2Factories Change WorkIn the early 19th century almost all clothing was produced in the home.New manufacturing techniques shifted production from homes to factories.Factory life split families, created new communities and changed the relationship between employers and workers.
3ChangesUntil the 1820s, most people farmed or worked at home in “cottage industry.”The “revolution” started with power looms, which mechanized the textile process, cutting the cost of production, making cottage industries obsolete.
4Early FactoriesEventually other areas of manufacturing also shifted to factories.Interchangeable parts revolutionized productionCut costs.Allowed unskilled workers to perform more tasks.
5From Farm to Factory“Mill girls” provided the workforce at Lowell, Massachusetts.Most were unmarried farm girls.Lived in boarding houses under strict curfewsClosely monitored for behavior and church attendanceBy 1825, these girls, most under 30 years old, made up 90% of the workforce.
6Conditions at Lowell Women paid less than men. 5 AM to 7:30 PM workday Rigid schedule controlled by bells.Diseases due to poor conditionsHot, dark, poor ventilation.By the 1830s, the owners forced workers to work fast and shortened breaks.
7StrikesIn 1834, the workers threatened to strike unless things went back to “normal.”The company threatened to replace the strikers.But the strikers got no public support so they agreed to return to work at reduced wages.The mill owners fired the strike leaders.
8Strikes – Take TwoWhen the company increased the charge for board (12.5% pay cut), the mill workers struck again.Again, the company prevailed.
9The Political ArenaIn 1845, workers petitioned the MA state legislature for a 10 hour work day.The proposed legislation failed to pass, but…The Lowell Association was able to defeat the legislator who opposed the bill.