Sweat Shop (1890)

J. Eulenberg eulenbrg at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Mon Jul 26 03:39:48 UTC 2004

Interesting, isn't it, that the threat of small pox was attached to the
shirtwaists produced in these shops.  If it had been there, the epidemics
would have really made the news!  Wasn't it smallpox on blankets that
decimated Western Native American villages?  Says so, at least, in the
Canadian Provincial Museum at Victoria, BC.

TB was certainly prevalent in the sweatshops, as was "white lung."
Similar to coal miner's "black lung," "white lung" (I think the
medical term for it is bissinosis) was the result of inhaling small cotton
fibers thrown off by the sewing machines.  Also found in the weaving and
knitting factories at Lawrence, Massachusetts -- another set of
immigrants, if I'm not mistaken.

Immigrants always were great scapegoats for disease -- consider the French
disease (England), which the French called the English Disease!

Julia Niebuhr Eulenberg <eulenbrg at u.washington.edu>

On Sun, 25 Jul 2004 Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Bapopik at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Sweat Shop (1890)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Sam Clements found an earlier "sweat shop" than I'd posted, from February
> 1891. I'm doing a New York web page and I'm trying not to give him too much
> credit.
> IN DARKEST NEW YORK.; Dreadful Places and Dreadful Things in the American
> Metropolis.
> Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963). Chicago, Ill.: Dec 24, 1890. p. 5 (1 page)
> :
> _The Churchman:_ (...)
> We must pass over his description of Jewtown and its sweat-shops, in which
> miserable Jews spend eighteen hours a day at slop-work for the clothing
> manufacturers, and from which clothing is often sent out leaded with the infection of
> small-pox and typhus.

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