F a c t o r y G i r l s. By: Erin Leech and Sarah Moore. Rules Living Conditions Work Conditions Wages, Ages, Hours, and Types Pictures Protests. Personal Accounts Harriet Hanson Sarah Bagely Poetry, Songs, and Lyrics Bibliography. Table of Contents. Rules.
By: Erin Leech and Sarah Moore
Wages, Ages, Hours, and Types
Poetry, Songs, and Lyrics
BibliographyTable of Contents
REGULATIONS TO BE OBSERVED by all persons employed in the factories of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company. The overseers are to be always in their rooms at the starting of the mill, and not absent unnecessarily during working hours. They are to see that a ll those employed in their rooms, are in their places in due season, and keep a correct account of their time and work. They may grant leave of absence to those employed under them, when they have spare hands to supply their places, and not otherwise, except in cases of absolute necessity.
All persons in the employ of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, are to observe the regulations of the room where they are employed. They are not to be absent from their work without the consent of the over-seer, except in cases of sickness, and then t hey are to send him word of the cause of their absence. They are to board in one of the houses of the company and give information at the counting room, where they board, when they begin, or, whenever they change their boarding place; and are to observe t he regulations of their boarding-house.
Those intending to leave the employment of the company, are to give at least two weeks' notice thereof to their overseer.
All persons entering into the employment of the company, are considered as engaged for twelve months, and those who leave sooner, or do not comply with all these regulations, will not be entitled to a regular discharge.
The company will not employ any one who is habitually absent from public worship on the Sabbath, or known to be guilty of immorality.
A physician will attend once in every month at the counting-room, to vaccinate all who may need it, free of expense.
Any one who shall take from the mills or the yard, any yarn, cloth or other article belonging to the company, will be considered guilty of stealing and be liable to prosecution.
Payment will be made monthly, including board and wages. The accounts will be made up to the last Saturday but one in every month, and paid in the course of the following week.
These regulations are considered part of the contract, with which all persons entering into the employment of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, engage to comply.Factory Rules from the Handbook to Lowell, 1848
*The working conditions were often times not good. The girls worked between 60 and 80 hours a week.
*In return for monthly cash wages, female workers in Lowell agreed to regulations that varied little from company to company: work for at least a year live in a company boardinghouse, attend church. Many worked for a year and went back to the farm, some repeating this pattern two or three times.
*Supervisors believed that the breeze through open windows would cause the threads to break more often so windows were always shut tight. Cotton dust and fabric particles filled the uncirculated air, causing many workers to develop tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. Lighting was insufficient and workers often could not see well enough to avoid injury from the constantly running, high-speed machines.
*Even at the pinnacle of its renown, however, conditions in Lowell had begun to deteriorate. In 1834, an economic downturn led to the mills' first wage cuts. In the 1840s, managers instituted a speedup, requiring higher and higher output for the same hourly wage.
*The women formed the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association and tried to appeal to their employers and then to the state legislature through petitions. They wanted better and safer living and working conditions.
*Lowell's early mills used power looms, and operations combined the spinning of yarn and the weaving of cloth. To operate the equipment, Lowell employed women and girls.
*The Lowell girls worked on machines, usually they were in charge of multiple machines. The machinery operated at high speeds. The demands of textile mills took tolls on worker’s health and safety as the years went by.
machine parts, foodstuffs, shoes, and plastics.
S ten until she married at twenty-three. Months after her fathers death, Harriet's mother moved to Lowell to get support from her family to help raise her four children. Harriet's mother took in boarders in their house in Lowell to make money. At age ten, when it was obvious that not enough money was being earned, Harriet went to work in the Lowell Mills. She worked 14-hour days for six days each week and was paid $2 for her labor.arah Bagely began work in a Lowell factory in 1836 and by 1844 had begun had organized the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) to protect deteriorating working conditions. he organization quickly grew to include five hundred workers, and Bagley served as its first president. During the legislative hearings in February 1845, she argued in favor of the ten-hour day, which by then was a full-fledged cause among workers. Bagley testified that in addition to suffering physically from their long hours in the mills, female workers lacked sufficient time to improve their minds, an activity she considered essential for laborers in a republic. When the legislature ruled against the women, Bagley was farsighted enough to recognize that male and female workers needed to cooperate to advance their cause and sought affiliation with the New England Workingmen's Association. As one of the editors of that organization's Voice of Industry, she developed a "female department," under the title, "As is Woman, so is the Race." Little is known of Bagley after she left both the LFLRA and the mills in 1846 and went to work as a telegraph operator, perhaps the first woman to hold that job. Although her time in public life was brief, Bagley raised issues relating to the health of workers and their need for sufficient leisure to fulfill civic duties that remain important today, as is her insistence that women are entitled to "be heard and our rights acknowledged . . . ."
Let oppression shrug her shoulders,
And a haughty tyrant frown,
And little upstart Ignorance,
In mockery look down.
Yet I value not the feeble threats
Of Tories in disguise,
While the flag of Independence
O’re our noble nation flies.
1836 Song Lyrics Sung by Protesting Workers at Lowell
Oh! Isnt it a pity, such a pretty girl as I
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a Slave,
For I’m so fond of liberty,
That I cannot be a slave.