
full­
time
earn­
ings
per
week.

Actual
earn­
ings
per
week.

$4.85
6.17
4.74
7.67
5.79
7.85

$6.07
7.36
5.66
8.88
6.77
8.99

$4.05
4.41
4.1o
6.38
4.85
6.76

$5.08
5.96
5.08
8.21
6.08
8.53

$2.86
4.54
2.96
5.64
4.39
5.82

Com­
puted
full­
time
earn­
ings
per
week.
$4.70
5.71
3.76
7.09
5.71
7.21

The weavers are in both sections the best paid workers, but for
both sexes the actual average earnings of weavers in the New Eng­
land mills are higher than their theoretically possible earnings in
the southern mills. Speeder tending ranks next in possible earning
power. Ring spinning is the one occupation in which the female
workers showed higher actual as well as higher possible earnings
than the male.
FINES AND OTHER DEDUCTIONS.

Of the 46 cotton mills which were investigated in New England
40, and of the 152 investigated in the South 100 imposed fines on
employees. The causes for which employees were fined and the
number of mills fining for each cause were as follows:
NUM BER OF MILLS IMPOSING FINES FOR CERTAIN CAUSES.

Number of mills.
Fines imposed for—

Bad work........................................................................................................................................
Absence from work......................................................................................................................
Leaving without notice...............................................................................................................
Misconduct.....................................................................................................................................
Damage to property.....................................................................................................................
Other causes..................................................................................................................................

New
England
group.
34
1
1
5
2

South­
ern
group.
87
6
7
12
51
9

The most prevalent cause for fines was bad work. The weavers
were apt to suffer more than any other class of workers from this



THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

65

cause. I f a loom without a stop-motion attachment is not stopped
immediately upon the breakage of a thread a noticeable defect in the
cloth results, and as a weaver may have a number of looms to attend
it requires close watchfulness not to overlook a broken thread occa­
sionally. Other small defects, such as an oil spot on the cloth, for
instance, are sufficient ground for classing a cut of cloth as wseconds”
and fining the weaver.
Fines varied according to the amount of damage or according to
the rules or custom of the mill, the amount of a fine being usually
left to the judgment of the overseer or second hand. In many cases
it was half the price and in other the entire price of weaving the cut.
In some cases it was the difference in the wholesale price of firstgrade cloth and “ seconds.” 1
Fines for poor work are imposed upon others than weavers, but are
not usually so heavy.
Fines for damage to property include those for breaking windowpanes or electric light bulbs and for injury to machinery or the
product. Of the 5 mills in New England and of the 51 in the South
that imposed fines for this cause, 4 in New England and 16 in the
South did not impose fines unless the damage was caused willfully.
It will be noticed that a much larger proportion of mills in the South
than in New England imposed fines for misconduct and for damage
to property.
This is due largely to the fact that younger boys were employed in
southern mills than in northern mills. In the South doffers get into
mischief while they are idle between doffs. In the North doffers have
less idle time, usually having sweeping or other work to do between
doffs.2
In the South the cotton-mill owners were almost without exception
the owners also of the houses in which their operatives dwelt, and it
was the universal custom to deduct the house rent from an employee’s
earnings before paying them over. Where there are company stores
the store accounts of operatives are, as a rule, deducted from their
earnings on each pay day. In some mills the company employs a
doctor and deductions for his services were made before earnings
were paid over to the employee.
A custom of making discounts from earnings advanced in money
before pay day prevails in many southern mills, and in most cases
the discount is 5 per cent. This charge falls heaviest upon the poor,
the ones who must have the money as fast as they earn it and who
can least afford the drain. The system is especially demoralizing to
the intemperate or extravagant. In many mills pay day is every
other week and in some of these earnings for one week, and in others
1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 334.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------5




2 Idem, p. 335.

66

BULLETIN OF THE BUBEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

earnings for two weeksi are held back. Thus an employee may be
required to work for from three to four weeks before drawing any
pay. This almost necessitates his asking an advance, and when he
has once made a beginning in this direction it is almost inevitable that
he should continue.
PREMIUMS.

Much less extensive than the system of fining in cotton mills is
that of premium giving. Premiums were given to employees in 3 of
the 46 mills investigated in New England and in 60 of the 152 mills
investigated in the South.
Premiums were offered for a better quality of work, for increased
output, and for regularity of attendance. Of these, increased pro­
duction was most generally chosen as the cause of the premium.
THE COTTON MILL AND WORKING CONDITIONS.
The cotton mills visited were practically all built of brick or stone.
Conditions differed widely, according to the age of the building.
In general, light in the weaving rooms was good, but elsewhere no
general statement could be made. Ventilation was apt to be poor.
Sixteen of the 46 New England mills and 28 of the 152 studied in
the South had ventilating systems, while the others relied upon
open windows, openings in the roof, and the like. The temperature
of the mills was often high, and in certain rooms the humidity was
excessive. Dust and lint abounded in the picker rooms and card
rooms, in the latter of which women and children are often em­
ployed, though they are not engaged in carding. Lint is given off
in all the processes up to and including spinning; thereafter rela­
tively little is given off. Dust and lint can be kept down by frequent
sweeping, scrubbing, and cleaning, but in most of the mills visited
there was an objectionable and wholly unnecessary amount of both
in the atmosphere.
Fire escapes were general in the North, but less so in the South,
where of 63 mills over two stories in height only 9 were provided
with fire escapes. Wash rooms for female workers were not com­
mon, being found in only 13 of the northern and 18 of the southern
mills. Dressing rooms were rarer still, only 5 mills in the North
and 3 in the South being equipped with them. Toilet accommo­
dations were diverse. Of the New England mills, in 91.3 per cent
such accommodation was sufficient, in 45.7 per cent there was reason­
able privacy of approach, in 50 per cent the toilets were in good
condition as to cleanliness, and in 84.8 per cent they were so sit­
uated as not to affect the air of the workrooms. Of the 151 southern
mills from which reports were received, in 83.4 per cent toilet ac-




THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

67

commodations were sufficient, in 42.4 per cent there was reasonable
privacy of approach, in 18.5 per cent the toilets were in good condi­
tion as to cleanliness, etc., and in 64.9 per cent they were so situated
as not to affect the air of the workrooms.
PHYSICAL STRAIN ON OPERATIVES.

The only occupation in which women are engaged which requires
much lifting is that of speeder tender, in which bobbins of roving
must be lifted to the top of the speeder frames, from 5^ to 6 feet
above the floor. The bobbins to be placed on the first speeder vary
in weight from 1 to 4 pounds. They are heavier when coarse yam
is made; hence in the South men are generally employed in this
occupation, and in New England, where fine yarns are spun, women
are more commonly employed.
The only occupations in which women are engaged which require
much bending over are beam warping and, to a less extent, weaving.
There is no other occupation in which women have strained posi­
tions in working. Children are not required to lift heavy weights
or to assume strained positions in any occupation. On the other
hand, the noise of the machinery is nerve racking, the work in many
occupations requires close and constant attention, and in the spin­
ning and weave rooms the air is hot and moist, often to an unneces­
sary and injurious degree.
FAMILY CONDITIONS AND SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF
FAMILY INCOME.
GENERAL CHARACTER OF FAMILIES.

In order to study the family conditions of those families having
women or children employed in the cotton mills, the names of a cer­
tain number of woman and child employees were taken from the
pay rolls of each of the establishments investigated and visits were
made to the homes, where schedules were secured with detailed infor­
mation in regard both to the families as a whole and to the indi­
vidual workers. As a general rule all the working members of these
families were found to be employed in the cotton mills. There were
occasional exceptions to this, especially in the larger towns of the
New England States, where opportunities for employment are more
numerous and varied than in the mill towns of the South, but these
were not frequent enough to offer any contradiction to the general
statement. The cotton mill gives employment to all ages, and chil­
dren may grow up in the mills, marry other mill workers, keep on
in its employ until old age overcomes them, and bring up their chil­
dren to carry on the same program. Hence the cotton-mill family is
a distinct type.



68

BULLETIN OS’ THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

COMPOSITION OF FAMILIES; EMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS.

In New England 854 families were visited, which averaged 6.5
members and 3.5 wage earners per family. In 83 per cent of these
families the father and in 93 per cent the mother was living with
the family. In the South 1,567 families were visited which averaged
6.6 members and 3.8 wage earners per family. In 76.5 per cent of
these families the father and in 96.9 per cent the mother was living
with the family. In the northern group 91.3 per cent of the fathers
and 20.5 per cent of the mothers living with their families were con­
tributing to the family support; in the southern group these pro­
portions were 91.2 per cent and 16.6 per cent. The proportion of
children in the various age groups at work was as follows:
PER CENT OF CH ILD REN A T W O R K , B Y A G E .

Age group.

New
England
group.

Hales 16 years of age and over...................................................................................................
Females 16 years of age and over.................................................................................. ..........
Children 14 and 15 years of age.................................................................................................
Children 12 and 13 years of age......................... ............... ........................................... ...........
Children under 12 years of ag e...................................................................................... ..........

96.7
95.3
83.8
12.0
.1

South­
ern
group.
96.9
93.9
96.2
87.6
15.6

In both sections the employment of children 16 years of age and
over is almost universal, and in both the employment of the daugh­
ters of the family is very nearly as common as of the sons. The
employment of children 14 and 15 years old is as common in the
southern group as the employment of children 16 years and over,
but in the northern group, while it is evidently quite the accepted
thing to put such children to work, one-sixth of their number were
not wage earners. The employment of children under 14 was, of
course, illegal in the Northern States, yet 50 such children were
found at work there. Two of these children belonged to families
whose heads were native born of foreign parents, the remainder to
families whose heads were foreign born of foreign parents. Only
two of the New England families having children under 12 years
old had such children at work—one child to each family—while of
the 1,161 families in the South having children under 12 years old
399 had such children at work to the number of 476.
SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF FAMILY INCOME.

The incomes of the families studied varied widely, according to
the difference in contributing members. These variations are shown
in the following table:




69

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.
A V E R A G E N E T INCOME PER F A M IL Y , ACCORDING TO CLASSES OF PERSONS
CONTRIBUTING.

New
England
group.

South­
ern
group.

Fathers at work.............................................................................................................................
Mothers at work............................................................................................................................
Male children 16 years and over at work...............................................................................
Female children 16 years and over at work...........................................................................
Children 14 and 15 years of age at work......................................................... . . ....................
Children 12 and 13 years of age at work...................................................................................
Children under 12 years of age at work............................................................................. .

$1,193
934
1,368
1,242
1,167
1,071
593

$900
672
969
901
910
913
847

Average net income for all families................................................................................

1,134

822

In both groups the families having mothers at work show incomes
decidedly below the average for all families considered. In the
southern group this difference is really greater than the figures show
because in about half the families with working mothers the income
was so exceedingly low as to bring down unduly the average for all
families. A better idea of the relative poverty of families with work­
ing mothers is gained by contrasting their average income with that
of families having wage earners of other classes. The families hav­
ing children under 12 at work show the least difference, but even they
have on an average $175 more per year and in every other group the
difference is over $200. Among the northern families the only group
having a conspicuously low income is that in which children under
12 were at work; but as there were only two such families, no weight
can be attached to these figures. It is worth noticing that in both
the northern and southern families those having male children 16
years of age and over at work are noticeably more prosperous than
the others.
The proportion of the family income contributed by each class of
workers was as follows:
PER CENT OF F A M IL Y INCOME CON TR IBUTED B Y EACH CLASS OF W O R K E R S .
New
Endand
group.

Mothers............................................................................... ...........................................................
Male children 16 years of as;e and over.....................................................................................
Female children 16 years of as:© and over................................................................................
Children 14 and 15 years of age........................................................................ ........................
Children 12 and 13 years of age..................................................................................................
Children under 12 years of age...................................................................................................

137.7
32.4
31.1
42.6
18.7
14.3
3.6

South­
ern
group.
134.0
27.9
27.3
35.2
22.9
17.6
13.5

i These per cents apply in each case only to the incomes of families having workers of the specified class.

These figures tend to confirm the assertion that the cotton-mill
family depends on a family wage for its existence and that the
•women and children must work if the family is to survive. The
father contributes less than two-fifths of the income, the daughters



70

BULLETIN OP THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

of 16 and over exceed him in the importance of their contributions,
and mothers and sons of 16 and over, when either are working, come
very close to him in the proportion of the income they furnish.
In calculating the family income it was assumed that fathers and
mothers at work vnd also children under 16 turned all their earnings
into the common fund, but when children 16 years of age and over
were at work careful inquiry was made as to what portion of their
earnings was paid in to the family. The following table summarizes
the data collected on this point:
A V E R A G E IN D IV ID U A L EARNING S OF CH ILD REN OF EACH S E X 16 Y E A R S OF A G E AN D
O VER A T W O R K , A V E R A G E CONTRIBUTIONS OF SUCH CH ILD REN TO F A M IL Y IN ­
COME, AN D PER CENT OF T H EIR EAR NING S SO CO N TR IBU TED , B Y N A T IV IT Y OF
H EA D S OF FAM ILIES.

Number of
families with—

Nativity o f h ea d o f fa m ily .

Children 16 years and over at work.

Male Female
Average earn­
chil­
chil­
ings of—
dren 16 dren 16
years
years
and
and
over
over
at
at
Fe­
work. work. Males.
males.

Average
amount con­
tributed to
family by—

Males.

Per cent of
earnings con­
tributed to
family by—

Fe­
Males.
males.

Fe­
males.

NEW ENGLAND GROUP.

Native bom, native parents.................
Native bom, foreign parents................
Foreign bom............................................

14
23
352

26
34
542

$412
355
362

$302
307
323

$283
318
299

$282
285
313

68.7
89.6
82.6

93.4
92.8
96.9

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

389

602

364

321

300

310

82.4

96.6

641

886

267

237

194

211

72.7

89.0

SOUTHERN GROUP.

Native bom, native parents.................

These figures show clearly that in each nativity and race group, in
New England and in the South alike, the females contributed a much
larger proportion of their earnings to the family support than did
the males. To such an extent is this true that though the males inva­
riably averaged higher earnings than the females, yet the average
amount they contributed to the family was less in each section than
that contributed by the females. This explains a previous table
which showed that females 16 years of age and over furnished a
larger percentage of the family income than did males in the same
age group.
FAMILIES WITH NONCONTRIBUTING FATHERS.

In 93 families in New England and in 199 in the South the father,
though living, made no contribution to the family income. The fol­
lowing table shows the number of families affected, by each of the
leading causes for the father’s failure to aid:




71

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.
R EASON FOR F A IL U R E OF F A T H E R TO CONTRIBUTE TO F A M IL Y SUPPORT
New
England
group.

Reason for father's failure to contribute.

Incapacitation...............................................................................................................................
Other causes............... - .................................................................................................................

South­
ern
group.

38
18
24
13

68
59
37
35

These causes need little comment, except in the case of the idle
fathers, i. e., those who are physically able to work but do not. So
much has been said of these in connection with the southern cotton
mills that a special effort was made to learn something about them.
The proportions in which they were found in the two sections are
almost identical, they being present in 2.8 per cent of the families
studied in New England and in 2.4 per cent of those studied in the
South. The condition of their families in the two sections differs
materially, however, as shown in the following table:
NU M BER OF W A G E EAR N ER S AND A V E R A G E Y E A R L Y INCOME IN FAM ILIES H AV IN G
F ATH ER S ID L E THOU GH A B L E TO W O R K .

Average
num erof
members.
Num­
ber of
fami­
lies.

New England group...............
Southern group........................

24
37

16 and Under
over.
16.

5.4
4.2

3.0
3.6

Average
number of
wage earners.

Average yearly income.

From
16 and Under mem­
bers
over.
16.
16 and
over.
3.5
2.1

0.8
1.9

$1,093
399

From
mem­ From
other Total.
bers
under sources.
16.
$144
282

$33
60

$1,270
741

There is a noticeable difference between the average incomes of the
two groups of families and a much greater difference in the relative
importance of the contributions made by wage earners under 16.
In the New England group the average yearly income of these
families exceeds by $136 the average family income for the 854
families studied, while in the southern families the income falls below
the average for the total 1,567 families by $81. In New England
the contributions of children under 16 formed 11.3 per cent of the
total income, while in the South they formed 38.1 per cent. Evi­
dently in the northern families the possible earnings of the fathers
could be spared with much less detriment to the family than in
the South.
Back of these differences lies a more fundamental one. In the New
England families the father’s retirement is usually premeditated*
regarded by himself, his family, and his neighbors as a normal and
proper proceeding, while in the South it is often almost forced upon



72

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

him by the conditions of a mill town. In New England the “ idle
fathers ” were for the most part foreigners, whose families were in
fairly comfortable circumstances and who were in many cases
“ encouraged by their children to lay off from work on the ground
that as the father had labored for the support of the family while
the children were young, it was their obvious duty to support him
when they grew to maturity.” In the South the situation is quite
different.
Many of these idle men in the South came to the cotton-mill com­
munities with no intention of living upon the earnings of their chil­
dren to any greater extent than on the farm. The man who has
worked upwards of 20 years on the farm soon discovers, however,
that he is not adapted to cotton-mill work. His fingers are too clumsy
for the tasks requiring dexterity, and the number of common laborers
required is limited.1
If he gets work in the mill, it is poorly paid and very confining;
if he does not find it in the mill, there is little for him to do else­
where in such a community, and he soon falls into the class of con­
firmed idlers.
FAMILY CONDITIONS OF MARRIED WOMEN AT WORK.

In 415 of the families investigated married women were found
working for wages. These were classed as follows:
CONDITION AS TO H U SB AN D OF M AR R IE D W O M E N A T W O R K .

Condition as to husband.

New
England Southern
group.
group.

Deserted and divorced wives............................................ ........................................................
Wives of incapacitated husbands.............................................................................................
Wives of idle husbands.............................................................................................................
Wives with husbands at work..................................................................................................

34
10
4
3
112

66
33
7
3
143

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

163

252

The average weekly per capita incomes of these families, excluding
the earnings of the wife, were as follows:
W EEKLY

PER CAPITA INCOME OF FAM ILIES OF M A R R IE D W O M E N A T W O R K ,
CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO CONDITION AS TO H U SB A N D .

Condition as to husband.

New
England Southern
group.
group.

W id o w s............................................................................................................................... .........
Deserted and divorced wives.................... ................................................................................
Wives of incapacitated husbands.................................................................................... .........
Wives of idle husbands......................................: : ...................................................................
Wives of husbands at w ork............................................................................................. .........

$2.49
2.06
2.18
2.92
2.73

$1.78
1.42
1.65
1.18
2.08

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

2.65

1.90




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 453.

THE COTTON TEXTILE INDUSTRY.

73

No study of the cost of living of these families was made, but it
is obvious that the earnings of the women were much more needed in
the South than in the North. A study of the individual schedules
shows an even greater difference in this respect than is indicated by
the average per capita incomes. In only 49 of the northern families
did the per capita weekly income, exclusive of the woman’s earnings,
fall below $2, and in only 25 below $1.50, while in the southern fam­
ilies the corresponding numbers were 140 and 94.
This difference is especially noticeable among the families in
which both wives and husbands were at work. Excluding the earn­
ings of the wives, the weekly per capita earnings of these families
fell below $2 in 30 cases (26.8 per cent) of the New England group
and in 68 cases (47.6 per cent) in the southern group. In the New
England families in a number of cases the income was such that the
wife’s earnings did not seem to be really necessary.1 It is worth
noticing that only eight of these New England cases in which hus­
band and wife were both working were American families.
It is not possible to say to what extent the work of these married
women involved neglect of children, as there may have been others at
home who could take care of the little ones. There were among the
163 New England working mothers, however, 75 and among the
southern mothers 160 with children under 10 years old, and in the two
sections, respectively, 23 and 56 with children under 3 years old.
The widowed mother with young children to support does not
appear as frequently as might be expected among these women.
Eighteen in the northern group (11 per cent) and 57 in the southern
group (22.6 per cent) were widows with children under 14.
SINGLE WOMEN 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OYER AT WORK.

Detailed information was secured concerning 1,017 single women
16 years of age and over at work in New England and 1,288 in the
South. These women were not casual or intermittent employees, but
regular workers. In both sections the largest proportion was found
at the age of 16—in New England 16.1 per cent; in the South 23.1
per cent. In the North 13.2 per cent and in the South 8.6 per cent
were 25 years of age and over.
The average earnings of these single women by age groups were
as follows:
1 In 43 of these families (38.4 per cent) the weekly per capita income, excluding the
wife’s earnings, was over $3, running up to $5 and $6 in some cases. In the southern
families o f the same class the weekly per capita income, excluding the w ife’s earnings,
reached $3 in only 2 6 cases (1 8 .2 per cent).




74

B U L L E T IN

OF

E AR N INGS DU R IN G Y E A R

THE

BUREAU

OF

L A B O R S T A T IS T IC S .

OF SIN GLE W O M EN 16 Y E A R S OF AG E A N D O Y E R A T
W O R K , B Y AG E.
New England
group.

Age.

Southern group.

Average
Average
Number. earnings Number. earnings
during
during
year.
year.

164
$272
16 years of age.........................................................................................
298
$227
151
302
17 years of age.........................................................................................
217
231
158
304
18 years of age.........................................................................................
212
234
19 years of age.........................................................................................
116
350
140
248
98
321
20 years of age.............................................................................. ..........
98
246
21 years of age.........................................................................................
64
347
82
243
58
354
22 years of age.........................................................................................
56
244
36
345
23 years of age.............................................................................. ...........
32
260
38
24 years of age.........................................................................................
369
43
243
374
25 to 29 years...........................................................................................
73
68
248
30 years and over....................................................................................
61
340
42
265
Total..............................................................................................

1,017

322

1,288

238

It is noticeable that the earnings of the girls of 16 in the two sec­
tions show less difference than those of any of the older groups; in
other words, the earnings of the northern women, beginning at a
higher figure than those of the southern women, increase more
rapidly. In both sections there is a steady increase of earnings up
to the age of 20, at which age there is a sudden decrease, slight in
the South, but marked in New England. At 21 in the North and at
22 in the South the increase begins again. The oldest group is the
group of highest earnings in the southern mills, while in the New
England mills those aged 25 to 29 years show the largest earnings.
CHILDREN AT WORK.

In the 2,421 cotton-mill families visited there were 7,589 children
under 16. Of these, 503 in New England and 1,126 in the South
were under 6 and consequently were, with very few exceptions, at
home, being too young for either school or work. The following
table shows the number and proportion of the children aged 6 to 15
who were at work, at school, and at home.
NUM BER A N D PER CENT OF CH ILD REN 6 TO 15 Y E A R S OF AGE IN COTTON-MILL
FAM ILIES VISITED W H O W E R E A T W O R K , A T SCHOOL, A N D A T HOM E, B Y AG E
GROUPS.
New England group.
Age group.

A t work.
A t work. At school. A t home.
A t home.
Total
Total
num­
num­
Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. ber.
cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

6 to 9 years................ } 845
10 and 11 years..........
Total, 6 to 11
years.......... ..
12 and 13 years..........

Southern group.

At school.

845
400

0.3

732 86.6

I l l 13. l { 1,181
754

97 8.2
379 50.3

518 43.9
266 35.3

566
109

47.9
14.4

2
.3
48 12.0

732 86.6
336 84.0

111 13.1 1,935
16 4.0 1,084

476 24.6
952 87.8

784 40.5
90 8.3

675
42

34.9
3.9

2

Total, 6 to 13
vears............. 1,245
14 and 15 years.......... 624

50 4.0 1,068 85.8
523 83.8
82 13.1

127 10.2 3,019 1,428 47.3
19 3.1 1,072 1,031 96.2

874 29.0
20 1.9

717
21

23.7
1.9

Total, 6 to 15
years............. 1,869

573 30.7 1,150 61.5

146

894 21.9

738

18.0




7.8 4,091 2,459 60.1

THE

COTTON

75

T E X T IL E IN D U S T R Y .

The difference in the proportion of children under 12 at school in
the two sections—86.6 per cent in New England, 40.5 per cent in the
South—is probably more a matter of the availability of schools than
of the tendency to put children to work earlier, for in the southern
age group 6 to 9, in which relatively few are at work, the proportion
at school is but little larger than among those aged 10 and 11 years,
among whom the proportion at work is large. This table does not
show the relative extent of illegal employment in the two sections,
since it makes no account of the exceptions under which children
under 12 might be legally employed in the South. It does, however,
give some idea of the extent to which custom and law give the
northern child the advantage in the matter of beginning work.
Of the children under 14 studied in the North only 4 per cent
were at work, against 47.3 per cent of those in the same age group
in the South.
C H IL D R E N U N D E R 14 Y E A R S O F A G E A T W O R K .

The condition as to parents of the children at work under 14 in
the two sections is shown by the following table:
CONDITION AS TO PAR EN TS OF CH ILD REN U N D E R 14 Y E A R S OF AG E A T W O R K .

New Efigland
group.

Southern group.

Condition as to parents.
Number. Per cent. Number.

Per cent.

Orphans...................................................................................................
Children of widows................................................................................
Children of deserted mothers........................................................... .
Children of incapacitated fathers........................................................
Children of idle fathers..........................................................................
Children with both parents at work..................................................
Children with fathers but not mothers working.............................

4
3
1
2
5
35

8.0
6.0
2.0
4.0
10.0
70.0

2
201
93
54
37
82
959

0.1
14.1
6.5
3.8
2.6
5.7
67.2

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

50

100.0

1,428

100.0

The numbers in the two sections are too different to permit of
comparison, but it is noticeable that in both groups children with
father, but not mother, at work, i. e., in what may be considered the
normal family condition, very far outnumber all the other classes
combined.
In the New England group the average membership of the families
from which these children came was 7.6, the average annual income
was $1,079, and the average per capita weekly income, excluding
the earnings of the children under 14, was $2.36. Information as to
literacy was received from 49 of these children; 6, all of foreign
families and 4 of them foreign born, could not read or write. In
the southern group the average family membership was 7.2, the aver­
age annual income $954, and the average weekly per capita income,
excluding earnings of children under 14, was $2.06. Information as



76

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

to literacy was gained for 1,316 of the children at work under 14, of
whom 690, or 52.4 per cent, were unable to read and write.
CHILDREN 14 AND 15 Y E A R S OF AGE A T W O R K .

In the New England families visited there were 523 and in the
southern families 1,031 children 14 and 15 years of age at work
whose condition as to parents is shown in the follow ing table:
CONDITION AS TO PAR ENTS OF CH ILD REN 14 AN D 15 Y E A R S OF A G E A T W O R K .

New England
group.

Southern group.

Condition as to parents.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Orphans....................................................................................................
Cluldien of widows................................................................................
Childien of deserted mothers...............................................................
Children of incapacitated fathers........................................................
Children of idle fathers..........................................................................
Children with both parents at work..................................................
Children with father but not mother at work.................................

1
43
16
15
17
44
387

0.2
8.2
3.1
2.9
3.2
8.4
74.0

3
150
52
45
25
53
703

0.3
14.6
5.0
4.4
2.4
5.1
68.2

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

523

100.0

1,031

100.0

Among these children, as among those at work under 14, by far the
largest proportion had both parents living, with the father at work
and the mother keeping the home. In the New England group the
average family membership was 7.5, the average annual income was
$1,208, of which $226 represented the earnings of children under 16,
and the average per capita weekly income, excluding the earnings of
children under 16, was $2.53. Among the southern families the mem­
bership was slightly smaller, 7.0; the average annual income was
$975, of which $330 came from the children under 16, and the average
per capita weekly income, exclusive of the children’s earnings, was
$1.76.
It will be observed that the average family income from children
under 16 at work was much greater in the South than in New Eng­
land. This is partly due to the fact that a southern family is likely
to have more children under 16 at work than a New England family,
which in turn is partly due to the lower age at which a child may
legally work in the South.
In the South over 60 per cent of the families visited had children
under 14 at work as well as children of 15 and 16, while in New
England only rarely was a family found with a child under 14 at
work. So far as the average yearly earnings of these children in
New England and the South are concerned, there is very little dif­
ference. Thus in New England the children of 12 and 13 averaged
$153 yearly, while those in the South averaged $160. Of the children
14 and 15 years of age those in New England averaged $218, while
those in the South averaged $208.



THE

COTTON

T E X T IL E

IN D U S T R Y .

77

Reports as to literacy were secured from 520 of the New England
children at work at 14 and 15, of whom 37, or 7.1 per cent, were
unable to read and write, and from 957 of the children at work at the
same ages in the South, of whom 340, or 35.5 per cent, were unable to
read and write.
SUMMARY AS TO FAMILY CONDITIONS AND FAMILY INCOME.

The income of the cotton-mill family is a composite made up of
the earnings of all the family of legal working age, except, in the
majority of cases, the mother. In the families visited the father’s
contribution, in families where there was a working father, did not
either in New England or in the South average two-fifths of the
family income. Wage-earning male children 16 years of age and
over were less numerous than female children of the same description.
Their earnings were higher than those of the female children, but
their contributions to the family income were both absolutely and
relatively lower. In both sections the female children 16 years and
over were the most important contributors to the family income, their
contributions averaging in New England 42.6 per cent and in the
South 35.2 per cent of the total incomes of families having such
wage earners. Children under 16 were at work far more numerously
and were relatively far more important contributors to the family
income in the South than in New England.
The employment of married women in the mills was relatively
more common in the New England than in the southern families vis­
ited, 20.5 per cent of the mothers living with their families in New
England and 16.6 per cent in the South being at work. Of the New
England mothers at work 14.1 per cent and of the southern 22.2
per cent had children under 3 years of age.
THE MILL COMMUNITY.
The closing section of the volume on the cotton textile industry is
devoted to a general discussion of conditions prevailing in the mill
communities visited. When mills were situated in large cities or
their immediate outskirts, the workers might be merged with the gen­
eral population and a mill community could hardly be said to exist.
More often, particularly in the South, the mills and their workers
made up practically the whole community, which even if near a
less specialized settlement was yet absolutely apart from it. More
often than not these mill villages were controlled by the mill com­
panies. Two forms of this control were found. Under one form the
mill company owned all the land, the houses, etc., prescribed and
enforced all regulations, and did pretty much all that was done for
the social, moral, and intellectual development of the people. This



78

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUREAU

OP

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

condition of affairs was found chiefly in the South. Under the other
form the officers in the town or village were elected by the people,
but all the offices of importance were held by men who were directly
or indirectly connected with the mill company. The minor offices
also were practically controlled by them, being held by men in their
employ; and when this was the case the mill usually made itself felt
just as much as if it owned the whole town. Such a condition of
affairs was found principally, but not exclusively, in New England.
It was the exception for families to own their homes, only 126 of
the 854 New England families and 76 of the 1,567 southern families
visited being owners. Of the families who did not own homes in
New England 28 per cent and in the South 91.5 per cent lived in
company houses. There seemed a growing sentiment among the
more highly skilled and self-respecting operatives against living in
company houses.
The sanitary conditions of the mill communities can not fairly be
compared, since the mill community of New England is always a
part of the village, town, or city in which it is situated, and is sub­
ject to the same sanitary regulations as the rest of the community.
The mill village of the South is usually unincorporated, and the
establishment and enforcement of sanitary regulations depends en­
tirely upon the mill company. Hence, conditions varied from excel­
lent to unspeakably bad.
The consensus of the different reports indicates clearly that the
mill companies take more and greater sanitary precautions than
usually are taken in the average village or on the average farm.1
MEANS OF EDUCATION AVAILABLE FOR COTTON-MILL CHILDREN.

The school education of cotton-mill children, North and South, is
mainly that of either the public or the parochial school. In actual
educational conditions the New England States visited were far in
the lead, but during the last few years the Southern States had shown
the greater rate of progress.
The public attitude toward school attendance, as expressed in the
laws, differed widely in the two sections.
Compulsory-attendance laws, with specified terms of attendance,
fines for violation, and complementary labor laws obtain in Maine,
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Of the six
Southern States visited none has a State law directly compelling
attendance at school, although Virginia and North Carolina have
laws making the attendance of children at school compulsory if the
local district so orders, and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama
forbid the employment of certain children unless they shall have had
a specified attendance at school.2
1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 535.




* Idem, p. 552.

THE

COTTON

T E X T IL E

IN D U S T R Y .

79

In New England the cotton-mill children had as available means of
education the public schools, both day and evening, and the parochial
schools, which also frequently had night as well as day sessions.
The parochial schools were very extensively used, especially by the
foreign children. In the South the cotton-mill children were found
in three kinds of schools:
1. Schools in cities. Such schools differ from those found else­
where only in that the lack of compulsory-attendance laws leads to
lower enrollment and less regular attendance. No special exemptions
were made for the mill children.
2. Schools in the larger towns which had other industries besides
cotton mills. In these schools, among both pupils and some of the
teachers, some prejudice is manifested against the cotton-mill chil­
dren.
3. Cotton-mill schools, built, equipped, and almost entirely sup­
ported and controlled by the cotton-mill corporations in towns en­
tirely made up of cotton-mill people. All receive State aid, but this
has to be supplemented by direct contributions from the mill cor­
porations. When the school is connected with a large and liberal
corporation it may be equal in equipment, building, and teachers to
a good city school; if the corporation is a small one or indifferent to
the needs of the children, it may be a very poor affair.
Concerning percentage of attendance and regularity of attendance,
the investigation shows that the two kinds of cotton-mill schools were
about on a par. In both the number of children attending school, as
compared either with the number of children of school age in the
mill village or town, or even with the number who had enrolled
themselves at some time during the school year, was not large.
Average attendance falls very low in the cotton-mill school from a
number of causes. * * * These are the unattractiveness of the
school, the inefficient teaching, the lack of mechanical aids to instruc­
tion, the physical discomfort of the school, and the irksomeness of
school work. The child feels that it is useless to go to school when
he knows that he will go into the mill anyway before he knows much.
The family think they need the child’s earnings and are indifferent
to his education.1
In addition to these causes, it is not uncommon for the mill fore­
men to send to the school for children if more are needed at any time
in the mill, a practice which naturally interferes seriously with regu­
lar attendance.
SOCIAL STATUS OF COTTON-MILL OPERATIVES.

Whether the mills are located in country or city the mill popula­
tion forms a separate community. Millworkers have very few social
relations with other people; they have an almost entirely separate




1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, pp. 577, 578.

80

B U L L E T IN

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THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

social and industrial life. They come of the same stock, they have
had practically the same experience before coming to the mill, they
have the same deficiencies and shortcomings in common, and they
naturally turn to one another for congenial association.
This tendency is much increased by a very general sense of superior­
ity on the part of those who are not millworkers. This feeling,
which was found in almost every community visited, was perfectly
evident to the millworkers, who naturally resented it and kept more
closely to their own class on account of it.
In the mill villages where there is no industry except cotton manu­
facturing there are, of course, no class distinctions; barring the mill
officials all are of the same class and on the same level.
The New England mills visited were generally either in large
towns or near them, so that the isolated mill community was de­
cidedly rare. Cotton-mill operatives do not form such an isolated
class as in the South. The native American and the English-speak­
ing workers especially merge in the general community.
Many of the Americans, English, Irish, and Scotch who work in
the mills own their own homes. * * * They speak a common
language and all have at least the rudiments of an education. Many
children of these families enter employment in other industries and
girls or boys are sent through the high schools and colleges. * * *
They have most of their friends outside of the mill operatives, be­
cause most of the operatives are of alien races^ people of different
customs, standards, and modes of living, and speak different langauges.1
To some extent the foreign mill workers in the New England mills
have the same isolated position as the native workers in the southern
mills. They are not, however, so entirely confined to one industry
and their isolation is largely the result of racial feeling and the lack
of common language and antecedents with the rest of the community.
MORAL CONDITION OF COTTON-MILL OPERATIVES.

Occasionally during this investigation particular mills were found
in which, through lax discipline and indifference on the part of
the management, a low moral tone prevailed, but on the whole noth­
ing was found to indicate that employment in cotton mills had any
different moral effect upon the women and children from employ­
ment in any other line of factory work.
In nearly all of the smaller mill villages, in all the States alike,
the operatives as a body are sober and well behaved. There is usually
good order and but little drinking, and there is seldom need for a
civil officer to make an arrest. In the country mills, especially, this
is true. In practically all the country mill villages the moral stand­
ard is high.2
1 Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 688.




2 Idem, p. 589.

THE

COTTON

T E X T I L E I1TOTJSTRY.

81

WELFARE WORK.

The greater part of the welfare work at the present time in the
cotton industry is found in the Southern States. In considering the
value of this work it must be remembered that where civic life is
highly developed and the city or State provides such institutions as
libraries, public baths, playgrounds, dance or amusement halls, and
makes wise building regulations, thus insuring proper housing facili­
ties for the working population, the employer’s welfare work may
become superfluous. Such was very largely the situation in the
northern mill communities visited. “ To-day employers5 welfare
work in New England consists mainly in providing a free bed in a
hospital or contributing toward the support of a district nurse.”
In the South the need for such work is much greater. Small mills
with little capital obviously can not engage extensively in welfare
work. More welfare work is found in South Carolina, where mills
are larger, than in any other State, yet in every State such work was
found, sometimes on an extensive scale. The kinds of work done
are too various for summarized description. Some mills provide
parks, some clubhouses and social centers. Eight maintained paid
welfare workers, 10 had trained nurses, 78 supported or partly sup­
ported day schools, 33 night schools, and 17 kindergartens. Not one
of the Southern States visited was without some mills which were
carrying on welfare work.
COMPANY STORES.

Fifty-seven of the southern mills visited had such stores; in New
England they were much less common and none were found outside
of Maine and Rhode Island. No direct compulsion seemed to be put
upon the operatives to make them trade at the company store, but
indirectly a compulsion exists when pay days are far apart.
Almost invariably wages are held back for one pay-roll period, and
in many cases it is two weeks between pay days. Thus, for work
done from January 2 to January 15, inclusive, payment may not be
made until January 29. When newcomers arrive at a mill it may be
four weeks before they receive any money; then they will receive two
weeks’ wages, but they may have a store account covering four weeks.
Many of them arrive at the mill village with no household goods of
any kind, with no provisions, and with insufficient clothing for
themselves and their families. They must go into debt for necessary
supplies, and before they draw their first pay their debt may be much
more than the pay drawn will cover.
As a rule, where there are company stores, the amount of the store
accounts is deducted on each pay day from the earnings of the em95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------6




82

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OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

ployees. Newcomers are allowed some time in which to pay for
furniture, etc., and occasionally old employees of known honesty
may be favored, but with such exceptions the company store is abso­
lutely protected against loss.
The company stores did not in general have a higher scale of prices
than independent stores in the same localities. They depended for
their profits on the advantage in buying which their large capital
gave them and on their freedom from loss through bad debts.
SUMMARY.
The cotton textile industry employs women and children more
numerously than any other industry in the United States, although
the relative importance of both these classes has decreased as heavy
and complicated machinery has been introduced and speed of opera­
tion has. become greater. However, men still form less than half
of the working force.
The work done by women and children does not necessarily in­
volve harmful conditions, but as actually carried on such conditions
are usually present. A large part of their work requires little of
either skill or strength, so that young children can be employed
to advantage. The employment of such children is not, however,
necessary, as adults can perform all the work usually assigned to
children.
The laws relating to the employment of children were found to
be frequently broken in both sections of the country. In the North
the violation usually consisted of a failure to provide or keep on
file the “ working papers” required by law; in the South the em­
ployment of children below the legal age was common.
'The work done by children and most of that done by women is
of a monotonous and deadening character, requiring no initiative
and giving no general training. At the same time much of it de­
mands close attention, and is, therefore, exhausting. The scale of
earnings is low, and usually the combined wages of the family are
required to meet the family expenses. Relatively the earnings of
children under 16 form a more important part of the family income
in the South than in New England, while in regard to the earnings of
women and girls over 16 the situation is reversed.




CHAPTER II.—MEN’S READY-MADE CLOTHING.
The manufacture of men’s ready-made clothing was selected for
investigation as being second only to the cotton textile industry in
the number of women it employs. It is, moreover, the largest field
for home work connected with the sewing trades, and has most com­
monly been associated with the various evils of what is known as
“ sweating.” In the employment of children it ranks ninth among
the manufacturing industries of the country.
The present report is based upon an investigation carried on in
New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester. In
these cities 244 factories were investigated with a total labor force
of 23,683 wage earners. The number of establishments visited in
each city and the number and age and sex distribution of their em­
ployees are shown in the following table:
ESTABLISH M ENTS V ISIT E D , A N D EM PLO Y EES B Y A G E A N D S E X D IST R IBU T IO N .

City.

Chicago...............................................................
Rochester...........................................................
New York..........................................................
Philadelphia......................................................
Baltimore...........................................................
Total...................................................

Number
of estab­
lish­
ments
visited.

Employees 16 years
of age and over.

Male.

Female.

Employees under
16 years.

Male.

Total,
both
sexes.

Female.

70
25
88
39
22

2,495
879
4,673
1,204
1,825

3,925
1,467
3,273
1,120
1,974

57
13
23
28
49

317
32
39
88
202

6,794
2,391
8,008
2,440
4,050

244

11,076

11,759

170

678

23,683

The 23,683 employees studied formed 29.7 per cent of the total em­
ployees of the industry in these five cities, the proportion ranging
from 19.7 per cent of the total in New York City to 47.3 per cent in
Baltimore. Considering females 16 years of age and over and chil­
dren under 16, the representation is larger; 36 per cent of the total
women and 47.3 per cent of the children engaged in the manufacture
of men’s clothing in these cities were employed in the establishments
visited.
The investigation was confined to shops in which garments are
made up. Cutting-room employees and others not engaged in the
actual work of making up garments were ignored. With few ex­
ceptions, only establishments were considered in which men’s or boys’
outer or street clothing was made; shops making overalls and the like,
for instance, were excluded.



83

84

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

CONCENTRATION OF THE INDUSTRY.
The manufacture of men’s ready-made clothing is the most im­
portant branch of the general clothing industry. It is characterized
by an extreme concentration, being confined almost exclusively to
cities, and to a relatively small number of cities at that. The five
cities visited in this investigation produced 68.3 per cent of the total
product. New York alone produces over one-third (38.5 per cent)
of the entire output of men’s clothing and one-half of the total prod­
uct is manufactured in the three seaboard cities—New York, Phila­
delphia, and Baltimore.
The urban localization of the industry is due to its dependence,
first, on a large labor supply and, second, on facilities for marketing
the product. The character of our immigration, the large number
of tailors among the immigrants, and the preference of the Jews for
the sewing trades all account for the growth of the clothing industry
in the larger cities, where, also, of course, the best facilities for mar­
keting the product are found.
New York is the leading center of the clothing industry in the
country, owing partly to its large supply of immigrants fitted for
the clothing trades, partly to its nearness to the sources of raw ma­
terial, and partly to its advantages as a market. Chicago stands
second, and Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester follow in order,
THE LABOR FORCE.
PROPORTION OF MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN.

The table already given (p. 83) shows the number of employees
studied in each city. The following table shows the proportion each
class of workers formed of the total:
P E R CENT W H IC H M EN , W O M E N , A N D CH ILD REN FORM ED OF T O T A L W O R K E R S
ST U D IE D , B Y CITIES.
16 years of age and
over.

Under 16 years.

City.
Males.

Females.

Males.

Females.

Chicago.....................................................................................................
Rochester................................................................................................
New York...............................................................................................
Philadelphia...........................................................................................
Baltimore..................................................................................................

36.7
36.8
58.3
49.3
45.1

57.8
61.3
40.9
45. J
9
48.7

0.8
.6
.3
1.2
1.2

4.7
1.3
.5
3.6
5.0

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

46.8

49.6

.7

2.9

The relative number of women employed differed considerably
from one city to another, owing partly to racial customs and partly
to the abundance or scarcity of other openings for women workers.
Thus in Chicago, Bohemians and Poles are the leading races in the
industry, and among these the men are apt to seek work demanding



m e n

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.

greater physical strength, leaving the sewing trades to women.
Among the Jews the opposite situation prevails; men are apt to take
possession of the sewing trades and the proportion of women em­
ployed is relatively small. In Rochester the large proportion of
women seems due mainly to the scarcity of other industrial openings
for them.
Children are nowhere an important part of the labor force, but
everywhere the per cent of girls is far larger than that of boys. This
is due to the very nature of the industry.
Part of the work done by men is unsuited to children, because it
requires considerable physical strength. This applies to pressing,
which requires constant standing and the handling of heavy irons.
Like pressing, basting requires standing. Basting requires, more­
over, skill and experience, and for this purpose adult immigrant
male labor with European training in the work is easily available.
Machine sewing is often left to women and requires some preliminary
training. This restricts the field for the labor of boys. Girls, on the
other hand, are often prepared to do handwork, coming from their
homes to the shop with a knowledge of plain sewing and also of
machine sewing.1
AGE DISTRIBUTION OF EMPLOYEES.

The age of the female employees and of children under 16 was
obtained with much care, but for males 16 years and over no effort
was made to secure this information unless they were engaged in
occupations in which women or children were also employed; conse­
quently only 5,642 males 16 years of age and over are included in the
following table, although the whole number employed was 11,076.
The age distribution of employees for whom details were secured was
as follows:
AG E D ISTR IBU TIO N OF EM P LO Y E E S, B Y S E X .

Males.

Females.

Total.

Age group.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
12 years...............................................................
13 years...........................................................
14 years.......................... ..................................
15 years..............................................................
16 years...............................................................
17 years........................... .................................
18 years................................................ ............
19 years..... .............. ........................................
20 years............................ .................................
21 years..............................................................
22 years...............................................................
23 years........................................ .....................
24 years....................................... .....................
25 to 29 years.....................................................
30 to 34 years.....................................................
35 to 44 years......................................................
45 to 54 years.....................................................
55 to 64 years.................... ................................
65 years and over.............. ..............................
Others reported as 21 years and over..........

4
7
76
83
163
226
292
247
282
246
243
231
244
849
591
818
247
65
20
878

0.1
.1
1.3
1.4
2.8
3.9
5.0
4.3
4.8
4.2
4.2
4.0
4.2
14.6
10.2
14.1
4.3
1.1
.3
15.1

7
57
240
374
919
1.236
1.236
1,041
970
647
574
439
324
1,019
580
764
336
112
31
779

0.1
.5
2.0
3.2
7.9
10.6
10.6
8.9
8.3
5.5
4.9
3.7
2.8
8.7
5.0
6.5
2.9
.9
.3
6.7

11
64
316
457
1,082
1,462
1,528
1,288
1,252
893
817
670
568
1,868
1,171
1,582
583
177
51
1,657

(\ . 4
1.8
2.6
6.2
8.4
8.7
7.4
7.2
5.1
4.7
3.8
3.2
10.7
6.7
9.0
3.3
1.0
.3
9.5

Total.............................. .......*................

5,812

100.0

11,685

100.0

17,497

100.0

1 Vol. II, Men’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 37.




2 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

86

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

The greatest massing of female workers occurs at 17 and 18, the
numbers at these ages being exactly the same, and one-fifth (21.2
per cent) of the total female force being comprised in these two
groups. Over a third (38 per cent) are found in the four years
16 to 19. The age level is rather low, very nearly seven-tenths (69
per cent) being under 25, and only 22.3 per cent being 30 and over.
This is especially noticeable as compared with the male workers
studied, of whom only 40.3 per cent were under 25, while 45.1 per
cent were 30 and over. These were men employed in the same
occupations as women, so it is evident that the women were in general
working with men much older than themselves. “ To the extent that
they are in competitive occupations women must be handicapped by
their limited experience in industry.”
RACE OF EMPLOYEES.

Only 7.3 per cent of the women 16 years of age and over and 12
per cent of the children under 16 were Americans by birth and
descent. The race distribution of the whole group for whom the
exact ages were obtained was as follows:
RACE D ISTR IBU TIO N OF EM PLO YEES, B Y S E X .

16 years of age and over.

Under 16 years.
Kace.
Male.

Female.

American...........................................................
Bohemian...........................................................
German...............................................................
Hebrew...............................................................
Italian.................................................................
Lithuanian.........................................................
Polish..................................................................
Scandinavian....................................................
Other races.........................................................

13
27
15
56
24

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

Total.

Male.

Female.

Total.

3

85
118
100
68
135
13
111
5
22

98
145
115
124
159
13
128
5
25

40
123
210
2,964
1,526
239
267
23
180

802
990
1,653
1,832
3,310
263
978
396
715

842
1,113
1,863
4,796
4,836
502
1,245
419
895

155

657

812

5,572

10,93?

1G,511

17

Considering only those 16 years of age and over, the predominance
of the Hebrew and Italian races is very marked, their numbers being
nearly equal, and the two together forming well over half (58.3 per
cent) of the whole group. The sex distribution of these two races is
markedly different, the males forming 61.8 per cent of the Hebrews
but only 31.6 per cent of the Italians. The Hebrews are the only
largely represented race showing more men than women in these
occupations. Usually the women lead, and sometimes their excess is
very marked. Among the Germans the women are 88.7 per cent of
the whole group, among the Bohemians 88.9 per cent, and among the
Americans 95.2 per cent. Among those under 16 the boys nowhere
equal the girls in number, but the disproportion is least among the
Hebrews.



m e n

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.

CONJUGAL CONDITION OF FEMALE EMPLOYEES.

The conjugal condition of the female workers differed considerably
according to race, the variations being shown in the following table.
As only two girls under 16, one an Italian and one a Hebrew, were
found to be married, the table deals only with those who had reached
or passed 16.
CONJUGAL CONDITION OF FEM ALE

EM PLOYEES 16 Y E A R S OF AG E A N D O VER, B Y
RACE.

Number.
Race.
Single.

Per cent.

Widowed,
divorced,
Married. separated,
etc.

Single.

Widowea,
Married. divorcel,
separated,
etc.

American...........................................................
Bohemian...........................................................
German...............................................................
Hebrew...............................................................
Italian.................................................................
Lithuanian.........................................................
Polish..................................................................
Scandinavian....................................................
Other races.........................................................

694
910
1,393
1,7C0
2,0C0
220
864
333
537

78
C
8
242
71
1,301
43
1C
7
C
:7
142

80
41
170
03
196
6
34
52
£0

81.5
80.3
77.2
92.8
55.9
81.8
81.1
73.7
70.8

9.2
6.7
13.4
3.7
33.6
16.0
15.7
14.8
18.7

9.4
4.0
9.4
3.5
5.5
2.2
3.2
11.5
10.5

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

8,711

2,259

725

74.5

19.3

6.2

The Italians show a strikingly large, and the Hebrews a strik­
ingly low, proportion of married women working, while the other
races display no very wide variations. From a careful study of the
data gathered, the conclusion is reached that about one-third of the
married workers were in the shop only temporarily, probably work­
ing only for a short time after marriage. The remaining two-thirds
were older women who were working more permanently to add to the
family income.
A study of the figures relating to the number of single and mar­
ried women at each age shows that for most women the period of
industrial life is very brief.
The industrial effects of this are varied. The labor force, where
women are employed, requires constant training owing to the large
number who leave the shop every year. They do not look forward
to remaining in the shop. The workers do not have the same oppor­
tunities for learning the complicated processes and becoming expert
at them. This probably accounts for the fact that in the eastern cities
where plenty ox male laborers are available, males are used for every­
thing except the lowest skilled work. Naturally the women are han­
dicapped in competition with the men for the same kinds of work.
It is needless to say that their earnings are affected by their inferior
skill and their attitude toward work as a temporary makeshift.1




1Vol. II, M en’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 71.

88;

BULLETIN OF TH E BTJBEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.
The number and ages of the children under 16 found at work dur­
ing this investigation were as follows:
NUM BER OF CH ILDREN U NDER 16 Y E A R S OF AGE

Male.

A T W O R K , B Y AGE AN D S E X .

Total.

Female.

Age.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
12 years...............................................................
13 years............. ........ .............. ........................
14 years...............................................................
15 years___ . . . . . .................... ........................

4
7
76
83

36.4
10.9
24.1
18.2

7
57
240
374

63.6
89.1
75.9
81.8

11
64
316
457

100.0
100.0
100.0
1G0.0

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

170

20.0

678

80.0

848

1G0.0

These children constituted only 3.6 per cent of the total workers
in the 244 establishments visited. In 105 establishments no children
at all were employed, while in the remainder the proportion children
formed of total employees varied from less than 1 per cent to between
30 and 40 per cent. In general the smaller shops employed a larger
proportion of children than the large establishments.
OCCUPATIONS OF CHILDREN.

The children are classified according to occupation as operators,
high and low grade hand sewers, miscellaneous workers, and appren­
tices. “ The latter term does not have any definite meaning, but
stands for such children, boys, as were being taught the work of
trimming or cutting in a more or less desultory way.”
The children were divided among these occupations as follows:
OCCUPATIONS OF CH ILD R EN U N DER 16 Y E A R S OF AGE, B Y S E X .

Boys.

Girls.

Occupation.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent,;
Apprentices.......................... ..................................................................
Operators............... ................................................................................
High-grade hand sewers........................................................................
Low-grade hand sewers.........................................................................
Miscellaneous (nonsewing)...................................................................

6
36
1
18
109

3.5
21.2
.6
10.6
64.1

121
30
244
283

17.8
4.4
36.0
41.8

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

170

100.0

678

100.0

The miscellaneous group includes such workers as sorters, bottom
trimmers, errand boys and girls, stitch pullers and markers, check
girls, vest turners, strap and belt turners, soapers, basting pullers,
and cleaners. Most of this work is better suited for girls than for




m e n

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89

boys, and this, combined with the greater availability of girls for
sewing occupations, accounts for their marked predominance among
the employees under 16. Each of the classifications here shown in­
cludes a number of occupations. Thus in Chicago the children classed
as operators were performing 27 different kinds of work, nearly all
confined to either the very simple or the semiautomatic machine work.
CHARACTER OF CHILDREN’S WORK.

The work of a garment-making shop is subdivided to an extreme
degree, and the children were employed in too many different occu­
pations to permit a description of the work done. In general the
occupations in which they were engaged can not be regarded as in
themselves greatly injurious to health; the worst features involved
were those of constant sitting and bending over their work and the
confinement in close workrooms. In some instances, particularly in
the small contract shops, errand boys were required to work long
hours, it being necessary for them to return work which had to be
done on a certain date and on which the shop might be at work until
10 o’clock at night. A number of instances of this overtime work
were found.
Only a small proportion of children were found in occupations
which might be regarded as permanent, i. e., in which they might
remain as they grew up. Children do not seem to have any wellestablished position in the industry, and practically all employers
stated that they could get along just as well without them. Women
could do much of the work performed by children, and the rest could
be distributed by means of a rearrangement in the subdivision of
labor without causing any important difference.
ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.

Attention was directed mainly to violations of four classes of laws,
namely, those setting an age limit for employment of children, those
forbidding employment without proper certificates, those limiting
the number of hours per day or per week which a child might work,
and those requiring employers to keep certificates on file.
Information in regard to violations of child-labor laws in the 140
establishments employing children was secured in more or less detail
concerning 664 children, the following table showing the general
extent to which the laws were violated;




90

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

N UM BER AN D PER CENT OF ESTABLISH M ENTS EM PLO YIN G CH ILD REN IN VIO L A ­
TION OF SOME PROVISION OF TH E L A W , AND N UM BER AND PER CENT OF
CH ILD REN IL L E G A L L Y E M PLO YED IN SUCH ESTABLISH M ENTS.
Establishments employing
children under 16 years and
reported upon.
City.

Children under 10 years
employed
and
reported
upon.

Violating some pro­
vision of the law.

Illegally employed.
Total.

Total.
Number. Per cent.

Number. Per cent.

Chicago..............................................................
Rochester...........................................................
New York..........................................................
Philadelphia.....................................................
Baltimore...........................................................

56
12
29
21
122

15
8
28
13
16

26.8
60.7
90.6
61.9
72.7

216
43
58
90
248

32
22
55
44
103

14.8
51.2
94.8
44.4
65.7

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

1 140

80

57.1

604

310

47.0

i Including 4 pad shops.

The wide differences in the proportion of violations found was
due in part to the greater strictness of the laws in some places and
in part to the greater completeness of the information secured. The
table covers violations of every kind, whether serious or trivial.
E M P L O Y M E N T O F C H IL D R E N U N D E R L E G A L A G E .

In Baltimore the legal age for beginning work was 12 years; in
the other cities visited it was 14. Only 7 children under the legal age,
3 in Chicago and 4 in New York, were found working. As children
do not form an important part of the working force under any cir­
cumstances, the temptation to employ any under age is not strong,
and the indications were that illegal employment of this nature was
not common in the cities visited.
E M P L O Y M E N T O F C H IL D R E N W IT H O U T P R O P E R C E R T IF IC A T E S .

In each of the cities investigated the law provided that children
under 16 might not be employed without certificates showing that
they had reached a specified age, and had met certain requirements as
to schooling. Of the 140 establishments employing children, 83
were investigated upon this point. Violations were found in 21,
as follows:
Chicago_________________________________________________________
Rochester-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------New York_______________________________________________________
Philadelphia_____________________________________________________
Baltimore-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4
1
10
3
3

In all, 28 children were found employed without proper certificates.




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E M P L O Y M E N T O F C H IL D R E N IN E X C E S S O F L E G A L H O U R S.

In both Illinois and New York children under 16 might not work
more than 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week, and in both States might
not be employed after a certain hour in the evening or before a certain
hour in the morning. In Chicago, of 210 children reported upon, 10
girls and 4 boys were found to be employed illegally long hours.
Three worked 51£ hours and the rest 54 hours a week; all were em­
ployed more than eight hours for five days in the week. Seven
reported working after legal hours in the evening.
In Rochester 2 children in different establishments were found to
be working more than eight hours a day. In New York City 28 out
of 29 establishments investigated employed children more tha*n
eight hours a day, and 53 out of 58 children investigated were thus
illegally employed; 39 children worked before the lawful hours for
beginning, and 42 after the legal hour for ending, work.
In Philadelphia children might not be employed more than 12
hours a day or 60 hours a week. No violations of this provision were
found.
In Baltimore the law forbade employing children more than 10
hours a day. Twenty-seven children in three establishments were
found who were regularly working more than 10 hours a day.
F A IL U R E O F E M P L O Y E R S TO K E E P C E R T IF IC A T E S O N F IL E .

In each of the cities investigated the law required that employment
certificates for children under 16 should be kept on file in establish­
ments employing such children. This provision was frequently vio­
lated. Of 59 establishments investigated in regard to it, 38 failed
to keep such certificates on file.
In Illinois the law provided that females under 16 might not be
employed in any capacity where such employment would compel them
to remain standing constantly. In Chicago 20 establishments were
reported upon in regard to this provision; 9 were found to be violat­
ing the law, 15 children being affected. None of these children were
working more than eight hours a day, but being engaged in occupa­
tions in which the work could not be performed so easily or rapidly
while sitting, they were all required to stand for the entire eight
hours.
SUMMARY OP EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.

The study of the employment of children in this industry leads to
three general conclusions:
1.
Children are a rather unimportant part of the labor force, and
the industry might easily be so adjusted as to dispense with them
altogether.



92

B U L L E T IN

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BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

2. The violations of the age law were so few as to indicate that
there was no particular advantage in employing children under the
legal age. The larger proportion of the violations of this kind
occurred in the cases of Italian children, who develop physically at
an earlier age than most of the other races considered.
3. There is little in the occupations at which children are employed
to give the child a training for the future or to equip it with a trade.
On the other hand, their work has no inherently dangerous condi­
tions, and accidents are almost unknown.
HOURS OF LABOR AND OVERTIME.
The record of the time worked was not, unfortunately, available
for all workers. Payment by the piece is common, and many shops
keep no record of the hours of work for any but their time workers.
The statistics of the extent of employment rest, therefore, on the
hours reported for time workers and for pieceworkers in such estab­
lishments as keep a time record for this class of employees.
The following table shows the establishment hours and the hours
actually worked in the different cities:
A V ER AG E W E E K L Y ESTABLISH M ENT HOURS AN D A V E R A G E HO U RS ACTUALLY
W O R K E D IN A R E PR ESEN TA TIVE W E E K B Y M ALE A N D FEM ALE EM PLOYEES
16 Y E A R S OF AGE AN D OVER AND U N D ER 16 Y E A R S , B Y CITIES.
Employees 16 years and over.
Females.

Males.

Employees under 16 years.
Males.

Females.

Total.

City.
Estab­
Estab­
Estab­
Estab­
Estab­
lish­
lish­
Hours
Hours
lish­
Hours
lish­
Hours
Hours
lish­
ment worked. ment worked. ment worked. ment worked. ment worked.
hours.
hours.
hours.
hours.
hours.
Chicago.......................
Rochester...................
New York.................
Philadelphia.............
Baltimore...................

54.4
54.6
57.2
54.9
57.9

48.4
50.5
52.5
46.3
46.4

54.3
54.6
57.2
54.6
57.7

48.4
49.2
49.9
47.4
45.8

46.0
44.4
56.6
54.9
57.3

45.8
48.0
53.2
51.2
52.9

45.7
44.6
57.1
54.6
57.1

45.3
44.3
54.4
50.6
40.4

45.8
44.5
56.9
54.6
57.1

45.4
45.8
53.9
50.7
45.6

It will be seen that this table shows a considerable amount of time
lost among the adults and relatively little among the children. The
statistics indicate idleness, voluntary or compulsory, for from 7;5
per cent to 20 per cent of the week, varying in the different cities.
As between the sexes there is not much difference, though on the
whole women show a rather larger amount than men of time lost,
and the same general relation appears between boys and girls. It is
doubtful how far these figures represent the prevailing situation in
the clothing trade.
The caution must be urged that these figures can not be taken as
indicative of the extent of unemployment in the industry as a whole
during the year, as the figures are for a week only. The statistics



m e n 's

93

READY-MADE CLOTHING.

apply in the main to the large establishments. Even here many
establishments had shut down entire shops, reducing the force, but
keeping busy the shops reported. No note was taken of idle shops.
Moreover, in securing pay rolls the endeavor was to secure a pay roll
for a full week, where it was possible to secure one for a full week
not far removed from the time when the establishment was visited.1
The average hours worked, while useful for purposes of compari­
son, show nothing as to how many are working overtime or under­
time. To obtain some light on this point a special analysis was
made of the Chicago data for the industry as a whole—that is, for
both the “ ready-made” and the “ special-order” branches. There
were 2,991 female employees 16 years of age and over in the shops
investigated. Of these, 7.5 per cent worked overtime, 50.8 per cent
worked full time, and 11.7 per cent worked five days but not quite
the full week. Thus 70 per cent worked approximately full time;
the remaining 30 per cent were idle for from two to five days. A
very similar situation as to males 16 years of age and over was shown,
while of the 329 children employed in these establishments threefourths had been employed approximately a full week, i. e., five
days or over. Thus in each group a proportion varying from onefourth to three-tenths was idle from two to five days during the
week studied.
It is clear that there is no even spread of time lost among all shops
and employees. While many employees work full time, and even
overtime, a large fraction of the force is idle for a considerable part
of the week.2
ILLEGAL OVERTIME EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN.

At the time of this investigation New York and Pennsylvania
were the only States visited which had laws regulating the hours
of work for women. No illegal employment of women was found in
Rochester, so the discussion is limited to New York City and
Philadelphia.
The New York law forbade the employment of women and girls
more than 6 days or 60 hours a week. Females 16 years of age and
over might be employed more than 10 hours a day regularly for 5
days a week and irregularly for 3 days a week, provided they did
not work more than 12 hours on any one day, or more than 60 hours
in any one week.
Violations of this law were difficult to discover, since employers
always claimed the women were working only the legal hours, and it
was only by close questioning and careful investigation that the truth
was found. In 9 establishments 90 women were working illegally
long hours on a regular daily and weekly schedule; in 18 estab­
lishments women had worked overtime illegally during the year
*V o l. II, M en’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 108.




2 Idem, p. 110.

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B U L L E T IN

OF

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BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

previous to the investigation, and 9 had employed women to work
overtime illegally during the week for which a copy of their pay roll
was made.
In all, 29 establishments, or 33 per cent of the 88 establishments
visited, violated the law regulating the employment of females 16
years of age and over in at least one of its provisions.
The Pennsylvania law provided that no woman should be em­
ployed for more than 60 hours in any one week or for more than 12
hours in any one day.
Thirty-five establishments, employing 1,049 females 16 years of
age and over, were investigated in Philadelphia. None had a regu­
lar daily or weekly schedule of hours which was illegal, but in eight,
or nearly 23 per cent of all those visited, women on occasion worked
overtime to an extent that violated the law.
The investigation was made at a time when the business depres­
sion of 1907-8 was still affecting the industry, so that there was
less likelihood of overwork than at a more normal time.
EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES.
The statistics of wages and earnings were taken from the pay
rolls of the establishments investigated. The period covered was
one week, the data being taken for the week of normal work nearest
the visit. The wage data were secured for all female employees,
for all males under 16, and for such males 16 years and over as were
employed in occupations at which women or children also worked.
EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OYER.

The following table shows the classified earnings of the whole
group of workers 16 years of age and over for the five cities
combined:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF EM PLOYEES 16 Y E A R S OF AGE AN D OVER EA R N IN G
CLASSIFIED W E E K L Y AM OUNTS, B Y S E X .

Employees 16 years of age and over.

Per cent earning
VluOOlilvU

Weekly earnings.

Number.
Males.

Females.

amounts or less.

Percent
Males.

Females.

Under $ 2 ...........................................................
$2 to $2.99...........................................................
$3 to $3.99...........................................................
$4 to $4.99...........................................................
$5 to $5.99...........................................................
$6 to $6.99...........................................................
$7 to $7.99..................................... .....................
$8 to $8.99...........................................................
$9 to $9.99...........................................................
$10 to $10.99........................................................
$11 to $11.99.......................................................
$12 and over......................................................

93
143
226
256
362
411
489
451
439
479
378
1,776

344
603
1,098
1,412
1,517
1,314
1,131
852
655
451
253
519

1.7
2.6
4.1
4.6
6.6
7.4
8.9
8.2
8.0
8.7
6.9
32.3

3.4
5.9
10.8
13.9
15.0
13.0
11.1
8.4
6.5
4.4
2.5
5.1

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

5,503

10,149

100.0

100.0




Males.
1.7
4.3
8.4
13.0
19.6
27.0
35.9
44.1
52.1
60.8
67.7
100.0

Females.
3.4
9.3
20.1
34.0
49.0
62.0
73.1
81.5
88.0
92.4
94.9
100.0

95

M E K 's READY-MADE CLOTHING.

A comparison of the earnings of men and women, as shown in
this table, brings out two points clearly: First, the range of wages
for men is wider than for women. A range of $4 (from $3 up to $7,
or from $4 up to $8) will cover more than half the women and over
three-fifths (63.8 per cent) are in the groups earning from $3 to
$7.99. There is no such massing of the men. The five groups which
included over three-fifths of the women included only 31.6 per cent
of the men, and at least seven of the $1 groups are required to
account for half their number. Second, the level of the women’s
earnings is much lower than of the men’s. Thirty-four per cent of
the women, as compared with 13 per cent of the men, earned less
than $5 during the week studied; only 26.9 per cent of the women,
but 64.1 per cent of the men, earned $8 or over. Almost a third of
the men (32.3 per cent) were earning $12 or over, while about onetwentieth of the women were found in this group.
The lower level of women’s wages appears more clearly in the
following table:
A V E R A G E W E E K L Y EAR N IN G S OF M ALES AN D F EM ALES 16 Y E A R S OF AG E AN D
O VER , A N D U N D E R 16 Y E A R S OF A G E , IN L E A D IN G OCCUPATIONS, B Y CITIES.

Number of employees.
16 years and
over.

City.

Average weekly earnings.
16 years and
over.

Under 16 years.

Under 16 years.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Total.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Males.

Females.

492
389
2,470
525
965

3,569
1,329
2,623
946
1,317

51
13
20
22
36

236
29
30
80
104

347
42
50
102
140

$10.56
11.29
10.45
9.53
7.93

$7.30
7.04
6.00
5.75
4.74

$4.21
3.99
4.25
3.37
3.69

$3.82
3.98
3.86
3.56
3.25

Chicago.......................
Rochester.................
New York.................
Philadelphia.............
Baltimore...................

Total.

$3.87
3.93
4.02
3.52
3.37

The average earnings of the women are in every place at least as
much as $3 lower than those of the men, and in two cities the differ­
ence is over $4. As between boys and girls the difference is much
less; the girls averaged a little lower than the boys.
EARNINGS OP HOME WORKERS.

In every city a considerable number of workers were employed
outside of the shop. The following table shows the number and
proportion of these in certain earnings groups as compared with the
shopworkers:




96

B U L L E T IN

OF T H E

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

N U M BER AN D PE R CENT OF FEM ALE HOME A N D SHOP W O R K E R S 16 Y E A R S OF AG E
AN D OYER E A R N IN G CLASSIFIED AM OUNTS PER W E E K .

Shopworkers.

Home workers.

Weekly earnings.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $2..................................................................................................
$2 to $3.99................................................ ................................................
$4 to $5.99...................... .........................................................................
$6 to $7.99..................................... ...........................................................
$3 to $9.99.................................................................................................
$10 to $11.99..............................................................................................
*12 and over... •. . . ________________________________________
Total______

344
1,701
2,929
2,445
1,507
704
519

3.4
16.7
23.9
24.1
14.9
6.9
5.1

140
277
154
40
13
10
3

21.8
43.1
24.0
6.2
2.8
1.6
.5

10,149

100.0

642

100.0

As compared with the shopworkers the earnings of the home
workers are extremely low. In reality they are even lower than
shown by the above table, for often the worker whose name appears
on the pay roll is helped by one or more members of her family.
Even this does not bring the earnings up to anything like a living
wage. Nearly nine-tenths (88.9 per cent) earned under $6 and over
one-fifth under $2.
The earnings in different occupations are studied in much detail,
but the principal conclusion drawn is that there was an entire absence
of what could be called a standard wage in the industry.
This is true of both men and women and of both piece and time
workers. Examining the weekly rates in the same occupation, the
workers in a given employment are found distributed according to
their earnings over a wide range in the wage scale. Examining the
earnings of pieceworkers, their earnings seem to be similarly dif­
ferentiated. Wages where paid by the week are fixed in the trade
either according to the efficiency or capacity for bargaining of the
worker or by an arbitrary determination, and not according to a
particular time rate.1
As illustrating this lack of standard rates data are cited covering
the earnings of 32 female edge basters 21 years of age and over
working by the week in coat shops. Their average computed earn­
ings for a full week were $9.17, but their individual earnings ranged
from $7 to $12. Sixty-six female coat operators 18 to 20 years of
age, working by the piece, averaged $9.93, with an individual range
of from $7 to $12. Among time workers 116 women 18 to 20 years
of age averaged $8.96, but their individual earnings ranged from $5
to $14.
Examination of the earnings in other occupations brings to light
the same general conditions. There are no standard rates or stand­
ard earnings in the sense in which they are day rates for unskilled
labor or definite rates in highly skilled trades, such as the printing
trade.2
1 Vol. II, M en’s Ready-M ade Clothing, p. 194.




3 Idem, p. 195.

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97

EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES, BY RACE.

Among women in general the races who had been longer in the
industry—the Germans, Scandinavians, and Bohemians—showed the
higher earnings. It is not certain whether this is due to racial
ability or to other factors. Many of the older races begin as children
and gradually acquire the skill and training needed for the more
important work in the shop, while many of the recent immigrants
come into the shop at a later age and crowd into such work as they
can do without any preliminary training, usually some form of
plain sewing.
Another consideration is the fact that the direction of the industry
is likely to be in the hands of the older races, who naturally are apt
to aid their friends and acquaintances in seeking the better positions.
As a result there is a tendency for occupations to become identified
with races. Everywhere the German girls are mainly operators,
while the Italians, who are newcomers, are hand sewers.
The distribution of races in the industry suggests that the older
races among the women in the industry—Germans, Scandinavians,
and Bohemians—have preserved for themselves the better-paying
occupations, leaving the poorly paid hand sewing to the more recent
immigrants—Hebrews, Italians, and Lithuanians.1
Among the men the Hebrews and the Italians are the only two
races sufficiently represented to permit any valid comparisons. Of
these the Hebrews, who are the older race in the industry, everywhere
earn more.
HOME WORK IN THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY.
The principal steps in the making of men’s ready-made clothing
are the machine work (“ operating,” so called), basting, finishing or
felling, and pressing. Finishing is the principal home work, and it
requires but little skill, only the knowledge of plain sewing that
most immigrant women possess. The study of home workers in
the clothing industry is largely a study of home finishers.
The term “ finishing” is loosely used to denote the hand sewing
requisite to complete the garment after the operating and basting
has been done, and it consists for the most part of felling the lining
to the cloth of the garment, where this has not already been done
by machine. Sometimes other incidental operations are added as a
part of the finishing, varying with the grade of the clothing and the
particular kind of garment.
1
Vol. II, Men’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 212.
95053°—Bull. 175—16------ 7




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OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

EXTENT OF HOME WORK.

No statistics exist showing the extent of home finishing. It is
resorted to more extensively in New York and less proportionately
in Chicago than elsewhere. The pay-roll data of the establishments
investigated showed that 25.6 per cent of the finishers employed were
working at home. At the time of the investigation, however, owing
to the industrial depression, many of the small contract shops were
closed and hence could not be included in the investigation. But the
small contract shop is the one that makes the greatest use of home
finishing, so that in all probability the proportion given above is far
below that which really exists. The 674 home finishers included in
this study were distributed as follows:
Chicago________________________________________________________
Rochester______________________________________________________
New York----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Philadelphia______________________ :____________________________
Baltimore----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

40
34
488
48
64

Total____________________________________________________

674

RACE, AGE, AND CONJUGAL CONDITION OF HOME WORKERS.

Italians formed 84.3 per cent of the total group studied; in Chi­
cago they were 90 per cent and in New York 98.2 per cent of the
total. Germans formed 8.3 per cent of the whole group. No other
races were numerously represented.
The age and conjugal condition of the workers were as follows:
CONJUGAL CONDITION OF HOME W O R K E R S , B Y AG E.

Ago.

Married.

Under 16 years.....................................................................................
16 and 17 years....................................................................................
18 to 20 years........................................................................................
21 to 24 years........................................................................................
25 to 29 years........................................................................................
30 to 34 years........................................................................................
35 to 49 years........................................................................................
50 years and over.................................................................................

4
42
90
110
100
181
29

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

556

Widowed,
divorced,
separated,
or
deserted.

Single.

Total.

4
12
32
35

5
4
4
5
6
2
7
1

5
8
47
95
120
114
220
65

84

34

674

1

It is evident that the work is very largely in the hands of the older
married women. The opportunities for advancement are so much
greater in the shop that young girls will not work at home unless
forced to it by exceptional circumstances.




m e n

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.

HOURS, EARNINGS, AND HELPERS OF HOME WORKERS.

The hours of the home workers are necessarily irregular, but in­
quiries were made as to the usual time worked. In New York in spite
of the depression during which the investigation was made over 60
per cent regularly worked on garments 8 hours or over per day, and a
little over one-fourth worked 10 hours or more. In the other four
cities combined 51.5 per cent worked 8 hours or more; one-fifth
worked 10 hours or over. This it must be remembered was time spent
on garment making exclusive of household duties, care of children,
etc.
Full-time weekly earnings were as follows:
NU M BER AN D PER CENT OF HOME W O R K E R S EAR N IN G CLASSIFIED AMOUNTS
PER F U L L W E E K .

Earnings per full week.
Under $ 1 .....................................
$1 to $1.49.....................................
$1.50 to $1.99................................
$2 to $2.49.....................................
$2X0 to $2.99................................
$3 to $3.49.....................................
$3.50 to $3.99................................
S4 to $4 4Q
$4.C0 to $4.99...............................

Number. Per cent.
5
16
60
119
83
141
57
75
27

0.7
2.4
8.9
17.7
12.3
20.9
8.5
11.1
4.0

Earnings per full week.

dumber. Per cent.

$5 to $5.49.....................................
$5.50 to $5.99................................
$6 to $6.99.....................................
$7 to $7.99.....................................
$8 to $8.99.....................................
$9 to $9.99.....................................
$10 and over................................

43
9
24
6
4
2
3

6.4
1.3
3.6
.9
.6
.3
.4

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

674

100.0

The average earnings per full week of the whole group were $3.21.
These earnings range much lower than those of the shop workers, and
there is not the same chance for advancement that there is in the
shop. The work requires so little skill that the average woman can do
it practically as well after two weeks’ as after two years’ experience.
The full-time earnings are frequently cut down by the irregularity
of the work. It was the exception for home workers to be steadily
employed. To a considerable degree they alternated between rush
periods, when they had to work as long and as fast as they possibly
could, and slack seasons, when they might get only two or three
garments a day or none at all.
The home workers were sometimes helped by other adults of the
family who were temporarily out of work, but more often children
were pressed into service. In the families visited 110 children
ranging from 5 to 15 years of age, were found working as helpers, and
there was ground for suspicion that in many cases the fact that chil­
dren were helping was concealed.
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF HOME WORKERS.

Ordinarily the home finishers appeared to have taken up the work
under the pressure of extreme poverty. For the widowed and the
deserted, separated, or divorced wives the reason for their poverty



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is evident enough; they were unskilled women, usually with family
responsibilities and no way of meeting them. In the case of the 556
married women the poverty seems due to the low earning capacity
of the husbands. Only 58 (10.9 per cent) of these husbands had
earned as much as or more than $500 during the year studied; 56.6
per cent had earned under $300. Only 75 had been employed through­
out the year. The partial idleness of the others did not seem to be
their choice, but was due to sickness, age, or the seasonal character
of the unskilled outdoor labor, which was all most of them were
capable of performing.
The average membership of the families for whom full data were
gathered was 4.5, and the average yearly income $515. The husband,
in families where there was a husband at work, contributed on an
average 58.4 per cent of the family income, the wife 22 per cent,
children under 14 years 9.2 per cent, children 14 and 15 years 16.4
per cent, and children 16 years and over 54 per cent.1 Small as were
their earnings, the husbands contributed a larger average propor­
tion of the family income than did the husbands in the whole group
of garment makers studied, or among the cotton textile workers, the
silk workers, or the glassworkers.2
In the families of the 590 married home workers for whom data
on this point were secured there were approximately a thousand chil­
dren under 16, their age distribution being as follows:
Under 3 years-------------------------------------------------------------------------3 to 5 years--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 to 9 years----------------------------------------------------------------------------10 to 13 years________________________________________________
14 and 15 years------------------------------------------------------------------------

285
229
215
192
103

.Total____________________________________________________1,024

Even assuming that by the time a child is 6 years old it may safely
be left to its own devices for an hour, more or less, there are 514
children too young to be safely left alone while the mothers are car­
rying the work to and from the shops; and these children, moreover,
ought to absorb a good part of the mother’s care and attention during
working hours. In 255 cases the mother looked after the children
1 These percentages apply in each case only to families in which wage earners of the
specified class were found.
2 The study of four leading industries showed the following facts :
Per cent of net family income contributed by fathers in families having fathers at
work—
Cotton-textile industry—
Northern group _________________________________________________________________ ,__ 37. 7
Southern g rou p ____________________________________________________________________ __34. 0
Glass in d u stry _____________________________________________________________________________56. 0
M en's ready-made clothing--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------48. 4
Silk in d u stry --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---50. 5
See Report on Condition of W om an and Child W age Earners iu the United States,
Vol. I, p. 4 3 2 ; Vol. II, p. 3 6 4 ; Vol. I l l , p. 5 2 4 ; Vol. IV , p. 258.




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unaided as best she could; in other cases they were cared for by older
children, by relatives, or neighbors, the amount of care received
being an exceedingly variable quantity.
The living conditions of the home workers varied widely. For the
most part they were tenement dwellers. Almost all the finishing was
done in kitchens and bedrooms, there being only 9 cases out of 426
reported in New York in which other rooms were used. In 304, or
half the cases, the rooms in which the work was done were reported
to be in good condition as to cleanliness. The others ranged from
fair to unspeakable.
REASONS FOR HOME WORK.

From the worker’s standpoint poverty and the difficulty of leaving
young children usually account for a woman’s beginning home work.
Sometimes it is kept up after the need is over, because both the
worker and her family have come to look upon it as a normal thing.
In a few instances other reasons were found, such as inability to
stand the strain of shopwork or the desire to add to an income per­
mitting only the lowest standard of living.
From the employer’s standpoint home work is an economy. It
saves rent, fuel, light, and supervision, and since home workers are
unorganized and peculiarly unable to bargain, prices for work can
be beaten down below what shop workers would accept. Employers
of the better class object to the system, but often feel themselves
obliged by competition to make use of it.
From the standpoint of the public it is an unmixed evil, not only
from its deleterious effects upon the home life of the workers them­
selves, but also from the impossibility of preventing the work being
carried bn amid unclean and insanitary conditions, sometimes even in
the immediate presence of patients ill with contagious or infectious
diseases.
THE CLOTHING SHOP AND WORKING CONDITIONS.
For the most part in the clothing shops visited no means of venti­
lation were provided except doors and windows, under which state
of affairs ventilation in the wintertime is apt to be exceedingly bad.
Three establishments had suction fans in their windows, and 36 others
had such supplemental means of ventilation as air shafts, skylights,
etc.
Only 11 shops—4 in Philadelphia and 7 in Chicago—were found
above the second floor in buildings unprovided with fire escapes. In
these conditions were very bad as the exits were wooden stairways,
not infrequently narrow and winding. In many of the shops pro­




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S T A T IS T IC S .

vided with fire escapes, however, access to such escapes was blocked
or obstructed, or the termination of the escape was such that it was
rendered dangerous to use.
As many of the shops were located on the upper floors of high
buildings the provision of elevator service was important. The unre­
stricted use of elevators was allowed to the 6,661 employees of 34
establishments in the five cities. In 7 other establishments a re­
stricted use was allowed; in some cases women, but not men, might
ride, in others all employees might ride up but not down, and in oth­
ers the privilege of using the elevator depended upon the floor upon
which the employee worked. In 96 establishments employing 3,478
men, 2,676 women, and 116 children the employees had to climb from
three to six flights of stairs to reach their work, either because the
building had no elevators or because the employees were not allowed
to use them.
The provision of wash rooms was variable. In most of the cities
covered by the investigation a wash room was the exception, while a
faucet and sink, usually in the workroom, was the rule. Some shops
had separate sinks for the two sexes, but this was unusual. A few
provided separate wash rooms, well equipped. The following shows
the situation as to washing facilities:
N UM BER OF ESTABLISHMENTS H AV IN G W ASH ROOMS, A N D EM PLO YEES AFFEC TED .

Establishments having—

Separate wash rooms for males and females........................ ...............................
Wash rooms for females, but not for males.........................................................
Only sink and faucet................................................................................................
No facilities for washing.................................................... .....................................

Number Employees affected.
of estab­
lish­
ments.
Males. Females.
21
24
114
85

2,433
1,955
5,322
1,536

3,049
1,656
6,321
1,411

The separate wash rooms were found only in the larger establish­
ments.
Twenty-two establishments had dressing rooms for both sexes and
88 others had them for women only; the remaining 134, with 5,342
female employees, had no provision of the kind. The dressing rooms
provided ranged all the way from comfortable and well-equipped
rooms to small spaces partitioned off from the workroom by walls of
thin cloth or frequently of heavy wrapping paper.
The toilet accommodations were found to be inadequate in 40 cases,
inconveniently situated in 23, and lacking privacy of approach in 86.
In 27 cases the toilets were used in common by both sexes. The con­
ditions as to cleanliness of the closets used by women was in 94 cases
good, in 52 fair, in 93 bad, and in 5 cases was not reported.




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Lunch rooms were provided in only 6 of the 244 establishments
visited, eating in the workrooms being a common practice in the
others.
It is a very common sight to see a long row of sewing-machine
operators seated before the long table or bench on which their ma­
chines rest and the table littered with bits of cloth and thread and
food. If the worker is paid on a piece-rate basis, he or she fre­
quently eats lunch while at work. This is true net only of the oper­
ators, but also of the employees in other occupations as well; and,
as the shops are so often dirty, the ventilation usually poor, and the
heat at times excessive, the workrooms are not attractive places in
which to eat.1
In 210 establishments, employing 97.5 per cent of the employees
studied, lunching in the building was customary, and nearly one-half
of the employees in these shops followed the custom.
FAMILY CONDITIONS AND SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF
FAMILY INCOME.
In order to secure data concerning the home conditions of the
garment makers the names of a certain number of women and chil­
dren were taken from the pay rolls of each establishment investi­
gated, their homes were visited, and detailed information was secured
in regard to both the individual workers and their families. The
number of families investigated in each city was as follows:
Chicago________________________________________________________ __ 614
Rochester______________________________________________________ _ 119
_
New Y ork_______________________________________________________853
Philadelphia---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- 312

Baltimore---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------376
Total____________________________________________________2,274

GENERAL CHARACTER OF FAMILIES.

To a very large extent these, families represented the immigrant,
and to a less but still very considerable degree the recent immigrant.
Classing them by the race and nativity of their heads, only 70 were
native born of native parents, 100 were native born of foreign par­
ents, and the remaining 2,104 were foreign born of foreign parents.
As a special effort was made to secure information concerning home
finishers, and, as the home finishers were mainly Italians, that race
is disproportionately represented, forming 45.8 per cent of the entire
number of families investigated. Hebrews constituted 17.2 per cent;
no other race furnished as much as 10 per cent.
As a rule, most of the woman and child workers in these families
were employed in garment making, but the male workers were more




1Vol. II, M en’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 336.

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commonly employed in other industries. There was no distinctive
type of garment-making family.
COMPOSITION OF FAMILIES AND EMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS.

The 2,274 families averaged 5.4 members and 2.9 wage earners
apiece. In 81.3 per cent the fathers and in 96.9 per cent the mothers
were living and with the family. Eight hundred and twenty-two,
or 36.1 per cent, had male children 16 years of age and over, 61.2
per cent had female children 16 years of age and over, 38 per cent
had children 14 and 15 years, and 67.9 per cent had children under
16 years. Of the fathers living with their families 91.7 per cent
and of the mothers 43 per cent were contributing to the support of
the family. The proportion of the children in the various age
groups at work was as follows:
Males 16 years of age and over_______________________________94. 6
Females 16 years of age and over_____________________________ 93.9
Children 14 and 15 years of age______________________________ 71. 8
Children under 14 years______________________________________ 1 .5

The proportion of wage-earning mothers probably does not repre­
sent the situation among garment workers in general, as the inclu­
sion of the large group of home workers, most of whom were
mothers, tends to overweight this class. The proportion of wage
earners in the other classes is probably far more normal, though in
regard to the children of 14 and 15 it must be remembered that
many of these families were selected precisely because they had at
least one child under 16 at work.
SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF FAMILY INCOME,

The average net income per family for the entire group was $790.
Among the family groups it differs according to the contributing
membership. The following table shows the extent of these
differences:
Average net income per family of families having—
Fathers at work______________________________________________ $826
Mothers at work_______________________________ ______ _ ______
_
561
Male children 16 years of age and over at work____________ 1,055
Female children 16 years of age and over at work___________
935
Children 14 and 15 years of age at work_____________________
912
Children under 14 years of age at work_____________________
777

The families with mothers at work show by far the lowest incomes.
In more than half of these 948 families (590, or 62.2 per cent) the
mothers were home workers. Comment has already been made upon
the extreme poverty of the families in which these workers were
found. Families with wage-earning children under 14 show the



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next lowest incomes, but these families are so few, only 55 against 649
in the next smallest group, those having children of 14 and 15 at
work, that little significance can be attached to these figures.
The proportion of the family income contributed by each group
of workers was as follows:
Per cent.1

Fathers ______________________________________________________ _48.4
Mothers ______________________________________________________ _26.8
Male children 16 years and over_____________________________ _36. 5
Female children 16 years and over____________________________39. 7
Children 14 and 15 years_____________________________________ _14. 2
Children under 14 years______________________________________ _10.0

Although the fathers make much the most important .contribution,
they yet do not furnish on an average half of the income, and it is
evident that the families would be in a bad way if they depended on
the fathers’ earnings alone. The daughters 16 years of age and over
are the next most important contributors, furnishing nearly two-fifths
of the family income.
The difference between the proportion of the incomes contributed
by male and by female children 16 years of age and over is somewhat
affected by the greater number of female wage earners in this age
group; they average 1.6 per family, while the male children 16 years
of age and over average but 1.4 per family. On the other hand, the
earnings of the females are everywhere lower than those of the
males, so that the contributions of the former are proportionately
more generous than those of the males.
This is brought out by the following table, which gives for these
two groups of workers data concerning average earnings and con­
tributions to family:
AVER AG E EAR NINGS OF CH ILDREN 16 Y E A R S OF AGE A N D OVER A N D AM O U N T A N D
PER CENT OF EAR N IN GS CONTRIBUTED TO F A M IL Y , B Y S E X A N D RACE.

Children 16 years and over at work.
Number of
families with—

Average yearly
earnings of—

Average
amount con­
tributed to
family by—

Per cent of
earnings con­
tributed to
family by -

Nativity and race of head of family.
Male
chil­
dren 16
years
‘and
over at
work.

Female
chil­
dren 16
years Males.
and
over at
work.

Fe­
males.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Native boro., native parents.................
Native born, foreign parents................
Foreign bom............................................

21
36
739

44
58
1,250

$372
357
366

$232
241
265

$278
257
292

$209
220
247

74.7
72.0
79.8

90.1
91.3
93.2

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

796

1,352

366

263

291

245

79.5

93.2

1 These per cents apply in each case to the incomes of families having workers of the
specified class.




106

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OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

These figures do not show much variation between the different
race groups, but do show a marked difference between the sexes.
The sons never retain less on an average than one-fifth of their
earnings for their own use, while the daughters never retain on an
average quite one-tenth. Or, in actual amounts, the sons of the
three groups given above retain on an average for their own use,
respectively, $94, $100, and $74, while the daughters retain $23, $21,
and $18. A study of the individual schedules shows that 71.6 per
cent of the sons and 87,7 per cent of the daughters paid in all their
earnings to the family fund.
MARRIED WOMEN AT WORK; EARNINGS AND FAMILY CONDITIONS.

Including the home finishers, 948 married women in the families
visited were found to be at work for wages and assisting in the
support of their families. These formed 43 per cent of the married
women living with their families. This proportion was made unduly
large by the special effort to visit home finishers, who were usually
married. Excluding these, 21.3 per cent of the remaining married
women living with their families were gainfully employed. In
addition 65 other married women were found at work but living
with families other than their own.
The condition of the home finishers has already been discussed.
The other married women living at home and gainfully employed
were thus divided:
CONDITION AS TO HUSBANDS OF M AR R IED W O M EN A T W O R K .

Condition as to husband.

Number. Per cent.

Deserted and divorced wives........................................................................... ........................
Wives of incapacitated husbands.............................................................................................
Wives of idle husbands...............................................................................................................
Wives with husbands at work.................................................................................................

75
22
14
9
238

21.0
6.1
3.9
2.5
66.5

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

358

100.0

The average family membership was 3.8 and the average annual
income per family was $664. Since the average annual income of
all families having mothers at work was only $561, it is easy to see
the effect of the low incomes of the home finishers in pulling down
the general average.
These families have been divided into three general classes, ac­
cording to the reasons which impelled the women to become wage
earners. The first consists of the cases in which the mother’s earn­
ings were essential to the family support, owing to death, desertion,
or low earning capacity of the husband; in the second she was
forced to work by the husband’s unjustifiable idleness; and in the
third her earnings were not, strictly speaking, essential, but she



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worked to help raise the family scale of living, to make some provi­
sion for the future, to buy property, or to accomplish some particu­
lar purpose the family had at heart.
The most significant of the subclasses under these general divisions
is the group of married women working because their husbands,
though able and anxious to work, could not support their families.
There were 81 of these. In 48 cases the husbands’ work had been
/
so irregular, through no fault of their own, that their earnings fell
below the point of family support; in 4 the husbands had lost posi­
tions owing to the business depression and had not succeeded in
gaining ethers, and in 29 the husbands had worked steadily but
their earnings were so low that the wives were forced to help out.
Concerning the group in which the work of the wife was not,
strictly speaking, a matter of economic necessity, it is worth noticing
that in nearly half (64 cases) of these families the household con­
sisted* only of husband and wife. Nearly all of these were young
people who had not been long married, and the wife was helping
to get a good start, with the intention of giving up outside work as
her home duties became more pressing.
The number of families in which there were children under 14
was among the home finishers 475, among the other married women
at work 178. In the families from which reports were obtained the
care of these children while their mothers were at work was pro­
vided for as follows:
N U M BER OF FAMILIES OF M AR R IED W O M EN A T W O R K H A V IN G C H IL D R E N OF
SPECIFIED AG ES, IN W H IC H C H IL D R EN W E R E CARED F O R B Y SPECIFIED
PERSONS.

Families of others than home
finishers.

Families of home finishers.

Relation to children of person taking Number having children
of ages—
care of them.

Number having children
of ages—
TotaU

Un­
der 3

3 to
5

6 to
9

10 to
13

Mother....................................................
Mother and other person.....................
Father......................................................
Father and other person.....................
Brother or sister....................................
Grandmother.........................................
Grandfather............................................
Aunt............ ...........................................
Other relative.........................................
Neighbor.................................................
Day nursery...........................................
No one.....................................................
Not reported...........................................

127
43
7
14
12
18
1
13
3
37

110
23
8
13
10
13
1
10
2
35

124
19
5
8
13
9

98
15
3
3
11
4

5
1
19

1
1
9

1

1

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

275

226

204

Total.1
Un­
der 3

243
51
10
17
18
20
1
13
3
54

10 to
13

2
1
2

5
3

4
6

7

6

3
1
1
2

3
5

5
1
2
2
3
1
7
1

1
145

6 to
9

3 to
5

1

2
1

431

18

25

1

|
34i

2

13
1

10
10
1
15
1
4
5
7
2
16
2

36 j

75

7
1
1
1

i In the details of this table each family appears as many times as it has children of the different age
groups. C n account of this duplication the totals are not comparable with the numbers in the several
columns, the total being the actual number of families considered.




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L A B O R S T A T IS T IC S .

At first sight the children of the home workers seem to fare better
than those of the other group, but it must be remembered that those
who were cared for by their mothers had only such care as the mother
could give in what time was left after from 5 to 10 or more hours5work
on finishing. The two groups combined show a total of 231 children
under 6 who are cared for by others than the mother. The unfortu­
nate features of such a situation are too evident to need comment.
SINGLE WOMEN 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OVER AT WORK.

About 82 per cent of the 1,987 single women in this age group at
work were employed in the men’s clothing industry, the remainder
working in a variety of industries. The following table shows the
age distribution of these women and the length of time they had
been at work:
N UM BER AN D

PE R CENT OP SINGLE W O M EN OF SPECIFIED AGES A T
AN D Y E A R S SINCE BEG INNIN G W O R K .

W ORK

Years since begin­
ning work.
Age.

Number. Per cent
of total.
Number Average
reporting. years.

22 years......................................................................- .............................
23 years.....................................................................................................
24 years.....................................................................................................
25 to 29 years............................................................................. - ...........
80 years and over....................................................................................

405
338
289
230
183
136
119
64
43
112
68

20.4
17.0
14.6
11.6
9.2
6.8
6.0
3.2
2.2
5.6
3.4

396
327
280
217
177
132
112
63
42
107
65

2.1
2.9
3.7
4.5
5.0
6.0
6.4
6.9
6.9
8.6
17.3

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

1,987

100.0

1,918

4.7

16 years.....................................................................................................
17 years......................................... ...................................................
18 years.............................................. .....................................................
19 years.....................................................................................................
20 years.....................................................................................................

The youthfulness of this group is noticeable. One-fifth were only
16 and over three-fifths (63.6 per cent) were under 20. Above 20 the
decrease for each age group is rapid. A large proportion of the
women had begun work early.
T
The average age of beginning wage-earning work of all women up
to and including the age of 22 was under 16, varying from 13.9 years
for those 16 years of age to 15.6 years for those 22 years old. Most of
the older women were foreign born, and while many of them had
worked on farms before coming to the United States, they usually
had not worked for wages. Hence the age at which they became
wage earners was apt to be higher than was the case with those born
in this country.
The average length of time these women had been at work was 4.7
years. For 1,914 women reports were received as to the number of
industries in which they had worked. The great majority, 1,516, or



MEN V

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READY-MADE CLOTHING*

79.2 per cent, had worked only in one, a fact which seems to tell
against the general belief that women in factory employments such
as these easily and frequently change not only from shop to shop, but
from one industry to another.
The steadiness of employment and the earnings of these women
were as follows:
AV E R A G E D A Y S W O R K E D DUR ING Y E A R A N D A V E R A G E A N N U A L EA R N IN G S OF
SINGLE W O M EN 16 A N D OVER A T W O R K , B Y A G E .

Days
worked.
233
237
247
244
241
246
240

16 years.
17 years.
18 years.
19 years.
20 years.
21 years.
22 years.

Annual
earnings.
«207
238
273
287
281
310
310

Age.

23 years................
24 years................
25 to 29 years____
30 years and over
Total.........

Days
worked.

Annual
earnings.

247
237

$313
274

246

313

241

265

The average loss of time, counting 300 days as a full year, was 59
days. The variation among the cities was considerable, owing to
the fact that the business depression of 1907-8 was increasing as the
investigation proceeded, the loss of time being greatest in the cities
last visited.
The average earnings increase steadily with each year of age up
through 23, except for a slight decrease at 20, but a sudden drop
appears at 24, which is not wholly made up before 30. The table
seems to indicate that, as a rule, the higher annual earnings are the
result of an efficiency attained by years of experience rather than of
regular work.
The average membership of the families to which these women be­
longed was 6.1, the average annual income was $1,018, and in only
19.9 per cent of the families was the per capita weekly income less
than $2.
CHILDREN UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE AT WORK.

Among the 2,274 families visited there were 684, or 30 per cent,
in which there were found 746 working children under 16 years of
age. In 55 of these families there were children under 14 at work,
and in 649 there were children of 14 or 15 at work; thus there were
20 families in which both children under 14 and children of 14 or 15
were found at work. The children 14 and 15 years of age at work
numbered 688, and those under 14 years 58. Most of the working
children under 14 were found in Baltimore, where 12 was the legal
age for beginning work.




110

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

The racial distribution of the families having children under 16
at work and of the children themselves was as follows:
N UM BER OF FAM ILIES H A V IN G CH ILD REN U N D E R 16 Y E A R S OF A G E A T W O R K
AN D NU M BER OF SUCH C H ILD R EN , B Y RACE.

Number
of
families.

Race.

American....................................
Ita lia n .......................................
Hebrew........................................
German
Bohemian..................................
Polish...........................................

Number
of
children.

15
191
141
109
96
81

19
211
150
125
104
83

Number Number
of
cf
families. children.

Race.

Lithuanian.................................
Scandinavian.............................
AH others....................................

13
5
33

14
5
35

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

684

746

The racial distribution of these children differs somewhat from
that of the adults found in the garment-making industry. Of the
total adult workers the Germans formed 11.3 per cent, the Hebrews
29 per cent, and the Italians 29.3 per cent. The corresponding per­
centages for these children under 16 are Germans 16.7 per cent, He­
brews, 20.1 per cent, and Italians 28.3 per cent. The numbers con­
cerned are so small that it is difficult to say whether these proportions
have any real significance.
The condition of these children as to parents was as follows:
CONDITION AS TO PAR ENTS OF CH ILDREN U N D E R 16 Y E A R S OF AG E A T W O R K .

Condition as to parents.

Orphans......................................................................................................................
Children of widows..................................................................................................
Children of deserted mothers..................................................................................
Children of incapacitated fathers...........................................................................
Children ol idle fathers.............................................................................................
Children with both parents at work.....................................................................
Children with fathers but not mothers at work.................................................
Total..................................................................................................................

Children Children
H and 15 under 14
years.
years.

Total.

1
1
11
104
14
4
25
2
13
87 ............io
444
30

2
115
18
27
13
97
474

688

746

58

Orphanage as a cause for being at work early appears to be almost
negligible. Children of widowed and deserted mothers make up a
little over one-sixth (17.8 per cent) of the total group, but are rela­
tively more numerous among the children .under 14. In both age
groups the majority are children in normal families, i. e., with both
parents living and not incapacitated. For the children of 14 and 15
the average family membership was 6.8, the average annual income,
excluding the earnings of children under 16, $838, and the average
weekly per capita income $2.37. For the children under 14 the aver­
age size of family was 6.9, the average annual income, excluding
earnings of children under 14, was $708, and the average weekly per
capita income, making the same exclusion, $1.97. There was plainly




m e n 's r e a d y -m a d e c l o t h i n g

.

Ill

a much greater economic pressure in the case of the children under
14 than in the case of those aged 14 or 15.
The following table shows the number and per cent of families
falling within specified groups of weekly per capita income accord­
ing to whether or not the earnings of the children are included.
NUM BER A N D PER CENT OP FAM ILIES H A V IN G SPECIFIED P ER CAPITA W E E K L Y
INCOMES, E X CL U D IN G AN D INCLUDING T H E EAR N IN G S OF C H IL D R EN .

Number of families
having specified
weekly per cap­
ita income.

Per cent of fam flips
having specified
weekly per cap­
ita income.

Per capita weekly income.
Includ­ Exclud­ Includ­ Exclud­
ing earn­ ing earn­ ing earn­ ing earn­
ings of
ings of
ings of
ings of
children. children. children. children.
Under $1.50..............................................................................................
$1.50 to $1.99.............................................................................................
$2 to $2.49.................................................................................................
$2.50 to $2.99................... ........................................................................
$3 to $3.49..................................................................................................
$3.50 to $3.99.............................................................................................
$4 to $4.49..................................................................................................
$4.50 to $4.99.............................................................................................
$5 and over........................................................ .....................................
Total

88
121
112
94
90
60
39
32
48

180
128
93
95
63
45
31
21
28

12.9
17.7
16.4
13.7
13.1
8.8
5.7
4.7
7.0

26.3
18.7
13.6
13.9
9.2
6.6
4.5
3.1
4.1

684

684

100.0

100.0

It will be noticed that the difference between the two columns is
greatest among the families having the smallest per capitas; this is
due to the fact that the earnings of children do not vary much, and
that consequently they bear a less important relation to the family
income as that income increases.
Among the families visited it was almost the universal custom
for children to leave school by the time they were 16, if not before.
About 4.5 per cent of all the families with children under 16 at work
were so constituted that if the children did not work there were no
other members to support the family. These cases were all of fami­
lies in which fathers did not contribute to the family support and
constituted about 19 per cent of such families. The effect upon the
family income of the presence of children 16 years of age and over
is very noticeable, and apparently makes for a tendency to keep the
younger children in school for a longer period.
ORGANIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT OP THE INDUSTRY.
LACK OF CENTRALIZATION.

The concluding portion of the report is devoted to a study of the
organization of the garment industry and an account of its develop­
ment.
From the point of view of control of the successive processes in­
volved in the manufacture and distribution of clothing the industry



112

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

is still unorganized and lacks centralization. Few firms carry on
the entire process of manufacture from the purchase of the material
to the sale of the garment to the customer. To a great extent the
various steps in the course of manufacture are attended to by firms
which make a special business of one phase or another of the general
industry.
After the materials of which the garments are to be made have
been bought, the most important steps in the manufacture of cloth­
ing are sponging, cutting, making up the garments, and distributing
them either by sale to jobbers or retailers, or direct to the consumers
through retail stores operated by the manufacturer.
TYPES OF SHOPS.

There are two main types of shop—the inside shop, or one in which
the manufacturer has his goods made up in his own shop, and the
contract shop, whose owner takes work, generally of one limited type,
from the manufacturer, makes it up, and returns it. The manufac­
turer usually has the cloth cut on his own premises. I f his business
is extensive, he may do the sponging himself or may send it out to
a firm which makes a specialty of sponging. I f he has an inside
shop, the garments are also made up in part on his own premises, but
very few firms make up all their garments in their own shops. “ It
is doubtful whether as much as 50 per cent of the output of firms
owning shops is made up in their own shops.” As a rule the best
work is done in their own shops and the rest is sent out to con­
tractors.
The inside shop is apt to represent the most favorable conditions
in the clothing trade. It is subject to the factory laws as to hours
and conditions of cleanliness, safety, etc. Since the best work in done
there, skilled employees are needed and child labor is reduced to a
minimum. Work is apt to be steady, since in rush times the surplus
is given out to contractors, and as the slack season comes on more
and more is retained in the shop.
The contract shop is used to some extent for making all grades of
clothing, from the very finest to the very cheapest, but its great field
is in the manufacture of cheap clothing, where particular care is
not required. The contract shop may be large or small. Frequently
in its beginning it consists only of the contractor and a few hands;
in the first instance, perhaps members of his own family or personal
acquaintances. Ordinarily a shop is devoted to the making of only
one kind of garment—coat, vest, or trousers.
From the point of view of labor, the disadvantages of the con­
tract system are, in part, poor and insanitary workshops and long
hours. The chief evils arise from the small scale on which the
contract shop operates. In order to save rent Cie contractor often



m e n

's

R E A D Y -M A D E

C L O T H IN G .

113

locates in a building, or part of a building, not originally intended,
and hence often unsuited, for shop purposes. He is also tempted
to crowd in order to save room and rent. His shop has not proper
sanitary facilities or adequate light and ventilation and is not kept
clean. The shop is usually too small to make profitable the employ­
ment of regular caretakers, and the contractor lacks interest. As such
shops are numerous and scattered, and as the force of factory inspec­
tors as a rule is inadequate, it is almost impossible to keep such
shops up to the standard. This is the universal complaint of factory
inspectors. However, in all cities there are some contract shops,
particularly among the Germans and Scandinavians, that are model
establishments from the point of view of sanitary conditions. * * *
Hours are irregular and work seasonal in the contract shop. In
the rush season the work is pursued late. In the “ task” shop of
New York and in pants and vest shops where work is paid for by
the piece regular hours are scarcely known.1
DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDUSTRY.
Before the era of ready-made clothing the finer grades of garments
were made by the custom tailor, either in his own home with the aid
of his wife and children, or in the shop of his employer. Cheaper
grade garments were sewed by the women of the household. Female
labor was all important in the family production of clothing, and was
by no means unimportant in the custom trade.
The introduction of the sewing machine, which came into use
about the middle of the last century, greatly increased the possibili­
ties of the industry. Up to the time of the Civil War the South and
West afforded the principal market for the rather cheap grade of
ready-made clothing manufactured at that time.
The years 1860 to 1880 cover a second era in the development of the
ready-made garment industry. The Civil War stimulated it greatly,
first by the demand for clothing for the soldiers in the field, and next,
when the war ended, by the demand for civilian clothes when the
soldiers returned. The business depression of the early seventies
maintained and increased this demand, as ready-made clothing was
cheaper than the custom garments.
Along with this expansion of the industry went an improvement
in the quality of the goods produced. German, Irish, and Scandi­
navian immigrants were coming into the country extensively, and
entered the industry in large numbers. The development was in the
main along the lines of the household system. The family—father,
mother, sons, and daughters, sometimes with the aid of a few
strangers—worked in the home. Urban congestion had not yet
reached the degree which it later attained, hence the industry at­
1 Vol. II, M en’s Beady-M ade Clothing, pp. 419, 420.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------8




114

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

tracted but little attention, and did not give occasion for talk of
Government control or regulation.
Beginning with the eighties, great changes took place in the cloth­
ing industry. New immigrant races arriving in large numbers
began to crowd out the older races. The shop or factory largely
supplanted the home as a work place. Steam, gas, and electrical
power machines took the place of the old foot-power machines. The
quality of clothing was improved, advertising increased, and the
market became national. During this period, also, the evils of the
sweating system developed and reached such a point that legislative
control was invoked.
One of the most important features of this period was the coming
of the Russian Jews into the industry. They practically took pos­
session of it in New York City. By excessive competition and finer
subdivision of labor they cheapened the cost of production and
brought ready-made clothing, more and better grades of it, within
the reach of larger numbers of the population. The Bohemians took
possession of the trade in Chicago, much as the Jews did in New
York. Toward the end of the eighties came the Italians who entered
it so numerously that Italian women hold the first place in New
York while Italian men are second only to the Jews.
About the middle of the nineties a new period began in the in­
dustry, a period of prosperity scarcely interrupted before the panic
of 1907. The industry had been brought under State supervision by
legislation affecting nearly all clothing centers. Factory legislation
and inspection were applied to the problem of better sanitary con­
ditions for the employee, and the worst evils of the tenement shops
were abolished. Improved conditions of work, brought about by
factory legislation, the growth of inside shops, and the introduction
of power are, perhaps, the most notable features in the development
of the industry from 1890 to the date of this investigation.
SUMMARY.
The manufacture of men’s ready-made garments gives employ­
ment to large numbers of women, but their importance in the in­
dustry is relatively less since the coming of the Russian Jews into
the industry, the introduction of electric power, and the excessive
subdivision of work. In the main the women in the industry are
young. They do not ordinarily learn the best paid branches, but
take unskilled or lower skilled work. Children are not numerously
employed, and the industry could easily be so organized as to dis­
pense with their work altogether.
The work is seasonal, and at the time of this investigation there
was much irregularity of employment. There seemed no standard



m e n 's r e a d y -m a d e c l o t h i n g

.

115

of wages, but what a woman earned might depend almost as much on
her bargaining power as on her ability.
Conditions of work varied widely according to whether the worker
was in an u inside ” or a contract shop. In the latter hours were long
and irregular, and sanitary conditions often bad, while in the former
hours conformed to legal regulations and conditions were usually
good.
The home workers constituted an exception to the general youth­
fulness of the women in the industry, being usually married women
with familes. They were almost exclusively of foreign races, the
Italians predominating. Their work was unskilled, irregular, and
very poorly paid, their hours irregular, and the surroundings in
which the work was done were frequently unfortunate in the extreme.







CHAPTER m .—THE GLASS INDUSTRY.
This report is based on an investigation covering 190 establish­
ments in 17 States. The location of these establishments, the charac­
ter of their products, and the age and sex distribution of their
workers are shown in the following summaries:
N U M BER OF ESTABLISH M EN TS INCLU DED IN TH E IN V EST IG AT IO N , B Y CH AR ACTER
OF PRODUCT AN D STATE.

Glass industry proper.
Nonglass
producing.

Glass producing.

-ft.UA.jj.iary
industries.

State.
Green
Shades
Deco­
Incan­
Flint and
In­
am~
Table and Blank Nov­ rated
Mir­
des­
bot­
el­
Jars. sula­ ware. chim­ mak­
ware Vials. cent rors.
tles. bertors.
ties. only.1
ing.
botlamps.
neys.
tles.
Massachusetts
and Connecti­
cut.....................
New York............
New Jersey..........
Pennsylvania___
Ohio.....................
Indiana................
Illinois..................
Wisconsin, Mis­
so u r i, and
Kansas.............
West Virginia.. .
Maryland.............
Virginia...............
Tennessee, Geor­
gia, and South
Carolina...........
Total..........

7
14
17
5
11
4
1
3
4
5

1
4
4
3
2
2

1
1
5
1
3
1
3
1

13
6
2

11

1

5
1
9
4
1

1
2
1
4

2
1

1

2
1

3
2
1
1
1

1
1

All
estab­
lish­
ments.

6
18
20
56
23
22
9

1
1
1

1
6

1

17
4
6

1

*
3
74

3
16

17

1

32

21

6

2

9

1

8

3

190

i Including glass cutting at factories where the blanks are not made.

It is seen from this table that a total of 190 establishments were
covered by this investigation. Of these, however, 11 were engaged
in the manufacture of incandescent electric lamps and mirrors, work
which, strictly speaking, is not part of the glass industry. Of the
179 factories listed, as of the glass industry proper, 169 actually
manufactured glass—that is to say, possessed melting furnaces and
other equipment for the molding of bottles, tableware, etc., while the
remaining 10 factories decorated and otherwise finished glass articles
produced elsewhere.
The total number of persons normally employed by these 179 glass
factories was 54,964, o f whom 45,210 were males 16 years of age and
over, 4,049 were females of 16 years and over, and 5,705 were chil­
dren under 16 years of age. The 8 electric-lamp establishments em


117

118

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

ployed 4,1-13 persons, of whom 815 were males of 16 years and over,
3,244 females of 16 years and over, and 84 children under 16 years
of age. The 3 mirror factories were proportionately small, employ­
ing in total but 260 persons, of whom 186 were males 16 years and
over, 66 females 16 years and over, and 8 children under 16 years
of age. The distribution of these persons by States and by the sex
of the children is shown in the next table: 1
NU M BER AN D PER CENT OP M ALE AN D FEM ALE EM PLO Y EE S U N D E R 16 Y E A R S OP
AGE AN D 16 Y E A R S OP AGE AN D O VER IN T H E ESTABLISH M EN TS IN V E S T IG A T E D ,
B Y BR AN CH OP IN D U ST R Y AN D STATE.

Employees.

State and branch of
industry.

Establishments
vis­
ited.

Number.
16 years
and over.

Per cent.
16 years
and over.

Under 16 years.

Under 16 years.

Total.
Fe­
Fe­
Male. male. Male. male. Total.

Male.

Fe­
Fe­
male. Male. male. Total.

GLASS INDUSTRY PROPER.

Massachusetts and Connacticut............................
New York...........................
New Jorsey.........................
Pennsylvania.....................
Ohio.....................................
Indiana................................
Illinois.................................
Wisconsin, Missouri, and
Kansas.............................
West Virginia.....................
Maryland...........................
Virginia...............................
Tonnessoe, Georgia, and
South Carolina...............
Total.........................

838
3 ,1G
1
5,748
9,673
7,874
6,086
5,366
1,385
2,872
654
592

111
2C0

42
92
497
1,2S8 1,812
717
515
3G9
524
424
338
137

105
607
29

2

361

104
646
392
90

4.2

7.4

2.6

84.3
89.6
89.7
73.9
87.8
87.5

9.8
7.8
4.8
6.9

107
757
394
90

1,597
4,236
1,077
C84

86.7
67.8
60.7
86.5

14.3
2.7
.3

70

3
111

2

70

179 45,210 4,049 5,122

11.2

45
994
3
103 3,527
14
24
521 6,406
327 2,139 13,100
567 9 ,1£8
52
40
564 7, C19
7
345 6,135

86.0

2.1

6.6

7.8
13.8
5.6
6.9
5.5
6.5
15.3
30.4
13.2

0.3
.4
.4
2.5
.6
.5
.1

.2

2.6
.2

4.5
3.0

8
.1
6.2

16.3
7.4
5.6

6.7
17.9
36.6
13.2

431

83.8

583 5,705 54,964

82.3

7.4

84

4,143

19.7

78.3

.3

1.7

2.0

260

71.5

25.4

1.9

1
.2

3.1

16.2

16.2

1
.0

10.4

ELECTRIC LAMPS.

Massachusetts, New Jer­
sey, Ohio, Pennsyl­
vania, and Indiana........

815 3,244

12

72

MIRRORS.

Pennsylvania, New Jer­
sey, and New Y ork -. . .

186

66

The number of woman and child glassworkers covered by this
investigation may be accepted as thoroughly representative of the
employment of such persons in the glass industry. Thus in the year
1908 there were 288 glass factories manufacturing pressed and blown
glassware (the branches of the industry covered by this report) in
the United States. Of these 169, or 58.7 per cent, were covered by the
investigation. Of the 119 not covered 61 were not in operation, and
therefore could not have been scheduled. In total, therefore, only 58,
or approximately one-quarter of all the factories in operation, were
net covered.2
1Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 17.




3 Idem, p. 18.

THE GLASS INDUSTRY.

119

D IS N O W R B T E N T E S X S
IV IO
F O K EW E
H
E E.
The information thus secured has been treated under four heads—
the employment of boys in glass furnaces, the employment of women
and girls in glass furnaces, the employment of women and girls in
making incandescent electric lamps, and the family conditions and
the amount and source of income in the families studied. In the
industry itself the labor of women and girls is usually very sharply
separated from that of men and boys. The typical glass factory is
divided into two distinct departments: The molding or “ furnace ”
department and the elaborating or finishing department. This divi­
sion marks a clear distinction in the type of building used, the char­
acter of the work, and the personnel of the working force.
The furnace department, or, as it is commonly known, the furnace
room, is usually a one-story building, of rough and open construc­
tion, in order to dissipate as much as possible the heat of the large
lass-melting furnaces. The workers here are constantly engaged in
andling molten or at least highly heated glass, and the appliances
and physical surroundings are adapted to that end. The work itself
is regarded by nearly all employers as the work of men or boys, and
as not being suitable for women or girls.
The finishing department, on the other hand, is usually a structure
of two or more stories, resembling in its main features the common
type of factory building. The work is much lighter than that of the
furnace room, largely of a decorative character, and in great part at
least adapted to the physical abilities of women. Adult male labor
is not uncommon, particularly with the heavier and more skilled
finishing work, but boy labor is little used in the finishing depart­
ment.
*
* * The furnace room represents the boy labor aspect of the
glass industry; the finishing department represents the woman and
girl labor aspect. The few women found in furnace rooms are work­
ing in what is universally regarded as boys’ occupations, and are
being used as substitutes for boy labor. On the other hand, almost
all of the women in the industry and very few boys are engaged in
handling ware after it has been molded and annealed in the furnace
room.1

g

WORK OF BOYS IN THE FURNACE ROOM.
The great majority of boys are found in five occupations. As mold
boys they sit or stand at the blowers’ feet and tend the molds, open­
ing and shutting them as required by the blower. As cleaning-off
boys they stand beside the blower and clean the blowpipe after each
using. As snapping-up boys and carrying-in boys they are engaged
in carrying ware, the first from the blower to the finisher, the second
from the finisher to the leer. As machine boys they perform the
unskilled work needed in connection with the press or blow machine.




1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 21, 22.

120

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

About 90 per cent of the boys studied in this investigation were em­
ployed in these five occupations, the remainder being scattered among
a variety of minor occupations.
DESCRIPTION OF PRINCIPAL OCCUPATIONS.

The character and degree of the physical strain involved differs
materially in these occupations. The mold boy’s work is not usually
heavy, but often involves a constrained, crouching attitude, and since
the boy’s position is directly in front of the furnace he works in a
very high temperature. Tests made with a thermometer showed boys
working in temperatures ranging from 93° to 116°. His work is also
rapid and continuous.
The cleaning-off boy usually works standing. His work consists
of scraping off the clot of excess glass which remains on the pipe
after each blowing, which is done by pulling the glass clot over an
iron rasp. This, although a simple operation, requires some little
physical strength and skill and is usually reserved for the older and
more experienced boys. The boy’s position is usually 3 or 4 feet from
the furnace and, like the mold boy, he is exposed to very high tem­
peratures.
The snapping-up boy picks up the article placed by the mold boy
on the stand, places it in a long-handled holder, carries it to the
finisher’s bench, rubs the neck or upper edge against an iron rasp to
remove the excess glass, and inserts the article in the “ glory hole,”
or reheating furnace. He is constantly in motion; in addition to the
walking the work demands constant arm movement, some bending,
and in general an incessant activity of the whole body. The weight
carried at any one time is not excessive, but a real hardship is in­
volved in the necessity of looking into the bright, glaring light of
the glory hole.
The carrying-in boy takes the ware when the workers at the fur­
nace have finished with it, carries it to the annealing oven or leer,
and deposits it inside. This must be done with reasonable dispatch,
as newly molded ware will spoil if left too long exposed to the outer
air. As a result, the. boy must make quick trips back and forth, each
time carrying a limited number of articles. Ordinarily the daily dis­
tance traveled by a carrying-in boy does not much exceed a mile an
hour.
The machine boy’s work requires close attention and considerable
endurance, and involves considerable nervous tension. Next to the
mold boy, the machine boy commonly occupies the warmest position
of any of the boys.
In order to relieve the strain of continuous work at any one of
these occupations a system of exchanging positions is often adopted.



THE

121

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

Frequent interchange of occupations is almost always possible, and
in the majority of furnace rooms is practiced as a trade custom. In
some factories this interchange is enforced by the management, the
boys of all or of selected occupations being required to exchange
places at certain specific periods, quarter hour, half hour, etc. At
other factories the management does not enforce the exchange, but
the workers may arrange among themselves to do so.1
WORKING CONDITIONS.

From the standpoint of the boy’s physical welfare the three most
objectionable features of the work are the glass dust in the air, the
broken glass on the floor, and the intense heat in which the work is
often carried on. The glass dust comes partly from the glass on the
floor, but far more from what is known as “ blow-over,” the name
given to those gossamer-like flakes of filmy glass that are usually
found floating in the air of a bottle house. When a bottle has been
blown into form in a mold it is necessary to detach the blowpipe
without injuring the neck of the bottle. To do this the glass be­
tween the top of the mold and the butt of the blowpipe is blown into
a thin bubble which can be easily broken. This can be done so as to
cause practically no blow-over, but it is “ quicker and easier to blow
hard enough to inflate and burst this portion of the glass by internal
air pressure. When this is done the bubble explodes with a popping
noise and its walls fly into the air, often into the mold boy’s face, and
the light particles of glass float in the air currents of the room.”
The degree to which blow-over is present differs greatly with the
speed and carefulness of the blowers. It is by no means an inevitable
feature; in some factories such precautions were taken that it was a
negligible evil, while in others it constituted a serious menace.
In some factories at times the air is so full of this floating glass
that the hair is whitened by merely passing through the room. It
sticks to the perspiration on the faces and arms of the boys and men,
and becomes a source of considerable irritation. Getting into the
eyes, it becomes especially troublesome.2
This dust is said to be the cause of much temporary skin and eye,
irritation; just how serious these effects are has not been determined.
It is a truism, however, that the inhalation of irritating dust pre­
disposes to diseases of the respiratory passages, and it is known that
its presence in considerable quantities in workrooms is always ac­
companied by a high death rate, especially from consumption.3
“Furnace-room floors are either of brick or cement. In either case
they are quite commonly broken, uneven, or rough.” This roughness
is not especially an evil of itself, but it increases the danger from
1Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 59.




2 Idem, p. 66.

8 See p. 135.

122

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

the broken glass with which the floors are very commonly littered.
In making glass there is necessarily some breakage; also there is an
appreciable percentage of imperfect ware to be discarded at various
stages of the work. Keceptacles of some sort are usually provided for
such ware, but in the hurry of the work flawed articles are often care­
lessly thrown, fall upon the floor, and break. As a result the
snapping-up and carrying-in boys, often badly shod, must walk back
and forth upon a floor littered with broken glass. Foot cuts are fre­
quent and a fall may cause severe laceration. Incidentally, this F ate
t
of affairs is expensive for the employees, being very destructive to
shoe leather.
The principal direct sources of heat in a furnace room are the fur­
nace, the leers or annealing furnaces, the reheating furnaces, and the
portions of hot glass gathered on the blowers’ pipes. The indirect
sources are the heated molds, presses, and other machines. Of them
all, the furnace, of course, is most effective in raising the temperature.
The furnace is either a round structure situated wholly within the
room or the rounded end of a structure partly outside the room. In
the first case it contains a series of arched openings, within each of
which is a clay pot, one side exposed to the fire in a central pit, the
other flush with the inner wall of the furnace. In these pots is the
melted glass which the blower reaches with his pipe through the
opening. In the second case the semicircular end is really a tank
into which melted glass flows from the other portion. Like the round
furnace, this tank is pierced with working holes.
The generally accepted figures of the heat within a furnace during
the fusing are 2,507° F. between the pots and 2,390° F. in the metal
itself. These temperatures are reduced when the holes are opened
for working to a standard of 1,913°, although glass is commonly
worked at a temperature of 100° less than this figure. In furnaces of
the second type, known as “ tank ” furnaces, the working end is kept
at 1,913°. In both types the working holes must be kept open while
blowing is in progress. “ Thus the great heat generated in the fur­
nace escapes into the workroom, not only by a secondary radiation
from the walls of the furnace, but to a much greater degree by direct
radiation through the working holes.” The reheating furnace or
glory hole is usually maintained at a temperature of 2,200° F., while
the annealing furnaces are kept at from 800° to 1,200° F., according
to the kind of ware made.
Furnace rooms are usually made open to all the winds that blow,
so that the temperature varies decidedly from one part to another.
On a June day when the outside temperature was at 78° a series of
thermometer readings taken in a given factory showed that the tem-




THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

123

peratures in which various workers were carrying on their activities
ranged from 03° up to 132°.
It is difficult to say whether these extreme temperatures are more
harmful in summer or winter.
In the warm weather the ill effects of the heat show themselves
directly in the form of prostration or affections directly due to the
high teinperatures. In the winter the immediate danger to health
arises from sudden changes in temperature. The open character of
building which diminishes the heat in summer also allows the
winter cold to penetrate. The zones of heat immediately around the
furnace, the glory hole, and the leer are of almost the same degree
in winter as in summer, but the temperature of the areas outside
these zones is reduced almost to the level of the temperature outside
of the factory. As a result the boys, especially those whose occu­
pations keep them moving about the factory, are subjected to con­
siderable and often violent changes of temperature. * * * This
danger to health is likewise present when the boys leave the factory
for their homes.1
Much of this high temperature is unavoidable, but it could be
moderated to some degree by care in placing the various furnaces,
by providing devices for keeping the leer mouths closed except when
ware is being put in, by supplies of cool air, etc. All these plans
were found in use in one factory or another, but none were common
and some were found in only a single instance.
Minor accidents, due to cuts and burns from flying pieces of glass,
were common, but serious accidents seemed very rare.
HOURS OF LABOR, NIGHT WORK, AND OVERTIME.

Since the boys are mainly employed as helpers to the skilled work­
ers their hours tend to be the same. The great majority of the
skilled workers belong to one or the other of two unions, both of
which carefully regulate the number of working hours. One allows
50J hours per week daywork and 42^ hours night work, while the
other sets the limit at 49J hours for both day and night workers.
Of the 5,009 boys for whom information on this point was gained,
79 per cent worked weekly hours falling within these limits. The
following table gives the number of boy workers studied in each
State and the percentage working less than specified hours. The
night workers, 2,792, or 55.7 per cent of the total number, alternated
weekly between night and day work, so that they are included with
the day workers as well as given separately.




1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 76, 77.

124

B U L L E T IN

OF T H E

BUBEAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

P E R CENT OF BO YS OF D A Y AN D OF NIGH T FORCE W O R K IN G LESS T H A N SPECIFIED
HOURS P E R W E E K , B Y STATES.

Dayworkers.

Number
of
persons.

State.

Per cent working less hours
than

—

52
Illinois..................................................... . ...............................................
Now Y ork................................................................................................
West Virginia..........................................................................................
Ohio..........................................................................................................
Pennsylvania..........................................................................................
nR .t.tfl and. Connecticut..........................................................
P
New Jersey.............................................................................................
Indiana
Maryland.................................................................................................
Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia............................................
Virginia............................................ .....................................................
Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin......................................................

334
83
640
509
1,755
24
484
524
392
70
90
104

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

50

.

48

5,009

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

100.0
100.0
93.3
90.8
93.0
37.5
100.0
72.3
100.0
100.0
98.9
95.2

98.8
97.3
80.7
78.3
80.6
54.0 ............9*2
43.5
6.1
37.5
37.5
23.1
12.6 ............9.5

Night workers.

Number
of
persons.

State.

Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia.......................
Virginia.................................................................................
Maryland......... ........ ........... .......................... ...................
New Jersey.......................................... ....................
TnH
ifl.rm
.................................................................................
Ohio................................................................................. .
Kansas, Missouri,and Wisconsin..............................
Pennsylvania................................................................
West Virginia......................... ...........................................
Total.......................................... ...............................

64
52
50
244
500254
18
1,156
454

Per cent working less hours than—50

48

46

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
87.2
86.6
100.0
85.1
95.6

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
84.0
56.7
100.0
57.3
21,1

100.0
100.0
100.0
91.1
66.8
56.7
44.4
44.1
21.1

44
100.0
100.0
100.0
83.6
52.8
21.3
22.2
33.6
17.2

2,792

It will be observed that Indiana is the only State having a large
number of young workers in which any considerable portion of the
day force worked 52 hours or over. Among the night workers only
four States show a week of 50 hours or over.
N IG H T W O R K .

Night work is an established feature of glassmaking. Of the
169 furnace rooms studied, 126 were regularly operating two shifts
of workers, one by day and one by night, and of the remaining 43
several were accustomed to do so from time to time, although dur­
ing the year covered they did only daywork. The night force, how­
ever, is frequently smaller than the day force. Consequently a por­
tion of the working force is liable to become a permanent day force,
while the remainder is divided into two shifts, each working at night
on alternate weeks.




THE

125

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

This alternation of night work of boys was not distributed among
the States with any uniformity. In some States no boys were found
working at night; in others nearly all the boys employed so worked.
This variation in practice is shown in the following table, the States
being arranged in ascending order of frequency of night work.1
NU M BER OP BO YS W O R K IN G ON D A Y SH IFT A N D ON D A Y A N D N IG H T SH IFT A L T E R ­
N A T E L Y A N D PER CENT W O R E 3N G A T N IG H T, B Y STATES.

Boys under 16 years of age working.
Day and night, alternate weeks.
Total
num­
ber.

State.

Day
only.

Total.
num­
ber.

Percent
of boys
working
6 days,5 nights. 6 days, 6 nights. at night.
Num.
ber.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Illinois....................................................
New York.............................................
Massachusetts.......................................
Maryland..............................................
Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin1. .
Ohio.......................................................
Now Jersey..........................................
Virginia..................................................
Pennsylvania.......................................
West Virginia.......................................
Tennessee, South Carolina, and
Georgia...............................................
Indiana...........................................

334
83
24
392
104
509
484
90
1,755
640

334
83
24
342
86
255
240
38
599
186

50
18
254
244
52
1,156
454

50
8
154
244
52
605
96

100.0
44.5
60.6
100.0
100.0
52.3
21.1

10
100

55.5
39.4

551
358

47.7
78.9

12.8
17.3
49.9
50.4
57.8
65.9
70.9

70
524

6
24

64
500

64
308

100.0
73.6

132

26.4

91.4
95.4

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

5,009

2,217

2,792

1,641

58.8

1,151

41.2

55.7

1 No night work regularly done by boys under 16 in Missouri or Wisconsin.

As a result of the weekly alternation in night work, during half of
his time the boy may live a normal life. On the other hand, the prac­
tice of alternation renders even more difficult one of the most serious
problems of night work—the problem of sleep. It means that one
week the boy must obtain his sleep in the daytime and the following
week in the nighttime. Proper adjustment to varying sleeping
periods is not an easy accomplishment for either adults or children.
It was the almost unanimous opinion of night foremen and adult
glassworkers interviewed that this periodic change in the time of
sleeping was, at the least, physically undesirable. They agreed that,
although it was not possible to trace an ailment to this specific source,
they always “ felt better ” when working only by day. Of the same
character was the testimony of mothers of boys working on the night
shift. And that night work is regarded as “ harder” by the boys
themselves as a class is evidenced by the fact that most factories must
offer a higher wage for night work than for daywork in order to ob­
tain a full complement of boys.
Those adult workers who expressed themselves as pleased with
night work supported their views largely on the ground that, by
limiting the amount of sleep, nearly the whole of the daylight fol­
lowing a night of work could be used for the purpose of pleasure.
This is a view that appeals to some boys. The night shift quits work




1 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 97.

126

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUBEATJT O F

LABOB

S T A T IS T IC S .

usually at 3 a. m. By hurrying to sleep and reducing the sleeping
time the boy will have a large part of the daylight for play, whereas
if he works on the day shift he has only the evening darkness in
which to have his fun. During the present investigation it was not
at all uncommon to find on the street as earty as 9 a. m. boys who
had worked on the previous night shift and had quit as late as 3 a. m.
A boy working on the night shift must, therefore, first of all, ac­
custom himself to sleep in the daytime; second, he must accustom him­
self to a weekly change of sleeping periods; and, third, when work­
ing at night and sleeping by day he must resist the natural desire of
the boy to curtail his sleep for the sake of a longer play time. There
is a strong probability of there being unsuitable surroundings for
daytime sleeping. The majority of shop boys come from homes in
which the standard of living is rather low, the houses small, the
rooms crowded. If in the larger cities, these houses are usually in
the more congested sections, where the street noises are greatest and
the street life early astir. Under such surroundings a restful day­
time sleep is frequently unobtainable.
The second source of danger to the health of children incident to
their working at night in the glass factory arises from the almost
universal custom of arranging the hours of labor so that the night
shift ends in the very early morning. This happens usually about
3 o’clock, the time when the weather is most severe and the time when
the boy, through sleepiness and anxiety to get home, is least likely,
to consider the guarding of his health. Always he is overheated
from his work, frequently in a state of perspiration. Only very
rarely does he have extra or sufficient clothing to protect him in the
change to the outside temperature. Often, too, he has a long journey
home. Very often the factory is well away from the town proper,
seeking, as it does, cheaper land and better railroad facilities. In
such cases the main approach is almost always along railroad tracks,
but local train or street car accommodation is seldom available so
early in the day.
The recent extension of interurban electric lines has tended to in­
crease this evil. Boys from the farms, living several miles from the
factory, are by reason of electric interurban lines enabled to obtain
work, a few factories even offering to pay the car fares of such boys.
The car line, however, rarely has an all-night service, and the boys
on the night shift, quitting about 3 a. m., must wait for the first
morning car, arriving possibly not until 5 or 6 o’clock. This interval
of two or three hours the tired boy is naturally tempted to bridge by
sleeping in the factory. In one Ohio establishment it was found that
several of the boys in thus waiting for the car slept in the open beside
the tracks.
Even, however, when the boy’s home is not beyond walking dis­
tance, the temptation to sleep in the factory may still be very strong.
For not only is the actual length of the homeward journey a hardship
but the character of the road that must be traversed is a matter of
almost equal concern, especially if the boy can obtain no company on
his way. In one instance a factory is so situated that many of the
boys in order to reach their homes must pass through a cemetery; in
another the easiest and most used approach is through a railroad
tunnel. Because of these and other things many of the boys inter


THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

127

viewed evinced a strong dislike, some a positive horror, of the early
morning journey from the factory.
As a result of such causes—the distance to the home, the fear of
something along the route, fatigue from the work, unfavorable
weather—the boy is often unwilling to return to his home, preferring
to sleep in the factory, at least until daylight comes. It was imprac­
ticable to ascertain the exact number of boys who indulge in this
practice. Some factory managements prohibit it entirely and enforce
the prohibition; others, because of their location, offer no reason for
the boys not going to their homes. In a few factories, however,
sleeping in the factory buildings is a regular custom, and in several
others the practice is engaged in more or less frequently. The for­
mal sanction of the head management for such a practice is probably
nowhere given, but many foremen do not discourage it. Usually this
attitude of the foremen is due simply to good nature; but occasionally
business interest may be responsible. For if a boy remains in the
factory too long after the ending of one shift he is in a position to
be impressed for service on the next shift. As the foreman usually
retains his position by virtue of his ability to obtain a certain daily
output, the temptation to so impress a boy when help is scarce may
be too strong to be resisted. Moreover, as the boy has had some three
or four hours’ sleep between the ending of the one shift and the be­
ginning of another, he very often feels refreshed enough to be willing
to begin work again.
For sleeping in the factory there are no accommodations what­
ever. The boy lies upon the floor or upon a pile of boards or boxes.
At times, for warmth’s sake, he cuddles up beside the leer. He has,
of course, no change of clothing and most probably no covering o f
any kind.
The danger to a child’s health inherent in either alternative—
journeying home in the night weather, sleeping in or outside the
factory—is most palpable, and this fact or custom may be more or
less responsible for the more common and more dangerous diseases
of the glass workers, diseases of the respiratory organs, that often
do not become apparent in a serious degree until many months, or
even years, after the original exposure.1
At the time of this investigation night work was prohibited for
children under 16 in five States—New York, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri,
and Wisconsin. In four of these States the law was observed with
considerable strictness, but in Ohio it was in dispute and by a large
number of factories was not even ostensibly observed. The table
already given shows the number and the distribution by States of
the boys under 16 who were found working at night on alternate
weeks.
OVERTIME.

There is very little overtime, in the ordinary sense, in a glass
factory. The skilled men usually work the union hours and then
stop, and the need for boys’ labor stops with them. The custom of




1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 109-111.

128

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

operating two shifts, however, makes possible a very serious form
of overtime—double-shift work. A boy who has worked through
one shift may work the whole or part of the succeeding one, all
within a period of 24 hours.
I f a boy works a full double shift he is on duty 20 hours out of
the 24, and is actually working 17 to 18 hours. Notwithstanding the
physical strain of such long hours, double-shift work is by no means
uncommon in certain factories at busy seasons. * * * Yery
often, however, the services of the boy are not required for the full
double shift. He may split the extra work with another boy or may
work only a portion of the second shift. The most prevalent form of
this practice is that of “ doubling up ” Friday night. This consists
of working the full Friday-night shift and one-half or one-quarter of
the Saturday shift. As no work is done Saturday night or Sunday
an opportunity is given for recuperation.1
The following table shows the extent to which double-shift work
had prevailed during the year preceding the investigation among
1,292 boys who were especially investigated with regard to this
point:
NU M BER OF CASES OF DOUBLE-SHIFT W O R K B Y BO YS U N D E R 16 Y E A R S , B Y A G E .

Number
of boys
working
double
shift.

Age.

Number of cases of
double-shift work.

Total.

Average
per boy.

12 years........................................................................................................................
13 years........................................................................................................................
1* years........................................................................................................................
15 years....................................: ..................................................................................

2
15
53
50

35
124
734
752

17.5
8.3
13.8
15.0

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

120

1,645

13.7

This form of overwork, of course, is impossible in States in which
night work is prohibited and a maximum day is fixed.
EARNINGS.

The wages for boys in the furnace room are by no means uniform,
even for those of the same age. Wages differ from factory to fac­
tory, often for no discernible cause beyond the fact that boy labor is
comparatively immobile. In general, boys under 16 will work near
where their families live, and will take such wages as they can get
in that locality, even though better wages are paid comparatively near
at hand. Thus in one factory near Pittsburgh the usual wage for
boys under 16 is 75 cents a day, while in another, not 6 miles away,
it is 95 cents. One extreme case was found in which boys under 16




* Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 113, 114.

THE

129

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

and even a few of 17 and 18 were found working for as low a wage as
39^ cents a day, while in another factory not far distant boys no older
than these were receiving as much as $2 a day. Such differences
depend on locality, not on race or occupation.
Among furnace-room boys age is decidedly the most important
single factor influencing variations in the wage rate. Next in im­
portance is that of factory location. Other factors such as race,
occupation, character of product, and even individual efficiency are
of minor significance.1
The rate of wages is of less importance than the actual earnings,
the latter, of course, being affected by the regularity of the work.
The following table shows both the rate of wages (full-time earn­
ings) and the actual earnings of 3,615 boys for whom detailed
information on this point was secured:
COMPARISON OF FU LL-TIM E W E E K L Y EAR N IN G S W IT H ACTU AL W E E K L Y E A R N ­
INGS OF BO Y S U N D E R 16 IN T H E FU RN AC E ROOM.

Males under 16.

Classified weekly earnings.

Full-time weekly
earnings.

Actual weekly
earnings.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $2...................................................................................................
$2 to $2.99............................................................................. ....................
$3 to $3.99.................................................................................................
$4 to $4.99.................................................................................................
$5 to $5.99.................................................................................................
$6 to $6.99.................................................................................................
$7 to $7.99...............................................................................................
$8 to $8.99................................................................................................
$9 to $9.99...............................................................................................
Sift tnJKII.OO_________________________________ __________________

1.0
9.6
29.9
26.6
28.0
2.5
1.7
.5
.2

265
351
555
949
830
570
62
22
10
1

7.3
9.7
15.4
26.2
23.0
15.8
1.7
.6
.3
0)

3,615

Total

35
348
1,081
963
1,013
90
61
16
8

100.0

3,615

100.0

1 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

It appears that a small number of these boys, 35, were working
for a wage of less than $3 a week, and a still smaller number, 24,
for $9 a week or over, but the great majority, nearly 85 per cent of
the total, were almost equally distributed in the three groups in­
cluded between $4 as a minimum and $6.99 as a maximum. Thus
the usual as well as the median wage for such boys may be said to
lie between $5 and $6 a week, probably nearer the latter amount.
On the other hand, on the basis of actual weekly earnings taken
during a representative pay period, 616 of the boys earned less than
$3 as against 35 whose nominal wages fell below that sum. Only
33 actually earned $8 or over, as compared with 85 whose rate was
that much, and the median earnings drop well below $5 a week.
1Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 129.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16------ 9




130

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

In 81 of the 169 furnace rooms investigated payment of wages
was made every week, in 87 biweekly or semimonthly, and in 1
monthly. Usually the money due was paid directly to the boy, what­
ever his age. Bonuses were frequently offered to induce boys to
work steadily. Sometimes a percentage of the earnings was held
back and paid only after the boy had worked a certain length of
time in order to secure the same end, steadiness. Fines for any pur­
pose were very unusual.
IMPORTANCE OF BOY LABOR IN GLASSMAKING.

In view of the argument often advanced by glass manufacturers
that legislation restricting the employment of children means ruin
to their industry, the number and relative increase or decrease of
boys under 16 in such work is a matter of interest. In 1880 almost
one-third (29 per cent) of all the males in the industry were under
16 years of age and almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of all males in
specific boys’ occupations were under 16. At this time there were
practically no legislative restrictions upon the employment of chil­
dren in glass factories. In 1905 only about one-eighth (12.6 per
cent) of the males in the industry were under 16. The decrease in the
importance of young workers may be more effectively shown by the
average number of such per pot. At each pot of a furnace works
a group known as a shop, consisting of three skilled workers and
the necessary unskilled helpers—mold boy, cleaning-off boy, snappingup boy, etc. In 1880 the average number of males under 16 per pot
was 2.6; by 1905 it had sunk to 0.7. During these 25 years the
actual number of males aged 16 or over in the industry had risen
from 13,201 to 39,348, while the number of males under 16 had in­
creased only from 5,398 to 5,667. The child worker was evidently of
diminishing importance in the industry, a fact due partly to re­
strictive legislation and partly to the difficulty of securing a supply
of young boys equal to the demand.
The importance of boy labor in glass making may be measured in
another way, by a comparison of the cost of production when em­
ploying boy labor with the cost of production of the same articles
with boy labor entirely eliminated. Children are employed as mold
boys, snapping-up boys, carrying-in boys, etc., primarily because
they will work for a lower wage than will boys of 16 or over. That
they do work for a lower wage is not a matter of dispute. The wage
data gathered for this report show that in any community the pay
of the furnace-room boys tends to vary directly with their ages.
Up to the age of 21 years it is correct to say that the older the boy
the higher his wage.
Granting, therefore, that the employer does effect a saving by
employing young boys, the question of the amount of such saving



THE

131

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

naturally arises. I f a glass manufacturer employing boys under 16
exclusively and paying them the usual wages of such boys should
suddenly substitute boys of 16 and over, paying them the usual
wages of such persons, what would be the additional cost to him per
unit of product ?
The character of the glass industry is such that this question can
be answered with considerable exactness. The item of boy-labor
cost in a given article can be isolated and a study made of the varia­
tions in costs which would follow changes in the wages of boys.
Such a study was made in the course of this investigation. The
cost data used in the study were from a representative prescriptionbottle factory. Three and one-half years’ production for the plant
was used as the basis for costs.
The result of the analysis of these costs is given in the following
table, which shows in a striking way the insignificant increases in
cost which would be produced by the entire elimination of the labor
of children under 16 years of age and the substitution of adult labor.
INCREASED COST OF M AN UFACTURING T H R E E SIZES OF BO TTLES IF CHILD LABO R
W E R E ELIM INATED.i

Cost of gross of bottles
with—
Character of bottle.

4-ounce........................................................................................
8-ounce.......................................................................................
16-ounce......................................................................................

Boy-labor
force as at
present.

Increase
in cost.
Children
eliminated.

$1.3361
1.8148
2.6309

$1.3508
1.8277
2.6449

$0.0147
.0129
.0140

Per cent
increase
in cost.

1.100
.711
.532

1 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 207.

SUBSTITUTES FOR BOY LABOR.

In the effort to fill the place of the young boy three substitutes
have been tried—machines, women, and adult males. At the time of
this investigation the so-called automatic blowing machine was in
use in a few; shops. It tends to reduce greatly the number of boys
employed and also to raise the age of young employees, since boys
under 16 can hardly be used to advantage with it. Should its use be­
come general, the problem of child labor in the industry may easily
cease to exist. Women could undoubtedly do the work, but a strong
public sentiment exists against employing them in the furnace room,
and the glassmen themselves are apt to share this feeling. In
1904-1906 three bottle factories—two in the Middle West and one in
the East—introduced negro women and girls in the furnace room.
In the eastern factory the experiment was soon given up, but in the
other two it proved financially successful and was continued.



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THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

In these two establishments the women were employed exactly
as boys would have been, working in the usual close association
with men. At the time of this investigation 51 such women were em­
ployed, 9 working in the daytime only, while the remaining 42
worked on both day and night shifts, the day shift of one week be­
coming the night shift of the next; 21 were from 16 to 20 years old,
and 18 from 21 to 30; 24 were single, 22 married, and 5 widowed or
separated from their husbands. The conditions of employment, such
as exposure to fierce heat, constrained position, continuous standing
or steady walking, rapid work, etc., are in nowise modified for these
women. Obviously such conditions would frequently tell more
severely upon women and girls than upon boys, and the women have
the added hardship of the men’s attitude toward them. Moral condi­
tions were said to be exceedingly bad.
In one factory white women and girls were found working at a
boy’s occupation, but separated from the male workers. The factory
was two-storied, with the furnace on the second floor. A series of
chutes led from each group of blowers to the first floor. The bottles
when blown and finished were placed on the chutes and thus con­
veyed to the first floor, where girls and women carried them to the
annealing ovens. By this system the girls were not exposed to the
highly objectionable conditions of the furnace room. Their work,
however, was hot and heavy, and, owing to the danger of breakage on
the chute, the system can be employed only for certain kinds of ware.
So far adult men have proved the principal substitute for boy
workers. The manufacturers themselves are somewhat divided in
opinion as to whether men can do work of this kind as well as boys
can, but the belief that they can do it satisfactorily seems to be in­
creasing. Foreigners are preferred as being at once cheaper and
more manageable than native-born workmen. There are two ad­
mitted drawbacks to their employment: They must be paid higher
wages than will satisfy boys and they do not afford a supply of
recruits for the skilled positions.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR BOYS TO LEARN THE TRADE.

There is an almost entire absence in the furnace room of inter­
mediate positions between the simple, unskilled work of the boy and
the highly skilled work of blowing. The latter position is attained
by way of apprenticeship, and apprentices are not always drawn from
the shopboys of the particular factory. If a boy becomes an appren­
tice he is assured of ultimate journeymanship; if he fails to become
an apprentice, and his chance practically disappears after he is 18,
or at most 19, years of age, he remains in the industry as a shopboy
to the end. For the young shopboy, therefore, his opportunity of
becoming an apprentice before he is too old is a matter of utmost
importance.1 * * *



i Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 233.

THE

133

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

But the number of apprentices who may be taken on is strictly
limited by the unions. The regulations on this subject are given in
considerable detail, but the important point is the conclusion:
It will be seen that apprentices are taken on each year in the ratio
of 1 apprentice to from 10 to 25 journeymen. As the number of
shopboys in the usual furnace room is normally at least one-fifth
greater than the number of journeymen blowers, it would thus ap­
pear that the usual shopboy has about 1 chance in from 12 to 30 of
being apprenticed each year. Furthermore, as the opportunity of
being apprenticed practically ceases at the age of 18, and as in most
of the States concerned a boy can not legally work before he is 14,
his ultimate chance of becoming an apprentice is about 1 in from 3 to
7. In other words, it would appear that if all shopboys began work
at the age of 14, 1 out of each 3, 4, 5, or 6, depending on the specific
regulation or agreement, would become apprentices. Those failing to
become apprenticed would, as noted, have practically no hope of
afterpromotion in the industry.1
ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT OF BOYS.

Three types of illegal employment were considered : Employment
under legal age, employment without affidavits or certificates as pre­
scribed by law, and employment for more hours per day or per week
than permitted by law or at prohibited times.
EM PLOYM ENT B EL O W LEGAL AGE.

Each of the States investigated had a minimum age limit below
which employment was illegal. In 11 this age was 14 and in 5 it was
12; in 3 of the latter exceptions were permitted. No cases of em­
ployment under legal age were found in 7 States. These were Illi­
nois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, and Wisconsin, in which
the legal age was 14, and Georgia and South Carolina, in which the
legal age was 12. The number of children found employed under
legal age, and their distribution by State and by age, are shown in
the following table:
E X A C T AGES OF CH ILDREN EM PLOYED U N D E R L EG AL A G E , B Y STATES.

State.

New Jersey
................
Pennsylvania
.............................
Ohio
........................
Indiana
...................................
Tennessee and Missouri
West Virginia
. .................
Maryland
...................................
Virginia
........................




Legal
age.

14
14
14
14
14
12
12
12

Number
of chil­
dren em­
ployed
under
legal age.
14
95
7
25
4
14
2
6

Distribution by exact age (in years) of children
under legal age.

9

11

10

4

12

1
5
4

1
1

5
1
4

i Vol. Il l , Glass Industry, p. 235.

8
2

2
13
1
6
1

13

11
73
6
11
3

Not re­
ported.

4

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OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

E M P L O Y M E N T W IT H O U T R E Q U IR E D C E R T IF IC A T E S .

The employment of children without proper certificates was illegal
in seven States—New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Missouri, and Wisconsin. In these a total of 778 children were
found working without proper certificates, forming 52.7 per cent
of the 1,477 as to whom special investigation on this point was made.
T
In addition 85 children were found working under certificates issued
before they were of legal age.1
E M P L O Y M E N T A T N IG H T.

The employment of children at night was prohibited in New York,
Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri. This law seemed pretty
well obeyed except in Ohio, where it was under attack and where
meanwhile it was almost a dead letter. The occasional employment
of boys more hours than the law permitted when there was any
restriction of this kind seemed common, and under the prevailing
system of factory inspection almost impossible of prevention. The
difficulty of securing a sufficient supply of boy labor is the cause for
most of these violations.
SUMMARY OF EMPLOYMENT OF BOYS IN FURNACE ROOM.

The work of boys under 16 has been of great importance in the
furnace room, but this importance appears to be decreasing. To
a very limited extent women and girls have been used as a substitute
for boys, but their use in this capacity is generally disapproved and
seems unlikely to increase. Older boys and adult males have been
substituted to a considerable extent.
The work done by boys under 16 seldom involves severe muscular
exertion, but is done in an intense heat and frequently demands
rapid movement and close attention. It has in itself no educative
value. The boy has a limited chance of becoming an apprentice,2
in which case he acquires a skilled trade. Failing that, he has no
prospect of ever being anything in the glass industry but an unskilled
worker.
The regular hours are not long but lend themselves readily to a
severe form of overwork, the double shift. Night work is common.
The physical effect of the work is almost inevitably bad, and since
little discipline of any kind is enforced in a glass factory the moral
influence is usually far from desirable. Wages vary widely, but on
the whole are good. The growing restrictions on child labor have
1 Eighteen of these were in New Jersey, a State in which the employer was not legally
obliged to have certificates on file.
2 This chance is practically nil if he is either a Negro or a foreigner, the custom of the
glass blowers being to take only native-born white boys as apprentices.




THE

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135

IN D U S T R Y .

rendered the employment of young boys less profitable, and few em­
ployers now insist that they are essential to the conduct of the in­
dustry. Many admit that their opposition to such legislation has
been a mistake.
As one manufacturer said, “ The money I have spent to help pre­
vent the passage of child-labor laws is more than double the difference
between boy labor and man labor in my factory, and I am done
with it.” 1
HEALTH CONDITIONS OF THE FURNACE ROOM AS INDI­
CATED BY CAUSES OF DEATH OF GLASS BLOWERS.
Inasmuch as the general working environment of boys in the fur­
nace room is essentially the same as that of the blowers, and inas­
much as all boys do blowing from time to time, and a considerable
number ultimately become blowers, the health conditions of the
blowers themselves become important, especially as definite statis­
tics for no other class of glass-factory employees can be shown. As
will be seen, the prevalence of tuberculosis among the blowers very
directly and very seriously concerns the boys.
In order to throw as much light as possible on the question of
health conditions in the glass industry, statistics were secured from
the death records of the Glass-Bottle Blowers’ Association covering a
period of 17 years, from 1892 to 1908, inclusive. The total number
of deaths during this period was 898. Of these the records showed
the cause of all deaths and the age at death for 886 persons.
The following table gives the age at death from all causes and from
certain specific causes which are of importance, and the percentage of
deaths from such causes compared with the percentage of deaths
from like causes of males occupied in manufacturing and mechanical
industries:
A V E R A G E AG E OF GLASS-BOTTLE B L O W E R S A T D E A T H AN D PER CENT OF D E A T H S
DUE TO EACH SPECIFIED DISEASE.

Bottle blowers.
Disease.
Average
age at
death.

Per cent of Per cent of
total
total
deaths.
deaths.

Typhoid fever.................................................................................................
Tuberculosis of the lungs.............................................................................
Organic heart disease....................................................................................
Pneumonia.......................................................................................................
Disease of urinary system.............................................................................

37.1
34.8
48.2
40.0
49.3

3.01
32.00
9.25
7.69
6.13

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

41.4

100.00




i Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 229.

Males in
manufac­
turing and
mechanical
industries.

2.59
18.50
10.51
9.96
9.37

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S T A T IS T IC S .

It is thus seen that the average age at death for all bottle blowers
is 41.4 years; that of those dying from tuberculosis of the lungs the
average age at death is 34.8 years; that these form 32 per cent of all
deaths, whereas in mechanical and manufacturing industries the per
cent of deaths from this cause is 18.5.
What this table further shows is that in no disease except tubercu­
losis is the glass blowers’ percentage of deaths greatly in excess of
that discovered among workingmen in general. Only in typhoid
fever is the rate even as high, and this is so entirely a local question,
probably due largely to the impurity of drinking-water supply, that
the glass industry could superinduce it only in so far as the occupation
causes excessive drinking of water in localities where the water was
impure. At any rate the excess percentage, or difference in per­
centage, 3.01 as against 2.59, is not sufficient to indicate a tendency,
even if typhoid fever could ever be considered a disease attributable
to occupation.
This table shows that glass blowers are not more subject to pneu­
monia than are other workingmen, notwithstanding the extreme
changes of temperature, and the reason for this may perhaps be in
the trade custom of wearing wool shirts the year round, thus pro­
tecting themselves from the chill that would otherwise follow sudden
passage from hot zones to cold belts in the furnace room.1 * * *
One of the causes of the large proportion of deaths from tuberculo­
sis is ‘the practical absence of any sanitary or hygienic regulation of
the use of blowpipes. In only one plant was found a full set of pipes
for each blower, who was required to use only his own set. Every­
where else blowers’ pipes passed from mouth to mouth without hav­
ing been disinfected or even cleaned. Not only does the mouthpiece
here become an ideal means of distributing the disease among the
blowers and the boys, but the practice of blowing saliva into and
through the pipe to get the additional expansive Force of steam, in
addition to the breath in blowing larger ware, makes the whole canal
through the pipe a perpetual culture bed for the bacilli. In case of
large window-glass cylinders or very large carboys a little water is
poured down the blowpipe to make steam, but ordinarily saliva is
used. In this .connection, too, it must be borne in mind that in some
cases “ blow-up boys ” are used; that is, a boy, generally the clean-off,
is paid a small amount extra by the blower or the firm to start the
blowing. That is to say, he blows into the pipe while the glass gather
is still on the marver or as soon as it is taken off, and thus forms a
hollow bulb on the end of the blowpipe, which saves the breath and
lung power of the blower very materially.
Again, the practice of “ daubing ” brings all the boys in the shop or
in the blow room into direct contact with these undisinfected blow­
pipes. “ Daubing” is the name given to that general custom and
practice by which a boy has a right to gather a “ gob ” and attempt
to blow a bottle during tempos and meal hours. It is the beginning
of his apprenticeship to the trade of a blower. Custom gives each
boy the right to four “ daubs ” a day. The boys are usually very
jealous of this right and will and often do go on strike for its en­




1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 248, 249.

THE

forcement. In order to
pipe and uses it.1

GLASS

IN D U S T R Y .

137

his “ daub ” the boy picks up any blow­

This practice among the boys of using the blowpipes of the blowers
from time to time involves another serious danger, the danger of the
spread of venereal diseases. Dr. E. It. Hayhurst in his study of “ In­
dustrial health* hazards and occupational diseases in Ohio” says:
“ The innocent spread of venereal diseases, particularly syphilis,
through the common mouthing of the blowpipe was illustrated in
one place, where a physician cited a chancre of the lip which had
been followed by other cases of syphilis” (p. 260). This danger has
also been the subject of discussion by other investigators of the sub­
ject.2
EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN THE GLASS
INDUSTRY.
The first definite mention of the employment of women in glass
making is in the report of manufacture for 1832 by the Secretary of
the Treasury, in which mention is made of 16 women employed in
two factories in Massachusetts. According to the census figures in
1850 women formed 1.7 per cent of the total wage earners in the in­
dustry; by 1890 this proportion had risen to 4.2 per cent, in 1900 it
was 6.7 per cent, and in 1905 it had decreased to 5.4 per cent. The
present investigation, made in 1908, seemed to show that this decrease
was only temporary. Of the 54,885 employees of the glass factories
investigated, 3,971, or 7.2 per cent, were females aged 16 or over,
and 582, or 1.1 per cent, were girls under 16. (The women who
were employed as substitutes for boys in the furnace room are not
included in this calculation.) The proportion of women depends
largely on the kind of ware manufactured. Thus, in the manu­
facture of beer bottles, in which 7,336 employees were found in the
factories visited, only 1.2 per cent were females, while in the manu­
facture of table ware (total employees, 9,445) the proportion of
female workers was 18.7 per cent.
Kacially the distribution of the women in the glass factory appears
to be about the same as their distribution in the community in which
the factory is located. Of the total group of female workers 52.2 per
cent were native born of native parents, 34.5 per cent native born of
foreign parents, and 13.3 per cent foreign born. The age distribu­
tion of 3,255 female employees from whom information on this point
was obtained is shown in the table following.




1Vol. Ill, Glass Industry, pp. 242, 243.
2Idem, p. 266.

i38

BU
LLETIN O TH BU
F E REAU O LA O STA
F BR
TISTIC
S.

NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF FEMALES EM PLO YED IN GLASS FACTORIES IN VEST I­
G ATED , B Y AGES. #
[Female fumace-room employees are not included in this table.J

Females.

Females.
Age.

Ago.
Num­
ber.
12 years ..............................................
13 years ..............................................
14 years ..............................................
15 years................................................
16 years................................................
17 years................................................
18 years................................................
19 years ..................................... .........
20 years
21 years................................................
22 years................................................

3
12
161
305
523
450
411
260
203
146
98

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.
0.1
.4
4.9
9.4
16.1
13.8
12.6
8.0
6.2
4.5
3.0

77
66
135
62
69
25

Per
cent.

23 years................................................
24 years................................................
25 to 29 years......................................
30 to 34 years.......................................
35 to 44 years......................................
45 years and over...............................
Others, reported as 21 years and
over...................................................

2.4
2.0
4.1
1.9
2.1
.8

249

7.7

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

3,255

100.0

It will be noticed that 16 is the age of greatest numerical density;
that half the total number are found in the age group 16 to 20; that
after 18 years has been reached the numbers decrease rapidly; and
that less than one-third (28.5 per cent) are over 20. Of those aged
18 years and over, 86.9 per cent were single while 13.1 per cent were
or had been married.
As before mentioned, the employment of women in furnace rooms
is very exceptional, their work usually being confined to the leer room
and the finishing department. From the standpoint of number, the
finishing department is the more important, there being approxi­
mately three times as many females employed in it as in the leer
room. The kind of work done and the conditions under which it is
performed differ so widely in these two departments that they must
be considered separately.
WORK OF WOMEN IN THE LEER ROOM.

When an article has been molded in the furnace room it is taken
by the carrying-in boy to the annealing leer, a long tunnel-like
structure, through which it passes on a series of moving pans, emerg­
ing, cooled and annealed, into what is practically another division
of the building—the leer room. Sometimes this is really a sepa­
rate room;‘ more often it is merely a portion of the main room, but
so partitioned off from the blow room proper as to constitute a dis­
tinct working section. Ordinarily it, like the blow room or furnace
room, is of such open construction as to afford very little protection
against the cold.
In tableware and shade factories the use of the leer room is almost
entirely confined to the taking of the ware off the leer, such ware
being sent at once to the finishing room. In bottle and jar factories
where very little finishing is required the leer room is used also for



THE

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139

such finishing operations as sorting and packing, putting caps on
jars, tying glass stoppers to their bottles, etc.
TAKING OFF THE LEER.

The most important operation in this room is that known as “ tak­
ing off the leer.” This consists of removing the cooled ware from the
leer, examining it for defects, throwing aside the imperfect pieces,
and placing the perfect ones in boxes or crates. The pan from which
the ware is to be taken rests immediately in front of the worker.
Sometimes it is waist high and the ware can be removed without
stooping, but more often it is so low that constant bending is neces­
sary. In half the factories in which women were found at this work
the crates or boxes in which the ware was to be put were simply placed
upon the floor, and as a consequence it was necessary to stoop con­
stantly. In others the crates were placed on stands, an arrange­
ment which renders the work at once less fatiguing and less likely
to prove injurious. A man was always assigned to carry away the
crates when they were full, but since he was often slow in coming
when needed, and since the women, being paid a piece rate, were anx­
ious to avoid delay, they not infrequently carried away the full crates,
which involved very heavy lifting. Apart from this the work has
many objectionable features.
The work of taking off the leer is almost always a very dirty occu­
pation. In two factories the gas combustion within the leer was good,
and little or no smoke or soot escaped into the leer room, and the
takers-off were able to keep themselves reasonably clean. In most
factories, however, the persons and clothes of the women soon be­
come very soiled. In one place the smoke was visibly oozing from the
leer opening, and the taker-off was grimy with soot. This latter case
was exceptional, but almost always the rear or leer room end of the
leer is sufficiently dirty to render care of the person impossible.
Moreover, in only three of the 14 establishments in which women
take off the leer are wash rooms or any washing facilities provided.
One woman, employed in a factory which provided no washing facili­
ties whatever, complained that she had to walk home each evening
because, on account of her uncleanly appearance, she was ashamed to
ride on the street car.
The dirtiness of the work of taking off, combined with the necessity
of a constant stooping posture and the general character of the place
where the work is done tends to have a coarsening influence upon the
women so employed. They work singly or in pairs, and very often
in intimate association with a few men. That these conditions have a
demoralizing tendency is shown by the fact that in two establishments
it has been found necessary to post signs threatening instant dis­
missal to any man caught talking with the women takers-off. The
work is usually regarded by the other women of the factory and by
the community generally as more or less degrading, and as an occu-




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pation for women it has possibly the lowest social standing of any in
the glass industry.1
The employment of women at taking off the leer is not, and never
has been, general in the industry. They were first employed in this
way about twenty years ago. “ Since then the practice has been tried
in numerous places, and usually abandoned after a short trial. Dur­
ing the year of this investigation there were 15 factories employing
women and girls at this work. The number so employed was 79, of
whom 9 were under 16.” In one factory they were employed by night
as well as by day; elsewhere men only were employed for such work
at night.
OTHER OCCUPATIONS.

The other occupations of the leer room require little description.
Sorting and packing involves only what is implied in the name, and
may be a very light or a heavy occupation, according to the size of the
ware handled. In two factories the packers had to lift and carry
trays or crates of the ware weighing 50 to 80 pounds; elsewhere men
were assigned for this work, but the women often did it themselves
to avoid the delay of waiting for the men.
The work of capping fruit jars is one of absolute simplicity, re­
quiring no skill or training whatever. The same may be said of
tying on stoppers. Chipping and filing, which consists of smoothing
off the necks of cheap bottles or jars, requires a little more skill.
The worker holds the article in one hand and with a tool in the
other breaks awav particles of the excess glass until the neck is re­
duced to a considerable degree of smoothness. When greater smooth­
ness is desired the neck may be ground, but with many of the cheaper
articles the chipping or filing is sufficient. The most unpleasant fea­
ture of the work is that the strokes of the metal on the glass neces­
sarily cause particles of glass to fly in all directions and flesh cuts,
particularly on the hands, are frequent, especially with the younger
or more careless girls. No permanent injuries, however, were re­
ported.
In nearly all of these leer-room occupations the work was done
standing. There is a general belief that this leads to more rapid
work. In some factories seats were not provided; in others workers
at some of the occupations were forbidden to sit.
WORK OF WOMEN IN THE FINISHING ROOM.

The term “ finishing room ” is used to denote “ that division, sec­
tion, or department of a glass factory in which the finer varieties of
glassware receive their final decoration by grinding, fluting, beveling,
etching, color applications, etc.” It may or may not be in the same




1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, pp. 300, 301.

THE

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141

building as the furnace and leer rooms, but in any case it is more
carefully finished, the more delicate work of the finishing room re­
quiring more complete and permanent housing than does the rougher,
heavier work of the furnace and leer rooms. Sixty-six finishing de­
partments were visited, in which normally about 2,919 women of 16
years and over were employed, and 440 girls under 16. “ Males over
16 were employed in some degree in all of these places, but boys
under 16 were not frequent, the number being but 81.”
A great variety of occupations are carried on in the finishing room,
no less than 150 in which women are employed being found in the
present investigation. “ Many of these were of very small member­
ship; a number occurred only in a single factory; several had no
well-defined names.” Some of the most important of these occupa­
tions were cutting off, grinding, glazing, sand blasting, ^designing
in wax and etching, acid etching, flute cutting, color decoration, and
cut-glass making.
Cutting off is the removal of the rough upper edge of a tumbler
or other article. In flame cutting, the method now generally used,
the cutter draws a scratch with a diamond point upon the surface
of the glass; the article is then clasped in a revolving holder, and as
it turns a flame is directed upon it at the line of the scratch. Almost
immediately a fracture commences at the scratch and continues
around the object in an even line. The work is not difficult and re­
quires no particular skill. It is usually done standing, but this
seems a matter of custom rather than of necessity. Women predomi­
nate in the occupation, but men are found at it.
The edge of tumblers, lamp shades, etc., are ground to smooth them
off. This may be done either by hand grinding or chuck grinding.
In hand grinding the worker stands before a large grindstone, re­
volving horizontally, and presses the article, edge downward, upon
the moving surface. The chuck-grinding machine consists of a series
of three or four small circular stone wheels, each with an attached
holder or chuck. Each chuck is arranged to hold a tumbler in such
a position that when the weight which moves the chuck is released
the open rough edge of the tumbler is brought into contact with the
grinding surface of the stone. The work of the operator is to place
the tumblers in the chucks, manipulate the weights and controlling
levers, and when the ware is sufficiently ground remove the tumbler
and repeat the operation with another. Grinding is a rather dirty
operation and almost necessarily involves continuous standing, but
it is not heavy or difficult work.
Glazing consists of exposing the sharp edge left by the last opera­
tion to a flame which slightly melts and rounds the edge. The
ware is placed in some kind of carrier, and as it passes along in this




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S T A T IS T IC S .

it is exposed to the flame. At the end of its transit the ware is
finished and the operator removes it.
DECORATING PROCESSES.

At this point the article is ready for decoration. For this four
main processes are in use: Sand blasting, acid etching, cutting by
stone or metal wheel, and painting and enameling in color.
Sand blasting.

Sand blasting is apt to be at once disagreeable and very harmful
to the operator. Ordinarily the apparatus consists of a box with a
small opening at the top. Pipes carrying sand under compressed air
or steam pressure lead into this box. When the pressure is on the
only escape is through the opening at the top, and through this the
sand pours in a very forcible blast. The article to be decorated is
held in this blast, and the escaping sand chips away minute particles
of glass, breaking the surface and producing a milky opaque ap­
pearance or frosted effect. I f the frosting is not to cover the whole
surface, the article is inclosed in a metallic plate in which a design
has been cut. It is then exposed to the blast and the design is
frosted on its surface.
The sand, forced through the escape under a pressure of from 25
to 100 pounds, naturally tends to rebound from the glass and scatter
in every direction. The more recent sand-blast machines have
proper hoods or exhausts to capture this rebounding sand and
carry it safely off. A few, indeed, are semiautomatic, the operator
placing the article in an inclosed box and the blasting being done
entirely out of view. These types may be harmless, but they are few.
Most of the machines in use were of the open type, and the majority
had either no exhausts or very poor ones, so that the escaping sand
and glass particles passed freely into the room and filled the air.
The operator standing before the machine received the full force
of this dust stream in her face. Nearly all the women employed at
the work complained that the dust caused painful irritation of the
eyes and throat. This is the most objectionable feature of the work,
but a secondary one is that the work is ordinarily done standing.
Neither of these conditions is necessitated by the work; the escape
of dust can be entirely prevented, and by a little adjustment much,
if not all, of the work can be done seated.
Acid etching.

Acid etching produces the same effect as sand blasting by means
of the action of hydrofluoric acid upon glass. If the whole surface is
to be frosted, the article is immersed in a bath of the acid; if a de


THE

G LA S S IN D U S T R Y .

143

sign is desired, the article is first covered with wax or paraffin, the
design is cut into this covering, and the article then immersed in the
acid. Another method is to stamp the design upon the glass by a
stencil, covering all that is not to be eaten by the acid with an ink
refractory to the action of acid. In either case the article after
preparation is either immersed in a bath of hydrofluoric acid or ex­
posed to its fumes until the design is eaten into the glass. When
the articles are dipped the worker’s hands are apt to suffer; when
they are not dipped this difficulty is avoided, but the fumes of the
acid constitute a dangerous feature in both kinds of the work. These
fumes are extremely pungent and irritating to the throat and nose
and affect the eyes painfully. It is entirely possible to arrange the
apparatus by means of inclosed tanks, exhaust pipes, etc., so that the
operator will not be exposed to the fumes at all, but such an arrange­
ment was found in only one factory. Elsewhere the work was uni­
formly disagreeable and harmful.
Flute cutting: and smoothing.

Two kinds of grinding are done by women, fluting ordinary ware—
tumblers, for instance—and smoothing cut glassware. Fluting is
done by holding an article against a revolving stone in such a way
that only the desired portion of the lateral surface is ground. In
some cases the article is held in the hand; in others a machine is used
for holding it in place. Women are largely employed in this work,
especially in the machine fluting, which they practically monopolize.
Hand grinding may be done seated, but in machine grinding the
operator is usually on her feet. The use of a grindstone moistened
with sand or emery and water results in the spattering of some dirt
upon the operator, and in machine grinding there is much physical
strain owing to the rapidity of the work. Smoothing consists of
grinding cut glass, after the cutting has been done, to remove the
roughness of the incisions. It is light work and has no particularly
unpleasant features.
Color decoration.

Painting and enameling are in the main light work. In painting
the paint is usually applied directly to the surface, but when gold
paint is used the glass must first be roughened to receive it. The
old way of doing this, known as mudding, consisted of covering the
article with mud and then heating it by passing it through a leer.
This was found still in use in three establishments, the work being
done by women.
Such work is very disagreeable. The ware must be dipped in a
caldron of the heavy mud or the mud must be plastered on with
brushes and later, when it has been hardened in the leer, the caked



144

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

mud must be rubbed or washed off. It is hard, dirty, unfeminine
work.1
In the other establishments different methods of preparing the
glass were used, men alone being employed for the work.
The painting itself requires no description. The most noticeable
feature is the speed required. “ The pay is by piece, and the rate is
so low that a worker must attain an almost incredible speed in order
to make $1 to $1.50 per day.” As an illustration of the speed re­
quired the decoration of a standard 4^-inch nappy is considered,
in which gold paint is to be applied, covering approximately 10J
square inches.
The rounded, hollow shape of the article requires that its position
must be constantly changed while being decorated. The piece rate
for doing this work is such that in order to earn $8.85 per week a
woman must complete on the average one article per minute for the
full 58 hours per week.2
Enameling is usually done by stamping a design upon glass with
a quick-drying oil, and then dusting or sprinkling enamel powder
over the glass, the powder adhering only to the parts which are
sticky with oil. Afterwards the articles are sprayed with an oil or
turpentine preparation and left to dry, after which the surplus
powder is wiped off, and, if the ware is of fine quality, the enamel is
rendered more durable by firing. Women are commonly used for
stamping the design upon the glass, for sprinkling the powder upon
the oil, and for removing the surplus powder. This is all light work,
and the operators can readily sit at all times.
The disagreeable feature, and one that in some factories becomes
a positive evil, rises from the use of the enameling compounds in the
form of either powders or sprays in such manner as to permit the
air to become filled with dust. These enameling compounds contain
various ingredients, but lead and arsenic are common to nearly all.
This being the case, exhausts seem indispensable to the work.3
In addition to these lines of work, women are numerously em­
ployed in sorting, washing, wiping, and packing glassware, and in
a number of miscellaneous operations.
WORKING CONDITIONS.

These have already been dwelt upon to some extent in the descrip­
tion of the work done. The leer rooms almost without exception
involved undue exposure to weather, but had abundant ventilation.
Of the 66 finishing departments visited 20 were housed in a thor­
oughly satisfactory manner, 10 were very bad—“ gloomy and dirty,
badly heated, and insufficiently lighted ”—while the remaining 36
fell somewhere between these extremes.
1 Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 327.




2 Idem, p. 327.

8 Idem, p. 328.

THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

145

From the standpoint of the employees the worst economic feature
of the ordinary finishing room is probably the presence of broken
glass upon the floor. The establishments where this condition does
not prevail are very few. Apart from the danger of more or less
serious cuts and injuries arising from this loose glass, the destruction
of shoes is a very serious matter with employees. In securing family
schedules from mothers of girls in glass factories an almost universal
complaint was that the additional expense for shoes more than
offset whatever favorable conditions might surround the work.1
Overcrowding, poor ventilation, and insufficient light were rare,
though some cases were found. Provisions for cleanliness were fre­
quently inadequate, though much needed.
For all female workers the provision of proper washing facilities
is at least highly desirable, while for many such workers proper
conveniences for washing and also for dressing are imperative as
matters of decency. Nevertheless, of the 116 factories investigated
in which women were employed, 84 (72.4 per cent) were absolutely
unequipped with dressing rooms, 85 (73.3 per cent) were unequipped
with wash rooms and 108 were unequipped with rest rooms. Women
employed in such factories had for washing purposes at best only
the common factory hydrants, and such dressing as they could de­
cently do had to be done in the publicity of rooms in which men
were employed or to which men had frequent access. That these
factories which were unequipped with conveniences were not those in
which the work was especially clean is shown by the fact that nearly
one-half of such factories had women employed in leer-room occupa­
tions, normally the most dirty of all women’s work.2
Of 4,632 women and girls for whom these facts were learned only
32.1 per cent had the use of dressing rooms and 31.1 per cent the use
of wash rooms. Lunch rooms were uncommon, only five factories
providing them for the female employees, while none made such
provision for male workers.3 Thirty-six of the 116 factories provided
sufficient toilet accommodations. for the women employees, these
accommodations, moreover, being conveniently located with sufficient
privacy of approach, and kept in excellent condition. In the other
80 factories the accommodations provided were defective in one or
all of these points.
Serious accidents appeared to be rare; cuts from broken glass were
the most frequent form of injury.
HOURS OP LABOR, NIGHT WORK, AND OVERTIME.

The information as to hours was taken from the pay rolls of the
establishments visited for a selected pay-roll period, which was, as
1 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 340.
2 Idem, p. 344.
3 In one factory outside parties were allowed to maintain a restaurant for men and
women alike.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------10




146

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUBEAU

OF

LABOB

S T A T IS T IC S .

a rule, the one just prior to the investigation by the agent of the
bureau in 1907 or 1908. Facts were obtained concerning 3,971 females
16 years of age and over, 582 girls under 16, and 113 boys under 16,
all employed outside of the furnace rooms in 116 factories. The
following table shows the distribution of these persons according to
the length of their working week:
HOURS OF LABOR OF W OM EN AND CHILDREN IN THE FINISHING D EPAR TM EN T.

Females 16 years and over.

Hours per
week.

44.................
45.................
46.................
47.................
48.................
49.................
50.................
51.................
52.................
53.................
54.................
55.................
56.................
57.................
58.................
59.................
60.................
Total.

Femalos under 16 years.

Males under 16 years.

Per cent WorkingPer cent working—
Per cent working—
Number
Number
Number
working
working
working
specified Specified Specified specified Specified Specified specified
Specified Specified
hours.
hours or hours.
hours or
hours.
hours.
hours.
hours. hours or
less.
less.
less.
5
16

0.4

2
12

(I>.3

.5
.8

40
56
20
182
115
591
2 261
208
1,492
746
220

1.0
1.4
.5
4.6
2.9
14.9
6.6
5.3
37.7
18.8
5.6

1.8
3.2
3.7
8.3
11.2
26.1
32.7
37.9
75.6
94.4
100.0

3,961

100.0

0.9

0.9

2
22
1
10

.3
3.8
.2
1.7

1.2
5.0
5.2
6.9

5
16
6
131
2 21
26
242
45
50

.9
2.7
1.0
22.5
3.6
4.5
41.6
7.7
8.6

7.7
10.5
11.5
34.0
37.6
42.1
83.7
91.4
100.0

582

100.0

0.4

1
I

0.9
.9

0.9
1.8

6

5.3

7.1

15

13.3

20.4

5

4.4

24.8

5
1
14
58
5
2

4.4
.9
12.4
51.3
4.4
1.8

29.2
30.1
42.5
93.8
98.2
100.0

113

100.0

* Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.
2 Including one factory in which the hours per week were 58 for one-half of the year and 55 for the other,
an average of 56£ hours per week.

Omitting the boys under 16 as being too few in number for the
facts concerning them to have any significance, it appears that very
few worked as much as 60 hours a week, and none worked over these
hours. The great majority, 83 per cent of the women and 80 per
cent of the girls, were concentrated in the group 55 to 59 hours,
inclusive, the point of greatest density being clearly marked at 58
hours. Below the 55-hour limit there were approximately 11 per
cent of both women and girls. This lower group was widely scat­
tered, more than 100 individuals having a working week as short
as 50 hours, and 21 as short a week as 45 hours. In general, the
shorter working week for females occurred in the leer-room occu­
pations of taking off the leer, sorting, and packing, while those per­
sons whose week was 55 hours or more were engaged in the finish­
ing occupations proper. A short working day on Saturday is prac­
tically universal.




THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

147

Night work among women and girls.

Night work in the sense of working on a night shift is very
unusual among female employees. No girls under 16 and only 561
of those over this age were so employed. Massachusetts, New York,
and Indiana absolutely prohibit night work for women, and Ohio
forbids it for females under 18. In other States the custom of
the industry is against employing women at night, and manufac­
turers in general strongly disapprove of the practice. Only 10
women were found employed on night shifts outside of the furnace
room. Six of these worked at selecting ware in an Ohio factory,
and four in Pennsylvania worked at taking off the leer.
Overtime.

Double-shift work is practically unknown among women in the
leer and finishing rooms, but work carried on after the formal closing
time was not unusual. In the leer room such work is frequent, but
irregular; in the finishing room it is apt to be seasonal. A special
inquiry was made upon this point among 1,057 women and girls
employed in 62 establishments. Of these, 331, from 39 establish­
ments, have worked overtime on 4,361 separate occasions, an average
of 13 occasions for each person. Thirty-eight had worked overtime
on more than 25 but less than 50 days, 6 on 50 but less than 100 days,
and 4 on 100 or more days. The amount of overtime required varied
from half an hour to seven hours per day; the most common amount
was from two to three hours, reported in 135 cases, and next to this
from three to four hours, reported by 106 workers. Pay-roll records
were found of weekly hours ranging up to 76.
EARNINGS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

Earnings and rates of wages were obtained for 69.9 per cent of
the women and 82.6 per cent of the girls under 16 normally employed
in the leer and finishing rooms of the 116 factories in which they
were found working in these departments. These percentages seem
sufficiently large to be taken as illustrative of the whole.
As in the case of the boys in the furnace room, there was a wide dif­
ference between the full-time weekly earnings and the actual weekly
earnings. The following table shows the extent of this difference:
1 Including the Negro women whose work in the furnace room has already been described.




148

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

FULL-TIM E AN D ACTUAL W E E K L Y EAR NINGS OF W O M EN A N D GIRLS IN FINISHING
DEPAR TM EN T COM PARED.
Females under 16 years.

Females 16 years and over.

Actual
Actual
Full-time
Full-time
weekly earnings. weekly earnings. weekly earnings. weekly earnings.

Classified weekly earnings.

Num­
ber.
___________________ !_______
TTnrtftr *2
$2 to $2.99..................................................
228
$3 to $3.99.......................... .......................
852
$4 to $4.99..................................................
$5 to $5.99..................................................
693
$6 to $8.99..................................................
559
196
$7 to $7.99..................................................
96
$8 to $8.99..................................................
76
$9 to $9.99..................................................
42
$10 to $11.99..............................................
$12 to $13.99..............................................
$14 and over.............................................

1

2
0
1
1

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

2,774

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

10
2

8
.2

30.7
25.0
23.2
7.1
3.5
2.7
1.5
.7
A

10
0 .0

218
462
767
545
346
144

6
6

54
32
14

6

2,774

Num­
ber.

4.3
7.9
16.7
27.6
19.6
12.5
5.2
2.4
1.9

1

184
205
57
23
7

2
2

1
.2
.5
.2
10
0 .0

481

Per
cent.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

1 .6
0

51
81
146
137
42
15

0.2

38.3
42.6

1 .8
1
4.8
1.5
.4
.4

6
1
2

10
0 .0

16.8
30.4
28.5
8.7
3.1
1.3
.2
.4

10
0 .0

481

From this it appears that while among the women aged 16 and over
only 8.2 per cent were working for nominal wages of less than $4 a
week, 28.9 per cent earned under that amount. Not quite two-thirds
(63.9 per cent) had rates under $6 a week, but three-fourths (76.1
per cent) earned less than this. Among the girls under 16 the differ­
ences are equally great.
Local variations in earnings.

The earnings of women in the same occupation varied widely ac­
cording to location. The only reasons suggested for this are the
immobility of female labor and the fact that glass factories as a rule
are located either in the country or in small communities where there
is not much demand for female labor. Some examples of the extent
of this variation are given in the following table:
COM PARATIVE A V E R A G E W AG ES OF W O M EN IN 4 SELE CTE D OCCUPATIONS IN 13
SELECTED ESTABLISHM ENTS IN T H E GLASS IN D U ST R Y .
Selecting.

Total.

State.

Pa
...
Ohio___
Pa.........
W . Va..
Pa.........
Ohio___
Pa.........
Ohio....
D o ...
D o...
W . V a..
Ohio___
D o ...

EsEstab- Num­ Aver­ tab- Num­
ber
age
lish- ber
wage lishment of
ment of
per num­ per­
num­ per­
ber.! sons. hour. ber. sons.

Aver­
age
wage
per
hour.

cts.
5.9
6.3
6.7
6.9
7.2
8.1
8.1
9.0
9.3
9.5
9.7
11.2
11.9

Cts.
5.7
7.6
7.7
7.7
8.0
8.2
8.4
8.7
9.0
9.3
10.0
10.0
12.1

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

26
16
28
24
18
23
79
79
34
28
12
18
29

1
5
4
9
3
6
8
2
7
12
11
10
13

16
6
9
12
7
20
45
4
22
2
3
9
23

Wrapping.
Estab- Num­
lish- ber
ment of
num­ per­
ber. sons.

2
4
3
5
10
7
8
11
9
13
12
6
1

6
10
9
9
4
24
19
4
6
3
6

Aver­
age
wage
per
hour.

Cts.
5.7
6.4
6.6
7.1
7.2
7.5
7.7
8.7
8.9
12.2
12.9

Washin;

Grinding (hand).

Es- Num­
Aver­ Es- Num­ Aver­
tabtabage lish- ber
age
lisli- ber
of
wage
ment per­ wage ment of
per
per­
per
num­
num­
ber. sons. hour. ber. sons. hour.

1
2
3
4
6
12
7
11
9
13
5
10
8

10
6
6
5
3
6
6
3
12
3

Cts.
5.2
5.4
6.0
6.5
7.3
7.5
7.9
9.4
9.6
10.0

3
5
7
10
11
8
9
12
6
2
13
4
1

6
3
27
15
2
15
4
4

Cts.
6.2
6.7
7.9
9.7
11.6
12.4
14.3
15.0

1 In the total division the establishments are given consecutive marginal numbers, these numbers being
attached to the same factories in each of the occupational divisions.




THE

149

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

As these four occupations are all of a relatively unskilled character
it might fairly be supposed that there would be no great variation in
the rate of wages, yet the table shows that for three of them the
average wage paid by the establishments at one extreme is at least
double that paid by the establishment at the other extreme, while in
the fourth occupation—washing—the variation is little short of 100
per cent. In grinding the variation is particularly great, the differ­
ence between 6.2 cents an hour and 15 cents an hour being, on a 58hour-per-week basis, the difference between $3.60 and $8.70 a week.
These examples are perhaps extreme, but there seems abundant
ground for the statement that “ among women glassworkers there is
no such a thing as a level of occupational wage, even within a very
limited territory.”
Age and earnings.

This variation renders it difficult to make general statements con­
cerning wages and earnings, but even with this drawback the connec­
tion between age and earnings is very clearly shown by the follow­
ing table:
NUM BER OF FEM ALE GLASSW O R K ER S R ECEIVING EACH CLASSIFIED FULL-TIM E
W E E K L Y EAR NING S AND PER CENT R ECEIVING U N D E R CER TAIN SPECIFIED
AMOUNTS.
-

Age.

1
Number receiving—
Per cent receiving specified amounts.
‘Total
Inumsber of
em­ $3 to $4 to $5 to $6 to $8 to $10 Under Under Under
Under Under $10
ploy­ $3.99 $4.99 $5.99 $7.99 $9.99 and
and
$4
$5
$6
$8
$10
over.
ees.
over.

12 years . . . . . . .
13 years
14 years.. . . . . . . .
15 years..............
16 years..............
17 years..............
18 years..............
19 years..............
20 years..............
21 years..............
22 years.............. !
23 years..............
24 years..............
25 to 29 years...
30 to 34 years...
35 to 44 years...
45 years and
over............. .
Others reported
as 21 years
and over.........

3
12
161
305
523
450
411
260
203
146
98
77
66
135
62
69

3
3
i 80
99
97
47
2 31
9
7
11
4
1
2
4
3
2

249

11
3414

13
42
120
121
119
71
61
32
27
19
12
19
12
12

7
23
73
82
114
80
71
61
30
28
27
42
23
23

4
9
10
16
18
18
8
8
7
10
23
4
7

4
3
4
8
4
6
4
3
3
16
3
3

9

25

Total........ 3,255

2

7
61
137
220
187
127
74
42
28
25
19
12
31
17
22

4

7

3

83.3
87.6
77.4
60.6
52.0
38.4
31.9
24.1
26.7
29.6
26.0
21.2
25.9
32.3
34.8

ioo.o
91.1
83.6
78.9
67.4
59.2
54.2
48.6
57.1
50.6
39.4
40.0
51.6
52.2

100.0
98.7
97.5
97.1
95.1
90.0
89.2
90.4
87.8
87.0
80.3
71.1
88.7
85.5

100.0
99.2
99.3
99.0
96.9
98.0
95.9
95.9
96.1
95.5
88.1
95.2
95.7

0.8
.7
1.0
3.1
2.0
4.1
4.1
3.9
4.5
11.9
4.8
4.3

36.0

2

52.0

80.0

92.0

8.0

9 5 .7

39

64

94

31

10

4.4

20.1

45.8

83.5

96.0

4.0

1,057

750

785

176

73

12.7

45.2

68.2

92.4

97.8

2.2

1 Including 1 receiving under $3.
2 Including 2 receiving under $3.




100.0
25.0
49.7
32.5
18.5
10.4
7.5
3.5
3.4
7.5
4.1
1.3
3.0
3.0
4.8
2.9

8 Including 3 receiving under $3.

150

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

NUM BER OF FEM ALE G LASSW OR K ER S R ECEIVING EACH CLASSIFIED FULL-TIM E
W E E K L Y EAR N IN G S AN D PER CENT RECEIVIN G AS MUCH AS OR MORE TH AN
CERTAIN SPECIFIED AM OUNTS.

Age.

12 years...................................
13 years...................................
14 years...................................
15 vears...................................
16 years...................................
.
17 years................................. •
18 years...................................
19 years...................................
20 years...................................
21 years...................................
22 years...................................
23 years...................................
24 years...................................
25 to 29 years..........................
30 to 34 years.................... .
35 to 44 years..........................
45 years and over..................
Others reported as 21 years
and over...................*.........

Total
Number receiving—
num­
ber
of
em­ $3 to $4 to $5 to $6 to $8 to $10
ploy­ $3.99 $4.99 $5.99 $7.99 $9.99 and
ees.
over.
3
3
12
3
161
i 80
305
99
523
97
450
47
411
2 31
260
9
203
7
146
11
98
4
77 !
1
66
2
135
4
62
3
69
2
25
249

Total............................ 3,255

11
3414

1 Including 1 receiving under $3.
2 Including 2 receiving under $3.

7
61
137
220
187
127
74
42
28
25
19
12
31
17
22
9

2
13
42
120
121
119
71
61
32
27
19
12
19
12
12
4

7
23
73
82
114
80
71
61
30
28
27
42
23
23
7

$4

$5

$6

$8

4
3
4
8
4
6
4
3
3
16
3
3
2

75.0
50.3
67.5
81.5
89.6
92.5
96.6
96.6
92.5
95.9
98.7
97.0
97.0
95.2
97.1
100.0

16.7
12.4
22.6
39.4
48.0
61.6
68.1
75.9
73.3
70.4
74.0
78.8
74.1
67.7
65.2
64.0

4.3
8.9
16.4
21.1
32.6
48.0
45.3
51.4
42.9
49.4
60.6
60.0
48.4
47.8
48.0

1.3
2.5
2.9
4.9
10.0
10.8
9.6
12.2
13.0
19.8
28.9
11.3
14.5
20.0

0.8
.7
1.0
3.1
2.0
4.1
4.1
3.9
4.5
11.9
4.8
4.3
8.0

4

9
10
16
18
18
8
8
7
10
23
4
7
3

Per cent receiving as much
as or more than—

$10

39

64

94

31

10

95.6

79.9

54.2

16.5

4.0

1,057

750

785

176

73

87.3

54.8

31.8

7.6

2.2

3 Including 3 receiving under $3.

This table shows a fairly steady increase in earnings as age in­
creases, the climax being reached in the group aged 25 to 29, which
has the highest level reached. Nevertheless not quite one-eighth of
these earn as much as $10 a week. Taking the group as a whole, not
quite one-third reach or pass $6 a week, while nearly one-half get
less than $5.
Premiums and fines as means of securing good and preventing bad
work were not very generally used.
Neither premiums nor fines are considered by most employers as
being satisfactory means of encouraging speed, care, or regularity
among the women of the finishing department. A large number of
establishments reported that they had tried both these methods in
the past, but had discarded them as being without successful effect.
One employer concluded his opinion with the statement that “ a
damned good cussin’ does a Slav girl more good than fining her.”
The comparative unimportance of fines and premiums among the
women workers was indicated by the fact that the wage data gath­
ered were influenced in almost no degree by the presence of such
items.1




l Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 422.

THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

151

ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

Very little of such employment was found. In six States at the
time of this investigation there were no legal restrictions upon the
employment of women. In four of the other States—Massachusetts,
New York, Ohio, and Indiana—the employment of women at night
was forbidden. Only one violation of this provision was found; in
one Ohio establishment four women under IS out of a total of 20
investigated were reported to have been employed in violation of
the law later than 7 p. m. once or more during the preceding year.
In seven States—Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsyl­
vania, Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia—a maximum legal day for
women had been established, and also, except in the case of Virginia,
a maximum legal week. In four of these States—Massachusetts,
Connecticut, New York, and Virginia—no violations of these laws
were reported; in the others 57 were reported as employed more
hours per day than the law permitted and 130 as having a longer
week than was legal.
RELATION OF THE WORK TO HEALTH.
INJURIOUS CONDITIONS AND SURROUNDINGS.

It was impossible in this investigation to have a physician’s exami­
nation of the workers or to keep any number of workers under obser­
vation for a time sufficient to demonstrate the real effect of the work
done. Consequently, only broad general statements can be made.
On the whole there seemed nothing necessarily harmful about the
work except in the two occupations, taking off the leer and sand
blasting, which as performed in every factory visited were unques­
tionably bad for the health of women. As the work of the factories
is commonly carried on, however, there are several conditions inimical
to health and several occupations which are obviously injurious. Of.
the objectionable conditions the commonest are constant standing,
the lifting of heavy weights, and wet floors.
Constant standing is the most general. Questions on this point
were answered by 1,272 females, almost a third of the total normally
employed in the factories visited. The table following shows the
situation in regard to the use of seats among those questioned.




152

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

NU M BER OF FEM ALES IN ESTABLISHM ENTS IN VESTIG ATED STANDING CO N STAN TLY,
SITTING C O N STAN TLY, AN D SITTING PAR T OF TH E TIM E, B Y OCCUPATIONS.
Number of females—

Occupations.

Total
females
con­
cerned.

Taking off leer.................*................................
Mold cleaning...................................................
Tying stoppers..................................................
Chipping and filing..........................................
CaDDinsr JlTrt
X
® iars......................................................
........................ ...............
Cuti mg off name..............................................
Grinding, hand.................................................
Grinding, chuck...............................................
Glazing (disk o n ly )........................................
Flute cutting, hand.........................................
Flute cutting, machine ...............................
Needle etching..................................................
Sand blasting....................................................
Transferring......................................................
Decorating (color)............................................
Smoothing.........................................................
Washing and wiping bottles.........................
Sorting and selecting......................................
Packing..............................................................
Wrapping...........................................................
Miscellaneous....................................................
Cap-machino tending ...................................
Demijohn Tnftlring ........................................
Vial m aking.....................................................

24
18
17
24
18
67
114
4
22
13
2
20
12
47
84
12
155
220
62
111
160
23
38
5

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

1,272

Per cent ............................................................

Standing Sitting
con­
con­
stantly. stantly.

17
3
1
7
11
55
110
4
13
1
17
10
10
42
147
180
53
96
93
2

14
8
16
4
8
3

Establishments.

Sitting
part of
time.

7
1
8
1
3
4
1

9
13
1
1
34
42
12
2
23
1
6
44
21
38
5

3
1
*3
6
17
8
9
23

872

305

95

68.5

24.0

7.5

Total
con­
cerned.

8
10
5
8
5
12
16
1
9
3
1
6
5
10
13
2
29
36
18
23
34
3
2
1
200

Number
in which
all or
some of
femcles
in speci­
fied occu­
pations
sat at
least part
of time.
2
9
5
8
2
4
3
5
3
1
1
2
8
9
2
6
16
3
7
21
2
2
1
122
46.9

It will be noticed that more than tw o-thirds stand continuously.
T
This is not necessary, as, with the exception of chuck grinding,
there is no occupation in which at least some of the women do not
sit for part of the time. The constant standing is due to the fact
that in most of the occupations listed a person works more rapidly
standing than sitting. Foremen therefore usually prohibit women
the use of seats for even a part of the time, and pieceworkers, for
the sake of greater earnings, tend to shun seats even when provided.
Nevertheless, it was almost always noted that pieceworkers used
seats from time to time when they were unwell or unduly tired, and
nearly all the employers who provided seats for time workers stated
that occasional sitting increases efficiency in the long run.
The lifting and carrying by women of weights too heavy for
anyone except a reasonably strong man is not a feature of many
occupations, but it occurs at least occasionally in almost every fac­
tory. It is most frequently found in the occupations of taking off
the leer and sorting and packing. In most cases men were assigned
to do the heavy lifting connected with this work, but their delay or
negligence led the women to do it themselves.



THE

GLASS

IN D U S T R Y .

153

Wet floors were complained of frequently, the complaints being
evidently well based. This condition affects chiefly those persons
doing washing and wiping, this being the occupation in which water
is most freely used, but it is by no means limited to this one work.
It is an entirely unnecessary condition.
HARMFUL OCCUPATIONS.

The principal occupations which, as commonly performed, are un­
doubtedly harmful are taking off the leer, sand blasting, acid dipping,
“ dusting,” and “ spraying.” In taking off the leer the constrained,
stooping position in which most of the work is done and the frequent
lifting of heavy weights are both objectionable. Sand blasting may
be rendered perfectly safe by the use of closed hoods. In most of
the factories visited, however, such hoods were not used, and in
many the workers had little or no protection from the fine sand and
glass particles. In the opinion of practically all medical experts the
harmful effects of such dust are very serious. The unpleasant and
harmful effects of the hydrofluoric acid used in acid etching have
already been mentioned. As in the case of sand blasting, it is en­
tirely possible to use devices which protect the worker completely
from the acid fumes, but such devices were not generally found in
the factories visited.
Dusting and spraying are both methods of applying color to glass
articles as a decoration. In dusting a finely powdered paint is
dusted on by hand, while in spraying a liquid paint is applied by
means of an atomizer. In both cases, unless proper hoods and ex­
hausts are used, the poisonous spray or dust may escape into the
atmosphere and be directly inhaled by the workers. “ The several
factories engaged in this class of work differ greatly in their degree
of provision of proper hoods and exhausts.”
It is to be noted that these occupations do not require numerous
workers. Excluding taking off the leer, others than the immediate
workers may be affected by the harmful conditions described; but
even so, not many are concerned. A rough approximation to the
number affected will place it at about 150 out of a total of 4,632
females normally employed by all factories visited.
REASONS FOR ENTERING INDUSTRY,

No attempt was made to discover why these women were at work
outside of their homes, but from 902 answers w$re secured to the
query why they had entered the glass industry. The largest group,
167, said they could get better pay in this than in anything else open
to them, and practically the same number, 166, said it was the only
work open to them; 149 gave opportunity or convenience as their



154

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

reason; 77 came because other members of their family were already
in it, and 93 because they had friends in it. The remainder, as might
be expected, assigned a great variety of reasons, most of them
amounting to a belief that the work was steadier or cleaner or better
paid or easier than other work obtainable. On the whole, the women
employed in these factories seemed less migratory than young work­
ers frequently are. Of 708 whose industrial history was learned, 51
per cent had spent their whole working time in the glass industry.
SUMMARY OF EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

The employment of women in the leer room seemed to be quite gen­
erally considered objectionable, but concerning their work in the
finishing room there is greater diversity of opinion. A considerable
number of women and girls are so employed, mostly in work which
does not involve much physical strain, which is not dangerous and
which has no inherently harmful features. The wage level is low,
but not strikingly so as compared with women’s industries in general.
Hours are usually moderate and night work is practically unknown.
The reasons assigned by the women for entering the industry show
that many of them consider it more desirable work at better pay than
anything else open to them, but many of the employers and managers
seemed very doubtful as to whether a glass factory was a fit place
for a woman to work. Their doubt seemed largely based on a vague
idea of unsuitability which they did not themselves try to define.
Probably only time can show whether or not this feeling is justified.
EMPLOYMENT OP WOMEN AND GIRLS IN MAKING INCAN­
DESCENT LAMPS.
The manufacture of incandescent lamps is an industry of recent
development. Most of the processes, requiring accuracy, speed, and
delicate manipulation, but little physical strength, are peculiarly
suited to female workers, and as a consequence the industry is largely
in their hands. Eight establishments were visited, employing nor­
mally 4,123 employees, of whom 78.2 per cent were females aged 16
and over and 1.7 per cent were girls under 16. In other words, prac­
tically four-fifths of all the workers were females.
The processes of manufacture are too numerous and complex to be
described in a summary, but practically all have three common
characteristics—the minuteness of the work, the extreme speed at
which the operations are performed, and as a corollary of these two
the necessity of maintaining a uniform position for long periods
together.
The minuteness of the work done can be partially appreciated by
inspecting an ordinary carbon or tungsten lamp, the filament of which



THE

GLASS

155

IN D U S T R Y .

is not clearly visible unless the lamp is held close to the eyes and in a
strong light. Yet these minute filaments must be prepared and
mounted with absolute accuracy. Other operations, while not quite
so trying as these, still demand the best sight and the closest atten­
tion, and all are rendered more exacting by the necessity for speed.
SPEED RATE.

Since the inception of this industry there has been a material re­
duction in the cost of the finished lamps. “ This reduction has been
possible only because of the increased rapidity with which the lamp
could be produced and the consequent decrease in the cost of produc­
tion.” A part of this increased speed is due to the simplification of
processes and the introduction of machines which relieve the opera­
tor of some part of the work; but by far the greater part is due to
the increased speed of the operators. This increase in speed is the
result of a carefully planned policy of the manufacturers, who have
fostered it by highly developed methods.
These methods are four in number: First, the establishment of a
minimum output below which the employees dare not fall, for fear
of discharge. At the time of this investigation a tabulation of the
output of all employees for a period of six weeks had just been com­
pleted in one establishment as a basis on which to establish minimum
standards in all occupations. The fact that this system is not in
general use, however, seems to indicate that it is of no great efficacy.
Second, the payment of higher piece rates for increased production.
In one of the factories, for example, the rates paid for “ gem ” mount­
ing are as follows:
Per 1,000 .
Output under 900 per day____________________________________ $1. 03
Output 900 to 1,000 per day___________________________________ 1.07
Output 1,000 to 1,100 per day________________________________
1.1,2
Output 1,100 and over per day------------------------------------------------ 1.17

In the case of the highest net output, 1,200, the difference to
the operator between being paid at the lowest rate and highest is
the difference between $1.24 and $1.40, or 16 cents per day—that is,
more than 10 per cent of the total wages. Numerous instances of
similar devices were encountered, and from the evidence of both
managers and employees it is highly successful in securing greatly
increased outputs. Third, a method very similar to that just cited,
that of giving bonuses for all production above a certain standard.
This method is likewise widely used. The fourth and last of these
methods is perhaps the most interesting. When an entirely new
process is introduced or there is some one occupation the output of
which has fallen below normal, one of the most skilled and willing
workers is made the “ leader ” of a group. She acts as a pacemaker,
and is urged to her best efforts to increase both her own production
and that of her group by being paid 5 per cent more than the average
of the entire group. In such a case the use of bonuses or graded
piece rates is ordinarily added in order to urge the individual Avork


156

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

ers to their highest speed. After this system has been in vogue
for a short time and the girls have become accustomed to working
at their maximum efficiency the “ leader” is removed, the bonuses
discarded, and according to the testimony of many of the girls
the piece rate is cut to such a point that the average wage level is
as it was when the employees were producing much less. By this
means the production is said in several cases to have been doubled
within a short time.
Beside these specific methods of increasing the output in the
different occupations the same results are secured by the regulation
of piece rates. It is difficult to say just how far this policy is
characteristic of the industry or to what degree it is practiced in
the separate establishments, but the attitude is strikingly illustrated
in the statement of a superintendent, who when asked how he was
able to maintain rapid production without the use of premiums
replied: “ We keep the piece rate so low that they have to keep right
at it in order to make a living.”
These rapid and forced increases in the quantity of goods pro­
duced, however, necessarily react on the quality by increasing the
proportion of imperfect products. To offset this tendency a set
of fines is introduced as a penalty for imperfect work or breakage,
bonuses are given for the largest percentage of perfect ware, or in
some cases a combination of the two methods is used. In one of the
largest establishments, for example, the average production and
average breakage for each occupation as well as each individual are
calculated every day. In those occupations in which the tendency
to breakage or imperfect work is greatest, such as sealing-in, those
having good production above the average of the occupation receive
a bonus of one-third the full rates for all they have saved above
the average. Those having a loss greater than the average are fined,
but in a progressive ratio greater than the ratio of loss, and if em­
ployees fall constantly or very far below the average they are dis­
charged. In other cases special fines are imposed, of the nature and
amount of which it was found that the majority of the employees
were ignorant. These fines at times become very onerous, and in
at least one case there was a strike against them. In 1908 a system
of fines was imposed on the “ hub makers” in one of the estab­
lishments, which resulted in the girls losing an average of about
50 cents per week in fines, which represented approximately 7 per
cent of their total wages. After standing the deductions for" several
weeks the girls refused to work until the fines were abolished, and
succeeded after a little delay in gaining their point.
One of the establishments, that in which the general level of piece
rates is highest, however, is peculiar in that its policy is not to force
the speed of production, but, if anything, to restrict it. In pursu­
ance of this policy the pieceworkers, who are required to remain in
the factory until closing time, are given other work after they have
exhausted their regular supply, and are paid for this extra work
either on time rates or at 20 per cent less than the regular piece rates
for the same class of work. This scheme has been adopted to prevent
too fast work by supplying the additional work at a lower rate, as
well as to prevent too slow work that some of the employees tend to
do when they know that the supply is limited and that they might as



THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

157

well “ go slow ” and make it last through full time. The reduction
of 20 per cent in the rates for the additional work is justified on the
ground that the girls, when given work for an hour or two to which
they are unaccustomed, are not as efficient as the regular workers and
waste a great deal of material.1
M A IN T E N A N C E OF UNIFORM POSITION.

With most of the work, and particularly with those operations
which require very clear and close vision, there is only one position
in which it is possible to do the work to the best advantage as con­
cerns either quality or speed. As a rule the posture which must be
assumed is one in which the employee is stooped over a bench or
table with the work only a few inches away from her eyes. Theoreti­
cally, almost all the employees have the choice of sitting or standing,
and as a rule seats are provided in all the establishments wherever
it is possible to utilize them. But owing to the fact that earnings are
so directly connected with both the quantity and the quality of the
work produced the employees must of necessity maintain the posture
in which both these results can be best obtained.
COMPOSITION OF TH E LABOR FORCE.

Most of the establishments visited were situated in large towns
where the supply of labor is abundant, and there was evidence that
in hiring employees the managers exercised careful discrimination
based on experience. Hence the age, sex, and nationality of em­
ployees are not the result of mere chance, but are due to the fact
that persons of those given characteristics have been found by ex­
perience to be best suited to the industry.
In view of this fact peculiar interest attaches to the predominance
of women. It has already been stated that they form four-fifths
of the total employees, but if employees engaged in such occupations
as stoking, freight handling, dynamo tending, and the like be ex­
cluded, their proportion is larger. In the occupations in which
women and girls are employed at all they form 96.8 per cent of the
employees.
Of 2,756 concerning whom detailed information was secured, 34.7
per cent were native born of native parents, 40.3 per cent were native
born of foreign parents, and 25 per cent were foreign born. Their
age distribution was as follows:




1 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, pp. 479-481.

158

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.
AGE D ISTR IBUTION OF FEM ALE EM PLO YEES.
Number.

Per cent.

14
53
274
374
351
321
281
178
151
138

Age.

0.5
1.9
9.9
13.6
12.7
11.6
10.2
6.5
5.5
5.0

Under 15 years
15 years............
16 years............
17 years............
18 years............
19 years............
20 years............
21 years............
22 years............
23 years............

Age.

Number. Per cent.

25 to 29 years..............................
30 to 34 years..............................
35 to 44 years..............................
45 to 54 years..............................
Others reported as 21 years
and over..................................
Total.................................

74
226
70
49
10

2.7
8.2
2.5
1.8
.4

192

7.0

2,756

100.0

Very young workers are noticeably few, only 2.4 per cent being
under 16. Still the age level is low. Very nearly one-half (48.1 per
cent) are found in the group aged 17 to 20, inclusive, and three-fifths
(60.4 per cent) are under 21. Only 12.9 per cent were reported as
being 25 or over. As might be expected in so young a group, the
great majority were single, 142 were married, and 79 were widowed,
separated, or divorced.
HOURS OF LABOR.

In four establishments the working time was 10 hours a day from
Monday to Friday and 5 hours on Saturday. In two cases the hours
were shorter, 52^ and 54 hours a week, and in two establishments
they were, respectively, 58 and 60 hours. The work is not seasonal,
overtime was unusual, and nightwork for women was practically
unknown..
EARNINGS.

The general level of wages in the electric-lamp industry is, for the
women at least, relatively high. The average earnings per hour of all
women over 16 years is 13.71 cents, which, assuming a 10-hour day
and a 55-hour week as a rule for the industry, means approximately
$1.35 per day, or $7.50 per week as the average wage. There is, how­
ever, a wide variation between the earnings in the various establish­
T
ments, as shown in the following table:
A V E R A G E EARNING S PER H O UR AN D PER F U LL W E E K OF 55 HO U RS FOR A L L
FEM ALES 16 Y E A R S OF AGE AN D OVER IN INCANDESCENT ELECTRIC-LAM P E ST A B ­
LISHM ENTS, B Y N A T IV IT Y .
Native bom of na­
tive parents.
Establish­
ment.

Native born of for­
eign parents.

Foreign born.

Total.

Average
Average
Average
Average
Employ­ earnings Employ­ earnings Employ­ earnings Employ­ earnings Average
earnings
ees.
ees.
ees.
ees.
per hour.
per hour.
per hour. per week.
per hour.

D ................
E ................
F .................
G.................
H ................

473
95
211
82
34
17
19
11

$0.1398
.1469
.1176
.1401
.1279
.1600
.1115
.1072

791
115
112
22
14
10
6

$0.1381
.1443
.1159
.1384
. 1492
.1543
.1198

447
207
6
6
5
2
3
1

$0.1398
.1457
.1252
.1274
.1467
.1693
.1630
.1234

1,711
417
329
110
53
29
28
12

10.1390
.1456
.1171
.1390
.1353
.1586
.1189
.1084

$7.65
8.00
7.05
7.50
7.45
8.35
6.90
5.95

Total..

942

.1332

1,070

.1360

677

.1419

2,689

.1371

7.60

A ................
B.................

c.........




THE

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

159

The data with reference to local conditions necessary to explain
the differences existing between the average wages in the various es­
tablishments are lacking. The differences are not to be explained by
the relative piece rates paid, or by the size of the town, or by the
general composition of the labor force. The two establishments in
which the wage level is lowest are situated, the one in a city of over
50,000, the other in a small town; while those two in which the level
is highest are likewise one in a large city, the other in a town.
G ENERAL CONDITIONS.

With one exception the buildings were far from modern and gen­
erally inferior to what would be expected in so highly developed an
industry. Fire escapes were rather generally lacking. There were
only two establishments in which any special facilities for washing
were provided; these two also had dressing rooms, but the remaining
six had only closets or lockers in which clothing could be hung.
Lunch rooms and rest rooms were exceptional, only one example of
each being found. Toilet accommodations for women were sufficient
in five establishments and in good condition as to cleanliness in the
same number of cases.
SUM M ARY.

The manufacture of electric lamps is very largely in the hands of
women and girls. It is work which requires speed and dexterity
rather than manual strength, so is unsuited to many of the newer
immigrants; practically 75 per cent of the female workers studied
were native born. The age level is low, three-fifths of the female
employees being under 21, but child labor is little used, only 2A
per cent being under 16. Earnings are relatively high, the average
wage per week varying from $5.95 to $8.35, according to the establish­
ment studied. The most conspicuously objectionable feature of the
work is the speed at which it is carried on, this speed being carefully
fostered and insisted upon by the managers.
FAMILY CONDITIONS AND SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF
FAMILY INCOME.
The fourth part of the report is devoted to a study of family con­
ditions of woman and child workers in the glass industry. To obtain
the data for this, the names of a certain number of woman and child
employees of various ages were taken from the pay rolls of each
establishment investigated, visits were made to their homes, and
schedules of detailed information secured for them. Altogether
2,137 families were visited, distributed over 14 States, in more than
100 separate communities.



160

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OP

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

GENERAL CHARACTER OF FAMILIES.

Few or no distinctive characteristics were presented by these fami­
lies. “ So far as could be ascertained they do not form a particular
class, nor do they represent any particular element of American
life.” Racially and industrially they reflected the general conditions
of the community in which they were found. No especial type seems
to be peculiarly adapted to glass making, and no one race or class has
shown a marked tendency to take it up. There is almost no trace in
the glass industry of such an institution as the “ glass family,” in the
sense that there is in certain cotton communities a distinct type of
“ mill family.” For this there are two reasons: First, the glass fac­
tory can rarely offer employment to all the members of a family, and
secondly, when it does this condition is only a temporary one. A
glass factory might be able to use all the young boys it can obtain,
but owing to the make-up of its working force it would normally
employ only a small proportion of the adult male labor naturally
found in the families from which these young boys came, and a still
smaller proportion of the adult female labor. Owing to this same
make-up of the working force, as the young boys become in their
turn adults many of them must of necessity leave the industry, so
that even in the exceptional eases where a whole family is employed,
as the children grow older some of them must normally leave the glass
factory and the family becomes diversely employed.
COMPOSITION OF FAMILIES; EMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS.

The 2,137 families averaged 6.3 members and 3 wage earners per
family. In 80.6 per cent of these families the father, and in 97.7
per cent the mother was living and with the family. In 47 per cent
there were male children aged 16 or over, in 52.8 per cent there were
female children aged 16 and over, in 78.7 per cent children of 14 or 15,
and in 77 per cent children under 14. Practically 95 per cent of the
fathers and 13.9 per cent of the mothers were working and contribut­
ing to the family support. The proportion of children in the various
age groups at work was as follows:
Per cent.

Males 16 and over------------------------------------------------------------------Females 16 and over--------------------------------------------------------------Children 14 and 15 years of age-------------------------------------------Children under 14 years of age------------------------------------------------

96.4
80. 2
89. 5
4 .1

The proportion of younger children at work can not be taken as
significant, since in many cases the family was visited simply be­
cause it had a child at work. The proportion of those over 16 at
work is probably more normal. It will be observed that while the
employment of girls aged 16 or over is less universal than the em­



THE

161

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

ployment of boys of that age, it is still very common, four-fifths
of such girls being at work. The putting to work of children under
14 is evidently comparatively unusual in these families.
SOURCES A N D A M O U N T OF F A M IL Y INCOME.

The net incomes of the families differ widely according to the
make-up of the contributing membership. These variations are
shown in the following table:
Average net income, per family, of families having—
$920
Fathers at work_________________________________________
Mothers at work_________________________________________
616
Male children 16 and over at work______________________ 1,017
Female children 16 and over at work___________________
905
Children 14 and 15 at work______________________________
863
Children under 14 at work______________________________
759
Net income for all families------------------------------------

855

It would be expected that mothers of families would not be work­
ing outside their homes unless under decided economic pressure,
so it is not surprising that the families with such workers show the
lowest net incomes found, falling more than $200 below the average
for the whole group. The families in which children under 14 are
at work have the next lowest incomes, falling $96 below the general
average, while the highest prosperity is found in the families hav­
ing male children 16 or over at work. In the majority of these
families there would also be fathers at work and the larger incomes
show the effect of the combined earnings.
The proportion of the net family income contributed by each class
of workers was as follows:
Per cent.1

Fathers_______________________________________________________
Mothers_______________________________________________________
Male children 16 and over____________________________________
Female children 16 and over--------------------------------------------------Children 14 and 15 years of age---------------------------------------------Children under 14_____________________________________________

56. 0
25.1
37. 8
26. 7
18.9
15. 7

Perhaps the most striking feature of this table is the percentage
contributed by working fathers. The father’s full earnings are
counted as contributions, yet in families having fathers less than
three-fifths of the family income came from that source. Evidently,
although the father was the most important single wage earner, his
earnings alone would have been very far from sufficient to keep up
the family standards in a great number of cases. The proportions
contributed by other members show no unexpected features.
1 These per cents apply in each case only to the incomes of families having workers of
the specified class.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------11




162

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

An interesting point in the discussion of the family incomes is the
extent to which the wage-earning members turn their earnings into
the common fund. The father, mother, and younger children usually
contribute all they make, but the children aged 16 and over often
expect to retain part of their earnings. The following table shows
the degree to which this is done:
PERCENTAGES OF CONTRIBUTION TO TH E F A M IL Y FUNDS B Y CH ILD REN 16 Y E A R S
OF AGE A N D O VER A N D T H E IR AVE R A G E EAR NING S A N D CONTRIBUTIONS D U R IN G
TH E Y E A R , B Y S E X OF CH ILD REN A N D N A T IV IT Y A N D RACE OF H E A D S OF FAM­
ILIES.

Number of fam­ Average earn­
ilies with—
ings of—

Nativity and race of head of family.

Male
wage
earners
in this
age
group.

Female
wage
earners Males.
in this
age
group.

Average amount Per cent of earn­
paid to family
ings given
family by—
by—

Fe­
males.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Males.

Fe­
males.

Native bom of native parents:
White.................................................
Colored...............................................
Native bom of foreign parents.............
Foreign bom ............................................

375
28
108
473

329
30
112
458

$369
284
355
371

$198
174
218
208

$250
206
260
298

$161
158
186
188

67.8
72.'7
73.5
80.4

81.2
91.0
85.4
90.5

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

984

929

366

204

273

177

74.6

86.4

Some very marked differences between races as well as between
sexes appear in this table. For the group as a whole the adult female
children contribute a distinctly larger portion of their earnings to
their families than do the adult male children, 86.4 per cent as
against 74.6 per cent. A larger proportion of their earnings is
contributed by the native-born colored females than by those of any
of the other race groups. The foreign-born daughters of foreign par­
ents contribute more than native-born daughters of foreign parents
and the latter in turn more than native-born daughters of native par­
ents. The difference between any of these groups is not very marked,
the extremes being 81.2 per cent and 91 per cent. Among the male
adult children the only difference in this racial order is that the
native-born colored stand next to the native-born whites of native
parents in the relative smallness of their contributions.
MARRIED W OM EN A T W ORK.

A special study was made of the married women living as heads
of families who were engaged in gainful pursuits. Of these there
were 291, whose racial distribution is shown by the following
figures:




THE

GLASS

163

IN D U S T R Y .

N UM BER AN D PE R CENT OF M OTHERS CONTRIBUTING TO TH E F A M IL Y SU PPO R T,
B Y N A T IV IT Y AN D RACE.

Nativity and race of mothers.

Native bom of native parents:
White.................................................................................................................................
Colored.....................................................................................................................................

Number.

Per cent
living
with
family.

115
56

15.1
68.3

Native bom of foreign parents:
English............................................................................... ....................................................
French......................................................................................................................................
German....................................................................................................................................
Irish..........................................................................................................................................
Italian, South..........................................................................................................................
Polish.......................................................................................................................................
Other races..............................................................................................................................

7

25.9

16
14

10.5
18.9

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

37

13.9

Foreign bom:
English....................................................................................................................................
French.....................................................................................................................................
German....................................................................................................................................
Irish................. ........................................................................................................................
Italian, South.........................................................................................................................
Polish.......................................................................................................................................
Other Slavs.............................................................................................................................
Other races..............................................................................................................................

7
5
33
14
7
7
4
6

9.2
8.9
11.3
12.5
14.9
3.4
3.0
11.1

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

83

8.5

Grand total.........................................................................................................................

291

13.9

The colored families show a much larger proportion of gainfully
employed mothers than appears in any other race, while among the
Polish and other Slavic races such employment of married women
is unusual.
The average per capita income of the families in which the mothers
were at work, exclusive of the mother’s contribution, varied, accord­
ing to the woman’s condition as to husband, from $1.26 to $2.10 per
week; in 168 cases this per capita was less than $2 and in 110 it was
less than $1.50. The average membership was 5. The average gross
annual family income was $671 and the average annual earnings of
the wives $154.
It may be accepted that among the families now being considered
the employment at lucrative work of a married woman living as the
maternal head of a household is almost entirely a matter of economic
compulsion. Usually the mother works only as a result of family
need—to assist the family when poverty presses, not simply to raise
the standard of living, as is so often the case in the matter of child
labor.1
To determine the causes of this economic necessity a special study
was made of 140 families located in 8 representative communities in
which the mother was gainfully employed. In 94 cases (67.2 per
cent) the husband was either dead, had abandoned his family re­
sponsibilities, or was incapacitated, in 2 cases he was idle, and in 44




1 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 535.

164

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

was at work. In other words, in only 32.8 per cent of these families
was there a father able to work if he chose, while in 973 other fam­
ilies investigated in these 8 communities in which the mothers were
not gainfully employed 84.3 per cent had fathers able to work.
The importance of the fact pointed out is clear. The absence from
a family of a father able to contribute to its support in itself tends
toward economic distress. Usually it means the withdrawal of the
most responsible, if not the most important, contributor to the family
support, and always it tends to change the economic organization of
the family.1
In 13 of* the 46 families in which there were fathers living and not
incapacitated dissipation and shiftlessness on the part of the fathers
were responsible for the necessity which forced the mother to work;
in 10 cases the wife had gone to work owing to the temporary illness
or disablement of the husband. In 23 cases the husband was a steady
worker, but in only 6 of these cases did he rise above the grade of
the unskilled laborer.
Only 35 married women, not heads of families, were found at work.
Usually they were widows or divorced or separated wives who, the
husbands’ support having been withdrawn, were living with their
parents, parents-in-law, or other near relatives. The group was so
small that the data concerning it possess little significance.
SINGLE WOMEN 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OVER, AT WORK.

In 1,129 of the 2,137 families visited single women aged 16 and
over were found to the number of 1,537. In every case these were
either actual daughters of the families with whom they were living
or were living with them as adopted daughters. The following table
shows the number and per cent at work, using this term to indicate
employment as wage earners:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF SINGLE W O M EN 16 Y E A R S OF AGE AN D OVER A T W O R K
AN D NOT A T W O R K .

Number. Per cent.
Females over 16 years of age and over:
At work—
In glass industry................................................................................. .......................
Not in glass industry.....................................................................................................

780
455

63.2
36.8

Total at work.......................................................................................................
Not at work............................................................................................................................

1,235
302

80.4
19.6

Total investigated...............................................................................................

1,537

100.0

Although this table shows four-fifths of these women at work, it
yet does not fully present the prevalence of wage-earning employ­
ment among them. Most of those reported as not at work had been
employed in previous years and expected to work again as soon as




1Vol. I l l , G lass Industry, p. 536.

THE

15
6

G LA SS IN D U S T R Y .

work could be obtained.. Evidently it was almost as much a matter
of custom for the daughters as for the sons to go to work.
The average age at beginning work was 16, though the great
majority had begun earlier. These women were in no sense tempo­
rary or casual workers. Almost without exception they held regu­
lar positions, usually at some form of factory work, and worked as
regularly as their employment permitted. The following table shows
the average number of days worked and the average daily and an­
nual earnings during the preceding year of those for whom these
facts could be learned:
A V E R A G E A N N U A L D A Y S W O R K E D A N D A V E R A G E EARN IN G S OF SINGLE W O M EN
16 Y E A R S OF AGE A N D OVER A T W O R K , B Y AGE.

Number
report­
ing.

Age.

Average
days
worked
past
year.

Average
earnings
past
year.

Average
earnings
per day
worked.

283
216
$163
$0.75
16 years.....................................................................................................
233
1S2
228
.80
17 years....................................................... ............ ................................
214
197
240
18 years........................................................................................ ..........
.89
106
231
19 years.....................................................................................................
206
.89
106
232
20 years.....................................................................................................
239
.97
75
219
233
21 years.....................................................................................................
.94
22 years.....................................................................................................
56
234
214
.91
45
243
244
23 years.....................................................................................................
.98
24 years.....................................................................................................
36
239
246
1.03
52
242
292
25 to 29 years...........................................................................................
1.27
30 years and over....................................................................................
43
244
263
1.08
Total..............................................................................................

1,232

231

205

.89

In this table, as in a previous one relating to earnings of women
glass workers, there appears a fairly steady increase with age in
earning capacity which reaches its climax between 25 and 30, the
group aged 25 to 29 showing the maximum daily and annual earn­
ings. The number of days worked during the year does not vary
greatly with age; such variation as exists seems mainly irregular.
CHILDREN A T W ORK.

In the 2,137 families investigated there were 5,212 children between
6 and 16 years old. The following table shows the occupation of
these children by age groups:
CHILDREN UN D ER 16 Y E A R S OF AGE A T W O R K , A T SCHOOL, AN D A T HOM E, B Y AGE
GROUPS.
At work.
Age groups.

A t school.

A t home.

Total
number.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.

6 to 11 years....................................
12 and 13 years..............................

2,343
975

26
171

1.1
17.5

2,022
773

86.3
79.3

295
31

12.6
3.2

Total 6 to 13 years.............
14 and 15 years..............................

3,318
1,894

197
1,696

5.9
89.5

2,795
134

84.3
7.1

326
64

9.8
3.4

Total 6 to 15 years.............

5,212

1,893

36.3

2,929

56.2

390

7.5




166

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

The proportion at school decreases and the proportion at work in­
creases progressively in each successive age group. The proportion
in the youngest group of those neither at work nor at school depended
largely upon the opportunities for school going offered by the neigh­
borhood in which the child happened to live.
The employment of children 14 or 15 years old was very general,
only 119 families being found in which there were children of these
ages not at work (7.1 per cent of the total families having such
children). In all 1,696 children of these ages were found at work,
representing 1,562 families. One was an, orphan, 228 were children
of widows, 66 were children of deserted mothers, 33 had incapacitated
fathers, 18 had idle lathers, 78 had both parents at work, and 1,272
had fathers at work. Exclusive of the children’s earnings, the aver­
age annual income of the families these children came from was $762,
and the average weekly per capita income was $2.22, this per capita
ranging from less than $1 in the case of 210 families to $4 or over in
the case of 166 families. The average membership per family was 6.6.
The employment of children under 14 was not common, only 197 in
a total of 4,768 being found at work. Of these 197 the boys num­
bered 180; the girls 17. No girls and only 26 boys were found working
under 12 years of age. There were no full orphans among them, but
34 were children of widows, 9 of deserted wives, 1 had an incapaci­
tated and 1 an idle father, 24 had both father and mother at work,
and in 128 cases the father but not the mother was working. The
average family membership was 6.8, the average per capita weekly
earnings, exclusive of earnings of children under 14, were $1.97, the
range being from less than $1 (30 families) to $4 and over (5
families).
Employment of orphans.

As the glass industry is often charged with exploiting the labor of
orphan children, inquiry was made as to the parental condition of all
children found working in glass factories. Reports were received
from 3,433. Of these 2.4 per cent were full orphans, 15.4 per cent
were fatherless, though their mothers were living, 7.1 per cent had
fathers living but mothers dead, and 75.1 per cent had both parents
living.
It is impossible to say how this compares with the situation in
industry generally, but a comparison is possible with three other in­
dustries covered by this investigation—cotton, silk, and clothing. In
each of these, as in the glass industry, names of women and children
had been taken from pay rolls and data secured concerning their
family condition. A smaller proportion of orphanhood was disclosed




THE

G LASS

167

IN D U S T R Y .

by this method than by the questioning in the factory, because ordi­
narily family schedules could not be obtained for children whose par­
ents were both dead. Nevertheless, as the same method was pursued
in all four investigations, the degree of error is presumably the same,
and results seem comparable. The following table presents the com­
parison in concise form:
NUM BER OF CH ILD REN U N D ER 16 A T W O R K H A V IN G FA TH E R S D E A D , DIVORCED,
OR D ESER T ED , AN D INCAPACITATED, W IT H PER CENT EACH GROUP IS OF T O TA L
CH ILDREN U N D E R 16 Y E A R S A T W O R K , B Y INDUSTRIES.

Father divorced or
deserted.

Father incapaci­
tated.

Total
number
of
children
under 16
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. years at
work.
Father dead.

Industry.

Clothing...
Glass.........
Cotton.......
Silk............

117
263
404
234

15.7
13.9
13.3
13.7

18
75
164
37

2.4
4.0
5.4
2.2

27
34
115
47

3.6
1.8
3.8
2.8

Total.

162
372
6S3
318

21.7
19.7
22.5
18.7

746
1,893
3,032
1,704

It appears from this table that the glass industry is proportion­
ately a smaller employer of fatherless children than is the clothing
industry. As, however, the number of children in the clothing in­
dustry is small, a more satisfactory comparison is with the silk and
cotton industries. Such a comparison shows the glass industry to be
no larger an employer of fatherless children than the cotton industry,
and but slightly larger than the silk industry. From these data it is
evident that there is no warrant for the charge that the glass indus­
try exploits such children in any unusual degree.
R ELATIO N OF EM PLOYM ENT OF CHILDREN TO F A M ILY INCOME.

In regard to this point a careful study was made of 864 families in
eight representative communities, each having at least one child
under 16 at work. The total earnings of all immediate members of
the family living at home, plus gifts or income from lodgers, to­
gether with the money value of any produce raised and used by the
family, have been combined to give the total income of the family.
The following table shows the incomes of the families averaged for
the year studied, first including and second excluding the earnings
of children under 16.




168

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

FAMILIES IN EIGH T SELECTED COMMUNITIES RECEIVING CLASSIFIED PER CAPITA
W E E K L Y INCOMES, W IT H AN D W IT H O U T EAR NING S OF CH ILD REN , AND PE R CENT
RECEIVING LESS T H A N TH E HIGHEST AM OUNT SPECIFIED.

Per capita weekly income.

Number of families
in each per capita
group with earnings
of children—

Per cent of families
receiving less than
highest amount of
specified group with
earnings of children—

Included. Excluded. Included. Excluded.
Under $0.40.......................................................................................
$0.40 and under $0.80......................................................................
$0.80 and under $1.20......................................................................
$1.20 and under $1.60.....................................................................
$1.60 and under $2...........................................................................
$2 and under $2.40...........................................................................
$2.40 and under $2.80......................................................................
$2.80 and under $3.20......................................................................
$3.20 and under $3.60......................................................................
$3.60 and under $4...........................................................................
$4 and under $4.40...........................................................................
$4.40 and under $4.80......................................................................
$4.80 and under $5.20......................................................................
$5.20 and under $5.60......................................................................
$5.60 and under $6...........................................................................
$6 and under $6.40...........................................................................
$6.40 and over...................................................................................

1
6
41
61
102
113
107
95
86
54
50
34
28
28
10
7
41

17
37
85
118
109
122
80
73
55
43
37
22
18
5
12
6
25

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

864

864

0.1
.8
5.5
12.6
24.4
37.5
49.9
60.9
70.9
77.2
83.0
86.9
90.1
99.3
94.5
95.3
100.0

2.0
6.3
16.1
29.7
42.4
56.5
65.7
74.2
80.6
85.5
89.8
92.3
94.4
95.0
96.4
97.1
100.0

The variations in this table are extreme, whether or not the chil­
dren’s earnings are included. As a basis for discussion it was as­
sumed that a weekly per capita income of $2 is the least upon which
a normal family can avoid the pressure of actual poverty. It ap­
pears that 408 (57.6 per cent) of these families were in possession of
an income above this amount, even if the earnings of the children
were excluded. With this group, therefore, it was concluded that
economic necessity as distinguished from a simple desire for money
was not the primary motive for putting the children to work. Seven
other families possessed property the sale of which would have en­
abled them to dispense with their children’s earnings for a consider­
able period at least; so that in their cases also it can not be said that
absolute poverty forced them to let the children work. Fifty-two
families were found in which adults who should have contributed to
the income had been idle during all or part of the preceding year
without such sufficient cause as illness, inability to obtain work, or
the like. Had they not been thus unjustifiably idle, the income would
have reached or exceeded $2 per capita weekly. This leaves 307
families (35.5 per cent of the original group) in which it might
fairly be said that the children’s work was necessitated by poverty.1
1 In Vol. VII, Conditions under which Children Leave School to Go to Work, p. 46, a
similar study of incomes and resources shows that of 620 children 186, or 30 per cent,
were forced to take up work by economic necessity.




THE GLASS INDUSTRY.

169

R E A S O N S , O T H E R T H A N ECO N O M IC , F O R E M P L O Y M E N T O P C H IL D R E N .

Several reasons are given to account for the employment of children
under 16 when it is not a matter of economic necessity. One of the
most important is the desire to have the boy learn the trade, coupled
with acquiescence in the claim set up by most glass men that to learn
the trade of glass blower a boy must begin young. It has already
been pointed out1 that comparatively few of those who enter the
boys7 occupations ever become real apprentices; but since some do,
each one has a chance.
Making this reason more effective is a disbelief in the utility of
“ book learning ” in practical life.
There was in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia
* * * almost a settled conviction that the efficiency of schools and
school models and ideals and its methods of obtaining them were
alike inadequate to the needs of real life, and that the boy would
learn more of real use to him in the factory than in the schools.2
In the case of immigrants a frequent cause was the idea that
the school was a preparation chiefly for confirmation, and that con­
sequently when a child had been confirmed there was no purpose in
his attending longer. A more active reason was the absorbing desire
among immigrants to own a home. “At enormous risks they buy a
home, paying a little down on it, and from that moment every particle
of earning power the family possesses must be taxed to its fullest
until the mortgage is paid.” Company pressure as a cause for
putting children to work seemed of little importance.
ILLITERACY AMONG CHILDREN UNDER 16.

Illiteracy in the sense of being totally unable to read and write
was rare, only 64, or 3.4 per cent, of the 1,893 children under 16
from whom information on this point was received being thus handi­
capped. Forty-four others were unable to read and write English,
though able to read and write their own language..
COMPANY STORES.
The company store as an adjunct of a glass factory is found
mainly in the East, especially in New Jersey. Its importance has
declined materially even here since 1900, owing largely to the oppo­
sition of the Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association, which in 1902 took
a decided stand against it in a strike and won. This settled the ques­
tion, as far as skilled operatives in union factories were concerned,
but left the system unchanged for unskilled labor and employees of
*S e e p. 133.




2 Vol. I l l , Glass Industry, p. 588.

170

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

nonunion factories. Nine company stores were found in operation
during the investigation. Practically all the unskilled laborers who
had families traded either wholly or in part at the company store.
A number of cases were found in which the credit at the company
store was used to its fullest extent, so that on pay day nothing was
coming to the worker. A number of these cases were investigated,
and it was found that the situation was due not to shiftlessness or
poor management, but to the poor earning capacities of the unedu­
cated and untrained workers of the family.
Statements differed as to whether buying at the company store
was compulsory. Most of the employees questioned felt that a failure
to give the company stores at least a part of their trade rendered
employees liable to be discharged, or at least to be laid off tempo­
rarily, as soon as such action did not interfere with the company’s
interest. Among employers there seemed an expectation that em­
ployees should trade at the company stores. In general the prices at
the company stores ranged higher than at independent stores.
SUMMARY.
The glass industry is a large employer of boys, and to some extent
an employer of girls and women. The boys’ occupations for the
most part involve exposure to extreme temperatures, frequently
demand very rapid action, often involve night work, and wherever
the two-shift system is used permit a peculiarly exhausting form of
overwork. Only a small proportion of the boys employed have any
chance of becoming glass blowers, and for the rest it is a blind-alley
occupation of a pronounced type.
The majority of the women and girls employed are in compara­
tively light occupations, involving no necessarily unhealthy condi­
tions. A few occupations are distinctly harmful, but few women are
found in them. The work done by women and girls is very rarely
more than semiskilled at the best and to a large extent is entirely
unskilled. The speed demanded is the general criticism which can be
directed against it. Earnings compare favorably with those of other
occupations followed by women.




CHAPTER IV.—THE SILK INDUSTRY.
The fourth volume of the report on the Condition of Woman and
Child Wage Earners in the United States consists of a study of the
silk industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey the
investigation was confined to Paterson, the most important center of
the industry, not only in that State but in the entire country. In
Pennsylvania it was limited to Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties
and to a few mills in Lehigh County, most of the Pennsylvania silk
mills being located in these counties. The investigation was carried
on from October, 1907, to June, 1908. In all 174 mills—138 in Pater­
son and 36 in Pennsylvania—were visited. “ The aim was to select
in each case such mills as would be representative of the industry,
including some that showed the best conditions, some that showed
the worst, and some in which average conditions prevailed.” The
number of mills visited in each State, the number devoted to each
of the three most important branches of the silk industry, the number
of employees, and their sex and age distribution are shown in the
following table:
NUM BER OF ESTABLISH M ENTS IN VESTIG ATED AND NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF
EM PLOYEES OF EACH S E X AND AGE GROUP, B Y STATE AND BR AN CH OF TH E
IN D U ST R Y.

Number of employees.
Estab­
lish­
State and branch, of ments 16 years and
over.
industry.
investi­
gated.
Fe­
Male. male.

Per cent of total employees.
16 years
and over.

Under 16 years.

Under 16 years.

Total.
Fe­
Male. male. Total.

Fe­
Male. male. Male. Fe­ Total.
male.

New Jersey:
Broad silk............
Silk ribbons.........
Silk throwing___

67 4,594
31 1,850
454
40

4,211
2,568
927

143
100
137

216
204
136

359
304
273

9,164
4,722
1,654

50.1
39.2
27.5

45.9
54.4
56.0

1.6
2.1
8.3

2.4
4.3
8.2

4.0
6.4
16.5

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

138 6,898

7,706

380

556

936

15,540

44.4

49.6

2.4

3.6

6.0

523
25
720

Pennsylvania:
Broad silk............
Silk ribbons.........
Silk throwing___

11
2
23

198
142
239

2,459
205
1,678

98
17
102

621
42
822

3,278
389
2,739

6.0
36.5
8.7

75.0
52.7
61.3

3.0
4.4
3.7

16.0
6.4
26.3

19.0
10.8
30.0

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

36

6,406

9.0

67.8

3.3

19.9

23.2

980
739
346
229
856 1,095

12,442
5,111
4,393

38.5
39.0
15.8

53.6
54.2
59.3

1.9
2.3
5.4

6.0
4.5
19.5

7.9
6.8
24.9

597 1,824 2,421

21,946

34.1

54.9

2.7

8.3

11.0

579

4,342

217 1,268 1,485

Aggregate:
Broad silk............
Silk ribbons.........
Silk throwing___

78 4,792
33 1,992
693
63

6,670
2,773
2,605

241
117
239

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

174 7,477

12,048

New Jersey mills from
which pay r o l l s
were secured:
Broad silk............
Silk ribbons.........
Silk throwing___

29 2,476
18
587
454
40

2,513
1,301
927

83
42
137

126
64
136

209
106
273

5,198
1,994
1,654

47.6
29.4
27.5

48.4
65.3
56.0

1.6
2.1
8.3

2.4
3.2
8.2

4.0
5.3
16.5

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

87 3,517

4,741

262

326

588

8,846

39.8

53.6

2.9

3.7

6.6




171

172

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

THE INDUSTRY.
The silk industry has been known in the United States for many
years, but it was of little importance before the Civil War. The
imposition of heavy war duties in 1861 and again in 1864 on silk
and other luxuries brought a number of silk manufacturers with
their machinery and operatives from England to Paterson and gave
the industry its first successful impetus.
Paterson, N. J., has been the principal silk manufacturing city in
the United States since the industry was established. Its leadership
T
was owing partly to its proximity to New York, the leading silk
market of the country, partly to its abundant means of transporta­
tion, and partly to its labor supply. Women and children have
always formed an important part of the working force of a silk
mill, and in the early days of the industry there was little oppor­
tunity for their employment in Paterson outside of the silk mills. As
industrial openings became more plentiful and the supply of workers
in consequence less certain, the manufacturers sought fresh supplies
of cheap labor by establishing themselves in Pennsylvania, especially
in the mining towns, where there was no other opportunity for
women and girls to secure gainful employment. This did not mean
giving up the New Jersey plants, but more and more these have
been devoted to the highly skilled branches of the industry, while
the Pennsylvania mills have taken chiefly the less skilled branches
in which the labor of women and children can be utilized.
Of late years the supply of cheap labor in Pennsylvania has shown
signs of failing, and an effort has been made to establish the industry
in the South.
It is apparent * * * that northern silk manufacturers are
establishing plants in Southern States, most of the mills having
been started since 1900; that of the 15 silk mills in Maryland, Vir­
ginia, North Carolina, and Georgia 12 are branches of New Jersey,
New York, and Pennsylvania mills or are controlled by them; that
the mills are largely of the class which is always seeking child labor
or very cheap labor; and that the States chiefly selected—Maryland
and Virginia—have few cotton manufacturing plants.1
New Jersey and Pennsylvania are still, however, the great centers
of the silk industry, in 1905 containing 72 per cent of the total num­
ber of silk looms and 70.6 per cent of the silk spindles in the whole
industry.
The growth of the silk industry and its changing importance as
an employer of women and children is shown in the following table:




i Vol. IV, Silk Industry, p. 22.

173

THE SILK INDUSTRY.

A V ER AG E N UM BER OF EM PLOYEES A N D PER CENT OF TO TAL E M PLO YEES IN THE
SIL K IN D U ST R Y , B Y S E X A N D B Y AGE GROUPS, IN EACH SPECIFIED Y E A R , 1870
TO 1905.
[From Special Reports of Census Office, Manufactures, 1905, Part III, p. 161.J

Average number of employees.
Year.

1870..................................................
1880...................................................
1905..................................................

Men 16 Women Children
years and 16 years under 16
over.
and over.1 years.1
1,734
9,375
17,602
24,203
27,037

3,529
16,396
28,914
34,797
45,198

1,386
5,566
2,866
6,413
7,366

Total.

6,649
31, .337
49,382
65,416
79,601

Per cent of total employees.
Men 16 Women Children
years and 16 years under 16
and over.1 years.1
over.
26.1
29.9
35.6
37.0
34.0

53.1
52.3
58.6
53.2
50.8

20.8
17.8
5.8
9.8
9.2

i Girls 15 years of age are classed as "w om en” in 1870, 1880, and 1890 and as children in 1900 and 1905,
but they would probably not constitute more than 3 per cent of the total females.

While the total number of employees has increased over twelvefold,
the relative number of women shows but a slight increase, while the
proportion of children has noticeably decreased. In these respects
the industry has developed very differently in the two States in­
vestigated, as shown by the following table:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF M EN, W O M EN , AN D CH ILD REN EM PLO YED IN TH E
SILK MILLS OF N E W JER SEY AN D P E N N SY L V A N IA IN EACH SPECIFIED Y E A R , 1870
TO 1905.
[From Special Reports of Census Office, Manufactures, 1905, Part III, p. 176.]

Average number of employees.
Year.

16 years and over.

16 years and over.
Under
16 years.

Men.
New Jersey:
1870...........................................
1880...........................................
1890...........................................
1900...........................................
1905...........................................
Pennsylvania:
1870...........................................
1880...........................................
1890...........................................
1300...........................................
1905...........................................

Per cent of total employees.

Under
16 years.

Total.

Women.

Men.

Women.

733
4,696
7,773
11,279
11,361

1,162
5 ,3G0
8,773
11,679
12,947

895
2,493
809
1,199
1,173

2,790
12,549
17,445
24,157
25,481

26.3
37.4
44.6
46.7
44.6

41.6
42.7
50.3
48.3
50.8

32.1
10.9
5.1
5.0
4.6

266
1,000
2,420
5,214
6,318

655
1,870
5,617
11,5G
5
15,863

15
319
1,203
4,249
4,734

936
3,183
9,330
21,0~8
26,915

28.4
31.4
25.9
24.8
23.5

70.0
58.6
60.2
55.0
58.9

1.6
10.0
13.9
20.2
17.6

New Jersey shows an increase in the proportion of women em­
ployed, a much larger increase in the proportion of men, and a very
marked falling off in the proportion of children; in other words, it
conforms to the course of the industry as a whole. But in Penn­
sylvania there has been a progressive decrease in the proportion of
both men and women and an increase in the proportion of children
employed. An important cause for this difference is found in the
relative increase in Pennsylvania and decrease in New Jersey of silk
throwing or spinning. This is one of the less skilled branches of the



174

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

industry, which can easily be done by young workers. Wherever it
is common, the importance of children in the industry increases.
THE LABOR FORCE.
From 87 Paterson mills and from 36 in Pennsylvania pay-roll data
were secured and full details obtained concerning the employees. The
age and sex distribution of these employees was as follows:
N UM BER A N D PER CENT OF M ALE AN D FEM ALE E M PLO YEE S IN SPECIFIED
AGE GROUPS IN 87 N E W JER SEY MILLS AN D IN A L L P E N N S Y L V A N IA MILLS
IN VEST IG AT ED .

Number of employees.
New Jersey.

Age.
Males.
....................................
Under 12 years
12 and 13 years..................................................
14 and 15 years..................................................

Females.

1
18
243

$1)
C

Total under 21 years.............................
21 years and over..............................................

0)

Total.

Males.

Females.

Total.

9

1
37
550

326

1
43
173

8
228
1,032

271
1,205

588

19
307

262

Total under 16 years.............................
16 and 17 years..................................................
18 to 20 years.....................................................

Pennsylvania.

(l)

i1)

ft

217
131
83

1,268
1,620
1,277

1,485
1,751
1,360

0

ft

431
232

4,165
1,445

4,596
1,677

0)

W

Total 16 years and over.......................

3,517

4,741

8,258

2 579

4,342

2

Grand total.............................................

3,779

5,067

8,846

2 796

5,610

2 6,406

4,921

Per cent of employees.
Under 12 years..................................................
12 and 13 years..................................................
14 and 15 years..................................................

(3)
0.5
6.4

Total under 16 years............................
16 and 17 years..................................................
18 to 20 years.....................................................

$1)
C

$
0)

Total under 21 years.............................
21 years and over.............................................

0)

ft

0.4
6.0

6.9

(3)
0.4
6.2

0.1
5.5
21.7

0.1
4.0
18.4

0.1
4.3
18.8

6.6
ft

0)

27.3
16.4
10.4

22.5
28.9
22.8

23.2
27.3
21.2

0)
C
1)

54.1
29.1

74.2
25.8

71.7
26.1

6.4

0)

Total 16 years and over.......................

93.1

93.6

93.4

2 72.7

77.5

2 7G. 8

Grand total............................................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

1 Not reported.
2 Including 133 males 16 years and over, exact ages not reported.
3 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

This shows very clearly the greater extent to which the Pennsyl­
vania mills make use of women and girls, who constitute not far
from nine-tenths of their working force (87.6 per cent), against less
than three-fifths (57.3 per cent) in the New Jersey mills. It will be
noticed that the difference is much greater in the proportion of girls
under 16 than in the proportion of older female workers. It will
also be noticed that the excess of children in the Pennsylvania as




175

THE SILK INDUSTRY.

compared with the Paterson mills is due almost wholly to the em­
ployment of girls, who form 85.4 per cent of the workers under 16
in Pennsylvania and only 55.4 per cent in Paterson.
RACE.

The racial distribution of the employees for whom information on
this point was obtained was as follows:
RACE OF EM PLO YEES, B Y S E X A N D STA TE.

Pennsylvania.

New Jersey.
Race.
Males.

Females.

American...........................................................
Dutch.................................................................
English...............................................................
German...............................................................
Irish....................................................................
Italian.................................................................
Lithuanian........................................................
Polish.................................................................
Slovak................................................................
Welsh.................................................................
Other races........................................................

297
371
784
685
344
732

566

470

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

3,779

5,067

564
592
881
865
1,038
657

Total.
861
963
1,665
1,550
1,382
1,389

Males.

Females.

Total.

287

1,583

1,870

48
97
85

275
856
1,102

323
953
1,187

1,036

6
32
13
33
59

114
673
174
407
358

120
705
187
440
417

8,846

660

5,542

6,202

It appears that in the New Jersey mills the English employees
were most numerous, constituting 18.8 per cent, the Germans being
next with 17.5 per cent, followed by the Italians with 15.7 per cent
and the Irish with 15.6 per cent. American employees were only 9.8
per cent. In the Pennsylvania mills, on the other hand, the Ameri­
can employees constituted 30.2 per cent, the Irish being 19.1 per cent,
and the Germans 15.4 per cent, while the Polish were 11.4 per cent.
It is rather difficult to say whether any particular racial aptitude
for the work is shown, or whether the silk workers merely reflect
the general make-up of the community. The weavers, warpers, and
twisters-in are the highest skilled and best-paid workers. In New
Jersey the Italians showed the highest percentage, 52.3 per cent, of
their number in these groups. Next came the English with 46.2 per
cent, the Germans with 44.4 per cent, the Americans with 39.4 per
cent, the Irish with 21.7 per cent, and the Dutch with 19.8 per cent.
But in Pennsylvania -the English show only 12.9 per cent of their
number in these occupations. Among the Germans in Pennsylvania
42.4 per cent were in these occupations, 34.1 per cent of the Ameri­
cans, and 22.1 per cent of the Irish. The newer races are found al­
most entirely in the relatively unskilled branches of the work.




176

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

CONJUGAL CONDITION.

No information was obtained as to the conjugal condition of the
New Jersey employees, but unpublished figures were secured from the
records of the census taken in 1905 relating to the conjugal condition
of all female employees in the silk mills of Paterson. In the Penn­
sylvania mills investigated similar information was obtained from
the employees themselves. In both States the girls under 16 were
without exception single. The conjugal condition of the others is
shown in the following table:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF FEM ALE SILK W O R K E R S 16 Y E A R S A N D OVER OF EACH
CONJUGAL CONDITION, B Y RACE.

Single.
Race.

W idowed,' divorced,
separated., deserted.

Married.

Total.
Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.

Paterson, N . J.:
American................................
Dutch.......................................
English....................................
German....................................
Irish ........................................
Italian......................................
polish ...................................
■Welsh ...................................
Other races..............................

1,234
538
848
789
1,117
355
3
3
1,029

1,036
496
680
605
953
193
3
3
798

84.0
92.2
80.2
76.7
85.3
54.4
100.0
100.0
77.6

129
32
104
123
78
148

10.4
5.9
12.3
15.6
7.0
41.7

160

races...............................

5,916

4,707

80.6

774

Pennsylvania:
American................................
English....................................
German...................................
I r i s h . ....................................
Lithuanian ............................
Polish.......................................
Slovak
.. _______. . . . .
Welsh.......................................
Other races.............................

1,332
220
713
933
58
380
97
330
217

1,219
• 216
629
914
58
374
96
323
208

91.5
98.2
88.2
98.0
100.0
98.4
99.0
97.9
95.9

All races...............................

4,280

94.3

184

ah

4.037 i
1

69
10
64
61
86
14

5.6
1.9
7.5
7.7
7.7
3.9

15.5

71

6.9

13.1

375

6.3

86
1
73
11

6.5
.5
10.2
1.2

27
3
11
8

2.0
1.3
1.6
.8

4

1.1

2
7

.6
3.2

2
1
5
2

.5
1.0
1.5
.9

4.3

59

1.4

The most immediately striking feature of this table is the differ­
ence between the two groups, 94.3 per cent of the Pennsylvania
workers being single as against 80.6 per cent of the Paterson workers.
No explanation is offered of the difference, which appears in practi­
cally every race group, except the Polish and Welsh, whose repre­
sentation among the Paterson workers is too small to be considered.
The relatively small proportion of Italian women who were single is
also striking. The willingness to have their married women em­
ployed outside the home seems almost a racial characteristic of the
Italians, as it was found in many other industries, though rarely in
as marked a degree as here.




177

TH E SILK INDUSTRY.

OCCUPATIONS, BY SEX AND AGE.

The distribution of the workers by sex and age among the leading
occupations is shown in the following table:
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF EM PLO YEES IN 13 SELECTED OCCUPATIONS, B Y AGE
AND S E X .

Number.

Occupation.

16 years of
age and
over.

Per cent.
16 years of
age and
over.

Under 16 years

Under 16 years
of age.
Total

Total.
Fe­ Male. Fe­
Male.
male. Total.
male.

Fe­
Fe­
Male. male. Male. male. Total.
New Jersey:
Bobbin carriers..............
19
278
Doublers..........................
9
Lacers..............................
318
Pickers, cloth.................
307
Quillers...........................
93
Reelers.............................
244
6
Spinners..........................
Twisters-in......................
6
147
144
Warpers, horizontal—
196
845
Weavers, broad silk— 1,384
394
Weavers, ribbon............ 433
521
Winders, hard silk........
514
Winders, soft silk..........
Other occupations.........
991 1,397

124

173

271
153
340
2,229
827
547
26
515
297 2,685

3,517 4,741

262

326

5 8 j8 4 100.0
8 ,86

3
437

75

36
115

111
118

1

Total.

73

93
350
335

2

Pennsylvania:
Bobbin carriers.............
Doublers..........................
Lacers..............................
Pickers, cloth.................
Quillers............................
Reelers.............................
Spinners..........................
Twisters-in.....................
Warpers, horizontal—
Weavers, broad silk—
Weavers, ribbon___
Winders, hard silk. .
Winders, soft silk .. .
Other occupations..

579 4,342

26

24
70
1,104
53
895
165
646

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

112

21

1

121

119
126
217

17
53
147
267

42
6

0
.6
"'.2

43

43

2

293
37
137

1

121

17
53
180
315

1

47
3
294
38
187

137
556
142
136
179
402

83
6

55
72
1,164
149
1,189
203
1,159

217 1,268 1,485 6,406

8.6
2

6.9
4.2
5.6
39.4
12.3
28.2

4.0

.2

14.8
5.2
.3

2
.2

16.1

56.3

27.9
5.9

64
.2 1 * '

6.7
6.5
0)
.1

.1

3.7

47.3

.3
53.1

1 .0
1

8
.0

100.0 100.0 100.0

.1

10.1
.5
2.7
2.9
5.0
10.6

.6

34.5
1.4

15.2
22.1
.5

1
.6
1
.8
1
.2 .5

25.4

20.6
3.8
14.9

3.0
13.3
4.9
4.6
2.9
3.6

1
.2

5.0
3.4

3.0
17.8
8.3

10.9
29.5

12.6

0.3
5.5
10.7
8.9
8.3

.5
.5
23.0

4.4

.2

50.5

1
.0
1
.0

3.3

4.0
3.8
1.3
3.1
1.7
3.8
25.2
9.4

6
.2

5.8
30.4

1 0 100.0
0 .0

2.9
9.1
9.5
1.3
4.2

ll.«

7.5
7.9

8
.2
1
.1
3.6

12.1

21.1

21.2

3.4

3.2

23.1
2.9
10.7

19.8

.2

.1

.2

2.6

12.5

2
.1
8.7
2
.2
2
.1
2
.8

6.3
13.5

.8

1
.1

18.2
2.3
18.6
3.2
18.1

10 10 10 10 10 10
0 .0 0 .0 0 .0 0 .0 0 .0 0 .0

1 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

SILK-MILL PROCESSES AND OCCUPATIONS.
Before considering the employment of either women or children
in silk mills some description of the processes carried on therein seem
s
necessary. The following table shows the main processes, with the
kind of workers engaged in each, in the two States studied:
95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------12




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PROCESSES AN D OCCUPATIONS IN SILK MILLS.
Silk throwing.

Process.

Machine used.

Occupation.

Class of persons
employed.

Men.......................
Women and girls.
/M en.......................
\Girls and b oys.. .
Women and girls.
/M en.......................
\Girls and b oys.. .
/Men and boys___
\Girls and boys.. .
None.................... Lacer................... /Girls and b o y s ...
Lacing.............. .
1Girls......................
Bundling................. None.................... /B u n d l e r or /Men and women.
\ maker-up.

Soaking................... None....................
Winding.................. Winding frame..
Spinning, first time Spinning frame..
Doubling................. Doubling frame.
Spinning, second jspinning frame..
time.
Reeling.................... Reeler or reed...

Soaker.................
Winder................
/Spinner, f i r s t
\ time.
Doubler...............
/Spinner, second
\ time.
Reeler..................

State.

Skilled or
unskilled.

N . J. and Pa.
N . J. and Pa.
N . J................
Pa...................
N . J. and Pa.
N . J................
Pa...................
N . J................
Pa...................
N . J................

Unskilled.
Semiskilled.
jsemiskilled.

N . J................

Semiskilled.
jsemiskillod.
^Unskilled.
|Unskilled.
W ille d .

Broad silk and silk ribbons.
/W om e n .. .........
Winding.................. Winding frame.. W inder.............. YWomen and girls.
/ ’W omen and girls.
Doubling................. Doubling frame. Doubler............... \Girls
Warping, horizon­ jwarping m ill.. . /Warper. h o r i - /M en and women.
\ zontal.
\Women and girls.
tal.
Warping, Swiss___ Warping m ill.. . Warper, Swiss.. Women and girls.
Warping, direct.. . Warping m a ­ Warper, direct.. Women and girls.
chine.
Quilling................... Quilling fram e.. Quiller................. Women and girls.
/M en.......................
Twisting................. None.................... Twister................ \Menand women.
Loom fixing........... None.................... Loom fixer......... Men.......................
Weaving, b r o a d
/Men and women.
j-Loom................... Weaver,broad.. XWomen and girls.
silk.
Weaving, ribbons . Loom................... Weaver, ribbons Men and women.
Cloth picking......... None.................... Cloth picker....... Women and girls.

L
N . J................ V
Pa................... Semiskilled.
N .J ................ ^Semiskilled.
j
N .J ................
Pa................... j-Skilled.
N . J. and Pa. Skilled.
N . J. and Pa. Skilled.
N . J. and Pa.
N .J ................
Pa...................
N . J. and Pa.
N .J ................
Pa...................
N . J. and Pa.
N . J. and Pa.

Semiskilled.
j-Skilled.
Skilled.
\skilled.
Skilled.
Skilled.

TH ROW ING -M ILL PROCESSES.
SOAKING.

The raw silk is usually received in bales containing 80 to 100
tightly twisted skeins. These are first weighed and assorted ac­
cording to quality and then soaked for several hours in a solution
of warm water, olive oil, and neat’s-foot oil or similar substances.
The silk is then partially dried—only partially since some moisture
is required for the operations of winding and spinning—and then
goes to the winders.
W INDING.

Each skein consists of a single thread about 1,200 yards in length.
The skeins are placed on power reels or swifts, the ends of the
threads are found and attached to empty bobbins, and the thread is
wound upon these as they revolve rapidly. On a winding frame
there are from 60 to 90 swifts, with 30 to 45 in one row or deck on
each side.
Women and children both work at winding. The work consists
of placing the skeins on the swifts, tying the ends of the threads
together when they break, removing filled bobbins, and replacing



THE

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them with empty ones. The silk is wound twice, once before it is
spun, which is called hard silk winding, and once after it has been
spun and dyed, which is called soft silk winding. The process is the
same in both cases, but the hard silk is harsher and more brittle.
It therefore is more apt to break and the tying process is harder upon
the fingers. In both kinds of winding the work is light and simple,
and if the machinery is modern and well guarded it involves no
danger. It requires, however, almost continuous standing and con­
stant watchfulness, for the spindles are driven at the highest speed,
and the threads are apt to break frequently. The operator has to
bend forward slightly in order to tie the broken ends, but this, it is
said, does not make the work more arduous.
SPINNING.

In spinning the bobbins wound with silk are taken from the wind­
ing frame and placed in a vertical position on the lower row of
spindles of a spinning frame. The end of each thread is found and
attached to an empty bobbin placed on a spindle on the upper rail
of the frame. As the spindles revolve the thread is unwound from
the lower onto the higher bobbin, being given a twist in the process.
Like winding, spinning is done twice, but the work of the spinner is
the same in each of these processes. The spinner’s part of the opera­
tion consists of watching the threads and tying together the ends of
any which may break. She must also replace bobbins as may be
necessary. She usually tends from 400 to 1,000 spindles, the number
varying with the quality of silk that is being spun.
The spinner’s work requires continuous standing and incessant
watchfulness. It is impossible for her to see from any one position
all the sides she is tending, and as there is apt at any moment to be
a breakage in one of the -500 or more threads that are being spun, she
must always be on the move. The work also involves frequent bend­
ing to place the bobbins on the lower row of spindles.
DOUBLING.

The process of doubling consists merely of uniting two or more
strands into a single thread loosely held together. The frame used
for this purpose is similar to that used for winding, except that
instead of swifts there is a series of metal pins so arranged that after
the bobbins have been placed upon them the threads can be easily
drawn off and brought together as a single thread. The work of
the doubler is of the same nature and extent as that of the winder.
REELING.

During the spinning processes the thread is wound upon bobbins.
Before being dyed it must be put into the form of a skein again,



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and this is done upon a machine called the power reeling machine.
The bobbins of spun silk are placed upon a rail or row of metal pins
near the bottom of the machine, the thread of each bobbin is found
and attached to the reel and upon this it is wound into skeins. The
reelers work consists of putting the bobbins upon the frame, tying
the ends of threads together when they break, and straightening
out any snarls or tangles which may occur. The modern reeling
frame is equipped with automatic stops, so that when the thread
breaks or when the required amount of silk has been skeined the
reel comes to a standstill.
The work of reeling itself is simple and light, but in Paterson
the reeler is required to lift the reels from the frames and place them
upon benches that they may be ready for the lacers. The reels weigh
from 15 to 25 pounds, and it will be readily seen that lifting them
into and out of the reeling frame is heavy work.
LACING.

In order to keep the thread from becoming knotted or snarled
during the dyeing process the skeins are laced. This consists sim­
ply of running short strings in and out through each skein, dividing
it into at least four parts as it is spread out upon the reel, and of
tying the same. Lacing is done chiefly by young boys and girls.
It is light and simple work, but calls for considerable deftness.
There are generally a number of periods of rest while waiting for
reels.
BUNDLING.

This consists of looking the skeins over for imperfections of any
kind, then twisting them into tight rolls and packing them into a
neat, compact bundle, ready to be sent to the dyehouse. The work
of bundling is light and simple in the extreme, but the detection of
imperfections calls for skill and knowledge.
W E A V IN G -M IL L PROCESSES.

From the spinning mill the silk is sent to the dyehouse, where
it is dyed by men, and from there it goes to the weaving mill. Here
the first two operations, winding and doubling, are precisely the
same as the processes of the same name in the spinning mills, except
that they are now “ soft silk ” instead of “ hard silk ” winding and
doubling. The first of the distinctively weaving mill processes is
quilling; that is, transferring silk from bobbins to small spools or
quills which when filled are placed in the shuttles of the loom. The
work is practically the same as that of a winder or doubler, but is




THE

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even simpler, and the operatives, who are always females, are usually
younger than those employed in winding and doubling.
W ARPING.

Warping is the process of putting a given number of silk threads
of a certain length upon the warp beam of a loom. The warper,
on receiving the spools containing the silk, places them on the
creel, which is a stand containing 400 to 600 metal pins on which
the bobbins are placed. The ends of each spool are passed through
a rack in which there is a series of glass pins between which the
threads pass, and are guided as they leave the spools. The threads
are then led through a reed and after being divided are attached to
the warping mill.
The warping mill consists of a cylinder or frame of metal con­
struction 8 to 12 yards in circumference placed horizontally upon
frames in the horizontal and Swiss warping mills and vertically in
the hand warper. The latter revolves by means of a crank turned
by hand, while the former are turned by power which is controlled
by a footboard lever.
To start the mill the warper presses on the lever with one foot
and remains in a standing position. He watches the threads as they
are being wound on the warping mill and remedies any defects in
the silk, such as knots or snarled places, and pieces or ties together
broken threads. When the required length, which is denoted by a
dial and bell, has been wound on the mill the section of threads is
cut in two and a new section started.
After the required length and number of threads have been
assembled on the mill the warp is transferred to warp beams or
rolls to be inserted in the loom. This operation is called “ beaming,”
and consists merely of winding the warp on beams or rolls turned
by power. This work must be carefully done. The beamer removes
rough threads, knots, etc., that were not removed during the opera­
tion of warping. In most establishments using the horizontal warp­
ing mill the warper beams the warps, but in a few plants this work
is done by another operative, called a “ beamer.”
The same process of warping is followed in the Swiss warping
mills. A special beaming frame must be used for these mills. The
warping mill, which is considerably smaller than the horizontal
mill, is lifted from its frame, carried to the beaming frame, the
warp wound on the beam, and the mill placed back in its frame.
Wherever the Swiss mill is used beamers are employed.
Another style of warper is the direct-warping machine, a compact
and simple machine on which warps for ribbon looms are wound. In




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this style of warper the warp is wound directly upon the warp
beam.
The hand warper is little used in this country at the present
time. In Paterson some are installed in the homes of Germans and
Swiss and are operated by the housewife.
The horizontal warping mill can, as a rule, be operated more
economically by men than by women. Practically in no case can it
be operated satisfactorily by a child. The work of beaming, which
is difficult and heavy, must be done by the horizontal warper. A man,
because of his greater physical power, is therefore able to turn out
more work than a woman and, although men command 50 per cent
higher wages, their labor is considered cheaper, and men are more
highly skilled and competent.
The work involves constant standing, with the weight of the body
resting mainly on one foot on the lever while the mill is turning.
Frequently the operator can lean back against some object which
gives oportunity for rest. Horizontal warping is a highly skilled
occupation.
The horizontal warping mill is used largely in New Jersey, but in
Pennsylvania the Swiss warping mill is preferred because women
and girls can be more advantageously employed upon it The direct
warper, which is used only in ribbon mills, is of simple mechanism
and girls under 16 as well as women can operate it.
TW ISTIN G-IN.

Twisting-in is preceded by the operation of drawing-in, which con­
sists of drawing the ends of the threads through the eyes of the
harness and the reeds of the loom, a process not unlike that of thread­
ing large needles. After the drawing-in process is completed, the
harness is hung in the loom, and the beam or roll on which the warp
is wound is placed in the back of the loom. The ends of the new
warp are attached or twisted to the ends which were entered into the
harness and reed, or are joined to the ends of the old warp*, if that
has not been entirely woven and consists of the same number of
threads. The operation of twisting-in consists of joining the ends
together in their proper order by deftly rolling them between the
finger tips.
The twister-in, if he is working on a broad-goods loom, sits in the
frame of the loom; if it is a ribbon loom he reaches over the harness
in a cramped and uncomfortable position. In New Jersey the work
was considered unsuited to women, but in Pennsylvania a number
were found employed in it. It is regarded as a highly skilled occu­
pation.




THE

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183

W E A V IN G .

The general design of a loom is too familiar to need explanation.
The weaver’s work consists largely of piecing up broken ends of
warp threads and drawing them into their places through the har­
ness and reed, filling shuttles with new quills and placing them in
the loom as required, taking off cloth, etc. The strain of the work
varies with the kind of silk being woven and the number of looms a
weaver is expected to look after. In the Paterson mills at the time
of this investigation broad-silk weavers never tended more than two
looms each, even when weaving the plainest goods; the silks woven
there were plain, fancy*, and figured goods. The products of the
Pennsylvania mills were largely plain silks, and a large proportion
of the broad-silk weavers looked after three or even four looms.
In ribbon weaving the operative tends a single loom on which from
6 to 100 ribbons are woven at one time. The duties of a ribbon
weaver are of the same nature as those of a broad-silk weaver, but
they are greater and more arduous. There are a greater number of
shuttles to keep filled with quills, a greater number of harnesses to
adjust and warp threads to piece together, and in many cases more
mechanism to keep in order.
CLOTH PICKING,

This consists of a careful examination of the cloth and the re­
moval of rough ends, loose threads, etc., so that the goods may be
perfectly smooth and free from imperfections. Stains in the fabrics,
such as grease spots or dirt, must also be removed. This is considered
a skilled occupation. The goods are then put through a finishing
process, and pressed on hot rolls to remove creases and to give a
luster or gloss to the silk.
M ISCELLANEOUS OCCUPATIONS.

There are a number of occupations in a silk mill which do not
form a direct part of the process of making the goods. Bobbins
must be brought to the winders and spinners, loom fixers must keep
the looms in order, silk goods must be folded, measured, and wrapped,
ribbons must be “blocked ” or wound on cardboard cylinders, their
ends must be pinned down and labels affixed to the cylinders, etc.
Also there are, of course, a number of supervisory positions. The
superintendens and managers of the silk mills visited were always
men, but those in charge of a room or a division were in the Paterson
mills mostly men and in the Pennsylvania mills chiefly young women.




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CHILDREN IN THE SILK INDUSTRY.
It is evident that a number of the processes described make small
demands upon the worker for either strength or skill, and in this
fact lies the importance of the child in the manufacture of silk. Al­
most from its beginning in this country this has been one of the
leading child-employing industries. In 1905 it ranked third in the
actual number of children employed, cotton goods and hosiery and
knit goods being, respectively, first and second in this particular, and
fourth in the percentage (9.2 per cent) which children formed of
the total employees, being exceeded only by cotton, with 12 per cent;
glass, with 10.1 per cent; and hosiery and knit goods, with 9.3 per
cent.
The work of children, for the most part, is not sharply differenti­
ated from that of adults. There are a few skilled occupations in
which children are never found and a few unskilled occupations
which are left wholly in their hands; but for the most part, espe­
cially among the female workers, there is no clear line of demarcation
between the work of those under 16 and those over 16.
The following table shows by sex and by State the occupations of
the 2,073 children under 16 for whom information on these points
was gained:
EM PLOYEES U N D ER 16 Y E A R S OF AGE IN 13 SELECTED OCCUPATIONS, B Y S E X AND
STATE.

New Jersey.

Pennsylvania.

Occupation.

Total.
Male.

Bobbin carriers............................
Doublers................. ......................
T.anfirs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . __ . . . . . .
PicVers cloth.........................
Q iillers.........................................
Heelers...........................................
Spinners........................................
Twisters-in ..................................
Warpers, horizontal ...................
Weavers, broad-silk...................
W eavers, ribbon..........................
Winders, hard-silk.....................
Winders, soft-silk.......................
Other occupations......................
Total....................................

Female.

Total.

13
9

1
18
35
29
27
4
12

74
18
78
29
27
17
21

124

26
1
173

26
1
297

262

326

588

73
43

Male.
75
3

Female.

Total.

36
115
121
17
53
147
267

Ill
118
121
17
53
180
315
1

185
136
199
46
80
197
336
1

4
1
1
1
50

43
2
293
37
137

47
3
294
38
187

47
3
320
39
484

217

1,268

1,485

2,073

33
48
1

Bobbin carrying is the most important of the boys’ occupations in
both States. The work, which consists simply of carrying or, rather,
dragging baskets of empty bobbins to the winders, doublers, or spinners,
and carrying the filled bobbins from one machine to another, makes
no demands upon the worker in the way of skill or intelligence, and
is usually given as a first job to a beginner. The bobbin boy also
sweeps the floors and does other odd jobs.



THE

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IN D U S T R Y .

Winding is numerically the most important occupation followed
by the girls, but spinning is a close second. Four occupations—
doubling, reeling, winding, and spinning—all considerably alike in the
kind of work done, employed 920 of the 1,594 girls studied, consid­
erably over half. All have the disadvantage of requiring continuous
standing, and in all close attention to the work is required. Reeling,
as done in Paterson, requires a good deal of heavy lifting, and hence
is given over almost wholly to men and boys. In Pennsylvania,
where the lifting is not required, it is almost as completely in the
hands of women and girls.
Spinning is probably the hardest of these four occupations, both in
the constant moving and stooping involved and in the nervous strain.
In Paterson both operatives and employers looked upon spinning as
men’s work, considering it “ much too hard and unhealthful work
for women and girls.” In Pennsylvania no such opinion prevailed,
and over four-fifths (84.5 per cent) of all the spinners studied were
women or girls.
HOURS OF LABOR, OVERTIME, AND NIGHT WORK.

In both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania localities where the
investigation was carried on the hours of labor were the same,
namely, 10 per day, except Saturday, when the mills were operated
for only 5 hours. In New Jersey working hours for children under
16 were limited to 55 a week, while in Pennsylvania the law pro­
vided that “ no minor under 16, and no female, shall be employed
in any establishment for a longer period than 60 hours in any one
week, nor for a longer period than 12 hours in any one day.” Thus
for adults in New Jersey, and for both children and adults in Penn­
sylvania, the working week, established by custom and the efforts
of the employees, was distinctly shorter than that permitted by law.
Fifty-five hours a week represented full-time employment, but
many of the workers were employed somewhat less than full time.
The following table gives the average weekly hours actually worked,
as shown by the pay-roll records:
A VE R A G E HOURS AN D PER CENT OF F U L L TIME A C T U A L L Y W O R K E D IN A R E P R E ­
SEN T ATIVE W E E K .

New Jersey.
Sex and age groups.

Pennsylvania.

Average
hours.

Males under 16 years.............................................................................
Females under 16 years.........................................................................




Per cent
of full
time.

Average
hours.

48.0
49.8

87.3
90.5

46.9
47.2

Per cent
of full
time.
85.3
85.8

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Two facts are apparent from this table: That the average hours
approached the standard full time more closely in New Jersey than
in Pennsylvania, and that in both States the average hours actually
worked by the girls were longer than those worked by the boys, the
difference in this respect being greatest in New Jersey.
The question of overtime was of little importance during the
period when this investigation was being conducted, since the de­
pression of 1907-8 was beginning to make itself felt when the inves­
tigators were at work in Paterson and was in full force when the
Pennsylvania data were being gathered. None of the mills investi­
gated were regularly working more than the legal number of hours.
In regard to night work the two localities differed. Not one of the
138 silk mills in Paterson was operated at night—that is, with a
special night force. The law forbade without a single exception the
employment of women and children in silk mills after 6 p. m., and the
sentiment of operatives and manufacturers alike was against night
work. In Pennsylvania in 7 of the 36 mills visited night as well as
day work was the rule. In these 7 mills 40 men and 51 women and 1
boy were at work at night. These numbers represent probably not
more than 10 per cent of those employed at night in these mills under
normal business conditions.
EARNIN GS.

In the silk industry, as in most others, there was considerable
variation between the rates of pay and the actual earnings. The
following table groups the workers under 16 by the amounts actually
earned during a specified pay-roll period:
NUM BER AND PER CENT OF EM PLO YEES U N D E R 16 E A R N IN G EACH CLASSIFIED
W E E K L Y AM OUNT IN SILK MILLS IN V E ST IG A T E D , B Y S E X AN D STATE.
I

New Jersey.
Classified weekly
earnings.

Males.

Females.

Pennsylvania.
Males.

Females.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. P ot cent.
Under $2......................
$2 to $2.99....................
$3 to $3.99....................
$4 to $4.99....................
$5 to $5.99.....................
$6 to $6.99....................
$7 to $7.99....................
$8 to $8.99....................
$9 to $9.99....................
$10 to $10.99.................
$11 to $11.99.................

31
25
83
64
24
5
2
2

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

236




13.2
10.6
35.2
27.1
10.2
2.1
.8
.8

26
42
82
60
37
18
10
7
1

9.2
14.8
29.0
21.2
13.1
6.4
3.5
2.5
.3

25
89
64
21
3

12.1
43.0
30.9
10.2
1.4

1
3

.5
1.4

1
100.0

283

100.0

100.0

31.4
30.5
25.1
9.4
2.1
.9
.4
.1
.1

1,244

100.0

.5

207

391
379
313
117
26
11
5
1
1

THE

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187

IN D U S T R Y .

The work done in the mills of the two States is so different that
the above earnings can not fairly be compared as between States.
It will be noticed, however, that the relation between the earnings
of the sexes differs, the level of the girls’ wages being higher than
that of the boys in New Jersey and lower in Pennsylvania. Whether
any reason for this difference exists beyond the fact that there were
fewer industrial openings for girls in the Pennsylvania towns vis­
ited than in Paterson can not be stated. Earnings in both States are
low. In New Jersey the largest group, both of the boys and of the
girls, was composed of those earning from $3 to $4; in Pennsyl­
vania the largest group of boys earned from $2 to $3, while the
largest group of girls earned under $2.
The actual earnings may differ considerably from the accepted
rates of pay, owing to failure to work full time or in the other direc­
tion, to working overtime, or for other reasons. For 305 boys and
1,284 girls full data were obtained as to occupation, regular full
time (55 hours per week) rates of pay, and actual earnings. These
facts are shown in the following table:
AVE R A G E ACTU AL AN D A V E R A G E FULL-TIM E EAR NIN G S OF E M P LO Y E E S U N D E R 16,
B Y OCCUPATION A N D S E X .

New Jersey.

Males.
Occupation.
Number.

Bobbin carriers.................................................
Doublers.............................................................
Lacers.................................................................
Pickers, cloth....................................................
Quillers...............................................................
Reelers................................................................
Spinners.............................................................
Twisters-in........................................................
Weavers, broad-silk...................... .................
Weavers, ribbon..............................................
Winders, hard-silk...........................................
Winders, soft-silk.............................................

Females.

Average Average
Average Average
actual
full-time Number.
actual
full-time
earnings.
earnings.
rate.
rate.
$3.24

$3.80

2.82

3.69

13
9

5.02
6.39

5.28
6.27

1
18
35
29
27
4
12

$2.50
5.15
3.41
3.10
4.74
4.45
5.77

$3.03
5.67
3.80
3.52
5.06
5.34
5.72

26
1

73
43

5.34
7.16

6.00
7.48

36
115
121
17
53
147
267

2.16
2.65
1.86
3.88
3.20
2.62
2.77

2.59
3.30
2.64
3.96
3.36
3.25
3.36

43
2
293
37

5.19
1.00
2.47
3.40

5.56
5.50
3.36
3.63

Pennsylvania.

Bobbin carriers.
Doublers.............
Lacers.................
Pickers, cloth ...
Quillers...............
Reelers................
Spinners.....................
Twisters-in................
Weavers, broad-silk.
Weavers, ribbon___
Winders, hard-silk. .
Winders, soft-silk_
_




2.75
3.13

3.30
3.14

2.97
2.84
7.15
5.96

3.25
3.36
7.15
6.38

11.20
3.00
2.39

11.20
3.03
2.53

188

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

In New Jersey the spinners, both girls and boys, had worked a
little overtime during the week for which data were taken, and there­
fore show actual earnings slightly m excess of their full-time rates
of pay. In the majority of cases whatever difference existed was in
the other direction, and sometimes, as in the cases of the boy lacers
in New Jersey and the girl hard-silk winders in Pennsylvania, the
discrepancy was considerable.
This table also emphasizes the low level of the possible earnings
of girls in the Pennsylvania mills. There are only two occupations
in which the full-time rate of pay rises as high as $5 per week, not
one in which it reaches $6, and nine in which it falls below $4. Even
if the mills should run full time, with no stops or breakages, and if
the worker lost no time through illness, accident, or delay in receiv­
ing materials, her earnings would still be very strictly limited. The
full-time earnings, it may be mentioned, usually represent time rates,
the piece-rate method of payment being used but little in the mills
investigated, except in the case of weavers, among whom it was
common.
ILLEG AL EM PLOYM ENT OF CHILDREN.

It is usual to consider at least four forms of the illegal employ­
ment of children: Employment under the legal age, employment
without the certificates required by law, employment for a greater
number of hours per day or per week than is legally permissible, and
employment at prohibited times, as at night in States where that is
forbidden. As already mentioned, this investigation was conducted
during a period of depression, when mills were running slack time
or closing altogether, so that the third and fourth forms of illegality,
if they existed at all, were so limited in extent as to be negligible.
But with the first and second forms the situation was very different.
In both of the States investigated the employment of children under
14 was illegal, but in the New Jersey mills 38 and in the Pennsylvania
mills 280 children under that age were found at work. For each of
these a careful individual investigation was made by the agents of the
bureau, to make sure of the exact age and to learn under Avhat con­
ditions the child had gone to work. The situation as to legal require­
ments and efforts to enforce the law differed somewhat in the two
States.
IN N E W JERSEY.

At the time of this investigation a law passed in 1903 was in force
which provided that no child under 14 should be employed or per­
mitted to work in any manufacturing establishment, required em­
ployers to keep on file specified certificates of age of all minors under
16 employed by them, and limited hours of labor for such minors to
10 a day and 55 a week. This act became effective January, 1904,



THE

S IL K

189

IN D U S T R Y .

and at that date the governor of New Jersey appointed a new chief
factory inspector, who was charged to enforce it vigorously. The
following table shows the number of children found by the inspec­
tors to be illegally at work in factories in all industries in the State
and discharged by order of the chief factory inspector in each year,
1904 to 1908, inclusive:
CHILDREN DISCHARGED FROM FACTORIES IN A L L INDUSTRIES B Y O RD ER OF THE
CHIEF FACTORY INSPECTOR OF N E W JER SEY, 1904 TO 1908.

Year.

Children
dis­
charged.

1904 ................................................................
1905 ................................................................

397
238
361

Children
dis­
charged.

Year.

1907..................................................................
1908........................ ...............................

399
195

In the present investigation 38 children under 14 years of age
were found at work in 24 silk mills in Paterson. In none of the
other establishments were children under 14 found at work. Be­
cause of the great difficulty of learning the true age of children and
in view of the many cases in which children alleged to be over 14
and in possession of certificates were later found to be under 14, it
can not be assumed that these 38 cases cover all the children em­
ployed under legal age in these establishments. The following table
shows the age, sex, and race distribution of these children:
1
|

Males.
Race.

American
English
(rPrman

11 years
of age.

12 years
of age.

3
3
1
1

... _
. . . .................................................. ...........
.................... ..........

T icT
V i
Italian

Total

___________________ '
.......................................;

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

..............
1

1

13 years
of age.

i |
1

l

3
6

17

Females.
11 years
of age.

12 years
of age.
1
1
1
i
i
!
!
!
I
1

13 years
of age.

’ *

l

2
1
1
11
1
2

l

18

The boy of 12 had left school and begun work at 9 years of age,
one of the Italian girls of 13 had begun work at 10, one boy and one
girl had begun at 11, and nine boys and eight girls had begun at 12.
Two of the girls had never attended school and were unable to read
or write.
In addition to these, in the course of the family investigation, 28
boys and 25 girls were found who were 14 years of age and over and
legally at work in the silk mills at the time of investigation, but who




190

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

had been at work for many months illegally under 14 years of age.
Their ages at beginning work had ranged from 10 to 13 years.
Children employed without required legal papers.

The New Jersey child-labor law provided that copies of the cer­
tificates of birth and other proofs of age, together with copies of
affidavits relating to age of children (the originals of which are to
be kept on file in the establishments where the children are employed)
should be mailed within 24 hours after filing to the factory-inspection
department at Trenton. In the Paterson establishments investi­
gated there were employed 936 children under 16. For every one of
these copies of the papers relating to age should have been on file
in Trenton, but a search of the records there showed that for 471 of
them no such papers had been filed.
In 119 silk mills in Paterson investigation was made as to whether
the employers were obeying the law as to affidavits and as to keeping
a register of all employees under 16. Twenty-nine establishments
(24.4 per cent) had affidavits for all children employed, 41 (34.5 per
cent) had affidavits for some of the children employed and the re­
mainder had no affidavits for any of their children. Nineteen estab­
lishments kept a register of the children employed and 98 did not.
(Information on this point was not secured from 2 establishments.)
In these 119 establishments 818 children were employed, 302 of
whom (159 boys and 143 girls) were without affidavits of age.
In enforcing the law the factory inspectors were handicapped by
its terms. The filing of proofs of age and keeping of registers were
not mandatory upon employers; it was merely provided that if they
did so such proofs and register should free them from responsibility
should any question arise about the child’s age. Many manufac­
turers, especially those who were large employers, took great pains
in requiring all children to present affidavits and supporting proofs.
In this way they avoided danger of prosecution if a child were really
under the legal age. Others were careless, preferring risk of prose­
cution to the trouble of securing the required papers.
IN P E N N SY L V A N IA .

At the time of this investigation great confusion existed in Penn­
sylvania as to what the requirements of the child-labor law really
were. In 1905 a law had been passed forbidding employment under
14, requiring strict proof of age and making literacy and physical
fitness prerequisites of employment. In October, 1905, a court de­
cision on this law was given to the effect that “ the sections of the




THE

S IL K

191

IN D U S T R Y .

law relating to educational and physical requirements and that re­
quiring the issuing of employment certificates were unconstitutional,
while the section bearing on the ages of the children was in no wise
a violation of the constitution.” This decision was upheld upon ap­
peal, and the law of 1905 thus being declared invalid in these respects
an earlier statute became effective which required as proof of age only
the affidavit of the child’s parent or guardian. Much uncertainty
existed as to whether or not a certain amount of school attendance
was a necessary prerequisite to employment, and as to the precise
conditions under which an employment certificate might be issued.
The one point which was looked upon as certain was that if an em­
ployer had on file an affidavit from the parent or guardian of each
child in his employ stating that the child was 14 or “ over 14,” then
no matter what its real age might be, the employer was immune from
prosecution. According to the terms of the law the employer must
keep such affidavits on file for all children under 16 in his employ,
but the affidavit was the property of the child and must be returned
to it when it gave up its employment.
Children employed under legal age.

In 10 of the 36 Pennsylvania mills investigated no children under
14 were found. In the remaining 26 mills situated in 17 cities and
towns, 280 children under 14 were found at work, their age and sex
distribution being as follows:
Age.

Boys.

Girls.

Total.

10 years of age............................................................................................................
11 years of age............................................................................................................
12 years of age............................................................................................................
13 years of age............................................................................................................

1
14
29

2
6
35
193

2
7
49
222

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

44

236

280

These children do not represent isolated instances of carelessness
on the part of employers usually anxious to obey the law. In two
establishments they formed 5 per cent of all the children employed,
and from this they ran up to 20, 30, and even 50 per cent of the total
employees under 16.
Besides the large number of children under 14 years, the legal age,
found employed in the mills investigated, a number of children were
also found working who were 14 or over at the time of the investiga­
tion, and therefore of legal working age, who had been at work in
the silk mills from a month to three years before their fourteenth
birthday. The total number of such children found who had been
illegally employed while under 14 years of age during the year 1907




192

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

was 471. These figures indicate how general had been the practice
of sending children to work before reaching 14 years of age.1
T
In addition to the 280 children who were working under the legal
age, 173 children 14 and 15 years of age were found at work with
false affidavits and 187 of the same ages were found working with­
out affidavits of any kind, making a total of 640 children found at
work in violation of the law.
The homes of the children at work under the legal age were visited,
and in addition to the children employed in the silk mills there were
found 118 other children in the same families at work under the legal
age. Of these 8 under 14 years of age were at work in industrial
establishments other than silk, 80 under 14 were at work in the coal
breakers, and 30 under 16 were at work down in the coal mines.
The following table shows by race the number of children illegally
employed in the silk mills, together with the number of children in
the same families illegally employed in other industries:
N UM BER AN D PER CENT OF CH ILD REN IN SILK-M ILL FAM ILIES IL L E G A L L Y
E M P LO Y E D , B Y RACE.

Children under 16 years of age illegally employed in—
Total illegally
employed.

Silk mills.
Race.
Under
14 years
of age.

Total.
14 and 15 14 and 15
years of years of
age with age with­
false affi­ out affi­ Number. Per cent.
davits.
davits.

Other
indus­
tries.

Number. Per cent.

American.....................
English........................
German........................
Irish..............................
Lithuanian..................
Polish...........................
Ruthenian...................
Slovak..........................
Welsh...........................
Other............................

9
7
15
51
13
88
33
30
21
13

36
11
14
38
1
34
2
13
11
14

11
15
21
36
7
47
10
17
17
5

56
33
50
125
21
169
45
60
49
32

8.8
5.1
7.8
19.5
3.3
26.4
7.0
9.4
7.7
5.0

6
4
5
26
4
28
11
24
5
5

62
37
55
151
25
197
56
84
54
37

8.2
4.9
7.2
19.9
3.3
26.0
7.4
11.1
7.1
4.9

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

280

174

186

640

100.0

118

758

100.0

In the families represented in the above table there were 1,297
children at work. It will be noticed that more than half of these
(58.4 per cent) were illegally employed and that not far from onethird (30.7 per cent) were at work under the legal age.
Children leaving school to go to work.

At the time of this investigation it was matter of common report
in Pennsylvania that children were leaving school to go to work
under the legal age with great freedom. To test this a special in­




1 Vol. IV, Silk Industry, P. 101.

THE

S IL K

193

IN D U S T R Y .

quiry was made of every principal and teacher in the public schools
of 21 cities and boroughs of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties—the
two counties in which the silk investigation was carried on. The
inquiry related only to children who left school under the age of 14
between June, 1907, and June, 1908. It was found that 1,436 chil­
dren under the age of 14 had left school during the specified period.
The causes for leaving were as follows:
To work in coal mines or factories___________________________
To work in miscellaneous industries_________________________
To work in domestic service, on farms, etc--------------------------For other causes than to begin work-------------------------------------

481
84
214
657

Total___________________________________________________1,436

In other words, 54.2 per cent of those leaving school under 14
during the given year left for the purpose of beginning work. Some
of those who went into farm work or domestic service may not have
violated the law, since up to 1908 it was permissible to begin such
work at 13. In practically 40 per cent of the cases, however, there
was no such exemption. The child-labor laws of Pennsylvania were
radically changed in 1909, following the period of the above
investigation. Under the new law, in effect January 1, 1910, the old
system of employment through affidavits issued by aldermen or jus­
tices of the peace was done away with. The new law required that
employment certificates showing that children were 14 and could
read and write English intelligently should be issued by superin­
tendents or supervising principals of public schools in large places
and by principals of schools, or secretaries of the school boards, or
by persons deputized by any of these officials to do this work in
smaller places. Principals of private or parochial schools might
also issue certificates, but must send copies each month to the publicschool official in their district who issued certificates. These officials
must require proof that the children are 14, either by birth certifi­
cates, baptismal certificates, passports, or other religious or other offi­
cial records of age. Where these were unobtainable, the record of
age on school registers might be accepted. Where even these could
not be produced, an affidavit might be accepted. Without these cer­
tificates no children of 14 and 16 could be employed. The law of
1905, which prohibited the employment of boys under 16 in mines,
was repealed by the law of 1909, unintentionally, it was said, and as
the law stood boys of 14 and 15 might be employed in the mines.
At the expiration of the first five months’ operation of the law an
investigation was made by the bureau in seven of the principal com­
munities in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties for the purpose of
95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------13




194

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

noting the work of the law. Each of the school superintendents was
requested to furnish certain information from his records.
RESULTS OF TEACH ERS' E XAM IN ATIO N S OF CH ILDREN U N D E R N E W L A W , JAN. 1 TO
M A Y 31,1910, IN L A C K A W A N N A AN D LU ZER N E COUNTIES, PA.

Number of children who—

Locality.

Were ex­ Secured
amined
for certifi­ certifi­
cates.
cates.

Were rej ected becau:se—
Did not
Had been
secure
certifi­ Under 14 Unable to at work.
read and
cates.
years of
write
age.
English.

Scranton.........................................
Wilkes-Barre.................................
Pittston..........................................
Dunmore.........................................
Olyphant........................................
Jessup..............................................
Avoca..............................................

2,156
2 791
2 457
238
2200
2 214
110

1,711
545
82
222
136
114
85

16
2 64
2 100
25

Total.....................................
Per cent..........................................

4,166
100.0

2,895
69.5

1,271
30.5

445

2 246
2 375

178
2 181
50
4
(<)

267

2 65
2 325
12

10

(*)
100
15

6 423
6 35.0

6 784
6 65.0

2

0)
2 490
2 425
16
<?*»
25

8

Had been
at work
and were
rejected.

82375
16

(,U

25

(<)
(<)

1 Not reported, but a majority.
2 Careful estimate of superintendent of schools, where no records were kept excepting of the number who
had passed the examinations and secured the certificates.
s Not reported, but a large number.
* Not reported.
« Not including 64; cause of rejection not reported.
>

The table shows that in the seven cities and boroughs named, 4,166
children presented themselves to the school authorities for examina­
tion for the purpose of procuring certificates which would enable
them to continue in their employments, if at work, or to secure new
positions. Most of those examined had been at work. Of the 4,166
children examined, 2,895, or 69.5 per cent, secured certificates, while
1,271, or 30.5 per cent, were rejected.
The causes for rejection were secured for 1,207 children. It ap­
pears that 423 children, or 35 per cent, were rejected because they
were under the legal age of 14 years and 784, or 65 per cent, were
rejected because they were unable to read and write English as re­
quired by law. Most of those rejected had been at work.1
SUMMARY OF EMPLOYMENT OF CHILDREN.

The silk industry in the localities investigated employs large num­
bers of children, especially of girls. The work done by them is for
the most part unskilled or semiskilled, is usually light, and presents
few occupational risks. It generally, however, requires continuous
standing. At the time of the investigation hours rarely exceeded 55
a week, overtime was unusual, and night work rare. The wage level
was low, especially in Pennsylvania, where a less skilled grade of
work was required. Illegal employment of children was not unknown
in New Jersey and was common in Pennsylvania.




1Vol. IV , Silk Industry, pp. 130, 131.

THE

S IL K

IN D U S T R Y .

195

WOMEN IN THE SILK INDUSTRY.
The table already given (p. 171) shows that female workers aged
16 and over formed 53.6 per cent in New Jersey and 67.8 per cent
in Pennsylvania of the total workers in the mills studied, and the
table on page 177 shows how they are distributed among the leading
occupations. In Pennsylvania there are only two leading occupa­
tions—twisting-in and horizontal warping—followed by women in
which girls under 16 are not also found. In New Jersey girls under
16 are not found among the weavers, but in Pennsylvania 45 under
that age were engaged in weaving. Nevertheless, as between girls
under 16 and those over that age, weaving, like warping, may be
regarded as belonging to the older group. Both of these occupations
require a skill, and horizontal warping, in addition, requires a degree
of strength not usually found among children.
The labor involved in tending a horizontal-warping mill is both
heavy and arduous. Men are better qualified for the work than are
women, because of greater physical strength and endurance, and for
this reason can turn out a greater amount of work. * * * For a
number of years only horizontal-warping mills (and a few hand
warpers), were in use in silk factories, and only men were employed
for the work. In the course of time the men became strongly organ­
ized into a union, which was all the stronger because the occupation
was skilled and required months of instruction and experience to
make the operator proficient. * * * Men are already being re­
placed by women in this occupation. As a rule mill owners frankly
state that they would prefer to have women, not because they are
better qualified for the occupation, for they are not, nor because they
are really cheaper, even at lower wages, but chiefly because they do
not belong to unions and are more tractable. So long as there are
women horizontal warpers the manufacturer feels that he has a
strong defense against the demands of the men. In six large Pater­
son factories women only are employed as horizontal warpers.1
In weaving it will be noticed that in Pennsylvania women have
almost a monopoly of the broad-silk weaving, only 17 males being
found in it. In the Paterson broad-silk mills, on the other hand,
only 37.9 per cent of the weavers were women. The great bulk of
the product of the Pennsylvania mills consists of plain weavers, a con­
siderable portion being of the cheaper grades, while in Paterson much
of the product consists of Jacquard and other fancy silks of a very
excellent quality. While women can operate the Jacquard looms with
success, they are on the whole less efficient than men because of less
mechanical ability to make repairs to the looms.
In general, the same criticism is to be made from the standpoint of
the employment of women as from that of the employment of chil­
dren ; the occupations of both are apt to demand continuous standing,
and not infrequently require much bending and stooping.




1 Vol. IV , Silk Industry, pp. 39, 40.

196

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

HOURS OF LABOR.

As before stated, the usual hours for silk workers, both in Pater­
son and in Pennsylvania, at the time of the investigation were 55 a
week. At that time, owing to the depression of 1907-8, undertime
was far more frequent than overtime. The average hours actually
worked by adults in the mills investigated were a$ follows:
New
Jersey.
Males 16 years and over...............................................................................................................
Females 16 years and over..........................................................................................................

Pennsyl­
vania.

51.9
50.3

48.6
42.5

It will be seen that for wo^ien especially, the hours actually worked
fell far short of the normal week.
EARNINGS.

The actual earnings of workers 16 years or over in the mills in­
vestigated during a given week were as follows:
New Jersey.
Weekly earnings.

Males.

Pennsylvania.
Females.

Males.

Females.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Under $2......................
$2 to $2.99.....................
$3 to $3.99....................
$4 to $4.99....................
$5 to $5.99....................
$6 to $6.99.....................
$7 to $7.99.....................
$8 to $8.99....................
$9 to $9.99....................
$10 to 10.99...................
$11 to $11.99.................
$12 to $12.99.................
$13 to $13.99.................
$14 to $14.99.................
$15 to $16.99.................
$17 to $19.99.................
$20 to $24.99.................
$25 and over................

50
39
43
86
109
114
159
210
212
216
240
2G
3
259
235
454
509
203
15

1.5
1.1
1.2
2.5
3.2
3.3
4.6
6.1
7.0
6.3
7.0
7.6
7.5
6.8
13.2
14.8
5.9
A

93
77
131
233
379
717
795
327
303
296
205
247
206
184
124
53
4

2.1
1.7
3.0
5.3
8.7
16.4
18.2
7.5
6.9
6.8
4.7
5.7
4.7
4.2
2.8
1.2
.1

25
23
40
45
24
27
27
24
24
17
15
18
10
14
48
27
5

6.1
5.6
9.7
10.9
5.8
6.5
6.5
5.8
5.8
4.1
3.7
4.4
2.4
3.4
11.6
6.5
1.2

353
492
746
948
447
368
334
218
154
94
34
23
2
3
2

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

3,446

100.0

4,374

100.0

413

100.0

4,222 I

2
2

8.4
11.7
17.7
22.5
10.6
8.7
7.9
5.2
3.7
2.2
.8
.5
C
1)
.1
0)
0)
0)
100.0

i Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

It will be seen that there is a much greater difference between
the earnings of the sexes among these adult workers than among
those under 16. (See ante, p. 186.) In New Jersey 20.8 per cent of
the women earned under $6 and 55.4 per cent under $8 a week, as
against 9.5 per cent and 17.4 per cent of the men in the same earn­
ings groups, while only 30.2 per cent of the women, against 69.5




THE

S IL K

197

IN D U S T R Y .

per cent of the men, earned $10 or more. In Pennsylvania the dis­
proportion, though still marked, was not so great in the lowerearnings groups, but the wage level for both sexes was lower. Among
the women 70.9 per cent earned under $6 and 87.5 per cent earned
under $8, against 38.1 per cent and 51.1 per cent of the men in
these earnings groups. Only 3.6 per cent of the women earned $10
or more, as against 37.3 per cent of the men.
The difference between the average full-time rate and the average
actual earnings is shown for the leading occupations by the fol­
lowing table:
A V E R A G E AC T U AL A N D A V E R A G E FULL-TIM E E AR N IN G S, B Y S E X A N D OCCUPATION,
FO R W O R K E R S AG ED 16 A N D O VER .
New Jersey.

Males.
Occupation.
Number.

Females.

Average
Average Average
rate per Number. Average rare per
actual
actual
week of
week of
earnings.
earnings. 55 hours.
55 hours.

Bobbin carriers.......................... ....................
Doublers..........................................................
Lacers................................................................
Pickers, cloth....................................................
Quillers ..................................... ........................
Reelers .... ......................................................
Spinners.............................................................
Twisters-in
. ............. ................................
Warpers, horizontal.........................................
Weavers, broad-silk.........................................
Weavers, ribbon
...............................*.........
Winders, hard-silk .......................................
W inders, soft-silk.............................................

19

$3.93

$4.51

6
3
1
93
244
147
196
1,384
433

2.44
6.72
6.00
6.32
7.24
14.77
15.74
12.38
15.52

3.58
9.24
6.00
6.77
7.76
16.78
17.87
12.71
16.34

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

2,526

278
9
318
307
2
6
6
144
845
394
521
614

$6.41
5.03
6.28
5.92
3.09
6.49
15.08
10.81
11.06
11.25
6.67
7.29

$7.04
5.67
6.88
6.38
6.82
6.60
15.24
11.99
11.72
13.15
7.26
7.98

$2.15
3.65
2.44
4.68
4.58
3.39
3.72
6.97
7.05
7.01
7.29
3.33
4.59

$2.81
4.51
3.08
5.67
4.79
4.24
4.46
8.09
7.98
7.21
9.46
4.40
5.01

3,344

Pennsylvania.

Bobbin carriers.................................................
Doublers...... .....................................................
Lacers............ ....................................................
Pickers, cloth....................................................
Quillers...............................................................
Reelers................................................................
Spinners ..........................................................
Twfetws-in......... - - r____ t ....................... .....
W arpers, horizontal............... ........................
Weavers, broad-silk........................................
Weavers, ribbon..............................................
W inders, hard-silk...........................................
Winders, soft-silk............................................
Total........................................................

23
1

$3.15
3.95

$4.79
4.02

5
86
30
2
13
93

4.35
3.83
11.92
11.50
6.11
10.18

4.18
5.72
12.10
11.50
7.43
12.38

253

3
437
21
119
126
217
462
24
70
1,104
53
895
165
3,696

It will be noticed that only one group, the five male reelers in
Pennsylvania, shows actual earnings higher than the full-time rate.
One male quiller in New Jersey and two male warpers in Pennsyl­
vania reached the full-time weekly rates, but the remaining groups
of male workers and all the groups of female workers fell below the
full-time rates; in some instances the discrepancy was considerable.




198

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOB STATISTICS.

WORKING CONDITIONS.
The silk mills are not so arranged that workers of different sexes
or ages are separated, and consequently the conditions were the same
for both women and children. In Paterson 124 of the 138 mills in­
vestigated were of brick, stone, concrete, or some combination of
these materials, 9 of the remainder being frame, and 5 of brick and
frame combined. In Pennsylvania of the 36 investigated 25 were of
brick, 1 of concrete, and 10 frame. In Paterson 106, and in Penn­
sylvania 11 of the mills investigated were more than two stories high.
The following tables show the situation in regard to fire escapes:
E M P L O Y E E S W IT H A N D W IT H O U T FIRE-ESCAPE PROTECTION IN P A T ER SO N , N .J .
A N D P E N N SY L V A N IA MILLS.

Paterson, N . J.

Fire-escape protec­
tion.

Number of employees.
Story of building in which employees
work.
Men.

Women.

Children.

Total.

First story.........................................................
Second story, with fire escapes.....................
Second story, without fire escapes...............
Third story, with fire escapes.......................
Third story, without fire escapes.................
Fourth story, with fire escapes.....................
Fourth story, without fire escapes................
Fifth story, with fire escapes.........................

2,324
1,158
741
1,288
330
773
242
42

2,534
1,328
981
1,442
517
540
331
33

464
150
71
136
21
74
9
11

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

6,898

7,706

936

15,540

2,006
565
589
335
261
289
297

891
187
135
132
28
87
25

3,225
765
881
483
320
398
334

4,342

1,485

6,406

Per cent Per cent
with.
without.

5,322
2,636
59.5
1,793
40.5
2,866 ........76*8
868
..........23*2
1,387 ........70*4’
582
29.6
86 ’ " ‘ ioo.'o’
68.2

31.8

Pennsylvania.
328
First story.........................................................
.....................
Second story, with fire escapes 13
157
Second story, without fire escapes...............
Third story, with fire escapes.......................
16
Third story, without fire escapes.................
31
Fourth story, with fire escapes.....................
22
12
Fourth story, without fire escapes...............
Total........................................................

579

46.5
53.5
60.1 .................
39.9
54.4
..........45*6
51.7

48.3

It appears that in the Paterson mills a total of 3,243 persons, or
31.7 per cent of all employees working above the first s t o r y , were
working on second, third, and fourth floors without fire-escape pro­
tection. In Pennsylvania 48.3 per cent of all employees working
above the first floor were without such protection.
LIGHT AND VENTILATION.

Light was usually good in the workrooms, as the work demanded
close watching. A few old mills in Paterson required artificial light




THE

S IL K

199

IN D U S T R Y .

during the day, but these were exceptional. Only three mills were
found, one in Paterson and two in Pennsylvania, which had any
provisions for ventilation other than doors and windows.
A silk mill is as a rule clean. There is no dust or lint or fumes in
the air, so the need for special means of ventilation is not so im­
perative as in other textile mills. There is as a rule sufficient air
space for each employee (regarding 250 cubic feet per operative as
sufficient), since the frames which the operatives tend occupy so
much space tjiat the operatives frequently work at considerable
distances from each other. Therefore, if a sufficient number of win­
dows are kept open, the ventilation of a silk factory is ample. The
difficulty lies in the fact that as a rule no one person looks after the
ventilation of the workroom as a part of his duties. This matter is,
according to statements made by the manufacturers, left to the em­
ployees to look after in a hit-or-miss sort of way.1
WASH ROOMS, TOILETS, ETC,

In both States the factory law required the provision of wash
rooms, but in both the general practice was to provide only sinks
with running water in the workrooms. It is to the manufacturer’s
interest that the employees should keep their hands as clean as pos­
sible, and usually there was abundant provision of sinks, towels, and
soap. No dressing rooms were provided for women in the Paterson
mills, but 10 Pennsylvania mills had so-called dressing rooms, “ box­
like affairs of the dimensions and shape of a telephone booth, with­
out any windows—merely a place in which a girl could change her
skirt and shoes in privacy.”
Separate toilet accommodations for the sexes were provided in
every case with the exception of one broad-silk mill in Paterson.
The toilet facilities in 32 mills in Paterson and in 2 in Pennsylvania
were deemed by the agent to be insufficient. As a rule, there was
not sufficient privacy of approach. In most cases the toilets for
males adjoin those for females; there were separate approaches in
only 47 of the 138 mills in Paterson and in only 14 of 36 in
Pennsylvania.
In Paterson the condition as to odor and cleanliness was bad in
14 establishments, affecting 1,529 employees, only fair in 46 estab­
lishments with 5,420 persons, and good in 78 establishments employ­
ing 8,591 persons. The bad conditions affected the air of the work­
rooms, the odor being noticeable in 8 establishments employing 486
persons. In Pennsylvania the air of the workrooms was affected in
2 establishments with 164 persons.2
1 Vol. IV , Silk Industry, pp. 179, 180.




2 Idem, p. 182.

200

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

FAMILY CONDITIONS AND SOURCES AND AMOUNT OF
FAMILY INCOME.
The names of a certain number of woman and child employees of
various ages were taken from the pay rolls of the various mills
investigated, visits were made to their homes, and schedules of ques­
tions covering the family conditions were filled out. In New Jersey
827 and in Pennsylvania 1,082 such families were visited.
G EN ERAL CHARACTER OF FAM ILIES.

In this industry, as in the manufacture of glass, no distinct type
of family could be found. While the silk mill gives employment to
adult males as well as to women and children, practically all of the
communities included in this investigation furnished to a large
extent employment for both boys and men in other important in­
dustries. In Paterson 30.5 per cent of the 580 fathers whose occu­
pations were learned were in the silk mills, the remainder being
scattered through the skilled and unskilled occupations and the
business pursuits of the city. In Pennsylvania, of 877 fathers whose
occupation was learned only two were in the silk mills.
Racially the families seemed to reflect the general composition
of the community. There was no indication of special racial apti­
tude drawing the people of a certain race to the silk mill.
COMPOSITION OF FAMILIES; EMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS.

The 1,909 families studied averaged 6.4 persons and 3.1 wage
earners per family. The number of families having members of
specified classes was as follows:
Number
of fami­
lies.
Father living with family...........................................................................................................
Mother living with family...........................................................................................................
Having male children 16 years and over............... .................................................................
Having female children 16 years and over............ .................................................................
Having children 14 and 15 years of age...................................................................................
Having children under 14 years..............................................................................................

1,529
1,837
803
1,111
1,258
1,459

Per cent
of fami­
lies.
80.1
96.2
42.1
58.2
65.9
76.4

Of the fathers living with their families, 95.3 per cent, and of
the mothers 14.3 per cent were working outside the home and con­
tributing to the family support. Of the sons 16 years of age and
over 96.1 per cent, and of the daughters 88.8 per cent were working;
so were 89.6 per cent of the children aged 14 and 15 and 9.3 per cent
of the children under 14.1 It is very evident that in these families,
1 The proportion which children under 14 at work formed of the total children under
14 in the families studied in three other industries was as follows: Cotton, New England
families 2.9 per cent, southern families 34.5 per cent; men’s clothing, 1.5 per cent; glass
industry, 4.1 per cent.



THE

S IL K

201

IN D U S T R Y .

while the employment of mothers outside their home was rare, the
employment of children, both boys and girls, was regarded as the
proper thing as soon as the law would permit it, or even before. In
regard to the work of mothers and of children under 14, the two
States present a marked contrast. In New Jersey 22.3 per cent of
the mothers but only 3.3 per cent of the children under 14 years were
at work, while in Pennsylvania only 8.3 per cent of the mothers but
11.7 per cent of the children under 14 were working.
A M O U N T A N D SOURCES OF F A M IL Y INCOME.

For the total 1,909 families the average net income was $966. This
varies according to the members contributing, as shown in the follow­
ing table:
Average net income per family of families having—
Father at work---------------------------------------------------------------------Mother at work--------------------------------------- ---------------------------Male children 16 years of age and over at work-----------------Female children 16 years of age and over at work________
Children 14 and 15 years of age at work___________________
Children under 14 years of age at work___________________

$1,014
747
1,192
1,101
941
842

The general tendency is for a woman with a family not to go to
work outside her home unless driven by necessity, so it is natural
that the families with mothers at work should be those with the
lowest incomes. The difference is marked, the incomes for these
families averaging $95 less than for the next lowest group and $219
less than the average for the whole number of families. The relative
prosperity of families having children 16 years of age and over at
work is very marked.
The proportion of the net family income contributed by each class
of workers was as follows:
PER CENT OF F A M IL Y INCOME FROM SPECIFIED SOURCES.*

New
Jersey.
Earnings of father.....................................................................................................
Earnings of mother...................................................................................................
Earnings of male children 16 years and over......................................................
Earnings of female children 16 years and over....................................................
Earnings of children 14 and 1 5 ............................................................................
Earnings of children under 14.................... ...................................................... .

46.3
36.8
35.6
42.2
17.6
11.6

Pennsyl­
vania.
53.8
23.1
38.2
26.3
16.2
13.4

Total.

50.5
33.0
37.0
35.1
16.6
13.3

1These per cents apply in each case only to the incomes of families having wage earners of the specified
class.

One of the most striking points in this table is the greater impor­
tance to the family of the female wage earner in New Jersey. This
does not merely mean that the average incomes were lower in Penn­
sylvania and that therefore the earnings of mothers and of daugh­
ters were relatively more important; the actual earnings were differ­
ent. The average earnings of mothers at work were in New Jersey



202

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

$297, in Pennsylvania $145; for daughters 16 years of age or over
the average earnings were, respectively, $504 and $264. On the other
hand, the earnings of the male members, while relatively more im­
portant in Pennsylvania,, were actually almost the same. The aver­
age earnings of fathers were in New Jersey $516 and in Pennsyl­
vania $510, while the sons 16 years of age or over averaged in the
first State $456 a year and in the second $428. The higher earnings
of the women in Paterson are probably due in part to the character
of the work done there, in part to the greater opportunities for em­
ployment which create a dem
aind for female labor and consequently
raise its price, and in part to the greater well-being of the Paterson
families studied. In Paterson the average family membership was
5.5 and the average net income $1,050, while in Pennsylvania the
average family membership was 7 and the average net income $902.
Obviously it was far more possible for the New Jersey than for the
Pennsylvania women and girls to refuse to work for wages they con­
sidered insufficient, and hence the higher financial standing of their
families might be in turn cause and partial consequence of their
higher earnings.
EARNINGS AN D CONTRIBUTIONS OF CHILDREN

16 TE A R S

OF AGE AN D

OVER.

In the case of fathers, mothers, and children under 16, it was taken
for granted that their total earnings were contributed to the family
support, but in the case of children 16 years of age and over careful
inquiry was made as to just what share of their earnings went into
the family purse. The following table shows the results of this
inquiry:
N U M BER OF FAM ILIES W IT H CH ILD R EN 16 Y E A R S OF A G E A N D O VER A T W O R K
A N D PROPORTION OF T H E IR EAR N IN G S CON TR IBU TED TO F A M ILY B Y SUCH
CH ILD R EN .
Number of families Per cent of earnings
having—
contributed by—
Nativity of head of family.

Sons
16 years
and
over at
work.

Daugh­
Daugh­
ters 16
Sons 16
ters 16
years
years
years
and over and over.
and over.
at work.

NEW JERSEY.

Native bora, native parents................................................................
Native born, foreign parents................................................................
Foreign born...........................................................................................

26
34
284

41
55
440

78.5
73.8
82.2

91.3
96.4
95.5

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

344

536

81.3

95.5

Native bom , native parents.................................................................
Native bom, foreign parents................................................................
Foreign born...........................................................................................

39
70
330

60
72
390

73.1
86.9
89.5

92.5
98.2
97.4

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

439

512

87.3

97.1

Total for both States...................................................................

783

1,048

84.6

96.0

PENNSYLVANIA.




THE

S IL K

203

IN D U S T R Y .

In every group the females contributed a considerably larger pro­
portion of their earnings than the males, but the difference between
the sexes is greater in New Jersey than in Pennsylvania. The pro­
portion of earnings contributed by males is larger in the foreignborn than in the native-born families.
FAM ILIE S W ITH O UT CONTRIBUTING FATHERS*

In New Jersey 247 families and in Pennsylvania 205 had no help
from fathers. The following table shows the causes of this non­
support and also what proportion the families affected by each cause
formed of the total group:
N U M BER A N D PE R CEN T OF FAM ILIES, B Y CONDITION AS TO F A TH E R S.
New Jersey.

Pennsylvania.

Condition as to father.
Number. Percent. Number. Percent.
Idle or incapacitated....................................................... .....................
Deserter or away.....................................................

41
36
170

5.0
4.3
20.6

31
23
151

2.9
2.1
14.0

Total noncontributing................................................................
A t work....................................................................................................

247
580

29.9
70.1

205
877

19.0
81.0

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

827

100.0

1,082

100.0

It will be noticed that death is by far the most important cause
for the cessation of the father’s contributions, and that idleness,
incapacity, and desertion account for relatively few cases of non­
contribution.
M ARRIED W O M E N A T W ORK.

Among the New Jersey families 176 and among the Pennsylvania
families 87 were found with mothers gainfully employed outside
their homes. The number in each race group and the proportion
they form of the families of that race studied are as follows:
N U M BER A N D

PR OPORTION OF FAM ILIES W IT H M AR R IED W O M E N A T W O R K ,
B Y RACE A N D STATE.
New Jersey.
Race.

American............................................................
Dutch............................. ....................................
English...............................................................
German...............................................................
Irish....................................................................
Italian................................................................
Lithuanian........................................................
Polish .............................................................
Slovak...............................................................
Welsh.................................................................
Other..................................................................
T otal.,......... - ........................................T




Pennsylvania.

Number
of
families
studied.

Number
having
mothers
at work.

Per cent
having
mothers
at work.

Number
of
families
studied.

Number
having
mothers
at work.

65
97
84
150
146
193

12
4
12
44
23
70

18.5
4.1
14.3
29.3
15.8
36.3

93

14

15.1

52
163
227

8
15
25

15.4
9.2
11.0

2
6
3
9
5

4.9
2.8
3.3
9.6
4.7

87

8.0

92

11

12.0

41
215
91
94
106

827

176

21.3

1,082

Per cent
having
mothers
at work.

204

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

In general, the proportion of married women at work is for each
race distinctly higher in New Jersey than in Pennsylvania, the
English being the only race group for which this does not hold
true. The groups are too small to justify conclusions as to racial
attitudes as to the employment of married women outside their
homes, but it is worth noticing both how large the proportion of
women so employed is among the Italians and how small it is among
the Lithuanians, Slovaks, and Poles.
The following table shows the average earnings of the married
women at work, with the average size of the family and the average
income with and without the woman’s earnings:
A V E R A G E SIZE AN D INCOME OF FAMILIES OF M ARRIED
CONDITION AS TO H USBAN D .

Families.

Condition as to husband.
Num­
ber.

Per
cent of
total.

W O M EN A T W O R K , B Y

Annual family income.

Aver­
age
size.

Exclud­
Earn­
ing
ings of earn­
Total.
wives. ings of
wives.

Aver­
age per
capita
weekly
income
exclud­
ing
earn­
ings of
wives.

Families having
a per capita
weekly income,
excluding earn­
ings of wives, of
less than $2.
Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

NEW JERSEY.

Widows.....................................
Deserted wives______________
Wives of incapacitated hus­
bands .....................................
Wives of idle husbands..........
Wives with husbands at

40
15

27.7

4

2.3
.6

1

8 .6

3.9
3.2

$286
434

$469
143

$755
577

$2.31
.85

16
12

40.0
80.0

2 .8

477
457

102

579
457

.72

4

2.0

100.0
100.0

1

w o r k ...........................................

116

65.9

4.1

276

608

884

2.88

26

22.4

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

176

100.0

3.9

297

522

819

2.57

59

33.5

35
>12

40.2
13.8

4.7
4.5

162
143

423
342

585
485

1.72
1.46

25
10

71.4
83.3

3
4

3.5
4.6

6.3
6.0

208
142

360
409

568
551

1.09
1.31

2
3

66.7
75.0

PENNSYLVANIA.

Widows.....................................
Deserted wives........................
Wives of incapacitated hus­
bands.....................................
Wives of idle husbands..........
W iv e s w ith h u sba n d s a t
w o r k ...........................................

33

37.9

6.4

122

628

750

1.90

19

57.6

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

87

100.0

5.4

145

487

632

1.72

59

67.8

i Including 1 divorced wife.

In both States the wives whose husbands are also working have
lower average earnings than those of any other group. Another fact
of importance as throwing some light on why they are at work is that
in both States the average size of the families in which both husband
and wife are working is larger than the family of any other class of
working wives. No study of the cost of living was made in these
communities, but the average per capita incomes given in the above
table make it seem probable that the mothers were forced by economic
necessity to the outside work.




THE

S IL K

205

IN D U S T R Y .

M A R R IE D W O M E N A T W O R K L IV IN G IN H O M ES O T H E R T H A N T H E IR O W N .

In the two States 26 such women were found, of whom 8 were
widows, 10 were deserted wives, 4 had husbands at work, and for
4 data as to the husbands were not secured. The average earnings of
these women were $326. Twenty-four of them lived with parents or
parents-in-law, one with a child, and one with a sister.
SINGLE W O M E N 16 Y E A R S OF A G E OR OYER A T W ORK .

In the families visited single women 16 years of age or over were
found at work to the number of 1,466. The majority of these were
decidedly young, the numbers 16, 17, and 18 years of age being, re­
spectively, 297, 243, and 187; in other words, 49.6 per cent were under
19. Only 15.1 per cent -were over 24. Six hundred and six, or 41.3
per cent, had begun work before they were 14, and 31.3 per cent had
begun at 14. Only 14.5 per cent had worked in more than one indus­
try. Their average earnings were in New Jersey $353 and in Penn­
sylvania $202. In New Jersey 5.7 per cent and in Pennsylvania 23.3
per cent of the families to which they belonged had per capita earn­
ings of less than $2 a week.
CHILDREN U NDER 16 Y E A R S OF AG E.

In the 1,909 silk-mill families of which a special study was made
there were 4,553 children from 6 to 15 years old. The following table
shows their occupation:
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF CH ILD REN 6 TO 15 Y E A R S OF AGE IN SILK -M ILL FAMILIES
VISITED W H O W E R E A T W O R K , AT SCHOOL, AN D A T HOM E, B Y AG E GROUPS.
New Jersey.

Age group.

Pennsylvania.

A t work. A t school. A t home.
A t work. A t school. A t home.
Total
Total
num­
num­
ber. Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per ber. Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.

6 to 11 years..............
12 and 13 years..........

606
288

1 0.2
41 14.2

563 92.9
236 82.0

42
11

6.9 1,523
3.8
699

16 1.1 1,339 87.9
358 51.2
327 46.8

168
14

11.0
2.0

Total, 6 to 13
years.............
14 and 15 years..........

894
450

42 4.7
365 81.1

799 89.4
72 16.0

53
13

5.9 2,222
2.9
987

374 16.8 1,666 75.0
49 5.0
923 93.5

182
15

8.2
1.5

Total, 6 to 15
years............. 1,344

407 30.3

871 64.8

66

4.9 3,209 1,297 40.4 1,715 53.5

197

6.1

The number of children under 12 “ at home ” depends somewhat
upon the accessibility of the school, though other considerations,
such as the child’s health, need for its help at home, etc., affect the
question. It will be noticed that a very much larger proportion of




206

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUBEAU

OF

LABOB

S T A T IS T IC S .

the New Jersey children 14 and 15 years of age were at school than
was the case in Pennsylvania. Even in New Jersey, however, it was
the general rule for such children to be at work.
CHILDREN 14 A N D 15 Y E A R S OF A G E A T W ORK.

In New Jersey 365 and in Pennsylvania 923 such children were
found, their condition as to parents being as follows:
New
Jersey.

Pennsyl­
vania.

Orphans..........................................................................................................................................
Children of widows....................................................................... ...............................................
Children of deserted mothers.....................................................................................................
Children of incapacitated fathers.............................................................................................
Children of idle fathers................................................................................................................
Children with both parents at work.......................................................................................
Children with fathers only at work..........................................................................................

1
54
10
12
3
21
264

7
115
15
22
7
32
725

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

365

923

These children formed 89.6 per cent of all the children of these
ages in the families studied, 81.1 per cent in New Jersey, and 93.5
per cent in Pennsylvania. It will be noticed that in both States by
far the greater number of these children are in normal families with
fathers at work. In other words, it is not exceptional misfortune
which forces them to work, but evidently their employment is looked
upon as a perfectly normal matter, a means of increasing the family
income which involves neither confession of distress nor loss of social
standing. The average per capita incomes of these families, exclu­
sive of the earnings of the children under 16 years of age, were in
New Jersey $2.65 and in Pennsylvania $2 a week.
CHILDREN UNDER 14 Y E A R S OF AGE A T W ORK.

In New Jersey 42 children under 14, belonging to 41 families, were
found at work. Of these 1 was an orphan, 8 were children of wid­
owed or deserted mothers, 3 had idle or incapacitated fathers, 3 had
both parents at work, and 27 had fathers but not mothers working.
Two had never attended school and were unable to read or write.
In Pennsylvania 374 children, belonging to 329 families, were
found at work under 14. Of these 295, or 78.9 per cent, had fathers
but not mothers at work, 7 had both parents at work, and 52 were
children of widows. Eleven had incapacitated fathers, 8 had de­
serted mothers, and in one case the father was idle. Fourteen were
unable to read or write. The average family membership was 7.5,
and the average gross annual income was $887, of which an average of
$117 (13.2 per cent) was earned by the children under 14.




207

TH E SILK INDUSTRY.

LABOR ORGANIZATIONS IN THE SILK INDUSTRY.
The attitude toward labor organizations of employers in the estab­
lishments visited was as follows:
New
Jersey.

Pennsyl­
vania.

Opposed to.....................................................................................................................................
Approve of....................................................................................................................................
Indifferent to.................................................................................................................................
N oncommittal...............................................................................................................................

70
11
50
7

29

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

138

36

1
6

Notwithstanding the general attitude of hostility toward labor
unions which this discloses, practically every broad-silk or silkribbon mill had one or more labor organizations, but these are prac­
tically confined to the male employees. The loom fixers and twistersin have united and formed a strong union and the male horizontal
warpers have formed another. Loom fixing is entirely, and twistingin very largely, confined to male employees, so that the union of these
workers has nothing to fear from female competition, but the case
is otherwise with the horizontal warpers.
Women are not usually as efficient as men in horizontal warping,
but many employers prefer them precisely because they are not
unionized and can be used as a check upon the demands of the
organized male warpers. In other industries in which analogous
situations have existed the male workers have found it good policy
to induce the women to come into the union and make common
cause with them, but for some reason they have not adopted these
tactics in the silk industry. At one time the men encouraged the
female warpers to form a union of their own, but this lasted only a
,
few years, and since then the women have been unorganized. The
attitude of the men is in the main hostile to them. One member of
the horizontal warpers’ union in Paterson thus stated their position:
We object to females in our organization. The reasons are many.
I will mention two. They will not stand for their rights. Second,
they work for less money than we do, less per day, and very often
less per piece. Our wages are from $3 to $3.30 per day. The ma­
jority of female workers receive from $1.50 to $2 a day, some work­
ing for less than the foregoing prices and some for more.1
Warpers, loom fixers, and twisters-in are the only silk-mill workers
who have kept up regular and systematic organization. Weavers
have been organized intermittently, but without apparent perma­
nence.




1 Vol. IV , Silk Industry, p. 331.

208

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

SUMMARY.
The silk industry employs a large number but a decreasing propor­
tion of children and a large number of women, the proportion which
they form of the total employees having increased slightly in the last
30 years. The machinery commonly used has few, if any, dangerous
features, and the investigation disclosed no occupational diseases
peculiar to the industry. The work done by children was usually
light and presented few objectionable features. One drawback to
the occupations followed by both women and girls was that for the
most part they demanded continuous standing.
Children were employed more numerously and in a greater variety
of occupations in the Pennsylvania than in the New Jersey mills
visited. Females outnumbered males very markedly, especially in
Pennsylvania. For the most part boys and girls alike were engaged
in unskilled or at most semiskilled occupations, and the wage level
was correspondingly low. Fourteen was the common age for enter­
ing the silk mills, but in New Jersey 38 and in Pennsylvania 280
children under this age were found in the mills visited. Practically
no instances of illegal overwork were found.
The majority of females over 16 were employed at semiskilled
occupations, but there were several skilled trades open to them in
which they could earn from $10 to $18 a week, the latter figure being
very exceptional. The mills visited in New Jersey were making a
finer grade of goods than those produced in the Pennsylvania mills,
and as a consequence earnings were distinctly higher. Perhaps also
as a consequence, the age level of the female employees was higher
in New Jersey, and women seemed much more likely to continue in
the mills after marriage; only 80.6 per cent of the Paterson female
employees aged 16 years and over were single, against 94.3 per cent
of the Pennsylvania employees in the same age group. Labor or­
ganizations scarcely existed among the female silk workers at the
time of this investigation.




CHAPTER V.—WAGE-EARNING WOMEN IN STORES
AND FACTORIES.
This volume, which forms the fifth part of the general report on
the condition of woman and child labor, contains the results of an
investigation into the wages and cost of living of between 7,000 and
8,000 women employed in stores and factories in seven large cities.
The report consists of three parts, a discussion of earnings, qualifi­
cations, and living conditions of the whole group of women studied,
more detailed descriptions of conditions for each city separately, and
statistical tables giving in detail the leading data for each of the
women studied. In addition there is a chapter on the living condi­
tions of waitresses in hotels and restaurants, and another on over­
time and night work of wage-earning women.
The investigation was confined to women in department and other
retail stores and in factories for two reasons:
In the first place the qualifications for employment, while not uni­
form, are still within such range as to make it possible to reduce both
the industrial and home data, as well as the living conditions, to
common terms. The waitresses, who are here included, are to some
extent an exception, and for that reason have been treated separately
so far as their wage and cost of living are concerned. The second
reason for limiting the inquiry was that the problems of living, while
perhaps no more serious in many respects, were more apparent among
this class of wage earners, and as the investigation could not extend
over all self-supporting women.,the office and professional women
were excluded.1
The investigation was carried on in seven cities, New York, Chi­
cago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Boston, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
The total number of wage-earning women visited in these cities was
8,475. From 7,893 of them pertinent detailed information was se­
cured. The names of the women visited were obtained partly from
employers and partly from canvassing agencies which collected lists
of wage-earning women from all districts in which wage earners
lived. Such names were collected without reference to age, expe­
rience, rank, or wage. When names were secured from employers,
agents of the Bureau took the names, addresses, and industrial data
from the pay rolls themselves in order to make sure that no undue
proportion was included of either the highest or lowest paid classes.
For the purposes of this investigation a woman was considered as
' 1 Vol. V , W age-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, pp. 9 , 10.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------14




209

210

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

having a home if she was living with relatives who in time of need
or temptation could give her financial aid or moral support; and she
was considered as being adrift, even though living with relatives, if
they could not in case of need give her help of either kind. Thus, a
widow supporting herself and her small children would be looked
upon as practically without a home, since the family relationship
had become for her a liability instead of an asset. In all cases the
test was whether the family could be, if needed, a place of refuge
for the girl or whether it was simply an added responsibility.
NUMBER AND PROPORTION OF WOMEN STUDIED.
The proportion of women who either had no homes or whose homes
were only a responsibility to them varied widely in the different cities
studied. The following figures show for each place the number of
women whose home environment was learned and the number and
proportion of these at home and adrift:
N U M BER AN D P E R CENT OF W O M E N W A G E E A R N E R S IN T E R V IE W E D IN SPECIFIED
CITIES W H O W E R E FOUND TO BE LIVIN G A T HOM E A N D N U M BER A N D P E R CENT
W H O W E R E W IT H O U T HOMES A N D E N T IR E L Y D E P E N D E N T UPO N T H EM SELVES,
OR “ A D R IF T .”

Boston.

Chicago.

Minneapolis
New York.
and
St. Paul.

Philadel­
phia.

St. Louis.

Living conditions.
Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per Num­ Per
ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent. ber. cent.
Department and other re­
tail stores:
Women living at home.
Women adrift.................
Total.............................
Factories, mills, etc.:
Women living at home.
Women adrift.................
Total.............................

285
159

64.2
35.8

236
60

79.7
20.3

162
62

79.0
21.0

419 100.0

385

100.0

855
188

82.0
18.0

543
150

78.4
21.6

222 100.0 1,938 100.0 1,043 100.0

693

100.0

296 100.0

224 100.0

544
184

326
64

181
41

728 100.0

83.6
16.4

390 100.0

92.1
7.9

304
81

444 100.0
74.7
25.3

360
31

77.8
22.2

72.3
27.7

391 100.0

81.5 1,686
252
18.5

87.0
13.0

326
93

The proportion of adrift women in New York is markedly smaller
than in any of the other cities. Making due allowance for the rela­
tive importance of the different cities, it appears, if the above per­
centages may be taken as applying to working women in stores and
factories generally, that in the seven cities approximately 65,000,
or 16 per c5nt of the whole number employed, are without homes.
ECONOMIC STATUS OF WOMEN AT HOME.
The women adrift, however, can not be looked upon as constituting
all or even a majority of the self-supporting women at work in stores
and factories. The girl or wom p living at home and working only




W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

F A C T O R IE S .

211

for pin money was scarcely found in this investigation. The ma­
jority turned in all their wages to their family; a small proportion
kept a part for themselves, and a very small proportion kept all.
These proportions varied somewhat in the different cities. In New
York 84.3 per cent of the women in stores and 88.1 per cent of those
in factories turned in everything they earned to their families, while
3.8 per cent of the store girls and 0.6 per cent of those in factories
kept all their earnings. In Chicago 78.7 per cent of the store girls
and 81.3 per cent of those in factories gave up all their earnings, and
respectively 3.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent kept all. This does not
seem to be a matter of race or of age, but of well-established custom.
The mother gives back to the girl what she thinks can be spared for
clothing, car fare, and incidentals, or perhaps herself does the buying
for her daughter, but the latter is not looked upon as having any
exclusive right in her earnings.
The custom1 of turning over to the parents the weekly envelope
with its entire contents seems to be taken as a matter of course.
When asked: “ What does Mary do with her wages?” the mothers
would shrug their shoulders, look half reproachful, and answer:
“ Sure, she gives it all to me. We have a big family to keep.” Not
infrequently the answer was “ The girls support the family. Their
father is dead and I can not work.” 1
FACTORS DETERMINING EARNINGSThe earnings were secured by careful analysis of receipts from
wages, commissions if such were paid, bonuses, pay for overtime, etc.,
deductions being made for all losses from ill health, slack work, or
lay offs and the like. The result, therefore, represents not a rate
of pay but earnings actually received.
A few at every age were found in the lowest wage groups, but
naturally the higher age groups showed the larger proportion of
those making fair to good earnings. The following table shows the
relation between age and earnings for store and factory girls, both
for those at home find those adrift.
1 This custom seems to prevail in other groups of wage-earning women. In the investi­
gation of the cotton industry it was found that the 602 girls of 16 or over in the New
England group living at home and working contributed 96.6 per cent of their earnings to
the family support, while in the southern group the 886 young women similarly circum­
stanced turned into the family 89 per cent of their earnings. The study of the garmentmaking industry shows 1,352 young women of this age group turning in 93.2 per cent of
their earnings. In the glass industry 929 women aged 16 and over living at home were
contributing 86.4 per cent of their earnings. In the study of the silk industry in New
Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1,048 families in which daughters aged 16 and more were at
work it was found that they were turning into the family fund 96 per cent of their wages.
See Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 4 3 6 ; Vol. II, Men’s Ready-Made Clothing, p. 3 6 8 ;
Vol. I ll , Glass Industry, p. 5 2 7 ; and Vol. IV, Silk Industry, p. 261.
a Vol. V, Wage-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, p. 106.




212

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

HUM BER A N D PER CENT OF FEM ALE W A G E E A R N E R S IN D E P A R T M E N T A N D O THER
R E T A IL STORES, FACTORIES, ETC., E AR N IN G EACH CLASSIFIED A M O U N T PER
W E E K , B Y AG E.

Age.

Total
numuer
inves­
tigat­
ed.

Num- Number with average weekly earn­ Per cent with average weekly earn­
ings of—
ings of—
ber
port­
ing Un­ $4 to $6 to $8 to $10 to $12 Un­ $4 to
$6 to $8 to $10 to $12
earn­ der
and der
and
15.99 $7.99 $9.99 $11.99
ings. $4
over. $4 $5.99 $7.99 $9.99 $11.99 over.

st o r e s.

Living at home:
Under 1 6 ....
16 and 1 7 ....
18 to 20.............
21 to 24.............
25and ov e r...
Not reported..

47
201
311
258
323
95

35
54
11
4
4
2

11
118
115
37
19
18

1
27
145
114
98
36

1
32
64
88
19

1
6
23
58
14

2
16
56
6

74.5
26.9
3.6
1.6
1.2
2.1

23.4
58.7
37.0
14.3
5.9
19.0

2.1
13.4
46.6
44.2
30.3
37.9

0.5
10.3
24.8
27.2
20.0

0.5
1.9
8.9
18.0
14.7

0.7
6.2
17.4
6.3

Total______ 1,254 1,235

110

318

421

204

102

80

8.9

25.7

34.1

16.5

8.3

6.5

2
7
26
15
25

3
29
37
94
2

9
18
69

i
9
20
2

33.3
28.6
1.5
4
41
1

6C.7
50.0
39.4
18.1
10.0

47
202
312
262
330
101

N o t liv in g at
home:
Under 16.........
16 and 17.........
18 to 20............
21 to 24............
25 and over—
Not reported..

3
15
66
86
261
13

3
14
66
83
249
5

1
4
1

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

444

420

6

75

165

96

32

46

1.4

17.9

39.3

22.8

7.6

11.0

180
702
999
618
590
351

179
687
969
586
571
346

87
115
50
20
14
9

80
390
328
119
72
92

12
151
371
235
212
142

23
157
130
144
53

7
47
57
75
34

48.6
1 16.7
16 5.2
25 3.4
54 2.5
16 2.6

44.7
56.7
33.8
20.3
12.6
26.6

6.7
22.0
38.3
40.1
37.1
41.1

3.4
16.2
22.2
25.2
15.3

1.0
4.8
9.7
13.1
9.8

0.2
1.7
4.3
9.5
4.6

295 1,081 1,123

507

220

112

8.8

32.4

33.6

15.2

6.6

3.4

14
84
72
129
2

3
31
34
83

1
14
6
36
1

3
3
15

70.0
14.3
7.3
6.3
6.8

30.0
49.0
32.4
27.6
21.5

28.6
38.3
41.4
35.2
66.7

6.1
14.2
19.5
22.6

301

151

58

21

8.0

27.4

36.6

18.4

21.4
44.0 'i3.*6* “ i.'5*
4.8
21.7 10.8
37.8 27.7
8.0 16.5
40.0
40.0 20.0

j44. 6

FACTORIES, ETC.

Living at home:
Under 16.........
16 and 17.........
18 to .......
21 to 24............
25 and o v e r ...
Not reported..

20

Total............ 3,440 3,338
N o t liv in g at
home:
Under 16.........
16 and 17.........
18 to 20............
21 to 24............
25 and over.. .
Not reported..

11
63
2G7
189
398
5

10
49
219
174
367
3

7
7
16
11
25

3
24
71
48
79

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

933

822

60

225

2.0
6.4 " l . l
3.5
1.7
4.1
9.8
33.3 ........
7.0

2.6

The effect of age upon earnings is very clearly shown here. Among
the store girls living at home only 2.1 per cent* of those under 16
earned as much as $6 a week, but this sum was reached or passed by
84.1 per cent of those aged 21 to 24, and by 92.9 per cent of those aged
25 or over. Among those not living at home, 15.1 per cent of those
aged 18 to 20 earned as much or more than $8 a week, while of those
aged 25 and over 52.2 per cent reached or passed $8 a week.
The table also shows a striking correspondence in the percentage
of the home and the adrift women who are earning a given wage.
Comparison of the store women 21 years of age and over living at
home with the adrift store women 21 years and over discloses the
fact that nearly the same proportion in each group, 52.5 per cent of
the former and 48.5 per cent of the latter, earn $8 or over. Com


W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

213

F A C T O R IE S .

paring the home women 20 years of age or younger with the adrift
women of the same age groups, it appears that only 7.5 per cent
of the home women earn $8 or over, while 12 per cent of the adrift
women earn that amount, but against this difference should be set
the fact that only 20 per cent of all the adrift women are 20 years
or under, while 45 per cent of the home women are in that age
group.1
Experience is another factor affecting wages. The following
table shows the average age, length of experience, and earnings of
the home and adrift women studied, and also shows for both classes
certain data concerning the disposition of their earnings:
COMPARISON OF A G E, E X P E R IE N C E , EAR N IN GS, ETC., OF HOME A N D A D R IF T STORE
AN D F ACT O R Y W O M EN , B Y CITIES.
[In this table the averages for the seven cities combined are in the case of each item simple averages based
on the number reporting in regard to the item in question. Thus, in computing the averages the total
numbers of women employed as wage earners in the various industrial groups in the several cities are not
considered. These numbers, represented by such figures as are available, are given in detail at the beginning
of the chapters relating to the individual cities. New York is reported as employing more women in
department and other retail stores than the six other cities combined, while in factories and miscellaneous
establishments of the classes included in the investigation New York had 48 per cent of all. Therefore,
if mi average were computed with each city given an importance corresponding with the total numbers of
women reported as employed in the various industries, New York would have a weight approximately
equal to the other six cities combined.]

Department and other retail stores.
Women included in the investigation.

City and living conditions.

Boston:
Living at home...........
Not living at hom e...
Chicago:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
Minneapolis and St. Paul:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
New Y o rk :
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
Philadelphia:
Living at home...........
Not living at hom e...
St. Louis:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
Seven cities:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .




Total
Per
women
cent at
em­
ployed home
and
in in­
per
dustry
cent
in city.
not at
home.

Aver­
Aver­
age
years7 Aver­
age
Aver­
age
experi­ weekly weekly
age
ence in earn­ amount
age.
paid to
indus­ ings. family.
try.

Aver­
age
weekly
Per
amount
cent
paying paid
for food,
all
earn­ shelter,
ings to heat,
family. light,
and
laun­
dry.

5,682

64.2
35.8

24.1
28.6

5.2
7.3

$6.71
8.42

$4.83

55.6

24,585

79.7
20.3

22.8

5.4
5.6

8.05
8.17

6.49

78.7

3,201

72.3
27.7

22.6

6.94
6.97

4.33

47.9

23.7

4.3
4.9

60,000

92.1
7.9

19.7
24.1

3.1
4.3

6.00

5.29

84.3

7.13

77.8

22.2

26.5
31.6

7.7
9.0

7.51
8.19

5.61

56.8

79.0

20.8

3.2

21.0

5.39

77.9

28.0

6.37
7.51

cent
con­
tribut­
ing to
needy
rela­
tives.

10,148
5,000

108,616

29.2

22.5
28.2

(2)

$5.05
4.77

'i8.‘ 2

3.53

"

4.65

1 Vol. V , Wage-Earning Women in Stores and Factories, p. 24.
2 Not reported.

23.6

3.45

4.7
6.7

17.9

*24.6

3.98

"i6.4

4.43

20.8

214

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUREAU

OP

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

CO M PARISON OF AGE, E X P E R IE N C E , EAR N IN G S, ETC., OF HOM E A N D A D R IF T STORE
AN D F A C T O R Y W O M E N , B Y CITIES—Concluded.

Factories, mills, and miscellaneous establishments.
Women included in the investigation.

City and living conditions.

Boston:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
Chicago:
Living at home...........
Not living at hom e...
Minneapolis and St. Paul:
Livmg at home...........
Not living at hom e..,
New York:
Living at home...........
Not living at hom e...
Philadelphia:
Living at home...........
Not living at home. . .
St. Louis:
Living at home...........
Not living at hom e..
Seven cities:
Living at home..........
Not living at hom e..

Total
Per
women
em­
cent at
ployed home
in in­
and
dustry
per
in city. cent
not at
home.

Aver­
Per
age
Aver­
cent
years' Aver­
age
Aver­ experi­
age
weekly paying
all
age
ence in weekly amount
earn­
age.
earn­
paid to ings to
ings.
indus­
family. family.
try.

22.6

5.1
8.5

$6.47
6.76

$5.16

42,362

83.6
16.4

21.9
23.6

5.1
4.1

7.26
7.23

<.71

81.3

11,338

81.5
18.5

20.5
21.7

3.1
4.0

6.41
7.17

4.49

53.5

139,712

87.0
13.0

20.0

3.3
4.8

6.09
6.34

5.64

88.1

25.0

56,856

82.0
18.0

23.5
34.1

5.7
11.9

6.72
6.64

5.40

67.9

6.61
7.10

5.45

6.40
6.78

5.46

Per
cent
con­
tribut­
ing to
needy
rela­
tives.

61.7

29.1

Aver­
age
weekly
amount
paid
for food,
shelter,
heat,
light,
and
laun­
dry.

21,075

74.7
25.3

23,163

294,506

78.4

21.6

20.4
26.0

21.1

27.7

3.9

0)

3.9
7.4

$4.18

21.5

3.40

15.1

3.06
3.30

*38*3

3.67

*26*6

*3.36

*8.0

74.9

3.50

i Not reported.

It is at once evident that as a group the adrift store women are
older and have had more experience than those living at home. For
the home women the average age is 22.5 years and the average length
of experience 4.7 years, while for the adrift women the average age
is 28.2 years and the experience 6.7 years,1 a difference which seems
fully sufficient to account for the difference of $1.01 in the average
weekly earnings. The average earnings of the home women are less
than those of the older and more experienced adrift women in every
city, the difference being greatest as a rule where the differences in
age and experience are greatest. Among the home and adrift women
of the factory group similar age and experience differences are ap­
parent, though the wage differences are much less. A study of earn­
ings in connection with experience showed that the average earnings
for all women having from two to four years’ experience (corre­
1 The difference in age is much greater than the difference in experience, owing to the
fact that among the adrift women are the great majority of the widowed, divorced, and
deserted women who have been forced into the wage-earning ranks later in life.




W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

F A C T O R IE S .

215

sponding in this respect most nearly to the whole group of home
women) were $1.22 a week less than for those having from four to
six years’ experience (corresponding therein most nearly to the whole
group of adrift store women).
EARNINGS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVANCEMENT,
An effort was made to determine for both store and factory women
what possibilities of advancement their work offered and what
chance the individual worker had of realizing such possibilities.
About 22 per cent of the women studied were in department and
other stores, chiefly the former. At the head of the departmentstore organization are the manager, who engages the buyers and
has general supervision of the departments, and the superintendent
of employees, who has general charge of the working force. Next
in rank to the manager are the real heads of departments, or “ buy­
ers.” These are men or women who have risen from the ranks; in
nearly every case they are graduates from behind the counter. The
rank of buyer or assistant buyer is the highest position open to
women. Next in rank below these come the saleswomen, who con­
stitute nearly half of all the women employees, and below these are
the cash girls, messengers, bundle girls, etc. Twenty-six of the
largest department stores in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia,
employing all told 35,772 women and girls, furnished pay-roll data
showing the occupational status of their female employees, who were
found in the different groups in the following proportions: Cash
girls, messengers, etc., 13.2 per cent; saleswomen, 46.2 per cent; buy­
ers and assistant buyers, 1.2 per cent; office employees, 17.6 per cent;
other employees, 21.8 per cent. It will be seen that the opportunity
for reaching the coveted position of buyer or assistant buyer is small.
The table following shows the number and per cent of the women
employees earning classified rates of pay weekly in the 26 depart­
ment stores referred to. The employees are grouped as cash girls
(including messengers, inspectors, bundle wrappers, and packers),
saleswomen, office employees, and other employees (including buyers
and assistant buyers). This table shows not only the rates of pay
for the rank and file but the proportion reaching the higher wage
groups.




216

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOB

S T A T IS T IC S .

N U M B E R A N D PER CENT OF F E M A L E E M P L O Y E E S IN D E P A R T M E N T A N D
O T H E R R E T A IL STORES IN N E W YO R K , CH ICAG O , A N D P H IL A D E L P H IA , B Y
C L A S S IF IE D W E E K L Y R A T E S OF T A Y .

Classified weekly
rates of pay.

Cash girls,
messengers,
inspectors,
bundle wrap­
pers, and
packers.
Num­
ber.

Under $ 3 ... .
*3 to $3 .99....
$4 to $ 4 .99..,.
$5 to $ 5.99....
$6 to $6.99....
$7 to $ 7.99....
$8 to $8.99....
$9 to $9.99....
$10 to $10.99..
$11 to $11.99..
$12 to $12.99..
$13 to $14.99..
$15 to $17.99..
$18 to $19.99..
$20 to $24.99..
$25 and over.

645
1,624
1,376
497
318
136
73

T otal..

4,698

20

6

3

Per
cent.
13.7
34.6
29.3

10.6

6.8
2.9
1
.6
.4
.1
.1

Saleswomen.

Num­
ber.

6
173
1,033
3,562
3,050
2,355
1,534
1,475
461
951
605
762
255

200

Per
cent.

0).1
1
6
.2
21.5
18.4
14.2
9.3
8.9

2
.8
5.7
3.7
4.6
1.5

1.2

150

100.0

16,572

100.0

Office
employees.

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

3
287
750
1,104
1,277
1,004
648
345
297
108
140

4.6
11.9
18.5
20.3
15.9
10.3
5.5
4.7
1.7

112

1.8

Other em­
ployees (in­
cluding buyers
and assistant
buyers).

Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

Total.

Num­
ber.

0.7
4.6
9.8
7.6
10.7
10.7
10.7
9.8
9.2

29
26

1.4
.3
.5
.4

61
379
803
627
875
877
880
803
760
227
424
319
400
129
229
413

5.0

1,247
405
458
589

6,296

100.0

8,206

100.0

35,772

85

21

(1 )*

2
.2

2.8
5.2
3.9
4.9

1.6

2.8

709
2,296
3,102
3,321
6,032
5,067
3,956
2,702
2,538
796
1,518

1G
,0 6

Per
cent.

2.0
6.4
8.7
9.3
16.9
14.2

11.1
7.5
7.1

2.2
4.2
2.9
3.5

1
.1
1
.6
1.3

100.0

1 Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.

Scrutiny of the table will show that 76.1 per cent of all women
employees were getting less than $10 a week; the actual average of
this group, computed from the detailed data, was $6.13. The rate of
pay for 57.5 per cent of all the women employees is less than $8 a
week. The experience table above shows that an average of $8 is
not reached by any group with an experience of less than 8 years and
that 77.5 per cent of all were below this line. The apparent dis­
crepancy is due largely to the fact that deductions for lost time
reduce the number of higher-paid employees in the experience table.
On the other hand, 7.5 per cent receive $15 a week or over, and 2.9
per cent $20 a week or over. About half of these higher-paid em­
ployees were in the saleswomen group. The average rate for all
employees is $7.93, for saleswomen only it is $8.84. In the column
headed “ other employees ” it appears that 55.9 per cent have a rate
of $8 or more. But in this group are all the workroom employees
whose employment is almost wholly seasonal and whose average
earnings therefore would fall considerably below the rate of pay.1
There is room for considerable advancement without reaching
the highest positions. A girl entering a department store is apt
to begin as a cash girl at a weekly wage of from $3 to $4, or as a
saleswoman at from $3 to $6.
The following table shows the increase of earnings according to
experience among 1,391 department and other retail store women,
both home and adrift. The data relate to all of the store women
1 Vol. V, W ag e-E arn in g W omen in Stores and Factories, pp. 44, 45.




W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

F A C T O R IE S .

217

from whom accurate information could be secured in regard to both
earnings and experience.
N UM BER AN D PER CENT AN D A V E R A G E W E E K L Y EAR N IN G S OF W O M EN IN D E P A R T M ENT AN D O TH ER R E T A IL STORES, CLASSIFIED B Y L E N G T H OF E X P E R IE N C E .

Length of experience.

Women reporting both
experience and earn­
ings.
Number.

Average
weekly
earnings.

Per cent.

XJnder 1 year....................................................................................................
,1 year and under 2 years....................................................... ......................
2 and under 4 years........................................................................... ............
4 and under 6 years......................................................................................
6 and under 8 years........................................................................... ..........
8 and under 10 years......................................................... 1..................... .
10 and under 12 years............. .............. ............ ..........................................
12 and under 16 years............................................................................. .
16 and under 21 years............. ............................................. ...................... .
21 and under 30 years............................................ .......................................
30 years and over...........................................................................................

170
176
327
241
165
105
68
78
39
18
4

12.2
12.6
23.5
17.3
11.9
7.6
4.9
5.6
2.8
1.3
.3

$4.69
5.28
6.27
7.49
7.83
9.27
9.81
9.95
13.33
11.55
11.38

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

1,391

100.0

7.22

The average experience of the 1,391 women for whom both ex­
perience and earnings were reported was 5.17 years. During the first
year the average wage for all is $4.69, the second year $5.28, and so on,
increasing in 10 years to $9.81, during which time many drop out of
the ranks, then changing very little for the next five years. Among
the women who remain are the buyers and the exceptionally expert
saleswomen, and their salaries bring the average earnings up to
$13.33, the highest point, after from 16 to 20 years’ experience. * * *
After 20 years’ experience the earning power apparently begins to
wane, and during the next decade the average earnings decrease to
$11.55, and after 30 years still lower. * * * Four and four-tenths
per cent of the department-store women reporting experience and
earnings had become buyers or assistant buyers or saleswomen of
the highest class, at salaries ranging up to $50 a week.1
In the factories the highest position to which a woman may aspire
is that of forewoman, which is reached by progressive stages, be­
ginning possibly with that of floor or errand girl, but usually as
operative. Of all the women visited engaged in this class of work
only 2 per cent were found to be forewomen and assistant fore­
women. The average age of these was 28-J years, average weekly
earnings $10.32, and average experience 10 years.
The table following shows the variation of earnings according to
experience in this class of workers, both home and adrift.
1 Vol. V, W ag e -E a rn in g W om en in Stores and Factories, pp. 42, 43.




218

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

N U M B E R , PER CENT, AN D A V E R A G E W E E K L Y EAR N IN G S OF W O M EN IN FACTORIES,
M ILLS, AN D M ISCELLANEOUS IN DUSTR IES, CLASSIFIED B Y L E N G T H OF E X P E ­
RIENCE.

Length of experience.

Women reporting both
experience and earn­
ings.
Number.

Under 1 year............................ ......................................................................
1 year and under 2 years...............................................................................
2 and under 4 years........................................................................................
4 and under 6 years........................................................................................
6 and under 8 years........................................................................................
8 and under 10 years.....................................................................................
10 and under 12 years.....................................................................................
12 and under 16 years.......................... ..........................................................
16 and under 21 years.....................................................................................
21 and under 30 years.....................................................................................
30 years and over............................................................................................

575
475
935
563
315
175
125
111
79
49
19

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

3,421

Average
weekly
earnings.

Per cent.
16.8
13.9
27.3
16.5
9.2
5.1
3.7
3.2
2.3
1.4
.6
m o

$4.62
5.34
6.16
7.03
7.36
7.96
8.48.
8.49
8.54
8.08
6.51
6.38

The average experience of 3,421 women in factories, etc., for whom
both experience and earnings were reported was 4.46 years. During
the first year the average earnings are $4.62, the second year $5.34,
reaching $8.48 after 10 years, and $8.54 in the 16 to 20 year group.
For the three groups whose experience ranged from 10 up to 21 years
the earnings averaged about $8.50, and these constituted 9.2 per
cent of all the factory women reporting as to experience and earn­
ings. These figures, then, indicate what factory employment holds
out to the average woman who continues in it for from 10 to 20
years. Beyond that age the outlook is for a constantly decreasing
earning power.1
A comparison of these data concerning women in stores and women
in factories shows that the average earnings of the two classes are
approximately the same in the earlier years. The factory worker,
however, reaches practically her high level ($8.48) after about 10
years of work, while the store woman, who after the same length of
experience reaches $9.81 a week, rises to her maximum, $13.33, after
an experience of 16 but under 21 years. Furthermore, individual em­
ployees in stores both as buyers and as saleswomen reach far higher
rates of pay. Both factory and store women show a loss of earning
power after 20 years of experience.
LIVING CONDITIONS.
CLASSIFICATION OF WOMEN ACCORDING TO LIVING CONDITIONS.

In trying to determine the cost of living for the women adrift, it
was found advisable to learn first the cost of items which had to be
paid for continuously and which did not vary greatly from week to
week, such as shelter, heat, light, laundry, and food. Having these
* Vol. V , W ag e -E a rn in g W om en in Stores and Factories, p. 47.




W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

F A C T O R IE S .

219

it was possible to determine what margin was left for such occasional
and variable expenditures as those for clothing, car fare, health,
recreation, and the like. Among the girls living at home there was
usually no apportionment of their incomes. They turned what they
made into the family fund, and got back a living conditioned by the
family earnings and the family ideas of what the situation demanded.
But among the women adrift where the worker had to decide for
herself the relative importance of each item, the budgets varied
widely.
Facts concerning manner and cost of living were gathered from
1,607 adrift women employed in stores and factories, including 200
waitresses. As the latter, however, usually received in addition to
their money wages part or all of their board, cost of living could not
be calculated on the same basis for them as for the others and they
were treated as a separate group. For the purpose of studying the
living conditions of adrift women, they were arranged in four
groups, those keeping house, those living in private families, those
living in boarding or lodging houses, and those living in organized
boarding houses.
A rather strict definition was put upon the term “ keeping house.”
This group does not include women renting one room in a lodging
house and preparing such meals as they can in that one room, nor
those doing light housekeeping in one or two rooms in a, private
family, but only those renting a house or tenement where they have
their own private entrance, and in which they live entirely independ­
ently of other people.1
The women of the second class are those living in households in
which there are not more than three boarders or lodgers; where this
number is exceeded the woman is looked upon as being in a regular
boarding or lodging house. “ Organized boarding houses ” are those
financed by some social organization, so managed as to offer women
board and lodging under good moral and sanitary conditions, at a
price which does not bring any profit to the managers. The aim is
generally to pay expenses, but this end is seldom attained, and the
deficit is made up by the organization which maintains the house.
Of the 1,607 women adrift from whom full data were obtained,
16.6 per cent kept house, 39.6 per cent lived with private families,
33.7 per cent lived in boarding or lodging houses, and 10.1 per cent
in organized boarding houses. The latter per cent is unduly large,
as a special canvass of organized boarding houses was made in order
to compare their conditions with those offered elsewhere. Yery few
of the women whose names were secured from pay rolls or canvassing
agencies lived in such houses.
1Vol. V, W ag e -E a rn in g W om en in Stores and Factories, p. 51.




220

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

Among the 267 women who were keeping house were the married
women who must earn a living for themselves and their children
and were “ adrift ” because the homes they made were not in any
sense an asset.
All of these homes were supported and presided over by women
wage earners. Although in a few cases the earnings of a son or a
brother were added to the general fund, it was always the woman
who was the mainstay of the family.
EARNINGS AND SPECIFIED EXPENDITURES FOR EACH CLASS.

The following table shows the average weekly earnings and the
average weekly expenditures for specified items of the worker in each
of these four groups:
A V E R A G E W E E K L Y E AR N INGS A N D COST OF L IVIN G (FO O D , S H E L T E R , H E A T , L IG H T ,
A N D L A U N D R Y ) FOR W O M EN O TH ER T H A N W A IT R E SSE S, B Y CITIES, A N D W A IT ­
RESSES IN A L L CITIES.

Women keeping
house.
City.

Women living in
private families.

Women living in
boarding
and
lodging houses.

Women living in
organized board­
ing houses.

Average
Average
Average Average Average weekly Average weekly Average Average
weekly
weekly
weekly
weekly
weekly
weekly
cost of earnings. cost of earnings. cost of earnings. cost of
earnings. living.1
living.
living.
living.

Boston..........................
Chicago 2............... .
Minneapolis and St.
Paul..........................
New York...................
Philadelphia...............
St. Louis......................

$6.64
7.75

$3.78
2.92

$6.88
6.36

$3.91
3.09

$7.42
7.25

7.23
6.43
6.28
6.61

3.25
3.08
3.45
2.46

6.73
6.60
7.22
8.31

3.02
3.54
3.85
3.89

7.24
6.00
8.16
6.74

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

6.57

3.18

6.78

3.43

7.31

4.24

7.16

3.62

Waitresses, all cities3

5.86

3.09

6.01

1.97

5.72

2.44

4.69

1.39

$5.18
3.84

$7.93
7.63

$4.56
3.54

3.42
7.11
3.25
6.06
3.29
3.76
4.63
3.81 ........7 67* ..........3*45
.*

1 This is the estimated cost for the worker, exclusive of her expenditure for the sup­
port of dependents who may constitute a part of the same household.
2 In making out these averages the women employed in the Chicago stockyards are
included.
8 The earnings and cost of living of waitresses are based on 200 c a se s; food which is
paid for in service is not included.
W OM EN KEEPING HOUSE.

The average weekly earnings of the women keeping house are lower
than those of any other group, but this is not a full statement of their
economic disadvantages. Over one-sixth of them (17.2 per cent) had
from one to four persons entirely dependent upon them for support,
while 37.8 per cent more had others partially dependent upon them.
Among the women living in private families only 4.7 per cent had
persons totally dependent upon them, while 12.3 per cent had persons
partially dependent upon them. In the third group 4.1 per cent had
others totally dependent upon them and 10.3 per cent had persons
partially dependent upon them, while only 14, 8.6 per cent, of the




W A G E -E A R N IN G

W OM EN

IN

STORES A N D

F A C T O R IE S .

221

fourth group had any dependents. The housekeeping group had at
once lower earnings and heavier responsibilities than the women in
the other groups.
The average earnings of those keeping house are $6.57 and their
average expenditures for food, shelter, heat, light, and laundry are
$3.18, leaving $3.39 with which to pay all expenses for their de­
pendents and provide clothing, car fare, medical attendance, and the
like for themselves. Naturally where there were dependents this
meant constant privation and almost unceasing toil.
One of the women visited (a widow with one child) worked in a
bookbindery from 8.30 a. m. to 5.30 p. m. As janitress of the build­
ing where she lived she had to clean the halls before she went to work.
In the evening after she had cooked and eaten her supper and
cleaned up her two small rooms, she worked coloring picture post­
cards at the rate of 15 cents a hundred. She said that she often went
to bed too tired to sleep and felt more tired when she got up in the
morning than when she went to bed.1
For the women who had no dependents the struggle was not so
intense, but very few had anything left for amusements after meet­
ing their weekly expenses. Nevertheless, the fact that they were
keeping house gave them some opportunities for social intercourse.
Fifty-nine per cent of the women had a sitting room in their homes
where friends could be entertained, 25 per cent used the kitchen, and
only 16 per cent were forced to use their bedrooms, and sometimes
here it was apparently used in preference to the kitchen as being
more suitable.2
BOARDERS IN PRIVATE FAMILIES.

The women living as boarders in private families were more numer­
ous than any others, 636, or 39.6 per cent, being found in this group.
Their average weekly earnings were $6.78, ranging from less than
$1.50 to $15 and over, and their average expenditures for board, lodg­
ing, heat, light, and laundry were $3.43, the range being from under
$1 to $6.50 or over, 3 paying this minimum and 10 the maximum.
These women fell into two general groups: Those who lived in poor
families and homes at very little cost, and those who sought pleasant
families and comfortable homes, paying as much, if not more, than
they would in a regular boarding or lodging house. The former were
principally foreign-born women living in families of their own na­
tionality who were often friends or relatives. Generally their stand­
ard of living was very low, and overcrowding, poor food, and insani­
tary surroundings were common. The women in the better class of
private families, on the other hand, often had very pleasant sur­
roundings, living in homes which were comfortable and well kept,
and with people of education and refinement.
1 Vol. V , W age-Earning W om en in Stores and Factories, pp. 57.
2 Idem, pp. 58, 59.




222

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

As mentioned before, a number of the women in this group were
supporting others in whole or in part, but in general these depend­
ents were living elsewhere. When the woman had made her weekly
contribution her responsibilities ceased; she did not as a rule have
the personal care of her dependents which so greatly increased the
work of the housekeeping woman.
In private families the girl does not necessarily share in the social
life of the family, but the chances are very great that she will do so,
especially in the poorer homes. Here the lodger or boarder often
becomes practically a member of the family, using all the rooms in
common with the family, almost always sharing a room with some­
one else, and in some extreme cases occupying a room with the land­
lady and her husband. In these families the landlady is very apt to
exercise a certain supervision over the girl, which the latter accepts
as a part of the quasi-family arrangement into which she has entered.
W OM EN IN REG ULAR BOARDING HOUSES.

The women living in regular boarding and lodging houses num­
bered 542, or 33.7 per cent of all the adrift women studied. Their
weekly earnings ranged from less than $2—there being two women
whose earnings did not exceed this amount—to $15 and over, earned
by 15 women. The average cost of living was $4.24 a week, but 16
women had an average cost of living under $1.50 a week, which
brings down the total average unduly. These 16 women were nearly
all foreign-born Slovaks or Galicians, who lived with foreign-born
families in the most wretched way. Among the others conditions
were better, but cost of living was considerably higher. Of those for
whom full details were obtained, 31.7 per cent were paying $5 or
more a week and over one-eighth (13.8 per cent) paid $6 or more
per week.
The number of women in this group having others wholly or
partially dependent on them is smaller than in either of the two
preceding groups.
But the women in this group for the most part lead an inde­
pendent life. They are responsible for no one, they are responsible
to no one; they come and go and spend their money when and where
they will.1
The average amount, however, left for them to spend after paying
for board, lodging, heat, light, and laundry is only $3.07 a week,
and as clothes, car fares, and all such incidentals must come out of
this, it is evident that their freedom to do what they will is strictly
limited.
1 Vol. V, W ag e -E a rn in g W om en in Stores and Factories, pp. 65, 66.




W A G E -E A R N IN G W O M E N I N

STORES A N D FACTORIES.

223

W O M EN IN ORGANIZED BOARDING HOUSES.

The women living in organized boarding houses are the smallest
and also the youngest group studied, their average age being 24.1
years; nevertheless their average earnings are next to the highest,
being $7.16, only 15 cents below those of the older women in board­
ing and lodging houses. The cost of living of this group also is
next to the highest, but the girls get better accommodations and
living of a much higher standard than they could get elsewhere at
the same price.
Women employed in stores, factories, and the like were seldom
found in these homes, their occupants being mainly office or profes­
sional women. The objections to such houses were the familiar
ones. In some cases the cost of this way of living was prohibitive,
while in others girls who could have afforded it objected to the
restrictions usually imposed. Those who could afford it and were
willing to submit to the rules obtained some decided advantages.
In the better class of such houses the girls lead a normal and
much happier life than in a boarding and lodging house. They have
a feeling of comradeship; they have pleasant social life at home;
they have a sitting room with a piano, books, and magazines. The
girls feel at home there.1
EXPENDITURES FOR ALL PURPOSES.

The expenditures for board and lodging could be learned with rea­
sonable accuracy, but it was difficult to get satisfactory data as to the
cost of clothing in an investigation necessarily limited as to time.
Accordingly an average yearly expenditure for clothing secured by
the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union of Boston in a re­
search into the requirements of a living wage has been taken as
typical. This average was computed from the expenditures of 121
women employed in the pursuits included in this investigation and
of the same grade industrially. The average weekly earnings of
these women were $7.13 and their average weekly expenditures for
clothing $1.38.
If the average weekly earnings and cost of living for both store
and factory women in the seven cities, as shown in this investigation,
be combined, the results show the weekly average earnings-to be $6.67
and the average weekly cost of shelter, food, heat, light, and laundry
as $3.80. Assuming the above cost of clothing to be typical, this
would leave an average margin of $1.49. Out of this must come car
fares, which are often 60 cents a week; contributions to relatives,
which average 44 cents; doctors’ bills; and all incidental expenses.
1 Vol. V, W ag e-E arn in g W omen In Stores and Factories, p. 71.




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When it comes to amusements, most of the women have nothing
left to spend. Of the 1,568 women who reported on this question, 62
per cent said that they spent no money for pleasure, that it took all
their earnings to meet their daily expenses. Thirty-eight per cent
reported that they spent something, but only 450, or 22.3 per cent,
gave a definite weekly amount. These sums varied from 5 cents to $2,
but the average for the 450 was 37 cents.2
But many of the women visited were earning less than the average
amount, and of ten the data for individuals show not only that there
was nothing for amusements, but that even the margin for clothes
was either impossibly small or nonexistent. Usually this has but one
meaning: The girls have given the cost of such food as they get for
themselves when other demands are not more urgent. In other
words, the money for such periodic necessaries as clothing had to be
secured by cutting down the amount devoted to continuous necessa­
ries like food or shelter.
MORAL INFLUENCES SURROUNDING DEPARTMENTSTORE EMPLOYEES.
Careful attention was given to the question of whether there were
any features of department-store life likely to break down a girl’s
character, or, rather, whether a deliberate effort in that direction is
made. The conclusion is that the requirements of department-store
discipline are such that girls of dubious character would be unde­
sirable as saleswomen, and that the general purpose of the stores is to
weed out those who resort to illicit methods of increasing their in­
come. There seemed a general recognition among managers that
wages paid to beginners and sometimes to experienced saleswomen
were not sufficient for a girl to live on honestly, but even more gen­
erally they either required their employees to live at home or gave the
preference to applicants who claimed to do so. In other words, they
apparently preferred that girls should be subsidized by their own
families. It is admitted that there are women of lax morals in de­
partment stores, but it is maintained that they are in no sense typical
of the rank and file.
WAITRESSES IN HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS.
A much larger proportion of the waitresses than of the store and
factory women investigated were adrift, over 62 per cent being
without homes. Many of those who had homes were married women
who worked as one-meal girls, i. e., served only during the noon
l Vol. V, W ag e -E a rn in g W om en in Stores and Factories, p. 74.




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meal. The average age of the waitresses living at home was 25.9
years, average experience 4.4 years, and average weekly earnings
$5.54; for the adrift waitresses the average age was 26.5 years, aver­
age experience 4.2 years, and average earnings $5.71. In addition
to these earnings waitresses of both classes received part or all of
their food at their place of work and an uncertain and variable
amount in tips. Sixty-nine per cent of those living at home turned
in all their wages and 20.3 per cent of those adrift contributed an
average of $2.09 weekly to needy relatives.
Among the women interviewed the impression seemed to be that
the work of a waitress was hard and heavy and that the worker
was exposed to unpleasant advances from men, but that making due
allowance for the food and tips received returns were much better
than from either store or factory work.
SUMMARY.
Some of the more important of the statistical features of the
report may be thus summarized:
WOMEN IN DEPARTMENT AND OTHER STORES.

The study deals with 2,159 women and girls employed in depart­
ment and other retail stores. Of these 486, or approximately 22.5
per cent, the proportion ranging from 7.9 per cent in New York to
35.8 per cent in Boston, were found to be economically adrift, i. e.,
without homes in the cities in which they worked and entirely de­
pendent upon themselves for support.
The adrift women were of an average age of 28.2 years, had had
an average of 6.7 years’ experience in retail-store work, and earned
a weekly average of $7.89. Of this they spent on an average $4.43
for food, shelter, heat, light, and laundry. Eighty-three, or 20.5
per cent of the 404 from whom reports on this point were received,
were either contributing to the support of needy relatives or sup­
porting them wholly.
The women living at home or with relatives had an average age
of 22.5 years, an average experience in retail stores of 4.7 years, and
earned a weekly average of $6.88. Of this they paid on an average
$5.39 into the family fund, either as board or as a contribution. A
trifle over two-thirds (68.5 per cent) paid their entire earnings into
the family, 26.9 paid in part, and 4.5 per cent kept their entire earn­
ings for themselves.
95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------15




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WOMEN IN MILLS AND FACTORIES.

The investigation included 5,014 women and girls thus employed.
Of these 879, or 17.5 per cent, were without homes in the cities in
which they worked and were entirely dependent upon themselves.
The proportion thus adrift varied from 13 per cent in New York
to 25.3 per cent in Boston.
The average age of these adrift women was 27.7 years, their indus­
trial experience 7.4 years, and their average weekly earnings $6.78.
For food, shelter, heat, light, and laundry they spent weekly an
average of $3.50. Over one-fifth (23.2 per cent) were contributing
to the support of needy relatives.
The average age of the women living at home was 21.1 years, their
industrial experience 3.9 years, and their average weekly earnings
$6.40. Of this they paid an average of $5.46 to their families, either
as board or as a contribution. Over three-fourths (77.2 per cent)
paid their entire earnings to their families, 21.5 per cent paid over
part of their earnings, and 1.4 per cent kept all for themselves.




CHAPTER VI.—THE BEGINNINGS OF CHILD-LABOR
LEGISLATION IN CERTAIN STATES.
In the first 75 pages of this report some account is given of
the employment of children in the Colonies, the changing attitude
of public opinion toward child labor during the nineteenth cen­
tury, and following this a historical sketch of children in the
cotton industry. The remainder of the volume is devoted to a
study of child-labor legislation in the North prior to 1860, and in
four States of the South since the manufacture of cotton became an
important industry there.
CHILD LABOR IN THE COLONIES.
Child labor, sanctioned and sometimes expressly ordered by law,
existed in all the Colonies throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. Three causes are assigned for this state of affairs: The
traditional English attitude toward child labor, which the first
generation of colonists naturally brought over with them; the crying
need for workers in the new country; and a profound belief in the
virtue of industry. The English attitude was due to a fear of the
burden of pauperism; as early as 1547 laws were enacted providing
for the compulsory apprenticing or binding out of children from 5
to 14 years old whose parents were vagrants, on the ground that
children “ brought up in idleness might be so rooted in it that hardly
they may be brought after to good thrift and labor.” While the
Colonists were naturally influenced by this view the problem of
pauperism during the early days was not sufficiently grave to make
this reason a weighty one. Nevertheless it found expression in the
poor laws of many of the Colonies and apparently was held through­
out the seventeenth century. New York, Massachusetts,. Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina specifically
ordered the binding out of poor children, either by their parents or
by the overseers of the poor, and in other colonies records are found
showing that this was a regular custom.
NEED FOR LABORERS.

The need for laborers in a new country where everything was to
be done made children so desirable as workers that efforts were made
to import them.
Sir Edwin Sandys proposed to the Virginia Company in 1619 for
the “ ease and comodiousness ” of the tenants, that 4
4100 young per-




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sons be sent to their Apprentices.” The previous year 100 had been
sent by the city of London. He prayed the lord mayor of London
to send 100 more from the “ superfluous multitude.” “ Our desire is
that we may have them of 12 years old and upward, with allowance
of Three pound a pees for their apparell, as was formerly granted.
They shall be apprentizes; the boyes till they come to 21 years of
age, the girles till like age or till they be marryed.” * * * A let­
ter from England stated that 1,400 or 1,500 children went to Virginia
in 1627.1
The common council of New England in 1622 thought it “ con­
venient to admit young youth * * * to be placed out and bound
apprentices,” but stipulated that the children were not to be less
than 14 years of age. There is little evidence as to the sending over
of children under these terms. In 1660, however, John Hull writes
in his diary about his return from London with several children to
be bound out as apprentices in the Massachusetts Colony.
LEGISLATION ENFORCING CHILD LABOR.

At a very early date in colonial history the need for workers led
to child-labor legislation meant to insure that children as well as
adults should contribute to the general welfare. The Court of Mas­
sachusetts Bay in 1641 ordered that all heads of families should see
that their children and servants should be industriously employed
“ for the working out of hemp and flax, and other needful things
for cloathing,” and followed this a few years later by an elaborate
plan for making sure that the injunction was obeyed. But this was
not to be at the expense of the children’s education. In 1642 “ chosen
men” were empowered to take account of the calling and employ­
ment of the children, “ especially of their ability to read and under-,
stand the principles of religion and the capital laws of their coun­
try.” In 1647 it was ordered in Massachusetts that schoolmasters
should be appointed in every town to teach the children. Similar
legislation both as to employment and education was adopted in
most of the New England colonies.
In Virginia no provision was made for employment of children of
the well-to-do, but in 1646 the county commissioners were ordered to
select two children from each county, at least 7 or 8 years old, and
send them to Jamestown to be employed in the public flax houses to
be built there. Later the commissioners were empowered to build
houses in each county “ for the educating and instructing poor chil­
dren in the knowledge of spinning, weaving, and other useful occu­
pations and trades.”
The scanty material of the eighteenth century shows the same
insistence on the employment of children as the preceding century,
1 Vol. V I, The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 1, p. 11.




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with less emphasis, perhaps, on the moral advantages of labor. The
textile industries began to open up more avenues of employment for
children during this century. In Pennsylvania in 1730 the governor
recommended that silk culture be taken up, as it was a 4 work of
4
which the poorest and feeblest are capable, and children who can
be of little other service may here find an employment suitable to
their years.” In New England the manufacture of linen received a
good deal of attention on the double ground that the Colonies would
thus be rendered more self-dependent and that the spinning could
be done by women and children. Especially was it advantageous
because of its employment of children, “ thousands at an age when
they are scarce capable of doing any other business; and by thus
inuring children to an habit of industry we may reasonably hope
that this, like other habits, will take a fast hold and render them
useful members of society when they grow up.”
In 1775 the United Company of Philadelphia for Promoting Man­
ufactures urged a somewhat similar plea, pointing out that manufac­
tures would not draw the country away from agriculture, because if
properly conducted “ two-thirds of the labor of them will be carried
on by those members of society who can not be employed in agricul­
ture, namely, by women and children.” In the same year a plan for
a similar society was approved in New York City, and in Virginia
there was talk of reviving the early laws for employing children.
PUBLIC OPINION CONCERNING CHILD LABOR IN THE
NINETEENTH CENTURY.
At the beginning of the last century there was a firmly-rooted
opinion that the employment of children was economically necessary
and morally desirable. Up to that period the factory system had not
been established, and though children might be employed at an early
age they worked for the most part under conditions which did not
seem to harm them morally or physically. Moreover, provision was
made for their education as carefully as for their employment. Child
labor in such circumstances was a very different matter from what it
became under the factory system, and time had to show the evils of
the employment of children under modem conditions before a senti­
ment could be roused against it.
Public opinion was so far from condemning child labor that in the
early days of the tariff controversy one of the strong arguments of
the protectionists was the desirability of developing manufactures
because they gave work to hitherto idle members of society. Alex­
ander Hamilton pointed out that they rendered women and children
“ more useful and the latter more early useful than they would other­
wise be.” One early petition to Congress recites that “ more than
eight-tenths of the persons employed in the manufactories of the



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United States are women and children, by which the latter are earlier
trained to industrious habits than they would otherwise be.” An­
other points out that “ five or six adults with the aid of children”
could manage a cotton factory of 2,000 spindles.
Again and again the fact is harped upon that in the factories
uwomen and children and the infirm” would be able to maintain
themselves. And the only answer the free traders found to this
chorus of laudation was to deny that manufacture had any monopoly
of virtue in this respect, since children could be and were “ employed
at a very early age in the lighter branches of agriculture.”
The earliest attack upon child labor under the factory system was
based upon its interference with education. In 1818 the governor
of Rhode Island called upon the legislature to provide a plan of edu­
cation for the factory children. Six years later a resolution was
brought in dealing with the same subject, but no action was taken.
In 1825 Massachusetts took up the matter and an investigation was
ordered into the condition in this respect of children employed by
“ incorporated manufacturing companies.” The report made as a
result of this investigation noted that children were employed gen­
erally 12 or 13 hours each day, leaving “ little opportunity for daily
instruction,” but nevertheless no action was recommended.
From this time onward the long hours of work required of fac­
tory children and the consequent difficulty, if not impossiblity, of
their securing even the rudiments of education began to figure promi­
nently in public discussions. Little was said about the effect of early
work upon health, but the desirability of shortening hours of work
was dwelt upon at length. Organized labor took up the cause with
enthusiasm. At this time one of the chief aims of the labor party
was to secure a reduction of the inordinately long hours of work
which then prevailed, and they were quick to see the value for this
purpose of espousing the children’s cause. Through the thirties and
forties in conventions, in speeches, and in published appeals they
demanded education as the right of every child and shorter hours as
a prerequisite to securing it. Toward the end of the period a recog­
nition begins to appear of the fact that child labor tends to underbid
adult labor and to reduce the standard of living, but up to 1860 the
child-labor legislation advocated and indorsed by the labor party
dealt almost wholly with restricting hours, and in only a very few
cases had to do with age limitation.
To expect that the labor party would have seen all the evils of
child labor and would have proposed that it be forbidden by law
would be demanding much, especially as public opinion at large did
not concern itself with the matter. The country was too largely agri­
cultural for the factory child to be of frequent enough occurrence to
gain attention. Moreover, the remains of the old Puritan ideal of
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children developed in those days, continued to blind the public to the
harm of their employment, provided they were not worked too long.
Lastly, the dominant attitude, emphasizing the production of wealth
as an element of national power and disregarding the human side of
the big mechanism, retarded growth in this line.1
After the Civil War the attitude of the labor party changed in
this respect. In 1876 the Workingmen’s Party, at a union congress
in Philadelphia, proposed laws against the employment of children
under 14 years of age, and about the same time the platform of the
Knights of Labor contained a plank for the prohibition by law of
their employment under 15 years of age in workshops, mines, and
factories. Since then the public attitude has changed rapidly. There
is a pretty general theoretic agreement that the employment of young
children is in itself undesirable, and there are few manufacturing
States in which there is not at least a nominal prohibition of employ­
ment below some fixed age. Hours of labor for children have been
very generally limited by law, night work is forbidden in a number of
States, and, in a few, proof of physical fitness and of a certain mini­
mum of education is required before a young person may begin work.
CHILDREN IN THE COTTON INDUSTRY.
The extent to which children have been employed in the manufac­
ture of cotton at different times and in different localities is shown by
the following table:
A V E R A G E N U M BER OF M EN, W O M E N , A N D C H IL D R EN , A N D PER CEN TAG E OF CHIL­
D R EN OF TH E TO TA L NUM BER OF W A G E E A R N E R S, IN COTTON IN D U S T R Y , 1870
TO 1905.
(Figures from 1870 to 1890 include cotton small wares, which are not included in 1900 and 1905. Figures for
1870 include salaried officials and clerks, who are not included at any of the later dates. Figures for
1905 are taken from special reports of Census Office, Manufactures, 1905, Pt. III. pp. 43,44, 48,49; for
1900, from the Twelfth Census. 1900, Vol I X , Manufactures, Pt. I l l, p. 61; for 1890, idem, p. 54; for 1880,
from the Tenth Census, Vol. II, Statistics of Manufactures, Cotton, p. 15; and for 1870, from the Twelfth
Census, 1900, Vol. I X , Pt. I l l , p. 54. Until 1900 the classification of operatives was “ Males above 16
years," “ Females above 15 years," and “ Children ” In the Twelfth Census, 1900, however, no atten­
tion was paid to that classification, as the same figures are used under the new classification, “ Males
16 and over,” “ Females 16 and over,” and “ Children under 16,” just as if the previous classification
coincided with that of 1900.]

State.

1870

1880

1890

1900

1905

Men 16 and over:
New England.............................................
Middle States..............................................
Southern States.........................................
Western States...........................................

30,203
8,466
3,640
481

45,521
8,919
4,633
612

63,749
11,5S0
12,517
991

78,217
14,473
40,528
1,136

76,483
13,852
54,577
739

United States..........................................

42,790

59,685

88,837

134,354

145,718

Massachusetts.............................................
Rhode Island.............................................
Pennsylvania..............................................
North Carolina...........................................
South Carolina...........................................
Georgia.........................................................
Alabama......................................................

13,694
5,583
3,859
258
289
1,147
303

22,180
8,045
3,339
764
661
1,853
384

33,101
10,507
4,991
2,788
2.849
3.849
735

45,105
10,330
6,737
12,780
13,418
7,309
3,152

43,393
10,5C3
6,056
15,909
18,279
10,851
5,009

1Vol. V I, The Beginnings of C hild-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 2, p. 39.




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A V E R A G E NU M BER OF M E N , W O M E N , AN D C H IL D R E N , A N D P E R CE N T A G E OF CHIL­
D R E N OF TH E T O TA L N U M BER OF W A G E E A R N E R S , IN COTTON IN D U S T R Y , 1870
TO 1895—Concluded.

State.

1870

1880

1890

1900

1905

Women 16 years and over:
New England.............................................
Middle States..............................................
Southern States.........................................
Western States...........................................

50,805
14,126
4,190
516

62,554
13,185
7,587
1,213

73,445
16,240
15,083
1,839

73,258
16,056
32,528
1,867

70,113
15,116
37,885
1,467

United States.........................................

69,637

84,539

106,607

123,709

124,711

Massachusetts.............................................
Rhode Island..............................................
Pennsylvania..............................................
South Carolina...........................................
Georgia.........................................................
Alabama......................................................

24,065
8,028
6,097
916
508
1,080
445

31,496
9,199
4,454
1,727
772
2,951
631

38,352
10,887
6,258
3,656
3,070
4,005
852

41,057
9,240
7,119
10,364
8,673
6,495
2,743

39,054
9,377
6,516
12,235
10,157
7,873
3,377

Children under 16 years:
New England.............................................
Middle States..............................................
Southern States.........................................
Western States...........................................

13,767
6,382
2,343
450

17,704
6,014
4,097
505

10,165
4,021
8,815
431

10,819
4,314
24,£38
295

9,385
2,765
27,538
290

United States..........................................

22,942

28,320

23,432

39,866

40,029

Massachusetts............................................
Rhode Island..............................................
Pennsylvania..............................................
North Carolina...........................................
South .Carolina...........................................
Georgia.........................................................
Alabama......................................................

5,753
3,134
2,774
279
326
619
284

7,570
3,930
2,086
741
585
1,411
433

4,091
3,182
1,417
2,071
2,152
2,460
501

5,923
2,253
1,711
7,129
8,110
4,479
2,437

5,586
1,947
1,187
8,‘212
8,835
5,406
3,094

Total:
New England............................................
Middle States..............................................
Southern States.........................................
Western States...........................................

94,775
28,974
10,173
1,447

125,779
28,118
16,317
2,330

147,359
31,841
36,415
3,261

162,294
34,843
97,494
3,298

155,981
31,871
120,110
2,496

United States.........................................

135,369

172,544

218,876

297,929

310,458

Massachusetts............................................
Rhode Island..............................................
Pennsylvania..............................................
North Carolina...........................................
South Carolina...........................................
Georgia........................................ ...............
Alabama......................................................

43,512
16,745
12,730
1,453
1,123
2,846
1,032

61,246
21,174
9,879
3,232
2,018
6,215
1,448

75,544
24,576
12,666
8,515
8,071
10,314
2,088

92,085
21,823
15,567
30,273
30,201
18,283
8,332

88,033
21,917
13,789
36,356
37,271
24,130
11,480

Percentage of children of total number of
wage earners:
New England.............................................
Middle States..............................................
Southern States.........................................
Western States...........................................

14.5
22.0
23.0
31.1

14.1
21.4
25.1
21.7

6.9
12.6
24.2
13.2

6.7
12.4
25.0
8.9

6.0
8.7
22.9
11.6

United States.........................................

10.9

16.4

10.7

13.4

12.9

Massachusetts............................................
Rhode Island..............................................
Pennsylvania..............................................
North Carolina...........................................
South Carolina...........................................
Georgia.........................................................
Alabama......................................................

13.2
18.7
21.8
19.2
29.0
21.7
27.5

12.4
18.6
21.1
22.9
29.0
22.7
29.9

5.4
12.9
11.2
24.3
26.7
23.9
24.0

6.4
10.8
11.0
23.5
26.9
24.5
29.2

6.3
8.9
8.6
22.6
23.7
22.4
27.0

It is clear, from a cursory glance at the table, that New England
and the Southern States are the important centers of the industry,
and that the Western and Middle States are practically so unim­
portant that for present purposes they may be ignored. In New
England, while the total number of operatives has increased since
1880 by over 30,000, the number of children has fallen off about




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£,000. Although the industry is growing, it is a declining industry
for children. In the South, on the other hand, the actual number of
children has increased over sixfold in the quarter century, and rela­
tive to the total number of wage earners has lost very little, still
remaining nearly one-fourth of the total labor force, 22.9 per cent.
Conspicuous is the sharp fall in the number of children employed in
New England and the Middle States between 1880 and 1890, when
labor legislation became effective in those localities. In the South up
to 1900, in the absence of child-labor legislation or legal regulation,
there was still one child under 16 years of age in every group of four
persons employed. It is evident that the constant tendency of im­
proved machinery in the cotton industry to become heavier and heav­
ier has not caused the employment of children to decline.
There are other differences between the two sections. In New Eng­
land the industry is old, having been started about 1790; in the South,
although there were a few sporadic mills, cotton manufacturing
hardly began to play any part in the economic development of the
section until reconstruction was already an accomplished fact. Even
now the industry is still in its infancy. Again, in New England the
labor force consists preponderatingly of foreigners, while the South
employs the native white population, much resembling the time, years
ago, when the farmers’ daughters held sway in the mills of New Eng­
land. Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the centers of cotton manu­
facturing in New England, furthermore, are highly industrialized,
between 46 and 50 per cent of the employed population being engaged
in manufacturing, while the South is still predominantly agricultural
and rural. In North and South Carolina and Georgia from 60 to 69
per cent of the working population are engaged in agricultural pur­
suits and only 9 to 12 per cent in manufacturing.1 The consequence
is that conditions are more or less static in one locality, whereas in
the other industrial fermentation is bringing about a change.
These differences make a study of the history of the industry in the
two sections particularly worth while. Especially from the point of
view of the employment of children it is interesting to see if there is
any parallel between the early unregulated industry of New Eng­
land and the unregulated industry of the South.
While spinning and weaving were done mainly at home, children
and women were looked upon as the natural workers in these lines,
and when in the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nine­
teenth century the progress of invention took these industries from
the home to the factory, women and children followed them thither.
The employment of young children was then common in both the




1 Tw elfth Census, 1900, Vol. II, Pt. II, p. exxv.

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North and South,1 but in the latter section so few people of any age
were employed in manufacturing that the question of child labor was
not important.
In New England children as young as 7 years are known to have
been employed in the mills, and advertisements for families with
children are common. In these 9 or 10 years is often mentioned as
an age for beginners, but there is considerable evidence that children
were employed at earlier ages. Two different systems were in use.
In one the manufacturer strove to employ families with a large num­
ber of children, all of whom were employed as early as possible.
This systemi prevailed very generally in Rhode Island, in Fall River,
Mass., and probably in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Under the
other system the manufacturer with a view to securing good moral
conditions for his employees established boarding houses under the
charge of reputable women and gave the preference to employees
who would live in these. Naturally this tended to reduce the number
of children employed. Massachusetts and New Hampshire very
generally adopted this system.2
No really satisfactory data can be secured as to the number of
children employed in cotton mills in the early days of the industry.
Relatively they were numerous. In 1831 a committee of the Friends
of American Industry collected statistics from 795 mills in 12 States.
The total number of children under 12 employed in the industry, ac­
cording to these figures, was 4,691, and the proportion they formed
of the total employees ranged from 1.1 per cent in New Hampshire
to 40 per cent in Rhode Island. In individual factories the propor­
tion was much higher. Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, and Delaware appear in these tables as having no
cotton-mill employees under 12 years old; there is evidence that for
at least several of these States this showing is incorrect. Prac­
tically nothing can be said more definite than that children were
very generally employed and that they formed an important part of
the working force.
The nature of a child’s work in a cotton mill is such that it must
necessarily work as long as the adults, and throughout the first half
of the last century hours were very long. Working days of from
1 The Baltimore Gazette o f Jan. 4 , 1808, announces the establishment of a cotton manu­
factory in which “ a number of boys and girls from 8 to 12 years of age are w anted.”
In South Carolina the founder of one of the oldest m ills in the State urged the employ­
ment of Negroes in the mills on the ground that as there was no necessity for educating
them the manufacturer could have “ their uninterrupted services from the age of 8
years.”
In 1819 one manufacturer declared that the children in his factory were “ chiefly
taken from the poor masters of the country towns and from the almshouse in Baltim ore.”
2 In the early days there was a difference in the machinery used in the tw o section s:
“ In Rhode Island the mule was used for spinning the w eft, which m eant a male spinner
and two assistants, children; whereas in M assachusetts, at W altham and Lowell, the
filling frame, which had been invented by Moody, did not imply the employment of chil­
dren. N ot until after 1830 was mule spinning introduced into M assachusetts.”




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12 to 14 hours were common. Various attempts to secure a shorter
day by legislation were made, but the laws passed were usually
ineffective and there was little real limitation of the hours of
children’s labor until after the Civil War.
Statistics are lacking for any general statements as to children’s
earnings, but scattered statements are found indicating that they
were low. Not infrequently parents contracted for their children’s
work, making agreements usually for a year, but sometimes for
longer periods. In the early part of the century the parent might
ignore the child’s educational needs altogether. “ Some of the
parents,” reported the selectmen of Northborough in 1825, “ con­
tracted with the overseers of the factory to have their children attend
school, and some "did not.” Later, compulsory school laws were
passed and though parents might still keep their children at work
all year they did not openly contract to do so. The wages earned
by the children were paid to the parents.
Objection to the employment of children in the mills brought out
replies of much the same character as those heard to-day in Southern
States. Widows with children1 figured as largely in discussions of
child labor as they do to-day. “ Employers represented that children
were unprofitable to them and that they were employed only because
parents importuned. * * * A New England manufacturer, for
instance, told Horace Mann in 1848 that children under 15 years—
they were about 13 per cent of all the operatives—were employed
simply from motives of charity.” The well-known argument that it
is much better for children to be at work acquiring habits of industry
than to be running wild on the streets does full duty, and the uplift­
ing effect of cotton-mill life is dwelt on with as much enthusiasm as
some writers of the last decade have displayed. For instance, the
following sentence, written in 1836, has a decidedly modern ring:
Hundreds of families * * * originally from places where the
general poverty had precluded schools and public worship, brought
up illiterate and without religious instruction, and disorderly and
vicious in consequence of their lack of regular employment, have
been transplanted to these new creations of skill and enterprise and by
the ameliorating effects of study, industry, and instruction have been
reclaimed, civilized, and Christianized.2
CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION IN THE NORTH BEFORE 1860.
PREVIOUS TO 1830.

Early child-labor legislation suffered from two grave defects. In
the first place, owing to the prevailing belief in the virtue of industry
1 In 1855 the report of the Graniteville M anufacturing Co., South Carolina, character­
izes the mill as “ truly the home of the poor widow and helpless children, or for a fam ily
brought to ruin by a drunken, worthless father.”
2 Vol. V I, The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 3, p. TO.




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and the dangers of legal interference with personal rights, such legis­
lation was usually of a timid and tentative character. And, in the
second place, the public was entirely unsuspicious of the fact which
years of experience have made evident, that a child-labor law, above
all others, is not self-enforcing, and that it is of very little value
unless provision is made for vigorous and thorough enforcement.
Therefore the few laws which were passed concerning the Work of
minors were too apt to remain dead letters, and on the whole the
children probably gained more through the laws regulating employ­
ment in general than through those passed expressly for their benefit.
The first three decades of the century passed without any effective
legislation of any kind concerning child labor. In Connecticut a law
was passed in 1813 declaring that proprietors of manufacturing
establishments should cause the children employed by them to be
taught “ reading, writing, and the first four rules of arithmetic. Due
attention should be paid to their morals, and they were required to
attend public worship regularly.” The law was passed at the in­
stance of a manufacturer who seems himself to have taken almost a
paternal care of the children he employed, but outside of his factory
there is no evidence that the law ever had the slightest weight.
In Rhode Island in 1818 the governor reminded the legislature
of their duty in providing a plan of education for the factory chil­
dren, but nothing came of his reminder. In 1824 a resolution was
presented providing for the education of factory children and set­
ting forth that “ there were no schools in most of the factories for
the 25,000 children from 7 to 14 years, and the evening and Sunday
schools were of little use, because of the long hours the factory chil­
dren had to work.” But this resolution likewise fell through, and
more than a decade elapsed before anything was done which affected
the employment of children. In Massachusetts in 1825 a joint com­
mittee of house and senate was ordered to inquire into the expediency
of providing by law for the education of children employed in fac­
tories. After an investigation—the first of the long series of investi­
gations into child-labor conditions undertaken by legislative behest—
the committee reported that they were not “ aware that any interpo­
sition by the legislature at present is necessary in this regard,” in
spite of the fact that they found hours of labor were generally 12 or
13 a day, which left little opportunity for education.
Pennsylvania showed an early interest in the educational side of
the question. In 1822 a report on education read in the senate showed
that the number of poor children educated in the Philadelphia dis­
trict had dropped from 5,369 in 1820 to 2,969 in 1821. This decline
was attributed to the increase in factories. The report called atten­
tion to the gravity of the situation and invited for it “ the early and
serious attention of the legislature,” but no action was taken. In



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1824 and again in 1827 a bill was introduced to provide for the edu­
cation of minors employed in manufacturing establishments, but
neither was carried through.
It appears, therefore, that up to 1830 three States—Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania—had considered legislative regula­
tion of the employment of children in textile factories, for the pur­
pose of securing some educational opportunities for them, but in not
a single one had any-effective action been taken.
FROM 1830 TO 1860, BY DECADES.
FR O M 1830 TO 1840.

Massachusetts took the lead in this period with a law, passed in
1836, providing that no child under 15 might be employed in any
manufacturing establishment unless it had attended school at least
three months of the year. The penalty for violation was $50, to be
recovered by indictment for the use of the common schools in the
town where the offending factory was situated. In 1838 an act was
passed freeing the employer from liability if he kept a certificate of
school attendance for each child under 15 years of age, signed and
sworn to by the instructor of the school. The secretary of the
board of education reported that the law of 1836 was very generally
obeyed, although in some places it had been “ uniformly and sys­
tematically disregarded.” He stated that in one manufacturing
town alone 400 children went to school who had never gone before.
In Rhode Island there was considerable agitation during this
decade for a 10-hour day, by which, of course, children would have
benefited. In 1838 a bill was introduced providing that children
under 12 might not be employed unless they had attended school for
three months during the preceding year, but it failed to pass. In
1837 Vermont passed a curiously vague and sweeping bill empow­
ering selectmen and overseers of the poor to “ examine into the
treatment and condition of any minor employed in any manufac­
turing establishment in their respective towns,” giving them large
discretionary powers of action if anything objectionable was dis­
covered. There is no evidence that there was any need for this
law or that it was ever called into play to any noticeable extent.
In New York the desirability of taking some step in regard to the
education of factory children was discussed at various times during
this decade, both in the assembly and in reports of the superintendent
of public schools, but no law was passed.
The agitation in Pennsylvania during this decade was of par­
ticular interest because, although no legislation was passed, the
feasibility of limiting the age at which children might be employed
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motion was introduced in the house calling for a report on the
question “ how far the employment of children under 14 years of
age in the manufacturing establishments of this State is detrimental
to health,” and also suggesting the limitation of hours for such
children. The motion was adopted but no report appears to have
been made. Nevertheless, the idea that the labor of young children
might be intrinsically objectionable—“ detrimental to health”—ap­
peared to make an impression. Later in the same year the cotton
operatives at Manayunk issued an address appealing for better con­
ditions, claiming that through poverty they were obliged to place
their children in factories at an early age with disastrous conse­
quences, though the consequences enumerated spring in the main
from lack of educational opportunities. In 1837 the citizens of
Pittsburgh held a meeting on the subject of children employed in
factories and prepared a memorial to the legislature. Commenting
on this the National Laborer exclaims: “ It is time that infants,
yea infants, should be released from that toil and oppression to
which the poverty of their parents forces them to yield.” In 1838
a select committee, appointed the year before, reported an act con­
cerning the employment of children in factories, which, along with
provisions as to hours and schooling, prohibited the employment of
children under 10. The committee also dwelt at length in their
report on the abuses occurring under the present system. The re­
port closes with a singularly modern note. It is better, they
consider—
That counties should become, in some cases, chargeable with in­
digent parents than that the health, morals, and future prospects of
their offspring should be sacrificed or even jeopardized for the pre­
carious maintenance that is earned by their toil.1
The bill failed to pass, and a somewhat similar bill reported in
the senate the next year never even reached consideration.
During this decade, to summarize, Massachusetts had provided
by law for three months’ school attendance of all factory children
under 15, Vermont had passed a vague law, in New York legislative
action in regard to education had been discussed, and in Pennsyl­
vania the proposition to limit the age of beginning work had been
brought forward, though not adopted.
FR O M 1840 T O 1850.

The earliest agitation against child labor was directed against
the deprivation of educational opportunities it involved. During the
thirties interest in education had somewhat diminished, while as the
labor movement grew in strength increasing emphasis was laid on
the importance of shorter hours for all workers, children and adults
1 Vol. V I, The Beginnings o f C hild-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 4, p. 121.




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alike. Accordingly child-labor legislation during this decade moved
along two main lines, provision of educational opportunities and
restriction of hours. The idea brought forward in Pennsylvania
during the preceding decade of an age limitation for beginning work
also made some headway.
In Massachusetts an act was passed in 1842 forbidding the em­
ployment of children under 12 in manufacturing establishments for
more than 10 hours a day. In 1849 an educational law was passed
which did nothing more than interpret and define the law of 1836.
In Rhode Island the agitation of the thirties resulted in a bill,
passed in 1840, providing three months’ schooling for children under
12 years in the year before employment. This act was inadvertently
repealed in 1845.
In 1842 Connecticut passed a law forbidding the employment of
children under 15 unless they attended school three months each year,
and also forbidding the employment of children under 14 for more
than 10 hours a day in cotton or woolen mills.
Up to this decade New Hampshire had not shown any particular
interest in the regulation of child labor, but about 1845 the labor
movement became active in this State and petitions for an improve­
ment of conditions began to pour in upon the legislature. In 1846
a law was passed providing that children 12 to 15 must attend school
three months out of 12, and children under 12 must attend six
months. Certificates of attendance were required and the school
committee was to inform of all violations; in 1848 this was weakened
by an amendment making the school attendance compulsory only
for the year preceding employment. In 1847 a law was passed for­
bidding the employment of children under 15 for more than 10
hours a day without the written consent of the parents, a provision
which rendered the law practically worthless.
Maine proceeded along somewhat the same lines. In 1847 school
attendance was required of all children employed in cotton or woolen
mills, three months a year for those between 12 and 15, and four
months for all under 12. The next year, 1848, a law was passed
forbidding the employment of children under 16 by any manufactur­
ing or other corporation for more than 10 hours a day. This pro­
vision roused such opposition that in 1849 both house and senate
passed a bill to repeal it, which the governor refused to sign. His
message, giving his reasons for refusing, replies to the same argu­
ments in favor of unrestricted child labor which are brought forward
to-day, and in some respects the governor’s attitude was in advance
of that which has yet been reached in many communities:
Evidently those in favor of repealing the act of 1848 had con­
tended that the mills could not run on a 10-hour basis, and that many
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affording relief to widowed mothers, etc. The governor met this
objection by showing that the State would then permit the mother
to be relieved at the incalculable cost of entailing upon thousands of
offspring mental and bodily imbecility, poverty, and wretchedness.1
New York and New Jersey both made sundry efforts during this
decade to secure limitation of hours and an age limit for the employ­
ment of children, but neither accomplished anything. Pennsylvania
linked the children’s cause with that of the workers generally, and
in 1848 passed a law making 10 hours the legal day in cotton, woolen,
silk, paper, bagging, and flax factories, and forbidding the employ­
ment of children under 12 in any cotton, woolen, silk, or flax factory
under a penalty of $50. In 1849 the age limit was raised to 13 years
and a provision was added that children between 13 and 16 years of
age must attend school for three consecutive months each year.
F R O M 1850 TO 1860.

During this decade there was comparatively little advance in the
child-labor movement. Massachusetts increased the school attend­
ance requirements for children under 12 years from 11 to 18 weeks
each year until the age of 12 was reached. Rhode Island in 1853 for­
bade the employment of children under 12, and in 1854 provided
that up to the age of 15 all must attend school three months a year.
Connecticut in 1855 fixed 9 years as the age below which children
might not lawfully be employed, and the next year raised this limit
to 10. In 1855 it was also provided that minors under 18 should not
work more than 11 hours a day, but the next year this was increased
to 12, with a proviso for a 69-hour week. New Jersey in 1851 estab­
lished 10 years as the age limit for employment and 10 hours was
established as the legal day.
SUMMARY.

By 1860 in the Northern States public opinion had advanced from
the early position thait child labor was an unmixed benefit to a rec­
ognition of the fact that there were at least two sides to the question.
The importance of affording educational opportunities to every child
was recognized rather generally and the right of the State to inter­
fere in order to secure this was admitted. The right of the State to
control the age a;t which children might begin work and the hours
during which they might be employed had also been established in
more than one State. It might be said that the theory of the right
of the State to protect children was admitted, but as yet very little
practical application of that right had been made. Laws for that
purpose were relatively few, and as a rule contained little or no
provision for enforcement.
\ Vol. V I, The Beginnings o f C hild-Labor Legislation in Certain States, p. 103.




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CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION IN FOUR SOUTHERN STATES:
NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND
ALABAMA.
EARLIER LEGISLATION.

The labor of children received very little legislative attention in
the South before the beginning of the present century. In 1853
Georgia passed an act providing that “ the hours for labor by all
White persons under 21 years of age in all cotton, woolen, and other
manufacturing establishments in this State shall be, and the same
hereby are, settled and fixed at from sunrise to sunset, including the
usual and customary time for meals.” This permitted long hours,
but at least prohibited night work. No provision was made for its
enforcement. There is nothing to indicate what conditions led to
this enactment and no account of its effect. In 1886-87 Alabama
forbade the employment in mines of children under 15. In 1892-93
the employment of women and of boys under 10 in mines was for­
bidden, and four years later the age limit for boys was raised to 12
years. In 1886-87 it was provided that children under 14 were not
to be employed in manufacturing and mechanical establishments
more than eight hours a day, but this law was repealed in 1894. In
1889 Georgia limited hours in cotton and woolen factories to 66 a
week, and in 1892 South Carolina provided for an 11-hour day and
a 60-hour wr in cotton and woolen mills.
eek
This sums up the legislation by which children were affected up to
1900. There were a few limitations on hours, but no provisions for
detecting or preventing violations. There was no age limit on em­
ployment, except Alabama’s prohibition of the employment of boys
under 12 in mines; neither physical nor educational qualifications
were required and night work was permitted for young and old alike.
During the nineties a number of efforts were made in the four
leading manufacturing States of the South to secure some effective
regulation of child labor, but all failed. In these earlier campaigns
the arguments of the opposition varied considerably, according to
the importance of the industry in a given State. Thus in Georgia,
when a bill to forbid the employment of children under 12 in cotton
and woolen mills was introduced in 1887, the cotton industry was
relatively so unimportant that none of the arguments against the
bill mentioned any possible injury to the industrial interests of the
State. Opposition was based on the arguments that children should
be trained to habits of industry, that labor did not injure them so
much as idleness, and that, moreover, such legislation was a direct
infringement upon parental rights. Ten years later the same atti­
tude was still held. The responsibility of employing children should
rest with the parents, declared one group of opponents, while by
95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------16




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others: “ Child-labor legislation was branded as a ‘ maudlin ’ senti­
mentalism that seeks to throw around children a protection that
would harm them. If these children were not allowed to work they
would not get educational advantages, but would be exposed to all
the contaminating influences of this world.”
On the other hand, in the Carolinas, where the industry was grow­
ing much more rapidly than in Georgia, the opposition was frankly
based on economic reasons. In North Carolina in 1887 the opposi­
tion to an age limit for employment laid stress on the fact that if it
were adopted “ a great many people would be unable to support their
families and even if the children did not work their parents would
be unable to send them to school.” In 1893 it was asserted that
“ labor laws in Georgia had driven the capitalists to North Carolina,
and the inference was that the legislation proposed would in turn
drive them out of North Carolina.” In 1892 in South Carolina a
manufacturer opposing the limitation of hours for women and chil­
dren on the ground that it would seriously injure the industry de­
clared : “ Only women and children could be employed in the spin­
ning department owing to the lowness of the machinery.”
LEGISLATION AFTER 1900.

By 1900 the movement against child labor was becoming a force to
be reckoned with. The rapid growth of the cotton industry was
bringing so many children into the mills that the question could no
longer be looked upon as unimportant. In 1880 the cotton mills of
North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama employed 3,170
children under 16; in 1900 the number had increased to 22,155, and
in individual States the increase had been much more rapid than for
the group as a whole. From 1900 onward not a legislative year
passed in which some measure for regulating child labor was not
brought up in one or more of these four States. The progress of
each of these campaigns is given in the report in much detail, but
since the course of events was not very different in the four States,
South Carolina may be taken as typical.
In 1884 an act forbidding the employment of children under 10 was
introduced in the South Carolina Legislature, but failed to become
a law. The next attempt of the kind was made in 1889 and the next
in 1890, both being unsuccessful. In 1900 a bill forbidding the em­
ployment of children under 12 was lost. In 1901 petitions both for
and against a child-labor bill were presented, and a bill was intro­
duced forbidding the employment of children under 12. The bill
failed to pass, but was warmly debated on both sides: 1
1 Vol. VI, The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 5, pp.
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The statements made and opinions expressed at the hearings and
in the legislature are such interesting evidence of the public attitude
toward child labor at the time that a summary of them is particu­
larly in place. In the main the arguments of the opposition are the
same that had been used in New England 50 years before. The dif­
ferences are simply due to the difference in local conditions. The
manufacturer’s chief argument was that it was an infant industry
bringing wealth into the State, and it should be protected. One
manufacturer went so far as to say that the child-labor bill with its
12-year age limit might be called “ a bill to discourage manufactur­
ing in South Carolina.” 1 The old argument that labor legislation
would drive off capital was brought out. The absence of labor legis­
lation in Georgia and Alabama had enticed New England manufac­
turers, and if they had restrictive laws in South Carolina every
outside manufacturer would give them a wide berth.2 Moreover,
the operatives would move to North Carolina and Georgia to obtain
employment for their children, so that labor already scarce enough
would become still scarcer. It is noticeable at this time that the
manufacturers made no attempt to minimize the extent of child
labor as later, but freely admitted it. The president of a large mill
stated that children between 10 and 12 years old did almost all the
spinning in the State, and the passage of the law, in the estimation
of some manufacturers, would stop 20 per cent of the machinery.3
The president of another company said that 30 per cent of the opera­
tives in the spinning room at his mills were children under 12, and
from his information he did not doubt that the same proportion
would hold for the rest of the State.4 The pitiable state of education
is brought out by the statistics of the Victor Mills, admittedly one of
the “ show mills” of the State. Out of 124 children 58 could not
read, or about 46 per cent. The wording of the president’s statement
that “ all could read except 58 ” 4 is suggestive. These facts were lost
sight of in the more important question of the welfare of the indus­
try. The position that the withdrawal of the children from the
industry would stop 30 per cent of the machinery was generally
accepted. It resolved itself, as the president said, into the question
of whether it was better to protect 30 per cent of labor, the children,
or indirectly paralyze all the other interests which were dependent
on it. Various statements from physicians—employees of cottonmill corporations or in villages belonging to mill corporations—that
millwork was not injurious to children were read.
In the assembly debates the arguments of the opposition centered
around the contention that the operatives did not desire the proposed
legislation. The 4,864 operatives’ signatures against the bill as con­
trasted with 1,230 signatures for it was used as proof.5 The other
side, however, took the position that it was not a question of what
mill presidents and parents wanted, but whether legislation protect­
ing the children of the State should be passed. The opposition also
1 Reported in the Charleston News and Courier, Jan. 24, 1901, p. 5.
2 Idem, Jan. 22, 1901, p. 5.
8 The Charleston News and Courier, Jan. 22, 1901.
* Idem, Jan. 24, 1901.
BSpeech of a representative from Anderson County reported in the Charleston News
and Courier, Feb. 1, 1901.




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declared that the bill, besides being class legislation, was an infringe­
ment of the rights of parents and a slander on cotton-mill operatives.1
“ Such a law as this, declared one orator, “ will be repulsive to op­
eratives in this State in whose veins runs the hot blood of freedom.”
South Carolina was not a land of paternalism.2
Another statesman asserted that the laboring classes in South
Carolina were much better without laws than those in New England
with laws. “ Education is not everything,” he concluded, “ for
virtue is cheap in New England.” 3 A report to the News and
Courier stated that—
“ The members of the general assembly are disposed to heed the
advice of such men as [naming 10 well-known millmen] rather than
those who are not entirely familiar with the situation. They know
that these are the men who have brought millions into the cottonmanufacturing industry in this State; they know that these mills
have given interior towns port prices for their cotton; and they know
how the mills enhance local products. These men are all South
Carolinans to the manor born, and their hearts have been tried, and
are as true to their people as those of the agitator, and their views
of what is for the ultimate good of the State ought to be as good
as those of any agitator or even sincere humanitarian, for who would
not say that they do far more for their working classes than do
those in most other occupations. * * * The argument is that to
turn loose boys 10 and 11 years old without anything to do and with­
out any desire to go to school would be far worse than to let the
children acquire habits of industry and thrift. At all events there
are very few children under 12 years of age who are employed in
cotton factories, and the statements of the mill officers are that they
would rather not employ children at all, as it is expensive and un­
satisfactory, but it has to be done to help poor families in the mills,
and is sometimes due to the misstatements of parents as to the ages
of children.4
In 1902 a child-labor bill was again defeated, but by only a nar­
row margin. In 1903 the governor sent in an emphatic message on
the subject. “ No one can successively controvert,” he declared, “ the
position that this labor of long and constant hours is injurious to
the child and therefore affects the citizenship of the future. This
being true, the State has a right to come in and say it shall be
stopped.”
By this time it was becoming apparent that public opinion de­
manded a child-labor law, and the opposition devoted itself not to
preventing but to weakening such legislation. The law as finally
passed graduated the age limit of employment from 10 years in 1903
to 12 years in 1905.
1 See speech of a representative from Anderson Comity in the Charleston News and
Courier, Feb. 1, 1901.
2 Idem, Feb. 9, 1901, p. 3.
3 Speech of the senator from Anderson County in the Charleston News and Courier,
Feb. 8, 1901, p. 5.
4 Jan. 21, 1901, p. 5, c. 1, 2, 3. Also Kohn’s pamphlet, The Cotton Mills of South
Carolina, republished from the Charleston News and Courier, Columbia, S. C., 190T.




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Night work for children under 12 years of age between 8 p. m.
and 6 a. m. was forbidden, although children under 12 years of
age, whose employment was otherwise permissible, were allowed to
make up lost time. An exception was made allowing orphans and
the children of a widowed mother or of a totally disabled father to
work, in case they were dependent upon their own labor for sup­
port. The widow or parent had to furnish an affidavit, indorsed
with the approval of the officer before whom it was made, saying
they were unable to support the children. Children under the legal
age could work during the summer months provided they had at­
tended school four months during the current year and could read
and write. Affidavits of age for children under 12 years of age
were required to be on file in the office of the employer. Penalties
were attached to parents for permitting disqualified children to
work. Employers were practically exempt by making only those
who “ knowingly” employed children contrary to the law subject
to a fine.1
No means of enforcement were provided.
Mild as was this bill,“ a triumph of the principle only of a childlabor bill,” it was looked upon as being all that could be expected
for a time, and for some years the friends of labor legislation de­
voted themselves to trying to secure shorter hours. In 1907 a bill
was passed providing that beginning January, 1908, 10 hours a day
and 60 hours a week should constitute the regular working hours in
cotton and woolen mills for all operatives except machinists, en­
gineers, etc. Contracts for longer hours were void.
In 1907 and in 1908 unsuccessful efforts were made to secure
f actory inspection, but in 1909 this was obtained. The need of such
inspection was very generally felt.
The Columbia State pointed out the utter inadequacy of the childlabor la;w in keeping children under age who were not subject to the
exceptions Out of the mills. The parents, anxious to secure employ­
ment for their children, might give any age they chose for the
children and there was no redress. If one mill refused to employ
children which it believed to be under age, some other less scrupulous
mill would. * * * Inspection of the mills would help enforce
the law.2
The State commissioner of agriculture, commerce, and industries
was to report annually statistical details relating to all departments
of labor. He might employ two inspectors in enforcing the pro­
visions of the law. Children under 14 were prohibited from clean­
ing certain kinds of machinery while in motion, and where children
under 14 were employed notices to that effect must be posted.
1 Vol. VI, The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 5, p. 158.

2 Idem, p. 164.




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The first report of the commissioner, covering the work of 1909,
showed that the employment of children under 12 was common.
During the year the inspectors had ordered the discharge of 231
children under 12 who were illegally employed, and found 726
others under that age working under the exception of the law. Dur­
ing the summer months 519 certificates were issued to children
under 12 allowing them to work until September 1st.
In the three other States the same opposition was met with and
much the same results were obtained, though North Carolina and
Georgia did not establish any inspection system within the period
covered.
The report closes with an analysis and comparison of the childlabor legislation secured in the North before 1860 and in the South
by 1909, which is here given in full i1
CONCLUSION,
A N A L Y S IS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION PRIOR TO 1860.

In order to secure a general idea of the child-labor legislation en­
acted up to 1860, the laws of the various States have been analyzed
and classified under the chief characteristics of such legislation,
the age of employment, limitation of hours, and school attendance
requirements, in the following tables:
ANALYSIS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION PRIOR TO 1860.
Z. Age o f employment .

State and date of law.

Industries affected.

Massachusetts; no legis­
lation.
Rhode Island, 1853....... Manufacturing...................

Age limit.

Children under 12 years not to
work.

Connecticut:
1855, ch. 45.............. Manufacturing and me­ Children under 9 years not to
work.
chanical.
1856, ch. 39.............. ....... do.................................. Children under 10 years not to
work.
Vermont, 1837, No. 34... Manufacturing................... Selectmen had discretionary
powers.
New Hampshire; no
legislation.
Maine; no legislation
New York; no legisla­
tion.
New Jersey, 1851.......... Manufacturing................... Children under 10 years not to
work.
Pennsylvania:
1848, No. 227........... Cotton, woolen, silk, flax.. Children under 12 years not to
work.
1849, No. 415........... Cotton, woolen, silk, pa­ Children under 13 years not to
per, bagging, flax.
work.

Proof of age.

Not required.
Do.
Do.

Do.
Do.
Do.

1 Vol. VI, The Beginnings of Child-Labor Legislation in Certain States, ch. 6, p. 207 et seq.




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L E G IS L A T IO N .

ANALYSIS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION PRIOR TO 1860— Continued.
I I . Limitation of hours for children.

State and date of law.

Industries affected.

Massachusetts, 1842. ch. Manufacturing.
60.
Rhode Island, 1853....... ___ do...............

Connecticut:
1842, ch. 28.
1855, ch. 45.
1856, ch. 39.

Cotton and woolen............
Manufacturing or mechan­
ical.
___ do.................................

Vermont, 1837, No. 34... Manufacturing.
New Hampshire, 1847,
ch. 488.

Manufacturing.

Maine, 1848, ch. 83........ Manufacturing or other
corporation.
New York; no legisla­
tion apart from the
10-hour day on public
works.
New Jersey, 1851.......... Manufacturing (Acts of
1852, p. 62).
Pennsylvania:
1848, No. 227.

1849,

No. 415.

1855, No. 601.
Ohio, 1852............

Detail of hour limitation.

Enforcement.

Children under 12 years may Not provided for.
not work over 10hours a day.
Children 12 to 15 years may
Do.
not work over 11 hours.
Nightwork after 7.30 p. m.
ana before 5 a. m. forbidden
minors under 18 years, pack­
ers excepted.
Children under 14 years may
Do.
not work over 10hours a day.
Children under 18 years may
Do.
not work over 11 hours a day.
Children under 18 years may Constables
and
not work over 12 hours a day
grand jurors to
and 69 a week.
inquire after vio­
lations.
The selectmen had large dis­
cretionary powers.
Children under 15 years may Not provided for.
not work over 10hours a day
without written consent of
the parent.
Children under 16 years may
Do.
not work over 10 hours a day.

Minors may not be holden or
required to work over 10
hours a day or 60 a week.

Do.

Cotton, woolen, silk, paper, Minors may not be holden or
Do.
bagging, flax.
required to work over 10
hours a day or 60 a week.
Minors above 14 years may
be employed more than 10
hours by special contract.
Children 13 to 16 years may
.do.
Do.
not work over 10hours a day.
.do.
Minors may not work over 60 On complaint: con­
hours a week.
stables to act.
Manufacturing and me­ Women and children under 18 Not provided for.
chanical.
years may not be compelled
to work over 10 hours a day.
Children under 14 years may
not work over 10hours a day.
H im School-attendance requirements.

State and date of Industries affected. Nature of school re­
requirements.
law.
Massachusetts:
1836, ch. 245.... Manufacturing___ Children under 15
years must attend
school 3 months
out of 12.
1838, ch. 107

1849, ch. 220 (re­ Manufacturing___ Children under 15
years must attend
pealing act of
school 11 weeks.
....... do.................... Children under 12
1858, ch. 83
years must attend
school 18 weeks.
Rhode Island:
1840 (repealed ....... do.................... Children under 12
in 1844).
years must attend
school 3 months
out of 12.




School certificates.

Not mentioned..

School certificates not
required, but con­
clusive evidence in
case of doubt.

Enforcement.

Not provided for.

Do.

Do.
Do.

Not required, but con­
clusive evidence in
case of doubt.

Do.

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ANALYSIS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION PRIOR TO 1860-Canduded,
I I I . School^attendance requirements—Concluded.
State and date of
law.
Rhode IslandConcluded.
1854..............

Industries affected.

Manufacturing—

Nature of school re­
quirements.

Children under 15
years must attend
school 3 months
out of 12:
Children under 15
years must attend
school 3 months
out of 12.

Connecticut, 1842,
ch. 28.

All occupations

Vermont, 1837.

Manufacturing----- The selectmen had
large discretionary
power.

New Hampshire:
1846, ch. 318..

do

1848, ch. 622 (re­ Manufacturing___
pealing act of
1846).

Maine, 1847, ch. 29.. Cotton and wool­
en manufactur­
ing.

New York; no leg­
islation.
New Jersey; no leg­
islation.
Pennsylvania, 1849, Cotton, woolen,
silk, paper, bag­
No. 415.
ging, and flax.

School certificates.

Not mentioned.

Not provided for.

Not required; but
when sworn to by
the teacher, suffi­
cient evidence in
cases arising under
the law.

School visitors.

Children 12 to 15 Required; must be
sworn to by the
years must attend
teacher.
school 3 months
out of 12; children
under 12 years
must
attend
school 6 months
out of 12.
Children 12 to 15 Required; signed by
the teacher.
years must attend
school 12 weeks
out of the year be­
fore employment;
children under 12
years must attend
school 6 months
out of the year be­
fore employment.
Children 12 to 15 Required; sworn to by
the teacher.
years must attend
school 3 months
out of 12; children
under 12 y e a r s
must attend
school 4 months
out of 12.

Children 13 to 16
years must attend
school 3 months
consecutively out
of 12.

Enforcement.

Not mentipned.

School commit­
tees to inform
of all viola­
tions.

Not provided for

Do.

Do.

As may be seen, prior to 1860 only four States limited the age of
employment of children. In the Connecticut and New Jersey laws
the age limit was 10 years in all manufacturing establishments and
in Connecticut in mechanical establishments also. Twelve years was
the limit in Rhode Island in manufacturing establishments. The
Pennsylvania law raised the age limit from 12 to 13 years in cotton,
woolen, silk, paper, bagging, and flax factories. In none of the
States was any proof of age required.
Six States—Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, and Ohio—limited the hours of labor to 10 a day for
children in manufacturing establishments (in Pennsylvania, in tex-




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249

tile establishments). The ages of the children varied in the differ­
ent States. Thus, in Massachusetts the law forbade children under
12 years from working over 10 hours a day, and in Pennsylvania the
act of 1855 forbade all minors from working over 60 hours a week.
Rhode Island limited the hours to 11 a day for children between 12
and 15 years of age, and was the only State that forbade night work
for minors. However, the evils of night work at that time were not
great. In Connecticut minors under 18 years could not work over
12 hours a day or 69 hours a week. The law became more lax in­
stead of rigid, just the reverse of the course of legislation in Penn­
sylvania, where, starting out with a law that minors should not be
held or required to work over 10 hours a day or 60 a week, the State
later directly forbade their employment over 60 hours a week. In
New Hampshire the children under 15 years of age working over 10
hours a day had to have the written consent of the parent. The New
Jersey law stated that minors could not be held or required to work
over 60 hours a week. I f the child worked longer the employer could
shift the responsibility by declaring it was voluntairy and not re­
quired. Connecticut and Pennsylvania alone made any attempt at
enforcing the law. In the former State the constables and grand
jurors were to inquire after violations, and in Pennsylvania on com­
plaint the constables could act.
As was to be expected, the New England States emphasized school
attendance, and besides Pennsylvania were the only;States to enact
legislation of this nature. Massachusetts was the pioneer, and the
other States modeled their laws on hers. Children under 15 years
of age employed in manufacturing establishments in Maine, in cot­
ton and woolen mills only, must attend school 3 months a year.
Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts lengthened the school
term for children under 12 years of age. In Pennsylvania children
13 and under 16 years of age employed in certain specified industries
must attend school three months consecutively out of 12 months.
Two of the States—Maine and New Hampshire—required certificates
of school attendance, and in the former the teacher was required
to swear to the certificate. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts,
these certificates, although not required, were conclusive evidence in
cases of doubt. Pennsylvania did not regulate certificates. In Con­
necticut it was the duty of the school visitors to enforce the law, and
in New Hampshire also the school committees were at first charged
with enforcing the law, a provision that was afterwards repealed.




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A N A L Y S IS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION IN FOUR SOUTHERN
STATES.

The following tables contain a similar analysis of legislation in
the Southern States:
ANALYSIS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION IN FOUR SOUTHERN STATES.
/ . Age o f employment .

Industries
affected.

Age limit.

Proof of age.

Enforcement.

All manufactur­
ing ( e x c e p t
o y s t e r can­
ning).
All manufactur­
ing.

Children under 12 years not
to work.

Required; but sim­
ply the written
statement of the
parent.
-----do.......................

N o t provided
for.

State and date of
law.
North Carolina:
1903............

1907............
South Carolina:
1903............

1909..

Georgia, 1906.

Alabama:
1886-87,

re-

pealed
1894-95.

1896-97.
1903....

1907.

Children under 13 years not
to work, except appren­
tices 12 to 13.

Gradually children under 12 Not required, but
years not to be employed
affidavit required
(may assist p a r e n t s ) .
for children un­
(Exceptions: Or p h a n s ,
der 12 years.
children of widows, totally
disabled parents. Affida­
vits required for excep­
tions.) During summer
children with school at­
tendance certificate and
able to read and write
may work.
___ do..................................... Required; but sim­
.do..
ply the s i g n e d
statement of par­
ent for children
under 14 years.
Factory or man­ Children under 12 years not Required; but sim­
to work except orphans,
ufacturing es­
ply the affidavit
children of widows, and
of parent.
tablishment.
totally disabled parents,
and then not to work un­
der 10 years. (Affidavit
from father for children
under 12 years.)

Mines, factory,
textile manu­
facturing.

Mines.

Children under 15 years not
to work.

Do.

Do.

Inspector.

Grand jury to
inspect affi­
davits.

Not required............ N o t provided
for.

Woman or boy under 10 ----- do....................... Mine inspector.
years not to work.
Woman or boy under 12 ___ do.......................
Do.
years not to work.
Factory or man­ Children under 12 years not Required; but sim­ N o t provided
to be employed. Excep­
ufacturing.
ply the affidavit
for.
tions.
of parent for all
children.
Cotton, woolen, Children under 12 years not Required; but sim­ Inspector.
to work or be in or
tobacco, print­
ply the affidavit
about.
of parent for chiling and bind­
ing, glass, and
d r e n under 18
injurious in­
years of age.
door work.




.do.

.do.

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251

ANALYSIS OF CHILD-LABOR LEGISLATION IN POUR SOUTHERN STATES-Continued.
I I. Limitation of hours for children.
Industries
affected.

State and date of
law.
North Carolina:
1903..............
1907.

South Carolina:
1892..............

1903..

1907.

1909.

Georgia:
1853..

1906..

Detail of hour limitation.

1907, reenact­
ed in 1909.

Night work.

Manufacturing.. Children under 18 years must Not provided for.
not work over 66 hours per
week.
.......do.....................................
.......do............
.do.

No legislation.'

Cotton and wool­ All operatives (children in­
en manufac­
cluded) not to work over
turing.
11 hours a day or 60 hours
a week, except firemen,
etc. Seventy nours over­
time allowed.
Mine, factory, or
textile manu­
facturing.

.do.

No legislation.

.do.

Cotton and wool­ All operatives not to work
en manufac­
over 10 hours a day or «0
turing.
hours a week, except fire­
men, etc., after 1908. Six­
ty hours per annum over­
time allowed.
.do.
All operatives (children in­
cluded) not to work over
11 hours a day or 60 hours
a week.

Nightwork for­
bidden chil­
dren under
12 years.

.do.

Cotton and wool­ Hours for minors (white)
en and other
fixed at from sunrise to
sunset.
manufactur­
ing.
Cotton and wool­ Hours not over 66 a week for
en factories.
all persons, including chil­
dren.

Manufacturing.

Alabama:
1886-87, re­ Mechanical and
manufac turpealed 1894.
ing.
1903.

Enforcement.

Between 8 p.
m. and 5 a.
m. forbidden
children un­
der 14 years.

Inspectors.

Not provided for___ Nightwork for­
bidden (rep e a 1e d by
Code of 1895).
Nightwork al­
.do.
lowed in cot­
ton mills, acco r d i ng to
the Code of
1895.
Nightwork for­
.do..
bidden chil­
dren under
14 years.

Children under 14 years not
to work over 8 hours a day.
Children under 18 years
not to be compelled, etc.
Manufacturing.. Children under 12 years not
to work over 66 hours a
week.

.do.

Cotton, woolen, Children under 14 years not
tobacco, print­
to work over 60 hours a
ing and bind­
week.
ing, glass, or
injurious in­
door work.

Inspector.




.do.

Nightwork for­
bidden childre n under
13 y e a r s .
Children un­
der 16 years
not over 48
hours.
Nightwork for­
bidden chil­
dr e n under
16 y e a r s .
Children 16
to 18 years
not over 48
hours a week
at night.

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A N A L Y SIS OF CH ILD -LABOR LEG ISLATION IN FOUR SO UTHERN STATES—Concluded.

I I I . School-attendance requirements.
Industries
affected.

State and date of
law.
JJorth Carolina,
1907..................
South Carolina:
1903............

1909.........
Georgia, 1906.

Nature of school require­
ments.

4 months a year for appren­
tices 12 to 13 years.
Mines, factory,
textile manu­
facturing.

Children under 12 years who
. work insummer must have
attended school 4 months
and be able to read and
write.

Factory or man­
ufacturing es­
tablishment.

Children 12 to 14 years must
be able to read and write
and shall have attended
school 12 weeks in the past
year, 6 consecutively.
E x c e p t i o n s allowed.
Children between 14 and 18
years must have attended
school 12 weeks a year, 6
weeks consecutively.
Children 12 to 16 years must
attend school 8 weeks a
year, 6 weeks consecu­
tively.

Alab<\ma, 1907 . . . M anufacturing,
cotton ,
woolen,
to­
bacco, print­
ing and bind­
ing, glass or
injurious in­
door work.

School certificates.

Enforcement.

Required; simply Not provided
for.
the written state­
ment of the parent.
.do.

Required; simply
the affidavits of
the parents.

Not required.

Bo.

Inspectors.
Grand jury.

Inspector.

The analysis of the legislation of the 4 Southern States shows that
in general 12 years is the legal age limit in the 4 States, below which
children may not be employed in manufacturing establishments. In
North Carolina the age limit has been raised to 13 years, except for
apprentices between 12 and 13 years. In all of the States except
South Carolina children are not only forbidden employment by the
manufacturer, but they are not allowed to work in the factory. This
prevents their going in to help an older relation and does away with
the employer’s plea that he is not employing the children, but that,
independently of him, their parents take them into the mill to assist
them. Where the law does not go further and state that children are
not allowed to be in or about the factory, parents may make of the
mill a day or night nursery, according to their exigencies, unless, of
course, the management of its own accord forbids such a practice.
Alabama alone forbids by law the presence of children under the
legal age in factories. Two of the States—South Carolina and
Georgia—let down the age limit for orphans and the children of
widows or disabled fathers. In South Carolina an affidavit of ina­
bility to support the child is required of parents and guardians,
while in Georgia it is only required of the disabled father. No child
under 10 years of age is allowed under any circumstances to work in
Georgia, whereas the South Carolina law sets no minimum age limit
for exceptions. The Alabama law contained a similar exception
which was later abandoned. South Carolina also allows children



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253

under 12 years to work during the three summer months if they have
fulfilled certain educational requirements.
The written statement of the parent in North and South Carolina
and the affidavit of the parent in the other two States is all that is
required to establish the child’s age. In South Carolina the signed
statement of the parent is required only for children under 14 years
of age. If, for example, the parent says the child is over 14, no
further statement is necessary. In none of the States is it demanded
that the parent’s affidavit or statement be substantiated by docu­
mentary proof of the age, record of birth, school or baptismal cer­
tificate, etc. In the two States, therefore, which attempt to enforce
this law by inspectors it is as impossible for them to go back of the
parent’s word as in the States where there is no inspector. The
advantage in this respect that the States with inspectors have over
those without inspectors is that the provisions requiring parents’
affidavits to be kept by the manufacturing establishment are
enforced. In Georgia, although there is no inspector, the affidavits
are open to inspection by the grand jury. An effective law would
require proof independently of the parents’ oath. It would then
be impossible to have parents swearing, as in Alabama, that their
children were 12 years old but at the same time unable to swear when
they were born.1
The weekly working hours are limited for children in all the States,
ranging from a maximum of 66 hours a week in North Carolina and
Georgia to a maximum of 60 hours in South Carolina. In none of
the States, however, except South Carolina is the daily maximum
of working hours prescribed. In Alabama children under 14 years
of age may not work over 60 hours a week, which means, of course,
that those manufacturing establishments desiring to operate longer
hours get rid of children under 14 years of age with a success
dependent on the effectiveness of the law limiting ages. Children
over 14 years of age may be worked indefinitely long. Nightwork
is forbidden children under 12 years in South Carolina, under 14
years in North Carolina and Georgia, and under 16 years in Ala­
bama. In North Carolina and Georgia there is no means of enforc­
ing this law; in the two States with inspectors, filing the age and
birth certificates furnishes the necessary basis for enforcement, but
subject, of course, to the same disability as the age provisions dis­
cussed above.
The school-attendance requirements vary greatly. There are no
requirements in North and South Carolina, except for children who
are employed under the exceptions in the law. In North Carolina
1 First Annual Report of the Department for the Inspection of Jails and Almshouses
and Cotton Mills, Factories, etc. (1909), p. 9.




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apprenticed children 12 to 13 years of age and in South Carolina
children under 12 years, not orphans, children of widows or disabled
fathers, who work in summer must have attended school four months
in the past year. The obscure wording of the Georgia law makes its
construction difficult, but the intent seems to be that children under
14 years must be able to read and write and shall have attended
school for 12 weeks in the past year (six weeks consecutively), and
that children until reaching 18 must attend school 12 weeks a year.
Alabama requires children between 12 and 16 years to attend school
eight weeks a year. Certificates of school attendance are required
by law in South Carolina and Georgia. In Alabama the factory
inspector has adopted a system of certificates for his convenience,
although the law is silent on the subject.
In contrasting the legislation of the beginnings of industrialism
in the two sections, one is at once struck by the fact that the protec­
tion provided for children prior to 1860 came in the New England
States from the interest in education, and in the other States from
the agitation of labor for a reduction of hours, and that, relatively
speaking, limitation of age was rare. In the South at the present
time, following the example of later legislation elsewhere, the
emphasis is laid on directly limiting the age as the most effective
means of striking at the roots of child labor. Educational scruples
have played less part there. The practice more or less usual in the
earlier legislation of limiting the hours of labor for children under
specified ages has not been followed except in Alabama.
It has already been pointed out that the wording of the law in
three of the Southern States forbids not only the employment of chil­
dren by the owner or agent, etc., but their working in the establish-,
ment with parents or relatives. In only two of the four States limit­
ing the age of employment of children in industry before 1860 was
the law worded so as to prevent children from working in this way.
The Pennsylvania and New Jersey laws stated that no child under
the age mentioned should be “ admitted as a worker.” Pennsylvania
changed the wording of the law the next year, when the age limit
was raised to 13 years, to forbidding the employment of children in
or about the factory, thereby making a loophole to allow them to
work so long as they were not employed by the employer. The Rhode
Island and Connecticut laws merely forbade their employment in or
about the manufacturing establishment.
The “ knowingly and willfully” provision is a common feature
of the laws of the two sections at the same periods of their industrial
development. With the exception of Connecticut all the laws prior
to 1860 limiting the age of employment contain a provision exonerat­
ing the manufacturer from violating the law unless he knowingly




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and willfully did so. Similarly, in the South the States, with the
exception of Georgia, have the same exonerating provision, with the
result that not a single suit for violation of the child-labor laws has
been brought even in States with factory inspection. The 1907 law
of Alabama in regard to false affidavits of age even goes to the length
of making the prosecutor establish that the signer of the age affidavit,
the parent, knowingly made a false affidavit as to the age of his child.
The most significant similarity between the legislation of the two
sections lies in the absence of factory inspectors, whose especial duty
it is to see that the laws are enforced. The Alabama and South Caro­
lina laws have quite recently installed factory inspection, but the laws
of Georgia and North Carolina still rely, as did the legislation be­
fore 1860, upon “ the thousand-eyed police, public opinion,” which
was then considered an adequate enforcer of factory legislation. It
is interesting and it may not be unprofitable to see just what the
experience of the earlier legislation was that led to the adoption of
factory inspection.
Starting with Massachusetts, the commission on the hours of labor
reported in 1866 that “ the most marked and inexcusable evil ” brought
to their notice was the condition of the factory children, and that the
law was frequently and grossly violated.1 A witness from New Bed­
ford wrote that girls as young as 7 years were employed there and
kept away from school. A letter from Fall River stated that 652
children, between 8 and 14 years, were all kept from school, and that
the majority of them were unable to read and write. In Lawrence it
was reported that a great number of children from 12 to 15 years did
nightwork, and that the 10-hour law for children under 12 years was
constantly violated.2 The commission thought the people generally
had no idea of the violation of the law. “ They have felt something
of that happy complacency,” their report continued, “ and freedom
from all responsibility in the matter indicated by a writer, who coolly
tells the commission that4the State regulates the attendance at school
of children employed by manufacturing companies.5 The existence
of this law is accepted as the assurance that all is right.” 3 They rec­
ommended that the law be changed so as to double the amount of
schooling required or that the English half-time system be adopted,
and that an inspector be appointed to enforce the laws.4 “ It is
plain,” they wrote, “ that no change in the law will meet the diffi­
culty, without adequate means for its enforcement. We regard,
therefore, this last suggestion as vitally important to the success of
all legislation on the subject. Here has been the great difficulty with
1 Massachusetts Legislative Documents, House, 1866, No. 98, pp. 4, 5.
2 Idem, pp. 5, 6.
8 Idem, pp. 8, 9.
4 Idem, p. 49.




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the law as it stands. Inadequate as it is, it has not been enforced, for
want of a responsible person willing to incur the odium of making
the complaint and entering upon the prosecution. We are persuaded,
from the testimony before us, that the difficulty in enforcing the law
does not lie with the employer or the parents exclusively. Interest
and necessity both combine in producing the violation, and it is only
necessary that a thoroughly competent person, whose heart is in the
work and who sees clearly the importance of the law to the highest
welfare of the children, be appointed to the responsible trust of
securing its enforcement.” 1
As a result a law forbidding the employment of children under 10
years of age in manufacturing establishments was passed. Children
under 14 years of age had to attend school 6 months each year, nor
could they be employed more than 8 hours a day. The governor, at
his discretion, might instruct the constable of the State and his depu­
ties to enforce the provisions of the law.2 The governor did not,
however, see fit to have the deputies enforce the law, and the Boston
Daily Voice, a labor paper, complained that the new law went unen­
forced.3
In the meantime the educational features of the act called forth
various remonstrances. The selectmen of Ware, North Adams, Wil­
liamsburg, Northampton, Holyoke^ Easthampton, etc., protested
against a law which required the workers in manufacturing estab­
lishments to attend school longer than was required of other persons.
“As a class they are more dependent on their labor than the rest of
the community,” wrote the Ware selectmen, “ and the effect of such a
law would be to impoverish those whom it is intended to befriend and,
in some cases, make them a charge on the town for support.” 4 The
school committee and selectmen of West Boylston protested that the
act was “ detrimental to the manufacturing and mechanical interests
of the State, is oppressive in its bearing upon a vast number of fami­
lies now usefully and profitably employed, and is unjust in its dis­
crimination against this whole element of our needy population,
both foreign and native. * * * It will increase the cost of manu­
facture by necessitating the employment of older and more expensive
help. * * * It discharges from employment a multitude of chil­
dren who are the main dependence of infirm parents.” 4
The law was considerably modified the next year. The 10-year
age limit was extended to mechanical establishments, and children
from 10 to 15 years were not required to attend school more than
1 Massachusetts Legislative Documents, House, 1866, No. 98, pp. 10, 11.
a Acts of 1866, ch. 273.
a Oct. 3, 1866.
4 Massachusetts Archives, House Files, 1867, “ Rejected bills.”




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three months, or they could attend half-time schools three hours a
day for six months. Instead of the eight-hour day for children
under 14 years, which the previous act had granted, the weekly
hours were raised to 60 for children under 15 years of age. This time
the act made it the duty of the State constable to detail a deputy to
enforce all laws regulating the employment of children.1 Although
the Boston Weekly Voice spoke of the law as a shame to the working­
men of Massachusetts, the principle of factory inspection was at
last established.2
As this is the only instance in this country of adopting the halftime system of England, even at the expense of digressing somewhat,
the subject demands closer investigation. The English system al­
lowed children under a certain age limit to work a prescribed number
of hours a day and to attend school a certain number of hours, and
involved, of course, two sets of children. Although very much dis­
cussed, the half-time school was actually adopted in only two mills,
Naumkeag and Indian Orchard. The system at the Naumkeag mills,
in Salem, Mass., approached most nearly that of England. There, a
sufficient number of children were employed so as to spare one set of
them for school each half day for 26 weeks of the year, so that each
set received 13 weeks’ full schooling a year. The forenoon set went to
the mill at 1 o’clock, having already attended school, while the after­
noon set left the mill at 12 o’clock, having the rest of the day for
school, play, and meals. The two sets alternated every fortnight.
The pay of the children was diminished about 16 per cent. A modi­
fication of the English plan was tried in 1868 at the Indian Orchard
mills, near Springfield. The children worked at the mill until noon,
at 1 o’clock they went to school for three hours with recess, and at 4
o’clock returned to the mill. They worked eight hours and attended
school for three hours, and had no time for play.3 The agent of
the mills reported that the children received three-fourths wages,
but that their monthly pay amounted to about the same as before,
since they worked more regularly.4 Later, in 1870, a change was
made to the English system, and the children then worked one-half
the time—five and three-fourths hours—and went to school three
hours, but this was afterwards abandoned, as the wages for half-time
work were too low.
At first the half-time schools were very generally indorsed, but
later the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that
the combination of eight hours’ work and three hours’ study was too
* Acts of 1867, ch. 285.
2 Aug. 1, 18G7.
a Report of the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, 1872. p. 463.
4 Idem, 1871, p. 494.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------17




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severe and claimed quite the same consideration as the agitation
which was going on about overstudy in the public schools.1 In 1875
the bureau opposed the system as a “ dangerous and deluding make­
shift.” The period of childhood should be the period of free and
unrestricted growth, and especially was such a childhood necessary
in America, where the general tendency of life was toward great
intensity. Childhood should be, moreover, the period of mental and
moral discipline and education. They effectually clinched the matter
by the following: “ We believe in short that children should have no
legal status as workers, but only as pupils; and above all, that the
poverty of parents should not be allowed to foster the one condition
or frustrate the other, inasmuch as it is unwise for the State to per­
mit the future usefulness of its citizens to be jeopardized by causes
within its control.
“ We believe that the opportunities for education should be the
same for all the children in the State; and that a special and neces­
sarily poorer class of schools should not be established for the chil­
dren of the poor. We believe this because it would be a direct blow
at the democratic foundations on which our governmental structure
rests.”2
Turning next to Rhode Island, everything there points to the vio­
lation of the laws of 1853,1854, and 1856.8 The school commissioner’s
report for 1857, after complaining of the increasing absence of the
children from school, held the failure of the manufacturers to comply
with the law as partly responsible. The commissioner laid the blame,
however, on the parents who persuaded the manufacturers to employ
their children.4 In 1870 the newly created board of education recom­
mended that the employers of children should enter into a voluntary
agreement to abide by the law, such as had been adopted in Connec­
ticut. The Connecticut board had stated that the manufacturers of
Connecticut were handicapped in enforcing the child-labor laws by
the laxity in Rhode Island.5 Again the following year the board
complained that the law had been long inoperative. They estimated
the number of children deprived of school as between four and five
thousand and reported that the voluntary agreement had not met
with sufficient acceptance to make it workable.6 The next year the
* Report for 1871, pp. 489, 498.
2 Report for 1875. pp. 00, 01.
8 Towles, op. cit., pp. 27, 28.
4 Report of the Rhode Island Public School Commissioner, 1857, p. 18, cited by Towles
op. cit., p. 27.
5 Report of the Rhode Island Board of Education, 1870, p. ix. The agreement ran as
follow s: “ We hereby agree that from and after the beginning of the next term of our
public school, or schools, we will employ no children under------- years of age, except those
who are provided with a certificate from the local school officers, of actual attendance at
school the full term required by law.”
6 Idem, 1871, pp. x m , xiv.




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board expressed itself more strongly and recommended compulsory
education.1
In 1875, according to the State census, there were 1,258 children
under 12 years of age, the legal age limit, employed in the cotton
mills. Of these 599 were 11 years old; 433, 10; 146, 9; 64, 8; 8, 7;
5, 6; and 3, 5 years of age. The commissioner of industrial sta­
tistics reported in 1887 that the law was generally disregarded and
only in a few cases was any attempt made to comply strictly with its
provisions. What he said on the subject is precisely what one hears
to-day: 4 There are many ways of getting around the law. The
4
parents, who are, of course, the chief offenders, will overstate the
ages of their children, and the manager of the mill seldom questions
their statements. Then, employers claim, and with reason, that unless
there is a general cooperation among the different factories to live up
to the law, the exceptional ones who do live up to it do so at their
own disadvantage. Thus, if one mill in a manufacturing town
refuses to employ children under the lawful age, and another mill in
the same town or in a neighboring town will employ them, the
parents will leave the first mill for the second. In this way they
have lost some of their most reliable help.” The commissioner said
that when he visited the mills and called the manager’s attention to
the small children in the mill, he was told they were only visitors
who had brought dinner for older members of the family, or they
were taking the places of older brothers and sisters for a few minutes.
The truant officers charged with enforcing the law of 1883 only par­
tially did so. They were appointed by the town councils, the mem­
bers of which in many cases owed their election to the manufac­
turers’ support, and sometimes the truant officers were appointed by
the town councils with the understanding that they would let the
factories alone.2
The Connecticut laws were never enforced, and in the revision of
1875 were omitted altogether.3 How well the school visitors enforced
the law of 1842 may be judged from the remark of one of them, “ If
I were to attempt to execute the present law the village would be too
hot to hold me.” 4 In the same way the constables and grand jurors
who were to enforce the limitation of hours failed to perform the
extra duty.
In New Hampshire, although the difficulties of enforcing the childlabor laws without factory inspection were never discussed to any
great extent, there are indications that the laws were not enforced.
In 1879 the school superintendent stated that a large majority of the
4,000 children reported as not attending any schools were to be found
1 Report of the Rhode Island Board of Education, 1872, pp. 11, 12.
2 Report of the Commissioner of Industrial Statistics, 1887, pp. 17, 18.
8 A. M. Edwards, Labor Legislation of Connecticut, p. 30.
4 Edwards, op. cit., p. 9.




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in the manufacturing towns, and that they were the children of
French Canadian parents.1 That year for the first time in New"
Hampshire the law set a limit upon the age of employment of chil­
dren, forbidding those under 10 years to work in manufacturing
establishments.2 Two years afterwards a law was passed giving
truant officers the enforcement of the educational features of the law
of 1847. It was left optional with the school committees whether
they would require inspection work of the officers, or, indeed, whether
the}7 would appoint them.3 The law was the outcome of a bill to
authorize the school committee of Manchester to elect a truant officer.4
The Manchester school committee had complained of the difficulty of
getting the French Canadians, who had immigrated there to secure
employment in the mills, to send their children to school. Out of
the entire school population of the town, 5 to 15 years of age, 3,153
attended school and 1,271, or nearly one-third, stayed away. Of the
latter, 030 were French Canadians. These, parents and children
alike, rebelled against the compulsory-education law and did every­
thing to circumvent it. The committee stated that the superinten­
dent in his official dealing with the question met “ almost daily with
instances of unblushing deception in children and parents, de­
termined, if possible, to cheat him out of a few days in reckoning
the required three months’ schooling.5
From Maine comes the same storv of unenforcement of the earlier
laws. As in Connecticut, the school committee might inquire into
violations of the law, but they also failed to do so. The governor’s
annual message of 1874 said that the factory act requiring school
attendance was a dead letter,6 and later, in.1885, that the law restrict­
ing the hours of labor of women and children was violated.7 Apart
from the compulsory Education law of 1875, nothing further was done
for factory children until the act of 1887, which, for the first time,
carried inspection with it.
In New Jersey the bureau of statistics of labor and industries
reported, in 1878, that the employers had ignored their questions
about the employment of children, from which it was inferred that
the law had been neglected.8 The next year the report showed that
169 children under 10 years of age, the legal age limit, were working
in factories.9 The testimony of the operatives showed that children
1 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 1870, p. 173.
3 Acts of 1879, ch. 21.
3 Acts of 1881, ch. 42.
4 House Journal, 1881, p. 090.
6 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1SS1, p. 4S.
6 Whitin, op. cit., p. 49.
7 Governor’s message, 1885. p. 4 2 ; Wliitin, op. cit.. p. 51.
8 Report of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor and Industries, 1878, pp. 23-27.
9 ld em } 1879, pp. 96, 97.




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as young as 7 years were employed.1 When the factory inspector
finally was appointed he stated in his first report that, as far as
enforcement was concerned, the early laws might as well have never
been passed. “ It is scarcely to the credit of our State,” he wrote,
“ that 83 years after the passage of the 10-hour law feeble young girls
under 10 years of age and children almost too young for school
should be found toiling in our manufacturing establishments.” 2
Similarly in Pennsylvania the commissioner of industrial statistics
reported the educational features of the child-labor law a dead letter,
as far as 3 month’s consecutive schooling within the year was con­
cerned. “ Nor can this be wondered at when we contemplate that the
enforcement of the wholesome provision alluded to devolves upon
no one in particular, but is general in character, giving to the party
suing, whoever it may be, one-half the fine imposed.’* He recom­
3
mended that the duty of enforcement should be invested in some local
or county official. As to the 10-hour law, he declared that it was
not, as a rule, adhered to.4 In 1884 the commissioner repeated that
factory legislation was a “ farce in Pennsylvania, there being no
proper person to enforce what little statutory regulations as do exist
upon the statute books.” He said that the constables had never been
known to report a violation.5
1 Report of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor and Industries, 1881, pp. 97-100.
2 First Annual Report of the New Jersey Inspector of Labor of Children, 1883, p. 7.
8 Report of the Bureau of Industrial Statistics, 1880-81, p. 102.
4 Idem, p. 103.
r Idem, 1884, p. 20.
>







CHAPTER VIL—CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH CHIL­
DREN LEAVE SCHOOL TO GO TO WORK*
This report, which forms the seventh volume of the general inves­
tigation into the condition of woman and child workers, embodies
an intensive study of the conditions under which 622 children from
seven different communities left school and began their industrial
life. The places selected for study were Pawtucket and Woonsocket
in Rhode Island, Plymouth and Hazleton in Pennsylvania, Colum­
bia, S. C., Columbus, Ga., and a group of three small mill towns near
Columbus, partly in Georgia and partly in Alabama. These were
chosen as being fairly typical of three separate sections of the coun­
try and as furnishing a considerable variety of educational and in­
dustrial opportunities for the children under consideration.
In these communities the names were first secured of all the chil­
dren who had left school during a period of approximately half a
school year. All who were over 16, all who had left from above the
grammar grades, and all who had not gone to work after leaving
were dropped from the list, leaving for detailed study all under 16
who had left from elementary or grammar grades to go to work during
the selected period. This left 353 boys and 269 girls, from 6 to 15
years of age, whose circumstances were studied in much detail. Botli
parochial and public schools were included in the study.
RACE OF CHILDREN STUDIED.
Racially the composition of the groups of children thus secured
showed much variation from place to place. More than four-fifths
(83.9 per cent) had been born in the United States, but only 50.7 per
cent had American fathers. In the three southern places the children
were predominantly of native stock, but in the northern places the
proportion of such children varied from 60.7 per cent in Hazleton to
15.7 per cent in Woonsocket. The leading foreign race among them
in Rhode Island was French Canadian, in Plymouth Slavic, and in
Hazleton German. In the northern places children of American par­
entage appeared among those leaving school for work far less numer­
ously than their proportion in the population warranted. In the
southern places the children were so generally of American descent
that no comparisons were possible.



263

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CAUSES FOR LEAVING SCHOOL,
To judge whether a financial necessity existed for the withdrawal
of these children from school, a careful study was made of the family
income for the preceding year, and from its total were subtracted the
earnings of any children under 10, rent or taxes, and any expenses
for sickness or death. In endeavoring to ascertain whether or not a
child’s earnings were really necessary, the ground was taken that
ordinarily if, after deducting the above items, the per capita weekly
income were as much as $2, necessity could not be considered the real
reason; if it fell as low as $1.50, the child’s wages might legitimately
be regarded as necessary; and between these two points whether or
not the wages were necessary would depend so much upon the char­
acter of the family that it might almost be called a question of morals
or intellect rather than of finance. On this basis a study of family
incomes and causes of the children's withdrawals gave the following
remits:
X U M B E li AN D VFM CENT OF C H IL D R E N L E A V IN G SCHOOL FOR SP E C IF IE D
CAU SES.

Cause for child leaving school to work.
Necessity...........................................................
Child’s help desired though not accessary.
Child’s dissatisfaction with school...............
Child’s preference for work............................
Miscellaneous ca uses.......................................
T otal.......................................................

Number. Per cent.
186
173
165
61
35

30.0
27.9
26.6
9.8
5.7

100.0

Necessity, it will be seen, accounts for less than one-third of the
withdrawals, while a desire for the child's earnings, not occasioned
by real need, accounts for nearty as large a proportion. In not far
from two-fifths of the cases (80.4 per cent) the withdrawal was due
to the child’s own attitude toward work or school, an attitude in
which the parents seemed to acquiesce without serious protest. Six­
teen children left on account of health, 0 to take advantage of a good
opportunity to learn a trade, and 7 because of company pressure: i. e.,
the companies who employed the adults of the families needed more
young workers and insisted upon these children coming into the
mills regardless of their own or their parents’ wishes. In prac­
tically two-fifths of the cases (39.5 per cent), the parents declared
themselves able and willing to have sent the children to school longer
had the latter been willing to go. The influence of vacation work in
leading to a permanent withdrawal from school is strikingly shown.
Seventy-two of the children studied began work during vacation,
intending to return to school when it reopened. Only 23 of them
carried out their intention, while 49 having got fairly started at
work, decided to keep on.



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WORK.

In the cases in which withdrawal was due to necessity the family’s
poverty rarely seemed attributable to parental fault or indolence.
The ablebodied father living in idleness w
’hile his wife and children
worked was so infrequent as to be almost a negligible factor, and
deserting fathers were scarcely more numerous. Only 18 cases, con­
cerning 2.0 per cent of the children studied, were found in which
fathers had been unemployed during any part of the preceding
year, 1907-8, by their choice or fault. The widowed mother appeared
rather numerously, just one-fifth of the children coming from homes
in which neither father nor stepfather was found.
GRADES REACHED BY CHILDREN BEFORE LEAVING.
The majority of these children were leaving school with but
scanty educational attainments. Less than one-fourth had reached
the seventh grade and only a trifle over one-half had reached the
fifth. The proportion who left before reaching the fifth grade was
for the various localities as follows:
Per cent.

Pawtucket, R. I ____:--------------------------------------------------------------- -- 28.2
Woonsocket, It. I ______________________________________________42. 2
Columbus, Ga_________________________________________________ _58. 5
Georgia and Alabama Counties______________________________ _76.6
Columbia, S. C-----------------------------------------------------------------------------77.4
Plymouth, Pa--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- 48.8
Hazleton, P a--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- 14. 8

Total________________________________________________

4 0 .0

A significant fact was that, in spite of the low grade reached, 473,
or 83.3 per cent, of these children were above the average age of
their classmates. The difference in age was considerable, 50 being 5
years or more older, 142 being 3 years, and 143 2 years older
than the average of their classes.
It is not surprising to find that this degree of retardation was
accompanied by a considerable amount of dissatisfaction with the
r
schools. Xearly half the children (48.9 per cent) were dissatisfied,
the proportion ranging from 32.9 per cent in Columbus, Ga., to
60.2 per cent in Plymouth. As far as could be discovered, the dis­
satisfaction was due to a dislike of the general manner of life in
school rather than to any specific cause of complaint. It w more
ras
general among children than among parents, and although most
prevalent among the dull and backward pupils was by no means
confined to them. Taking all places together, 39.5 per cent of the
bright children were dissatisfied, as against 46.9 per cent of the
average and 67.1 per cent of the dull. Apparently the introduction
of manual or industrial training would not have altered the situ


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ation materially, as of 583 children questioned on the point only
89 boys and 54 girls thought they would have been more desirous
of staying in school if such training had been provided.
INDUSTRIAL EXPERIENCES OF CHILDREN STUDIED.
Turning to the industrial experiences of the children, it is notice­
able that the age at beginning work was appreciably lower than
that of leaving school, due to the fact that 137 had worked before,
then returned to school, and were now leaving again. The average
age at beginning work was for the various localities as follows:
Years.
Pawtucket anti Woonsocket. It. I
Columbus, Ga., and environs.
Columbia, S. C.
Plymouth and Hazleton, Pa

14.1

11.8

10. T
13.4

On beginning work the children entered a great variety of indus­
tries, mostly of low grade.
Practically 90 per cent of the boys and all of the girls entered
industries whose average weekly wage for all employees is under $10;
7 per cent of the boys entered industries whose average wage is
between $10 and $15; and 3 per cent entered industries whose average
wage is $15 or over.1
In the interval between the time the children entered these in­
dustries and the time when the investigation was made, an interval
ranging from a few weeks to nearly a year, according to the ex­
perience of the individual child, there had been little passing from
one of the above industry groups to another. The girls remained
without exception in the lowest group. Among the boys there had
been a slight movement, the proportion rising to a higher group ex­
ceeding the proportion which sank to a lower, but the numbers
concerned were too small to justify any conclusions.
The hours of work were generally long, only 16.9 per cent work­
ing less than 10 hours daily. Seventy-two worked 11 hours, and 13
12 hours or more daily. These excessively long hours were found
chiefly in the southern communities and largely among the children
working in stores and for telegraph companies.
The wages received by the boys at the time of the investigation
ranged from under $1 to $16.50 a week, the latter amount being
enjoyed by only one boy. Among the girls they ranged from less
than $1 up to $10 a week, this maximum again being reached by
only one. The largest wage group found, numbering 99, received
from $5 to $5.50 a week, but a considerably larger number earned
under than over this amount—365 below and 146 above, with 3
1 Vol. V II, Conditions Under W hich Children Leave School to Go to W ork, p. 152.




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children not reporting and 9 working for relatives, who paid no
wages. There seemed little connection between age and wages re­
ceived, and still less between the school grade reached and wages
received. As to the latter point, much of the work undertaken by
the children is of such a character that it requires little mental train­
ing : “ 50.6 per cent of the employers say that no education whatever
is needed by the larger number of their employees in order to do the
best work.” 1
DEGREE OF CHOICE EXERCISED IN GETTING WORK.
Apparently very little discrimination was shown in regard to the
industry entered, the child taking in general the first place he could
find or going where friends or relatives worked. Only 11.3 per cent
(70 children) seemed to exercise much choice; of these 38.6 per
cent (27 children) selected their work for the purpose of learning
a trade or skilled occupation, while the others were attracted by
desirable work or good initial wages. There was a good deal of
drifting about from one occupation to another, 34.5 per cent of the
children having changed employers from one to three or more times,
and four-fifths of these changes having been to a different industry.
A considerable portion of this was mere aimless drifting about, but
nevertheless the child who changed employers seemed to have a
considerably better chance of receiving higher wages than the child
who worked away steadily in one position.
In a large number of cases the attitude of both parents and chil­
dren toward the child’s work was one of passive acceptance; the
child took the first place which offered, and as to what was to come
after that, why, time would show. In other cases, both had more
definite ideas of what they wanted. In 43.6 per cent of the cases
the parents and in 49 per cent the children had definite ambitions
as to their future occupations. These ambitions covered a great
variety of pursuits, but for boys skilled manual trades and for girls
dressmaking and millinery appeared to be the leading choices. Un­
fortunately the prospects for realizing these ambitions were far
from good.
In more than two-thirds [69.7 per cent] of the cases where the
boys are intelligent enough to have a definite ambition, the work they
are doing is in no way related to that ambition and affords no pos­
sible opportunity of furthering it. * * * Among the girls there
is even less connection between occupation and ambition. In 17 of
the 120 cases in which girls had a definite ambition their work gave,
them the openings needed for gratifying it, but in 103 cases (85.8
per cent) the work offered no possible chance for furthering the
ambition.2
1 Vol. VII, Conditions Under Which Children Leave School to Go to Work, pp. 240, 241.
2 Idem, p. 189.




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ILLEGAL EMPLOYMENT.
Special attention was given to the subject of illegal employment.Almost one-third of the children (203, or 32.6 per cent) had at one
time or another worked under illegal conditions, some of* them having
been so employed more than once. About one-sixth (102) were work­
ing illegally at the time of the investigation. The illegalities ranged
from merely being* at work without legal papers, though of full legal
age, to niglitwork below the permitted age, unlawfully long hours,
employment in prohibited occupations, employment below the legal
age, and so forth. There seemed little connection between race and
illegal employment, the latter depending much more upon the ease
with which in a given community the law might be evaded, or the
impunity with which it might be defied. No one pursuit showed any
marked excess of cases of illegal employment in proportion to the
number of children employed in it. The most striking feature of the
situation was that of the whole number of illegalities involved (281,
oiie child not infrequently having been employed under several dif­
ferent illegal conditions) only 16 were terminated by official action
on the part of school authorities, factory inspectors, employers, or
others, the remainder having been left to correct themselves or to go
uncorrected. The laws of the different States differed so widely that
any comparison of illegalities by localities was hardly practicable.
Some of the worst conditions found in the way of premature employ­
ment, long hours, and niglitwork were wholly legal.
A special study was made of the incomes of families in which chil­
dren were found working during the period covered by the investiga­
tion at an illegally early age. Information was secured for 71 such
cases. Measuring the family income by the standard used in decid­
ing upon t-lie real reason for leaving school, it was found that in 28.2
per cent of these cases the children's earnings were really needed, in
29.6 per cent it would depend upon the character of the family
whether or not there was real need for them, and in 42.3 per cent
necessity could not reasonably be pleaded as an excuse.
RETARDATION, REPEATING, AND ELIMINATION.
The report includes a chapter upon retardation, repeating, and
elimination in the six cities studied, which is based upon the statistics
for the school population as a whole, instead of being confined to
those children who had left school to go to work. A very consider­
able amount of retardation existed.
The number and per cent of pupils as measured by two different
standards are shown in the following table. The first standard
assumes any age under 8 in the first grade as normal (the average
for the first grade nowhere falls below 7 years) and that any pupil



C H IL D R E N

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8 years of age or over in that grade or more than one year older than
normal for each succeeding grade is retarded. The second standard
takes as normal the age at which the largest number of first-grade
pupils is found—the “ mode” age, as it is often called—and any
pupil more than one year older than this normal for each succeeding
grade is considered as retarded.
NUMBETl ANT) PEtt CENT OF PUPILS R E T A R D E D .

Locality.

Standard I.—-Any age
under 8 in grade 1
considered as normal
(one year added for
normal age in each
succeeding grade).

Standard II.—Mode age in grade 1
considered as normal (one year
added for normal age in each suc­
ceeding grade).

Pupils retarded.

Pupils retarded.
Mode age
in grade 1.
Number.
Pawtucket, R . I ................................................
Woonsocket, R . 1..............................................
Columbus, Ga...................................................
Columbia, S. C..................................................
Plymouth, Pa...................................................
Hazleton, Pa.....................................................

1,426
1,181
790
786
872
9C3

Per cent.
28.0
40.8
51.5
50.8
48.7
41.3

Number.
6
6
7
7
7
6

2,967
1,844
790
786
872
1,748

Per cent.
58.2
63.7
51.5
50.8
48.7
75.0

This summary shows very well the different results obtained by
using the two standards, a difference not only in the absolute but in
the relative amount of retardation. Thus, Pawtucket which, accord­
ing to the first standard, has the smallest per cent of retardation,
falls back to the fourth place when the second standard is used, and
Hazleton, which by the first standard stands third in the list, sinks
to the very foot of the list when the second is applied.
It is an open question which standard is the fairer. In favor of
standard II, the movable standard, it may be said, first, that Paw­
tucket and Woonsocket admit pupils to school at the age of 5 years,
and secondly, that in a nine-grade system, such as is found in Paw­
tucket and Woonsocket, a pupil must enter at 5 years of age and
progress a grade each year, in order to graduate at what is generally
considered the normal age for graduation, namely, 1-L A pupil
of 6 in grade 1 in Pawtucket and Woonsocket is, therefore, practi­
cally more retarded than a pupil of 7 in Columbus and Columbia,
which have seven-year systems. Standard II is not, however, as
strict as this comparison might suggest, for a pupil of 6 is considered
of normal age in Pawtucket and Woonsocket equally with a pupil of
7 in Columbus and Columbia.
It will be noticed that whichever standard is used, there is but a
small amount of difference found in the country at large.1 According
to standard I, Pawtucket is the only place showing a marked varia­
tion from the others, having a much smaller per cent of retarded
pupils than the other five, while by standard II Hazelton is the only
place showing a pronounced divergence.
Another noteworthy point, considering the relatively high stand­
ing of most of the places in the industrial and educational world,
1 Compare Leonard P. A y re*, Laggards in our Schools, p. 3 : 7 per cent to 75 per cent
retarded.




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is the large percentage of retarded children. The poorest town from
a civic point of view, Plymouth, has the smallest (though not a
small) percentage of retarded children, according to standard II.
All the places, by either standard (except Pawtucket by standard
I), have a higher percentage of retarded pupils than the estimated
average for the whole country, viz., 33 per cent.1
A study of repeaters in the grades in the spring of 1910 follows,
from which it is evident that failure to complete a grade in the time
assigned is by no means the only or even the main cause of retarda­
tion. For the various cities the repeaters formed the following per­
centages of the total enrollment: 2
Per cent.

Pawtucket ____________________________________________________
Woonsocket-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Columbus_____________________________________________________
Columbia _____________________________________________________
Plym outh_____________________________________________________
Hazleton ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11.4
9. 7
12. 3
10.2
12.1
9 .5

By comparing these figures with those of the preceding table it
will be seen that the repeaters nowhere account for even half the re­
tardation shown, and that Pawtucket, judged by the first standard,
is the only place in which they approach this proportion. When the
second standard is used the repeaters account for from about oneeighth to one-fourth of the retardation shown. The force of these
figures is diminished by the fact that they refer to different years,
but there is no reason to suppose that conditions altered materially
between the spring of 1908 and that of 1910. Apparently late en­
trance, or transfers from one school system to another, or some
combination of causes, rather than inability to do the work of a
grade within the proper time, is responsible for the major part of
the retardation found.
The following table shows the degree to which these different causes
were responsible for repeating. Sixtv-one children for whom no
cause was reported were omitted from consideration.3
NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF BOYS AN D OF GIRLS R EPEATIN G FOR SPECIFIED L E A D ­
ING CAUSES.

Boys.

|

Girls.

Number. Per cent. Number. Per cent.
Irregular attendance or absence4.......................................................
Lack of ability, slowness, dullness, or immaturity........................
Lack of interest or application............................................................
Poor health and physical defects.......................................................
Lack of English....................................................................................

301
203
244
131
64

29.7
20.0
24.1
12.9
6.3

264
164
125
115
64

1
i
1
!
j

34.1
21.2
16.2
14.9
8 .2

1 Vol. V II , Conditions under which Children Leave School to Oo to W ork. pp. 260, 261.
2 Idem, p. 285.
8 Idem, p. 281,
4 Including moving and change of schools.




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The age and sex distribution of repeaters are also studied, but do
not furnish any definite conclusions:
On the whole this study of repeaters may be summarized by saying
that, while the first grade usually contains both the largest number
and the largest proportion, they are found in unexpected numbers
throughout the grades; that the number repeating at each age is
quite uniform from 7 to 13 years, after which it decreases rapidly;
that it is difficult to show any marked difference between girls and
boys as to causes of repeating; and that while inability to accomplish
the prescribed courses and lack of interest in the school work both
account for a considerable proportion of failures, the most important
single cause is found in irregular or nonattendance.1
Confirmation of this last conclusion is found in a table compiled
from data secured from the teachers of the cities studied, showing
the number of pupils who had dropped out during three successive
school years. None were included who had been transferred to other
schools, or who, having left, returned within the same school year.
The proportion thus leaving ranged from 11.4 per cent to 27.7 per
cent of the total enrollment. The proportion of the children thus
leaving who were under 12 years was 52.2 per cent in 1904r-5, 56.4
per cent in 1905-6, and 58 per cent in 1906-7. The great majority of
these children had left before the last two months of the school year
were reached. Consequently those who returned the following year
would almost inevitably have to repeat the grade from which they
had dropped out.
The study of elimination is based on the number of beginners and
repeaters actually enrolled in the first grade in the spring of 1910, as
shown by full records prepared by the individual teachers of the
cities studied. The usual correction for growth of population is
applied, and from the resultant figures the proportion of beginners
remaining to each grade is calculated from the grade memberships of
1908. As two of the cities had seven-grade, two eight-grade, and two
nine-grade courses, comparison of those remaining to the final grade
would be plainly misleading. The fifth grade, however, which is
usually taken as a kind of dividing line below which the greatest
amount of elimination is likely to occur, furnishes a fair basis of
comparison. For the various places the proportion which the fifthgrade membership formed of the beginners stood as follows: 2
Per cent.

Pawtucket, It. I_______________________________________________ _85. 6
Woonsocket. R. I ______________________________________________ _46. 9
Columbus, Ga--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --66. 2
Columbia, S. C________________________________________________ _97.0
Plymouth, Pa_________________________________________________ _34.1
Hazleton, Pa__________________________________________________ _75. 6

1Vol. V II, Conditions
2Idem, p. 290.



under which Children Leave School to Go to W ork, p. 282.

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As the figures showing the grade membership were, except in the
case of Columbia, collected in the spring, these percentages may fairly
be taken as representing the number likely to finish the fifth grade.
It will be seen that the number falls very far short of what, according
to some of the theoretical methods of estimating beginners, it
should be.
In itself the amount of elimination in six specified cities has per­
haps little value, but in this case it gains in importance because it
offers an opportunity for testing by known facts the two principal
methods yet advanced for estimating the number of beginners—the
Thorndike and tlie Ayres methods. According to the first, it will be
remembered, the average of the enrollment of the first three grades is
taken as representing the number of beginners; according to the sec­
ond, this number is found by taking the average of the generations
of children of the ages 7 to 12 years enrolled in the school member­
ship. Tested by the data concerning beginners collected in this inves­
tigation, the first of these methods gives results very much nearer
the correct figures than are obtained by the second. The number of
beginners,.-as estimated by the first method, approached very closely
to the actual figures, once being too large by 47 and once by 2, but
elsewhere being slightly too small. The number of beginners ob­
tained by the second method, on the other hand, was invariably
much too small, only once coming within 100 of the real number, and
elsewhere running down to less than one-half.1
The report ends with a brief study of the number who complete
the grammar grades and enter the high school. Those finishing the
grammar grades range from 2.2 per cent of the total enrollment in
Woonsocket to 5.8 per cent in Hazleton.
But even more striking than the small proportion who finish the
elementary course is the high age at which so many of them reach
this goal. * * * Taking the children from all the places to­
gether, in 1901-5, those who had reached or passed 15 formed 40.8
per cent of the graduates; in 1905-6 they were 46.9, and in 1906-7,
43.9 per cent. This throws an interesting side light on the question
of elimination. It is known that for the great mass of school
children 14 is an outside limit of attendance; indeed it is question­
able whether 13 is not an extreme limit for the majority. But if
from two-fifths to one-half of those graduating are 15 or more, it is
evident that a very large proportion of those whose school life ends
by or before 14 never reach the graduating class.
Passing on from graduation through the first year of high school
attendance, the familiar phenomena of elimination are still apparent.
In every place and for every year some of those graduating from
the lower grades fail to enter the high school, and of those who do
enter a varying but considerable proportion drop out before com­
pleting the first year’s work.2
1Vol. V II, Conditions nndei*
2Idem, p. 303.



which Children Leave School to C.o to W ork, p. 283 et seq.

CHAPTER VIII.—JUVENILE DELINQUENCY AND ITS
RELATION TO EMPLOYMENT.
SCOPE OF REPORT.
The purpose of this study was to discover what basis of fact
underlies the frequently expressed belief that the early employment
of children is apt to lead to delinquency on their part. As a fur­
ther purpose it was desired, if such a tendency were found, to dis­
cover whether it is inherent in the fact of early employment, or
can be traced to certain occupations, and, if so, what these are.
To secure representative cases for study seven cities—Indian­
apolis, Baltimore, Boston, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and
Pittsburgh—were selected, both as affording abundant and varied
opportunities for child labor, and as having juvenile courts and
probation systems, without which aids a detailed study of juvenile
offenders would be exceedingly difficult. Moreover, in all these
places child labor is supervised and regulated, so that there was
little risk that the case against it would be unduly weighted by
abnormally injurious conditions of work. The children coming
before these courts during the year 1907-8 were studied, with the
exception of those in New York, where the numbers concerned were
too large for inclusion, and only those were taken who were on pro­
bation at the time of the visit of investigation. From these courts
the cases of 2,934 boys and 309 girls were secured.
To give the study a wider basis, the children committed during the
selected year from other localities to reformatory institutions in or
near these cities were also included. From these sources the cases of
1,344 boys and 252 girls were secured, so that in all the investigation
dealt with 4,839 children, 4,278 boys and 561 girls.
The offenses committed by these children vary widely, ranging
from truancy and trivial breaches of municipal ordinances to such
crimes as arson and burglary. Larceny is the leading offense for
bovs, with burglary second, but far behind; among the girls, im­
moral conduct leads, with larceny second. Among both boys and
girls “ incorrigibility” appears as a frequent cause of arrest, the
term indicating a generally unsatisfactory condition rather than any
one definite misdemeanor. Recidivism is common, 48.6 per cent of
the boys and 22.6 per cent of the girls having records of previous
offenses.
95053°— Bull. 175— 1G-------18




273

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NUMBER AND PROPORTION OF WORKING AND NONWORKING OFFENDERS.
A working child is defined as one who has been employed, whether
or not he is working at the time of his latest offense. According
to this definition 56.5 per cent of the boys and 62.6 per cent of the
girls were working children. By comparing the number of the
working and nonworking delinquents with the census figures for
working and nonworking children in the places studied, it is shown
that the workers are disproportionately numerous.
Even in Indianapolis, where the nonworking delinquents form a
larger proportion of the whole group than anywhere else, their
ratio to the nonworking is but half that which the working delin­
quents form of the working children. Elsewhere among the boys
the ratio of the working delinquents is from three to over ten times
as great as of the nonworking. Among the girls the disproportion
is even more striking.1
Roughly speaking, the nonworkers are responsible for a little
over one-third, the workers for something under two-thirds of the
offenses. The ages at which these offenses were committed range
from 6 to 16 years. When it is remembered that a majority—
and presumably a large majority—of all the children between these
ages are not working, this preponderance of offenses among the
workers assumes impressive proportions. The excess of working
delinquents is not confined to any one class of offenses. With a few
exceptions, they lead in all forms of wrongdoing. In the case of
forgery the excess of workers is abnormally large. A study of the
individual offender explains this by showing that in the majority of
cases the youthful forger has been engaged in some work which has
familiarized him with the uses of commercial paper and the oppor­
tunities for forgery.2
The excess of workers appears even more strongly among the
recidivists than among the first offenders (65.8 per cent of the
recidivists were working children, 34.2 per cent nonworking), and
in general among the serious offenders as markedly as among the
petty delinquents. Burglary among girls presents a curious excep­
tion in this respect, 5 of the 6 cases of this crime found among
them having been committed by nonworking girls who were still
attending school. Among the boys guilty of burglary, although
the workers show an excess, the two groups are more nearly equal
than for any other offense except truancy, 389 cases of burglary
having been committed by working and 324 by nonworking boys.
No explanation of this variation is attempted.
The proportion of working delinquents is especially striking among
the younger offenders. Of the 938 boys under 12 more than onefifth (22.4 per cent) were workers, an impressive percentage when
1Vol. V II I, Juvenile Delinquency
2Idem, pp. 39 and 40.



and its Relation to Employment, ch. 2, p. 37.

J U V E N IL E

D E L IN Q U E N C Y .

275

it is remembered how small a proportion of all the children under
12 can be at work in the localities studied. Among the boys of 12
and 13 years 42.4 per* cent and among those from 14 to 16 years
80.8 per cent were workers. At this latter age, however, the ma­
jority of boys would naturally be at work, so the high percentage
here is less significant Among girls the proportion of working
delinquents stood: Under 12 years, 9.4 per cent; 12 and 13 years,
36.4 per cent; 14 to 16 years, 77.7 per cent.
CONDITIONS POSSIBLY CONTRIBUTORY TO DELIN­
QUENCY.
AGE.

A study was made of conditions which might lead to delinquency
to see how far the excess of workers may be accounted for on other
grounds than that of early employment. Age, parental condition,
nativity of parents, and character of home were the selected condi­
tions. In regard to age no definite conclusions could be reached,
since the age at which children are most likely to become unman­
ageable coincides pretty closely with the age at which, in the
States studied, the great majority go to work, so that the relative
weight of the two factors can hardly be estimated.
PAREN TAL CONDITION.

Considering these delinquents as a whole, they seem to show very
clearly the effect of unfortunate parental conditions. Only 57.5
per cent of the boys and 34.2 per cent of the girls were living under
normal conditions; that is, in their own homes with their own fathers
and mothers. Seven per cent of the boys and 17.6 per cent of the
girls were orphans or deserted children, 24.3 per cent of the boys
and 27.9 per cent of the girls were half orphans whose surviving
parent had not remarried, while the remainder lived with step­
parents or with strangers. The loss of a father seemed much more
likely to lead to delinquency than the loss of a mother; 17 per cent
of the boys were fatherless against 7.3 per cent without mothers,
while among the girls 18.5 per cent had lost fathers and 9.4 per cent
were motherless. The girls were markedly more unfortunate than
the boys in regard to parental condition.
As between workers and nonworkers the former show less favor­
able conditions. Among the boys 45.4 per cent of the workers
ngainst 38.9 per cent of the nonworkers came from broken homes,
while among the girls the proportions stood 67.8 per cent of the
workers to 62.3 per cent of the nonworkers.



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FOREIGN PARENTAGE.

It is widely recognized that children of immigrants are at a dis­
advantage because their parents, owing to unfamiliarity with the
customs of the new land, are less able to guide and control them. In
this respect, again, the workers show an excess of unfavorable condi­
tions. Among the boys 58.8 per cent of the workers as against 50.9
per cent of the nonworkers had foreign-born parents, while among
the girls the same proportions stood 41.7 per cent to 31.8 per cent.
Taking workers and nonwrorkers together, 44.7 per cent of the boys
and G per cent of the girls had native-born parents.
2
CHARACTER OF HOMES.

In regard to the moral character of the homes the situation between
the two groups is reversed, the workers showing an excess of favor­
able conditions. Among the boys only one-fifth of the workers as
opposed to nearly one-third of the nonworkers came from distinctly
bad homes, while from fair and good homes the proportions were
76.2 per cent of workers and 65.4 per cent of nonwT
T
orkers. Among
the girls 54.9 per cent of the workers as against 48.2 per cent of the
nonworkers came from fair and good homes. Taking the group of
delinquents as a whole, 71.6 per cent of the boys and 52.4 per cent of
the girls came from homes in which the moral conditions were fair or
good. Evidently the excess of working delinquents can not be ex­
plained by a reference to home conditions. The working child more
frequently than the nonworking child goes wrong, even where home
7
conditions are favorable.
Of the four factors considered, the effect of one—age—is alto­
gether dubious; one, the nativity of parents, seems to tell against the
worker, but since it was not possible to learn the relative numbers of
native and foreign-born parents in the populations from which these
delinquents were drawn, the figures are not wholly conclusive; in
one, parental condition, the workers were distinctly at a disad­
vantage, while in the fourth, that of home conditions, they were
more fortunate than the nonworkers. Combining these results, it
appears that working children furnish far more than their propor­
tionate share of the group of juvenile delinquents; that this excess is
found wherever they are studied; that it occurs in every age group;
that it is not limited to any one offense; and that it can not be ade­
quately accounted for by parental condition, race, or character of
home and home training. The conclusion seems inevitable that the
fact of being at work constitutes an important element in the problem
and that working children, because they are working rather than
school children, are far more likely to go wrong than those who can
enjoy a childhood unburdened by adult responsibilities.



J U V E N IL E

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277

OCCUPATIONS FROM WHICH DELINQUENTS CAME.
The study of the various industries for the purpose of seeing how
far the children's delinquencies should be attributed to occupational
influences rather than to the mere fact of being at work is ham­
pered by the lack of knowledge concerning the occupational dis­
tribution of children in general. Considerably over half of the
working children (60.7 per cent of the boys and 57.6 per cent of
the girls) were employed at the time of their latest arrest. Among
the boys thus employed the largest proportion from any one occu­
pation (21.83 per cent) came from newsboys, errand boys coming
next with 17.8 per cent. Among the girls domestic service in its
different forms (servant in private family, in hotel or restaurant, or
worker in private family for board and clothes) leads, furnishing
53.95 per cent; the different textile industries come next, giving
12.36 per cent, while workers in stores and markets furnish 5.44 per
cent. In the principal occupation groups there seems a connection
between the general conditions of a given occupation and the lead­
ing offenses committed by the children who follow it. Thus, while
larceny is the leading offense for all the occupations considered, its
importance rises or falls according to the opportunities a pursuit
offers for its easy indulgence. In general, the largest number of
offenders come from the occupations in which the child has little
or no supervision, such as the street trades and the work of errand
and delivery boys, or in which the work brings him into especially
dangerous associations, as in the case of children employed about
bowling alleys and other amusement resorts.
BOY DELINQUENTS IN SIX SPECIFIED PURSUITS.
Six groups of boys from pursuits which seemed specially open to
objection were chosen for detailed study—the errand and delivery
boys, the newsboys and bootblacks, office boys, street venders or ped­
dlers, telegraph messengers, and the boys employed in or about
amusement resorts. From these six groups came 1,176 of the 2,416
working-boy delinquents, or 48.7 per cent, the remaining 51.3 per
cent being scattered among 52 different occupations. The question
at once arises whether the prominence of these occupations is due
to something detrimental in the occupations themselves or whether
the children entering them are specially unfortunate in regard to
home conditions, parentage, etc., and therefore more likely to go
wrong. To test this the following table was constructed, in which
the conditions prevailing among the working delinquents as a whole
(the lowest line of the following table) have been taken as a stand­
ard. Each occupation may be ranked above or below this standard,



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according to whether it shows for the specified detail a more or less
favorable state of affairs than that found among the general body
of working delinquents.
PER CENT OF D E L IN Q U E N T BOYS IN EACH OF FOUR CER TAIN CONDITIONS, B Y
SELECTED OCCUPATIONS.

Per cent of delinquent boys—
Occupation.

12 years
of age
and over.

Newsboys and bootblacks.....................................................
Office boys.................................................................................
Street venders..........................................................................
Telegraph messengers.............................................................
In amusement resorts.............................................................
Total boy delinquents working.................................

Having
both
parents
living,

94.3
72.6

Having
fair or
good
homes.

Native bora
of nativeborn
parents.

78.9

89.4
94.5
90.2

52.5
62.9
54.3
63.6
58.8
41.1

66.0

40.8
32.5
39.1
37.0
42.3
42.8

91.3

54.6

76.2

41.2

97. a

75.8
83.7
65.0

78.9

OCCUPATIONS IN DETAIL.

Taking the different pursuits up in turn, it will be seen that among
the office boys the conditions which may be called intrinsic to the work
itself are on the whole good. Very few young children are employed
(the comparison given above is for 12 years, but 87 per cent of the
office boys are 14 or over), the proportion having both parents living
barely falls below the average for working delinquents, the propor­
tion having fair or good homes is very large, and the percentage hav­
ing native-born parents is but little below the average. One would
r
naturally expect children of this grade to keep out of difficulties with
the law, and their propensity to do otherwise creates a presumption
against the occupation itself. This presumption is strengthened by
an examination of their leading offenses, which show a close connec­
tion with the conditions inherent in the work. Ranked according to
their numerical importance, these offenses are:
NUMBER AN D PER CENT OF OFFICE-BOY DELINQUENTS, B Y CHARACTER OF LAST
OFFENSE COMMITTED,

Office-boy delinquents.
Last offense.
Number.

Per cent.

Larcenv....................................................................................................................................
Incorrigibility........................................................................................................................
Runaway or vagrancy.........................................................................................................
All other..................................................................................................................................

27
6
6

58.6
15.2
13.1
13.1

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

46

100.0

The predominance of larceny becomes more striking by comparison
with the other trades; even the street venders show a smaller per­
centage, and the newsboys fall far below, while a larger percentage
is found only among the errand and delivery boys. An explanation



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easily suggests itself. The office hoy is very apt t o be put in charge
of the stamp drawer or of the petty^ cash or sent out to buy stamps,
any one of which duties offers chances for pilfering easily and with
comparatively small danger of detection. The connection between
the occupation and the other two specified offenses is not so imme­
diately apparent, but shows plainly enough on a little consideration.
An English author well describes the situation:
“ The characteristic evils of boy work, however, invade office work
in a peculiarly subtle and dangerous form. In every city small
offices are to be found in which the whole of the business, such as it is,
is carried on by the master himself, who has frequently to be absent
from his one-roomed office. The office boy, who constitutes the entire
staff, is meanwhile left in charge. He has probably nothing to do,
and spends his time either in vacancy, in mischievous expeditions
along the corridor, or in reading trash of a bloodthirsty nature. He
is at hand to give messages to callers or to run errands. * * *
Speaking generally, he is quite without prospect.” 1
It is not surprising that the generally intractable condition known
as incorrigibility should result from this state of employed idleness,
or that the combination of cheap novels and energy which finds no
sufficient outlet in the day’s work should lead to running away.
Turning to the messengers, it is seen that they are in every respect
above the average of favorable conditions. Moreover, it is well
known that boys taking up this work must be bright and quick;
there is no room in it for the dull and mentally weak. Plainly, then,
in this case the occupation, not the kind of children who enter it, must
be held responsible for its position among the pursuits from which
delinquents come. The characteristic evils of the messenger’s work
are not so clearly reflected among those delinquents, as is the case
with the office boys. The chief charges brought against it are that
the irregular work and night employment tend to break down health,
that the opportunities for overcharging and for appropriating pack­
ages or parts of their contents lead to dishonesty, and that the places
to which the boy is sent familiarize him with all forms of vice and
tend to lead him into immorality. The leading offenses among these
boys are:
NUM BER AN D P E E CENT OF M ESSENGER-BOY D EL IN Q U EN TS , B Y CH ARACTER OF
LAST OFFENSE COMMITTED.

Last offense.

Per cent.
39
15
5
14

Larceny....................
Incorrigibility.........
Disorderly conduct
All other..................

53.4
20.5
6.9
19.2

100.0

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

The complaint against the occupation on the score of health could
not find either confirmation or disproof here, but larceny appears in
a slightly smaller proportion than for the group of working delin-




1S.

P. Gibbs, Problem of Boy W ork, p. 83.

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quents as a whole, where it is 54.5 per cent, while immorality, far
from occupying a leading position, accounts for only 1.4 per cent of
the delinquent messengers. Of course a boy might indulge freely
in wiiat may be called ordinary immorality without its resulting in
bringing him into court, and equally, of course, a boy might receive
grave moral harm which might not appear in his conduct until long
after he had left the employment. The unfortunate effects of the
inherent conditions of the work are, however, manifest. Its irregu­
larity, the lack of any supervision during a considerable part of the
time, the associations of the street and of the places to which
messengers are sent, and the frequency of niglitwork, with all its
demoralizing features, afford an explanation of the impatience of
restraint, the reckless yielding to impulse shown in the large per­
centage of incorrigibility and disorderly conduct. A glance at the
main table shows that the two offenses next in order are assault and
battery and malicious mischief, both of which indicate the same
traits. On the whole, there seems abundant reason for considering
that the messenger service deserves its bad name.
The errand and delivery boys show a less favorable state of affairs
regarding extrinsic conditions. In regard to the age of the workers
the occupation is above the average (73.9 per cent are 14 or over),but
in parental condition it falls distinctly below. It ranks next to that
of the office boys in the proportion coming from fair or good homes,
and above the latter in the percentage having native-born parents.
The level of favorable conditions keeps so near to the average that it
seems necessary to attribute the number of delinquents it furnishes
more to the conditions of the work than to the kind of children
taking it up. The leading offenses are shown in the following table:
N U M BER AN D PER CENT OF D E L IV E R Y AN D E R R A N D B O Y D E LIN Q U EN TS, B Y CHAR­
ACTER OF LAST OFFENSE COMMITTED.

Delivery and errand
boy delinquents.
Last oiTensc.
Number.

Per cent.

Incorrigibility.........................................................................................................................
Assault and battery..............................................................................................................
Runaway or vagrancy..........................................................................................................
Disorderly conduct...............................................................................................................
Craps and gambling..............................................................................................................
A ll other..................................................................................................................................

296
65
24
24
22
14
46

60.3
13.2
4.9
4.9
4.5
2.8
9.4

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

491

100.0

It will be seen that the proportion of larceny is abnormally large,
being not only considerably above the average but greater than in
any other pursuit. The nature of the work involves trusting the
boys with money and parcels and sending them in and out of stores,
offices, and private houses, where opportunities abound for picking
up unconsidered trifles. The comparatively small proportion guilty
of the next leading offense, to which this work offers no special temp­
tation above the others in this group, is another indication of the
close connection between the character of the occupation and the



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wrongdoing. The work of the errand boy affords peculiar opportu­
nities for theft, and the percentage of larceny is larger among its
delinquents than in any other of these special occupations. It has
110 incitements to other forms of wrongdoing greater than those
offered by the other trades* and the percentage of delinquents guilty
of other offenses sinks to the average level or below.
Turning to the remaining three groups, the condition of their
workers is seen to be so generally below the average in extrinsic cir­
cumstances that the chance of their going wrong, no matter in what
occupation they might be engaged, would be greater than for the
children we have just been considering. Those employed in amuse­
ment resorts, for instance, are below the average in the matter of age,
of parental condition—their showing here is pitiful, practically
three-fifths of them being wholly or partly orphaned—and in the
character of their homes, rising above the level only in the one re­
spect of native-born parentage. The street venders and the newsboys
rise above the average only in the one particular of parental condi­
tion. The occupational influences of these three pursuits are noto­
riously bad, but a partial explanation of the number of delinquents
they furnish is unquestionably in the kind of children who enter
them. It is a case of action and reaction. These occupations are
easily taken up by immature children, with little or no education
and no preliminary training. Such children are least likely to resist
evil influences, most likely to yield to all that is bad in their environ­
ment. Then the presence of such children in the occupation tends to
keep out a better class and to give it a still worse name. Careful
parents will hesitate to let their children take up an employment in
which they must have such associates, and it becomes more and more
a resort for those whose parents through ignorance or indifference
take no thought of the surroundings under which the work is carried
on, or those who, being already semivagrants, are attracted by the
irregularity of the work—the condition which some one has de­
scribed as “ irregular and shiftless industry ”—and by the excitement
of street life.1
OFFENSES SHOWING DIRECT CONNECTION WITH OCCU­
PATION: BOYS.
Up to this point the general influence of the occupation has been
considered, but a further study was undertaken of offenses showing a
direct connection with the occupation. This study is admittedly
very imperfect, since the data which would show whether or not the
offense was connected with the occupation were very apt to be un­
obtainable. A rigid definition of what constituted a connection with
the occupation was adopted, none being assumed unless it could be
shown that the wrongdoing was directly related to some condition of
the particular occupation in which the child was engaged. Among
the boys 356 such cases were found—24.3 per cent of the latest
1 Vol. V III, Juvenile Delinquency and its Relation to Em plojrment, p. 89 et seq.




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offenses committed by those working at the time of their latest
arrest. The largest proportion of connection cases—52 per cent—
was found among the street Tenders, and the next, 38.3 per cent,
among the errand and delivery boys. The newsboys and bootblacks
show the largest number, 129, of connection cases, and also a large
proportion, 37.2 per cent. More than one-half (62.9 per cent) of the
connection offenses are cases of larceny, 92 of these being found
among the errand and delivery boys and 31 among the newsboys
and bootblacks. Disorderly conduct accounts for nearly one-fourth
(23.3 per cent) of the cases, and the remainder are scattered through
the whole list of offenses.
It is a striking fact that in spite of the incompleteness of the data
a direct connection between the occupation and the offense has been
found to exist in the cases of practically one-fourth (24.3 per cent)
of the boys employed at the time of their latest offense. It is also a
striking fact that while the delinquent boys working at the time of
their latest offense were scattered through more than 50 occupations,
six-sevenths of the connection cases are found among those working
in 9 occupations, and that more than three-fifths (64.3 per cent)
come from two groups of workers—the errand or delivery boys and
the newsboys and bootblacks. It is also significant that the connec­
tion cases form so large a percentage of the total cases among the
street traders, the messengers, and the errand or delivery boys, their
proportion ranging from over one-fourth to over one-half, according
to the occupation. The most that can be said for these figures, how­
ever, is that they are indicative rather than conclusive and that they
strongly suggest the need of fuller data on this highly important
point.1
OFFENSES SHOWING DIRECT CONNECTION WITH OCCU­
PATION: GIRLS.
A similar study of occupational influences and connection cases
among girls is hampered by the limited number of girl delinquents
and by the dispersion of these through numerous occupations, giving
too few in any one pursuit to warrant any definite conclusions. The
largest number of those working at the time of their latest offense
came from some form of domestic service—109, or 54.0 per cent.
The different textile industries, hosiery, and knit goods, furnish 25,
or 12.4 per cent, while stores and markets come next with 5.4 per
cent.
Cases showing a direct connection between occupation and offense
are proportionately more numerous than among the boys, there being
81, or 40.1 per cent of all, in which the delinquent was working at
the time of the latest offense. Forty-eight, or 59.3 per cent, of
these connection cases occurred among the girls in domestic service,
1 Vol. V I I I , Juvenile Delinquency and its Relation to Employment, p. 108.




J U V E N IL E

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and 14, or 17.28 per cent, among those in the various textile indus­
tries. Immoral conduct and larceny each appear 35 times as con­
nection offenses, arson and vagrancy twice, and incorrigibility three
times, no other offense appearing more than once. The influence
of fellow employees in leading to wrongdoing is found in 31 cases,
while it appeared in only 8 among the boys. The employer figures
as an inciting cause in 8 cases, and other associates in 3. Neither
among boys nor girls does age appear to have much bearing on
the matter of connection offenses.
NIGHTWORK, HOURS OF LABOR, AND ENVIRONMENT OP
CHILDREN STUDIED.
The final chapter is devoted to nightwork, hours of labor, and
a further consideration of the home conditions of the delinquents.
Nightwork is not unusual among the boys, 629 cases being recorded.
The largest number of cases, 190, is found among the newsboys, the
errand boys come next with 90, and the messengers with 51. The
largest proportion of such cases is found among the children em­
ployed in amusement resorts, 71.74 per cent, and the next among
hotel workers, who show 46.88 per cent; newsboys come third with
34.11 per cent, closely followed by messengers, with 31.10 per cent.
Among girls the cases of nightwork reported were only 32, too
scattered to have any indicative value.
The hours of work are in hiany cases surprisingly long. Less than
one-fifth of the boys whose hours were reported worked 8 hours or
less, on.e-fourth were working 9 hours, and nearly one-half (45.9
per cent) worked 10 hours daily. Sometimes over 11 per cent
worked more than 10 hours a day, and 17 children were found work­
ing more than 12 hours daily. Three of these were under 11, and
only six over 14 years. For girls the hours are not reported in as
large a proportion of cases as among the boys, as in domestic service,
in which so many of the girls were employed, it was difficult to
determine the hours. For the 164 cases reported the proportion of
girls working 8 hours or less a day was smaller than among the boys,
while the proportion working over 10 hours daily was exactly the
same.
The home and neighborhood conditions of the children are dis­
cussed in much detail in an effort to determine the relative weight
of such factors as bad neighborhood surroundings, lack of respon­
sible person at home, etc. The results are not wholly conclusive.
The only thing clearly indicated by the study is that among boys
neighborhood influences take the leading place which among girls
is held by home influences; that in general nonworkers are more




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affected than workers by home conditions; that the lack of a respon­
sible person at home, other conditions being favorable, does not
appear as frequently as might be expected among the delinquents
as a whole; and that this lack, combined with other unfavorable con­
ditions, appears with most impressive frequency among the non­
working girl delinquents.1
The report closes with an appendix giving the record forms used
in the juvenile courts from which cases were taken, and the juvenile
court, adult delinquency and newsboy laws of the States in which
the study was made.
1 Vol. V II I, Juvenile Delinquency and its Relation to Employment, p. 130.




CHAPTER IX.—HISTORY OF WOMEN IN INDUSTRY
IN THE UNITED STATES.
This volume, which forms the ninth part of the Report on Con­
dition of Woman and Child Wage Earners in the United States,
is based mainly upon data collected from sources hitherto not gen­
erally available. The figures of the United States Census reports
are used for the tables showing the extent to which women have
entered the industrial field and the industries in which they are
found, but the text is based to a large extent upon material located
primarily through the search set up by the American Bureau of
Industrial Research. Old books, pamphlets, and newspaper files
have been used freely, as well as reports of State labor and statistical
bureaus, the reports of legislative committees, and publications of
the Federal Government. Old newspapers, magazines, and pam­
phlets have been used with special freedom as being less accessible
than the better-known State and Federal reports.
The study is concerned with six main groups of industries: (1)
The textile industries, (2) clothing and the sewing trades, (3) doinestice service, (4) the manufacture of food and kindred products
including beverages, (5) other manufacturing industries, including
tobacco and cigar making, the paper and printing industries, the
manufacture of metals of all kinds and of wood, clay, glass, and
chemicals, and (6) trade and transportation.
REASONS FOR CHANGE FROM HOME TO FACTORY WORK.
In the first four of these groups women have-always been em­
ployed, but the last two represent a real enlargement of their in­
dustrial field. Domestic service has been comparatively little
affected by the changes of the last century, but the textile industries,
the making of clothing, and the sewing trades, and to a considerable
extent the industries involved in the manufacture of food and
kindred products have been radically altered within that period.
In all three, although in varying degrees, the women who formerly
would have worked at home are nowr working outside their homes,
under factory conditions.
For this change two main reasons are assigned—the introduction
of machinery and the subdivision of labor; in addition several minor
causes are given as having helped on the process. Of the two main
285



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reasons the first and most effective was the introduction of, ma­
chinery—the spinning jenny, followed by the power loom, in the
textile industries, and the sewing machine in the sewing trades.
These not only changed the conditions under which women worked
in those particular industries, but by creating a fund or reservoir of
surplus female labor, caused keen competition for employment and
tended to force women into new fields.
Before the introduction of spinning machinery and the sewing
machine, the supply of female labor appears never to have been
excessive. But the spinning jenny threw out of employment thou­
sands of “ spinsters,” who were obliged to resort to sewing as the
only other occupation to which they were in any way trained. This
accounts for the terrible pressure in the clothing trades during the
early decades of the nineteenth century. Later on, before any read­
justment of women’s work had been effected, the sewing machine
was introduced, which enormously increased the pressure of com­
petition among women workers. * * * Under this pressure,
combined with the rapid development of wholesale industry and
division of labor, women have been pressed into other industries,
almost invariably in the first instance into the least skilled and most
poorly paid occupations.1
The second cause, closely connected with the first, for the move­
ment of women from the home to the factory was the subdivision
of labor rendered possible by the improvement of machinery. The
making of an article was no longer one process demanding skill and
training on the worker's part, but a series of separate operations,
each, perhaps, done by a machine so simple that a girl could learn
to manage it. The employment of women in textile factories,
whither they had merely followed the work which had been theirs
from time immemorial, had accustomed the public mind to the idea
of women in extradomestic employments, and the subdivision of
labor increased the number of such pursuits open to them. In addi­
tion to these two main causes various temporary and local circum­
stances have hastened the movement of women into the industrial
field. Sometimes, especially in the printing trades and in cigar
making, women have been introduced as strike breakers. Naturally,
the women who thus entered a new field would not be disposed to
leave it simply because the strike was over. Naturally, also, the em­
ployers who had thus obtained a fresh supply of workers who were at
T
once cheaper and more easily controlled than men would not be dis­
posed to return to an entire dependence upon male labor. So each
new occupation which women entered in this way became in a meas­
ure their own, and the list of trades in which they might be found
steadily increased.
1 Vol. IX , H istory of Women in Industry in the U nited States, p. 13.




H IS T O R Y

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Another local cause of a different kind has been the scarcity of male
labor at a given time or place. This was particularly effective in the
early days of the factory system when the absorption of men in agri­
culture left the textile industry, the principal exponent in those days
of tjie factory system, mainly in the hands of women and girls.
Times of financial depression, when the usual wage earners of a
T
family are either unemployed or w
rorking at reduced wages, have
T
always been effective in increasing the number of women in industrial
occupations. Wars, which at once reduce the number of men avail­
T
able for employment and increase the number of unsupported women
and children, have a similar effect.
The result of these different causes working in varying combina­
7
tions has been on the whole to increase the opportunities for selfsupport open to women. Also the relative importance of the occu­
pations in which they are found has undergone a change.
It is evident that on the whole there has been a certain expansion
of woman5 sphere—a decrease in the proportion employed in cer­
s
tain traditional occupations, such as “ servants and waitresses,”
“ seamstresses,” and “ textile workers,” but an increase in the propor­
tion employed in most other industries, many of them not originally
considered as within woman’s domain. There has been, for instance,
an increase in the proportion of women engaged as “ bookkeepers and
accountants,” as “ saleswomen,” as “ stenographers and typewriters,”
and in 4 other manufacturing and mechanical pursuits,” and this
6
movement has affected, roughly speaking, all elements, according to
nativity or conjugal condition, of the population of working women.1
WOMEN IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRIES.
The transformation from a hand industry carried on mainly by
women and children working w
rithin their own homes to a highly
organized machine industry carried on exclusively in factories has
been more thoroughly worked out in the group of textile industries
than in any others. They have accordingly been taken as typical,
ancl a full fourth of the report is given to their development. Three
periods are recognized—the home work and handicraft stage, lasting
from the first settlement of the country to about 1787; the period of
spinning machinery, lasting from the introduction of the spinning
jenny in that year to about 1814; and that of the complete textile
factory, which, beginning with the introduction of the power loom
in 1814, has continued to the present day. In the first period women
worked almost exclusively in their homes; in the second, although
they had entered factories, much of the work was still given out to
be done at home, while in the third stage home work ceased and the
T
1 Vol. IX , History of Wom en in Industry in the U nited States, p. 20.




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industries were brought wholly under the factory system.1 It is with
the third period that this study is specially concerned.
HOURS A N D THE EFFORT TO M ODIFY THEM.

In the textile factories of the early days hours were exceedingly
long. A day of 12 working hours seems to have been looked upon as
reasonable and moderate, and this amount was often exceeded.
In 1826, 15 or 16 hours constituted, according to the Hon. William
Gray, the working hours at Ware, Mass. * * * At Fall River,
about 1830, the hours were from 5 a. m., or as soon as light, to 7.30
p. m., or till dark in summer, with one-half hour for breakfast and
the same time for dinner at noon, making a day of 13| hours. In
general the hours of labor in textile factories in New Hampshire,
Rhode Island, and Massachusetts in 1832 were said to be 13 a day.
But at the Eagle Mill, Griswold, Conn., it was said that 15 hours and
10 minutes actual labor in the mills were required.2
In New Jersey and Pennsylvania the hours were equally long.
In 1835 the operatives of the Paterson cotton mills struck for a re­
duction of hours from 13J to 11 per day, but their strike was only
partially successful. In 1833 the operatives of Manayunk, Pa., com­
plained of their long hours, 13 a day, exclusive of time for meals.
From 12 to 13 hours a day actual working time seemed to be the
general rule, with occasional variations in either direction.
The operatives fought against such hours by means of public pro­
tests, by strikes, and by appeals to their State legislatures for relief.
The meetings of protests, speeches, and newspaper articles aided in
creating a public sentiment against such conditions, but had no direct
effect upon them. The strikers were sometimes successful, more often
not; but even when they succeeded the gains thus secured were apt
to be lost as soon as an industrial depression, or even a period of
slack time, appeared. Legislative action seemed the only method
of controlling the evil, and for years a campaign for a 10-hour law
was waged.
For some time legislative action seemed as ineffective as the other
methods which had been tried, for the early laws were so worded
that they failed to accomplish their purpose. In 1847 New Hamp­
shire passed a 10-hour law, and within six years Maine, Pennsyl­
vania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island had followed her example.
But most of these laws safeguarded the liberty of the individual
by providing that, although 10 hours should constitute a day’s work,
any operative might, if he chose, contract to work for a longer time.
The companies promptly discharged those who did not choose to
1 The arts and crafts movement has done something toward reestablishing certain forms
o f textile work in the home, but it is not as yet sufficiently widespread to affect the
general situation.
2 Vol. IX , History of W om en in Industry in the United States, pp. G2, 03.




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make such a contract, and in some cases established a blacklist
against them. There was an outburst of strikes, but the employers
had the advantage of position, and these laws remained dead letters.
Then followed 20 years of confusion. The operatives never gave
up the fight for a shorter day, and as it became evident that sooner
or later they would secure effective laws, the employers in various
localities made an effort to head off the movement by voluntarily
reducing hours. Generally a day of 11 hours marked the extreme
limit of concession; occasionally a day of 10| hours was granted,
but it was not usually long maintained. Gradually, however, ef­
fective legislation was secured and working hours were permanently
reduced.
In general the hours of labor in Massachusetts, in spite of the lack
of legislation, were reduced first, other States following. When the
mills of Massachusetts ran 12 hours a day, “ those of Rhode Island
and New Hampshire ran 13 hours. When her mills came down to
11 hours a day, theirs came down to 12.” The early laws of the
other States were, indeed, practically dead letters owing to their
contracting-out clauses. In Massachusetts, where the leaders of the
10-hour movement insisted upon effective legislation, the manufac­
turers reduced hours to prevent the enactment of laws. But even
there the women employed in textile factories generally worked 11
hours a day until prevented by legislation. Since 1874, however,
the large manufacturing States have one by one regulated the hours
of labor of women in manufacturing establishments, with the result
that the working time is decidedly shorter.1
IN TE N SIT Y OF WORK.

Apparently in the early days of the textile factories it was cus­
tomary for woolen weavers to tend only one loom and for cotton
weavers to tend two, but between 1830 and 1840 a movement to in­
crease the number assigned to a single worker became apparent and
has steadily progressed. A strike has been a common form of pro­
test against such increases, but such strikes have rarely been success­
ful. The increase was often offered under the guise of a favor.
In 1836 the women weavers in a factory at Norristown, Pa., who
were on strike against a reduction of wages, were offered “ an addi­
tional loom, that they may make up by increased labor what they
lose in prices.” The offer was condemned, however, by the strikers.
In 1869 the same offer was made by the Dover company to its strik­
ing employees, but this time the increase was to be from 6 or 7 to 8
looms.2
Similar increases in the number of machines to be cared for were
made in the other departments, so that throughout both cotton and
1 Vol. I X , History of W om en in Industry in tlie United States, pp. 72, 73.
a Idem, p. 109.

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woolen mills the women employees are working far more continu­
ously, more rapidly, and under a much greater strain than was the
case in the early days of the industry.
W A G E S.

At first women could earn considerably higher wages in textile
factories than in any other occupation open to them.
Before the introduction of manufactures, according to Aiken, the
ordinary rate of women’s wages in New England was from $2.17
to $3 a month and board. By 1833 men’s labor would command, he
said, 50 per cent more than formerly, but women’s wages had risen
from 200 to 300 per cent.1
In other words, by 1833 women might expect to earn from about
$6 to $9 a month and their board. In the textile factories their
wages were somewhat higher than this. From 1833 to 1850 it is said
that their wages in such factories averaged about $2 a week with
board, which, including lodging, heat, light, and washing, was
worth from $1.25 to $1.50 a week. This average changed but little
until the time of the Civil War, when both wages and prices rose.
Between 1860 and 1866 the wages of women spinners, weavers,
warpers, speeders, spoolers, etc., were increased from 50 to 100 per
cent. Retail prices, however, increased from a basis of 100 in 1860
to 202 in 1866, so that in spite of the nominal increase in wages
there was a real and serious falling off in their purchasing power.
Wages continued to rise until the early seventies, when came a
pause, followed by a decrease in the late seventies.
Yery little idea of the real value of the early wages is obtained
from a statement of their amount in dollars and cents, since the
purchasing power of money has changed so greatly since those days.
Without going into an elaborate consideration of prices, a certain
measure of the wage value can be obtained by considering the cost
of board. The average wage of women textile operatives was $2
and board, the latter being considered worth from $1.25 to $1.50 a
week. In other words, after paying for board, which included
lodging, heat, light, and at least part of her washing, the average
worker found herself with something over half her week’s wages in
hand.
R ELA TIV E PROPORTION O F TH E SEXES.

In the handicraft stage women and girls had the greater part in
the manufacture of textiles, all the spinning and much of the weav­
ing being in their hands. It is difficult to secure exact data for the
period during which spinning machinery without the power loom
1 Vol. IX , H istory of Wom en in Industry in the U nited States, p. 73.




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was in use, but there is abundant evidence that in the early days
of the complete textile-factory system women constituted the major
part of the employees, and that relatively they have lost ground in
the textile industries within the last 50 to 75 years. This movement
has not been uniform throughout the different industries.
In 1816 a report rendered to Congress gave the following figures
showing the age and sex distribution of cotton-mill operatives:
Males employed from the age of 17 and upward-__________ 10,000
Women and female children_______ ____________ ___________ 66,000
Boys under 17 years of age________________________________ 124, 000

By 1831 women formed about 58 per cent of the cotton-mill
employees—62.6 per cent of those who were not “ children under 12
years,” who were not classified by sex. This proportion of women
showed but little change up to the time of the Civil War. The
rush of men into the army left numerous positions open to women
in which they could earn more than in millwork, and at the close
of the war the rapid opening up of the West had the same effect.
The class of women from whom the famous mill girls of Lowell
were drawn had left the mills, probably forever, and immigrants—
men as well as women and more numerously than women—filled the
vacant places. Along with this substitution of foreign for native
operatives has come the introduction of increasingly complicated
and difficult machinery, the operation of which “ requires the care
of men because it is beyond the physical and nervous capacity of
women.” Consequently in the manufacture of cotton textiles there
has been a slow but steady decrease in the proportion of women
employed, the percentage they form of the total employees having
fallen from 58 in 1831 to 40.2 in 1905.
In the manufacture of woolen goods men have always, under the
factory system, formed a larger proportion than women of the total
employees, but relatively they are more important now than in the
early days. In Massachusetts in 1837 and again in 1845 the woolenmill employees were nearly equally divided between the sexes,
though men showed a slight excess. In 1850 the United States
Census gave the proportion of female hands in all wool manufac­
ture except hosiery and knit goods as 41.5 per cent; by 1905 their
proportion was nearly the same, 40.1 per cent. In the manufacture
of hosiery and knit goods the proportion of female workers has
always been high but has fluctuated considerably. Before the intro­
duction of machine knitting women had a practical monopoly of
this branch, but with the use of machinery men entered it in con­
siderable numbers. So far as known females have never formed
iV o l. IX , H istory o f W om en in Industry in the United States, p. 50.




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less than half of the total employees, and usually their proportion
has been nearer three-fifths. In 1905 they formed 66.4 per cent of
the total number of employees. In the manufacture of silk and
silk goods the proportion of women employed has on the whole
increased, rising from 53.1 per cent in 1870 to 56.8 per cent in 1905.
This gain seems to have been made wholly at the expense of chil­
dren, the proportion of men having increased more than the propor­
tion of women during this period.
The various minor textile manufactures differ in this respect, but,
taking the whole group of textile industries, women have very evi­
dently lost ground. In 1850 they formed 50.2 per cent of all em­
ployees in textile industries, while in 1900 they formed only 40.6 per
cent. In this particular industry their presence in the factory has
not meant that they are taking work from the men but that men are
gradually taking work from the women.
SU M M ARY OF SECTION.

Since the establishment of the complete factory system, beginning
about 1814, the employment of women in textile factories has been
common. During this period hours of labor have been diminished,
but intensity of work has been greatly increased. The industry has
passed almost wholly from the hands of native workers to immi­
grants or their children. The wages of women have shown a nominal
increase; this has not meant wholly a gain, owing to a decrease in
purchasing power; and the proportion of women employed in textile
factories has shown a steady decrease, their places being taken by
men.
CLOTHING AND THE SEWING TRADES.
Most of the garment-making and sewing trades present a very dif­
ferent history from the textile industries, partly because machinery
was not introduced until a much later date—the sewing machine was
not in general use until after the middle of the century—and partly
because when introduced it was of such a character that there was
little or no economy in carrying on the work in factories. For the
manufacturer, indeed, there was decided economy in giving out the
work to be done at home, as this greatly reduced the fixed charges
of the business. The great subdivision of labor which has de­
veloped as the trade in ready-made garments has grown diminishes
the saving secured by home work, and the workers themselves in
some trades have fought vigorously against giving out work, as lend­
ing itself to the sweating system and tending to reduce wages below
the subsistence point. At present the sentiment of the workers and
of the best class of employers is against home work, but in none of
these trades has home work been entirely eliminated, although in
the boot and shoe industry it is now very unusual.



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BOOT A N D SHOE M AKING.

Apparently in this industry there has been a real incursion of
women into a field formerly occupied by men, but this incursion
began at an early date.
About 1795, or earlier, * * * shoemakers, or eordwainers as
they were called, began to hire their fellows and to gather them into
shops, where a rough division of labor was practiced. Soon after­
wards they began to send the uppers out to women to be stitched and
bound. From that time until the introduction of the sewing machine
the binding of shoes manufactured for the wholesale market was
practically a womans industry, carried on at home.1
A few other branches of the work were sometimes turned over to
women. In Brockton, for instance, they were employed in pegging
boots and shoes, and in New York “ fitting, which consisted of sew­
ing the bootlegs together, putting in the lining and straps and gen­
erally making the boots ready for bottoming, was generally done
by women and children at home/’ Binding, however, was their
great occupation, and continued to be so until the introduction of
the sewing machine, between 1855 and 18G5.
This led to the introduction of the factory system, and at first to
a great displacement of women workers, as the machines were heavy
and difficult to operate. Between 1850 and 1860 the proportion of
female workers in the industry fell from 31.3 per cent to 23.2 per
cent, and by 1870 it had sunk to 14.1 per cent. This was their lowest
point. Further improvements in machinery combined with extreme
subdivision of work created numerous occupations a ell within
t
woman’s strength and ability; and each census since 1870 has shown
an increase in the proportion woman furnish of the total employees.
In 1905 their proportion was a little over 33 per cent.
W AG ES, EARNINGS, AN D CONDITIONS OF W O RK .

During the period of home work piece rates prevailed, and these
varied according to the degree of competition. In the small shoe
towns of New England apparently the binders received what they
considered fair returns, but in the large cities there was constant
complaint that they could not earn enough to live on. Moreover,
they were subject to numerous petty impositions, such as charges for
needles, silk and thread, the withholding of part of their earnings,
etc. In 1853 it was estimated that an expert binder in New York,
working from 14 to 17 hours a day, could net $2.40 a week. “ This
was said, however, to be higher than the average price paid hundreds
of girls and women in New York.”
1Vol. IX , History o f Women in Industry in th<? United States, p.* 107.




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Under tlie factory system earnings appear to have been much
better and the general conditions at least fair.
As an occupation for women, boot and shoe making has been res­
cued by machinery and the factory system from the degradation of
the other sewing trades and has been placed upon a level with the
textile industries. Wages, indeed, in boot and shoe factories have
been higher upon the whole than in cotton mills, and the competi­
tion of the foreign born has not been so great as in the textile indus­
tries.1
G ARM EN T M AKING.

In the manufacture of ready-made garments the factory system
has only recently made headway, having as competitors both home
work and the sweating system. On the whole the worker’s progress
seems to be from the home to the sweatshop and from the sweatshop
to the factory, but the three stages are found existing side by side
in the same industry.
Garment making includes a number of different industries in
different stages of development, struggling with different problems
of organization. Conditions in many of these industries have been
notoriously bad from very early days.
Five elements, home work, the sweating system, the contract and
subcontract systems, increasing the number of middlemen between
producer and consumer, the exaggerated overstrain due to piece
payment, and the fact that the clothing trades have served as the
general dumping ground of the unskilled, inefficient, and casual
women workers, have produced from the very beginning of the
wholesale clothing manufacture in this country a condition of de­
plorable industrial chaos.2
IJp to 1850 all garment making was done by hand and the ready­
made garments were of the poorer and rougher quality. The gar­
ments were usually cut and given out for home making. Any wo­
man who had an elementary knowledge of needlework might be a
competitor for the work, and consequently rates were cut until earn­
ings were often below the subsistence point. The larger part of this
study deals with the almost incredibly low piece rates paid and the
efforts to secure some improvement in this direction.
These efforts had only partial and temporary effects. The almost
unlimited supply of potential home workers and the impossibility of
any organization on their part kept wages down and increased hours
of work in spite of all protests until the partial introduction of the
factory system did away with the worst abuses of the home-work
system, but the sweating system remained to make conditions in some
branches all but intolerable for the workers. Of late years this
system seems to have been losing ground.
1 Vol. IX , History of W om en in Industry in the United States, p. 174.
« Idem, p. 117.




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Division and organization of labor, aided on the one hand by the
economies of large scale production and on the other hand by laws
regulating the sweating system must be held primarily responsible
for the movement toward the factory system in the garment trades.1
OTHER SE W IN G TRADES.

There appears to be a general tendency for the factory system to
supplant home work, but this tendency has developed much further
in some industries than in others. The making of collars and cuffs
has been transferred wholly to the factory. The manufacture of
gloves is in Chicago a factory industry, but in New York a consider­
able amount of the work is given out to be done at home. Millinery
and the manufacture of artificial flowers are entirely unstandardized.
The making of hats and caps is confined to factories. Thus the
situation varies from industry to industry, so that no general state­
ment is possible.
RELA TIV E PROPORTION OF THE SEXES IN SEW IN G TRADES.

On the whole the proportion women form of the total workers
in clothing and sewing trades has shown a slight increase during
the period for which comprehensive statistics can be secured, rising
from 49.5 per cent in 1850 to 55.9 per cent in 1900. This has been
coincident with a falling off in the proportion they form in most
of the trades listed in 1850. Thus in that year they formed 63.7 per
cent of the workers on men’s clothing and 92 per cent of those en­
gaged on millinery and lace goods as against 47 per cent and 83.2
per cent in the same trades in 1900. The increase in their proportion
of the total seems due mainly to the inclusion in later censuses of
trades which were so entirely home industries in 1850 as not to be
included. Thus shirt making, which is not listed at all in 1850,
employed 31,074 women wage earners in 1900, and women’s clothing
in its two branches of dressmaking and factory product, which does
not appear in the 1850 census, had in 1900 a total of 97,701 women
workers.
An examination of the data given shows some ground for believing
that as the factory system becomes established in the different trades
the same process is going on which has been so apparent in the
textile trades—the gradual substitution of men for women.
OTHER GROUPS OF INDUSTRIES.
Domestic and personal service has never been organized to such
a degree that it is considered an industrial pursuit. Its principal
iVolw IX , History of W omen in Industry in the United States, p. 155.




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point of interest is its decreasing importance as a gainful pursuit
for women. In 1870 it employed 58.1 per cent of all the female
breadwinners 10 years of age and over, but by 1900 its proportion
had sunk to 39.4 per cent.
The industries comprised under the heading “ Other manufactur­
ing industries ” are treated very briefly. In general in the earlier
part of the last century women entering any of these industries
found hours as long as in the textile industries and wages lower.
Often, too, they met with active hostility from the men of the dif­
ferent trades, who looked upon them as interlopers. Rather gen­
erally they came in as unskilled workers, taking the lowest-paid
work in the industry. They have profited by the improved condi­
tions brought about by labor organizations, legislation, and the good
will of employers, but usually they still retain the less skilled and
less profitable occupations.
In most of these industries women upon entering took, usually at
a reduced wage, work which up to that time, had been considered
peculiarly men’s. Cigar making is an exception to this generaliza­
tion, since it had begun as a household industry carried on largely
by women. The first result of the introduction of the factory sys­
tem was to diminish the number of women employed in this indus­
try to such a degree that when in the latter half of the nineteenth
century women entered it in numbers, their entrance was bitterly
opposed on the ground that they were taking men’s work.
In entering the various occupations grouped under the heading
“ Trade and transportation,” women secured a real enlargement of
their field. As saleswomen, stenographers, typewriters, bookkeepers,
and shippers and packers, they have entered occupations which in
their mothers’ days either did not exist or were looked upon as wholly
unsuited for women. To the latter class belongs the work of sales­
woman. Again and again in the early part of the last century the
employment of saleswomen instead of salesmen was urged as a means
of relieving the terrible pressure in most occupations open to women,
but up to the time of the Civil War the proposal fell on deaf ears.
Even in 1870 saleswomen were too small a body to be given sepa­
rately in the census classifications; in 1900 they numbered 142,265.
The long hours of service, the low wages, the frequent fines, and the
strain of the continuous standing often required are such grave draw­
backs that the suitability of women for the work has been seriously
questioned. These and kindred objections, however, are gradually
diminishing under the pressure of public opinion working partly
through legislation, partly outside of it, and women appear to be
permanently established in this vocation. Stenographers, type­
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workers have never been subjected to the almost unlimited competi­
tion which prevails among saleswomen, and their conditions as to
wages, hours, and the like have been more favorable.
CONCLUSION.
The general impression left by a survey of the different industries
in which women have followed or are following their work from the
home into the factory is that on the wliole the change has meant an
r
improvement in the condition of the women workers.
The history of woman’s work shows that their wage labor under
the domestic system has often been under worse conditions than their
r
wage labor under the factory system. The hours of home workers
have been longer, their wages lower, and the sanitary conditions sur­
rounding them more unwholesome than has generally been the case
with factory workers. The movement awav from home work can
hardly, then, be regretted.1
There appears to have been relatively little real displacement of
men by women. There has been some, but in only a few industries.
Having been forced out of their traditional sphere primarily by ma­
chinery and secondarily by men introduced as~the result of the read­
justment due to machinery, women have in some cases followed the
machine into other occupations not theirs by tradition. But much
of their problem of employment has been solved by the growth of
new industries, many of which women have entered almost if not
quite from the beginning and in which they have successfully held
their own.
1 Vol. I X , History of Womon in Industry in the United States, p. 21.







CHAPTER X.—HISTORY OF WOMEN IN TRADEUNIONS.
This volume, the tenth part of the Report on the Condition of
Woman and Child Wage Earners in the United States, traces the
rise and development of trade-unionism among women in the United
States from its first recorded manifestations down to the present
day. The sources of the study of the earlier periods are largely files
of old newspapers, pamphlets, and labor papers located through a
search set up by the American Bureau of Industrial Research. The
data concerning conditions of the present day were obtained in part
bj^ personal investigations and in part by correspondence with the
officials of women’s unions.
FOUR PERIODS OF DEVELOPMENT.
The history of women in trade-unions is divided into four parts:
(1) The beginnings of organization, extending from 1825 to about
1840; (2) the development of associations interested in labor reform,
including the beginnings of legislative activity, 1840 to 1860; (3) the
sustained development of pure trade-unions and the rise of the strug­
gle over the suffrage, 1860 to 1880; and (4) the present period, in­
cluding the impress and educative influence of the Knights of Labor,
and the present development under the predominant leadership of
the American Federation of Labor.
FIRST PERIOD: 1825 TO 1840.

In the history of the two earlier periods, the term “ trade-union ”
is apparently used to cover any associated activity on the part of
working women, whether or not they were organized; in the first
period especially, strikes are the chief form of united action of which
any report is given, and these appear to have been undertaken quite
frequently without any preliminary organization. In the second
period, working women seem to have banded themselves together not
infrequently, but their efforts covered a wider field than is custom­
ary in trades-unions to-day. In the third period the unions had
taken on their present form, and the chief difference between the
third and fourth period is the greater stress laid during the last 25
or 30 years on protective legislation.



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COTTON-MILL OPERATIVES.

In the first period the cotton-mill operatives were more conspicu­
ously active in strikes and organizations than any other women
workers. The earliest manifestation of which a record has been
found was a strike in July, 1828, in the cotton mills of Paterson,
N. J. Its immediate occasion was nothing more serious than a
change of the dinner hour from 12 to 1 o’clock.
The children, apparently including a large number of girls, dis­
liked the new arrangement and promptly marched out at 12 o’clock,
“ huzzaing.” Encouraged by their parents and guardians they
turned the afternoon into an unexpected half holiday. The next
morning found the strike extended to carpenters, masons, and ma­
chinists in a general demand for a 10-hour day.1
The strike was lost and there is no evidence that it led to any
organization among the employees.
In December of the same year there was a more serious strike
among the cotton operatives of Dover, N. H., as a protest against new’
factory rules which they considered oppressive. This strike also was
lost, but apparently the idea of organization took root among the
women about this time, for when in 1834 the operatives again struck,
this time against a reduction of wages, the newspapers asserted that
the girls had formed a trade-union for mutual support in spite of the
“ conditions on which help is hired by the Coelieco Manufacturing
Company.” The mast important of those conditions was an agree­
ment not to engage in any combination by which work might be im­
peded or the company’s interest injured.
This effort to prevent the spread of trade-unionism among the
women is the first instance of which we have record where employers
forced upon women employees the dreaded “ ironclad oath.” Its use
at this early date indicates that working women had made much
greater progress toward organization than has been generally sup­
posed.2
This strike also was lost, and it is impossible to trace the fate
of the union which had been formed.
In Lowell in the same year the factory girls struck against a
reduction of wages and formed a union, which apparently did not
long survive the loss of the strike. Several other ephemeral unions
were formed, generally at the time of a strike, in various cotton
manufacturing towns, but their influence seems to have been small.
W ORKERS IN OTHER INDUSTRIES.

Women in the textile industries were most prominent in the tradeunion activity of these early days, but experimental beginnings were
made by women employed in other lines. The tailoresses and seam­




1Vol. X , History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 22.
2 Idem, p. 25.

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stresses of New York began holding meetings as early as 1825, and
by 1831 they are reported to have “ clubbed together for self-protec­
tion against the inevitable consequences of reduced and inadequate
wages.” In June of this year they struck for an elaborate list of prices.
It was currently reported that this strike involved 1,600 women and
that they remained out for at least four or five weeks and probably
longer. Apparently the union did not hold together long, but for
six years to come occasional notices appear of meetings of tailoresses,
generally to form benevolent or charitable associations. In Balti­
more and Philadelphia temporary organizations were formed, but
nothing permanent was accomplished.
The umbrella sewers and bookbinders of New York both had
strikes during this period, and the latter formed in 1835 a union
which, so far as public records are concerned, disappeared shortly
after its formation. The shoe binders of Lynn formed a union in
1833 which was much better organized than was usual in those days.
The organization included about 1,000 women, who agreed to pay
quarterly dues amounting to 50 cents a year, and to abide by the
union scale of prices, which was soon adopted by the employers. A
few months later, however, the union had declined in influence.
Three-fourths of the original members had dropped out of the or­
ganization, either by nonpayment of dues or in order to accept lower
prices for binding shoes. Boon after the union went to pieces
completely.
On the whole, the most that can be said for this period is that the
idea of organization as a possibility for women was taking root, but
it had not as yet become a force to be reckoned with. The organi­
zation of women workers was as yet experimental, and it required
the experience and education of later years to furnish the discipline
necessary for sustained trade-union activity.
The attitude of men trade-unionists during this initial period de­
pended upon the firmness with which women were established in
the trades. Where they were just beginning to enter a trade in
competition with men, the men opposed them vigorously; but when
they were once established as permanent factors in any given trade,
the men encouraged their organization in order to prevent the low­
ering of wage standards.
SECOND PERIOD: 1840 TO 1860.

This was a period of enthusiasms and theories, in which schemes
for the reconstruction of the social order abounded and in which the
thought of reformers was deeply colored by a humanitarianism some­
what vague in its purpose, but all embracing in its scope. The work­
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their characteristic activity during the period was the formation of
labor reform associations composed chiefly of textile mill workers
but including also representatives of the cap makers, shoemakers,
and tailoresses and seamstresses. These associations were educa­
tional in character to an unusual degree and reflected the general
tone of humanitarianism which pervaded the reformative efforts of
the day. But they also organized a number of successful strikes,
secured increases in wages, helped to reduce the length of the work­
ing day, and took an important part in agitating for protective legis­
lation. Unions of this kind existed in Lowell, Manchester, Dover,
Fall River, and New York, and furnished the machinery for the
expression of trade-union actifity during this period. They marked
the height of organization among cotton-mill girls, and Lowell was
the center of this organization activity.
FEMALE LABOR REFORM ASSOCIATIONS.

The Lowell Female Labor Reform Association was organized
January, 1845. It apparently came into existence as a result of the
agitation for shorter hours and higher wages that accompanied the
strikes of cotton-mill operatives in the early forties. Its president,
Miss Sarah Bagley, who had herself worked for 10 years in the New
England cotton mills, was a woman of unusual charm and ability.
She w the most prominent organizer of women wage earners
ras
during this period, and represented her local at several national
conventions.
Under her leadership the Lowell union soon reached a membership
of betwreen four and five hundred and carried on an active propa­
ganda. Not satisfied with securing thousands of signatures of fac­
tory operatives, who petitioned the legislature for a 10-hour day,
prominent members of the union, including Miss Bagley, went be­
fore the Massachusetts legislative committee early in 1845 and testi-.
fied as to the conditions in textile mills. This was the first American
governmental investigation of labor conditions for adults, and it was
7
due almost solely to the petitions of the working women. Stung by
the indifference of the chairman of the legislative committee, who
chanced to be the representative in the legislature from the Lowell
district, the association published scathing resolutions condemning
him, and a few months later secured his defeat at the polls. In spite
of many discouragements, the agitation was continued, and this
union of working women did much to push Massachusetts to the
front in labor legislation.
In December, 1845, the Female Labor Reform Association of Man­
chester was organized among the women cotton-mill operatives, with
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■w to work energetically to convince the public of the justice of
ent
their demands for shorter hours and better pay. They engaged a
public lecturer to aid in diffusing and maintaining the principles of
their cause. In less than a year they had 300 regular members. In
the interest of the 10-hour law they secured and presented to the
legislature a huge petition and by vigorous personal work they more
than any other group secured the New Hampshire 10-hour law of
1847, the first of the kind in this country. The relations between
this association and the men of the mills seem to have been very
cordial.
During the first half year the male and female associations of
Manchester met separately, but thereafter met together, since, as
the secretary of the female association expressed it, “ We can devise
plans together to better advantage, seeing men can do nothing with­
out us and we can not do much without them.” 1
Female labor reform associations were organized also in Dover,
N. H., and in Fall River, Mass. These sent representatives to im­
portant conventions, but little is known of their local activities.
Aside from these New England unions the principal organization
movement of the period was in New York, where the Female In­
dustrial Association was organized in 1845. This union was not
confined to any particular trade, but included representatives from
the tailoresses, seamstresses, crimpers, book folders, and stitchers,
fringe and lace workers, and others. In Philadelphia the work of
the female labor reformers took a cooperative turn. The leaders
furnished courses of lectures on the labor question, sent delegates to
the national labor congresses, and carried on an effective educational
campaign.
STRIKES DURING PERIOD.

Strikes were fairly numerous among the women workers of this
period and were remarkable for the hopefulness, the determination,
and the daring with which they were conducted. The Boston seam­
stresses struck against a reduction of wages in 1844 and won. Cap­
makers, shoemakers, and shirtmakers all had strikes or attempted
strikes during the period, but the textile operatives used this method
more than any other class of workers. The most interesting strikes
were those occurring among the cotton workers around Pittsburgh
in 1848.
It was the culmination of six long years of struggle to secure ade­
quate wages, reasonable hours, and fair conditions, and the ex­
perience of the Pittsburgh women was typical. In the early forties
these women had gone on strike for higher wages and the abolition
of the store-order system. In 1843 they protested unsuccessfully
1 Vol. X, History of Women in Trade Unions, p. T9.




304

BULLETIN OF THE. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

against an increase in the number of hours of labor without an in­
crease in wages. In 1844 they struck against a reduction in pay.
In 1845 they abandoned the attempt to regulate their wages and
7
united on an attempt to secure the 10-hour day. When started back
to work on the 12-hour system they secured a promise from their
employers that no objection would be raised against a continuance
of the 10-hour agitation.1
Under the promise efforts for legislative relief were carried on
until a law was passed to become effective July 4, 1818, declaring
that no one in the cotton factories should be “ liolden or required ”
to work more than 10 hours a day without a special contract. The
employers promptly closed their factories against any who refused
to work under the 12-hour system, and a series of strikes followed,
some of which were marked by extreme bitterness and considerable
rioting. Finally, a compromise was effected, the mills running only
10 hours, but wages being reduced by one-sixth.
The adoption of the 10-liour day was regarded as “ victory No. 1 ”
by the girls, who predicted that wages would be raised to the 12hour rate “ after the next legislature perfects the law and the manu­
facturers discover that they can afford it.5
'2
THIRD PERIOD: 1860 TO 1880.

During these 20 years there was much direct trade-union activity
among women, but it was a time of economic and industrial dis­
turbance and readjustment, and the women’s unions, like the men’s,
suffered severely in the depression following the panic of 1873. Up
to this time the textile operatives had been leaders in the matter of
organization among women, but now they fell far behind, owing
partly to the withdrawal from the mills of the native American
girls and the coming in of immigrants of lower standards. As an
offset to this, the movement toward organization showed itself in an
increasing number of industries,- and women’s unions spread far
more widely than in any preceding period.
Organization of women during this period was carried on chiefly
among the cigar makers, tailoresses and seamstresses, umbrella
sewers, cap makers, textile workers, printers, burnishers, laundresses,
and shoe workers. The last named formed a national union known
as the Daughters of St. Crispin. This was very successful for a
time, but died out in the hard times following 1893. Among printers
and cigar makers women were admitted to the national unions, but
in the other trades they were excluded from these. They had sev­
eral State organizations of their own, but most of their activities
were carried on in local unions.




1Vol. X, History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 60.
s Idem, p. 65.

HISTORY OF W O M E N IN TRADE-UNIONS.

305

ORGANIZATIONS IN SEPAR ATE TRADES.

Women came into cigar making in large numbers during this
period. Their presence was for a long time bitterly resented by the
men of the trade. Apparently the leaders recognized the uselessness
of attacking their presence and by 1867 the Cigar Makers’ Inter­
national Union, which had been formed three years earlier, admitted
them to membership, but local unions continued to oppose the em­
ployment of women. By the end of the period opposition had been
practically worn away, and the male cigar workers had considered it
T
was better to work with the women than against them.
In September, 1879, Adolph Strasser, the president of the inter­
national organization, said in his annual report: “ We can not drive
the females out of the trade, but we can restrict their daily quota of
labor through factory laws. No girl under 18 should be em­
ployed more than eight hours per day; all overwork should be pro­
hibited * *
Thus the trade union, in its inability to protect
its members, male and female, from the results of increasing com­
petition, had already turned for relief to the protection of labor
legislation.1
Tailoresses and seamstresses were in a worse condition than ever
during the first part of this period, as their numbers were increased
far beyond any possible needs of the trade by the entrance into their
ranks of thousands of “ war widow's.” In Philadelphia, Cincinnati,
Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and Boston temporary
unions were formed among them, largely through the efforts of
sympathetic outsiders, but these unions drifted almost immediately
into schemes for cooperative manufacture, which in turn met with
but temporary success.
The women printers were especially active in union work during
this period. Their entrance into the trade had been strenuously
opposed by the male printers, and they not infrequently gained ad­
mittance as strike breakers. Once in, however, they took kindly to
the principles of trade unionism. They formed strong unions of
their own and then by combined action forced their way into the
International Typographical Union. In 1869 the first charter
granted by any men’s trade union to women in the same trade was
secured by the Women’s Typographical Union, No. 1, of New York.
The president of this local union, Miss Augusta Lewis, was elected
corresponding secretary of the international organization, a distinc­
tion unique in the annals of the craft.
The laundry workers of Troy, N. Y., formed one of the most suc­
cessful organizations of the period. In 1866 they were strong
enough to contribute $1,000 to sustain the iron molders then on a
1 Vol. X , History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 94.

05053°— Bull. 175— 1(3-------20




306

B U LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

strike, and during the next three years they increased wages, reduced
the hours of labor and greatly improved conditions.
According to contemporaneous accounts, the work of the Troy
laundry women was “ to stand over the washtub, over the ironing
table, with furnaces on either side, the thermometer averaging
T
100°, for wages averaging from $2 to $3 a week.” “ At last,” said
one writer, “ they formed a trade union, whereby, through their
own exertions and their faithfulness to their organization, they in­
creased their wages to $8 to $14 a week by working on an average
from 12 to 14 hours a day.” 1
FOURTH PERIOD: 1880 TO 1908.
W OM EN IN THE KNIGHTS OF LABOR.

The Knights of Labor was the first large organization which sys­
tematically encouraged the admission of women to membership on
an equal footing and with equal powers with men. It began as a
secret society among the garment workers of Philadelphia in 1869,
but in 1878 a movement was started to make its appeal wider and
its hold stronger upon the working class. At this time the Knights,
of Labor stood squarely for the organization of mixed assemblies on
the ground that such a mingling of the representatives of different
trades would tend to develop an appreciation of the solidarity of
labor, but it never insisted upon an intermingling of the sexes, and
the first woman’s union formed under the order was composed of
representatives of a single trade. Of all the women’s trades repre­
sented in the organization—and every conceivable branch of in­
dustry was included—the shoe workers were most prominent and
best paid. Many of them had been trained for united action under
the Daughters of St. Crispin, and they were strongly influenced, too,
by the male leadership of the Knights of Labor, which was drawn
to no small degree from the shoemakers’ craft.
The first local assembly of women under the Knights of Labor was
organized in September, 1881. Several new unions were added dur­
ing the following year, and the number increased steadily until May,
1886, when 27 locals composed entirely of women were added during
a single month. Then the decline began, and during the next half
dozen years practically the whole strength of female unionism under
the Knights of Labor disappeared.
It is extremely difficult to gain any idea of how extensively women
were organized under the Knights of Labor. It is estimated that in
1886 the female membership was about 50,000; two years later it is
believed that this had sunk to between 11,000 and 12,000. Thereafter
there are no data on which to base even a guess as to the number of
female members.




i Vol. X, History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 106.

H IST 0B Y OF W O M EN IN TKADE-UNIONS.

307

W O M E N ’ S T R A D E -U N IO N S , 1890-1908.

The general progress of the movement toward organization of
women in industry after the disruption of the Knights of Labor,
which commenced about 1890, falls into two distinct periods: A time
of growth from about 1890 to about 1902 or 1903, and after that a
period of marked decline. The downward movement reached its
period of deepest depression in the year with which this study closes,
1908, but a supplementary chapter calls attention to the fact that,
beginning in 1909, there was a marked revival of interest in tradeunionism among women:
Since 1909 there has been a most marked growth in the number of
women’s unions, a still larger growth in the membership of the
unions, and an improvement, the most marked of all, in the general
interest taken in women’s unions in all portions of the country and
in almost all trades in which there is any organization at all.1
The growT of the movement from 1890 to the early part of this
th
century was merely a natural development from the experience of
the earlier period, helped on by the attitude of the male workers, who
had apparently made up their minds that w
romen must be looked upon
as a permanent factor in the industrial world and that it was better
T
to have their cooperation than their competition. The decline is
accounted for as a direct result of the hostility of employers, which
w exerted as soon as the women’s unions became strong enough to
ras
T
influence conditions. Up to 1900 the unions were weak and attracted
little attention.
As they grew stronger, however, strikes for higher wages or
shorter hours, or other improved conditions, grew more common, and
by 1902 we find more than three times as many strikes ordered by
women’s organizations as in 1900. In other words, by this time the
women’s unions had become strong enough to rouse the opposition of
the employers, and the rapid decline in the number of strikes in the
following years shows how successfully this opposition was exerted.
* * * In cases where a union label will help the sale of goods
T
employers often countenance a union for the sake of a label, but else­
where their objection to the organization of their women employees
is pronounced and usually effective. It is difficult to find an instance
where a women’s union of any size has been able to maintain itself
against the opposition of its employers. The chief apparent excep­
tions are the unions connected with or morally supported by effective
men’s organizations.2
This opposition, it is explained, is only what men’s unions en­
countered but lived through in their earlier days. The causes of the
revival of the movement are not so apparent.
The gain seems to have eome suddenly. There was little evidence
of real vitality or dynamic force in the period prior to 1909. But




1 Vol. X , H istory of W om en in Trade Unions, p. 221.
2 Idem, p. 150.

308

BULLETIN OF TH E LUKE A 1 OF LABOR STATISTICS.
7

in the winter of 1908-9 the lenders of women's unions realized that
the efforts of the past years had taken root. Court decisions adverse
to labor and the prevalence of unemployment just at this time prob­
ably had considerable effect in making women, as well as other
workers, conscious of a common cause and of a new sense of re­
sponsibility to their fellow workers.1
Women In general organizations.

During this period women are found enrolled in three general
organizations, i. e., organizations which cover the whole industrial
field as well as in unions formed within separate.trades. The three
general organizations are the American Federation of Labor, the
National Women’s Trade Union League, and the Women’s Interna­
tional Union Label League.
The American Federation of Labor put itself upon record in early
days as favoring the organization of women. In 1885 resolutions
were introduced at a national convention calling upon women to
organize and offering assistance in that direction whenever oppor­
tunity should offer. In 1890 a woman was sent as delegate to the
national convention from the Clerks’ Union in Findlay, Ohio, and in
1891 a committee on women’s work was appointed, having a woman
as chairman and a woman also as secretary. In 1900 a woman was
appointed a general organizer and made assistant editor of the
Federationist, the official organ of the federation. From 1903 on­
ward every convention has favored the appointment of women
organizers, the appointment being left to the council.
The National Women’s Trade Union League was organized in
1903 for the purpose of uniting in one national organization all
working women, whether already in unions or not, and sympa­
thizers with the movement outside of the ranks of labor. During
1904 State branches were formed in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New
York, but the league shared in the general depression which affected
trade-unionism among women at this time, and it was not until
1908-9 that it began to show a rapid and apparently well-rooted
growth.
The league has the great advantage of being a movement of
women for women. Its leaders are women widely known as friends
of their wage-earning sisters. Their connection with the movement
inspired confidence, and in their respective States the Women’s
Trade Union Leagues soon became the centers of effort for the
improvement of women’s conditions along trade-union lines. The
league is closely affiliated with the American Federation of Labor,
but is an independent association with its own national and local
officials, its own headquarters, and its own publication, Life and




1 Vol. X, History of Women Iii Trade Unions, p. 221.

HISTORY OF W OMEN IK TRADE-UNIONS,

309

Labor. The platform of the Chicago league, which is typical, was
adopted in 1908-9 and is as follows: (1) Organization of all work­
ers into trade-unions, (2) equal pay for equal work, (3) the eighthour day, (4) the minimimi-wage scale, (5) full citizenship for
women, (6) all principles embodied in the economic program of the
American Federation of Labor.
The growth of the league was very rapid in the period immedi­
ately following 1908.
In Chicago the individual membership of the league is now (Sep­
tember, 1911) about 900 and the affiliated membership 25,000, of
whom 15,000 are women. In New York City the league’s individual
membership is 630 and the affiliated membership 55,184, of whom
20,029 are women.1
The Women’s International Union Label League was organized
in 1899, its purpose being to improve labor conditions, abolish child
labor, to secure equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex, and
generally to promote the welfare of the wage earner. In practice
it has almost wholly concentrated its efforts upon the encouragement
of the use of goods bearing a union label. It has probably had con­
siderable influence in arousing interest in the label and creating a
demand for union-made goods, but its direct effect on the organiza­
tion of women has not been marked.
Women's unions in separate trades.

Turning to unionism in the separate trades, the men’s garment
makers showed the largest number of women organized in 1908,
women to the number of 17,212 being found in 133 unions, forming
40 per cent of the total union membership. The most interesting
organization of women in this trade took place in Chicago, where
the disruption of the Knights of Labor was followed by a period
of almost complete disorganization. Work was largely given out
to be done at home and wages were forced down to the lowest point,
the workers, mainly foreigners of half a dozen different races, pre­
senting no combined defense.
About 1898 Scandinavian workers, mainly Swedes, came into
the trade, and at the same time the so-called special-order trade
became important. This consisted of taking orders for suits for
individual customers to be delivered at a specified time. This neces­
sity for having work finished at a given time gave the workers an
opportunity which the Swedish women were quick to seize. By the
fall of 1899 three locals had been organized, a label had been adopted,
and the workers obtained a closed-shop contract which went into
effect March 1 of the following year. The women were in a large




1Vol. X, History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 224.

310

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

majority in these locals, and soon came to have the control and main
guidance of the movement.
By 1900 these unions had a membership of over 3,000; hours had
been reduced to 9, wages increased,-employment of children under
16 forbidden, and general working conditions greatly improved.
Unfortunately, a rivalry arose between the United Garment Makers
and the Swedish unions. The former were willing to accept condi­
tions of work which the latter were determined to abolish. The
manufacturers played one organization against the other, and a gen­
eral struggle was precipitated, the upshot of which was the destruc­
tion of the Swedish unions and the reduction of unionism to a
negligible factor among the female garment workers of Chicago.
Women engaged in the laundry trade have organized very suc­
cessfully along the Pacific coast, securing moderate hours, extra pay­
ment for overtime, an increase of wages and improved working con­
ditions. Elsewhere they have been less successful. In Troy the
union was broken up completely in 1906, after a strike lasting nine
months and conducted on the part of the women with almost un­
paralleled energy and determination.
In all the different trades followed by women the history during
this period has been much the same, activity followed by a period
of decline, which apparently reached its culmination at about the
time at which this study ends, 1908. The period of depression with
which the study closes was not looked upon as abnormal nor dis­
couraging.
The conclusion of the whole matter seems to be that the causes for
the diminution of the membership of women in unions are only such
as should be expected in the early years of such a movement. Any
study of general trade-unionism will show that men’s unions have
all gone through periods of weak beginnings, of mushroom growth,
then of strong opposition from employers, resulting in the breaking
up of unions or in very markedly diminishing their membership,
and then finally periods of steady, persistent growth. Such is the
course of trade-unionism, and women’s unions are simply conforming
to this law.1
CONCLUSION.
The conclusions drawn in the report itself as to the whole ques­
tion of women in trade-unions are as follows:
Women’s unions, until the last generation at least, have been
ephemeral in character. They have usually been organized in time
of strikes, and frequently they have disappeared upon the settlement
of the industrial disputes which called them into being.
The women’s unions, moreover, to a much greater degree than
those of the men, have been developed and influenced by leadership
from without the ranks of the wage earners. This external leader­




1 Vol. X , History of Women in Trade Unions, p. 151.

HISTORY OF WOMEST TN TRADE-UNIONS.

311

ship has often furnished elements of weakness to the pure tradeunion movement among women, but it has also furnished necessary
support as unselfish and inspiring as can be found anywhere in the
annals of the development of our industrial or political democracy.
External leadership has often been necessary in furnishing initial
direction and financial support. It has frequently induced and
sustained the movement until a growing sense of independence and
an understanding of personal rights enabled the women wage earners
to act together on their own account. On the other hand, external
leadership has often worked injury to the trade-union women by
drawing them away from plans for immediate advantages, to the
consideration of more remote and less tangible schemes for universal
reform.
To the organizer of women into trade-unions are furnished all of
the common obstacles familiar to the organizer of male wage earners,
including shortsighted individual self-interest, ignorance, poverty,
indifference, and lack of cooperative training. But to the organizer
of women is added another and most disconcerting problem. When
men marry they usually become more definitely attached to the trade
and to the community and to their labor union. Women as a rule
drop out of the trade and out of the union when marriage takes them
out of the struggle for economic independence.
In spite of peculiar obstacles, however, women in trade-unions have
succeeded in resisting unfavorable conditions. They have by tradeunion methods won occasional strikes for a shorter workday. Wages
have been maintained or even raised at times. The conditions of
work have been improved. But in the history of working women’s
organizations through the 65 years preceding the American Federa­
tion of Labor, the greatest success in securing permanent improve­
ment has apparently not come through the agency of the strike,
necessary as that weapon may be at times to compel the attention
of indifferent or selfish employers. The greatest result shown by
the history of the trade-union movement among women, so far as
discovered in this investigation, has been in the direction of a united
stand for protective legislation. In this campaign for protective
legislation the trade-unions of women have been most effective
agencies for educating and organizing the working women.1
1 Vol. X , H istory of Women in Trade Unions, pp. 17, 18.







CHAPTER XL—EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN THE
METAL TRADES.
SCOPE OF INVESTIGATION.
This study, which constitutes volume X I of the Report on Condi­
tion of Woman and Child Wage Earners in the United States, gives
the results of an inquiry covering 246 establishments, located in 13
States and employing 85,225 wage earners, of whom 23,542 were
females aged 16 or over, and 2,644 were children under 16 years old.
The States in which the investigation was carried oa were Massachu­
setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Mary­
land, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, IowT and Mis­
a,
souri. The industries included, the number of establishments visited
in each industry, the number of employees, and their age and sex
distribution were as follows:
ESTABLISHM ENTS IN VESTIG ATED AN D NUM BER AN D PER CENT OF EM PLO YEE S IN
EACH S E X AN D AGE GROUP, B Y IN D U STR IES.

Industry.

Number of employees.
Per cent of employees.
Num­
ber
16 years and over. Under 16 years.
of es- 16 years and over. Under 16 years.
Total
tabem­
1Ishments
Fe­ To­ ploy­
Fe­
To­
Fe­ To­
Male. male. To­ Male. male. tal. ees. Male. Fe­
tal.
male. tal. Male. male. tal.

Bolts, screws,etc
13 4,335
1
4
Bonnet wire.......
3
298
Bottle caps, e tc.
25 11,606
Brass w ire., ___
366
3
Corset steels.......
2
Cutlery...............
430
1
93
Electric lam ps..
Enamel ware....
303
3
Firearms, etc___
- 2 4,954
Foundries...........
' 2 2,681
Hardware........
• 13 10,780
Jewelry............... ! 40 3,102
234
L a n te rn s........
1
114
* 5
Metal buttons...
615
Metal novelties..
9
Metal specialties.
9 1,091
Saws and files... ,« 2 2,650
Silverware..........
236
T 2
Telephones....... .
3 3,640
Tin c a n s ...........
43 7,969
2
595
Tin p late...........
4
236
Tinw are............
365
Typa....................
1
Wire cloth..........
595
2
Paper boxes.......
53 1,716
2
Miscellaneous.. .
31
Total____

1,457 5,792
349
34
30
204
502
124
3,033 14,639
2
1.406 1.832
2
480
50
587,
680
366
63
2,428 7,382
5
14
209 2,890
248
2,165 12,945
1,735 4,837
49
274
40
4
212
326
378
18
993
22
360 1,451
325
225 2,875
342
2
106
2,658 6,298
3
2.708 10,677
429
15
44
639
3
294
58
75
440
73
668 ***61
3,147 4,863
52
31
62

i

246 59,039^23,542 82,581 1,727




83
2
72
49
1
60
12
89
64
3
1
26
43
2
2
HI
3
9
285

432 6,224
34
2
504
196 14,835
51 1,883
2
482
680
1
367
65 7,447
26 2,916
337 13,282
1.13 4,950
274
7
333
19 1,012
48 1,499
368 3,243
4
346
5 6,303
540 11.217
15 '654
3
297
3
443
70
738
337 5,200
62

69.65
11.76
59.13
78.23
19. 44
89. 21
13. 67
82.56
66.52
91.94
81.16
62.66
85.40
34.24
60.77
72.78
81. 71
68.21
57. 75
71.04
90. 98
79. 46
82. 40
80.62
33.00
50.00

23.41 93.06 5.61
88.24 100.00
40. 47 99.60
20.44 98.67
.84
77. 85 97.29
.11
10. 38 99.59
.41
86.33 100.00
17.17 99.73
32.60 99.12
.07
7.16 98.10
.48
16.30 97.46 1.87
35.04 97.70 1.00
14.60 100.00
63.66 97.90 1.20
37.35 98.12 1.78
24.01 96. 79 1.48
6.94 88.65 10.02
30.63 98.84
.58
42.17 99.92
.06
24.14 95.18 3.82
6. 73 97.71 2.29
19.53 98.99 1.01
16.93 99.33
9.89 90.51 *8 .2 7
60.52 93.52 1.00
50.00 100.00

917|2,644 85,225j 69.27 27.62 96.89

2.03

1.33 6.94
.40 .40
.49 1.33
2.60 2.71
.41
.27 .27
.81 .88
.42 .90
.67 2.54
1.29 2.29
.90
.10
1.73
1.33
.58
.03
1.00

2.10
1.88
3.21
11.35
1.16
.08
4.82
2.29
1.01
.67 .67
1.22 9.49
5.48 6.48
1.08 3.11

313

314

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

It is worth noticing that in these industries, none of which belong
to the traditional field of women’s activities, females formed more
than one-quarter of the total working force, while in individual
industries their proportion was frequently much higher. In some
cases the numbers studied were too small to be significant, but
in the 12 metal-working industries, each of which furnished 1,000
or more employees to the total group studied, the proportion of
female employees ranged from 7.58 per cent in foundries to 80.45
per cent in the manufacture of corset steels. In only three of these
more numerously represented industries did the proportion of
female workers fall below one-fifth; in seven it rose above onefourth; and in five, above one-third.
Children under 16 formed a relatively unimportant proportion
of the working force, constituting only 3.11 per cent of the 85,225
employees included. In the 12 metal-working industries above re­
ferred to their proportion ranged from 0.08 per cent in the manu­
facture of telephones to 11.35 per cent in the manufacture of saws
and files. In 3 of these industries their proportion fell below 1
per cent, in 9 below 3 per cent, and in 10 below 5 per cent.
The results of the investigation fall into three sections: First, a
summary of the laws in force at that time affecting the employment
of women and children in metal-working trades in the States
covered. Second, a brief description of the work performed by
women and children in these industries and of the factory condi­
tions in which their work w carried on. Third, a discussion of
^as
the sources of danger to the worker, and the nature, frequency, and
probable cause of accidents, especially to women, in the industries
studied.
WORKING CONDITIONS FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
FIRE ESCAPES.

The laws concerning the employment of women and children
are undergoing such continuous revision that any summary of
them soon becomes inaccurate, but conditions discussed in the other
two sections change more slowly. Of the general factory conditions
one of the most serious was the peril from fire. The buildings
varied from 1 to 12 stories in height, the average being 2.39 stories.
In 13 cases buildings three or more stories in height were wholly
unprovided with fire escapes.
In all of these the fire hazard from the character of the buildings
was considerable and in some unusual. * * * In one State
escapes are not regarded as necessary upon a 3-story building.1




1 Vol. XI, Women In the Metal Trades, p. 22.

EM PLO YM EN T OF W OMEN IN THE METAL TRADES.

315

More serious than the occasional lack of fire escapes was the
very general failure to adapt the fire escapes provided to the num­
ber who would naturally use them in case of fire, and to so arrange
both the escapes and their approaches that dangerous crowding
would be avoided.
The fact seems to be that many if not most escapes have been
designed to fit a law, when they should have been adapted to a
condition. Calculations indicate that very frequently the numbers
whom a given fire escape would naturally serve could not possibly
pass down in a reasonable time, and further that if all of those who
would naturally seek that escape were to crowd upon it, the strength
of the structure would probably not be equal to the strain. * * *
There may be records of actual tests of the capacity of fire escapes
in given situations, but inquiry fails to reveal them. Grave ques­
tion also exists regarding the appropriateness of the design most
frequently used. In even a mild panic it is entirely possible that
these escapes would prove traps rather than means of safety.1
LIGHT, VENTILATION, AND SANITARY CONDITIONS.

Light and ventilation were frequently unsatisfactory, about 30
per cent of the establishments visited being insufficiently lighted,
and almost the same proportion falling below the cubic air space
per worker usually required as a minimum in laws dealing with
this point. In both these respects, new buildings almost invariably
showed an improvement over the older shops and factories.
General sanitary conditions in many cases left much to be desired,
but differed materially from factory to factory. Provision for the
health and comfort of the women and children beyond the mini­
mum requirements of the law was not common. Approximately
one establishment in four provided dressing rooms for female em­
ployees, while about one in three provided wash rooms for them.
Eight establishments provided lunch rooms in which the noon meal
could be taken; the rest made no provision of any kind for this
purpose.
HOURS.

The hours of labor varied, being affected partly by the character
of the work done, partly by custom, and partly by legal restrictions.
About one-sixth of the total employees worked a 60-hour week, but
the proportion working these hours differed considerably between
the sexes and between children and adults. Of the children, 31.68
per cent worked 60 hours a week as compared with 19.54 per cent
of the males aged 16 and over and 11.48 per cent of the females
aged 16 and over. In other words, while the number of children




1 Vol. XI, Women in the Metal Trades, p. 22.

31G

BU LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS,

is small, the proportion working a 60-hour week is nearly three
times as large as among the women and over 60 per cent more than
among the men.
KIND OF WORK DONE.

The work done by women and children depended largely, of
course, upon the particular industry in which they were employed.
As a rule those under 16 were not found in dangerous or unhealthful occupations. A few boys under 16 were found in the casting
rooms of brass foundries, where the dense clouds of deflagrated
zinc rising from the molten metal whenever a pouring occurred
constituted a serious occupational risk. A few other boys were
found working in brass-polishing rooms under very unhealthful
conditions, but such cases were exceptional. Women were rarely
employed at tasks making serious demands upon their strength.
The openers in tin-plate factories, who pulled apart the sheets of
metal after rolling, were the only ones noted as having specially
heavy work.
To a large extent the women fed and tended automatic machines,
or operated various kinds of presses. In a few cases they buffed or
polished brass ware, they polished firearms, prepared articles for
varnishing, lacquering, japanning, and plating, dipped enameled
ware, soldered metal parts together, made sand cores for castings,
wove wire cloth, assembled or put together the parts of finished arti­
cles, inspected work of all kinds for defects, sorted, counted, and
packed finished articles, and engaged in a multitude of similar acces­
sory operations. Their employment in polishing and grinding opera­
tions, which are considered especially unhealthful, was rare, but they
were frequently found at work in the japanning and lacquering
rooms, where, unless good exhaust systems were installed, the fumes
from the materials used were annoying and possibly harmful.
ACCIDENTS.
The danger of accident was chiefly from machinery. In general
prime movers were either safeguarded or so placed that but few
approached them, and elevators were tended almost exclusively by
adult males, so that neither of these seemed responsible for many
accidents to women and children. Shafts and belts presented a va­
riety of dangers. Shafts were sometimes too low for safety and
more frequently were studded with projecting screw heads, which
were a serious menace to the safety of passing workers, while belts
were found unguarded or unshipped from their pulleys and left
dangling from the moving shafts, or so carelessly inspected that there
was risk of their breaking with serious consequences to those around.



EM PLO YM EN T OF W O M E N IN THE METAL TRADES.

317

or employees were expected to shift and adjust them while the shaft
was in motion. The greatest danger, though, came from the opera­
tion of machines, and of these the various presses were the most
dangerous of those on which women and children were employed.
The study of accidents was hampered by the failure of many
establishments to keep accurate records. For a group of 60 estab­
lishments, however, employing 40,719 wage earners in 13 industries,
data as to accidents were secured. Only two of these showed any
accidents to workers under 16, the comparative immunity of these
workers being explained by a general tendency not to employ them
on dangerous machines.
In the very few cases in which this precaution was not observed
their accident rate rose to striking figures. Thus, all the accidents to
boys under 16 in the brass shops studied occurred in one factory,
the only one in which they were to any extent employed on stamp­
ing presses, punch presses, and the like. In that particular factory
their accident rate was 16.t per 100 employed.1
Among adults the manufacture of tin cans showed the highest
accident rate, 10.82 per 100 employed, followed closely by hardware,
and then by brass ware and lanterns. The lowest rate was found
in the manufacture of bolts and screws, where among 1,351 em­
ployees the accident rate was only 0.59 per cent.
UNNECESSARY HAZARDS.

The wide difference between accident rates in factories within
the same industries suggests that as yet it is not possible to decide
upon the relative necessary hazards of different industries. When
in the factories of a single industry the accident rate ranges from
2.91 to 20.24 per 100 adult employees it is evident that the average
rate for the industry represents many unnecessary accidents, and
that the difference between two industries may be explained on other
grounds than that of their real hazards. Care in equipping and
managing factories reduced the accident rate to an impressive degree.
The most striking contrast was found between two firms engaged
in the manufacture of hardware and producing essentially the same
class of goods. One firm occupied a rather old building in which,
owing to the low studding of some of the stories, shafting ran much
too near the workers. In such matters as projections upon revolving
parts, unprotected belts, and stamping presses operated without
safeguards, the records of inspection snowed many things capable
of improvement. This establishment, employing 1,006 men, had
among them an accident rate of 17.49 per cent, while among the
138 women employed the rate was almost identical—17.39 per cent.
The other establishment had on the whole much better buildings
and much more care had been taken in guarding against the dangers




1Vol. XI, Women in the Metal Trades, p. 74.

318

B U L L E T IN

OP

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

suggested above. Here among its 2,488 male employees the accident
rate was 3.22 per cent, while among its 500 women the rate sank to
1.40 per cent.1
UNDERLYING CAUSE OF ACCIDENT.

A detailed study of accidents in 16 large establishments engaged
in the manufacture of bolts and screws, brass ware, enameled ware,
firearms and ammunition, hardware, and tin cans showed that chil­
dren formed only a small percentage of the employees and had a
much smaller accident rate than the adults; that the accident rate
of the women, who formed about one-fifth of the total employees,
was on the whole smaller than that of the men, and that in estab­
lishments where the women’s rate was higher the difference was
usually trivial. This lower rate among the women is probably
explained by the fact that men are usually engaged in the more
hazardous occupations.
A study of 571 accidents for which full data were secured shows
that nearly nine-tenths were caused by machines, the rest being due
to such casualties as slipping on the floor, being struck by flying
splinters, stepping on nails, etc. More than three-fourths were
received in the ordinary course of machine operation. The follow­
ing table of the underlying causes of these accidents is of interest:
U N D E R L Y IN G CAUSE OF ACCIDENT.
Number.

Careless manipulation.............................................................................
Taking risks.................................................................................................
Inattention to surroundings......................................................................
Unforeseen liability...................................................................................
Imperfect mechanism................................................................................
Unclassed.....................................................................................................

174
56
6
75
26
234

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

571

The point of special interest about this table is the relatively minor
part it assigns to the operatives’ carelessness as a cause of injury.
The records of these accidents were kept by the employers, and each
case was discussed with foreman or manager and a decision as to the
underlying cause was reached with the help of his knowledge of the
circumstances of that particular accident. Naturally, if foremen
and managers had any bias at all in the matter it would be in the
direction of emphasizing, not of minimizing, the carelessness of the
operatives. Yet in this group of nearly 600 accidents 17.7 per cent
were due to causes over which the worker had absolutely no control,
41.3 per cent might be assigned to carelessness on his own part or
on that of a fellow worker, and in almost exactly the same proportion
of cases—41 per cent—it was impossible to assign the responsibility.




iV o l. X I, W omen in the M etal Trades, pp. 74, 75.

319

EM PLO YM EN T OP W O M E N IN TH E METAL TRADES.

In other words, in only about two-fiftlis of the cases studied could
the strictest examination show that the accidents could properly be
charged against the operatives.
ACCIDENTS IN CONNECTION WITH PRESSWORK.

Considerably over one-lialf of these accidents occurred on presses
of various kinds. From the standpoint of accidents, presses are of
importance not only as being notoriously dangerous but as being
operated to a large extent by women and minors. In view of these
facts a special study was made of the accidents occurring in a group
of 1,143 press hands—595 males and 548 females. They were em­
ployed in 18 different factories, and the accident records had been
kept for periods varying from two to six years. In this study sev­
eral facts became clearly apparent:
COMPARATIVE DANGER OF PRESSWORK.

First, the accident rate for press hands was enormously greater
than that for operatives in general. Their rates as compared with
those of other operatives in the same 18 factories were as follows:
A C C ID E N T R A T E S AM ONG PR ESS H A N D S A N D

O TH ER

O P E R A T IV E S ,

BY

SEX.

Accidents per 100 employees.
Male.
Press hands
................................................................................................... .
Other operatives........................................................................................................

41.30
14.19

Female.
54.94
5.38

Total.
48.01
11.75

Ordinarily, even when working side by side, the two sexes are
engaged in different occupations involving different degrees of dan­
ger, so that their accident rates can not fairly be compared. In the
press hands, however, we have a group of men and women working
in the same occupation and subjected to the same dangers. Condi­
tions are not in every case identical for the two sexes, for stamping
presses are not all alike and the more dangerous ones are operated
sometimes by women, sometimes by men. The situation * * *
is, however, equalized between the sexes by the varying practice of
different shops, both in regard to the relative number of men and
women employed and the sort of machines they operate, so that
their accident rates reflect their relative hazards.
Comparing then the accident rates * * * for the two sexes, it
appears that under practically identical conditions the rate for
women is higher in 11 of the 18 establishments studied; that the
excess-in their rate appears alike in factories where they are rela­
tively few and relatively numerous; that in some cases * * *
this excess is enormous; and that for the whole group the accident
liability of the women exceeds that of the men by almost one-third



320

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

(38 per cent). The evidence seems reasonably conclusive that among
press hands at least a omen run a much greater risk of injury than
y
men.1
Another question presents itself, however. Do the women in gen­
eral meet with as serious accidents as the men, or is their rate
brought up by a possible tendency on their part to report trivial
injuries which a man would pass over in silence? A study of the
accidents according to sex and nature of injury makes it clear that
the excess in the women’s accident rate is not due solely to casualties
in which the injury received may be slight, but that the excess ap­
pears very general throughout the various classes of accidents.
VAR IATION S BETW EEN FACTORIES.

Second, the accident rate varied almost incredibly from factory
to factory. In this group of 18 establishments the rate ranged from
6.48 per cent in establishment No. 17 to 114.01 per cent in establish­
ment No. 6. Several explanations were offered for these variations,
such as the use of guards, the character of the working force, etc.,
but the most important seemed to be a difference of custom in regard
to recording minor accidents. Thus the plant recording an accident
rate of 114.01 per cent was one of the best equipped and most care­
fully managed factories studied. But the management had pro­
vided an emergency room with a nurse in attendance, and the work­
ers went there to have cuts and scratches bandaged, which they would
never have thought of reporting as accidents; consequently the acci­
dent record was very much fuller than it could possibly have been in
a factory hot so equipped.
SPECIAL H AZARD TO W OM EN .

Third, in this occupation, in which men and women worked under
much the same conditions as to danger, the accident rate is nearly
one-third greater among the women than among the men—54.94 per
cent for women to 41.30 per cent among the men.
In order to discover, if possible, the reasons for this excess of
hazard to female workers, these accidents were studied from various
aspects. Nearly three-fourths (74.09 per cent) had occurred in the
ordinary use of the machine, 10.28 per cent had resulted from a dis­
regard of orders, while the remainder had been caused by a variety
of unforeseen happenings. A study of the underlying causes showed
that in only 13.64 per cent was it possible to attribute the accident to
any fault or carelessness of the worker, while in 75.77 per cent it was
impossible to decide upon the underlying cause.
When the evidence concerning causes is tested by the requirements
of scientific accuracy, it becomes apparent that carelessness is as-




1 Vol. XI, Womon in the Motnl Trades, p. 85.

EM PLO YM EN T OF W O M EN IN TH E METAL TRADES.

321

signed as a cause in a large numbjer of cases in which it can not
fairly be held accountable. It is assumed when, upon careful ques­
tioning, even those who make the assumption admit that it does not
apply. In literally hundreds of the cases included in the above table
“ carelessness ” was the unhesitating explanation of the accident, al­
though even the most elementary study of the circumstances showed
that it was but one of many factors, any one of which might with
equal propriety have been assigned as the chief cause.1
UNFAMILIARITY WITH MACHINE AS CAUSE OF DANGER.

The most significant fact brought out concerning these accidents
relates to the length of time the injured worker had been employed
upon the kind of machine at which the accident occurred. For the
1,102 press hands, for whom this was learned, the facts were as fol­
lows:
NUM BER OF PItESS H A N D S IN JU R ED , ACCORDING TO T IM E SIN CE BE G IN N IN G
W O R K ON T H E M A C H IN E , B Y S E X .

Press hands.
Time of accident with reference to time on machine.
Male.

Female.

Total.

During first day.........................................................................................................
Second day to end of first week.............................................................................
Second week to end of first month........................................................................
Second month to end of sixth m onth..................................................................
Seventh month to end of first year.......................................................................
After first year...........................................................................................................

77
65
61
101
33
72

252
163
81
92
40
65

329
228
142
193
73
137

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

409

693

1,102

It must be premised that there was no indication that those who
had been injured during the first few days on the machine had given
it up and taken other work on recovery, thereby unduly increasing
the number of beginners. More than 80 per cent of the injured were
known to have returned to the same work. Bearing this in mind,
the figures seem to justify the conclusion that unfamiliarity with
the machine has much to do with accidents. Of the 965 accidents
which occurred within a year after the injured operative began work
upon the machine, a full third—34.1 per cent—happened during
the first day, and not far from three-fifths—57.7 per cent—occurred
during the first week. But if lack of familiarity with the machine
is a cause of accidents, then it might reasonably be expected that
women, who are less familiar with tools and machinery in general
than men are, would be more affected by this cause than the male
workers. The table shows that this is the case to a very marked
degree. For men 22.8 per cent of the year’s accidents occurred
1 Vol. XI, Women in the Metal Trades, p. 88.

95053°— Bull. 175— 16-------21




822

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

LABOR

S T A T IS T IC S .

within the first day and 42.1 per cent within the first week, while
for females the corresponding percentages were 40.1 and 66.1. In
other words, the first week’s work on the machine accounted for prac­
tically two-thirds of the year’s accidents among the female workers,
the remaining 51 weeks showing only 33.9 per cent, while among the
male workers these 51 weeks of greater familiarity furnished 57.9
per cent of the year’s accidents. The figures are not conclusive, but
they seem to indicate that when men and women work under the
same conditions a considerable portion of the woman’s extra hazard
is due to her lack of familiarity with machinery.
In addition to the study of accidents the report contains two gen­
eral discussions, one on the distribution of accidents through the
hours of the day, and one on the weight which should be assigned
to carelessness as a cause of accidents.
DISTRIBUTION OF ACCIDENTS THROUGH WORKING HOURS.

The first is an attempt to see whether any connection can be
traced between fatigue and accident. For this purpose a table has
been prepared showing the hour of each accident recorded by 19
metal manufacturing establishments, 126 cotton mills whose records
covered one year and one whose record extended over eight years,
the unpublished records of the Indiana department of factory in­
spection for three years, and the published tabulation of the Wis­
consin bureau of labor.
D IST R IB U T IO N OF IN D U ST R IA L ACCIDENTS T H R O U G H T H E HO U RS OF T H E D A Y .1

Metal-working establishments.

Hours.

Accidents to press hands.
Per
cent.

Accidents to other workers.

Male.

Fe­
male.

Total.

7 01 to 8 a. m .............
8 01 to 9 a. m .............
9 01 to 10 a. m ............
10 01 to 11 a. m ..........
11.01 a. m. to 12 m . .
12 01 to 1 p. m ...........
1.01 to 2 p. m .............
2.01 to 3 p. m .............
3.01 to 4 p. m .............
4.01 to 5 p. m .............
5.01 to 6 p. m .............
6 01 to 7 p. m .............
7.01 to 8 p. m ............

48
95
105
96
66
38
83
102
98
76
34

79
100
128
115
79
52
92
103
124
89
36

127
195
233
211
145
90
175
205
222,
165
70

6.91
10.61
1 2 .6 8
11.48
7.89
4.89
9.52
11.15
1 2 .0 8
8.98
3.81

322
429
562
480
303
132
372
416
435
300
118

37
53
65
72
43
19
55
55
59
46
15

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

*841

997

1,838

100.00

3,869

519

Male.

Fe­
male.

Total.

Per
cent.

Total accidents.
Num­
ber.

Per
cent.

359
8.18
482
10.98
6 2 7 1 4 .2 9
552
12.58
7.89
346
3.44
151
9.73
427
471
10.73
4 9 4 1 1 .2 6
7.89
346
3.03
133

486
677
860
763
491
241
602
676
716
511
203

7.81
10.87
1 3 .8 1
12.25
7.89
3.87
9.67
10.86
1 1 .5 0
8.21
3.26

100.00

6,226

100.00

4,388

i In the Twelfth Annual Report of the Minnesota Bureau of Labor, p. 137 et seq., appears a tabulation
and charting of over 10,000 accidents, by hours. These are not so arranged as to be exactly comparable
with this table, but show a similar distribution.




EM PLOYM ENT

OF

W OM EN

IN

THE

M ETAL

323

TBADES.

D ISTR IBUTION OF IN D U S T R IA L ACCIDENTS T H R O U G H T H E HOURS OF T H E D A Y —
Concluded.

Cotton mills.1
126 mills, 1
year.

General manufacture.

1 mill, 8 years.

Indiana, 3
years.

Wisconsin.

Hours.
Num­
ber of
acci­
dents.
6 to 7 a. m ..................
7.01 to 8 a. m .............
8.01 to 9 a. m .............
9.01 to 10 a. m ...........
10.01 to 11 a .m . . . .
11.01 a.m . to 12 m ....
12.01 to 1 p. m...........
1.01.to 2 p. m .............
2.01 to 3 p. m .............
3.01 to 4 p. m .............
4.01 to 5 p. m .............
5.01 to 6 p. m .............
6.01 to 7 p. m .............
7.01 to 8 p. m .............
Total................

Per
cent.

73
6.19
95
8.05
126
10.68
16 1 1 3 .6 4
128
10.85
78
6.61
58
4.92
78
6.61
98
8.30
1 2 6 1 0 .6 8
90
7.63
59
5.00
7
.59
3
.25
1,180

100.00

Num­
ber of
acci­
dents.

Per
cent.

63 ' 8.22
8.88
68
82
10.71
11.75
90
1 1 4 1 4 .8 8
5.61
43
9
1.18
8.22
63
8.75
67
77 1 0 .0 5
7.44
57
33
4.31

766

100.00

Num­
ber of
acci­
dents.

Per
cent.

Num­
ber of
acci­
dents.

Per
cent.

546
11.31
492
10.19
6 0 3 1 2 .4 9
469
9.71
7.00
338
3.79
183
441
9.13
481
9.97
5 9 8 1 2 .3 8
480
9.95
4.08
197

76
126
227
245
208
49
126
213
240
229
151

4.02
6.67
12.01
1 2 .9 6
11.00
2.59
6.67
11.27
1 2 .7 0
12.12
7.99

100.00

1,890

100.00

4,828

Grand total.

Num­
ber of
acci­
dents.

Per
cent.

136
1,271
1,503
1 ,9 4 1
1,719
1,158
540
1,310
1,535
1 ,7 5 7
1,367
643
7
3

0.91
8.53
10.09
1 3 .0 4
11.54
7.78
3.63
8.80
10.31
1 1 .8 0
9.18
4.32
.05
.02

14,890

100.00

1 See Vol. I, Cotton Textile Industry, p. 395.

This table shows that accidents do not increase in regular pro­
gression throughout the working hours, reaching a climax as the
end of the day approaches. Instead the hours from 7 a. m. to 12
noon and from 1 to 5 in the afternoon1 constitute two distinct but
similar periods. In each the hourly number of accidents increases
up to about the middle of the period and then falls off steadily
until the end of the period. A second feature of interest is that the
proportion of accidents is very generally greater in the morning
than in the afternoon. The figures do not prove that there is no
connection between fatigue and accident, but they indicate that
the relation, if it exists, is by no means on the surface, and they
strongly emphasize the need of further investigation of this point.
CARELESSNESS AS A CAUSE OF ACCIDENTS.

The discussion of carelessness as a factor in the causation of acci­
dents here follows, almost in full:
In the reports of industrial accidents, which in certain States are
required by law, nothing is more striking than the frequency with
which “ carelessness” appears under the heading “ Cause of acci­
dent.” There is a general and deeply rooted impression that by the
exercise of due care the worker can avoid the larger part of the
dangers to which he is exposed, and that in consequence if he is in­
1 The hour between 12 and 1 is so generally broken by a lunch period that it can not
be looked upon as typical, and the hour from 5 to 6 in the afternoon is affected by the
fact that many of the establishments considered closed before 6 .




324

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jured it is very apt to be his own fault. In view of this, it is worth
while to examine closely some of the causes usually classed as careless­
ness, in order to see how far the worker is really responsible for them.
A power-machine worker must, for the sake both of safety and
efficiency, become automatic. Only with freedom from the strain
of performing each act by a conscious exercise of will come skill and
comparative safety. The faltering learner is in constant danger.
Not only are his movements apt to be awkward and imperfectly
coordinated, but the very intensity of his care is in itself a source of
danger. Strained attention leads to action by anticipation. A com­
mon laboratory experiment illustrates what is meant by such action.
The subject of experiment may be required to do some act—press
an electric key, for example, upon the appearance of a prescribed
signal. Intent upon executing the movement promptly upon the
appearance of the signal, some entirely different nervous stimulus
may set off the nervous system and the key be pressed. This stimulus
may be an unexpected noise, or any other occurrence which applies
a spark to the train of nervous activities.
An athlete crouching, tense, at the starting line may be sent from
his mark by a sudden gust of wind. In such a case the starter must,
for purposes of discipline, act on the assumption that the act was
voluntary. In the great majority of cases it is not voluntary in the
smallest degree. A tense nervous system is always liable to be set
into action by some other than the regular stimulus.
This fact applies very directly to the learner upon a machine.
Many things conspire to create for him a condition of tension.
Knowledge that the machine is dangerous, anxiety to show ability
equal to the task, and many other causes act upon the beginner, who
is quite likely, as our industry is organized, to be youthful.
The acts of the operator must come in proper relation with those
of the machine. The beginner, unskillful yet, waits tensely the
position of the machine which signals the making of his contribution
to the process. At such an instant there intrudes some other stimulus,
it matters not what. He anticipates his movement. Mangled
fingers, a lost hand, or greater mutilation may result.
This would certainly be attributed by any foreman in any factory
to the “ carelessness” of the victim. But is it so? A normally
organized nervous system has done what it must under the circum­
stances and disaster results.
It should not for a moment be forgotten that this sort of action of
the nervous system is a foundation of its usefulness. A system in­
capable of such behavior would also be incapable of executing those
amazing protective actions by which life itself is preserved. The
operator is as powerless to prevent such action as he is to prevent the
machine from going its appointed round. As practice continues, the
tension gradually subsides and the worker attends less closely but is
vastly more safe. The operator may look at other objects, may
speak with a companion, or do other things which indicate that atten­
tion is no longer concentrated to so painful a degree upon the work.
At the same time, the rhythmic movement of the hands keeps up and
the output of the machine continues. This condition is often de­
scribed as one of “ carelessness.” The term is altogether misleading
in this connection, since it implies that the worker is taking a risk



EM PLO YM EN T OF W OM EN IN TH E METAL TRADES.

325

in a blameworthy fashion. In becoming thus, in a measure, detached
from the work the worker does the only thing which can relieve the
relatively great danger which assails the beginner. He has reached
a condition of automatism which, except under conditions specified
later, is greatly safer than his earlier situation, when, as a learner, he
was attending with exactness to each item of the process.
This release of the worker from the beginner’s slavery to minute
detail is important from the standpoint of his safety and even more
from that of his nervous health. The routine of attending a machine
involves strain enough at the best. If the degree of attention neces­
sary at the outset continued through any extended period, the strain
would be destructive. This is the more true the higher the original
quality of the nervous system concerned. For a normally consti­
tuted person such a continued strain would be impossible without
grave damage.
The trairied and hence automatic worker is not wholly free from
accident. What of the factor of carelessness in his case? As sug­
gested above, there is nearly always an implication that the operator
might, by greater care, escape many, if not all, of the dangers which
beset his occupation. A thoughtful consideration of the preceding
discussion must lead to the conclusion that for the beginner, at all
events, this is far from true. Further, we must agree that escape
from the beginner’s danger lies along the road to a condition which
many observers of workpeople would call “ carelessness.” The very
attitude which is charged with causing accident is seen on closer
analysis to be an effective means of safety.
In the case of the trained worker, danger intrudes at two points,
7
at neither of which can he be said to sustain a responsible position
toward the result. A very large number of mechanical processes
involve a series of operations, one following another. For example,
in the operation of a stamping press, the adjustment by the fingers
of the object to be formed is followed by a movement of the foot
upon a releasing treadle. At first these successive actions are a
.
result of attention on the part of the operator to each item of the
process. There is complete demonstration that this period is one
of the greatest danger.
Gradually the two motions assume a relation of direct cause and
effect with no intervening volition. One follows the other with the
same certainty that the fall of a stone follows the removal of the
support. Suppose the worker has reached this stage of his develop­
ment. Some roughness on the work, some failure of the machine to
do its part exactly may delay or disturb the first motion. It is evi­
dent that the first motion being interfered with, the execution of
the second may, probably will, give rise to danger. Having started
the action, can the worker, when the first motion goes wrong, refrain
from the second? So far as his will entered into the matter, it was
in the form of a command for the whole action, comprising the suc­
cessive motions. It may even be doubted whether the will enters so
much as that, but it is certain that once started the successive mo­
tions are beyond his control. The first starts the second. The
worker is helpless.
Another disturbance of the usual progress of events may occur
through the special senses. Suppose that the worker has started his



326

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

series of movements. These, as we have noticed, must go on through
their regular sequence. After the series starts he sees something
amiss with work or machine. This may, usually will, start an en­
tirely new series of actions, but does not stop the one already started.
Here again comes in the inevitable movement of a nervous machine.
In an entirely involuntary way he reaches to readjust the disor­
dered work. It is almost certain that the two series of actions will
cross each other. He will press the treadle and at the same moment
put his hand under the die.
This will appear as carelessness, but it can not fairly be so con­
sidered. Both machines, the human and the nonhuman, did what
they must. A concrete case may help to make the situation clear.
In the manufacture of cartridges several operations are performed
by drawing presses. These are usually fed by means of a horizontal
revolving disk upon which the operator places the cartridge shells.
The rotation of the disk carries them through a gradually narrow­
ing lane, formed by metal strips, to the action point. Very strict
orders were given in one factory to stop the machine if any of the
shells toppled over or went wrong in any way. Nevertheless it was
repeatedly found that good and experienced operators, acting upon
the spur of the comparatively rare occurrence of improper action,
would reach to adjust a toppling shell, become entangled, and be
badly hurt. Finally, the superintendent arranged a screen with a
little swinging door through which the shells parsed on their way
to the drawing dies. This made it necessary, if anything happened
needing adjustment, to stop the machine in order to attend to it.
This illustration is cited not only as an example of the automatic,
practically involuntary, action to which so many accidents are due,
but also as showing the qualities which should characterize a safe­
guard. It should effectually prevent or estop these instinctive
efforts of the aroused worker which are liable to lead to acci­
dent. * * *
What has been said above is enough to show that for the sake
of lessening the nervous strain and for the avoidance of specific
accidents no extreme of thoroughness in safeguarding is beyond
reason. It is clearly evident that the problem is not one involv­
ing an irresponsible agent, the machine, and a responsible one, the
worker, but that in many cases the worker is hardly more responsible
than the machine. When the spontaneous and necessary activities
of a nervous system are brought into relation with the inevitable
movements of machines, the possibilities can not be otherwise than
serious.
A machine so constructed that at intervals its own parts inter­
fere with each other, causing serious breakage and loss, would be
either modified or quickly discarded. Our compound machines of
man and metal must be treated in the same way. It is a false as­
sumption that the worker’s intelligence and care should be expected
to avoid hazards which can be removed by improved conditions.
I f the worker is regarded strictly as part of the machine rather
than as a man, these damaging interferences will soon be greatly
lessened.1




1 Vol. XI, Women in the Metal Trades, pp. 50-62.

CHAPTER XIL—EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN
LAUNDRIES.
Volume X II of the Report on the Condition of Woman and Child
Wage Earners gives the result of an investigation covering 315 laun­
dries in Chicago, New York, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. The num­
ber of laundries visited in each city, the number of employees, and
their sex distribution are shown in the following table:
NUM BER OF LAU N D RIES VISITED IN TH E IN VEST IG AT IO N , A N D N U M BER AND PER
CENT OF W O M EN EM P LO Y E D .

Laun­ Total em­
dries
visited. ployees.

City.

Number. Per cent.

PhiladAlr>hia______________________ ______________

105
82
85
43

2,085
1,903
874
1,555

415
360
175
325

1,670
1,543
699
1,230

80.0
81.1
80.0
79.1

315

Chicago..... ........................................ .................................
New York..................................................
Brooklyn.............................................. ................................

Total_____

Women.
Men.

6,417

1,275

5,142

80.1

The report falls naturally into four parts—general working con­
ditions in laundries, hours of work, character of work, and effect of
work—all discussed in their relation to female workers only.
GENERAL WORKING CONDITIONS.
IN POWER LAUNDRIES.

The laundries visited were of two general classes: The steam or
power laundries and the so-called hand or domestic laundries. The
power laundries were frequently large establishments, employing
several hundred women, and housed in buildings constructed with
special reference to the needs of the industry. Some of these were
models of what a laundry should be, the comfort and health of the em­
ployees being looked after as carefully as the facilities for swift and
effective work. Such plants were exceptional, however, and down
the scale from them were plants of all grades and sizes to the base­
ment laundries with almost no sanitary conveniences and heavy, oldfashioned machinery or none at all.
It would perhaps be safe to say that a majority of the power
laundries visited were in fair condition, but in each city some were
found ill ventilated, ill lighted, and with sanitary accommodations
ranging from poor to excessively bad. In the poorer places ventila­
tion was apt to be exceedingly defective. In one basement laundry,
for instance, conditions in this respect were indicated by the pro327



828

BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

prietors remark that he supposed he would have to'put in ventilating
fans and exhaust pipes because the druggist upstairs was complain­
ing about the steam that came into his place through the floor.
IN HAND LAUNDRIES.

The so-called hand laundries were frequently carried on in the
home of the proprietor. Ordinarily no washing was done in them,
clothes being sent to the steam laundry to be washed and only the
ironing being done by hand. These laundries were usually small, so
that at least few workers were affected by conditions prevailing in
them. From the standpoint of the proprietor’s family, the hand
laundry meant bringing the heat, confusion, and crowding of an
ironing room into their limited house space, and the further necessity
of giving up additional space for receiving, sorting, and giving out
the clothes. From the customers’ standpoint it meant that the
clothes were handled and ironed, even if not washed, in the crowded
and frequently insanitary living rooms of a tenement, with no as­
surance even that the place was free from contagious illness. These
hand laundries were most numerous in New York and Brooklyn,
Chicago being relatively free from them.
HOURS OF WORK.
Detailed study of the hours of work was made in nine representa­
tive Chicago- laundries. A comparison of the working hours in all
the laundries visited with the hours prevailing in those in which
special inquiry was made showed that practically the same condi­
tions in this respect prevailed generally. The natural conditions of
laundry work tend to mass the workers’ hours at some particular
part of the week; the weekly hours may not be long as compared
with other industries, but very generally there will be one or two
long days within the week with a correspondingly short day or days
to compensate. Thus the ironers frequently do not begin work until
noon or later on Monday, as there are no clothes ready washed for
them to iron. Toward the end of the week, however, they may find
it necessary to work 12, 13, or even 14 hours to finish the clothes in
time for the end of the week delivery. At that end of the week,
on the other hand, the work of washing is pretty well out of the way,
and those engaged in it have their short days.
The work of a laundry is not usually seasonal unless an establish­
ment depends* for patronage on a locality whose residents go away
in large numbers for the summer. Nevertheless, a rush season may
be occasioned any week by the advent of a large convention, the
arrival of a steamer, or an unexpected hotel order. The response
to such a suddenly increased demand usually takes the form of one
or more long days for the employees. According to the reports of



329

EM PLO YM EN T OF W O M EN IN LAUNDRIES.

the nine Chicago laundries included in this investigation the long
day for their busy season did not exceed 12| hours, and for the rest of
the year—amounting in most cases to over 45 weeks—it did not exceed
10 hours in 1909, although the 10-hour law was not then in operation.
The daily and weekly hours during both the normal and the busy
season in the nine Chicago laundries investigated were as follows:
HOURS OF L A B O R OF W O M EN EM PLO YED IN STEAM L A U N D R IE S D U R IN G NORM AL
PERIODS AN D D UR ING T H E RUSH SEASONS OF 1908 AN D 1909, AS R EPO R TED B Y
EM PLO YER S.

Number of women em­
ployed.

Normal hours of women
16 years and over.

Establishment No.
16 years Under
and
16
over.
years.

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

Total.

Long
day.

Short
day.

Total
hours
per
week.

10
10
10
10
9
8
10
8
10

10
10
10
81
9
8
10
8
10

60
60
60
2 58
54
48
60
48
60

1
2...................................
3........... ......................
4
5
6...................................
7...............................
8...................................
9...................................

87
30
134
60
75
35
45
41
49

4
8
1

89
30
134
61
75
35
49
49
50

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

556

16

Busy season.

Aver­ Aver­
Pre­
Dura­
age
age
tion in vailing length length
weekly
weeks. hours. of long of short
day.
day.

1

65
70

m
12

io
10.

1

64
58

11
11

• • 9&
9

52
02

io
u

572

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

2
1

1 These weeks are not consec.. vi re.

6
16
None.
6
25
None.
None.
12
16

2 On Monday,

:

8*
10

hours.

None of these laundries report a longer day than 10 hours during
the normal season, and only two reported as much as 12 hours for
the long day of the busy season. But of 112 women employed in
these laundries from whom individual reports were secured about
37 per cent reported working longer hours than those given as nor­
mal by the managers of the laundries in which they were employed.
Moreover, women not employed in such laundries at the time of
the interview, but formerly at work there, reported that there were
one or two days nearly every week in the year prior to the validation
of the Illinois 10-hour law when the girls had to work more than 10,
and sometimes as many as 14, hours a day to get out rush orders.
CHARACTER OF WORK.
The kind of work done has an important bearing upon the ques­
tion of hours. In the power laundries women were engaged prin­
cipally in listing, marking, sorting, hand washing, shaking, man­
gling, folding, starching, machine ironing, hand ironing, finishing,
mending, and wrapping.
The first three occupations need no description. They do not
involve heavy work, and while handling soiled clothes may be un­
pleasant, the consensus of opinion is that there is very little risk of
contracting disease by so doing. The women stand while working at
these occupations.



380

b u l l e t in

of

the

bureau

OF LABOR STATISTICS.

After being sorted the clothes are washed, usually by machinery
operated by men, and next passed through an extractor, a machine
so arranged that the water is driven out of the clothes by centrifugal
force. This machine also is tended by men.
Hand washing, which is used only in the case of unusually fine,
fancy clothing and on special orders, is usually carried on in the
wash rooms by women. In most laundries not more than two or
three women are required for this occupation. The work is laborious
and is usually carried 011 under unfavorable conditions. The hu­
midity of the wash room is high, and in addition there is frequently
insufficient drainage of water from the floors, so the women employed
here are liable to suffer from damp and wet clothing and from wet
feet. The water used in washing is frequently treated for softening
and then for bleaching effects by chemicals. Of these chemicals a
physician says:
If handled in a dry state they cause intense itching and eczema­
tous eruptions of the skin. When vaporized after solution or in
gaseous form they irritate the eyes and the whole respiratory tract,
occasioning conjunctivitis and giving rise to catarrhal inflammation
of the throat and bronchial tubes.1
After coming from the extractor the clothes must be shaken out
before they can go through any further process. Girls called shakers
pick up the pieces one by one, snap or shake them violently, and
lay them down in neat piles or fold them ready for mangling, This
work is done standing and involves a steady use of the arms and
more or less stooping and reaching, so that many girls acquire a
constant motion of the body as well as of the arms. The muscles
are under constant strain throughout the day in rooms where the
temperature is high and the air full of moisture.
The work of the manglers consists simply of feeding the pieces one
by one into the mangle, where they pass between various heated cylin­
ders and come out at the other side, smooth and ready for folding.
The work is not laborious, except that it must be done standing, and
requires little skill. Unless the mangle is provided with safeguards
there is always danger that the worker’s hands may be caught be­
tween the revolving cylinders, with serious consequences. Also,
unless special ventilating devices are used, the worker is apt to be
exposed to a very high temperature. Folding the pieces as they come
out from the mangle is usually done by young workers. It is not
heavy work and the girls can sit except when folding the largest
pieces.
Starching may be done entirely by hand, or partly by hand and
partly by machinery. In the hand process women stand at their
work with bowls of starch before them, and stretching out one piece
iV o l. X II, Employment of Women in Laundries, p. 25.




EM PLO YM EN T OF W O M EN IN LAUNDRIES.

331

at a time rub the starch well into it. Thus, in addition to the stand­
ing there is a continuous strain on the muscles of the hands and arms.
I f starching is done in the ironing rooms, as is frequently the case,
the effects of the heat and the work are especially severe during the
summer months. Where machinery is used the work is much less
strenuous, consisting largely in feeding articles into the machines
and gathering them up as they come out on the other side. The
women can sit at this work.
Dampening the clothes ready for ironing is done by women and
has no objectionable features beyond the continuous standing re­
quired. The machine ironing is done on a variety of machines de­
vised for ironing different articles, such as shirts, collars, cuffs, etc.
Ironing collars, though requiring continuous standing, is not heavy
work, but the machines used for ironing shirt bodies, bosoms, yokes,
etc., make serious demands upon the worker’s strength. The charac­
teristic feature of these machines is that after the article has been
put in place, the operator presses a lever with her foot which brings a
heated surface into contact with the article to be ironed.
The ordinary process of machine ironing requires the constant use
of the lever, which is operated by the same foot continually. In case
certain reverse movements are necessary a second lever operated by
the other foot is used. . The occupation of ironing is without doubt
excessively fatiguing labor. The women can not sit while doing the
work. * * * In some laundries the women have wooden boxes
to stand on, so that in using the foot lever they step down upon it
instead of having to step up on the lever and then force it down with
the weight of the body. This is decidedly easier. * * * The
machines radiate an excessive heat and this combination of heat and
tiresome movements of arms and body works great discomfort to
the operator. In addition to the muscular strain the women must be
constantly on guard to prevent getting their fingers caught between
the rolls.1
Hand ironing, which needs no description, is heavy work and the
relative number of women in this occupation is declining. In the
larger laundries a considerable proportion of the hand ironers are
men. Few young women engage in it, and the women now found in
it are mostly survivors of the old system, who almost universally
show the effects of their hard labor.
The only remaining occupations for women are assembling the
articles according to the original lists, mending when necessary and
wrapping them ready for delivery. Assembling and wrapping are
both performed by women standing.
It will be noticed that the majority of these occupations are such
that the women must stand while working, that several of them make
severe demands upon the strength, that some must be carried on under
trying conditions of heat, moisture, etc.*, and that some of the ma1Vol. X I I , Employment of Women in Laundries, p. 23.




332

BULLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

dimes used have decidedly dangerous features. It seems a natural
inference that the detrimental effect of these various features must
increase as the working hours are lengthened, and that “ long days ”
are especially undesirable in such an industry.
EFFECT OF WORK ON HEALTH.
The data concerning effect of laundry work upon the health of
women engaged in it was secured by questioning 539 women taken
without any selection from the different laundries visited. They
are representative of laundry conditions so far as a mere symptomatic
diagnosis of individuals by a physician without physical examina­
tion can represent health conditions. The reports are from the view­
point of a physician, not simply reported on the woman’s word un­
supported by any evidence of probability.
Of the women thus examined 404 made no complaint of ill health
which could be ascribed to the laundry, 6 complained of ill health
which, while not due to laundry work, had been aggravated by it,
and 129 complained of ill health directly attributable to their occu­
pation. The following table shows details as to age, experience,
conjugal condition, etc., of the women questioned:
E F FEC T OF L A U N D R Y W’ O R K UPON H E A L T H AS R E P O R TE D B Y W O M EN EM PLO YEES,
W IT H A G E , E X P E R IE N C E , CONJUGAL CONDITION, A N D CHARACTER OF OCCUPA­
TION.
Conjugal condition.

Character of occupation.

Aver­
age
Standing.
Single.
Using foot lever.
years’ Married.
Aver­ expe­
Num­ age
rience
ber.
age.
Num­
Num­
in
ber Num­
ber Num­
laun­ Num­ Per Num­ Per
Per
Per
dry. ber. cent. ber. cent. re­
ber. cent. re­
ber. cent.
port­
port­
ing.
ing.
Making complaint of
ill health.................
Making no complaint
of ill health, or com­
plaint not charge­
able to laundry
work.........................
Ill health not charge­
able to laundry,
but aggravated by
laundry work.........
Total.................

129

27.5

7.2

51

39.5

78

60.5

98

97

99.0

90

32

35.6

404

27.0

5.7

U41

35.2

260

64.8

175

162

92.6

166

47

28.3

6

43.3

11.8

5

83.3

1

16.7

5

5

3

60.0

539

27.3

6.1

197

36.7

339

63.3

278

261

82

31.4

5 100.0
264

95.0

1 Not including 3 not reported.

The average age of the women of the first two groups is so nearly
the same that it seems unlikely that age is a factor in the difference
in health shown. Since the women who complained of ill health had
been employed in laundries on an average a year and a half longer
than those who made no complaint, it is possible that the difference
in length of service explains part of the difference in health. It



333.

EM PLO YM EN T OF W O M EN IN LAUNDRIES.

seems probable, however, that the character of the occupation of the*
women of the two groups has most significance with reference to
complaints of ill health. Of the women making complaints 99 per
cent stood at their work, while of those who made no complaint 92.G
per cent stood. Unfortunately, a number of the women interviewed
did not report their precise occupation in the laundry, but of those
who did make such reports those complaining of ill health showed
a considerably larger proportion working in occupations which in­
volved the use of the foot lever than was found among those who
made no complaints of ill health.
CLASSIFICATION OF WOMEN BY KIND OF ILL HEALTH
SUFFERED.
The 129 women complaining of ill health were grouped, according
to the character of their complaints, into nine classes. The following
table gives the number of women in each class and certain details
concerning them:
EFFECT OF LAUNDRY W ORK UPON THE HEALTH, AS REPORTED BY WOMEN
EMPLOYEES, CLASSIFIED BY NATURE OF COMPLAINT, AND WITH REFERE&ds
TO AGE, NUMBER OF YEARS’ EXPERIENCE, NATURE OF OCCUPATION, AND
CONJUGAL CONDITION.

Nature of complaint.

1. Women complaining of
lameness and pains in
back, legs, arms, and
chest..............................
2. Women complaining of
general debility...........
3. Women complaining of
swollen legs, ankles,
and feet.........................
4. Women complaining of
nausea, irritation of
lung3............................
5. Women complaining of
abdominal pains........
6. Women complaining of
pelvic troubles and
alleged displacement.
7. Women complaining of
alleged kidney trouble.
8. Accidents.........................
9. Women complaining of
ill health due to gross­
ly insanitary condi­
tions in laundry___

Conjugal condition.
Character of occupation.
Aver­
age
num­
Per
Using foot
Married.
Single.
Standing.
cent Aver­ ber
lever.
No.
of
age
of
to­
age. years’
ex­
tal.
No.
No.
peri­
Per
Per re­
Per
Per
re­
ence. No. cent. No. cent. port­ No. cent. port­ No. cent.
ing.
ing.

126

20.2

23.6

5. 7

5

19.2

21

80.8

22

°2

100.0

21

5

24.0

9

7.0

29.9

8.3

4

44.4

5

55.6

6

5

83.0

5

2

40.0

234

26.4

30.2

8.5

17

50.0

17

50.0

27

27

100.0

22

313

10.1

25. 5

7.3

3

23.0

10

77.0

11

11

100.0

11

4

36.4

ai

8.5

29.3

7.9

4 54.5
>

5

45.5

9

9

100.0

9

8

88.8

528

21.7

28.3

6.5

13

46.4

18

18

100.0

17

8

47.0

4
3

3.1
2.3

22.5
24.0

5.7
4.7 * Y *33.*3

4 100.0
2 66.7

2
3

2
3

100.0
100.0

2
3

1

.7

Total...................... 129 100.0

15

53.6

3<). 0 1 9.0
1
i

1 100.0
.

i
1

5 ;

1

----- :---

2 2 .7

____i
!

!

1 .

!

j

------\

1 Including 4 complaining of rheumatism and 1 of headache (daily).
2 Including 3.complaining of rheumatism, 6 of varicose veins, 1 of heatlacho, and 2 of general poor healt h.
3 Including 2 complaining of rheumatism.
4 Including 3 complaining of rheumatism.
* Including 1 complaining of rheumatism and 2 of varicose veins.




334

BU LLETIN OF T H E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

CONNECTION BETWEEN ILL HEALTH AND SPECIFIC
CONDITIONS OF WORK.
Some of the women made complaints of specific conditions in
the laundries to which the ill health complained of might be at
least partly due. Thus, of the 13 women who complained of nausea
and irritation of the lungs, 12 also complained of dampness, steam,
odors, or noxious gases. In all 30 women made definite complaint
of these things; others did not have any definite complaint to make
or simply failed to report in the matter. Considering the heat in
all laundries and the steam in poorly ventilated laundries, com­
plaints of these conditions were not so common as might be expected.
In other cases the ills complained of had an apparent connection
with certain conditions in which the work was carried on, although
the workers did not make the connection. Swollen feet and ankles,
which were complained of more frequently in summer than in
winter, were often as much the result of heat from the ironing
machine as of standing. The connection between abdominal pains,
pelvic troubles, alleged displacement, etc., and the use of the foot
lever is not proved, but is at least indicated by the figures of the
table given above. The rheumatism complained of was found mainly
among the older women and might have been attributable to insani­
tary living conditions as well as to laundry conditions. Yet there
are conditions in the laundry which may directly account for rheu­
matism and catarrhal conditions. Some laundries have no dressing
rooms or places for putting away outer wraps. In such cases they
are thrown upon a table or hung on the w
rall, unprotected from the
steam and moisture of the atmosphere. The clothing of the women
becomes damp from perspiration and from the steam from their
work. When they are ready to leave the laundry at night they not
only continue to wear their damp working clothing but put on the
steam-dampened outer garments. These are a very inadequate
protection if the weather is severe, .and the women are chilled
through, incurring an obvious risk of colds and rheumatic pains.
Such conditions are not, however, universal.
Much has been done and more can be done to improve working
conditions and thus health conditions in laundries. The best motor
laundries are sanitary and provided with bathing facilities, rest
rooms, and rooms where work clothes can be changed for street
costume. * * * Some employers encourage the women to go to
rest rooms at intervals and sit or lie down for a short time for
relaxation, claiming that it pays in the day’s work as a whole, for
more and better work is turned out. None of the better class of
laundries will employ women who are too frail for the work or
who are under 18 years of age, and an effort is made to train young
workers properly for the trade. No weak girls are put on machines



EM PLOYM ENT

OF

W OM EN

IN

L A U N D R IE S .

335

and no overtime is exacted. Proprietors contend that with good
working conditions and no overwork there is no better trade for
women.1
In addition to the general discussion, the report includes a series
of paragraphs giving for each of the 539 women questioned such
salient facts as age, race, conjugal condition, occupation when
reported, home surroundings, and such facts of earlier industrial
history as might have a bearing upon her present physical condition.2
1 Vol. X I I , Employment of W om en in Laundries, p. 32.
2 Reference should here be made to a study of the employment of women in the power
laundries in Milwaukee, Bulletin No. 122 of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which
may be considered supplementary to the report summarized above. The special object of
this later study was to secure careful detailed data in regard to the precise working
conditions in power laundries and in regard to the physical demands of the various
laundry occupations.







CHAPTER XIII.—INFANT MORTALITY AND ITS RE­
LATION TO THE EMPLOYMENT OF MOTHERS.
Volume X III of the Report on Condition of Woman and Child
Wage Earners includes two distinct studies. The first is a study of
the relation of women’s employment and infant mortality, based on
a careful analysis of the available statistics of Massachusetts. The
second is a comprehensive original study of the infant mortality in
Fall Eiver, Mass., during one year, in relation to the work of the
mother before and after confinement.
MASSACHUSETTS STATISTICS OF INFANT MORTALITY.
The analysis of Massachusetts statistics emphasizes the complex
nature of the conditions which have relation to the employment of
married women and the causes of infant mortality. In the cities of
New England certain factors which in the past have been ignored
in the consideration of the problem are with fair uniformity coex­
istent with a high infant mortality rate; these being (1) a high pro­
portion of foreign born, (2) a high female illiteracy, and (3) a high
birth rate. These factors operate with equal force over large or
small areas—that is, the results when the six New England States
are regarded as units are not different than when individual cities
of the State of Massachusetts are studied as ujiits, the degree of
urbanization of the population taking the place of the size of towns,
and accompanying the infant death rate with almost perfect regular­
ity through the last three census periods.
The two other factors considered in this study relate themselves
with less regularity to the infant death rate. The first of these is
the size of cities. Large towns, in general, have rather higher rates
than small towns, although, as already noted, this relationship is
found not to be invariable. For example, in the decade 1898-1907
the city of Lynn, with a population of 77,042, had an infant death
rate of but 133 per 1,000 births, while Lawrence, with a population of
70,050, had a rate of 181.2 per 1,000; Brockton, with a population of
47,794, of only 109.5 per 1,000 births, while Chicopee, with a popula­
tion of only 20,191, had an infant death rate of 178.4 per 1,000 births.
The second factor which is found, statistically speaking, associated
very uncertainly, to say the least, with the infant death rate, is the
subject of this study—the proportion of women engaged in extra­
domestic occupations.
05053°— Bull. 175— 16-------22




337

338

B ULLETIN OF T H E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICvS.

It is true that the six cities of Massachusetts having an extremely
high infant death rate have also a high proportion of women em­
ployed in extra-domestic occupations. It is likewise true that these
six cities with abnormal infant death rates have a considerably
higher proportion of women so employed than the six industrial cities
with low infant mortality rates presented with them for purposes of
comparison. But the fact must not be lost sight of that, while the
six cities with low infant death rates do show a smaller proportion of •
women, industrially employed than the six high mortality cities, the
per cent of women so employed in the six low mortality cities is a
little higher than the per cent for the 32 Massachusetts cities, and
considerably higher than the per cent for the State of Massachusetts
as a whole, while the infant mortality rate not only is lower than the
rate for the 32 cities, but is 19 per 1,000 births less than the rate for
the State at large, in which rural districts have been included. It
will be seen that this result clearly disproves the contention that the
extra-domestic employment of women is the dominant factor in
determining the infant death rate so far as the Massachusetts cities
are concerned.
On the real question of prime importance in the relation of women’s
work to infant mortality—namely, how many mothers of young chil­
dren return to industrial employment outside of their homes before
their infants have attained the age of 1 year—little accurate informa­
tion is available. The report on the condition of woman and child
wage-earners in the cotton textile industry shows that only 23, or
14.1 per cent, out of 163 married women working in cotton mills
who are scheduled in New England had children under 3 years of
age.1 The distribution of these 23 children by ages in detail is not
shown, but it is obvious that the proportion of women working in
the cotton mills who have infants (children under 1 year) at home
must be very small at any particular time, and in no wise sufficient to
account for the excessive infant mortality rate of the textile cities,
INFANT MORTALITY IN FALL RIVER, MASS.
It has often been the subject of comment both here and in other
countries, notably in England, that in cities where a large propor­
tion of the women are industrially employed a high rate of infant
1 The report on the condition of woman and child wage earners in the cotton textile
industry (Vol. I of this report, pp. 1010 and 1032) shows that out of 407 married women
living in the Massachusetts cotton-mill families visited in the course of the investigation
of the Bureau of Labor only 101 married women were at work as wage earners at the
time of the visits, and that only 13, or 12.9 per cent, of these were mothers of children
under 3 years of age. Out of 806 married women living in the New England families
included in the same investigation 175 married women were at work, and only 23, or
14.1 per cent, had children under 3 years of age. Compare Men’s Ready-Made Clothing,
Vol. II of this report, showing that only 9.9 per cent of the married women at work
(not including home finishers) had children under 3 years of a g e ; Glass Industry, Vol.
I l l , with 14.1 per cent; and Silk Industry, Vol. IV, with 17.3 per cent.




IN F A N T MORTALITY AND EM PLO YM EN T OF MOTHERS*

339

mortality—that is, under 1 year—is almost always found. Nearly all
of the cities which are centers of the textile industries are conspicu­
ous for a high mortality at all ages, and especially for a high mor­
tality under 1 year. Because of this almost constant relation of
the extensive employment of women and a high infant mortality,
it has often been assumed that the excessive infant death rates in
industrial localities are chiefly due to the industrial employment
of the mothers,
REASON FOR SELECTION OF FA L L RIVER.

In order to test the validity of this assumption or to ascertain the
real causes of the high infant mortality in such cases an investiga­
tion in detail of the conditions in a textile city where the indus­
trial employment of women is almost exclusively in that industry
seemed the most feasible method. Of all American textile cities,
Fall Eiver seemed to be the most suitable for such a study. In
1905 nearly 17,000, or 38.6 per cent of the women 10 years of age and
over, were gainfully employed, and nearly 13,000, or 29.8 per cent,
were employed in cotton mills. Of this number approximately onethird were married or widowed. The death rate at all ages in
Fall Eiver for the 10-year period 1900 to 1909 was 20.3 per 1,000
of the population, and in 1908 it was 20.5. In the same 10-year
period, out of every 100 deaths 38.4 were those of children under
1 year, and in 1908, 36.6 per cent were children under 1 year. The
general death rate, it should be noted, was one of the highest pre­
vailing in any northern city, and the same is true of the percentage
of deaths under 1 year. The birth rate also was extraordinarily
high, being 43 per 1,000 of population in 1908.
The striking feature of the Fall River infant mortality figures,
not only in 1908 but in each year of the 10-year period 1900 to 1909
as well, is the great number of deaths due to diarrhea, enteritis, and
gastritis, this group of causes being accountable for 38.3 per cent
of all deaths under 1 year in 1908 and for 36.7 per cent during
the 10-year period.
The main question for investigation then was whether the high
infant mortality in Fall River is due directly or indirectly in an
important degree to the industrial employment of mothers. Ob­
viously such an investigation called for a study of the causes of
death among the children of mothers employed outside the home in
comparison with the children of mothers at home. The effect of the
mother’s work outside the home and of the withdrawal of the
mother’s care, if the effect was at all marked, should be apparent
from a comparison of the deaths due to various causes among the
two classes of children.



340

BULLETIN OF TH E BURK A U OF LABOR STATISTICS,

SCOPE A N D METHOD OF *IN VESTIGATIO N.

For the purposes of the investigation the year 1908 was selected.
Copies were made of the official records of all children dying under
1 year from any cause in Fall liiver and of all stillbirths. Visits
were then made to the homes of the children by experienced agents
of the Bureau of Labor,1 and detailed inquiries were made con­
cerning the employment of the mother, the time of discontinuing
work before the birth of the child, the time of resuming work after
the birth of the child, if work was so resumed, the character of the
feeding of the child, the care given to the child, especially during
any absence of the mother at work, and various other matters tend­
ing to throw light in any way upon the direct or indirect causes of
death. Much difficulty was found in tracing some of the families
and in securing accurate information from the mother and other
members of the family. Doctors were interviewed when, possible
for supplementary information.
Of the 859 children dying under 1 year in Fall Kiver during 1908,
the desired particulars were obtained concerning 580, and of the 227
stillborn children recorded, particulars were obtained concerning
165. Of the 580 children dying under 1 year whose families were
interviewed, it was found that in the case of 2G6, or 45.9 per cent, the
mothers during the period of pregnancy were at work outside the
home, while in the case of 314 the mothers were not at any time
during that period at work away from home. Of the 165 mothers of
stillborn children who were traced, 69, or 41.8 per cent, had been
employed at some time during pregnancy. For 279 of the children
born living and for 62 of the stillborn the family could not be found
and the information which is here available is therefore limited to
the details given in th<! official records.
The representative character of the cases concerning which de­
tailed information w secured is indicated by a comparison of the
ras
causes of death and of the country of birth of the parents of the
children. No significant differences were found between the 580
children for whom particulars were obtained and the 279 whose
families could not be found.
EXCESSIVE INFANT MORTALITY IN FALL RIVER.
The first result of a study of Fall River infant-mortality figures
and a comparison with those of other localities is to establish beyond
1 Probably it is important In presenting the results of an investigation of this kind
and in this place to emphasize the method of securing the data, for in work of this kind
reasonably reliable data can be secured only by visits to the homes, and even then agents
of experience and judgment must be employed. The three agents who were engaged in
the collection of the data in this investigation had had considerable previous training in
the field work of the Bureau of Labor, and one of them, Dr. Laura M. ~eiskei% in imme­
diate charge of the field work, was also a physician of experience.




IN FAN T MORTALITY AND EM PLO YM EN T OF MOTHERS.

341

question the fact that the Fall River rates are excessive. In Fall
River the death rate under 1 year per 1,000 births in 1908 was 177.6,
while in 1910 in the Borough of Manhattan it was 134.6, in Boston
126, in England and Wales (in 1908) 120.3, and in Blackburn,
England, an important English textile city somewhat larger than
Fall River, 157 (for a 10-year period).
CO M PARATIVE PER CENT OF DEATHS UNDER ONE Y E A R FROM
SPECIFIED C AUSES IN F A L L RIYER A N D E LSE W H ER E .

A comparison limited to a study of the per cent of deaths due
to the more important causes quickly shows that the proportion
of deaths due to diarrhea, enteritis, or gastritis in Fall River
in 1908 was 37 per cent above that in the registration area of the
United States in 1908, 37 per cent above that in the Borough of
Manhattan and 46 per cent above that in Boston in 1910, 114 per
cent above that in England and Wales in 1908, and 131 per cent
above that for 10 years in Blackburn.
COMPARISON OF PER CENT OF TO TAL D E A T H S U N D E R 1 Y E A R D UE TO D IA R R H E A ,
E N T E R IT IS, A N D GASTRITIS IN F A L L R IV E R AN D IN O TH ER LOCALITIES.

Locality.

Fall River, 1908....................................................................................................................
Registration area, United States, 1908................. 1.......................................................
Manhattan Borough, 1910...................................................................................................
Boston, 1910................................. - .......................................................................................
England and Wales, 1908.....................................................................................................
Blackburn, England, 1901-1910.........................................................................................

Per cent of
excess in
Per cent of proportion
of deaths
deaths
due to
under 1
diarrhea,
year due
enteritis,
to diar­
rhea, enter­ and gas­
tritis in
itis, and
Fall River
gastritis.
over
locality
specified.1
38.3
27.9
27.9
26.3
17.9
16.6

37
37
46
114
131

i For comparison with the Fall River figures of 1908 those for England and Wales in the same year are
taken. In 1909 and 1910 the rates for England and Wales were considerably lower than in 1908, namely,
108.73 and 105.44, respectively, per 1,000 births, and the death rates from diarrheal diseases were coi respondingly lower (12.(54 in both 1909 and 1910). For Manhattan Borough and for Boston figures for 1910
were taken as likely to be more nearly correct than those of earlier years. The rates in 1908 in these
cities were, Manhattan Borough 136, Boston 149.

DEATH R A TE S PER 1,000 BIRTHS FROM SPECIFIED D ISEA SE S IN
FA L L RIVER A N D ELSEW H ERE.

A comparison on the more exact basis of death rates per 1,000
births makes a very much more unfavorable showing for Fall River,
its rate for diarrhea, enteritis, and gastritis being then, for the pe­
riods named above, 81 per cent above that for the Borough of Man­
hattan, 105 per cent above that for Boston, 215 per cent above that
of England and Wales, and 161 per cent above that of Blackburn,
England, for a 10-year period.



342

BULLETIN OP TH E BUEEAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

COMPARISON OP D E A T H RATES PER 1,000 BIRTHS PROM D IA R R H E A , EN T E R IT IS , A N D
GASTRITIS, A N D FROM N O N D IA R R H E A L DISEASES IN F A L L R IV E R A N D IN O T H ER
LOCALITIES.

Death rate under 1 year per
1,000 births.

Per cent of excess of Fall River
death rate under 1 year per
1,000 births over city specified.

Iiocality.
Diarrhea,
Nondiarenteritis,
rheal
and
diseases.
gastritis.
Fall River, 1908................................................
Manhattan Borough, 1910..............................
Boston, 1910.......................................................
England and Wales, 1908...............................
Blackburn, England, 1901-1910.....................

68.1
37.6
33.2
21.6
26.1

109.5
97.0
92.8
98.7
130.9

All
causes.

Diarrhea,
enteritis, Nondiar­
rhea 1
and
gastritis. diseases.

177.6
134.6
126.0
120.3
157.0

81
105
215
161

13
18
11
120

All
causes.

32
41
48
13

1 Per cent of excess of Blackburn over Fall River rate.

DEATH RATES A T D IFFEREN T AGES UNDER ONE Y E A R IN FA L L
RIVER A N D E LSEW H ER E.

When we compare the death rates per 1,000 births at various
ages under 1 year in Fall River and in other localities we find that
the Fall River rate for ages under 1 month is not excessive, corre­
sponding almost exactly with that for England and Wales, but that
at ages over 3 months the Fall River rates are very greatly excessive.
COMPARISON OF D E A T H R ATES A T D IF F E R E N T AG E S U N D E R 1 Y E A R P ER 1,000
B IR T H S ,F A L L R IV E R ,M A S S .,E N G L A N D A N D W A L E S ,A N D B L A C K B U R N ,E N G L A N D .

Locality.

Fall River, 1908................................................. .................
England and Wales, 1908.......................... ......................
Blackburn, 1910...................................................................

Under 1
month.

Under 3
months.

40.5
40.3
46.1

72.3
64.4
69..5

3 months
and
6 months
under 6 and over.
months.
46.9
23.6
25.1

58.4
32.4
41.4

Total.

177.6
120.3
136.0

The comparisons between Fall River and localities having a more
favorable infant mortality rate indicate quite clearly that wherever
death rates are excessive the excess is largely to be accounted for by
a high rate from diarrheal diseases. This of itself shows that such
excessive rates are largely preventable. The additional fact that
wherever rates are excessive the greatest differences exist at ages over
3 months shows again that to a considerable extent the high rates
are due to preventable causes.
REDUCTION OF IN F A N T D EATH RATE S IN EN G LAN D .

It is possible to throw light upon the situation by turning to
English experience, where figures are available covering a period of
years, to show the causes where organized effort has resulted in the



IN F A N T MORTALITY AND EM PLO YM EN T OF MOTHERS.

343

greatest improvement in the infant death rates. Here a comparison
of the rates from 1901 to 1909 shows in the most striking way the
reduction in death rates that has been brought about within that
brief period. While the greatest reduction, a reduction of 45 per
cent (1909 compared with average 1901-1904) has been brought about
in death rates from diarrheal diseases, the improvement in rates from
practically all of the other causes also is very great, and even in death
rates from the developmental and wasting diseases of earliest infancy
a reduction of 6 per cent has been brought about.
PER CENT OF R EDUCTION IN D E A T H R ATES A T D IF F E R E N T A G E S U N D E R 1 Y E A R ,
PER 1,000 BIRTH S, B E T W E E N 1901-1904 AN D 1909, EN G L A N D A N D W A L E S , B Y CAUSES.

Cause of death.

Per cent of reduction in death rate;!,
Per cent
1909, over average, 1901-1904.
of total
deaths
due to
3 months
Total
specified
and
6 months under 1
Under 3
cause,
months. under 6 and over.
year.
1901-1904.
months.

Developmental and wasting diseases 1...........................
Diarrheal diseases 2. ...........................................................
Convulsions..........................................................................
Tuberculosis (all forms).....................................................
Pneumonia, bronchitis, and laryngitis..........................
All other causes...................................................................

33
19
11
4
17
17

5
36
31
41
20
18

19
47
38
38
21
27

14
50
41
31
16
23

6
45
34
35
18
22

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

100

15

33

29

22

i Includes premature birth, congenital defects, want of breast milk, injury at birth, atrophy, debility,
and marasmus.
* Includes diarrhea, enteritis, gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal catarrh, gastritis, and gastric catarrh,

EFFECT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT OF MOTHER
BEFORE BIRTH OF CHILD.
The importance in Fall River of the mothers industrially employed
outside the home before childbirth, as related to the infant mortality
in 1908, is indicated by the fact that of the 580 reported 266, or 45.9
per cent, were so employed, and 314, or 54.1 per cent, were at home.
The importance of the mothers employed outside the home after
childbirth and while the child was living, as related to the infant
mortality of Fall River, is indicated by the fact that of the 578
reported 83, or 14.4 per cent, were so employed. This number is
subject to further qualification in certain respects, because of the
fact that out of this 83 only 41 were at the time just prior to their
return to work nursing their children. The other 42 had either never
nursed their children or had previously discontinued nursing for
reasons having no relation to their return to work.
Work on the part of the mother before the birth of the child,
whether in the home or industrially, if involving strain or exhaus­
tion, and especially if continued too near childbirth, might be ex­
pected to increase stillbirths and deaths due to premature birth, con­
genital malformation and defects, congenital debility, and other
diseases, but in less degree.



BULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOft STATISTICS.

, The causes of death above named are chiefly important in earliest
infancy, and if the mother’s work before the birth of the child was
a seriously injurious influence in any considerable number of cases,
that fact should be disclosed in a study and comparison of the
deaths of children of the two classes, mothers at home and mothers
at work.
R ELA TIV E M O RTALITY OF IN F A N T S OF MOTHERS A T HOME A N D
MOTHERS A T WORK.

A comparison of the children of mothers at home and of mothers
at work shows that when all causes of death are considered a slightly
greater percentage of the children of mothers at home died during
the first week, during the first month, and during the first three
months of life. This will be best seen in the following table:
PER CENT OF D EATH S FROM A L L CAUSES UNDER 1 Y E A R OCCURRING U N D E R 1
W E E K , U N D E R 1 M ONTH , AND UN D ER 3 MONTHS, FOR CH ILD REN OF M O TH ER SAT
HOME AND OF M OTHERS A T W O R K .

Per cent of total deat hs under
1 year which occurred—
Work of mother l>ef >ro ]>ir<h of <*hi!d.
Under 1
week.
Mothers at h o m e ......................................................................................................
Mothers at work.........................................................................................................

Under 1
month.

12.1
10.2

24.8
22.2

Under 3
months.
42.9
41.4

STILLBIRTHS IN RELATIO N TO MOTHERS’ W ORK BEFORE CHILDBIRTH.

A slightly higher percentage of stillborn children is found in
the case of mothers at home, 23.4 per cent of the deaths of the chil­
dren of mothers at home being stillbirths, while for the children of
mothers at work only 20.6 per cent 'were stillbirths. In order to
ascertain whether the apparently greater importance of stillbirths
among the children of mothers at home is due to the severity of work
as compared with mill work or to other causes an attempt was made
7
by inquiry in the home to ascertain in as many cases as possible any­
thing in the work of the mother, her condition, or the conditions in
the home to which the stillbirth of the child might be attributed.
Among the mothers at work away from home the stillbirth could be
traced to the mother’s work in only 9 cases, the cause in 7 being the
severity or unsuitable character of the work, and in 2 cases the continu­
ance of the work too near childbirth. In addition to the 7 stillbirths
due to the character of the mother’s work there were 3 cases where the




IN F A N T MORTALITY AND EM PLOYM ENT OF MOTIIEBS.

345

mother had been employed in the mill during pregnancy but where
the stillbirth was due directly to housework at home after leaving the
mill. The 7 stillbirths apparently traceable to the mothers5 work
constituted 12 per cent of the total of 58 mothers at millwork from
whom detailed information was secured. Among the mothers at
home in 10 cases the stillbirth was apparently traceable to the char­
acter of the mother’s work, and in 2 cases to its continuance too
near childbirth. These 10 cases, it should be said, included 3 cases of
mothers who had been employed in the mill but had given up millwork in expectation of childbirth and were engaged only in house­
work. These 10 cases constitute 13 per cent of the 75 mothers at
home (72 at home plus 3 at work in mill and later at home).
Comparing further the per cent of stillbirths traceable to sickness
or ill health of the mother, there were 12 cases among mothers at
work, constituting 22 per cent of the total for whom reports were
received, and 20 cases among mothers at home, constituting 27 per
< t of the total mothers at home.
*en
These comparisons would seem to indicate that so far as stillbirths
were traceable to a cause the work of the mother in the mill and
sickness or ill health of the mother so employed were not respon­
sible for stillbirths in any greater degree among the mothers at work
than among the mothers at home. It is necessary to point out, how­
ever, that the facts as presented here can hardly have an exact value,
as the causes can not be known of a certainty in all these cases.
Moreover, it is probably true that in a number of cases the reported
sickness or ill health of the mother at home was due to former em­
ployment in the cotton mill, although it is necessary to say that no
such case was identified among any of the mothers included in this
table. Furthermore, sickness and ill health are not uncommon
among women who are not employed in severe labor, either in the
factory or in the home, and many such cases are due to obscure
causes. Some also, as here, among both mothers at work and mothers
at home are due to accidents or improper treatment of previous
births.
CONDITION OF CHILDREN A T BIRTH IN RELATIO N TO MOTHERS’
W O RK BEFORE CHILDBIRTH.

The condition of the children at birth, which may be taken as an
index of the effect of antenatal influences, will be indicated by the
percentage of total deaths which were due to the diseases of early
infancy (premature birth, congenital malformation, and congenital
debility under three months). A comparison is macle in the follow­




346

BU LLETIN OF TPIE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

ing table for the children of mothers at home and of mothers at
work:
PER CENT OF TO TAL D EATH S U N D E R 1 Y E A R (NOT INCLUDING STILLB IR TH S) W H IC H
W E R E D U E TO DISEASES OF E A R L Y IN FAN CY (PR EM ATU R E B IR T H , CONGENITAL
M ALFORM ATION, AND CONGENITAL D E B IL IT Y U N D ER 3 MONTHS) FOR CH ILD RE N
OF MOTHERS A T HOM E AN D OF MOTHERS A T W O R K .

Deaths due to diseases of early infancy.
Work of mother before birth of child.

Total
deaths,
all
causes.

Prema­
ture
birth.

To tal.
Congen­ Congen­
ital mal­ ital debil­
forma­ ity under
tion.
3 months. Number. Per cent.

Mothers at home..............................................
Mothers at work outside the home..............

314
266

16
20

8
4

49
31

73
55

23.2
20.7

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

580

36

12

80

128

22.1

From these figures it appears that while deaths from premature
birth and congenital malformations together were relatively more
numerous among the children of mothers at work, yet when the
deaths from congenital debility under 3 months are added, the
children of mothers at home made a distinctly unfavorable show­
ing—23.2 per cent against 20.7 per cent.
The large per cent of children dying from various causes during
the early weeks of life suggests that many of the children were
not well and strong at birth, due, perhaps, among other causes, to
the injurious influence of the mother’s work. In the course of the
investigation an attempt was made by questioning the mothers of
the children to ascertain the number of those dying under 1 year
who at birth were not well and strong. Information so obtained,
while based in many cases upon the statement of the physician to
the mother, would in many other cases rest largely upon the
mother’s judgment.
NU M BER A N D PER CENT OF C H IL D R EN D Y IN G U N D ER 1 Y E A R (N O T IN CLUDING
STILLB IR TH S), FROM SPECIFIED CAUSES, W H O W E R E R E P O R TE D AS N O T W E L L
A N D STRONG A T B IR T H , ACCORDING TO W O R K OF M OTHER.

Cause of death.

Mothers at home:
Premature birth and congenital malformation..........................................
Congenital debility............... ............................................................................
All other causes..................................................................................................
Total, all causes...........................................................
Mothers at work:
Premature birth and congenital malformation..........................................
Congenital debility...........................................................................................
All other causes..................................................................................................
Total, all causes..........................................................................................




Total
children
dying
under
1 year.

Children not well
and strong at
birth.
Number. Per cent.

24
77
205

24
46
45

100.0
59.7
21.8

306

115

37.6

24
53
178

24
30
51

100.0
56.6
28.6

255

105

41.2

INJfANT MORTALITY AND EM PLO YM EN T OF MOTHERS.

347

According to this table, 59.7 per cent of the children of mothers
at home dying from congenital debility were reported as not well
and strong at birth. Of the children of mothers at work dying
from the same cause, 56.6 per cent were reported as not well and
strong at birth. Of the children of mothers at home dying from
all other causes (excluding premature birth and congenital mal­
formation), 21.8 per cent were reported as not well and strong at
birth, as compared with 28.6 per cent of the children of mothers at
work. Taking together all the children of mothers at home, 37.6
per cent were reported as not well and strong at birth, as against
41.2 per cent of the children of mothers at work.
Apparently, then, antenatal conditions of some kind have resulted
in a slightly larger percentage of children not well and strong at
birth among the group “ children of mothers at work ” than among
the children of mothers at home. Among the children dying of
congenital debility, however, where the fact should be especially
noticeable, the percentage is slightly higher for children of mothers
at home.
Examining the two groups, “ motners at home ” and “ mothers at
work outside the home,” more in detail with reference to the work
of the mother, a comparison may be made of the children not well
and strong at birth (including both those born living and the still­
born) in relation to the whole number of children dying under 1
year, including stillborn.
N UM BER A N D PER CENT OF T O TA L CH ILD R EN D Y IN G U N D ER 1 Y E A R (INCLUDING
STILLBO RN) W H O W E R E R EPO R TED AS W E L L AN D STRONG A T B IR T H , NOT W E L L
AND STRONG A T B IR T H , AN D STILLBORN, ACCORDING TO W O R K OF MOTHER
BEFORE B IR T H OF CHILD.
Number.

Work of mother before birth of
child.

Per cent.

Children not
Chil­
dren well and strong
at birth.
well
and
strong
Bom
Still­
at
birth. living. born.

Total.

Children not
Chil­
dren well and strong
at birth.
well
and
Total,
strong
Bom
Still­
at
birth. living. born.

Mothers at home:
A t housework only.........................
A t other work..................................
A t no work.......................................

182
5
4

112
1
2

93
2
1

1387
8
7

47.0
62.5
57.1

29.0
12.5
28.6

24.0
25.0
14.3

100.0
100.0
100.0

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

191

115

96

1402

47.5

28.6

23.9

100.0

Mothers at work outside the home
before birth of child:
A t cotton-mill work........................
A t other work..................................

136
14

96
9

65
4

2 297
3 27

45.8
51.9

32.3
33.3

21.9
14.8

100.0
100.0

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

150

105

69

*324

46.3

32.4

21.3

100.0

Grand total...................................

341

220

165

&726

47.0

30.3

22.7

100.0

1 Not including 8, child’s condition not reported.
2 Not including 9, child’s condition not reported.
» Not including 2, child’s condition not reported*




4 Not including 11, child’s condition not reported.
5 Not including 19, child’s condition not reported.

348

BULLETIN OF Til K Bi/KEAU OF LA BOH STATISTICS.

Here, as in the preceding comparison, a slightly larger per cent
of the children of mothers at work are found reported as not well
and strong at birth. This excess is slightly increased if the com­
parison be restricted to the two more important classes, “ mothers at
housework only” and “ mothers at millwork.” For the former class
S3 per cent of the children were reported as not well and strong at
birth, and for the latter class 54.2 per cent. The significance in these
figures appears to be not in the slight excess of children not well
and strong at birth for the mothers at work, but in the fact that for
the mothers at home the percentage is practically as high, plainly
indicating that if there is an injurious effect of millwork there must
also be in many of these cases an effect almost in the same degree
injurious resulting from the work at home. In making this state­
ment it is, of course, necessary to remember that to an extent which
can not be accurately measured the group “ mothers at home ” in­
cludes women who were in early life engaged in millwork and are
perhaps still subject to the effect upon their health of this earlier
work.
DISCONTINUANCE OF MOTHERS' W ORK BEFORE CHILDBIRTH.

Perhaps quite as important as the character of the work of the
mother is the length of time before birth of child that the mother
stopped work. For the mothers at home the question is difficult of
an answer which is of value. A very large number reported that
housework was continued up to the d;?}Tof birth. For very many of
these this did not mean severe or long-continued work. For others
the hardest kind of work was reported, and premature births and
stillbirths could be traced directly to this cause. For the most part,
however, the time of discontinuance of work before the birth of the
child can not be regarded as significant as here reported in the cases
of mothers at home. For the mothers at work, however, conditions
are quite different. Here in nearly all cases the mothers were em­
ployed outside the home in cotton-mill work and continued at their
usual mill duties up to the day shown in the table.




349

IN F A N T MORTALITY AND EM PLO YM EN T OF MOTHERS.

N UM BER AN D PE R CENT OF T O TA L CH ILD REN D Y IN G U N D E R 1 Y E A R (INCLUDING
STILLBORN) W H O W E R E R EPO R TED AS NOT W E L L A N D STRONG A T B IR T H FOR
MOTHERS A T HOME A2n MOTHERS A T W O R K , ACCORDING TO L E N G T H OF TIME
tD
BEFOR E B IR T H OF CHILD T H A T M OTH ER STOPPED W O R K .

Mothers at work outside the
home before birth of child.

Mothers at home.

Children not well and
Children not well and
strong at birth.
strong at birth.
Total
Total
chil­
Length of time before birth of child chil­
dren,
dren,
that mother stopped work.
I rumber.
in­
in­
Number.
clud­
clud­
ing
ing
Per
Per
still­ Born
cent.
cent. still­ Bom Still­
born. liv­ Still­ Total.
born. liv­
Total.
born.
born.
ing.
ing.
Under 4 days.............................................
4 days and under 1 week........................
1 week and under 2 weeks......................
2 weeks and under 3 weeks.....................
3 weeks and under 1 month...................
1 month and under 2 months.................
2 months and under 3 months...............
3 months and under 4 months..............
4 months and under 5 months...............
5 months and under 6 months...............
6 months and over....................................

271
5
33
7
1
5
2
3
1
1
9

71
2
11
1
1
2
1
1
1

Total.................................................
Time of stopping work not reported...

338
64

96
19

Total....... ......................................... 1402

115

6
14
1
2
11
3
11
32
5
31 *“ io*
14
54
9
37
11
28
6
16
28
73

130
2
20
4
1
2
1
1
1
1
5

48.0
40.0
60.6
57.1
100.0
40.0
50.0
33.3
100.0
100.0
55.6

72
24

168
51

49.7
79.7

96

219

52.5

2 324

5
1
2
10
3
5
10
8
3
3
11

11
2
5
21
3
15
24
17
14
9
39

78.6
100.0
45.5
65.6
60.0
48.4
44.4
45.9
50.0
56.3
53.4

99
6

61
8

160
14

52.8
66.7

105

69

174

53.0

303

59

......
....
3

1
5

2
1

1 Not including 8 children, condition at birth not reported.
2 Not including 11 children, condition at birth not reported.

For the mothers at home it will be seen that in 271 out of 338
cases reported work was continued up to within four days of child­
birth, while for the mothers at work outside the home out of 303
cases reported, 14 worked up to within four days, 27 less than two
weeks, and 64, or 21 per cent of all, less than one month. For the
mothers at home the per cent of the children who were not well and
strong at birth was not higher than the average, even in the group
working up to within four days of childbirth. For the mothers at
work outside the home, those continuing work up to *within a month
or less of childbirth show an excessive percentage of children not
well and strong at birth. In all the groups discontinuing work at an
earlier date the percentages were below the average, save in the last
two groups, where it was only slightly in excess.
RELATION B ETW EEN MOTHER'S W ORK AN D CHILD’S CONDITION
A T BIRTH.

It has appeared from the foregoing tables that in a comparison of
the condition at birth of children of mothers at home and mothers
at work, approximately the same percentage were not well and
strong at birth. Inquiries were made attempting to trace, so far as
possible, any apparent relation between the child’s condition at birth



350

B U LLETIN OF TH E BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

and the mother’s work. Such relationship, however, except in a small
proportion of cases, is difficult to trace, for the causes responsible
for cases of premature birth, congenital malformation, or a condi­
tion of weakness at birth are often exceedingly obscure and very
complex. It can not be supposed that what is here presented is
more than suggestive of the causes which are operating in the two
classes, “ mothers at home” and umothers at work,” to produce a
condition of weakness or ill health in the child at birth.
Of the 302 children dying under 1 year whose mothers were en­
gaged in housework at home, the condition of 53 children not well
and strong at birth was traced to an apparent cause. The child’s
condition in 14 cases was due to injury at birth or difficult birth, in
14 cases to the sickness or ill health of the mother, and in 9 cases to
the character of the mother’s work. These 9 cases, however, include
5 cases where the mother was employed during pregnancy outside
the home, but where it could be stated definitely that the child’s con­
dition at birth was due directly to overwork at home after leaving
the mill. In these cases the overwork of special importance was
heavy washing and lifting in connection with the same.
Of the 243 children of mothers engaged in millwork outside the
home, 42 cases of children not well and strong at birth could be
traced to an apparent cause. In 15 cases this cause was the sickness
or ill health of the mother, in 11 cases it was the character of the
mother’s work, and in 9 cases, where it did not appear that the char­
acter of the mother’s work was especially unsuitable and injurious,
it did appear quite clearly that it was continued so long and so near
childbirth as to be directly responsible for the child’s weakness or ill
health at birth.
SU M M A R Y OP SECTION.

Summarizing the results of the study of the effect upon the chil­
dren of the mother’s employment before childbirth, the conclusion
must be reached that in Fall River, as indicated by this one year’s
experience, no marked differences are discoverable between the chil­
dren of mothers at home and those of mothers at work outside the
home. A slightly larger per cent of stillbirths was reported for the
mothers at home, but the per cent of the stillbirths which could be
traced to the mother’s work was the same for mothers at home and
for mothers at work. The percentage of total deaths due to diseases
of early infancy (indicating prematurity, immaturity, or defects)
was higher for the children of mothers at home than for the children
of mothers at work. The percentage of children not well and strong
at birth (stillbirths included) was almost exactly the same for
mothers at home and for mothers at work. It would appear, then,



IN F A N T MORTALITY AND EM PLOYM ENT OF MOTHERS.

351

that the conditions which were found existing do not indicate that
the work of the mother in the cotton mill before childbirth was pro­
ducing results noticeably different from the work of mothers at home.
It must be borne in mind, however, that the two classes—mothers at
work and mothers at home—are not sharply defined and that the
group, mothers at home, always includes a considerable number of
women who were formerly engaged in millwork and whose physical
condition may still be affected in some degree by such earlier employ­
ment.
EFFECT OF INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT OF MOTHER
AFTER BIRTH OF CHILD.
In regard to the relation of the mother’s work outside the home
after childbirth to the high infant mortality in Fall River, the ques­
tion of first importance, of course, is, In what proportion of the cases
of children dying under 1 year did the mother work outside the
home after childbirth, thus depriving the child of the mother’s care?
The answer to this question will give the measure of the maximum
possible effect of the mother’s work outside the home after childbirth
upon the infant mortality. The results of this investigation show
that in Fall River in 1908 only 83, or 14.4 per cent, of the 578 chil­
dren dying under 1 year, concerning whom information could be
secured, were deprived of the mother’s care because of her going to
work after childbirth.
Among these mothers who went to work after childbirth nearly
all the races are represented, in much the same proportions as in the
much larger group of mothers at work before childbirth. While it
is apparent from the smaller number of children which they had
borne for the groups as a whole the mothers at work were younger
than the mothers at home, yet among these mothers who went to
work after childbirth, in certain cases the average number of chil­
dren is so large as to indicate women no longer young. Thus, the
18 French-Canadian mothers show an average of 7.1 children, the 6
English mothers 6.8 children, and the 4 Irish mothers 6.3. The
Portuguese mothers, 27 in number, showed an average of only 3.4
children. This comparatively low average was no doubt due to the
fact that the Portuguese cotton-mill operatives in Fall River are
largely recent immigrants, and as most of them came to this country
seeking work in the cotton mill it is, of course, to be expected that
they are nearly all comparatively young.
It has been shown that only 83, or 14.4 per cent, of the 578 mothers
reporting went to work outside the home after childbirth and while
the child was living. Of this number 11 (13.3 per cent) went to work




352

B ULLETIN OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS.

during the first month and 17 (20.5 per cent) during the second
month. Of the mothers at home a great majority resumed work
within one month.
In the absence of the mother, when the mother went to work, the
care of the child was undertaken by the grandmother in 25 cases, by
some other relative in 22 cases, and by a friend, neighbor, or hired
attendant in 29 cases. For the remaining 7. no report was secured.
CHILDREN DYIN G UNDER ONE Y E A R FROM SPECIFIED CAUSES,
BY MOTHERS’ EM PLOYM ENT.

In the table which follows the causes of death of the children of
mothers who went to work outside the home after childbirth are
shown in comparison with the causes in the case of (1) the children
of the mothers who were at home before and after childbirth, and
(2) the children of the mothers who were at work outside the home
before the birth of child, but did not return to-work after childbirth.
NUM BER AND PER CENT OF CH ILD REN D Y IN G U N D ER 1 Y E A R FROM CERTAIN
SPECIFIED CAUSES. CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO TH E M O TH E R ’S W O R K BEFORE
AND A F T E R CH ILDBIRTH.
Number.

Dis­
eases of Diar­
Pneu­
N o n tu - m on ia,
early
rhea,
infancy enter­ Convul­ bereti- bron­
Employment of mother after birth of
and itis, and sions,
lous
chitis,
child, and while child was living.
and
congen­ gas­
menin­
larvnital j tritis.
gitis.
malfor- \
gilis.
mationJ
Mothers at home before birth of child
and not going to work........................
Mothers at work outside the home be­
fore birth of child, but did not re­
turn to work after childbirth...........
Mothers at work outside the home be­
fore birth of child and returned to
work after childbirth.........................
Total.

102

*

66

13
182 j

2

52

224

(a ll

forms),
All
Total,
whoop­ other
all
ing
causes. causes.
cough,
mea­
sles.

1

100

67

Tuber­
culosis

!
8|
i
2 I-

i 309

1

186

.
2

32

*95

83

38

Per cent.

Mothers at home before birth of child
and not going to work........................
Mothers at work outside the home be­
fore birth of child, but did not
return to work after childbirth.......
Mothers at work outside the home be­
fore birth of child and returned to
work after childbirth., .................... .

33.0

31.3

7.1

0.3

16.5

30.0

35.5

4.3

.5

15.7

02.7

2.4

!

2.3

6.5

m o

15.6

8.1

100.0

15.7

,0

100.0

1 Not including 5 children of mothers at homo before birth of child who went to work outside the home
after childbirth.
2 Including 5 children of mothers at home before birth'cf child Mho went to wcrk cutside the home after
childbirth.
3 Including 2 children not reported whether mother returned to work after childbirth.




IN F A N T

M O R T A L IT Y

AND

EM PLOYM ENT

OF

M OTHERS.

33
5

Comparing the causes of death of the three classes of children, the
striking similarity between the two groups of children whose mothers
were at home after childbirth is first to be noted. Diarrhea, enteritis,
and gastritis were accountable for 34.3 per cent of the deaths among
the children of mothers at home both before and after childbirth
and 35.5 per cent among the children of mothers who were at work
outside the home before the birth of child but who did not return to
work after childbirth. The deaths from diseases of early infancy
constituted 33 per cent in the former group and 36 per cent in the
latter group. On the other hand, turning to the children of mothers
at work after childbirth, it is found that 62.7 per cent of all deaths
were due to diarrhea, enteritis, and gastritis.
It will be noticed that the per cent of deaths due to diseases of
early infancy and congenital malformations are much higher among
the children of mothers who did not return to work. The explana­
tion of the difference in this latter case is in the fact that most of the
children dying from this group of causes died within the early w
reeks
of life, before it was possible for the mother to leave the home and
go to work.
The high percentage of death from diarrheal diseases among chil­
dren of mothers at work outside the home is not peculiar to mothers
of any one country, but for natives of every country the percentage is
in excess of the corresponding percentage among children of mothers
at home.
ARTIFICIAL FEEDING.

Artificial feeding was, as shown in the following table, much more
general among the children of mothers at work than among the chil­
dren of mothers at home. The same percentage of the children were
fed on fresh cow’s milk (9.8 per cent), although when we consider
those who were given cowT milk and at the same time nursed a much
’s
greater use of cow’s milk is found among the mothers at work than
among the mothers at home. The use of condensed milk is also more
general among the mothers at work than among the mothers at home.
The use of condensed milk among the mothers at home also exceeded
the use of cow’s milk. While 24.4 per cent of the mothers at home
admitted giving solid food, among the-mothers at work the percentage
rose to 40.2.
The relation of the high percentage of deaths from diarrhea,
enteritis, and gastritis to artificial feeding is brought out by the
excess of the artificial feeding among the children who died from the
diarrheal diseases as compared with the children dying from other
causes.
----- 23
05053°—Bull. 175—1C




354

B U L L E T IN

OF

THE

BUREAU

OF

L A B O R S T A T IS T IC S .

N U M BER A N D PER CENT OP CH ILD REN D Y IN G U N D ER 1 Y E A R FROM D IA R R H E A ,
EN TER ITIS, A N D GASTRITIS W H O W E R E G IVEN EACH SPECIFIED K IN D OF FOOD,
CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO M O TH ER ’S W O R K A F T E R CH ILD BIR TH .

Number.

Mothers at home after
childbirth.

Character of food.

Mothers went to work
outside the home after
childbirth.

Total.

Deaths
Deaths
Deaths
from
from
from
diar­ Deaths
diar­ Deaths Deaths diar­ Deaths
Deaths rhea,
Deaths
rhea,
rhea,
from
from
from
from
from
from
enter­
enter­
enter­ other
all
other
all
all
other
itis,
itis,
causes. causes. itis,
causes. causes.
causes. causes.
and
and
and
gastri­
gastri­
gastri­
tis.
tis.
tis.
38
9
12
19
12
9

Ill
34
12
23
15
9

149
43
24
42
27
18

1
5
8
6
9

3
2
5
5

1
8
10
11
14

39
14
20
25
21
9

I ll
37
14
28
20
9

150
51
34
53
41
18

20

8

28

3

2

5

23

10

33

12

10

22

7

5

12

19

15

34

Nursing exclusively...............
Cow’s m ilk...............................
Cow's milk and nursing........
Condensed m ilk.......................
Condensed milk and nursing.
Proprietary foods....................
Proprietary foods and nurs­
ing...........................................
Other foods (usually solid
foods) with any or all of
preceding.............................
Other foods (usually solid
foods) with any or all of
preceding and nursing........

35

50

85

13

8

21

48

58

106

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

166

272

438

52

30

82

218

302

520

Per cent.
Nursing exclusively................
Cow’s milk................................
Cow’s milk and nursing........
Condensed m ilk.......................
Condensed milk and nursing.
Proprietary foods....................
Proprietary foods and nurs­
ing..........................................
Other foods (usually solid
foods) with any or all of
preceding...............................
Other foods (usually solid
foods) with any or all of
preceding and nursing.......
Total...............................

22.9
5.4
7.2
11.4
7.2
5.4

40.8
12.5
4.4
8.5
5.5
3.3

34.0
9.8
5.5
9.6
6.2
4.1

1.9
9.6
15.4
11.5
17.3

10.0
6.7
16.7
16.7

1.2
9.8
12.2
13.4
17.1

17.9
6.4
9.2
11.5
9.6
4.1

36.8
12.3
4.6
9.3
6.6
3.0

28.8
9.8
6.5
10.2
7.9
3.5

12.0

2.9

6.4

5.8

6.7

6.1

10.6

3.3

6.3

7.2

3.7

5.0

13.5

16.7

14.6

8.7

5.0

6.5

21.1

18.4

19.4

25.0

26.7

25.6

22.0

19.2

20.4

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

DEATHS FROM DIARRHEAL DISEASES IN RELATION TO MOTHERS'
WORK AFTER CHILDBIRTH.

The children of mothers at work, when compared with the children
of mothers at home, show an excessive percentage of deaths from
diarrheal diseases regardless of the character of the food, suggesting
that a lack of care or improper care, as well as the difference in the
feeding, played an important part. This is shown in the following
table:




IN F A N T

M O R T A L IT Y

AND

EM PLOYM ENT

OF

355

M OTHERS.

PER CENT OF T O T A L D E A T H S D U E TO D IA R R H E A , E N T E R IT IS , AN D GASTRITIS
AMONG C H IL D R EN G IV E N EACH SPECIFIED K IN D OF FO O D , CLASSIFIED ACCORD­
ING TO M O TH ER ’S W O R K A F T E R C H IL D B IR T H .

Mothers at home after
childbirth.

Mothers went to work
outside the home
after childbirth.

Deaths from
diarrhea, en­
teritis, and
gastritis.

Deaths from
diarrhea, en­
teritis, and
gastritis.

Character of food.
Deaths,
all
causes.

Total.

Deaths from
diarrhea, en­
teritis, and
gastritis.

Deaths,
Deaths,
all
all
causes.
Per
Per
Per
causes.
Num­ cent of
Num­ cent of
Num­ cent of
deaths,
deaths,
deaths,
ber.
ber.
ber.
all
all
all
causes.
causes.
causes.

60.0

150
51
34
53
41
18
33

39
14
20
25
21
9
23

26.0
27.5
58.8
47.1
51.2
50.0
69.7

58.3

34

19

55.9

Nursing exclusively...........................
Cow’s milk...........................................
Cow’s milk and nursing....................
Condensed milk..................................
Condensed milk and nursing...........
Proprietary foods................................
Proprietary foods and nursing........
Other foods (usually solid foods)
with any or all of preceding.........
Other foods* (usually solid foods)
with any or all of preceding and
nursing..............................................

149
43
24
42
27
18
28

38
9
12
19
12
9
20

25.5
20.9
50.0
45.2
44.4
50.0
71.4

1
8
10
11
14

1
5
8
6
9

100.0
62.5
80.0
54.5
64.3

5

3

22

12

54.5

12

7

85

35

41.2

21

13

61.9

106

48

45.3

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

438

166

37.9

82

52

63.4

520

218

41.9

The lowest percentage of deaths from diarrheal diseases uni­
formly appears among children who were breast fed exclusively.1
Next to these, children using fresh cow’s milk showed much the
lowest percentage of diarrheal deaths, the figures being 27.5 per
cent against 45.3 per cent for solid food and nursing, the next higher,
and 47.1 per cent for condensed milk. The highest, 69.7 per cent,
was for proprietary foods and nursing, the next highest being 58.8
for cow’s milk and nursing.
When the children of mothers at work are studied a somewhat
different order appears, cow’s milk exclusively and solid food and
nursing both showing a very high percentage of diarrheal deaths.
For the former class, however, it should be noted that the figures
are rather small, as indeed they are for all the classes in the mothersat-work group. It is probable that the much more unfavorable
showing for cow’s milk here is due .to inferior quality and especially
inferior care of the milk. A similar explanation may also account
for the more unfavorable showing for condensed milk. It is likely
that the lack of the mother’s care, as well as the lack of her nursing,
is an important factor here.
The very considerable number of deaths from diarrheal diseases
among children who were given only mother’s milk ought not to
1The exception among children of mothers at work may properly be ignored in this
connection, as there was only a single instance.




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excite surprise, although it is doubtless unnecessarily large. Even
among breast-fed children the channels of possible infection are
numerous. Where only breast milk is given and there is no possi­
bility of infection through unclean food, infection might easily be
introduced by means of the fingers or articles put into the mouth,
both of which would often be unclean from dust or dirt from the
clothing, the furniture, or the floor. All this would be true even in
homes where a fair standard of living and of hygiene was main­
tained. The dangers in overcrowded, insanitary dwellings located
in insanitary surroundings would be vastly increased.
Ignoring the groups with a total of 8 or less, the Polish mothers
led all others in nursing, .55.6 per cent of their children being breast
fed exclusively, against 33.6 per cent of the French Canadians, and
27.4 per cent of the Portuguese. Only 16.7 per cent of the Irish
children were nursed exclusively.
In the Use of cow's milk the Polish mothers are in the lead,
with 27.8 per cent, the Irish coming next with 22.3 per cent, the
Portuguese mothers being last with only 12.1 per cent.
The Irish mothers appear as using condensed milk most generally
(38.9 per cent), the Americans being next with 23.6 per cent.
The Portuguese mothers led all others in the use of solid foods,
44.7 per cent of all admitting giving them either with or without
breast feeding. A considerable number of cases were also found
among the French Canadians and the Americans.
The principal excuses or reasons for not nursing for the 218
mothers at home who nursed a part of the time only or not at all
were: No milk or milk deficient, 59.6 per cent, and illness or dis­
ability of mother or child, 26.1 per cent. For 11, or 6.4 per cent, it
was reported that milk was present, but no good reason for not
nursing could be given. For 81 mothers who went to work who
T
nursed only a part of the time or not at all, the most important cause
was naturally the intention to go to work, which was given by 39,
or 48.1 per cent. Next in importance as a reason was “ no milk or
milk deficient,” 33.3 per cent. In the case of 11, or 13.6 per cent,
it was admitted that milk was present, but no good reason was
given for not nursing.
The illness or disability of the mother or child as a reason for not
nursing was a much more important cause with the mothers at
home than with the mothers at work. This, however, is what one
would expect, inasmuch as mothers seriously ill would, of course,
be unable to go to work. It is not at all unlikely that a similar rea­
son explains the excess of those reporting no milk or milk deficient
among the mothers at home. The degree of ill health might result
in a deficiency of milk and also cause the mother to remain at home,




IN F A N T

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M OTHERS.

37
5

even though the incapacity might not be sufficient, to.cause it to be
reported as the main reason for not nursing.
If the two classes, “ disinclination of mother ” and “ milk present,
no reason given for not nursing,” be regarded as the same, this rea­
son accounts for 8.7 per cent among the mothers at home and 13.6
per cent among the mothers at work.
It is probable that in some of the cases where the mother reported
no milk or milk deficient, the actual reason for the failure to nurse
the child was her own ignorance or disinclination. The experience
of physicians has shown that such reports can not be accepted as
conclusive, and that in many cases where the mother states that she
has no milk for her child a fair trial proves the contrary.
The disinclination of the mother does not appear as an acknowl­
edged reason of failure to nurse the child save in 5 cases (including
3 among mothers at home and not nursing at all). It is almost cer­
tain, however, that this was the real reason in others of the 28 cases
where milk was present and a more or less unsatisfactory reason for
not nursing was given. Among these 28 mothers were 11 who later
went to work. The period which elapsed before their going to work
in these cases was as follows: Two at two weeks, 1 at three weeks, 4
at one month, 3 at three months, and 1 at four months. In 8 of
these cases the excuse given was that the mother expected to return
to work within a short time. It is clear that such a reason can not
be accepted as expressing the full truth when the return to work was
postponed one and even two months. In one case where the return
to work took place in three weeks the excuse frankly given was the
disinclination of the mother.
“ Going to work ” was given as an excuse or reason for shortening
the period of nursing in only 40 cases, or 13.4 per cent of the total
number who nursed only a part of the time or not at all. In these
cases the breast feeding which was given for a time was discontinued
because the mother went to work outside the home. In the one case
where the mother went to work but continued nursing exclusively
it is clear that the child would be unfavorably affected by the neces­
sarily infrequent feeding. These cases, it may be noted, constituted
only 7.9 per cent of the total of 520 for whom information in regard
to feeding was obtained. The significance of this percentage is in
the fact that it shows what part of the entire number of children had
their period of nursing shortened by the fact that the mother went
to work outside the home.
CONCLUSION.
To sum up, then, such conclusions as clearly appear from the study
of Fall River experience in regard to the relation of the mother’s
work outside the home after childbirth to the high infant mortality



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in that city, only 83, or 14.4 per cent of all children dying under 1
year, were found to have been deprived of the mothers care because
of her going to work. This per cent represents the extent of the pos­
sible effect of the mother’s absence from home.
But the extent to which the nursing of the child was affected by
the mother’s going to w
rork is smaller than even this figure indicates,
for in only 41 cases, or 7.9 per cent of all, was the mother’s nursing
in any way affected by her absence from home, and in the 42 other
cases she either failed to nurse because of disinclination or inability,
or had discontinued nursing for reasons not in any way connected
with her return to work.
But while the number and per cent of children affected by the
mother’s absence from home was small, yet the causes of death among
this number, as compared with the causes among children whose
mothers remained at home, show strikingly the fatal effect in these
few cases of the mother’s absence and of the lack of her care and
nursing. Thus, the proportion of deaths from diarrhea, enteritis,
and gastritis among the children whose mothers went to work (62.7
per cent) was over 80 per cent in excess of that of the children whose
mothers remained at home (34.6 per cent).
The real significance of this excess will not be fully realized until
we recall the figures before given, showing that for Fall Eiver as a
whole the death rate under 1 year from diarrhea, enteritis, and gas­
tritis was two or three times what it was in many other localities.
The high infant mortality of Fall Eiver as a whole clearly is not
due, except in very small part, to the excessive rate among the chil­
dren of mothers at work outside the home, for the proportion of
T
deaths due to diarrhea, enteritis, and gastritis, 38.6 per cent of all,
for the city as a whole, only falls to 34.6 per cent when the children
of mothers at home are taken separately.
What, then, it will be asked, are the causes of the excessive infant
mortality in Fall Eiver, an excess already seen to be chiefly in the
deaths due to diarrhea, enteritis, and gastritis? The causes of the
excessive mortality under 1 year in Fall Eiver among the children
of mothers at home are to be found in the absence of nursing and in
the improper feeding and improper care, of which there are many
examples. The much higher mortality among the children of the
mothers who went to work after childbirth is plainly due chiefly to
the greater extent of the absence of breast feeding and of the im­
proper feeding and the additional evil influence of the withdrawal of
the mother’s care.
Among the mothers at home only 34 per cent of the children were
nursed exclusively, while 24 per cent were given solid food, and
for 16 per cent condensed milk was the principal food. Among the
children of mothers who went to work only 1.2 per cent were



IN F A N T

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859

nursed exclusively, while 40 per cent were given solid food, and
for 30.5 per cent condensed milk was the principal food. By both
classes of mothers condensed milk was used more generally than
fresh cow’s milk. In over one-third of the cases where solid food
was given its use was begun during the first week.
The large percentage of artificial feeding was found to be due
to a considerable extent to deficiency of breast milk, which was much
more frequent among the mothers at home than among those who
went to work; but in many cases among the latter this artificial
feeding was not due to a deficiency of breast milk, nor was it in
any way a result of the mother’s going to work.
The cause of the excessive infant mortality in Fall River may
be summed up in a sentence as the mother’s ignorance of proper
feeding, of proper care, and of the simplest requirements of hygiene.
To this all other causes must be regarded as secondary.







CHAPTER XIV.—CAUSES OF DEATH AMONG WOMAN
AND CHILD COTTON-MILL OPERATIVES.
This volume, which forms the fourteenth part of the Report on
the Condition of Woman and Child Wage Earners in the United
States, contains the results of a study of the deaths occurring dur­
ing three years in three typical cotton-manufacturing communities
of New England. It was undertaken in the belief that—
Accurate mortality statistics of a given occupation constitute the
only indisputable evidence as to the healthfulness or unhealthfulness of that occupation to the persons engaged in it.1
The report consists of three main parts—an explanation of the
method of determining the healthfulness of an occupat