Table of Contents
- 1 What did the Lowell mill girls do for a living?
- 2 What was the working conditions for mill girls?
- 3 Why did women work in the textile mills?
- 4 What was the role of Overseers in the mill girls?
- 5 What was the problem with the Lowell system?
- 6 How did the Lowell system control labor supply?
- 7 Why did parents let their children work in factories?
- 8 Why was the Lowell mill system so revolutionary?
What did the Lowell mill girls do for a living?
The Lowell Mill Girls were female workers in early 19th century America, young women employed in an innovative system of labor in textile mills centered in Lowell, Massachusetts. The employment of women in a factory was novel to the point of being revolutionary.
What was the working conditions for mill girls?
Drawn by the prospect of freedom and money, they often logged twelve-hour days and there were few codes and regulations to ensure their safety. Between poor building structures, dangerous machinery, crowded boardinghouses, and a variety of frequent accidents, these women worked at their own risk.
Why did women work in the textile mills?
In the mills, female workers faced long hours of toil and often grueling working conditions. Yet many female textile workers saved money and gained a measure of economic independence.
How old were mill girls in the antebellum era?
The term “mill girls” was occasionally used in antebellum newspapers and periodicals to describe the young Yankee women, generally 15 – 30 years old, who worked in the large cotton factories. They were also called “female operatives.”
How many hours did the mill girls work?
Although the struggles of Bagley and other mill girls to achieve legislation for a 10-hour day failed, Lowell’s textile corporations did reduce the workday to 11 hours.
What was the role of Overseers in the mill girls?
Within the factory, overseers were responsible for maintaining work discipline and meeting production schedules. In the boardinghouses, the keepers enforced curfews and strict codes of conduct. Male and female workers were expected to observe the Sabbath, and temperance was strongly encouraged.
What was the problem with the Lowell system?
One of the problems Lowell faced in setting up his factory was finding workers. At the time, America was an agricultural society and many Americans were hesitant to work in a factory, according to the book Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution: “Another problem the Waltham [Lowell] System was able to solve was the problem of labor.
How did the Lowell system control labor supply?
Lowell found his employees in the girls and young women of the surrounding countryside. These young women had experience in weaving and spinning from home manufacturing and worked for cheaper wages than did male employees.” The Lowell system created a new way to control the labor supply.
What did Francis Cabot Lowell do for women?
The company set up boardinghouses to provide safe places for the women employees to live and imposed a strict moral code. Francis Cabot Lowell died in 1817. His colleagues continued the company and built a larger and improved mill along the Merrimack River in a town they renamed in Lowell’s honor.
What did women do in the industrial age?
Women faced different demands during the industrial age to those that they face today. Women of the working classes would usually be expected to go out to work, often in the mills or mines. As with the children and men the hours were long and conditions were hard.
Why did parents let their children work in factories?
Parents were quite willing to let children work in mills and factories as it provided the family with a higher income. One consequence of this was a high birth rate. While education had progressed much of it was similar to the school system outlined here.
Why was the Lowell mill system so revolutionary?
Employing women in a factory was novel to the point of being revolutionary. The system of labor in the Lowell mills became widely admired because the young women were housed in an environment that was not only safe but reputed to be culturally advantageous.