Thomas A. Smith.

Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) online

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$9 per week; the mother, $8; while the earnings of the child
are $4 per week; the board paid by an aunt, and additional
earnings from an elder son, make the weekly income about
$30. The house rent and insurance is about $3.30 per week,
and the household expenses and clothing take a good portion,
yet every indication points to a demand for the best food and
best dress and a somewhat freer use of the money income than
is made in previous cases: There is no question but that the
child at work could have received a better education without
stint to the family.

A HARD struggle;.

With a husband whose work is unsteady, a child sick with
scarlet fever, the mother of a family of three children related
how difficult it is to make ends meet. Two children had been
at work, but the fever kept them at home, while the husband's
idleness aggravated the situation intensely. The conditions
are not the same at all times, howevei', though at their best it
means much difficulty to live even comfortably. The rent of
four second-floor rooms is $5 per month, and doctor's bills
and living requisites tend to create a need for the help of the
younger members of the family, though it seems unjust that
the education of a little girl of eleven should be sacrificed for
the contribution of $2 per week to the family income.


The home surroundings of two sisters, whose ages are
thirteen years and fifteen years, respectively, point to com-
fortable conditions due to the energy and thrift of the mother,
combined with somewhat favorable circumstances. The father
(a stevedore) has work at intervals only; the mother shucks
oysters ; the eldest son makes $5 per week ; while the girls
average about $4.60 per week. This constitutes the working
force of the family, while the two younger children are still
at school. The mother owns the house, the expenses of which
are about $8 per month, but, together with the cost of living,
it is clear that both girls could have secured a longer stay at
school than was accorded them without actual distress to the

I20 REPORT OP the; bureau of

family. The mother was induced by the persuasion of the
girls to allow them to work earlier in life than otherwise be-
cause of the dislike of school duties and her own desire to
increase the income of the family to satisfy the wants more


The support of seven children, the oldest of whom is only
thirteen years, means a great deal to the mother of the family
when the little girl's earnings are, at the most, $2.75 per week,
and the father (a stevedore) is at loss for work a portion of
the year. It is no wonder, therefore, that the mother, wash-
ing and ironing as a means of support, tells how difficult it is
to keep the household from want. At the time of the investi-
gation, matters were such that the life insurance of thirty-five
cents per week had to be discontinued, while it was difficult
to pay the $1 per week house rent in addition to the needs of
life. The husband's idleness was due to his inability to pro-
cure work as a stevedore, and the money earned by the
daughter was more than a positive help, the mother declaring
that without this amount she would be unable to keep up.


The guardian of a child of fifteen states her reason for
allowing the girl to work when only thirteen years old as the
unwillingness of the child to study and the desire for work.
The father of the Httle girl died when she was quite young,
and the mother, an inebriate, had treated her so cruelly that
she was given to her present caretaker with the hope that a
better training might be afforded. The child is practically
unable to read or write, though her environment is good, and
the family surroundings point to a better condition than is
ordinarily met with in this direction. The opportunity for a
better education could be well supplied and it is only for the
above reasons that such opportunity was not urged.


The earnings of a little miss of fourteen, averaging about
$2.25 per week, were counted a great help in a household of


eleven persons — father, mother and nine children, and
especially so, since the father, whose occupation is steve-
dore's work, has many periods of enforced idleness. The
mother, whose work at home means the actual management
of the family, declares it impossible to save, and maintains it
to be a hard struggle from beginning to end. The appear-
ances of the home indicate a general needy condition.


Through hard and constant effort the blind father of a
little girl of twelve has accumulated enough money to send
the little one to school in the winter, though during the sum-
mer she was put to work for the reason, in the father'?
words, "to keep her off the streets." The home is poorly
furnished, yet the condition of the family — father, two
daughters and a son-in-law — is not at all needy, since the
father, besides helping to support the family, has by thrift
and energy accumulated $400. He expressed a sincere
desire to have his child procure a good education, and de-
clared he would keep her at school as long as he was able to
work. "Education," he declared, "will be hereafter the sole
qualification for obtaining a station in life, and for this
reason I desire my daughter to go to school as long as she
is able."


"I sent my little "one to work because she would pay no
attention to school," declared the mother of a child of four-
teen, whose home life is very good indeed, and the father of
whom can well afford to keep her at school. The mother
wishes her to continue at her present occupation until she is
able to "select a trade" for her, which seems to be the
mother's ambition for her child. The family consists of
father, mother and five children ; the home conditions point
to moderate and comfortable circumstances, and there is no
reason to believe that $2.00 per week, which the child earns,
is a necessity or even a requirement for the support of the



The home of a little girl of thirteen shows a very fair
condition of life, and it would hardly be expected that, in
addition to the support furnished by the father and son, the
mother also goes out to work, while the girl, now back to
school, was sent to work in the summer because she desired
to be in companionship with others whom she knew at work.
The family can well allow her to go to school, and since the
condition of life is above the ordinary, there is no necessity
for her to work as a help to the general support of the family.


Because of her desire to work and to keep her from mis-
chief, a child of fifteen is allowed to earn $2.50 per week,
though her father — a laborer — could admittedly support her
were she kept at school. The mother is dead, and the father
would allow her to continue to go to school should she so de-
sire, but her aversion to school duties, combined with the feeling
"that every little helps," assures her own way in the matter.
There is no indication of absolute necessity in the home,
for the surroundings show a very fair circumstance and a com-
fortable condition.


To be one of the mainstays in the support of the family of
a mother and two crippled brothers is a large responsibility
to devolve upon a lad of fourteen, yet his earnings of $3.50
per week are reckoned as a great help to the family income,
when there is no father to supply a weekly quota. The four
rooms on the second and third floors are kept in a very clean
and neat condition, and the mother strives hard with her
daily earnings to keep up the fight of life. The boy has been
ill with typhoid fever, and during that time the struggle has
been extremely hard. The circumstances seemed all the more
pitiable when it was discovered that the lad inclined toward
books and seemed rather more adapted for the work of a school
than for manual labor. It is, however, one of the exigencies
of life that he has been compelled to add to the support of the
family since he was twelve years old, and his preliminary edu-
cation has been of the most elementary kind.



The manufacture of ladies' wrappers in factories in this city
is almost a new industry, and only two factories have been
inspected as typical of the business. The employees in these
two factories are not confined to the making of wrappers, but
at times are employed on other garments, such as kimonas,
shirt waists and suits. Both of these factories are located
above the first floors and there is ample air space for the per-
sons employed therein. Much of the work from these fac-
tories is done in private families and in reformatory institu-

The whole number employed in these two factories is 31
males and 103 females, of which number 17 females and one
male are under sixteen years of age.

The sanitary conditions are reported very good and the
hours of work in this industry do not exceed nine and one-
half hours, with a half day on Saturday. Most of the
work is piece work, and in one of these factories the males
and females must use the same toilet and washrooms.

One of these factories is heated by steam and the other by
coal, and four of the rooms are well ventilated and two only
fairly so.


Six factories were inspected where ladies' skirts are manu-
factured. In the table which follows will be found that these
factories were managed or owned by two of German birth,
one of Hungarian and three of American. They all occupied
front buildings, and ten of the workrooms were located in the
front part of those buildings and three in the rear. Three
rooms were located on the first, five on the second, three on
the third and one each on the fourth and fifth floors of the
buildings. One of them is reported as having less than 400
cubic feet of space per person, as required by law.

Of the 145 persons employed in these six factories, onh-
five females were reported under sixteen }ears of age, and
70 of the 145 were males and 75 females.


The workrooms were all reported clean and the ventilation
either fair or good. Steam and coal were used for heating
purposes, and gas and electric light prevailed for lighting.
Two of the huildings had well drainage, and all except one
had gas or electric power with which to run the machinery.

Nine and one-half hours was the extreme limit of a work-
day in these factories, two of them only working nine hours a
day, and during the summer all only worked a half day on
Saturday. In four places one hour was allowed for lunch,
and in two places a half hour was allowed.

Two factories report giving out work to private families.

Five of the buildings had two water closets each, and one of
them had five such places. In two instances males and fe-
males . used the same water closets. The general sanitary
conditions are reported good in all cases.


Under this heading will be found in Table No. 4, four es-
tablishrhents manufacturing corsets. These are not strictly
factories. Much of their work is only order or custom work.
Three of them are located in dwelling houses, and only one in
a factory building. One is conducted by a person of French
birth, one by a German and two by persons of American birth.
All are located in front buildings, and two occupy rear rooms ;
while four are on the second floor, one on the first and two on
the third floors of the buildings. They all have ample air
space, and are kept in clean condition, with good ventilation,
with coal heat and gas light.

Two of the houses have wells for drainage. Three of the
factories run machines by foot power, and three work only
nine hours a day and one eight hours. Three of these places
have two water closets each and one has only one, but they are
separate for sexes, and conditions of same are generally good.
In one of these factories fines are imposed when employees are
late at work. There are twenty-one persons employed in these
places, all adults, and eighteen of them females.



This is a large and growing industr). The inves-
tigation embraced eight cstahhshmcnls. one of which
was located in a dwelling, while the other seven
were strictly factories. Four of the employers were
native born and four of German birth. Six occupied
front and two rear buildings ; and twenty-four rooms utilized
were in the front part of the buildings and four in the rear,
while all were above the first floor — eight being on the second
floor, eight on the third, five on the fourth, five on the fifth
and two on the sixth floor. All had ample air space, though
some rooms were crowded. A total of 860 persons were em-
ployed in these rooms, 809 of whom were females and. 51
males ; thirty-one were females under sixteen years of age,
though it is suspected that there were many more than this
number under age, as no certificates from parents or teachers
were on file in the offices. All the rooms were clean and well
ventilated, and five were buildings heated by steam and three
by coal ; seven were lighted by gas and one by electricity. Two
of the buildings had wells in the yards for drainage and six
were connected with sewers. All machines were worked by
power. Only one factory worked ten hours a day, three
worked nine and a-half hours, three worked nine hours and
one worked eight hours, and all worked less than a full day on
Saturday. In one place fines were imposed. Only two of the
factories manufacture all their goods on the premises, the
other six having large quantities manufactured in private
families in the city and in Western Maryland and Pennsyl-
vania. Two of the factories are reported to have barely suf-
ficient means of egress in case of fire. Three report only one
water closet, one reports ten and one each four, three, nine
and fifteen. In three factories water closets are the same for
men and women, and in five they are separate for sexes. The
condition of all the closets was reported good, as was the
general sanitary conditions. Separate washrooms for males
and females were reported in two places only.



Eight establishments were investigated in which this work
was carried on, six of which were in factory buildings and two
in dwellings. Six of those running the establishments were
native born, one Austrian, one Russian, one Polish, one Ger-
man and one Irish. Eight were in front buildings and one in
a rear building, while three rooms were used in the rear part
of the building, one in the middle and twelve in the front.
Two of these rooms were on the first floor, six on the second,
five on the third, two on the fourth and one on the seventh

Only one establishment was reported as having less than
the required 400 feet of cubic space. In these eight factories
212 persons v/ere employed, composed of 16 males and
196 females, of whom one male and eight females were less
than sixteen )^ears of age.

All the workrooms were reported in a clean and sanitary
condition, and ventilation good. Five were heated by coal,
two by steam, and one by coal oil. All were lighted by gas,
and seven had sewer connections for closets and one had well
drainage. In one factory machines were run by foot power
and the others by gas and electricity.

Three establishments worked ten hours, two worked nine
and a-half hours, two worked nine hours and one worked
eight hours a day. All worked a half day on Saturday in
summer. Six allowed half an hour for lunch and two allowed
one hour. Six establishments report that they give work out
to private families, also to persons in Virginia and to con-
tractors ; and two report making all goods on premises. Two
places are reported as having means of egress in case of fire
that are hardly sufficient, and six have ample means of egress.
Five of these establishments provide no washrooms for fe-
males, but three do. Only one establishment has four water
closets, three of them two each, three of them three each and
one only one, and in two cases the same closets are used by
males and females. In one case the condition of the closets
was reported bad, and all the others good. The general sani-
tary conditions were found very good.


However good these conditions at the time of inspection, in
one establishment gaslight was largely necessary in the day
time; in another place it is reported that during the busy sea-
son the room would be so crowded with employees as to reduce
the air space to much less than the law calls for, and in two
other cases negroes were employed in the same establishments,
though in separate rooms from the white persons. There is
need for close watching of this industry as it continues to
grow, because violations of the law providing for 400 cubic
feet of space and other requirements will grow with the


This is a very large industry in Baltimore, but it should not
be confounded with the manufacture of dress shirts, though
some of the establishments enumerated in Table No. 7 d
manufacture some few dress shirts. The large concerns
manufacturing overalls, shirts and drawers employ mostly
women and children, and on the whole the factories are in a
very fair condition.

It will be seen by the table that thirteen establishments were
investigated, twelve of which were located in factory buildings
and one in a dwelling.

Four of the proprietors were born in Germany, ten in the
United States, one in Russia and one in Austria. All of the
buildings used were front buildings, and twenty-two of the
rooms utilized were in the front, two in the rear and one in
the middle of the buildings. The rooms in which the work
was done were located as follows : Five on the first floor, six
on the second, six on the third, four on the fourth and two on
the fifth floors.

In one of the rooms utilized there is not sufficient air space
per person as required by law, but all the rest had an ample
number of cubic feet. Two hundred and eighty-five persons
were employed in the thirteen establishments, of which num-
ber 57 were males and 234 females; 3 of these males and 19
of the females were under sixteen years of age.


All the rooms were reported to be in a clean and sanitary
condition, and the ventilation was reported very good.
Twelve of these buildings were heated by coal and one by
steam and all of them used gas, or electric light. In four of
the establishments the drainage was to a well, either located in
the yard or in the buildings. The machine power in all cases
w^ere gas, electric or steam, only one using foot power. Three
of the factories \vorked ten hours a day, six nine and half
hours, one nine and quarter, one nine, one seven and one
irregular number of hours. Nearly all of them worked less
than a day on Saturdays ; one of them working nine and one-
quarter hours and the other twelve working only a half day.

Ten of these establishments allowed a half hour for lunch,
one one hour, one three-quarters of an hour and one no regu-
lar time. Three of the establishments enforced fines for var-
ious reasons, such as leaving machines uncovered, changing
clothing during working hours, for failing to clean machines
properly and for negligence of any kind. Two of the factories
investigated manufactured all goods on the premises and
eleven gave out work to private families or by contract to other
factories. Twelve had plenty of means of egress in case of fire
and one did not.

In twelve factories no washrooms were provided for fe-
males. The thirteen establishments had twenty-eight water
closets attached, and in ten cases they were separate for sexes
and in three cases were not. The water closets and general
sanitary conditions were reported as being very good.


Table No. 8 presents the figures for thirty-four factories
utilized in the shirt industry, which is one of the largest manu-
facturing industries of the city. Of these thirty-four fac-
tories, thirty-one are owned wholly or partly by American-
born persons, two by German and one each by French and
Russian. Thirty-two of them are in front buildings and two
in rear buildings. Of the number of rooms occupied, 136 are
in the front, three in the rear and two in the middle of these
buildings. Seventeen of the rooms thus utilized are on the first


floor, thirty-fonr on tlic second, lliirty-onc on llu- thirf!. twenty-
eight on the fourtli, eiglitecn fjn the fifth, nine on the sixth and
two on the seventh floor, and three are reported in the cellar
Eight of these rooms have less than the retjnircd numher of
cubic feet of space for each person ein])loyed therein anrl are
thus openly violating the law.

There are reported 5,920 persons employerl in the industry,
of whom 1,110 are males and 4,8ro are females. Forty-three
of the males and 244 of the females are under sixteen years of
age. The workrooms are reported as clean and in sanitary
condition and the ventilation good. Fourteen places are
heated by coal and twenty by steam, while thirty-one use gas
and ten electricity for lighting purposes. Twenty-eight of
these places have the closets connected with sewers and six of
them drain into a well. Eleven have electric power to run
machines, twelve have steam, eight use gas and two use foot-

The hours of labor vary: i works ten and half hours; 15
work ten hours ; 10 work nine and half hours ; 3 work nine
hours ; 3 work eight hours ; i works eight and three-quarter
hours, and 2 work irregular. This diversity of hours is
caused by the fact that nearly all of the work in these factories
is done by the piece and different departments work different
hours. Nearly all of these factories work less than the regu-
lar hours on Saturday, a majority of them working only a half
day. The time allowed for lunch varies as well as the hours
of work, in twenty-nine of them only a half hour is allowed,
and in one three-quarters of an hour and one allowed one
hour, while three are reported irregular.

In seven of these establishments fines are imposed for var-
ious causes, such as throwing material on the floor, leaving oil
can open, for dressing before the proper time, for spoiling
work and for talking. Nineteen factories report that all w^ork
is clone on the premises and fifteen report that they give work
out to private families or by contract to other factories.
Thirty-three of these buildings are reported as having ample
means of egress in case of fire and one hardly sufficient means.
Separate washrooms are provided for females in only seven
of these places, and twenty-seven report no such separate wash-


rooms. Three of these buildings are reported as having only
one water closet each, while the rest vary according to the
number of floors, from two to fifteen. Of this large number
of factories, twenty-eight of them report separate closets for
sexes and six report that the males and females use the same
toilet rooms. Only two of the closets are reported in bad con-
dition, and all the places are reported as having good sanitary
conditions, while the general surroundings of all the factories
are reported fairly good.

It should be borne in mind, however, that these are the best
shirt factories in the city, and that there are a number of
smaller places where the conditions are by no means as good.


Of the eight factories inspected, two made men's shoes
and six manufactured ladies' shoes. Seven of the proprietors
were native born and one was from Germany. These factories
occupy front buildings, and the location of the workrooms was
seven in front and two in the rear part of these buildings;
three of these rooms were located on the second floor, three
on the third floor, two on the fourth floor, and one on the fifth
floor. There was ample air space for all employed in these

Two hundred and thirty-four females and 51 males were
employed in the several factories, making a total of 285, of
which number 2 males and 16 females were under sixteen
years of age. The workrooms are reported clean and the ven-
tilation as good, though in one case the ventilation was bad.
Five of these factories were heated by steam, one by steam and

Online LibraryThomas A. SmithTwelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics and Information of Maryland. 1903. Thomas A. Smith, Chief. (Volume 1904) → online text (page 12 of 30)