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Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution
Transcript of Child Labor During the Industrial Revolution
Size - Children are small, they could fit into tight places.
Wages - Employers could pay children far less than adults.
The Work Itself - Demeaning, often considered "womens' work"
Money - Children needed to make $ to help support their families.
A Day in the Life
Approximately 12 hours of work a day, often as many 19 hours
One break a day for lunch. Normally less than an hour.
Extremely dangerous working conditions.
Children were often beaten by employers.
Case in Point:
One common punishment for being late or not working up to quota would be to be "weighted." An overseer would tie a heavy weight to worker's neck, and have them walk up and down the factory aisles so the other children could see them and "take example." This could last up to an hour. Weighting could lead to serious injuries in the back and/or neck.
Type of Work
As Young as 4 or 5
Possible Job: Dipping Matches
Loss of teeth (osteoporosis)
Very young children often orphans
The Cannery - shelling oysters
Lumber Mills - carrying, stacking, cutting boards
As Young as 5
Job: Selling newspapers/peanuts
Work began when kids could walk
Driving horse drawn vehicles
What Measures Were Taken to End child labor?
Organized to recognize child worker interests
Sadler Report 1832 (Britain)
Limit work hours
Increase working age to 9
Coal mine laws changed
Does not pass but initiates change
Is Child labor still happening?
Child Labor in U.S. Today:
Minimum age for most jobs - 14
Explicit rules for working with dangerous machinery
Must be paid minimum wage
Various rules set by each state
- How many hours child can work
-Specific age requirements for different jobs
Faces of the Revolution
Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)
44 hour workweek
Set minimum wage
Prohibited child labor in many occupations
It's the way it was! Cottage industry naturally led to children in the work place.
Life expectancy was short
What is "childhood" - a luxury not a necessity
"They [boys of eight years] used to get 3d [d is the abbreviation for pence] or 4d a day. Now a man's wages is divided into eight eighths; at eleven, two eighths; at thirteen, three eighths; at fifteen, four eighths; at twenty, a man's wagesÐ About 15s [shillings]."
Pence = approx. 1/2 U.S. Penny
Sometimes no money - just helped parents earn wages
Some of the children tried to run away: "We were always locked up out of mill hours, for fear any of us should run away. One day the door was left open. Charlotte Smith, said she would be ringleader, if the rest would follow. She went out but no one followed her. The master found out about this and sent for her. There was a carving knife which he took and grasping her hair he cut if off close to the head. They were in the habit of cutting off the hair of all who were caught speaking to any of the lads. This head shaving was a dreadful punishment. We were more afraid of it than of any other, for girls are proud of their hair."
Case in Point: