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Breaker Boys: 1911

Breaker Boys: 1911

January 1911. "Group of boys working in No. 9 Breaker. Pennsylvania Coal Co., Hughestown Borough, Pittston, Pennsylvania. Smallest is Sam Belloma, Pine Street." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine for the National Child Labor Committee. View full size.


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All but unbearable

I made the picture as big as I could and looked long into each boy's eyes. It was hard to do. God bless their memory.

A Vivid Reminder

that the "deregulated" good old days weren't really so good for so many.

One Glove

I can see two of the boys are wearing gloves on their right hand only. I imagine they looked down the belt as the coal approached and tossed the rejects to their left. The dust most certainly shortened their lives.

What's a breaker boy, you ask?

I didn't know, so I looked it up.

Breaker boys worked in anthracite coal mines in Pennsylvania. They hunched over conveyor belts, and would pick through the coal to remove contaminants, such as slate, before the coal was shipped out.

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