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in England, among 107 operatives that he examined, found 79 with some bronchial trouble, and 19 had had hæmorrhages from the lungs. From the large flax factories, whose employees are about three-fourths women, I have seen a number of patients. Some of them came for other than chest troubles, but all had bronchical disorders of some degree. Working on jute is supposed to be about equally deleterious with flax; but my observation, re-enforced by the statement of a practical manufacturer interested in both industries, favors jute as less injurious than flax. The dust in the jute mill is far less, absolutely, and is of a different quality. It is coarser, and therefore cannot so seductively enter the air passages; nor is it irritating to the skin. I passed through the departments of the great jute mill of New York; and, with the windows on opposite sides, the exhausting fans at intervals in the roof, the dust in visible quantities certainly, but not stifling, I saw little to condemn. The superintendent very courteously told me that rarely did a girl stay out or leave from illness. He had women of forty or fifty who had worked at jute from childhood. Vacancies are most eagerly sought, because this is a manufacture that is steady the year round. I have had several jute-workers under observation. There was nothing in their disorders that could be attributed to their work.
Silk-workers have, in the majority of cases, a certain amount of bronchial trouble. Ribbon-making is the least harmful branch, floss-making the most so. Floss-workers are obliged to be in close rooms, and to inhale a great deal of dust. They suffer in varying degrees from eye diseases, bronchial, and skin diseases. A number of silk-workers from the great silk factory of New York have come under my observation. Except the floss-workers, the physical condition of the girls was good, unless a bronchial catarrh was present. They make high wages, and live correspondingly well. Feather-working is one of the most unfortunate of the dusty industries. Hirt says it cannot be carried on more than three years, at most, without permanent impairment of health. The air passages and eyes both suffer. A chronic inflammation of the eyes is com
The bronchitis of a dusty industry rarely fails to be present. Workers on wool make textiles and carpets. The smell in the cleaning of wool is very offensive, but there is no specially injurious element connected with its manufacture. The dust fibres are pliable, and have no irritant effect. Wool-workers make good wages, live comfortably, and enjoy fair health. I have seen none
where I could consider the disorder present as the outcome of the occupation.
It has been suggested, at various times, that workers in a dusty atmosphere should wear a protector on nose and mouth ; but such a scheme has not been found practicable, nor has it met with favor from the operatives themselves. The noise of the machinery in factories, though not generally considered a point of hygienic interest, I cannot help believing is of some importance on nerves of poor nutrition, and that it is perhaps an uncounted factor in the nervous disorders of factory hands.
Occupations that have a toxic element are not so very numerous. The operative takes in the poison by the alimentary canal, by the skin, or by the respiratory passages. Scrupulous attention to cleanliness, especially of the hands, is almost sure to afford comparative safety. Inhalation of volatile poisons, it is to be hoped, will be soon done away with by improved methods of manufacture. The poisonous industries are most prominently represented by the making of artificial flowers and wall-papers, which involves the use of arsenic; the manufacture of hats and caps, where mercury is used; and match-making, which necessitates phosphorus. In the arsenical manufactures, a mild form of chronic poisoning is not rare, and the skin lesions around the fingers are quite commonly
Mercurial poisoning in hat-makers is rather common, as women are specially susceptible to mercury. Phosphorus poisoning among match-makers occasionally shows itself in a necrosed jawbone, if a decayed tooth has been present.
In factories there is generally adopted a system of promotion which admits of a hand who has ability working up to the higher wages which skill and experience demand. Manufacturers, moreover, have found that this system gives them a better class of service.
This review comprises the most crowded occupations; and certain of them are seen to have an element of harm in them for the worker. Those that have been mentioned take in the majority of the class of women that we are considering ; but there is yet a long list of industries which cannot here be analyzed, most of them having in them, however, little or nothing objectionable.
It is unnecessary for the purposes of this paper to go into any description of the homes and boarding-places to which these workers return or in which they toil. Vivid pictures from able pens have made the New York tenement house renowned. About
three-fourths of all working-women live in their own families, and these are generally more comfortably off than those who board in tenement houses. Many of the latter prefer what they call the “freedom” of such surroundings to the order and wholesomeness of the Young Women's Homes of the Ladies' Christian Union, where accommodations may be obtained at a nominal price. A temporary home for a small number out of work is afforded by Primrose House, and there are several other such hospitable doors open ; but there is in New York no system on the large scale of Mr. Shrimpton's Homes for Working-girls in London. Tenementhouse reform, the crusade of the near future, will of course help the working-women. With higher wages generally comes the desire to live better, to move to better quarters; but a squalid home and a semi-dependent or wholly dependent family too often chain the woman to her rock.
A number of the occupations which have been considered are also followed to some extent by men. When there is any suffering on the part of the worker, the men do not escape, but generally are affected to a less degree.
As to the absolute state of the health of the army of workingwomen of New York City, it is unquestionably, in the ranks of which I am speaking, below par, and below the average of women in the higher walks of life. This is a fact to be asserted, not on statistical evidence, but from the observation of a large number of cases subjected to the decision of individual judgment.
The occupation and the home should, in nearly all cases, divide in proportions more or less unequal the responsibility of the lowered standard of health. Neither factor alone should bear the blame; but, outside of the poisonous industries, the home and personal hygiene should bear the larger share. We cannot be unmindful of the fact that the sad combination exists, for many hundreds, of a death-bearing toil and a home that courts disease. The poisonous industries, moreover, may have their evil tendencies lessened for the individual by wholesome home surroundings. It must be remembered, also, that a comparatively harmless industry may be carried to a degree that is alarmingly injurious. The home-workers stand always in this danger. Eight or ten hours should be the limit of a woman's day's work of steady application.
Anæmia – blood-impoverishment — is the grand systemic vice of working-women. Through this may be traced the vast majority of the ills for which they seek a physician. Anæmia most largely
depends upon the deprivation of sunshine, of oxygen, and of the iron which a proper diet supplies in sufficient quantity. Dyspepsia, headaches, and other functional, if not organic, disorders are added to the burdens of these already weighted lives.
Since the working-woman's home hygiene depends largely upon her wages, and these in turn upon her skill, intelligence, and previous preparation for her work, we see how the economic side of the question of her occupation is really the side that most closely presses the question of her health. Wholesome living demands better remuneration for her toil. The wages must be raised, and the ranks of the unskilled workers thinned; not, however, by social revolution, but by a deep, far-reaching, irresistible power,that of education. And this brings us naturally to the subject of Industrial Training for Girls, and shows how it bears upon the topic of this paper.
We Americans claim to lead the world in our public school system (though grave doubts are abroad as to whether some European countries are not ahead of us). Why could we not, with our national energy, lead the world in industrial education? We must go to France for our lessons here. To touch only the opportunities for girls, we find that France has made a very large provision for her very small surplus female population. Since the close of the Franco-Prussian war, technical and industrial schools for girls have existed. At that time, Geroult founded a cookingschool, at a cost of $75,000, for the benefit of the orphans of the
Great success attended this school, and it soon became selfsupporting. Not long after, one of the great silk manufactories opened a school for female weavers in Paris, with branch houses in St. Etienne and Lyons. The printers next started a school of typography, which graduates annually several hundreds of skilled female compositors. Many other trades now have flourishing technical schools for girls in Paris,- among them the jewellers, watch and clock makers, copper and brass workers, musical wind instrument makers, piano and harp makers. Women are also largely engaged as surgical instrument makers and as diamondcutters, in both of which lines they have achieved success. Moreover, the Government Printing Press and the Gobelin tapestry works have been thrown open to women.
The French railways have replaced signalmen and male booking clerks by women, who are paid at the same rates as men. The railway posts are generally given to widows and orphans of former railway employees.
The French system begins with the little child in the primary school, by a definite plan of manual training, through which the deft little fingers are led up to the more difficult work of the technical schools. Other countries of Europe are following in the wake of France, Germany coming next in the extent of its work.
The outlook for America is hopeful. The Industrial Educational Association has made a grand beginning in New York, and is now sending out its trained teachers to begin the manual training in connection with public instruction. The Children's Aid Society of New York supports twenty-one industrial schools, most largely attended by girls. These schools take the children from the lowest slums and train them, but not to an advanced grade of skill. Industrial schools are maintained by several Hebrew societies, by the Society of Ethical Culture, and by many church missions. Mr. John Ward Stimson, who has made the Metropolitan Museum Art Schools for Artist-artisans what they are, bringing them up from a nucleus of thirty to a membership of four hundred in five years, has offered to the public the plan of a university for artist-artisans, which shall provide ample opportunities for women.
Mr. Stimson believes that American women are capable of being trained to a very high degree of technical skill. Let us hope that the public will cordially assist Mr. Stimson. Cooper Union has done a great work, and quietly goes on with its classes in drawing, both mechanical and architectural, painting, modelling, designing, and engraving. The Young Women's Christian Association has free classes in book-keeping, stenography, type-writing, retouching photo-negatives, photo-color, drawing, both mechanical and from casts, clay-modelling, applied design, and "business training.” The Working Girls' Clubs or Friendly Societies, so widely distributed over New York City, are a movement looking to the elevation of this class, not only morally and socially, but industrially. The clubs are open generally only in the evening, and are under the direction of committees of ladies of position and cultivation. A club in working order has its industrial classes in dress-making, millinery, cooking, type-writing, stenography, book-keeping, and other simple branches. All plans of industrial education for girls include training for domestic service, perhaps the widest field open to them.
But industrial education will never be effective, as a great social and economic power, until it is a part of the public school system, free as air, but as compulsory as rigid laws can make it. The