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Boy in the Box: 1909

Boy in the Box: 1909

April 1909. Anthony, Rhode Island. "One of the young spinners in the Quidwick Co. Mill. A Polish boy, Willie, who was taking his noon rest in a doffer-box." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Happy go lucky

Aside from the unguarded machines and the box that looks like it will eventually turn him into a bale of hay like in a cartoon, he looks like he's having a good day.

Thank God for OSHA

Really? Dave, next time you travel to Rhode Island, make sure you visit Pawtucket and go to the Slater Mill Museum in the heart of downtown. While there, you'll get a hair-raising education about the perils, pitfalls and hard realities of mill-work and child labor. People lost fingers, hands, arms and lives on a regular basis for about a nickel a day. The machines you will see and touch there will give you the willies and you'll come away from the experience with a new-found appreciation and respect for Government intervention in labor standards and practices. I know I did. I thank God for the OSHAs of the world now.

Yes...completely amazing

Yes...completely amazing that people managed to look after themselves. How did they do it? Guess we'll never know.

OSHA Inspector nightmare

A scene like this today -- a young boy next to all those unguarded whirling gears, pulleys and belts -- would be a OSHA inspector's nightmare. It's amazing that anyone survived those years back then when so little attention was paid to safety.

[The flipside of that would be what's amazing is the growth of a vast regulatory bureaucracy that people did fine without. Except of course bureaucracies getting bigger isn't "amazing," it's what you'd expect. - Dave]

Tom Sawyer...

the factory years

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