When the Air Became Important: A Social History of the New England and Lancashire Textile Industries 9780813587981

In When the Air Became Important, medical historian Janet Greenlees examines the working environments of the heartlands

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When the Air Became Important: A Social History of the New England and Lancashire Textile Industries
 9780813587981

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When the Air Became Impor­tant

Critical Issues in Health and Medicine Edited by Rima D. Apple, University of Wisconsin–­M adison, and Janet Golden, Rutgers University, Camden Growing criticism of the U.S. healthcare system is coming from consumers, politicians, the media, activists, and healthcare professionals. Critical Issues in Health and Medicine is a collection of books that explores ­ these contem­ porary  dilemmas from a variety of perspectives, among them po­liti­c al, ­legal, historical, so­cio­log­ic­al, and comparative, and with attention to crucial dimensions such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and culture.

For a list of titles in the series, see the last page of the book.

When the Air Became Impor­tant A Social History of the New ­England and Lancashire Textile Industries Janet Greenlees

Rutgers University Press New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark, New Jersey, and London

Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data Names: Greenlees, Janet, 1966–­author. Title: When the air became impor­tant : a social history of the New ­England and Lancashire textile industries / Janet Greenlees. Description: New Brunswick, New Jersey : Rutgers University Press, [2019] | Series: Critical issues in health and medicine | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018027680 | ISBN 9780813587967 (cloth) Subjects: LCSH: Textile workers—­Diseases—­England—­Lancashire—­History—19th ­century. | Textile workers—­Diseases—­England—­Lancashire—­History—20th ­century. | Work environment—­England—­Lancashire. | Air quality—­England—­Lancashire. Classification: LCC RC965.T4 G74 2019 | DDC 331.3/877094276—­dc23 LC rec­ord available at https://­lccn​.­loc​.­gov​/­2018027680 A British Cataloging-­in-­Publication rec­ord for this book is available from the British Library. Copyright © 2019 by Janet Greenlees All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Please contact Rutgers University Press, 106 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. The only exception to this prohibition is “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright law. The paper used in this publication meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—­Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992. www​.­rutgersuniversitypress​.­org Manufactured in the United States of Amer­ic­ a

For Peter

Contents

Abbreviations ix

Chapter 1

Introduction: When Does the Air in the Workplace Become Impor­tant?

1

Chapter 2

Textile Towns and Mill Environments

15

Chapter 3

Tuberculosis in the Factory

43

Chapter 4

“I Used to Feel Ill with It”: Heat, Humidity, and Fatigue

70

Chapter 5

Dust: A New Socio-­Environmental Relationship

101

Chapter 6

“The Noise ­Were Horrendous”: The Ignored Industrial Hazard

126

Conclusion: When Does the Air Become Impor­tant?

149

Acknowl­edgments

157

Chapter 7

Notes 161 Bibliography 205 Index 227

vii

Abbreviations

AMA

American Medical Association

ARSBHM

Annual Report of the State Board of Health for Mas­sa­chu­setts

AWA

Amalgamated Weavers’ Association

BMA

British Medical Association

BOH

Board of Health

BPP

British Parliamentary Papers

CIF

Committee on Industrial Fatigue

CIO

Congress of Industrial Organ­ization

CND

Council on National Defense

DOH

Department of Health

HMWC

Health of Munitions Workers Committee

IFRB

Industrial Fatigue Research Board

IHRB

Industrial Health Research Board

ILO

International L ­ abor Organ­ization

MOH

Medical Officer of Health

MRC

Medical Research Council

NACM

National Association of Cotton Manufacturers

NIHL

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

NIOSH

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIRA

National Industrial Recovery Act

NHS

National Health Ser­vice

NTS

National Tuberculosis Ser­vice

OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

PHS

Public Health Ser­vice

SMA

Socialist Medical Association

TUC

Trades Union Congress

TWUA

Textile Workers Union of Amer­i­ca

USPHS

United States Public Health Ser­vice

ix

x Abbreviations

UTFWA

United Textile Factory Workers’ Association

UTW

United Textile Workers of Amer­i­ca

WHO

World Health Organ­ization

Archives

CLH

Center for Lowell History, University of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts LOH

Shifting Gears, Lawrence Oral History Collection

MWOL

Mill Workers of Lowell Oral History Collection

WPOL

Working ­People of Lowell Oral History Collection

FRHS

Fall River Historical Society

HBS

Harvard University Business School

LAB

Ministry of ­Labour Papers, National Archives of ­Great Britain

LNHP

Lowell National Historic Park LOWE

LRO

Mill Workers Letters

Lancashire County Rec­ord Office CBBu Annual Reports of Burnley Corporation Officials, including the Medical Officer of Health Reports CBP Preston Medical Officer of Health Reports, 1897–1920s DDX Reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Preston, 1920s–1974 DDX 1089 Preston and District Powerloom Weavers’, Warpers’, and Winders’ Associations DDX 1115 Blackburn and District Manufacturers’ Association Papers DDX 1123 Amalgamated Weavers’ Association Papers DDX 1145 Burnley Master Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers’ Association DDX 1274 Burnley and District Textile Workers’ Association Papers HRBL Blackburn Medical Officer of Health Reports NWSA Northwest Sound Archive, Lancashire

NA

National Archives of the United Kingdom

TWUA

Textile Workers Union of Amer­i­ca

WHS

Wisconsin Historical Society

Abbreviations xi

Journals

AJIM

American Journal of Industrial Medicine

AJPH

American Journal of Public Health

BH

Business History

BHR

Business History Review

BJIM

British Journal of Industrial Medicine

BMJ

British Medical Journal

CFT

Cotton Factory Times

IRSH

International Review of Social History

JAMA

Journal of the American Medical Association

JIH

Journal of Industrial Hygiene (becoming the Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, JIHT, in 1936)

MH

Medical History

NEJM

New ­England Journal of Medicine

SHM

Social History of Medicine

TM

Textile Mercury

TR

Textile Rec­ord

TW

Textile World

TWJ

Textile World Journal

TWR

Textile World Rec­ord

When the Air Became Impor­tant

Chapter 1

Introduction When Does the Air in the Workplace Become Impor­tant?

This book is about the air many ­people breathe daily but rarely think about—­ the air in the workplace. ­Today, ­people entering buildings rarely consider the air inside, noticing only if it is too warm or too cold. In extreme climates, both hot and cold, ­people go into buildings to enjoy the comfortable, manufactured weather. Machines have the capability to precisely engineer the internal micro-­ climate to ensure ­human comfort, preserve objects, and create a perceived “ideal” work climate, while the science ­behind this capability remains hidden from public view. Technical innovations prevent or reduce dust or other foreign particles from polluting the atmosphere, while modern medicine minimizes the potential impact of diseases. Yet this ability to manage both the quality of the air in internal environments and the effects of that air on ­human health is a recent phenomenon. It was not u ­ ntil the latter half of the nineteenth c­ entury when workers and doctors began raising concerns about the air quality in workplaces, particularly in factories where large numbers of p ­ eople worked long hours in enclosed spaces and ­were exposed to contagious diseases. By 1900 science and public-­health reformers ­were raising questions about if and how contagious diseases spread within the workplace. ­These ­were followed with questions about the bodily impact of working long hours in ­either a hot and humid room or in a cold room and questions about the importance of ventilation to both general air quality and worker fatigue. As the twentieth ­century progressed, the focus shifted to the effects that working long hours in a dust-­laden atmosphere had on the body. ­After that, and ­because the many new technologies introduced during the first half of the twentieth ­century made cities increasingly noisy places in which to

1

2

When the Air Became Important

live and work, some social reformers and doctors raised questions about the impact of regular exposure to loud noise on h ­ uman health. Yet only certain anx­ i­eties about the air quality in factories gained po­liti­cal, social, and economic interest. ­There was no consensus between science, politics, industry, and l­ abor about the cause, nature, and extent of the health hazards attributable to poor aerial quality or about the role of occupation in disease causation and etiology. This book engages with t­ hese issues as they played out in the cotton factories of the United States and G ­ reat Britain during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ­These ­were the first factory environments where questions about health at work and the forces that determined them came to the fore. When the Air Became Impor­tant provides a critical comparison of the historical contexts in which air quality in the workplace became an impor­tant enough health concern that it prompted po­liti­cal and medical investigation as well as monitoring or reform in the cotton-­manufacturing regions of New ­England and Lancashire, ­England, during the years of the industry’s unpre­ce­dented growth and subsequent decline. Focusing on aerial health hazards in the factory setting, such as tuberculosis; temperature, humidity, and ventilation; dust; and noise, this book relates how dif­fer­ent groups, including local doctors, public health officials, local and state politicians, social reformers, and employers and workers, understood diseases caused by aerial hazards and their etiology in relation to the working environment. Drawing on Michelle Murphy’s term “regimes of perceptibility,” When the Air Became Impor­tant engages with the perceptions and misperceptions of doctors, politicians, employers, and workers about the contours of dif­fer­ent aerial health hazards and their solutions.1 It analyzes the perceived health risks within the contexts of the local and national po­liti­cal landscape, the textile communities, and the nature of the workforce to suggest a place-­based ecosystem, highlighting the interactions between technological pro­cesses, workers’ bodies, and communities.2 Improving poor air quality in factories required negotiation and consensus about what constituted a health risk, including when the workplace was a disease site and when it was not. While industrial regulation forms part of the story, operatives still had to live with the ill-­health caused by the short-­and long-­term effects of exposure to poor air quality at work, with some suffering the consequences the rest of their lives. Therefore, despite the importance of legislation, employers’ reform of workplace practices or their refusal of the same can only be understood by appreciating the broader social, economic, and medical context. Comparing the same industry in two countries with diverse traditions and po­liti­cal systems reveals the varied and multiple methods used by employers, workers, physicians, and politicians in raising awareness of the factory envi-

Introduction 3

ronment as both a site and a cause of ill-­health. When the Air Became Impor­ tant moves away from a focus on state efforts t­oward factory reform and away from the role and impact of legislation to integrate community and workplace health agendas; it argues for the benefits of a place-­based ecosystem rather than a separate health and safety agenda. Ideas and understandings about aerial hazards and working environments are the complex product of the po­liti­cal, economic, social, and cultural contexts in which we live. Consequently, the dominant driver b ­ ehind such ideas is variable. For example, the centrality of cotton manufacturing to many New ­England and Lancashire community economies meant that, during periods of economic decline, jobs might be prioritized before occupational hazards, while during more prosperous years, industrial health reform might become integrated into the public health reform agenda. Or, when an individual believed an illness was caused by occupation, the social context surrounding employment may cause the sick worker to ­either seek or avoid health advice. Therefore, if we are to improve health care and effectively address health inequalities in Western countries, we need to address the full spectrum of health. U ­ ntil President Obama introduced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, the United States did not have federally directed health insurance. Even then, the Afford­ able Care Act was not designed to provide comprehensive national insurance. It operates at the state, rather than the national, level. Nevertheless, Obama earned greater praise for addressing health and safety concerns related to occupation than did former Prime Minister David Cameron of ­Great Britain, which has had a National Health Ser­vice (NHS) since 1948, but where occupational health was noticeably absent in the original plans.3 In fact, in 2012, Cameron announced his plans to end occupational health and safety legislation, considering it an “albatross around the neck of British businesses.”4 Cameron’s approach suggests l­ ittle change from Arthur McIvor and Ronnie Johnston’s argument that the early NHS prioritized curative or palliative treatment over a preventive healthcare agenda that incorporated occupational medicine.5 The long-­term implications of the Obama and Cameron policies on conditions on the shop floor remains to be seen, particularly when the Trump administration is trying to repeal Obamacare and the British government is preoccupied with Brexit. Instead, recent po­liti­cal rhe­toric surrounding healthcare suggests a dif­fer­ent question: how do the vari­ous forces that determine, define, and manage the risks to worker health and welfare interact? When the Air Became Impor­tant tackles this question with relation to aerial hazards. To answer this question, we must understand the symbiotic relationship between the working environment and local circumstance and the many forces

4

When the Air Became Important

involved in creating healthy living and working environments. For example, urban communities developed at dif­fer­ent rates, with dif­fer­ent social and po­liti­ cal priorities. In the United States, immigration and migration also helped shape local priorities. In both countries, while the gender balance at work was partially dependent on the local economy, workers’ social identities ­were also ­shaped by gender and, in the U.S., by ethnicity. Workers’ identities w ­ ere further complicated by the community in which they lived, with individual towns developing their own identities. Town identities, in turn, w ­ ere partially s­ haped by local industry. Despite t­ hese many complexities, most occupational diseases and industrial hazards ­were gender-­neutral, including the impact of climate, contagious diseases, fatigue, dust, and noise. Hence, disease experiences ­were more dependent on the mill department and room in which someone worked than on gender, although some firms did practice occupational segregation. In addition, the perceived extent of workplace aerial hazard depended on each mill community’s interpretation of its government public health agenda. Some local physicians and civic leaders actively promoted public health reform and included the workplace in their community’s public health agenda. ­Others did not; their opinions ­were ­shaped by their local scientific knowledge base. Some social reformers sought evidence and examples of the health impact of technological investment, legislation, and broader public health improvements from towns with a similar economic base, both at home and abroad. Other community reformers sought exemplars from regional or national health initiatives. T ­ hese interactions between public health officials, politicians, employers, workers, and social reformers in dif­fer­ent communities only serve to reinforce McEvoy’s point about needing to understand the reciprocal interaction between technological pro­cesses, the worker’s body, and the individual’s role within society,6 but through the broader lens of health as well as safety. Community understandings of the disease environment need to be understood within the broader regional context to appreciate the strength of local forces compared with t­hose of industry and the state. From the mid-­nineteenth ­century, the cotton-­manufacturing industry dominated the economies of many towns in Northwest E ­ ngland, primarily Lancashire, and the Northeast United States—­ principally New ­England.7 ­These regions and their rapidly growing textile towns ­were some of the earliest industrialized communities to employ ­women outside the home on a regular basis. While the aerial hazards of the mill environment gained public interest at similar times in the two regions, factory reform differed. ­There was no one route to addressing aerial hazards in the workplace; neither was ­there a common understanding of what comprised a healthy working environment. Industrial working environments formed only part of a complex ecosystem.

Introduction 5

American and British industrial similarities meant that by the mid-­ nineteenth ­ century, observers ­ were comparing their cotton-­ manufacturing techniques and industrial strategies.8 They noted the British preference for spinning mules and Lancashire looms, while many American firms preferred ring-­ spinning and automatic looms. American firms chose vertical integration while most Lancashire firms specialized in ­either spinning or weaving. Industrial strategy, l­ abor, and productivity ­were also compared, alongside the concomitant urban development, continued through the economic boom during the de­cades surrounding 1900 and the subsequent industrial decline. ­These themes are reflected in the vast historiography of the two industries. Diverging economic experiences have been explained in terms of entrepreneurial agendas, resource allocation, product and market conditions, and institutional development.9 Moreover, the social impact of such choices has been found to be more intraregional than cross-­ national, ­because cotton towns developed individual identities.10 Regional identities corresponded not only with the manufacturers’ industrial choices but also with the choices of local town councils and the towns’ inhabitants, creating both similarities and divergences in the social consequences of industry.11 Both town and regional identities helped shape, and w ­ ere ­shaped by, urban public health priorities. Local health priorities, in turn, helped determine ­whether the working environment became a public health concern. Geoffrey Tweedale found that many of Lancashire’s diseases w ­ ere regional diseases, including high levels of respiratory diseases and byssinosis.12 ­These diseases ­were also common to other cotton regions, suggesting that industrial diseases need to be qualified within the dif­fer­ent local, regional, and national contexts ­because the consequences of community decisions surrounding public and workplace health have a lasting impact on the town and its residents. Regardless of historical interpretation, ­there has been a tendency to view the Lancashire industry through the lens of its American counterpart ­because of the labor-­productivity gap between the regions.13 New ­England’s manufacturing output quickly surpassed that of Lancashire ­because of technological investment and innovation. Such a viewpoint implies the superiority of the American model of vertical integration, technological choice, and investment. Yet ­because both industries and regions experienced a dramatic decline during the twentieth ­century, the supremacy of the American model of cotton manufacturing has been rightly questioned, as has the validity of viewing one region through the lens of another.14 Industrial decisions and industrial decline—­and the local, regional, and national responses to both—­had health consequences for local residents. However, in communities or regions that w ­ ere dominated by one industry, the working environment becomes central to understanding

6

When the Air Became Important

how communities prioritized health and defined the par­ameters of individual and collective responsibility for health. While nineteenth-­century observers believed the early American factories and towns w ­ ere “healthier” places in which to live and work than t­hose in Britain,15 by the end of the c­ entury the rapid industrial growth of textile towns in both New E ­ ngland and Lancashire revealed increasingly similar public health concerns relating to overcrowding, poor housing, poor sanitation, and a deteriorating working environment.16 Mill workers’ relative poverty and the overcrowding in both homes and workplaces contributed to poor natu­ral defenses against disease. In comparison with other industrial communities, the textile towns of both regions had higher disease and mortality rates.17 By 1894, observers found that one-­fifth of Lancashire’s total deaths ­were caused by respiratory diseases.18 By 1912, the Mas­sa­chu­setts textile town of Fall River had gained the infamous distinction of having the highest death rate of any northern U.S. city, surpassing that of New York City and the Lancashire mill towns.19 This was intimately related to Fall River’s insufficient, overcrowded, and decaying housing.20 Many Lancashire textile towns faced similar housing prob­lems, which ­were further compounded by the damp climate.21 Consequently, even before entering the mills, ­people living in textile communities faced health challenges that would impact their ability to work and to resist diseases in both the home and the workplace. By the end of the nineteenth c­ entury, tuberculosis came to dominate public health agendas, but developments in biomedicine only gradually changed public understanding of disease contagion. Twentieth-­century health reforms ­were exacerbated by war, the interwar depression in textile manufacturing, and industrial decline. However, industrial recession also reinvigorated public and po­liti­cal interest in textile communities. The ­Great War had increased state interest in industrial fatigue, occupation-­specific diseases,22 and industrial psychiatry. The latter sought to humanize scientific management, although this never captured ­either the imagination or the enthusiasm of the British workforce.23 The American postwar economic boom ­shaped growing federal interest in occupational health and safety and made it an economic priority. At the same time, disruptions to industrial pro­gress from ­labor and the po­liti­cal left also had to be repressed. More broadly, however, radical w ­ omen’s groups in conjunction with public health experts campaigned for improvements to worker safety and raised awareness of industry-­specific diseases. They also demonstrated that tuberculosis remained a significant prob­lem among textile workers.24 Nevertheless, neither American industrial pro­gress nor modernity could be impeded. Instead, while in both countries, war, economics, science, and a developing

Introduction 7

federal public health agenda had helped raise po­liti­cal and medical awareness of the synergetic relationships between health and work, awareness did not necessarily translate into industrial reform. Governments, Medicine, and Textile Workers’ Health

Fundamental to understanding when and why par­tic­ul­ ar health issues become impor­tant at any given time are both current medical knowledge and po­liti­cal priorities. Anthony Wohl has argued that industrial diseases in Victorian Britain w ­ ere accepted as an inevitable part of working life.25 Workers’ bodies and the l­abor they performed w ­ ere judged a form of capital, with market forces determining the value of that ­labor. Workers who performed particularly dangerous tasks received higher wages as compensation, balancing employment opportunities, lower wages, and the health risks attributable to certain tasks with the risks of not working.26 ­Those employers who actively improved their working environment have been accused of seeking productivity benefits or greater control over l­ abor while ignoring industrial illnesses.27 While t­ here prob­ably is some truth in this observation, generalizing ­either about employers’ or workers’ be­hav­ ior negates individual motivations and community health agendas. Moreover, simply ­because ­people worked in unhealthy and dangerous environments, it does not equate with their passive ac­cep­tance of such conditions; nor should it imply medical or po­liti­cal indifference to t­hese workers’ plight. While sanitation in Britain’s rapidly growing cities dominated the po­liti­cal and medical agenda, as it has the historiography,28 during the latter half of the nineteenth ­century, doctors expanded their public health remit into the workplace. This came at a time when public health was becoming increasingly professionalized and or­ga­nized, and doctors achieved some success. Despite science prioritizing the home,29 some public health doctors in textile towns ­were instrumental in taking medical science and sanitation into the workplace and securing some environmental reforms. When the Air Became Impor­tant examines the health disparities surrounding aerial hazards between neighboring towns. For example, at the turn of the twentieth ­century, Blackburn public health doctors sought to improve air quality in both the home and the workplace with some success. In contrast, their counter­parts in nearby Burnley made few attempts to improve the air quality in ­either the home or the workplace. ­Whether improving the working environment formed part of the common interest was determined locally, not by the state. Nineteenth-­century British and American governments overlooked occupationally specific health concerns. Safety, compensation, and ­labor hours, particularly ­those of ­women and c­ hildren, dominated the nineteenth-­century

8

When the Air Became Important

factory-­reform agenda. It was only late in the c­ entury that an international interest in the health of the general population developed, which gradually included ­ ere slow to introduce factory legthe workplace.30 Nevertheless, both countries w islation, and the efforts w ­ ere piecemeal. Historians have argued that legislation supported efforts to exclude or limit w ­ omen and c­ hildren in certain jobs and industries.31 Daniel Rod­gers has argued that Britain’s Factory Acts led western countries in improving the working lives of its ­people by restricting child ­labor and requiring fencing around dangerous machinery.32 The l­egal requirements ­were enforced by a new factory inspectorate. However, critics have identified how employers could easily surpass the legislation, and any government fines that w ­ ere imposed for legislative requirements w ­ ere minimal.33 By the end of the nineteenth c­ entury, the Factory Acts expanded to regulate so-­called dangerous trades, particularly factory ventilation.34 When the Air Became Impor­tant challenges the British leadership in all areas of factory reform. It demonstrates how progressive American states, particularly Mas­sa­chu­setts, pioneered industrial reforms for some issues, especially t­hose surrounding tuberculosis and ventilation. The federalist system of government in Amer­i­ca provided individual states with more power than Washington, D.C. Consequently, u ­ ntil the New Deal reforms in the 1930s, individual state governments determined health and industrial legislation, creating considerable variation in health priorities, health cultures, and reforms.35 Colin Gordon has demonstrated how American private interests ­shaped the politics of health with industrial medicine subordinated to more common interests.36 While, broadly speaking, t­ here is some truth in this argument, ­there was considerable variation among and within states. In Mas­sa­ chu­setts, progressive politics and medical aspirations helped incorporate industrial health within urban and state public health agendas. For example, Fall River doctors transferred the fears surrounding the tuberculosis contagion onto the factory, securing limited technological investment from some manufacturers in order to reduce the contagion risk. In Holyoke, the town council incorporated the workplace into the broader public health agenda. Overall, the early New ­England public health doctors played a vital role in raising awareness of occupational health issues among local officials, employers, and workers, particularly issues concerning tuberculosis, ventilation, temperature, and humidity. Indeed, improving the working environment sometimes formed part of community interest. By the 1870s Mas­sa­chu­setts was increasingly recognizing the intricate relationship between environment, health, work, and sometimes gender.37 In 1874 the first of a series of protective l­abor legislation for w ­ omen and c­ hildren was

Introduction 9

introduced. ­Labor histories have emphasized this legislation and the related issues of working hours and wages, safety and compensation.38 Alice Kessler-­ Harris suggests that gender became the dominant American po­liti­cal focus only ­after the courts struck down a number of nineteenth-­century laws aiming to regulate male workers’ hours and conditions.39 Nevertheless, all workers had to deal with any unhealthy working environments on a daily basis. Similar to ­those in Britain, Mas­sa­chu­setts factory inspections ­were few and employers found it easy to avoid legislative requirements, while any fines imposed by the inspectorate w ­ ere minimal. Moreover, while the 1874 legislation had reduced the hours in which ­women and ­children w ­ ere exposed to workplace hazards, it did not eliminate the hazards. Consequently, into the twentieth ­century state legislation had only a limited impact on factory working conditions, with legislation tending to follow industrial priorities or broad public health agendas but with some influence from dynamic individuals. Indeed, t­ here is no singular narrative about the aerial quality in textile environments. Not all firms actively sought to improve aerial quality. Instead, as this book ­will demonstrate, any aerial improvements in textile factories frequently, but not always, followed the broader community health agenda and ­were firm-­specific. Occupational illness and accidents among textile laborers have captured the imagination of contemporaries and historians alike. For both countries, ­there is a wealth of lit­er­a­ture on cotton workers,40 particularly on child and female ­labor;41 compensation for occupational injuries;42 workers’ experiences of ill-­ health;43 occupational diseases specific to cotton manufacturing;44 trade u ­ nion efforts at securing occupational health reforms;45 and American industrial hygiene.46 Many of ­these narratives center on legislation. Yet while legislation plays a central role in regulating unsafe workplaces, it cannot explain why certain types of workplaces with unhealthy air quality secured voluntary reform while ­others required legislative intervention and still ­others ­were ignored by ­those in government, medicine, and society, and by workers themselves. Public health concerns became the legislative priority ­because of the sheer number of constituents affected.47 This only serves to highlight the importance of examining the working environment alongside both public and occupational health debates. Local physicians and government officials, employers and workers all helped shape the factory reform agenda and its outcomes. Within ­these broader par­ameters, the complex relationships between gender, health, and work—­and, in Amer­i­ca, ethnicity—­sometimes also influenced the reform agenda. Nevertheless, ­until reforms ­were successfully implemented, individual workers had to manage their daily encounters with unhealthy working environments, with ­women being pivotal in developing coping strategies while also caring for ill

10

When the Air Became Important

relations. When the Air Became Impor­tant considers all t­hese ­factors to highlight the intricate relationships between the c­ auses and consequences of workplace aerial hazards and the many issues that politics, medicine, the public, and workers themselves had to consider when addressing ­those hazards. Historians have sought to understand this pro­cess of reforming unhealthy environments. ­Here, Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling’s notion of an industrial hazard regime is particularly helpful. Industrial hazard regimes are “­those arrangements, formal as well as informal, by which public bodies, private interests, and civic mobilizations ­handle the danger and damage associated with an industry.”48 Certainly, local and national governments, employers, and communities helped to determine when the working environment became impor­ tant and dealt with the consequences of illness within individual communities. While When the Air Became Impor­tant relates t­hese regimes to Murphy’s “regimes of perceptibility,”49 the par­ameters of individual aerial hazards are also impor­tant. Only certain public health concerns entered the workplace and became industrial hazards, including tuberculosis. Other hazards ­were ignored despite evidence of a broader public health context, such as industrial deafness. The public health bound­ aries around individual aerial hazards ­shaped both understandings of and responses to industrial hazards and public health reform. The course of t­hese industrial health reforms was influenced by many actors. Trade ­unions’ efforts have dominated this historiography, particularly in Britain with its strong ­union tradition. For example, Paul Weindling has asserted that trade ­unions prioritized pay to the neglect of health issues,50 and Geoffrey Tweedale found a similar situation in his study of asbestos-­related diseases.51 Yet, the constraints ­under which each group of actors operated are impor­tant ­because such limitations at any given time shape the framework of possibilities. For example, studies of silicosis sufferers and miners’ campaigns to control dust reveal that trade ­unions tried to improve workplace safety while also seeking compensation for their injured members.52 British textile trade ­union leaders ­were concerned about health and the working environment, and many also possessed extensive medical knowledge, although this information was not always shared with the membership. Nevertheless, the u ­ nions prioritized compensation over reform, believing the power for changing the physical workplace lay with lawmakers and employers.53 Tweedale and Higgins, along with Terry Wyke, have revealed the British government’s reluctance to regulate a declining textile industry, highlighting both government and employer inaction over the use of carcinogenic oils for lubricating spinning mules.54 Alan Fowler has also argued that the po­liti­cal agenda prevailed, b ­ ecause while the

Introduction 11

Lancashire textile trade u ­ nions ­were concerned about health and safety, they ­were in­effec­tive in securing substantial reforms.55 Indeed, the comparative weakness of trade ­unions in securing state intervention in occupational health reform is evident in Vicky Long’s examination of the Trade Unions Council and its affiliated ­unions. While the u ­ nions promoted healthy working, Long argues that greater state intervention was necessary to secure healthier workplaces.56 Nevertheless, ­these studies all emphasize blame and responsibility—­albeit of dif­fer­ent groups.57 The story of securing a healthy workplace comprises much more than this. Indeed, the strategies and initiatives that dif­fer­ent groups of actors used to try to secure the reform of unhealthy work practices or to manage the ensuing bodily impact are also impor­tant. While u ­ nions form part of this story, this volume also considers workers’ informal daily efforts at managing the aerial hazards. The informal efforts of individuals, small groups, and ­unions who protested and campaigned to reform aerial hazards and dealt with their impact daily all helped shape the outcomes in Lancashire and form part of this story. In Amer­i­ca, too, compensation, blame, and responsibility have dominated the occupational health lit­er­a­ture. The l­ abor activists involved in addressing industrial accidents and l­abor hours during the Progressive Era went s­ ilent during the 1920s, only to re-­emerge in the 1930s when they added broader workplace health concerns to their reform agenda. Interest in the social implications of chronic illness was also growing,58 coinciding with growing economic and managerial prob­lems within the New E ­ ngland industry.59 During the interwar years most New ­England textile firms ­either closed or migrated to the southern states where wages ­were lower and anti-­unionism rampant. Historians have prioritized the politics and power strug­gles surrounding wages and u ­ nion organ­ ization associated with industrial relocation to the neglect of the impact that geo­graph­i­cal relocation had on the working environment.60 The textile ­union, the Congress of Industrial Organ­ization (CIO), launched a massive but short-­lived organ­ization campaign for textile workers to address pay and conditions. The dominant ­union, the Textile Workers Union of Amer­i­ca (TWUA), did not make health and safety an orga­nizational issue61 but neither did they completely neglect it. However, they strug­gled for support ­because of economic constraints and southern mill workers’ poverty and ignorance.62 In the 1960s and 1970s the Brown Lung Association, comprised of retired textile workers and social reformers, joined forces with grassroots activists to successfully secure compensation for southern textile workers who suffered from the occupational disease byssinosis.63 Similar to the earlier New ­England campaigns to improve factory ventilation and temperature, when l­ abor had united with social, po­liti­cal,

12

When the Air Became Important

and medical reformers, the southern reformers fi­nally secured long overdue po­liti­cal reforms.64 Earlier parties in New ­England industry, medicine, and politics had consistently ignored byssinosis despite awareness of its existence. Nevertheless, similar to in Lancashire, recognition of unhealthy working conditions, protest, and reform w ­ ere not solely the preserve of u ­ nions and professionals. Throughout the American textile industry, workers sought to change or avoid workplace hazards. Yet their quests for health and associated coping strategies w ­ ere frequently disconnected from ­unions. Worker responses to aerial hazards w ­ ere frequently informal, individual, and sometimes allied with broader social health initiatives65—­with both successes and failures. The early twentieth-­century gaps between best practices, employer attitudes, research in the nation’s health, and worker l­abor experiences remained relevant in the 1940s.66 The post-­World War I rise of social medicine, or the social aspects of health and disease prevention that informed both British and American social and po­liti­cal agendas during the 1930s, had ­little impact in textile communities; this was despite growing medical interest in occupational health.67 Indeed, the growing public and po­liti­cal interest in working environments overlooked industries in long-­term economic decline. The bound­aries of production in New ­England and Lancashire had been stretched. Workers’ health had been compromised and the growing po­liti­cal and social interest in work-­ health relationships ignored. Individual and collective understandings about the ­causes of ill-­health and the importance of dif­fer­ent environments in influencing the health of individuals and the nation ­were constantly evolving, but only sometimes for the benefit of the worker. This study unpacks the importance of the quality of the air that operatives’ breathed, in relation to the economy, ­people, events, medicine, politics, and other influences during periods of both industrial growth and industrial decline. The voices of change w ­ ere vulnerable then, and the successes they achieved have not followed the industry to the developing world. Structure of the Book

Thematically, this book traces how the aerial quality in a workplace related to many contributing forces, including individual employees bringing contagious diseases to work and the ventilation, temperature, humidity, dust, and noise on the shop floor. It follows a broad chronology of events, demonstrating how par­tic­u­lar workplace health issues became impor­tant at dif­fer­ent points in time. Throughout, the importance of any associated public health context is highlighted ­because the dominant public health concern could raise or prevent awareness of associated workplace health risks. Chapter 2 introduces the local

Introduction 13

peculiarities of the cotton-­textile communities of New ­England and Lancashire and their regional economic identities. It identifies the direct and indirect health hazards attributable to t­hese towns and to textile work, which affected the health of the workforce and the community. Chapter 3 provides a long overdue reappraisal of American social welfare, providing an example of how, in the early twentieth ­century, Progressive Era Mas­sa­chu­setts introduced public health reform before their British counter­parts in an effort to tackle tuberculosis. Reformers successfully transferred the public health discourse surrounding tuberculosis from the urban living environment to the workplace. In contrast, British recognition of the work-­TB relationship was delayed ­until ­after World War II. Chapter 4 explores the growing po­liti­cal, medical, and economic interest in relationships between health, heat, humidity, and fatigue, along with mill ­owners’ responses. While operatives’ understandings of the health risks attributable to working in such conditions varied, they still had to manage both the hazards and any resulting illness or injury on a daily basis. The associated debates w ­ ere far-­reaching, extending outside the bound­aries of trade ­unions and factory walls into the community. They integrated medical, po­liti­cal, economic, and social concerns, with priorities shifting over time within and between communities. Chapter 5 examines how, while mid-­nineteenth-­century textile workers and doctors recognized the health hazards attributable to dust inhalation, it was the intersections between contagious respiratory diseases and dust that gained po­liti­cal interest. When late-­nineteenth-­century biomedical debates attributed contagious diseases to individuals rather than to dust, interest in occupational dust quickly faded. It was the interwar years before cotton dust gained po­liti­cal attention as a potential industrial hazard. However, physicians, workers, employers, and legislators had varied understandings of the etiology of dust-­related diseases, which secured dif­fer­ent responses. ­These responses included denying the hazard existed, viewing the associated health risks as an industrial inevitability, and waging compensation campaigns for the bodily damage caused rather than seeking prevention. Lastly, chapter  6 charts the limited public, po­liti­cal, and occupational interest in the impact that long-­term exposure to factory noise had on workers’ health. ­Until urban noise became a social prob­lem, all noise was classed an “individual” prob­lem and not an issue requiring legislation. Only when municipal governments ­were forced to address the increased noise associated with urbanization did hearing loss become both an environmental and a health risk. Even then, work-­induced hearing loss was contested. Indeed, the full impact of working in a noisy environment for prolonged periods is being investigated only

14

When the Air Became Important

­today. For most of the twentieth ­century industrial deafness did not fit within the bound­aries of what workers, employers, politicians, or medics defined to be a healthy working environment. The book concludes by highlighting the clear relationships between community and working environments and how both society and politics have ignored environmental and social inequalities. Health concerns about the air quality in the workplace w ­ ere, and still are, closely integrated with economic, social, cultural, and po­liti­cal forces. Consequently, the health prob­lems found within the New ­England and Lancashire textile-­ manufacturing industries have crossed chronological and spatial bound­aries. Historical health risks resonate with risks found in t­oday’s leading textile communities; they have simply followed the industry.

Chapter 2

Textile Towns and Mill Environments

The fact that clothing is essential and its manufacture requires relatively ­simple technology has meant that textile production, and particularly cotton-­goods production, was one of the earliest industries to modernize. Nevertheless, the modernization of textile production can pro­gress at any pace, with l­ abor, resources, and technological investment growing at rates to suit the economic needs of both markets and entrepreneurs. Hence, entry into the industry was easy ­until the 1960s, when production became more capital-­intensive.1 It is unsurprising, therefore, that when Britain and Amer­ic­ a began to industrialize, cotton manufacture rapidly expanded, becoming concentrated in par­tic­u­lar regions ­because of technical innovation, economic practicalities, l­ abor, and even climate. The industry also attracted some of the earliest government interest in business—­every­thing from minimal taxation and favorable legislation to l­ater enquiries into l­ abor, working conditions, and the impact of textile manufacturing on the wider environment. The latter interest included urban planning and housing, public health, and the health consequences attributable to working in a mill. However, ­whether the working environment in any given community became a health priority for residents or local government depended on the social conditions associated with the pressures of industry and broader public health priorities. This chapter provides the context of place for the rest of the book. It introduces the textile regions and provides an overview of the key cotton towns, their living environments, and their diseases from manufacturing. It connects the rapidly growing cotton-­ manufacturing towns of Mas­ sa­ chu­ setts and Lancashire with rising concerns about urban public health and industry-­specific health

15

16

When the Air Became Important

prob­lems. In so ­doing, it demonstrates how labeling a disease an “occupational disease” or a “public health crisis” could influence both po­liti­cal agendas and reform initiatives. Moreover, it suggests the complications that arise when the two become entangled. The Development of Textile Regions

Cotton cloth manufacturing quickly became concentrated in par­tic­ul­ ar regions, including Lancashire in ­England and New ­England, and particularly the state of Mas­sa­chu­setts. Stemming from the seventeenth and early-­eighteenth centuries, Lancashire’s pre-­industrial textile tradition in woolens and linens provided the crucial background for the emergence of the county as a center for cotton manufacturing.2 Proto-­industrialization provided the foundation of the skills, technology, and work practices necessary for the development of cotton manufacturing.3 In addition, the Lancashire ports of Liverpool and Manchester ­were vital for both importing raw cotton and exporting finished products. Moreover, British price competitiveness and the quality of the finished goods enabled Lancashire producers not only to supply the growing domestic market, but also to gain an impor­tant foothold in overseas markets. This strategy secured the continued growth of cotton production in the region during the nineteenth c­ entury and into the twentieth. Lastly, Lancashire’s naturally damp climate was thought to aid cloth production and attracted textile entrepreneurs to the region. For all ­these reasons, Lancashire came to dominate the British cotton industry, although manufacturing continued in Scotland, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire. While a preliminary look at recently settled eighteenth-­century Amer­ic­ a would not suggest the country to be a prospective place for industrialization ­because of the relatively small market and supply shortages in every­thing from ­labor to raw materials and technology, the m ­ iddle fifty years of the nineteenth ­century saw a transformation of New ­England from a predominantly rural and agricultural economy to a largely urban, industrial society. This was pos­si­ble for several reasons. The Puritan settlers of New ­England had established stable governments with clear laws and a flexible judicial pro­cess that allowed legislation to adapt to new situations undreamt of by early legislators. The region was also committed to education, which was reflected in Mas­sa­chu­setts becoming the first state to establish a Board of Education in 1837 and in its reputation as a state that nurtured ­future business and po­liti­cal leaders. Add to this the hostile fertility of New E ­ ngland for market agriculture, and New En­glanders ­were well equipped and ready to take advantage of any legislative and economic opportunities.4 Cotton cloth manufacturing became an early interest a­ fter the deterioration of American relations with Britain, starting with President Thomas



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 17

Jefferson’s Embargo in 1807 and culminating in the war with Britain between 1812 and 1814. Isolated from British cotton goods and with a strengthened determination to secure economic in­de­pen­dence from the former ­mother country, New ­England and particularly Boston’s power­ful mercantile community, ­were encouraged to develop cotton manufacturing as a means to gain economic in­de­ pen­dence from and to be a weapon against E ­ ngland.5 According to James Montgomery’s 1840 survey of cotton manufacturing, by 1831 or 1832 Mas­sa­chu­setts’s spindleage and cloth output far surpassed that of other states.6 By 1860, outside of G ­ reat Britain, Mas­sa­chu­setts was the most industrialized part of the globe, with textile goods leading their output and employing more p ­ eople than any other industry.7 When other countries looked to the American textile industry, and indeed historians too, Mas­sa­chu­setts was the primary comparator for legislation, business strategy, technology, and ­labor.8 The Mas­sa­chu­setts and Lancashire industries’ rapid growth was partially enabled by the use of female and child l­abor, which attracted early po­liti­cal interest. Mas­sa­chu­setts’s rapid industrial growth meant that it featured centrally in nineteenth-­and early-­twentieth-­century federal government inquiries into ­labor, industry, and working conditions. The employment of ­women and ­children also led the British government to express similar concerns about the bodily impact of mill work. Indeed, the working conditions in cotton goods manufactures became paramount to the development of factory inspections in both countries. Britain led the West in introducing a factory inspectorate, and while Mas­sa­chu­setts lawmakers looked to Britain for ideas, current public health concerns ­were prob­ably a greater influence on their inspectorate. This created an overlap between the factory reform and public health agendas in Mas­sa­chu­setts that was less common in Britain. Nevertheless, the cotton manufacturing industries of both Britain and Amer­i­ca strongly influenced the development of early health and safety legislation and factory inspection. Consequently, cotton towns became places where the full spectrum of community health was debated and the work-­health relationship contested. Textile Towns, Their Structure and Their Health

During the course of the nineteenth c­ entury, towns and districts in both Lancashire and New E ­ ngland specialized in par­tic­u­lar types of cotton cloth ­production. New ­England firms predominantly integrated spinning and weaving, manufacturing mostly coarse sheeting for domestic markets. Manufacturers received federal support through tariffs that prohibited the importation of similar cloth. In contrast, few Lancashire firms w ­ ere integrated, although some towns specialized in par­tic­u­lar pro­cesses, including the weaving towns of

18

When the Air Became Important

Blackburn, Burnley, and Nelson. Some towns also specialized in producing ­either fine or coarse goods. Bolton and Nelson manufactured fine thread and cloth, while Oldham, Blackburn, and Burnley specialized in coarse-­goods production. Each town developed its own industrial identity not just in terms of the type of cloth manufactured, but also in terms of po­liti­cal leadership, ­labor, and technological choices. Moreover, e­ very textile town in New ­England and Lancashire set their own health priorities and determined when the working environment became a site of ill-­health and when it did not. While disease transcends place, place is vital for identifying and tackling disease and for understanding community responses to disease. Both socioeconomic ­factors and the politics and economics of municipal intervention influence the successful improvements to the health of any community.9 Local health agendas ­were fluid in Amer­ic­ a and Britain. Public health concerns, or t­hose health issues that affected large numbers of the population, dominated state and local po­liti­cal agendas, particularly in areas of rapid urban growth, including the textile communities of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, identified in T ­ ables 2.1 and 2.2. Yet the par­ameters of t­ hese towns’ public health remit remained fluid and only sometimes included the workplace. Community responses to health hazards ­were influenced by local economic ­factors, local doctors, and local health priorities, as well as by the state health agenda. Mas­s a­chu­s etts—­T he Challenges of Community Growth

While small cotton mills w ­ ere scattered throughout New ­England, Table 2.3 shows how manufacturing was concentrated in the Mas­sa­chu­setts towns of Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, Holyoke, and Lawrence (although wool quickly dominated this last community’s industry). Despite ­these towns having many commonalities, including particularly high immigrant populations, each quickly developed individual identities related to technological choice, l­ abor, and mill management. T ­ hese choices influenced both the mill’s internal air quality and community responses to local health prob­lems and the broader state health agenda. Lowell is perhaps the most well-­known textile town, being a purpose-­built, model industrial town. Owing its existence to the plentiful ­water supply of the Merrimack River, Lowell was established in the 1820s by a small group of entrepreneurs who resided in Boston and who w ­ ere collectively known as the Boston Associates. Starting with the Merrimack Manufacturing Com­pany in 1822, the Boston Associates rapidly expanded the number of mills in the town with eight more firms in operation by 1840.10 Complete industrial planning meant that t­ hese mills kept to a standard size, power usage, and spindleage.11 Technologically,

20,981 6,738

33,383 11,524 8,282 3,245

1850

36,827 14,026 17,639 4,997

1860 40,928 26,766 28,921 10,733

1870 59,485 48,901 39,151 21,915

1880 77,696 74,398 44,654 35,637

1890

46,538 20,828 69,450

63,126 28,700 82,985

1861

76,337 31,608 85,428

1871 104,012 28,774 96,524

1881 120,064 87,016 107,573

1891 129,216 97,043 112,989

1901

94,969 104,863 62,559 47,712

1900

1920

1930

129,400 103,157 117,406

1940

122,971 99,180 119,001

1941 a

97,249 111,963 80,536 54,661

1950

107,300 82,350 111,490

101,389 115,428 84,323 53,750

1931

100,234 115,300 85,068 56,537

1921

112,759 120,485 94,270 60,203

133,052 107,448 117,088

1911

106,294 119,295 85,892 57,730

1910

111,217 84,950 118,100

1951

92,107 99,942 70,933 52,689

1960

a. Estimated population in 1940.

Sources: Derek Bettie, Blackburn: The Development of a Lancashire Cotton Town (Blackburn: Ryburn Publishing, 1992), 16; Rex Pope, Unemployment and the Lancashire Weaving Area, 1920–1939 (University of Central Lancashire, Harris Paper Three, 2000), 1; Census of Population, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911, 1921, 1931; Burnley MOH Report, 1921, 83; Burnley MOH Report, 1931, 164; Burnley MOH Report, 1942; Blackburn MOH Report, 1961, 17; Blackburn MOH Report, 1951; Preston MOH Report, vari­ous years.

Blackburn Burnley Preston

1851

­Table 2.2  Population of Key Lancashire Textile Towns, 1851–1951

Source: United States Decennial Census of Population, 1840–1960.

Lowell Fall River Lawrence Holyoke

1840

­Table 2.1  Population of New E ­ ngland Textile Towns, 1840–1960

20

When the Air Became Important

­Table 2.3  The Changing Manufacture of Cotton Goods in Lowell, Fall River, and New Bedford Value of Goods in Millions of Dollars

1875 1890 1899* 1909** 1914 1919 1921 1923 1925 1927 1929 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936

Average Number of Wage Earners Employed in Cotton Manufacturinga

Lowell

Fall River

New Bedford

Lowell

Fall River

New Bedford

16.8 19.8 17.0 24.7 23.0 60.4 26.9 39.0 28.6 18.9 12.5 4.7 4.1 6.3 6.7 7.3 7.0

20.2 24.9 29.3 48.6 50.0 135.8 67.9 100.9 79.4 66.7 56.3 27.6 17.2 26.3 31.4 31.6 29.1

2.8 8.2 16.7 42.5 51.8 177.1 89.8 120.5 109.6 93.5 86.2 43.0 23.5 36.2 41.3 33.4 30.8

9,960 15,074 13,730 13,833 13,066 12,479 10,639 11,683 8,773 6,758 4,135 2,391 1,900 2,488 3,004 3,059 2,878

14,216 19,476 26,465 30,407 30,758b 31,805 28,454 30,774 24,773 25,552 19,628 13,255 9,328 13,638 15,605 13,047 12,867

1,983 6,379 12,286 22,141 28,719 35,206 28,505 31,955 29,891 29,079 25,784 17,702 11,719 17,027 18,003 13,091 12,685

Sources: Census of Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1875; Census of the United States, 1890, 1910, 1920; Commonwealth of Mas­sa­chu­setts, Statistics of Manufactures, 1914, 1919, 1921; Commonwealth of Mas­sa­chu­ setts, “Census of Manufactures” (mimeographed reports issued annually and separately for each city, 1931–1936; each annual report reviews the immediate past ten-­year period for the major industries), cited in Charles Levenstein and Gregory DeLaurier, with Mary Lee Dunn, The Cotton Dust Papers: Science, Politics, and Power in the “Discovery” of Byssinosis in the U.S. (New York: Amityville, Baywood, 2002), 30; Mas­sa­chu­setts Department of Public Health, Sources of Pollution: Merrimack River Valley (Boston: Wright and Potter 1938),10–12; Cumbler, Working Class Community, 113; Steinberg, Nature Incorporated, 216; Cole, Immigrant City, 209; Arthur Eno, Jr., ed., Cotton Was King: A History of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts (Lowell: Lowell Historical Society, 1976), 255; U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Population of 100 Largest Urban Places, 1850,” accessed February 5, 2017, https://­www​.­census​.­gov​/­population​/­www​/­documentation​/­twps0027​/­tab08​.­txt; U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Decennial Census of Population, 1930 and 1940. a. Figures are for ­people per square mile. b. Cotton smallwares included.

the Boston Associates invested in increasingly automatic looms and throstle machines, followed by ring-­spinning machines. Being less labor-­intensive, ­these new technologies enabled one operative to attend to more machines than in the case of spinning mules or Lancashire looms. The new machines also suited the changing ­labor market in Lowell. Originally, firms employed native-­ born young ­women from surrounding rural communities to work in the mills for a few years before marriage.12 By the latter quarter of the ­century, however,



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 21

increasing numbers of unskilled immigrants entered the mills. Industrial growth in the de­cades surrounding 1900 posed many challenges to manufacturers, including securing and managing the ever-­changing ­labor force and maintaining a working environment that was conducive to both the technological and ­human needs of production. When the Boston Associates had first planned Lowell, they believed that the needs of the city matched ­those of manufacturers. They sought to build a model town, with factories and boarding­houses that would contrast with the overcrowded, dirty textile towns of Britain.13 To aid this goal, in 1836 Lowell established a Board of Health (BOH), being one of the first towns in the state to do so. However, the employment of a young, rural workforce meant that, as a town, Lowell was predominantly a healthy one. In 1841, the Lowell physician Dr. Elisha Bartlett noted that “the general and comparative good health of the girls employed in the mills h ­ ere, and their freedom from serious disease, have long been subjects of common remark among our most intelligent and expert physicians. The manufacturing population of this city is the healthiest portion of the population, and ­there is no reason why this should not be the case. They are but ­little exposed to many of the strongest and most prolific ­causes of disease, and very many of the circumstances which surround and act upon them are of the most favorable hygienic character.”14 While some operatives complained about the bodily impact of par­tic­ul­ar aspects of work, including fatigue, dust, and noise, the early population of healthy young workers, who each spent only a few years in the mill, ­were not overly affected by the conditions. Instead, the aerial quality in the mills deteriorated alongside the post-­Civil War industrial and urban growth, with the associated strains on housing and infrastructure. Fall River was Mas­sa­chu­setts’s other leading cotton-­manufacturing town. Situated between Mount Hope Bay and Watuppa Pond on the southern coast of Mas­sa­chu­setts, its location allowed for the cheap and easy delivery of raw cotton. Founded in 1803, with the first cotton mill opening in 1813, Fall River was a leading textile center in the United States by 1850, with neighboring New Bedford not far ­behind. Doubling its population between 1860 and 1870 and d ­ oing so nearly again by 1875, Fall River was the fastest growing city in New ­England with the highest proportion of foreign-­born workers in the state, at 53 ­percent.15 Yet, similar to Lowell, the Fall River mills ­were owned by only a handful of entrepreneurs. By the 1870s, Fall River employers ­were dominated by seven families who controlled nearly 40 ­percent of the city’s thirty-­two cotton corporations. ­These same families controlled the city’s banks and wielded considerable po­liti­cal influence throughout the town.16 However, in contrast to their

22

When the Air Became Important

Lowell counter­parts, the Fall River manufacturers lived locally, in the exclusive Highlands area of their city. Moreover, while early Lowell workers accepted manufacturers’ paternalistic gestures, Fall River operatives resented paternalism and compared it to autocracy, resulting in class conflict that never completely dis­appeared from the town.17 Class conflict was also influenced by both technology and l­abor choices. ­After the Civil War, Fall River was the only large cotton town in the United States where spinning was done primarily on the mule, with 90 ­percent of the town’s spindleage being mules in 1870. The mule produced finer yarn than the throstle or ring machines preferred in the more northern Mas­sa­chu­setts towns where only 46 ­percent of spindleage was on the mule.18 It was only ­after a wave of mule-­spinners’ strikes in Mas­sa­chu­setts during the 1870s that Fall River manufacturers increasingly turned to ring-­spinning for sub-40s thread counts, having seen the Lowell firms successfully continue partial production by using ring machines during the strikes.19 Nevertheless, the Fall River preference for spinning mules led the town’s manufacturers to employ more men than elsewhere. ­These employees included many Lancashire immigrants who brought with them their strong trade-­union traditions. Prior to the 1930s, no New ­England textile workforce matched the degree of u ­ nion organ­ization found in Fall River, requiring the town’s employers to spend more time addressing ­labor issues than manufacturers in communities with a weaker u ­ nion presence.20 Hence, while the interlocking owner­ship structure of the Fall River firms suggested their potential for facing production issues by developing collective strategies with their similarly or­ga­nized northern counter­parts, technological, product, and l­abor choices prevented such initiatives. T ­ hese decisions, in turn, influenced the aerial quality within the town’s mills. The town of Lawrence was located on the Merrimack River, downstream from Lowell. Founded in 1847 by some of the same men who founded Lowell, the town’s manufacturing base comprised cotton u ­ ntil ­after the Civil War, when production shifted to primarily woolen goods. Lawrence quickly became the New ­England center of worsted production and an immigrant city. The mills first attracted the Irish fleeing the potato famine, followed by French Canadians from 1865 and Italians by 1890. By 1910, 90 ­percent of the town’s ­people w ­ ere ­either first or second generation American. Nearly ­every country in the world was represented and the associated cultural and language barriers made organ­ izing the workforce difficult.21 Moreover, despite the high proportion of poor immigrants in Lawrence and nearby Lowell, few married w ­ omen worked in ­either town’s mills. Yet it was the immigrant ­women workers—­wives and ­daughters from countries including Poland and Italy—­who spontaneously



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 23

walked off the job in 1912 in the famous Bread and Roses strike. Quickly, 25,000 textile workers from 40 nations w ­ ere on strike, protesting the exhausting working conditions and a two-­hour-­per-­week pay cut resulting from recent state legislation that had shortened the working week. For American industrial life, the number of strikers and the high proportion of ethnic and female participants ­were unpre­ce­dented.22 So, too, was the fact that the strike raised awareness about the poor air quality within the workplace. The immigrant experience in the dif­fer­ent mill towns held similarities. Between 1865 and 1900, three Mas­sa­chu­setts towns vied for the position of having the highest percentage of foreign-­born residents in the state: Fall River, Holyoke, and Lawrence, with Lowell and New Bedford replacing Holyoke in the early twentieth c­ entury.23 In all towns, the group instinct of dif­fer­ent nationalities to develop ethnic enclaves within both the community and the workplace remained strong. Differences in the immigrant experience related to economic opportunities, immigration rates, and community responses to the new residents. Combined, ­these ­factors influenced just how impor­tant the working environment was to workers and where this environment fell within community health priorities. Of the Mas­sa­chu­setts towns, Holyoke was somewhat of an anomaly. Located in the southwestern part of the state along the Connecticut River, Holyoke became a town in 1850. ­Here, the Lyman Mills opened in 1854 and quickly became the largest and most dominant integrated cotton-­manufacturing firm in town. Originally employing both native-­born and Irish workers, by 1859 a ­labor shortage meant the firm was recruiting French-Canadian workers. By the 1870s, the Holyoke economy had diversified to include paper and machinery production in addition to manufacturing cotton, silk, and woolen goods. As a result, the men congregated in the better-­paid paper and machinery jobs, while the textile mills ­were primarily populated by w ­ omen and c­ hildren. The mills experienced few ­labor prob­lems, not simply ­because of the high proportion of less-­organized female and child ­labor, but ­because the Lyman Mills responded to strikes elsewhere in the state by giving their workers a small wage increase. In addition, in 1907 the Lyman Mills appointed a new mill agent—­James Burke. Burke was a local man who had worked his way up through the mills.24 Not only had he earned the workers’ re­spect, but Burke also understood their economic and health priorities and introduced small initiatives to address them. While good management-­ labor relations helped prevent ­ labor unrest, the employers’ interest in operatives’ health enabled the mill environment to join the community public health agenda at a time when state and local governments ­were debating the nature and extent of public health improvements.

24

When the Air Became Important

It is within this context of rapid population growth and urban expansion that public health concerns made the agendas of both states and textile-­town councils in New ­England. Mas­sa­chu­setts was a pioneer state in terms of introducing ­labor laws and public health improvements. By 1850, the Commonwealth had become increasingly concerned about the deterioration of both the health and morality of its residents in its rapidly growing industrial towns. The state commissioned Lemuel Shattuck to report on sanitary conditions. His Report of the Sanitary Commission of Mas­sa­chu­setts became the blueprint for American public health, with many of his recommendations upheld ­today. He wrote: “WE BELIEVE that the conditions of perfect health, e­ ither public or personal, are seldom or never attained, though attainable;-­that the average length of ­human life may be very much extended, and its physical power greatly augmented; that in ­every year, within this Commonwealth, thousands of lives are lost which might have been saved; that tens of thousands of cases of sickness occur, which might have been prevented; . . . ​-­that means exist, within our reach, for their mitigation or removal; -­and that mea­sures for prevention ­will effect infinitely more than remedies for the cure of disease.”25 This emphasis on prevention over cure drove the agendas of both the state and local boards of health for the next seventy-­five years. In addition, in 1869 the state established a BOH, which was the second such board in the United States (­behind Louisiana) and was the first constructed around a comprehensive program of preventing mortality from all unnecessary ­causes. Central to disease prevention was a clean public ­water supply. By 1891, all but seven towns in Mas­sa­chu­setts with a population of over 4,000 had public ­water supplies and enjoyed the associated health benefits. Table 2.4 reveals how the textile towns ­were not so fortunate. The town of Lowell had tried to improve sanitation and health by switching the ­water supply from the polluted Merrimack River to local wells.26 The w ­ ater quality failed to improve b ­ ecause many wells had been dug in close proximity to privies and was subject to contamination. Nevertheless, as a ­water source, wells ­were not abandoned ­until at least 1910.27 Lowell was not alone in its strug­gle against sewage and disease. As rapid population growth and industrial expansion strained community sanitation, the town councils of Lawrence, Chicopee, and Holyoke also strug­gled to maintain clean ­water supplies.28 Clean drinking ­water and sanitation quickly became the public health priority in textile towns. The strug­gle for public health was particularly evident in Fall River. The town’s rapid post-­Civil War growth left the housing market unable to meet demand. While textile companies sought to fill the housing gap by building over 12,000 dwellings during the 1860s and 1870s, ­these hastily constructed tenements



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 25

­Table 2.4  Death Rates in New ­England Cotton Towns, 1890–1930

Lowell Fall River Lawrence Holyoke

1890

1900

1910

1920

1930

25.25 22.9 26.5 21.4

21.8 22.8 20.4 22.0

19.8 18.5 17.9 17.7

15.8 14.7 13.6 13.9

13.2 11.5 11.1 12.5

Sources: United States Bureau of Census, Vital Statistics of the United States, 1940 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943); 32nd Annual Report, Mortality Statistics, 1931 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1935).

lacked comfort and adequate sanitation. Indeed, in the 1890s churchman William Bayard Hale observed the town’s inadequate housing: “The court is the playground for the ­children and the thoroughfare for all. In certain details of filth, it is prob­ably not matched outside of Fall River anywhere in what we call civilization. And in the center stands a pump. The air is pestilential and the place revolting to ­every sense. . . . ​You pass a block where a dozen families draw ­water from a single faucet, the condition of which may be judged from the statement of the patrolman; that to fill a pail from it required several minutes. You see many blocks worse than t­ hose of the Borden Mills. ‘­Little Canada,’ the property of the American Linen Mills Com­pany, is unspeakable. The Slade Mill tenements stand in swamp.”29 Many mill workers ­were required to live in ­these densely packed and overcrowded com­pany tenements or lose their jobs.30 With twenty-­one of the thirty-­three corporations owning such housing, the units quickly became clustered around mills throughout the city, creating several working-­class communities which l­ater attracted, and isolated, certain immigrant groups.31 Such rapid expansion also left the town’s BOH struggling to maintain even basic sanitation. By 1905 Fall River had the highest overall death rate of any Mas­sa­chu­setts city, although Lowell and Lawrence ­were not far ­behind.32 Moreover, the high rents and low wages necessitated a ­family economic unit, which had health implications, particularly for the c­ hildren. The pressure on families to send their c­ hildren into the mills was slow to fade. A 1909 state commission on ­woman and child wage-­earners found that child ­labor contributed to over 33 ­percent of the income of a Fall River textile f­amily, particularly in Irish, En­glish, French-­Canadian, and Portuguese immigrant ­house­holds.33 Such grinding poverty, combined with poor housing, posed significant challenges for the city; it also goes some way in explaining why the Fall River BOH experienced only limited success in tackling many of the town’s public health challenges.

Figure 2.1 ​Workers at the Globe Yarn Mills, Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1882. Collection of the Fall River Historical Society.

Figure 2.2 ​Lewis Hine, photographer, Two girls, fifteen years old, ­going home from Union Mill at 11 A.M., Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1916. Library of Congress, http://­www​ .­loc​.­gov​/­pictures​/­resource​/­nclc​.­03094​/­.



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 27

The city of Lawrence suffered disease rates similar to t­ hose of nearby Lowell and strug­gled to reduce them. For much of the nineteenth c­ entury the town’s drinking ­water also came from the polluted Merrimack River. A water-­filtration system was introduced in the 1890s, by which time the city was also replacing hastily constructed shacks with better-­quality housing.34 However, the city could not keep up with immigration. Between 1890 and 1912 waves of immigrants doubled the city’s population with one-­third of newcomers coming from southeastern Eu­rope.35 By the time of the strike, even the newer tenements w ­ ere dark, dreary, and overcrowded. One-­third of the city’s ­people lived in only one-­ thirteenth of the total area of the city, creating a population of 119 p ­ eople to the acre.36 A 1911 survey of five half-­blocks in Lawrence found that each block held between 300 and 600 p ­ eople per acre, while the city ranked in the top 10 ­percent of American cities for the number of p ­ eople per h ­ ouse­hold.37 Food was expensive and few families could afford meat or milk. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other respiratory infections w ­ ere rife. Between 1886 and 1910 the death rate from tuberculosis and pneumonia in Lawrence was higher than in almost all non-­textile cities.38 Any health education efforts would have strug­gled b ­ ecause few immigrants spoke En­glish or ­were literate in their own language, and few immigrant ­children attended school. By 1912, Lawrence was a city of poorly educated and mostly illiterate immigrants.39 Their nativity and lack of education also left many residents unable to attain the more highly skilled and better-­ paid textile jobs. As the gap between natives and immigrants grew, so too did nativism. Consequently, community and ethnic strug­gles dominated the local government agenda alongside poverty and public health improvements. Despite the many challenges attributed to rapid urban expansion and poverty, since its inception, the Mas­sa­chu­setts BOH remained determined to improve the health of the Commonwealth. The state became the first in the nation to establish health districts in which state inspections w ­ ere performed by physicians. ­These physicians ­were instrumental in broadening the public health agenda to include the workplace by arguing that factory and tenement hygiene formed part of community health.40 By 1900 the BOH physicians’ initial fear and resentment concerning state intervention into what they perceived was their domain of health changed when doctors realized that they could extend their power and authority if they helped strengthen and broaden the powers of both local and state boards of health. The BOH physicians in industrial towns like Boston, Lowell, Fall River, Holyoke, and Lawrence began to show an active interest in the health impact that local working environments had on their patients’ health and to seek both state and local reforms.41 For example, in 1880, Dr. J. J. O’Conner, the city physician for Holyoke, argued for a

28

When the Air Became Important

community preventive health agenda: “Sanitary science pronounces diseases of some classes strictly preventable, and, although we do our duty, it becomes [the responsibility of] e­ very individual member of society to co-­operate in contributing to the aggrandizement of the w ­ hole. Our power of re­sis­tance to the encroachment of disease is in proportion to our vitality, -­to a perfect state of health.”42 Local doctors ­were aided by the state legislature in 1903 when their public health remit was extended into the factory. The health inspection of factories was introduced “to provide for an investigation as to sanitary and other conditions affecting the health or safety of employees in factories and other establishments . . . ​[and to look at] all conditions which may endanger the life and limb or be prejudicial to the health of the persons employed therein.”43 Not only did such legislation help consolidate the physicians’ authority on health issues, it placed the workplace firmly within the public health and social reform remit. Although the prominence of the working environment within the public health agenda fluctuated, the legislative framework to enable such reforms had been established. Indeed, the early de­cades of the twentieth ­century saw Mas­sa­chu­setts introduce widespread public health mea­sures and vaccinations, which improved the broader health of the population, although textile towns still strug­gled. A ­ fter World War I, the textile industry began moving to the southern states to take advantage of lower taxes and wage rates and a more passive ­labor force. Mills closed throughout the state. While in 1923, all the original Lowell corporations still operated in the town, by 1930 few remained. The Hamilton had gone into receivership, Colonial Textiles had quit the town, and the Tremont and Mas­sa­ chu­setts had been purchased and ­were now closed. The Appleton had moved to South Carolina. The Ipswich Mills, which owned the Middlesex, had sold out, and the Lowell Machine Shop had been razed. Of the original big firms, only the Merrimack, Lawrence, and Boott remained. In 1920, Fall River had 111 mills, which employed nearly 30,000 workers in buildings that contained nearly one-­eighth of the nation’s total spindleage. A de­cade ­later, more than half t­ hese mills w ­ ere gone.44 In Holyoke, the Lyman Mills closed in 1927, while remaining profitable to ensure shareholders received a return. By 1930, 120,000 of the 280,000 New E ­ ngland textile workers ­were unemployed, with many o ­ thers working part time and earning less than ten dollars per week.45 Thomas McMahon, president of the United Textile Workers of Amer­i­ca (UTW), observed: “­There is, perhaps, more destitution and misery and degradation in the mill towns of New ­England ­today . . . ​than anywhere ­else in the United States.”46 Indeed, the impoverished mill towns and the deteriorating working environment only reinforce the close relationship between health and the local economy.47 Ironi-



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 29

Figure 2.3 ​Workers at the Boott Mills, Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, in the early twentieth ­century. Reprinted with the permission of the Lowell Historical Society.

cally, it was Franklin Roo­se­velt’s New Deal that eventually came to the textile workers’ aid. The 1933 National Recovery Administration raised textile wages, and Section 7a of the 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) gave l­ abor ­unions greater legitimacy and voice. However, this was too l­ittle, too late. Few New ­England operatives remained to benefit from the federal reforms. Government and community interest in the factory as a disease site had faded with the industry, leaving the remaining workers to address aerial hazards as they saw fit. Lancashire’s Place-­B ased Priorities

Lancashire County’s long history and wide variety in textile production meant that by the mid-­nineteenth c­ entury, ­there w ­ ere many industrial similarities among the county’s textile-­manufacturing towns. Lancashire firms tended to be smaller than ­those in New E ­ ngland with few towns dominated by a par­tic­ul­ar ­family or group of families.48 ­Until ­after World War II, the Lancashire ­labor force was more permanent than the American one and was largely dependent on local residents, with few mi­grants or immigrants. T ­ here w ­ ere also broad regional

30

When the Air Became Important

production patterns within the county. North Lancashire came to specialize in weaving on automatic looms, while fancier work was manufactured on Lancashire looms in the southeast. Towns in southern Lancashire, northeast Cheshire, and Rossendale concentrated on spinning yarn. By the mid-­nineteenth ­century town production specialisms had also emerged, which contributed to place-­based characteristics in working environments.49 Manchester spun the finest yarns, while Bolton produced medium and medium-­fine threads and Oldham became the world center for coarse yarn.50 In weaving, specialized sateens and colored goods ­were woven in Nelson and Colne, while Blackburn became the commercial capital of the weaving district, producing basic cloth for the Indian and Chinese markets.51 The nearby Burnley mills also produced cheap cloth for export, but this was a more medium-­weight gray cloth than the plain dhooties woven in Blackburn. Preston manufactured high-­class cloth for the British, Eu­ro­pean, and American markets and boasted the largest cotton-­ manufacturing firm in ­England called Horrocks, Crewdson and Co. It employed three thousand workers in the 1880s in one of the country’s few combined spinning and weaving firms.52 Preston also had a more diverse economy than many Lancashire towns, with multiple employment opportunities for men—­ from mule-­spinning to metal-­working and engineering—while textiles remained one of the few local employers of ­women.53 Such local specialization created both micro-­economies and micro-­environments. Due partly to their historical experience and partly to local specialization and circumstance, the Lancashire textile towns became reputed for their fiercely guarded local autonomy. This, in turn, influenced community development and public health priorities. Elected officials held par­tic­ul­ ar priorities for the health of the town, and doctors sought widespread public health improvement while caring for the specific health needs of individuals. Employers prioritized production and profit and sought a working environment to best meet ­these requirements, with workers’ health being secondary. Meanwhile, operatives had to balance workplace hazards alongside the need to earn a living. Each group had a stake in defining what comprised a healthy workforce and how this could be achieved. The challenge was enormous. Table 2.5 shows how Lancashire mill towns had the highest death rates in Britain. Moreover, addressing disease and health was a complex pro­cess. Socioeconomic ­factors influenced the spending priorities of both the community and the ­house­hold. At the same time, municipal intervention and expenditure ­were influenced by national and local po­liti­cal agendas and the local economy. In many communities, local employers held considerable sway within local government, and their priorities influenced local development and public



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 31

­Table 2.5  Death Rates per 1,000 Population in Blackburn, Burnley, and Preston, 1881–1951, Compared to Rates in ­England and Wales

1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951

Blackburn

Burnley

Preston

­England and Wales

22.4 24.9 21.9 16.1 12.7 14.1 14.5 16.39

22.20a 21.70 17.90 15.20 14.23 20.38 17.20

21.17 26.02 19.56 18.10 13.30 13.83 13.84 15.99

19.4 18.7 16.9 14.6 12.1 12.3 10.5 11.6b

Sources: Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Burnley, vari­ous years; Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Blackburn, vari­ous years; Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health for Preston, vari­ous years. a. Average for 1887–1891. b. ­England only.

health investment. Improving the working environment, therefore, was dependent on place-­based priorities. By the late-­nineteenth ­century, Lancashire mill towns had gained an infamous reputation for having some of the lowest health expenditures and poorest ­ fter Gladstone’s Public Health Act of 1872, ­these health outcomes in Britain.54 A towns became some of the last in ­England to appoint Medical Officers of Health (MOsH) to be responsible for their public health. For example, Preston somewhat reluctantly appointed Dr. Henry Pilkington as the part-­time MOH in 1874. It was 1882 before he was paid to devote full-­time hours to his responsibili­ ntil his death in 1920, Pilkington believed that ties.55 Remaining in post u only health issues that directly affected the entire town, such as sanitation and urban planning, fell ­under council remit; health issues within factories did not. To Pilkington, the workplace was the responsibility of central, not local, government. Yet, as Simon Szreter, John Welshman, and ­others have demonstrated, public health reform was not a ­matter merely for legislation. Socioeconomic contributors are entangled with any successful improvement to the public health of a community,56 alongside the politics and economics of municipal intervention.57 Moreover, the MOH was meant to be in­de­pen­dent of council pressures, despite being employed by them. While this dual responsibility could hamper reform initiatives, it also placed the MOsH at the bottom of the medical hierarchy, ­because they had relinquished their in­de­pen­dence to local government. This only made it more difficult to seek consensus for tackling local industrial hazards.58

32

When the Air Became Important

Indeed, Pilkington strug­gled to tackle many of Preston’s health prob­lems, particularly high infant mortality rates and health prob­lems attributable to poverty. In working-­class neighborhoods, housing comprised primarily closely packed back-­to-­back dwellings, with less open space than in other En­glish towns.59 While late-­nineteenth-­century legislation secured improvements to newly built housing, to the point that ­these homes are still in reasonable condition ­today, the huge stock of housing from earlier in the ­century remained both in use and in poor condition u ­ ntil a­ fter World War II when it was fi­nally demolished. Low-­paid cotton workers inhabited t­hese neighborhoods where more than one ­family member worked to support the ­family. Such long-­term oppressive poverty goes some way to explaining the high death rates in the city.60 The interwar economic decline only further strained cotton workers’ h ­ ouse­hold expenditures. Similar to that in other Lancashire towns, the socioeconomic conditions of the town strongly influenced the local public health agenda, with the workplace rarely making the reform agenda. Less than ten miles from Preston, Blackburn’s municipal government more proactively addressed community health. The town isolated itself from neighboring communities and developed local solutions to address local prob­lems.61 Individually and collectively, the mill ­owners sought to develop the community in which they lived. While the employers ­were represented on the town council, they never dominated it despite the town being the cotton-­weaving capital of the world by the end of the nineteenth c­ entury. The middle-­class employers also chose to live among their workers rather than in the remote countryside, albeit in a dif­fer­ent part of town.62 They paid higher wages than their Burnley or Preston counter­parts and ­adopted a form of paternalism that suited both their po­liti­cal and business interests. Employers provided workers’ housing and financed schools, churches, and even pubs. They led the industry in funding community health provision and ­were the dominant financial contributors ­behind the Blackburn infirmary.63 Although unclear ­whether such philanthropy won the re­spect, devotion, and loyalty of the working classes, ­there was ­little ­labor unrest, suggesting that workers accepted the town’s social hierarchy.64 The Blackburn weavers even formed their own association rather than joining with the Burnley, Stockport, and Preston weavers.65 While, by the early twentieth ­century, employer paternalism had faded, community cohesion and the dominance of cotton weaving in the town’s economy meant that Blackburn employers continued to help frame the bound­aries for public health reform and formed part of the solution. By the First World War, Blackburn’s industrial output had peaked and, along with it, the town’s population.66 By this time, four successive MOsH had pro­



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 33

actively tackled the town’s air pollution, aiming to improve housing, sanitation, infant mortality, and the workplace atmosphere—­with some success. It was only shortly before the war that the town suffered any type of housing shortage.67 Notably, the MOsH managed to secure new building regulations that ensured yard space for new homes to an extent not found in most Lancashire towns.68 ­These early successes increased the MOsH authority in the town, enabling them to broaden their public health agenda into the factories. Blackburn was one of the few Lancashire towns where the MOH tackled workers’ spitting, factory sanitation, general cleanliness, factory ventilation, and clean w ­ ater for humidifiers.69 ­These MOsH also campaigned for a legislative ban on steaming, arguing that the practice could spread consumption and other respiratory diseases. While the extent of the Blackburn MOsH influence on local employers is unclear, the employers acknowledged the link between work, health, and profits. Many voluntarily improved mill ventilation and humidification.70 Nevertheless, despite t­hese improvements and the town’s broader public health initiatives, the town’s maternal and infant mortality rates remained high; so did the rates of respiratory disease. This suggests that, at best, prior to World War I the link between improved sanitation, workplace aerial hazards, and the health of the town was tenuous but plausible ­because the town’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) w ­ ere lower than in nearby Burnley. Indeed, overwhelming poverty—­which required ­women to work ­until ­later in pregnancy and to return shortly a­ fter the baby was born, thus frequently requiring the infant to be fed contaminated milk and scraps—­prob­ably strongly influenced the statistics.71 Any improvements to the working environment w ­ ere short-­lived. ­After the First World War, the number of reform initiatives declined, which was followed by the long-­term decline of the local weaving industry. The town’s unemployment rates ­rose rapidly so that by 1930, over 40 ­percent of Blackburn’s workers ­were unemployed. Even a­ fter a temporary industrial recovery started in 1936, half of the insured weavers in Blackburn and Darwen ­were ­either unemployed or on reduced earnings.72 While employers initially acknowledged their “duty to look ­after the health of their work p ­ eople,” they emphasized municipal responsibility. They withdrew from their roles in local and national public health initiatives and advocated for increased state provision of health care ­under the National Insurance Act. Nevertheless, compared with other East Lancashire towns, structurally, Blackburn was better off. Most of Blackburn’s housing stock remained in good condition and was less than fifty years old.73 While, on the one hand, residents’ health benefitted from the relatively good housing, on the other hand, it suffered from a lack of municipal jobs in building

34

When the Air Became Important

or upgrading municipal housing. Indeed, local po­liti­cal leaders lacked ideas for reinvigorating the town ­after its core industry suffered severe decline. As the town’s economy declined, the working environment faded from the community reform agenda. Burnley is only about eleven miles from Blackburn, but local peculiarities created a dif­fer­ent public health framework. Mill owner­ship was comprised of many small, ­family firms, with space in sheds that could be cheaply rented, or a “room and power” scheme, which enabled working-­class men to become bosses. Any employer paternalism was directed ­toward municipal benefit, with associated indicators of civic pride including the funding of churches, chapels, and schools. The town council prioritized broader municipal socialism over more concrete public health reforms. They invested in street lights, parks, and recreation areas to encourage rational recreation. While such facilities w ­ ere well used and contributed to general community wealth and well-­being, they did not address the town’s poverty and substandard housing.74 By World War I, much of Burnley’s housing stock remained back-­to-­back and poorly ventilated. The local government board was forced to admit that it had not taken the necessary action to remedy poor housing conditions, in line with the requirements of the Housing Acts of 1890 and 1909.75 As late as 1932 the then MOH Dr. D. C. Lamont complained that “The large number of back-­to-­back and single h ­ ouses without through ventilation requires serious consideration. ­These cannot be regarded as conforming to pres­ent day standards of hygienic dwellings. The majority cannot be made into through ­houses with adequate ventilation and necessary amenities. Young p ­ eople brought up in such h ­ ouses have no opportunity for visualising the regulation of their own ­ future domestic government.”76 More broadly, direct health innovations in the town w ­ ere minimal, evidenced by the town’s inability to retain Poor Law doctors due to their refusal to pay the ­going rate for the area. Burnley was also the last major industrial town in Lancashire to build an infirmary in 1886. Moreover, the town vied with Preston for the highest overall death rate in Lancashire during the ensuing de­cades.77 Combined, ­these features reveal much about how the town council prioritized the health of its residents prior to the First World War.78 Collectively and individually, the Burnley town council framed health to be the responsibility of individuals, which enabled the council to avoid investing in widespread public health improvements. While the town built drains and sewers, which could have lowered the town’s high disease rates, ­these building proj­ects often suffered delays.79 Also neglected ­were the contributory forces of poverty, including inadequate and overcrowded housing, physicians’ indifference to the poor, and their refusal to attend in poor neighborhoods.80 Neither



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 35

the MOsH nor the town council considered the factories disease sites. For their part, successive Burnley MOsH did ­little to promote widespread public health reform, although they experienced some success in addressing certain mortality and morbidity issues, particularly childhood illnesses.81 Instead, they blamed local residents for their own ill-­health. Working ­mothers ­were held responsible for the town having the country’s highest IMR by 1900,82 for the ill-­health of their ­children, and for the unclean homes believed to help spread disease. Yet ­there is no evidence that Lancashire w ­ omen did not try to maintain high levels of cleanliness. Instead, a double shift of factory work and h ­ ouse­work meant standards of cleanliness may well have fallen below what ­women would have liked.83 In such an environment the town’s employers operated as they saw fit, which often translated into ignoring the working environment. Burnley employers had a notorious reputation for using heavy steam and for “driving” their weavers, having overseers that pressured weavers to work faster. They w ­ ere also reputed for their repressive discipline and use of vio­lence to combat strikes.84 Nevertheless, despite the Burnley weavers labeling their employers as “about the most grasping and penurious in the four Counties,”85 during periods of economic downturn, the town’s cotton masters went to g­ reat lengths to maintain their firms’ viability and to protect as many jobs as pos­si­ble. Indeed, employers and workers had a pervasive understanding of wage fairness. While health is importantly attached to employment and wages, in Burnley’s strong municipal laissez-­faire climate, the health risks directly attributable to work endured neglect. Burnley’s conceptual framework of health centered on morbidity and mortality figures, while individual contributing f­actors ­were ignored, including sanitation, housing, poverty, and the working environment. Indeed, in terms of overcrowding, poor housing, mortality, and illegitimacy, Burnley residents suffered more than Blackburn’s before the First World War. The postwar economic decline only further strained the community. Burnley employers supplied cheaper, more inferior raw cotton but still expected workers to produce high-­quality outputs. Rather than install safety equipment or unite with other employers about liability, employers preferred to pay compensation to injured workers. They ignored government regulation and even refused to install additional and better ­water taps in the town’s weaving sheds as required by the factory inspector, Mr.  Clark.86 They manipulated piece-­rate regulation to pay less than the l­egal wage and opposed innovations that w ­ ere spreading to other industries by the 1930s, including paid holidays.87 Alongside aging machinery and buildings, t­ hese decisions must have contributed to a deteriorating working environment. Burnley’s narrow public health agenda and neglect of the

36

When the Air Became Important

working environment reflected civic and community priorities; it also meant that workers’ daily strug­gle against poverty rarely resulted in making workplace hazards a priority. Moreover, community public health acquired an individual, moral diagnosis, rather than a social or economic one. This narrow community context, combined with lackluster legislation, led to l­ittle pro­gress in public health reforms, especially in workplaces. And without community identification of the workplace as a potential disease site, it could not be treated as one. This, in turn, legitimated employer be­hav­ior. Preston, Blackburn, and Burnley ­were by no means the only Lancashire towns where local peculiarities and priorities influenced local public health agendas and reform initiatives. Indeed, other towns ­will be included in ­later chapters with relation to specific health issues. However, Preston, Blackburn, and Burnley provide the main exemplars b ­ ecause of their close proximity to one another, their high levels of female labor-­force participation, and their varied understandings of the public health remit. Preston focused its public health initiatives at structural sanitary reform; Blackburn had the broadest public health agenda, which integrated the living and working environments; while Burnley remained committed to the notion that health was the responsibility of individuals. In all ­these towns, interest in the working environment fluctuated. Broadly though, the Blackburn working environment received the greatest medical and community interest, while Burnley’s workplaces w ­ ere rarely considered sites of ill-­health and Preston’s fell somewhere in-­between. Clearly, the Lancashire cotton towns highlight the importance of indirect hazards to health, including poverty; inadequate, poor-­quality housing; a low-­ wage economy, and ignorance. Such socioeconomic ­factors influenced community and individual understandings of disease and health priorities. Yet they also reveal how pivotal local forces ­were in shaping community health bound­ aries. By engaging with dif­fer­ent local public health contexts alongside national health agendas, it is pos­si­ble to understand how, when, and why the working environment became a sufficient health priority for reform. The Health Hazards Attributable to Mill Work

The health hazards attributable to working in a cotton mill are well documented. Fast-­moving machinery could cause injuries or death. Long hours working in an enclosed, hot, humid room contributed to worker fatigue and provided a seedbed for the rapid spread of contagious diseases. Workers also daily inhaled cotton and size dust, which induced coughing, while long-­term exposure to cotton dust could cause the respiratory illness byssinosis. Lastly, the incessant noise of machines damaged hearing and could cause deafness. While such risks



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 37

­were industrial commonalities, par­tic­u­lar hazards came to the forefront of the po­liti­cal, social, and medical reform agendas at dif­fer­ent times. Firstly, health concerns w ­ ere raised about the respiratory damage from the size used to strengthen the thread. This was followed by the nineteenth-­century scourge of TB and then early-­twentieth-­century concerns about heat, humidity, and fatigue. ­Later, ­there ­were investigations into the respiratory effects of cotton-­dust inhalation. Lastly, industrial noise was recognized as uncomfortable but it was never ­really recognized as a workplace hazard. While full details about individual health risks; the vari­ous understandings of disease; and the reform initiatives considered, along with their timing, successes, and failures, w ­ ill be addressed in l­ ater chapters, this section introduces the broader health issues and considers why mill operatives never initiated mass collective protests about health as they did about wages. ­Because this book traces the trajectory of the dif­fer­ent hazards, the contextualization necessitates each chapter covering a large time span but with the core focus being the period when that aerial hazard became impor­tant. Certain aerial hazards ­were more prevalent among workers in par­tic­u­lar production pro­cesses. High levels of heat and humidity w ­ ere most notorious in the weaving rooms due to artificial “steaming,” or the use of humidifiers to maintain high moisture levels. Steam lowered dust levels and enabled weavers to work with yarn that had been heavi­ly sized, or starched. The practice of sizing increased during the American Civil War of the 1860s to enable the Lancashire mills to add bulk to cloth made from inferior raw cotton while American cotton was unavailable. Sizing continued a­ fter the war ended and became a standard part of the production pro­cess for coarse goods in both countries. Size briefly became a health concern in Britain in 1871,88 but by 1884, the large coarse goods market and the perceived necessity of size in its production helped the issue rapidly fade from the British po­liti­cal agenda. In New E ­ ngland, size dust only briefly entered po­liti­cal debates through concerns about tuberculosis contagion in the factory, despite mill ­women having complained about the sizing as early as the 1840s.89 From the late nineteenth ­century, changing understandings of contagion relegated size dust to the periphery of debates about the health of the working environment in both countries. Humidity gained greater, more sustained po­liti­cal attention b ­ ecause of concerns about disease contagion, particularly tuberculosis and ­later, workers’ fatigue. To create humidity, early mill workers’ poured ­water on the floor of the weaving room to keep dust down. By the late nineteenth ­century, steam jets placed around the wall or attached to the ceiling sprayed fine w ­ ater onto both looms and weavers. While by 1850 operatives and cotton town physicians in

38

When the Air Became Important

both countries recognized that working long hours in hot, humid and poorly ventilated mill rooms made workers feel unwell and increased the potential for the spread of contagious diseases,90 it was the late nineteenth ­century before public health concerns about tuberculosis secured po­liti­cal ac­cep­tance that the working environment could be a disease site. Health now connected the living and working environments. However, ­these po­liti­cal responses diverged when, in 1911, Mas­sa­chu­setts banned a piece of technology, the suction shut­tle, in response to public health fears about disease contagion. (The suction shut­tle necessitated weavers using mouth suction to repeatedly draw new threads through the eye, ready for use. Weavers shared shut­tles, raising fears about disease contagion.) Following shut­tle legislation and recognition of the work-­health relationship, many Mas­sa­chu­setts employers voluntarily lowered heat and humidity levels due to similar public health concerns but also out of fear of additional legislation. In contrast, the British Parliament did not ban the shut­tle ­until 1952 and, even then, gave employers six years to use up their remaining stock of shut­tles. In both textile regions, humidity and temperature remained contentious through the twentieth-­century industrial decline. While chapter three explains ­these debates and reforms in detail, impor­tant ­here are both the contentious nature of the working environment and the varied community responses to similar health concerns. Politicians, doctors, manufacturers, and laborers all debated what comprised a healthy workplace. Their divergent understandings of disease causation and their conflicting priorities prevented consensus and, hence, widespread reform. Although fatigue was related to heat and humidity, it only became a health concern ­after the ­Great War. Since the mid-­nineteenth ­century, workers in both countries had been campaigning for shorter hours, arguing that the long workdays ­were detrimental to their health and well-­being—­and with some success. By 1874, the workday for ­women and child textile workers was reduced to ten hours in both Lancashire and Mas­sa­chu­setts. Yet many employers in both countries continued to ignore the ­human ­factor in production and legislation. Then, during the 1890s, experiments at the Manchester engineering firm Mather and Platt, makers of textile-­finishing machinery among other products, found that when the work week was reduced from fifty-­three to forty-­eight hours, productivity remained the same. Nevertheless, prior to World War I ­there was a gap between research findings, best practices, employers’ attitudes, and workers’ experiences of ­labor.91 By the end of the war, many countries ­were increasing their research into relationships between work, fatigue, health, and efficiency, but with limited effect in cotton manufacturing. American universities conducted many such



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 39

studies, and in 1918 the British government introduced an Industrial Fatigue Research Board (IFRB).92 Despite a growing body of evidence outlining the relationship between fatigue and efficiency, few textile employers in e­ ither country ­were receptive to the findings, and experimentation was not forthcoming. The timing was indicative.93 By the 1920s, the two cotton industries had begun their decline. As manufacturers strug­gled to make profits, their survival strategies only created greater variations in mill aerial quality. Yet in both countries, t­ hose firms that invested in worker welfare and provided better working conditions, including better air quality, became the desirable places to work. The next aerial hazard to attract po­liti­cal attention was cotton dust. While dust was found throughout the mill, it was particularly problematic in the departments that pro­cessed raw cotton. ­Toward the end of the nineteenth ­century, dust was connected to contagious disease, particularly tuberculosis. But it was the 1920s before some British physicians acknowledged an industry-­ specific disease caused by the prolonged inhalation of cotton dust—­byssinosis. Further, it was 1941 before compensation was extended to some British sufferers and the early 1970s before all afflicted textile workers became eligible for compensation. Both the British government and employers failed to control the dust and safeguard workers’ health, preferring to compensate eligible victims; trying to save the failing industry was more impor­tant.94 Meanwhile, in Amer­ i­ca, it was 1969 before byssinosis became a formally recognized prob­lem, despite individual doctors having earlier identified cases in New ­England. In both countries, textile workers’ and their representatives played a key role in securing research into byssinosis and, in short, ensuring that dust was never forgotten.95 Since the first factories, mill workers and some doctors had recognized that dust inhalation ­either caused or exacerbated respiratory prob­ lems. Unlike germs and even fatigue, for which the causal site could include both the home and the workplace, illness related to inhaling cotton dust was occupationally specific. While this made clear the target for reform, not all members of a community ­were regularly exposed to cotton dust; it was not a widespread community health prob­lem. Moreover, certain symptoms of byssinosis, including coughing and dyspnea ­were also symptoms of bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, diseases of both the living and working environments. This hindered disease diagnoses and, hence, the securing of industrial reform or worker compensation. The last aerial hazard to be identified was industrial deafness, something also neglected by historians.96 Yet any visitor to a replica cotton mill t­ oday ­will immediately notice the deafening noise from the machines. Hearing loss was particularly common in the weaving rooms, where thousands of metal-­tipped

40

When the Air Became Important

shut­tles hit the metal looms at blinding speeds. Although noise levels varied by room size, the type of looms used, and the dif­fer­ent rates of technological investment, studies of mill noise from l­ ater in the twentieth c­ entury suggest that noise levels in most weaving rooms w ­ ere between 94 and 103 decibels.97 This meant that weavers worked daily around noise levels equivalent to that of a pneumatic drill pounding ten feet away (90 decibels), a high-­speed express train (105 decibels), or in the worst cases, airplane propeller noise (110 decibels).98 ­Because many of the looms in both New ­England and Lancashire had been purchased in the late nineteenth c­ entury or earlier, noise levels in 1950 would have been similar to t­ hose in 1880 or possibly higher b ­ ecause production speeds had increased. Yet it was at least the late 1960s before mills in ­either country introduced noise-­abatement technology in the mills. While operatives regularly complained about the noise, neither they, nor science, nor society considered it to be a health hazard. Noise was simply part of the job. While tuberculosis, heat, humidity, fatigue, dust, and noise all posed specific health challenges, employers’ w ­ ere reluctant to accept that factory work was a cause of ill-­health. Proving the causal f­actor ­behind many industrial hazards was difficult b ­ ecause of the many public health prob­lems found in urban society. While individual manufacturers improved select aspects of the working environment for economic benefit or from personal preference, collectively, employers deflected responsibility for health at work to their employees. A 1920 article in the Textile World Journal neatly captures the argument of many Mas­ sa­chu­setts employers, one which had been reiterated in testimony to state inquiries over the previous fifty years and which government officials largely seem to have accepted: “Textile workers are apt to be careless, ignorant of the dangers of infection and disease, not always cleanly, and many of the alien rather prefer to herd together in their habitations. They have borne the ill effects of accident and sickness with a stoicism handed down through several generations. They have accepted ­these ills as the customary lot of their class, without much thought that they could be alleviated, and without dreaming that in large mea­ sure they might be eliminated.”99 Lancashire employers similarly blamed workers for their own ill-­health, bemoaning in 1914, in their trade journal Textile Mercury: “How is it that the factory is always denounced as the only cause of sickness? Overcrowded housing, careless dietary, and habits that make for ill health never seem to enter the calculations of the [Trade Union] officials.”100 And in a ­later issue of the journal: “How much, for instance, have the conditions of the home got to do with sickness, especially the almost always closed bedroom win­dows. How much is a careless system of dietary responsible for illness? And how much carelessness in other m ­ atters that need not be specifically indi-



Textile Towns and Mill Environments 41

cated?”101 Health prob­lems w ­ ere the fault, and prevention the responsibility, of workers. Businesses operated within the same worldview as social reformers, with the same prejudices and biases. The po­liti­cal emphasis on public health, particularly sanitation, and the widespread belief in the individual’s responsibility for health only aided businesses in evading the eye of the state. A final ­factor that delayed improvements to the air quality in factories was the lack of collective worker protest about the work environment. Cotton employers argued that factory conditions could not be unhealthy ­because ­there had been no mass worker protests. While, for both regions, t­here is evidence that cotton operatives accepted their lot, variations both among the working environments in dif­fer­ent communities and among vari­ous mills within a single community made mass collective action about workplace-­caused ill-­health difficult. For example, in Lancashire, Oldham operatives ­later remembered how the working environment in the Bee and Maple mills was better than at the Borough or the Monarch, being cleaner and having newer technology that minimized atmospheric dust.102 Harvey Kershaw recalled: “The conditions in the mill w ­ ere very much dependent on the employer.”103 Consequently, Lancashire operatives regularly switched employers for better mill conditions.104 Similarly, during the 19-­teens and 1920s in Mas­sa­chu­setts, workers actively sought employment at Fall River’s Granite Mills and at Lowell’s Merrimack and Hamilton mills ­because they reputedly had some of the most modern equipment and best environmental conditions in the industry.105 In contrast, in both 1916 and 1928, the Boott Mills of Lowell was identified as the dirtiest and dustiest firm in the entire American textile industry and a firm that ignored factory legislation. When pos­si­ble, Boott operatives sought work elsewhere.106 In Holyoke, employers’ use of welfare capitalism created differing conditions between firms within the town. The Farr Alpaca Com­pany introduced health and recreation ser­vices, a pension scheme, and a profit-­sharing plan, all of which had been developed in the wake of the 1912 Lawrence strike. Designed to reduce ­labor turnover, such paternalism was combined with higher wages. In 1918 James Burke complained how the higher wages and welfare capitalism at Farr Alpaca enabled the firm to draw the best help from his Lyman Mills.107 Such variations in the terms and conditions of employment suggest that mill operatives’ understandings of the working environment ­were inclusive; they incorporated every­thing from specific occupational hazards to broader air quality, and from employers’ health and welfare initiatives to wages. While welfare capitalism in the New E ­ ngland textile industry was limited, t­hose firms that participated found it easier to recruit ­labor than ­those that did not. Further, variations in factory conditions made it difficult for organ­izing workers to campaign

42

When the Air Became Important

about a par­tic­u­lar aspect of the working environment. Instead, workers w ­ ere left to manage the environment individually or with help from ­family and friends and to seek medical, social, and po­liti­cal assistance to secure factory reform. Conclusion

Social conditions and the associated economic and po­liti­cal pressures, as well as place, helped define when workplace aerial quality became a community priority. Tiny pockets of environment became impor­tant at dif­fer­ent times in dif­ fer­ent places and, as individual chapters ­will trace, ­these pockets frequently related to current public health priorities. While locally sensitive, each health risk was influenced by multiple perceptions of the ­actual health hazard, the dilemmas of the state and its officials, firms and their man­ag­ers, and social reformers seeking to improve the urban living environment. Only sometimes did the factory receive consideration as a causal site of ill-­health. The dif­fer­ent constituencies and their vocabularies of concern, the concepts surrounding each disease, and the potential causation and prevention of each disease all influenced the development of occupational health policy, as well as community, firm, and worker responses to specific health hazards.

Chapter 3

Tuberculosis in the Factory

In 1910, Dr. J. W. Coughlin of Fall River was invited to provide evidence about the health of the town’s cotton operatives at a hearing of the Mas­sa­chu­setts Commission to investigate the inspection of factories, workshops, mercantile establishments, and other buildings. Coughlin described how he had: “seen conditions that have led me to believe that death has come from the [suction] shut­tle. . . . ​What must the danger be in that, where the weaver, wavering and tottering at her looms, whose life is almost on the verge of extinguishment, who goes home and dies of tuberculosis and an innocent operative comes and sucks that shut­tle . . . ​[taking] possibly, some of that dry [tubercular] material down into her lungs containing the fine virus when it may be said to be in the most virulent state, which we know ­will cause death.”1 Coughlin’s dramatic testimony clearly highlights what was at stake to the industry, to workers, and to Mas­sa­ chu­setts if tuberculosis in the factories was not tackled: namely, high death rates among the young working population. Additional testimony from doctors, operatives, and workers’ representatives about their understandings of the tuberculosis risks attributable to mill work prompted the state to act. In 1911 the state legislature banned a piece of technology widely used by one of the state’s leading industries—­the suction shut­tle. This transfer of the public health discourse to the factory raised interest in the relationship between the state, industry, and health. This relationship remained contested for de­cades to come. In the de­cades surrounding 1900, tuberculosis rates in cotton-­manufacturing towns ­were among the highest found in both countries. Hence, ­these communities featured centrally in early debates about disease etiology and industrial regulation, particularly ­because of the prevalence of female and child l­abor. Tuberculosis

43

44

When the Air Became Important

rates, combined with social, economic, po­liti­cal, and cultural circumstances, drew the mills to the forefront of both industrial and public health debates. Indeed, it was tuberculosis that led Mas­sa­chu­setts, early on, to develop an inclusive agenda for tackling potential disease sites. ­These initiatives involved all the or­ga­nized interest groups of the period—­politics, medicine, society, business, and ­labor—­because they recognized the need to target both the working and living environments. When operatives went home, their bodies may well have relaxed, but any contagious disease they had been exposed to at work could then infect ­family members, visitors, and, in many New ­England ­houses, boarders. Alternatively, a healthy worker might contract tuberculosis from a friend or relative and take the disease into the mill, where it could rapidly spread in the enclosed environment. Furthermore, poverty and—­for w ­ omen—­the dual responsibilities of paid employment and ­house­hold chores placed workers’ bodies ­under perpetual strain, putting them further at risk for contagious diseases, in both the home and the industrial ecosystem.2 Combined, t­hese beliefs helped create a complex community environment where multiple disease sites w ­ ere recognized.3 In contrast, Britain excluded tuberculosis from the list of workplace diseases and ignored the potential for dif­fer­ent contagion sites. Britain’s strictly ­imagined line between the living and working environments created a distorted view of local realities, resulting in health reforms that tackled only specific environments. Instead, Britain deferred to the pre-­established federal oversight of factories, while the American state-­based system, with medical oversight of diseases, enabled Mas­sa­chu­setts to tackle TB in both the community and working environments. The textile industry was not solely responsible for ­either outcome; neither approach was completely successful at tackling TB ­either. Yet the Mas­sa­chu­setts approach of including both environments widened the public’s awareness of disease and employers’ awareness that the state was willing and able to regulate industry if it feared for the health of its citizens. This chapter reveals the tensions between the public recognition that tuberculosis was a widespread, debilitating, contagious, and potentially fatal disease that must be addressed and the ­imagined bound­aries of contagion. Before turning to how the tuberculosis debate came to involve cotton manufacturing, this chapter examines the medical and po­liti­cal understandings of tuberculosis and its contagiousness. Such government-­disease relationships are also related to broader health and welfare priorities. Daniel Rod­gers and o ­ thers have argued that Eu­ro­pean, Australian, and New Zealand governments w ­ ere leaders in welfare provision and influenced American Progressive Era reformers.4 Indeed, Eu­ro­pean and American governments sought to learn from each other. Reassessing ­these arguments, this chapter demonstrates how, in the case of



Tuberculosis in the Factory 45

tuberculosis, Mas­ sa­ chu­ setts reforms pre-­ empted Britain’s by many years, ­because their reform agenda involved multiple interest groups. In contrast, Britain’s firm bound­aries of health responsibility created a complex web of circumstances that drew attention away from the workplace. Medicine, Tuberculosis, and Textile Towns

Medical understanding of disease contagion underwent significant changes in the late nineteenth ­century. U ­ ntil then, the study of diseases had correlated ­causes with cures, with ­little clinical consensus about the etiology of a par­tic­ul­ ar disease. It was only in 1882, a­ fter the German bacteriologist Robert Koch discovered that tuberculosis was caused by the bacterium tubercle bacillus (Mycobac­ terium tuberculosis) and was therefore not hereditary, that medical understanding about the etiology of tuberculosis began to change. Increasingly, tuberculosis began to be understood as a contagious disease. While tuberculosis could affect all parts of the body, the dominant form of the disease, pulmonary tuberculosis (also known as phthisis or consumption), was respiratory and affected the lungs.5 Nevertheless, American and British medical understandings of Koch’s discovery and its meaning took dif­fer­ent paths. By the 1880s, American medicine had already begun to base itself around bacteriology. For many doctors, Koch’s discovery, and particularly the diminishing role of heredity in certain diseases, served to further cement the importance of science in medicine and to suggest medicine’s potential authority in public health reform. Nevertheless, the ac­cep­ tance of bacteriology disseminated slowly, with many physicians remaining ambivalent to Koch’s discovery.6 British ac­cep­tance of bacteriology began ­later, with the medical profession slow to develop a consensus about Koch’s discovery or its potential. It was at least 1900 before British doctors began converging around the idea that tuberculosis was indeed a contagious disease.7 Even then, while most British physicians accepted Koch’s discovery, they reserved bacteriological analy­sis to simply confirm clinical judgments or to use in uncertain cases.8 It was not central to shaping the public health reform agenda. Despite gradual American and British ac­cep­tance of the emerging medical science, doctors disagreed about how diseases spread, about what Koch’s discovery meant to medicine, science, or the patient, and about what affected a patient’s health outcome ­after infection.9 For over forty years, Koch and his supporters argued that the inhalation of wet sputum from an ill person sneezing or coughing was unlikely to cause infection, b ­ ecause it was too heavy and too large to remain air-­bound for long.10 Instead, dust particles transferred infection between ­people. This belief became the primary reason why the dusty trades ­were the first workplaces to be considered potential disease sites.

46

When the Air Became Important

Table 3.1 reveals how tuberculosis was the leading cause of death throughout the nineteenth ­century. Governments in both countries quickly recognized the need to respond to the growing TB hazard and debated the relationship between dust, disease, and health. In 1906 the Mas­sa­chu­setts State BOH recognized that “Workers exposed to dusty atmospheres are especially prone to diseases of the lungs, especially pulmonary tuberculosis, the constant irritation bringing about a condition of the mucous surfaces which more readily admits of invasion by the specific germs.”11 While the State BOH thought that the textile industries did not contain the same contagion hazards found in the mining or metal industries, textile manufacturing became a priority b ­ ecause of the sheer numbers employed. In contrast, during the de­cades surrounding 1900, British understandings about the causal ­factors of tuberculosis remained nonconsensual. In 1884, the factory inspectorate concluded, “In a ­great number of occupations, I may say in a large majority of them, the inhalation of dust does not produce an immediately injurious effect, and consequently illness and suffering cannot always be traced directly to an unhealthy occupation. . . .”12 Ten years l­ater, the factory inspectorate reversed its opinion, arguing that “the preparation and carding pro­cesses ­causes clouds of dust which cause respiratory diseases and can lead to premature death from phthisis.”13 With similar timing, doctors Thomas Oliver, Thomas Legge, and John Haldane established the synergistic relationship between dust and TB. Yet it was 1907 before the British government accepted this and was persuaded about the “potential” for occupational contagion.14 Moreover, the word “potential” inserted an ele­ment of doubt. This, in turn, delayed government action. Indeed, it was the end of the 1930s before tuberculosis was added to the list of severe respiratory prob­ lems that workers faced in the dusty trades, alongside bronchitis and pneumonia. Even then, ­there remained no medical consensus about the relationship between dust and disease.15 By the mid-­twentieth ­century Britain had the worst rates of bronchitis and pneumoconiosis in Eu­rope.16 The multiple po­liti­ cal understandings about contagion, combined with higher tuberculosis rates in other dusty trades like mining and metals,17 continually drew attention away from textile manufacturing. In Amer­i­ca, doctors played a key role in identifying and publicizing the tuberculosis hazard and in securing state po­liti­cal action. From the late nineteenth c­ entury, the national medical establishment, through the American Medical Association (AMA), recognized the relationship between dust, tuberculosis rates, and the urban living environment, particularly in poor neighborhoods.18 The American public soon agreed that TB was contagious but believed it was a disease of some, but not all, ­people. The ill primarily comprised immi-

107.4 132.2 150.1 180.7 174.7 174.1 164.8 99.1 96.3 10.3

446.4 401.2 378.3 326.8 242.9 170.5 113.7 62.8 43.1 90.3

Tuberculosis (All Forms) 23.8 20.7 15.1 12.8 10.3 8.2 9.3 3.7 1.2 94.9

Whooping Cough 17.1 15.1 9.6 8.7 7.3 6.4 7.8 3.0 0.08 95.3

Measles 101.3 76.6 33.8 20.6 9.9 6.9 3.7 2.4 1.0 99.0

Scarlet Fever 86.1 58.4 127.2 73.7 38.4 19.4 15.2 3.8 0.6 99.3

Diphtheria

92.5 80.8 47.4 36.9 21.0 10.6 2.9 0.8 0.2 99.8

Typhoid Fever

11.0 17.3 1.3 0.3 1.6 0.1 0.06 0.002 0.000 100.0

Smallpox

Note: The accuracy of ­these figures is dependent on the accurate reporting of diseases, which was somewhat suspect, particularly in the case of tuberculosis.

Source: Henry D. Chadwick, MD, Mas­sa­chu­setts Commissioner of Public Health, “The Mas­sa­chu­setts Pneumonia Program,” New ­England Journal of Medicine 218 (March 10, 1938): 142.

1856–1865 1866–1875 1876–1885 1886–1895 1896–1905 1906–1915 1916–1925 1926–1935 1936 Percentage Decline, 1856–1936

Pneumonia (All Forms)

­Table 3.1  Average Death Rates per 100,000 Population in Mas­sa­chu­setts of Certain Communicable Diseases

48

When the Air Became Important

grants and the poor.19 ­These characteristics matched the Mas­sa­chu­setts textile towns and attracted medical attention throughout the American northeast. Dr. Charles Chapin, health officer for Rhode Island, argued that the route of tubercular infection was person to person, through close and prolonged contact, not brief encounters with the bacilli in the air in the street. Moreover, the primary place of infection was the mouth, not the lungs.20 In New ­England factory towns, this argument raised public concerns about disease transmission in the mills, particularly through the practice of “shut­tle kissing.” However, Chapin’s views merely followed the region’s growing medical and po­liti­cal interest in the relationship between dust, tuberculosis, and work. In 1889 Hermann Biggs, chief medical officer for New York City’s Health Department, connected the infection and contagion of tuberculosis to dust and any close contact between p ­ eople—­including in the workplace.21 He convinced the New York BOH to require state notification of tuberculosis cases from 1894 and vigorously campaigned for preventive health education. Other northeastern states soon followed New York’s lead. Rhode Island legislators required the notification of TB cases in 1894, and their Mas­sa­chu­setts’ counter­parts did the same in 1907.22 The individual state emphasis on prevention reflected the Progressive Era’s spirit of reform, which dominated American social policy between 1890 and 1920, particularly in New ­England. In Mas­sa­chu­setts, the legislature repeatedly singled out the textile industries for close factory inspections ­because vegetable dusts, as opposed to animal, mineral, or metallic dusts, ­were believed to be the most irritating to the throat. ­These dusts caused coughing and “expectoration,” which increased the potential for transmitting TB.23 Benefitting from their proximity to Boston and New York, which w ­ ere considered the American centers of medical and scientific knowledge, textile-­town doctors also recognized that tuberculosis provided an opportunity to broaden their social and po­liti­cal influence. Hence, with local, regional, and national medical communities agreeing that dust posed a risk for tubercular contagion, state BOH and cotton-­town doctors successfully transferred the potential contagion hazards into the mills. The work-­health relationship had been firmly established. Over in Britain, despite the Lancashire textile towns suffering from similar prob­lems of poverty, poor housing, overcrowding, and high disease rates, the tuberculosis debates w ­ ere not transferred into the factories. This may have related to the lack of medical consensus or to Lancashire’s provincial location in relation to the medical center of London, which left some doctors slow to learn of both clinical developments and changing etiological knowledge. However, responsibility for environmental and public health issues, including tuber-



Tuberculosis in the Factory 49

culosis, lay with local government, particularly the sanitary authorities and the MOsH.24 The MOsH ­were marginalized by the broader British medical profession ­because they ­were required to report to local government, which was believed to compromise the MOH’s in­de­pen­dence.25 Nevertheless, some Lancashire doctors, including Manchester’s MOH, Dr. Arthur Ransome, championed scientific developments; ­others, like Preston’s MOH, Dr.  Henry Pilkington, showed less interest. State involvement in industry was sporadic and mainly via the Factory Acts. Nevertheless, both local and national politicians debated ­whether the notification of TB cases was ­really necessary. Indeed, it was 1911 before Parliament made compulsory the notification of TB. Even then, local authorities remained reluctant to investigate or regulate industrial practices ­because they believed that ­doing so might provide economic advantages to manufacturers in neighboring towns. Local doctors w ­ ere hesitant to voice public health concerns from fear of losing patients to the MOH.26 Nevertheless, the medical profession gradually grew more confident about medical science and the benefits and importance of the institutional treatment of TB.27 Treatment was the imperative. The introduction of preventive mea­sures remained selective. While Lancashire community disease environments w ­ ere broadly similar to ­those in New ­England, many local authorities lacked the motivation for preventive reforms. Urban Public Responsibility in Mas­s a­chu­s etts, 1880–1918

The Mas­sa­chu­setts efforts to tackle tuberculosis in the workplace stemmed from de­cades of gradual po­liti­cal, medical, and community recognition of the benefits of health prevention. By the mid-­nineteenth ­century, American textile-­town physicians had identified that contributors to rising tuberculosis rates included rapid urbanization and increased city-­living, the economic powerlessness and insecurity of workers (particularly ­women), and the growing number of factory workers. Prominent Lowell physicians John Green, Josiah Curtis, and Gilman Kimball argued that working for long hours in poorly ventilated, overheated, lint-­filled rooms was the primary cause of operatives’ ill-­health. Such working conditions predisposed operatives to contagious diseases, initially typhoid, typhus, and cholera.28 Preventing ­these diseases in both the living and working environment became central to early public health campaigns, so that when the links between tuberculosis and the workplace gained social, medical, and po­liti­ cal prominence in the last quarter of the nineteenth c­ entury, textile workplaces became a target for prevention initiatives. In 1892, Pittsfield physician Dr. J. F. Alleyne Adams argued that a broad TB reform agenda was required. “The agencies likely to affect this disease [TB]

50

When the Air Became Important

have been the better ventilation of school-­houses, factories, and public halls, the improvement of tenement-­houses, the drainage of wet cellars, and the weeding out of tuberculous cows.”29 Po­liti­cal momentum soon got ­behind the idea of widespread public health reform. However, by 1906, the state BOH targeted the textile industries, arguing that: “It is a fact that dust from cotton and flax is particularly irritating to the respiratory passages, and that ­those long exposed thereto in considerable amounts may become more or less susceptible to infection by the exciting cause of tuberculosis.”30 While few tuberculosis sufferers would have considered their affliction “exciting,” medical and po­liti­cal leaders’ growing recognition that both the working and living environment were potential sites of infection and that ventilation improved air quality ­ played an impor­tant part in the success of prevention campaigns. In this case, the social, medical, and po­liti­cal reform agendas became one. The early Progressive Era TB reform movement sought voluntary improvements from manufacturers and encouraged workers’ self-­ responsibility.31 Educational campaigns sought to teach ­people appropriate personal-­hygiene standards and practices, believing ignorance to be the greatest inhibitor to eradicating contagious diseases, including tuberculosis.32 In 1898, the BOH circulated a pamphlet to the h ­ ouse­holds of Brookline, near Boston, explaining how tuberculosis spread and what the public’s role was in prevention. Contagion risks included “defective ventilation, overcrowding of dwellings, factories and workshops, insufficient and badly selected food, dampness of soil, intemperance and undue physical or m ­ ental strain, overwork, worry and anxiety.”33 The cotton towns ­adopted similar educational initiatives, with their public health agendas and tuberculosis campaigns reflecting both local and state health priorities. This growing public interest in sanitary science provided the state with the legitimacy to legislate where required. In his 1905 inaugural address, Mas­sa­chu­setts Governor William Douglas argued how the health and welfare of residents was critical to the state’s advancement. He said the entire state had a duty to improve the well-­being of its citizens and to tackle poverty and contagious diseases, particularly tuberculosis. Douglas identified Fall River as a town where the overwhelming poverty and poor sanitation made it a place where contagious diseases could flourish.34 Social reformers agreed. The social worker and ­labor reformer Gertrude Barnum visited Fall River in January 1905 to support striking workers who had been out since July 25, 1904 ­because of a 12.5 ­percent wage reduction. Barnum observed, “Of the workers in Fall River many own comfortable homes, while ­others live in tenements, some bad and many overcrowded, unconnected with sewers and occupied with foreigners who do not understand sanitary methods



Tuberculosis in the Factory 51

of living.” The workers ­were “striking to keep up the standard of healthful living, not for themselves alone, but for all of New ­England.”35 That same year Mas­sa­chu­setts scientists linked tuberculosis to the dusty trades. This statewide climate for public health reforms enabled the state legislature to extend the BOH’s authority into the workplace. Cotton-­ town BOH doctors could now examine mill operatives for infectious and contagious diseases and inspect working conditions. They repeatedly argued that cotton dust was a contributor to operatives’ respiratory illness. By so d ­ oing, they acquired a clinical role inside the workplace that their British counter­parts lacked.36 Mas­sa­chu­setts was ready to tackle occupational tuberculosis. However, embarking upon a widespread tuberculosis campaign raised prob­ lems that reformers had not considered—­namely, the detrimental effects that a tuberculosis diagnosis could have on workers and their families. The Fall River BOH physician, Dr. Adam MacKnight, attributed many of his patients’ health prob­lems to mill work, ranging from occupational injuries to tuberculosis, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Yet he found few operatives willing to file a report that included both the cause of their illness or injury and their name.37 Both disease diagnoses and injuries could require time off of work, which would reduce the operative’s already low income and potentially have long-­term economic repercussions for the patient’s f­amily—­including the ironic inability to pay for the necessary medical care. Consequently, many cotton-­town doctors w ­ ere reluctant to report tuberculosis cases to the state BOH, even ­after this became mandatory from 1907. They maintained that reporting TB cases not only broke doctor-­patient confidentiality but also infringed on their professional autonomy, challenged their medical judgment, and could end their ability to prescribe individual treatments.38 Consequently, TB reformers had to proceed carefully if they ­were to keep ­these cotton-­town doctors on board. Doctors’ reluctance to report tuberculosis cases made them more determined to tackle the c­ auses of ill-­health, both inside and outside the workplace. They partnered with public-­minded citizens and engineers to improve w ­ ater supplies, sewage, and refuse removal along with p ­ eoples’ general health.39 For example, Chicopee and Holyoke campaigned to prevent sewage from being dumped into the ­water supplies, linking the water-­borne bacteria to high death rates from disease, particularly typhoid.40 Such sanitary campaigns ­were promoted through circulars posted in public places and factories, and w ­ ere designed to educate the public about unhygienic private be­hav­iors, including washing, spitting, and kissing.41 Doctors appealed to their town councils to regulate or ban spitting in public places to try and minimize the spread of TB, while also transferring the urban hygiene discourse to the factories. They successfully took

52

When the Air Became Important

Figure 3.1  A weaving room at the Lowell Textile School, Mas­sa­chu­setts, c. 1895–1928. Note the overhead humidifiers. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Lowell.

their concerns to the State BOH, securing legislative recognition of the work-­ health relationship. For example, in 1906, the board labeled the suction shut­tle “unhygienic” ­because the weaver drew “into his mouth more or less fine lint and dust, which gives rise to spitting.”42 While this description suggests occupational and contagious diseases, both the state BOH and local physicians ­ ecause many communities’ sanitary and emphasized hygiene.43 Nevertheless, b tuberculosis agendas included the workplace, the state government was forced to include the workplace on its public health agenda. The BOH doctors in Fall River and Fitchburg exerted further pressure on the state legislature to tackle tuberculosis in the mills, highlighting the risks of disease contagion from the humidity in weaving and spinning rooms. They maintained that this practice could spread TB-­infected sputum.44 Their testimony to the state BOH contributed to the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature passing a series of Acts between 1907 and 1910 that regulated humidity levels and atmospheric temperatures, increased ventilation requirements, and mandated that only clean w ­ ater be used for humidifiers in the mills. It also augmented the BOH physicians’ authority to address specific occupational practices



Tuberculosis in the Factory 53

that affected workers’ health.45 However, the state defined its responsibility ­toward occupationally specific diseases as including only t­hose diseases that also contained a public health risk. Workplace legislation had to aid the general collective health of the working population; it could not simply improve the health of individuals. Tuberculosis soon dominated the Mas­sa­chu­setts public health agenda. In 1898, the state opened the nation’s first state hospital for the treatment of advanced cases of tuberculosis in Rutland, followed in 1908 by work on a hospital for consumptives in Boston. A 1910 state investigation of the factory-­ inspection system formally linked the spread of tuberculosis to weavers sharing shut­tles. However, by this time some firms had already invested in non-­suction shut­tles as a preventive mea­sure, including the Hamilton Manufacturing Com­ pany in Lowell in 1874.46 In an attempt to understand the extent of the crisis in textile communities, legislators visited Fall River and New Bedford and heard testimony from weavers, u ­ nion members, factory inspectors, and medical professionals. Weavers and their ­union representatives related the use of the suction shut­tle to the dominant social discourse of tuberculosis publicized through TB health education campaigns. Yet some witnesses clearly described other illnesses, including byssinosis.47 The workers sought a legislative ban on the suction shut­tle, believing it would result in economic and collective health benefits for Mas­sa­chu­setts. Charles Rafferty, weaver and shut­tle inventor, maintained that “if the operative fails in health and fails in wealth, the State fails in wealth.”48 Joseph Jackson, former mill worker and secretary of the Slashers’ Tenders’ Union, argued for a ban “not for the sake of the individual, but for the sake of the general public health.”49 Workers and their representatives had secured legislators’ attention by relating legislative reform to public health and safety and to the state’s economic prosperity rather than to the health of individuals. State BOH and textile-­town physicians provided medical evidence to the investigation, emphasizing the public health risks attributable to mill work. Dr. William Hanson, assistant secretary to the state BOH, argued that using the suction shut­tle was unhealthier than sharing a drinking cup.50 Dr. William Hall Coon from Lawrence believed the contagion risk to be high when a spare hand took the place of a tuberculous weaver.51 Lastly, ­there was the vivid, culminating speech from Dr. J. W. Coughlin: “I am interested, Mr. Chairman, in the protection of t­ hose who use an instrument like this (a shut­tle) ­because I believe if ­there is to be in this ­whole State an instrument of greater destruction, I do not know it. . . . ​I believe that no ­human lips can touch that wood that has become infected by the virus of tuberculosis without imparting it to the lips of a virgin constitution and ultimately impregnating that constitution and destroying that

54

When the Air Became Important

life. . . .”52 While Coughlin did not decisively link sharing shut­tles to tuberculosis deaths, his emotional appeal firmly connected the disease risks found in the living and working environments of the state’s largest employer of ­women. However, his was a Mas­sa­chu­setts audience. Occupational hazards w ­ ere ignored in prominent medical journals including the New ­England Journal of Medicine, the American Medical Journal, and the Journal of the American Medical Asso­ ciation53 where broader public health initiatives took priority. The Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature’s 1911 ban of the suction shut­tle to reduce the spread of tuberculosis in the state’s leading industry was the result of the social dynamics surrounding widespread public health reform on behalf of the state. T ­ hose in politics and medicine, general citizens, workers, and even some employers recognized the need to tackle tuberculosis wherever it was found. Mas­sa­chu­setts was not alone in its widespread TB-­reform campaigns. Neighboring Rhode Island passed similar legislation in 1918 ­after pressure from the Consumer’s League and ­women’s organ­izations regarding hygiene and tuberculosis risks.54 The prevention of a potential occupational health risk, byssinosis, possibly caused by years of sharing weavers’ shut­tles, was coincidental. State governments ­were interested in workers’ well-­being only to reduce statewide contagious and infectious diseases and to prevent accidents and injuries, which could require providing compensation for injured workers.55 Even then, the legislation was not rigidly enforced. Nevertheless, the social model of health had secured preventive legislation. Indeed, social concerns surrounding contagious diseases in the workplace ­were sufficient for the state to commission a clinical study to identify the relationship between humidification techniques and contagion. Published in 1912, H. W. Clark and Stephen D. M. Gage’s study revealed that in weaving rooms using spray humidifiers, the bacteria count was far higher than in rooms without such devices.56 The study emphasized the epidemiological theory that germs ­were carried in wet droplets and transmitted to ­others through inhalation or direct contact. It also raised concerns about operative fatigue caused by long hours working in hot, humid rooms, an issue about which some manufacturers had also expressed unease.57 ­These concerns fit with the state’s goal of improving the health and well-­being of its citizens. Indeed, the scientific evidence was so overwhelming that many cotton employers voluntarily lowered humidity levels and/or bought “germ-­free” humidifiers. Not only did workers’ health improve and productivity increase, but employers hoped their initiatives would prevent further industrial regulation by demonstrating their interest in their workers’ health and well-­being. However, by 1914, through the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers (NACM), employers complained about the



Tuberculosis in the Factory 55

government targeting the textile industry with their tuberculosis campaigns. In November, C.J.H. Woodbury, secretary of the NACM, wrote to Theo­philus Parsons, trea­surer of the Lyman Mills, that he had been “endeavouring to obtain facts bearing on tuberculosis in mills separate from that of the city at large in which they are estimated. . . . ​It does not accomplish anything to use generalities and call a cotton mill a sanitarium as is shown by the fact of the long life of many operatives, but I do believe that the time has come when it is necessary for the cotton manufacturing industry to vigorously repel t­ hese covert attacks.”58 Indeed, manufacturers’ investment in new technologies was not universal, and technology had not fully addressed the tuberculosis prob­lem. The timing of the NACM’s concern coincided with World War I, where Amer­i­ca’s involvement in the war had raised federal interest in the health of the nation, with TB drawing par­tic­u­lar attention. In 1919, the United States Department of ­Labor published statistics that reinforced Mas­sa­chu­setts’ decision to target their health reforms at the cotton towns. Notwithstanding the inherent prob­lems with diagnosis and disease reporting, Fall River mill operatives ­were found to have higher tuberculosis deaths rates compared with non-­ operatives, with the immigrant Irish and French-­Canadian operatives having the highest death rates, as shown in Tables 3.2 and 3.3. ­These figures reflected the operatives’ living and working environments and cultural traditions. Many Fall River immigrants worked for substandard wages and sent their ­children into the mills at a young age. Both large families and poverty meant immigrants frequently resided in the poorest accommodations. Moreover, unlike Portuguese immigrants, the French Canadians adhered to la survivance, a commitment to preserving their language and culture and to resisting Americanization. This only further isolated them in the town.59 Although the Irish ­were more likely to join a u ­ nion and demand a decent wage, they too had large families, and partly for this reason, they faced greater poverty than did American and En­glish textile families. Therefore, combining poor air quality in the mills with overcrowded, poor-­quality housing, low wages, and worker fatigue from long shifts in the mills, cotton towns had become the very antithesis to the sanatoriums that w ­ ere becoming Amer­i­ca’s preferred method for tackling the disease. Perry’s 1919 federal report had justified the progressive social and medical campaigns for tuberculosis legislation for the wider public good. The Mas­sa­chu­setts tuberculosis reforms formed part of a growing social movement in Amer­i­ca to address certain occupational diseases. Social questions demanded social regulation—­including in the workplace. In a 1914 article in the American Journal of Public Health, the American Association for ­Labor Legislation argued that efforts to tackle occupational diseases should emphasize

56

When the Air Became Important

­Table 3.2  Comparison of Death Rates per 1,000 Males and Females in Fall River from Tuberculosis and Non-­Tuberculosis Diseases, 1908–1912, Aged 15–44 Death Rates per 1,000 (Age-­Adjusted) Tuberculous

Occupational Group Operatives Non-­Operatives Operatives and Non-­Operatives

Non-­Tuberculous

Males

Females

Excess Percentage of Female Deaths Over Male Deaths

2.47 1.64 1.94

3.34 1.38 2.18

35 16 12

Males

Females

Excess Percentage of Female Deaths Over Male Deaths

3.10 3.18 3.19

4.33 2.83 3.35

40 11 5

Source: A. R. Perry, Preventable Death in Cotton Manufacturing Industry, U.S. Department of ­Labor, Bureau of ­Labor Statistics, No. 251 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919), 290.

­Table 3.3  Comparison of Death Rates per 1,000 Males and Females in Fall River from Tuberculosis, 1908–1912, Aged 15–44 by Race Nativity Irish American En­glish French-Canadian Portuguese Other Races

Male Death Rate from Tuberculosis

Female Death Rate from Tuberculosis

5.59 2.13 2.14 2.79 1.60 1.79

4.97 1.95 2.36 4.07 2.83 1.64

Source: Perry, Preventable Death, 157.

legislation that excluded young ­people and ­women from the most hazardous employment situations, offered insurance or compensation for “­those individual misfortunes which cannot be prevented,” and exercised regulation in all industries. However, reforms w ­ ere not to impede production. Instead, reforms could involve ­simple actions, such as installing exhaust fans, making wet pro­ cesses and vacuum-­cleaning standard procedure, providing separate eating rooms and wash rooms for workers, and limiting working hours.60 In short, general welfare mea­sures could suffice. Even then, the necessity of such reforms was not consensual. In 1916, Dr. Victor Stafford, assistant surgeon for the United States Public Health Ser­vice, concluded from his study of the health conditions in Mas­sa­chu­setts that while the mill atmosphere posed a serious menace to



Tuberculosis in the Factory 57

cotton operatives’ health, any work-­tuberculosis relationship was tenuous. Instead, Stafford and ­others believed heredity and the living environment remained more dominant contributors to ill-­health. Stafford examined the death rates from pulmonary tuberculosis per 100,000 p ­ eople based on occupation. Mill and textile workers came thirty-­fourth on the list of occupations.61 Without strong, consistent support from federal public health officials, a united medical opinion about disease causation, or ongoing public pressure to tackle health at work, the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature no longer felt obliged to regulate the working environment. The timing of the Mas­sa­chu­setts industrial health reforms related to the fairly new state-­based system of factory inspection (as opposed to a federally based system), the state-­based medical oversight of workplaces, and the widespread public campaigns that sought to improve the health of the state. ­Because Mas­sa­chu­setts did not need to design health mea­sures ­under federal oversight, doctors could address community realities as they saw fit. This, in turn, was feasible b ­ ecause of the widespread public support for tackling tuberculosis in all environments, which stemmed from the broader progressive movement. T ­ hese early efforts all contributed to Mas­sa­chu­setts’ recognition of tuberculosis as an occupational disease in the mid-1920s. The Prob­l em of Consensus in Lancashire Before 1918

While the core groups of actors in the Lancashire tuberculosis story paralleled ­those in Mas­sa­chu­setts, their priorities differed. By the mid-­nineteenth ­century local doctors recognized the contagious-­disease hazard in factories. Lancashire physicians took their concerns about the potential link between textile work and the high rates of tuberculosis among mill operatives to the House of Commons. At an 1843 parliamentary committee debate about child ­labor in mills and factories, Dr. Thomas Young of Bolton had linked consumption and asthma to textile employment. Young had no doubt that “factory work shortens life in that it tended to produce disease” and particularly “chronic disease, chiefly of a scrofulous and tuberculous character.”62 However, medical and social consensus about this relationship remained divided. While Young’s view had supporters, ­others believed cotton operatives’ high rates of pulmonary inflammation and consumption ­were “more evils due to living in towns than the factories.” “­Every case of bronchitis and phthisis was not caused by factory work.”63 While both statements are true, for the rest of the c­ entury the medical community remained at odds about ­whether tuberculosis and other contagious diseases crossed the living and working environments. Such divisions prevented widespread efforts at tackling tuberculosis, with most local and national authorities framing tuberculosis as a disease of the urban environment. This reflected

58

When the Air Became Important

the perceived bound­ aries of state and individual responsibility for both industry and health. By the last quarter of the nineteenth c­ entury, British physicians had linked TB to hereditary temperament, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and poverty, and sought to reform the home environment. However, some Lancashire doctors held unrealistic expectations. In 1898, the Burnley MOH, Dr. Thomas Dean, argued that “Sunshine, plenty of fresh air and large bedrooms are good preventives of Phthisis. Small, crowded bedrooms help to make Phthisis deadly.”64 His successor, Dr.  Thomas Holt, also prioritized the “over-­crowded and badly ventilated dwellings” as core disease sites.65 While ­there is some truth to ­these arguments, for poorly paid Lancashire cotton operatives, large bedrooms w ­ ere unknown, and opportunities for fresh air and sunshine limited. Burnley operatives particularly suffered, due to the town’s preference for back-­to-­back worker housing. Yet despite the dominant medical discourse emphasizing the home, a growing number of physicians ­were also identifying the workplace as a predisposing ­factor in disease.66 In 1902 the Manchester MOH, Dr.  James Niven, argued for the necessity of “improvements in [mill] ventilation, a ban on spitting at work and wet sweeping” to contain the dust and the tuberculous germs.67 While the state-­appointed MOH prioritized battling infectious diseases and sanitation reform in the urban living environment,68 it was the urban doctors, not the clinical scientists, who recognized workplace health hazards and treated ill and injured workers, and some of whom also sought to tackle tuberculosis in the factories. Nevertheless, the MOH could only act with the support of its employers and town council, and with community agreement. Despite state oversight of industry, British debates about the work-­health relationship and the bound­aries of responsibility quickly developed local impetus. Many urban MOsH believed town councils w ­ ere responsible only for health issues that directly affected all residents, such as sanitation and urban planning. MOsH in Manchester, Birmingham, and Preston tackled unsanitary urban living conditions at the local level and successfully lowered mortality rates.69 While the long-­serving Preston MOH, Dr. Henry Pilkington, acknowledged that the factory environment contributed to weavers’ high death rates from respiratory diseases, he deferred responsibility for industrial health to the Home Office, which oversaw workplace health and safety.70 The Cotton Cloth Factories Act and the Factories and Workshops Act ­were sufficient to manage health in the factories if effectively enforced by the factory inspectors.71 Placing the factories u ­ nder a parliamentary remit not only absolved the MOH from responsibility but also further limited the par­ameters of the disease environment.



Tuberculosis in the Factory 59

The bound­ aries between Home Office responsibility for workplace health and safety, the economic needs of production, and municipal public health responsibility proved contentious. The potential health hazards attributable to the suction shut­tle w ­ ere classed a sanitary ­matter that fell ­under the responsibility of local authorities. In the late 1880s, and prob­ably influenced by recent clinical developments, the Lancashire factory inspectors recognized dust inhalation to be “one of the most unwholesome features of all cotton weaving where ­there is inadequate ventilation, and which contains fermentation cells, and other floating germs.”72 Viewing dust as a byproduct of the production pro­cess, factory inspectors did not regulate dust levels. However, in 1889 and again 1901, state factory inspectors both sought and achieved legislative regulation of steaming and ventilation in cotton-­weaving sheds, although enforcement was limited. National public health priorities at that time aided the anti-­steaming campaigners to secure further workplace regulation through the 1907 and 1911 Factory Acts.73 Although, verbally, the state tried to balance concerns about the health of the Lancashire workforce with national economic priorities and the vital role of the cotton industry within the British economy, the latter took priority. Broadly speaking, parliamentary legislation prioritized general health and safety reforms before industrial health reforms b ­ ecause the former did not impede production.74 The Factory Acts sought to prevent accidents and to provide compensation for injured workers. They also regulated, but did not ban, steaming. Instead, occupationally specific risks and contagious diseases fell ­under local responsibility. While local authorities defined their public health remit, a proactive MOH could significantly influence the agenda. Pilkington had steered the Preston council away from the factories, but four successive Blackburn MOsH between 1880 and 1911 (Dr. William Stephenson, Dr. Barwise, Dr. James Wheatley, and Dr. Alfred Greenwood) firmly incorporated the factory within the council’s sanitation remit. Rather than deferring to Parliament, t­hese MOsH directly appealed to cotton manufacturers to voluntarily reform work practices that allowed germs to spread; for example, ending steaming, setting rules against workers’ spitting, , and ensuring the regular cleaning of dusty and dirty floors. They ­were particularly concerned that operatives leaving hot, damp weaving sheds in wet clothes to walk through cold winter air ­were at risk of contracting diseases, including consumption.75 At the same time, the MOsH did not wish to impede production and recognized that most employers considered steaming essential to production. Consequently, the MOsH only recommended providing cloakrooms and improving ventilation through the use of fans and clean ­water for humidifiers, rather than a complete ban on steaming.76 ­These mea­sures

60

When the Air Became Important

­were inexpensive, met the Blackburn urban public health agenda, and received council support. Had the costs been excessive or had the reforms impeded production, the outcome may have been dif­fer­ent. Despite the contentious nature of factory reform, working conditions improved in most Lancashire mills through other public health initiatives. Better sanitation and clean ­water for humidifiers became commonplace. Success in urban sanitary reform by Lancashire town councils and MOsH related to the widely held view that their responsibility for public health and hygiene reform comprised sanitary structural works. Consequently, although preventive medicine in Lancashire factory towns was limited, some successful tuberculosis initiatives ­were included within the sanitary discourse.77 While the MOsH remit expanded during the late nineteenth and early twentieth ­centuries, the sanitary emphasis remained and addressed both local and national health priorities. While proactive Lancashire MOsH included the workplace within the bound­ aries of the dominant sanitary discourse, without medical consensus about a specifically occupational TB hazard and with strong manufacturer opposition to regulation, the working environment remained outside the broader British social and po­liti­cal reform agenda. Instead, it was British manufacturers’ rising interest in the global competition and regulation of textile production that led some employers to reassess the aerial quality in their factories. In 1902 members of the Northeastern Lancashire Cotton Spinners’ and Manufacturers’ Association visited Fall River to inspect the local manufacturing conditions. They expressed surprise at the air quality in Fall River Iron Works and at the very large, “cool and healthful” workrooms. The visitors concluded that, overall, New E ­ ngland factory conditions ­were “undoubtedly better than any conditions in En­glish mills.”78 When, in 1911, the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature banned the suction shut­tle due to the TB risk, Lancashire noticed and so did Parliament. Parliament conducted its own investigation into the potential TB risks from both the shut­tle and steaming, but found the evidence provided by Lancashire doctors, weavers, and manufacturers inconclusive. The majority of Lancashire MOsH (89 ­percent) proffered the “hygiene” discourse, while other physicians testified that t­ here w ­ ere no health risks attached to e­ ither practice. They admitted that sharing shut­tles could contribute to an array of diseases, including cancer of the mouth, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, phthisis, tooth decay, and/or diphtheria.79 But without an ardent campaigner like Coughlin, the Lancashire argument retained an ele­ment of doubt. For their part, operatives emphasized fatigue and the discomfort of wearing damp clothes when leaving a humid shed, rather than any fear of contagious diseases. Manufacturers argued the economic necessity of steaming. No wit-



Tuberculosis in the Factory 61

nesses argued a specific or singular risk of tuberculosis contagion from use of the suction shut­tle; neither did any witness relate the working environment to broader public health concerns.80 The lack of consensus about the relationship between air quality and TB in the workplace prevented legislation and left reforms to local authorities. Nevertheless, the Mas­sa­chu­setts shut­tle legislation motivated Parliament to collect further evidence about the risk of disease contagion in textile factories from other countries. Without explanation, however, Parliament labeled the evidence received as “unreliable.” Instead, Parliament accepted the employers’ argument that government regulation would cripple the trade and that businesses ­were interested in workers’ well-­being.81 In support, the employers provided additional medical testimony, which denied any definite health risks to workers from steaming.82 Without medical consensus about any link between the factory environment and the urban public health agenda or a proven case of TB contracted in the factory, Parliament refused to ban any industrial pro­cess as a preventive health mea­sure for the collective well-­being of ­labor. The state absolved itself of responsibility for health policy innovation in the workplace. Instead, ­those in both politics and business deflected responsibility for workplace health and safety to individuals,83 saying, for example, that weavers should disinfect the shut­tles and regularly clean their teeth.84 Indeed, in 1914, the liberal home secretary, Reginald McKenna argued that ­there would be ­great difficulty ending the practice of shuttle-­kissing ­because the operatives ­were so accustomed to it.85 Neither foreign legislation nor science influenced British policy. Instead, TB campaigns followed a British biomedical model rather than a socially inclusive one, and national efficiency took priority over the health of individuals. While the latter could have been included in national efficiency campaigns, it was not. Allard Dembe has argued that for an illness to be defined an “occupational disease,” it must be based on medical evidence and opinion, alongside social, economic, po­liti­cal, and cultural ­factors.86 In Mas­sa­chu­setts, ­these ­factors all coincided and enabled the inclusion of industrial tuberculosis on the state’s agenda for public health reform. In Britain, a firm line demarcated state and local health responsibility. Contrary to Car­ ter and Melling’s assertion that the local environmental dangers surrounding anthrax in West Yorkshire received less attention than par­tic­ul­ ar occupational dimensions of the disease, which they said achieved national, legislative reform,87 tuberculosis in the Lancashire mills was tackled only locally. Even then, it required the town council, the MOH, the employers, and the community to incorporate the working environment into the community public health agenda. Indeed, individual MOsH condemnation of

62

When the Air Became Important

both steaming and the suction shut­tle had directly confronted town council and parliamentary policy questions—­questions regarding the liberty of the individual versus the good of the state and about the importance of the immediate economy versus long-­term economic investment (e.g., in technology, health, and ­labor).88 On the national stage, such questions came to dominate interwar debates surrounding tuberculosis in the workplace. Tuberculosis in the Interwar Years

World War I provided the catalyst for national governments to tackle tuberculosis. American tuberculosis debates became intertwined with poverty, ethnicity, gender, and de­pen­dency. To successfully combat disease, poverty had to be tackled alongside degeneracy. Ultimately, tuberculosis symbolized the potential demise of Amer­ic­ a.89 Cotton towns w ­ ere implicated in ­these debates b ­ ecause of their high proportion of immigrant l­abor and poor-­quality housing, as well as the low wages associated with mill work. While dif­fer­ent understandings about the etiology of tuberculosis remained, by the 1920s, environmental conditions dominated the debates.90 Tuberculosis was no longer the fault of the patient. Rather, it was a social prob­lem that could be addressed by tackling poverty and providing health education. While the workplace remained on the reform agenda, the locus of responsibility had shifted. Progressive public health workers, including Alice Hamilton and C.E.A. Winslow, linked tuberculosis to poor working conditions, while industry spokespeople w ­ ere adamant that tuberculosis prevention was the individual’s responsibility: operatives should modify their be­hav­ior, improve personal hygiene, control their spitting, and adopt the middle-­class values of hard work and self-­discipline.91 However, their argument no longer gained recognition. Instead, the national ­battle against TB superseded the workplace, and TB became every­one’s responsibility. In contrast, while British TB rates had gradually declined in the years before the ­Great War, during the war, ­those rates soared. Doubts about the benefits of “sanatorium treatment” ­rose when the lay press revealed that of “all the ­people who received sanatorium treatment during 1914, approximately 80 ­percent ­were dead by 1920.”92 To tackle this crisis, the 1921 Public Health (Tuberculosis) Act made local authorities and their ratepayers in ­England and Wales responsible for tuberculosis prevention and treatment in their districts. Despite both dispensary and institutional successes, training in treatment methods was limited and funding minimal.93 Recruiting local tuberculosis officers was also difficult ­because the medical profession considered it a dead-­end job. Nationally, tuberculosis received only selective attention. The Medical Research Committee and Advisory Council, which had been formed in 1913 to research contagious



Tuberculosis in the Factory 63

diseases, became the Medical Research Council (MRC) a­ fter the war. Yet, the MRC did not conduct any major epidemiological studies of tuberculosis between 1918 and 1947, apart from a 1929 study of the printing trade.94 While the devolving responsibility of local authorities for TB gave communities the chance to tackle contagious diseases in the workplace, central to any community’s success was the understanding, interest, effort, and prioritization of local public health physicians. Indeed, throughout the anti-­tuberculosis campaigns, Mas­sa­chu­setts proved to be somewhat of an anomaly ­because science had become incorporated within its po­liti­cal, social, economic, and cultural debates. The Commonwealth actively encouraged science and the laboratory to define the bound­aries of disease and to provide the medical means for control in both the living and working environments, with numerous successes.95 For example, the state hospital in Rutland enabled the removal of tuberculosis victims from unhealthful urban environments.96 From 1912, the state BOH prioritized investigating and managing diseases dangerous to public health and cooperated with local health agencies to control such diseases.97 Devolving the State Board of ­Labor and Industries’ responsibility for individual health and well-­being, a responsibility that included factory inspections, the state charged inspectors to “promptly report to the state board of health all cases of disease in industrial establishments which may affect the health of the community.”98 The prevention of contagious, and specifically occupational, diseases was central to this mandate and proved impor­tant for securing legislative recognition that tuberculosis was an industrial disease.99 By dividing the responsibilities for TB between the state BOH and the Board of L ­ abor and Industries, Mas­sa­chu­setts sought to tackle the disease in its entirety. In 1914 the Board of Health was reor­ga­nized into a Department of Health (DOH), with health increasingly defined as freedom from a growing list of specific diseases.100 Tackling ­these diseases became the department’s priority. When the physical examinations of World War I recruits identified many new cases of tuberculosis, the DOH prioritized TB and other contagious diseases—­with some success. By 1920, tuberculosis deaths in Mas­sa­chu­setts ­were below 100 for each population of 100,000, with overall death rates from other contagious diseases experiencing a similar, rapid decline from nineteenth-­century levels.101 ­These declining disease rates related to earlier, successful prevention campaigns, treatment programs, and overall rising standards of living. The latter, however, was not enjoyed in cotton towns, as textile wages regularly fluctuated, leaving cotton workers particularly susceptible to a boom or bust economy. Tuberculosis remained a leading cause of death, alongside measles, flu,

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When the Air Became Important

diphtheria, pneumonia, and scarlet fever. In 1919, at the height of the short-­ lived postwar textile-­manufacturing boom, Dr. Samuel Sandler, chair of the Fall River BOH, complained that The ­great increase in wages in the textile industries for the past two years has offered too ­great a temptation to many, not in a fit condition, to go to work which even consumptives have not been able to resist and we are well aware that several patients who ­were previously maintained by the city are at pres­ent employed. This cannot last, even though the era of high wages continues, for t­ here is a limit to h ­ uman endurance, even in the case of consumptives, and when the re-­action sets in t­ here seems to be cause to fear an increase in tuberculosis cases ­will result.102

Sadler’s concerns about rising TB rates in the town w ­ ere short-­lived. By 1920, cases of communicable disease in the city ­were rapidly declining, following broader state patterns.103 Rather, it was the fear of increased cases of tuberculosis that helped mobilize doctors, legislators, politicians, and insurance companies to tackle the TB prob­lem at its source—­wherever that might be. Tuberculosis had become every­one’s responsibility. This belief led the DOH to try and involve every­one in disease prevention. In 1921 the DOH, along with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Com­pany, sponsored the Framingham Experiment, or the Community Health and Tuberculosis Demonstration. The experiment aimed to define the best way to detect, treat, control, and eventually eliminate tuberculosis and to figure out how much the campaign would cost. Such community-­based participatory research would enable the state to decide ­whether it could realistically expect communities to fund TB-­eradication programs.104 The experiment also sought to determine the feasibility of the compulsory screening of new employees for tuberculosis. Publicly, both workers and management backed this initiative,105 although, privately, workers still feared the financial implications from a TB diagnosis. Manufacturers argued that tuberculosis and other contagious diseases ­were frequently and unknowingly brought into the mill and that the introduction of TB examinations would protect employers’ compensation insurance, while keeping premiums down.106 Indeed, lowering insurance claims for TB was a core motivation b ­ ehind Metropolitan Life’s sponsorship of the Framingham Experiment.107 Lastly, manufacturers’ support was influenced by Frederick Taylor’s scientific management theories, which championed the economic benefits of improved efficiency, better employee health, and lower insurance premiums. Tackling TB now fit both manufacturing and state agendas, and technological developments helped employers achieve ­these goals. By 1930, the humidification



Tuberculosis in the Factory 65

of textile plants was considered an exact science that could meet Taylor’s three goals—if mill management chose to implement them. Not all did.108 Nevertheless, the Mas­sa­chu­setts fight against TB now included all environments as potential disease sites. The success of the Mas­sa­chu­setts TB campaigns contributed to the state broadening its public health remit to include non-­contagious diseases, particularly cancer and chronic health prob­lems. By 1925, the state’s two leading ­causes of death ­were no longer respiratory diseases but heart disease and cancer.109 Similar to tuberculosis, however, t­hese chronic diseases w ­ ere most prevalent among the poor. Nevertheless, by the 1930s the state acknowledged that the relationship between poverty and disease was not necessarily causal. The DOH also realized that if it ­were to successfully address ­these new health challenges, it would need to confine its remit to disease prevention. It could not require the poor to seek medical advice, especially b ­ ecause poverty was a leading contributor to the poor’s reluctance to seek medical attention.110 And while the seven-­ year Framingham Experiment had worked with TB, it could not work for chronic, non-­contagious diseases or cancer. Nonetheless, the state’s prevention strategy suggested that the needs of the state ­were increasingly being placed before ­those of individual citizens. However, the declining interest in occupational tuberculosis was not purely due to public health successes and Taylorism. The economic decline of cotton manufacturing left few legislators willing to impose further regulation on the industry. ­Until 1919, production and employment in Mas­sa­chu­setts cotton textile manufacturing had grown. For the next few years, cotton-­goods output remained relatively strong, but fell drastically ­after 1925 (see ­Table 2.3). The strain of industrial decline is reflected in the changing hazard par­ameters. By the mid-1920s, an article in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene argued that the effect of industrial hazards “should not be complicated by the influence of social and economic f­actors of a more general nature.”111 While tuberculosis was no longer a Mas­sa­chu­setts mill prob­lem, the disease had followed the industry to the southern states. Tuberculosis rates among southern black mill workers w ­ ere high ­because of poverty and a racially immune response to effective medical care.112 Nevertheless, the prob­lem was short-­lived. Despite limited state intervention, particularly in comparison with Mas­sa­chu­setts efforts, tuberculosis rates among southern blacks declined. This raises questions about the real impact of Mas­sa­chu­setts’ state initiatives at lowering TB rates. It suggests that their success may relate to a rare industrial-­hazard regime, where ­there was a common w ­ ill among local social, economic, po­liti­cal, scientific, and medical communities to reform industry for the sake of broader public health.

66

When the Air Became Important

Britain’s strug­gles with tuberculosis provide a stark contrast to the Mas­sa­ chu­setts case. During the interwar years, institutional treatment for victims remained preferable to developing widespread prevention strategies. Lancashire had become a model British county in tackling tuberculosis ­because of the co­ordination and cooperation between public health and institutional ser­vices, including aftercare and home nursing treatment.113 More broadly, efforts to tackle tuberculosis w ­ ere increasing public and medical recognition of the related social and economic contexts. By 1921, Dr. Thomas Holt, Burnley’s long-­serving MOH, recognized how social conditions ­were “part of a vicious circle in which disease, m ­ ental and physical, takes a prominent part and is more often than not the cause of the bad social conditions.”114 Tuberculosis was a primary example: when men or w ­ omen became ill, their earning capacity decreased and their spouse and ­children became a drag on resources. This, in turn, led to deteriorating conditions in the home and less food. Both ­factors could potentially contribute to other f­amily members succumbing to the disease. Tuberculosis was no longer merely a disease for the patient and physician; it had become a disease for every­one and needed to be tackled as such. Nevertheless, the interwar industrial slump challenged the relationship between social conditions, TB, and the factory. In most Lancashire towns, tuberculosis deaths ­were declining despite rising unemployment, as shown in Table 3.4. In 1921, Dr. W. Allen Daley noted that, in Blackburn, the decline in consumption deaths “appears to have been more rapid than in the country as a ­whole.”115 He related this to improved sanitation in workplaces and ­houses, mea­sures preventing the sale of “tuberculous milk,” and better diets associated with the brief economic boom of 1919. When in 1922, TB death rates increased, Daley blamed the trade depression.116 To him, the economic-­health link was clear. Yet elsewhere, including in Preston and Burnley, the MOsH attributed the declining numbers of tuberculous-­related deaths to the local efforts of the National Tuberculosis Ser­vice (NTS).117 Similarly, Dr. Thomas Holt complained that NTS’s efforts in treating and managing disease in Burnley ­were often “nullified by unsatisfactory home conditions and blamed individuals.”118 ­Either way, the NTS provided an official channel for tackling TB, with corresponding constituent contributions. It provided a focus for action and incorporated the social context of the disease, but it did not require industrial regulation. While the NTS was not without criticism, particularly in regard to uneven and inefficient financing from local ratepayers, it achieved some success through its epidemiological studies and its preventive and curative mea­ sures.119 Yet t­hese increasingly nationalized initiatives began to obscure both the action and inaction of local authorities in tackling TB.



Tuberculosis in the Factory 67

­Table 3.4  Tuberculosis Death Rates in Primary Lancashire Cotton-­Manufacturing Towns, 1929 and 1937

Authority

Death Rate from Tuberculosis (All Forms) per 1,000 Population

Death Rate from Tuberculosis (All Forms) per 1,000 Population

1.010 0.798 0.938 1.407 0.880 0.850

0.10 0.10 0.11 0.15 0.17 0.15

Blackburn Bolton Burnley Manchester Preston Rochdale

Source: Burnley MOH Report, 1929, 131; Burnley MOH Report, 1937, adapted, 156.

Economic decline removed tuberculosis from the Lancashire po­liti­cal agenda. Most Lancashire town councils had consistently deferred industrial health and safety m ­ atters to the oversight of the long-­established factory inspector. Limited regulation and weak enforcement meant that, for the most part, cotton manufacturers could operate as they saw fit. In 1919, Parliament classified the suction shut­tle as a technological prob­lem, alongside accidents and injuries, rather than a tuberculosis risk. By the 1930s, amid a context of economic depression, austerity, and public-­spending cuts, the national government insisted that the Public Health Acts provided sufficient, effective workplace regulation.120 ­Because ­there was no specific, identifiable public health risk attributable to the suction shut­tles, it was 1952 before Parliament banned them, and even then, it was for technological reasons—­the shut­tles ­were considered no longer efficient or necessary. The strict line between the health hazards pres­ent in the living environment and ­those in the working environment had distorted the realities of tuberculosis. Alongside deference to state industrial oversight, this distortion prevented reform. Despite limited government interest in workplace tuberculosis, ­ those involved in medical research acknowledged that it was a growing prob­lem. In 1920, the MRC acknowledged that “the prob­lems of industrial medicine are not easily separable from t­ hose of public health in general.” Moreover, they said that “the greater part of prevalent disease is connected e­ ither in its origin or its extent with industrial occupations and the conditions of life which have been imposed during industrial development.”121 In 1921, the chief medical officer supported broadening TB campaigns to promote greater personal responsibility in both the home and the workplace. In ordinary quiet breathing, air expired by a consumptive is prob­ably f­ ree from tubercle bacilli, but the spray produced during coughing or sneezing

68

When the Air Became Important

may convey infection for some l­ ittle distance (three feet or more) through the air. Such infection by spray is undoubtedly dangerous in the close intimacy of the home, and in crowded and badly ventilated factories, workshops and offices, but substantial protection can be obtained by proper precautions, e.g., the avoidance of close contact with a coughing patient and the use by the latter of a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing. Wet expectoration becomes dust containing tubercle bacilli, which may be disseminated through the air and inhaled or ingested by individuals, through mouth or nose, with consequent risk of infection.122

While the emphasis on individual responsibility matched employers’ beliefs, government officials w ­ ere slow to accept the conclusions about the potential workplace hazard. In 1924 the British government conducted a systematic comparison of the sickness rates of male and female weavers working in humid and non-­humid sheds over a period of years in the towns of Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Nelson, and Accrington. The report concluded that t­here was no significant difference between the number of sickness-­related absences of weavers working in humid sheds and t­hose working in non-­humid sheds.123 Instead, steaming was merely “uncomfortable,”124 and thus industrial regulation could not control TB. This conclusion merely justified the Lancashire town councils’ and Parliament’s economic priorities. Over the next fifteen years, Lancashire MPs submitted private members’ bills to Parliament seeking to reform and further regulate steaming, but with ­little success. Cotton manufacturers successfully denied any health hazard.125 In 1927 and 1928, the Home Office confirmed that “the cotton operative generally has no par­tic­u­lar predisposition to tuberculosis.”126 Tuberculosis, in other words, was not considered an occupational disease. Indeed, it was the 1940s before trade ­unions prioritized tackling TB due, in part, to the scientific oversight of the workplace. In 1944, the Trade Union’s Congress (TUC) called for government commitment to providing an industrial medical ser­vice ­under the remit of the projected NHS.127 While this ser­vice did not materialize, foundations had been set for the formal postwar recognition of TB as an industrial disease. Nevertheless, t­ hese delays should not imply that the public or the workers and their ­unions ­were merely passive consumers. Rather, this is an example of an industrial-­hazard regime, where most local regimes neglected industry in deference to pre-­established federal oversight. While physicians, workers, man­ ag­ers, and the press debated the issues, responded with petitions and protests, and participated in state investigations, the lack of a united purpose to address the health of all British citizens enabled economic priorities to prevail.



Tuberculosis in the Factory 69

Conclusion

The rise and subsequent decline of tuberculosis as a health concern in the Mas­ sa­chu­setts and Lancashire textile mills was not merely a case of regulation and public pro­cess; it also was not an example of responsibility and blame. Neither, as Joseph Melling has argued, can the issues be considered simply in terms of the constraints faced by the dif­fer­ent constituents involved in industrial health.128 Instead, the social cost of tuberculosis in the factory was related to public health and po­liti­cal agendas alongside local economic and social priorities. Hence, tuberculosis, or indeed any disease, needs to be placed within the broader context of location, which urges a re-­evaluation of the paths of public health and social welfare within national, regional, and local contexts. The politics of occupational and environmental health is time-­and place-­specific. In the case of TB, workers’ bodies ­were ­under perpetual strain from the two ecosystems they regularly encountered. And tuberculosis was only briefly on the workplace air-­quality agenda. It was soon replaced by other environmental hazards—­heat, humidity, and fatigue.

Chapter 4

“I Used to Feel Ill with It” Heat, Humidity, and Fatigue

On a hot July day in 1873, over one hundred w ­ omen employed at the Lawrence Manufacturing Corporation in Lowell walked out b ­ ecause the mill agent, Mr. Hussey, would not permit them to open the workroom win­dows to allow the breeze to cool them down. Hussey firmly believed that the manufacture of cotton cloth required closed win­dows. The ­women appealed to the local board of health for support. The story appeared in the local newspaper and captivated local residents, while the outcome held implications for all of the town’s textile firms. Although the board’s response is unclear, the strike failed and most ­women returned to work.1 Nevertheless, this case highlights a concern that would be contested for the next hundred years: namely, how to manage the working environment to secure workers’ health and comfort while meeting production needs. Indeed, ­these issues remained controversial in 1971 when the Textile Workers Union of Amer­i­ca (TWUA) complained to the United States Department of L ­ abor that the “[p]ollution of the environment in textile mills pres­ents serious hazards to the health of textile workers.”2 Even then, the prob­lem remained of how best to manage the internal environment to meet all requirements. Roughly around the same time as the Lowell walkout, Mark Twain, or his friend Charles Dudley Warner, stated, “Every­one talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”3 Yet “­doing” something about the weather inside was difficult. Unlike contagious diseases, which can affect every­one, physical requirements and the bodily experience of environment are individual. From the mid-­nineteenth ­century, doctors, public health officials, social reformers, governments, engineers, manufacturers, and workers debated what

70



“I Used to Feel Ill with It” 71

constituted the “correct” internal weather, first in the home, then in public buildings, and ­later in workplaces. For all environments, ­there was no consensus about the appropriate air-­health relationship. In factories, health priorities flowed from contagious diseases and “healthfulness,” to ventilation, temperature, industrial pro­cesses, fatigue, and discomfort. Both technological choices and cost influenced regulatory debates and created disparities in manufacturers’ investments in air-­management technologies. Community perceptions about the par­ameters of public health responsibility also influenced air quality debates and created locally sensitive environments. While the lack of consensus about the extent and impact of the internal weather on workers’ health and production prevented robust regulation of the working environment, the framing and reframing of the hazards reveals much about the structure, assumptions, and preferences of governments and communities.4 Health concerns about poor air quality first arose in mid-­eighteenth c­ entury Britain. House­hold ventilation became “an emblem of enlightened rationality and domestic ideals of comfort.”5 From the nineteenth c­ entury, the subject of bad air was incorporated into middle-­class sanitation debates. Led by doctors, government investigators, novelists, and the authors of h ­ ouse­hold manuals, this preoccupation with harmful air pollutants in the home developed three foci: the build-up of contaminants that emanated from ­people’s bodies, broader urban sanitary debates, and the foul air that engulfed the rapidly growing cities.6 The contradiction within ­these debates is clear. Common belief held that open fireplaces ­were the primary ventilating agent in most homes, while the new, more efficient gas fires and closed stoves hindered ventilation.7 Specifically working-­ class environments ­were largely ignored ­until at least the late ­century. Although starting ­later than in Britain, the mid-­nineteenth-century American campaigns against foul air stemmed from similar complaints. Improving domestic ventilation became a recognized necessity for defense against the accumulation of gases from ­people’s lungs or from bad air. Early American solutions included larger rooms and plenty of win­dows—­something only the ­middle classes could afford.8 T ­ hese air-­quality debates quickly spread to discussion of public buildings, which also attracted medical interest. At its first meeting in 1848, the AMA acknowledged just how impor­tant ventilation was to broader sanitation and reaffirmed the medical profession’s role as the guardian of public health.9 Indeed, it was the Lowell physician, Dr. Josiah Curtis, who argued that “No public buildings are adequately ventilated.”10 In 1849 he claimed that in factories, “It has been supposed that the motion of machinery, in some degree, affords a substitute for ventilation; but it only agitates the confined air, and thus assists in the chemical admixture of the noxious gasses and the mechanical

72

When the Air Became Important

suspension of the dust particles and flue, thus proving a positive injury.”11 Nevertheless, despite early medical interest in working-­class environments, it may be fair to say that few middle-­class consumers in e­ ither country cared significantly about the health of industrial workers, meaning the importance of the working environment in air-­quality debates was fluid. Indeed, the growing levels of air pollution in nineteenth-­century industrial cities created mixed emotions among British and American urban residents. On the one hand, t­ here was pride in industry, invention, and associated wealth. On the other hand, city air was becoming increasingly polluted from factory and ­house­hold chimneys, making seeing and breathing difficult due to widespread dust and dirt. Governments w ­ ere slow to introduce regulation b ­ ecause they did not want to restrict industry. Yet city residents also resisted legislation for the same reason. Economic prosperity and modernity came before health. It took de­cades before the two w ­ ere entwined. Regulating internal factory-­air quality was difficult ­because workplace environments ­were firm-­specific. Air quality was determined by temperature, humidity, ventilation, dust and dirt, the number and type of machines in operation, the size of the workroom, and the number of workers. Temperature and humidity are necessarily related. Indoors, a change in temperature affects humidity. Hot air has a greater capacity for moisture than cold, while the quantity of moisture in the air establishes an absolute humidity level. Relative humidity, or the percentage of the air’s maximum capacity, also indicates humidity levels. ­Because maximum capacity changes with temperature, the relative humidity is specific to temperature.12 While the relationship between humidity and comfort had long been recognized for the weather outside, it was only from about 1895 that scientific and public health reformers related temperature and moisture to ventilation and a healthy internal environment.13 Therefore, while cotton operatives in both countries had complained about hot, damp working conditions since the early days of factories, the health imperative of working in such an environment only gained public recognition in the twentieth ­century, when scientific skills and tools w ­ ere developed to manage the internal environment. The social body was firmly connected with the economic imperative. This chapter investigates how health issues related to ventilation, temperature, and fatigue gained public, scientific, and government attention, situating ­these issues within the social and economic climate of the era. It explores how, at certain times, social and economic priorities overlapped to secure improvements to the working environment, while at other times the economic imperative dominated. In so ­doing, this chapter demonstrates the strengths and limitations of a community social body’s influence on the working environment.



“I Used to Feel Ill with It” 73

Understandings about the relationships between the living and working environment reveal local sensitivities about health and reform; they also suggest workers’ experiences differed depending on town, firm, and country. Lastly, this chapter reveals the commonality of the workers’ experience. Poverty and ­house­hold economics required operatives to use multiple strategies to cope with the ill-­health caused by both the living and working environments. The Growing Importance of Factory Air in New E ­ ngland

While the filth theory of disease was increasingly the focus of American etiological understanding ­after the Civil War, t­ here was also a growing ac­cep­ tance that both social and individual controls ­were required to improve personal health and public hygiene.14 Prior to the 1880s, when germ theory was incorporated into popu­lar advice lit­er­a­ture, most Americans believed that the seeds of disease w ­ ere in the home, with damp cellars, poor ventilation, and defective plumbing contributing to the rise in zymotic diseases. Germ theory merely justified the need for precautions, including adequate ventilation, disinfection, general cleanliness, and isolation of the ill.15 The bodies of the ill and the air they excreted spread disease. Adequate ventilation and proportionate rooms ­ were increasingly understood to be necessary for improving air quality and tackling the invisible ­enemy of the germ.16 Medical interest and growing public awareness of the ventilation-­health relationship, in par­tic­u­lar, ensured this issue increasingly gained Mas­sa­chu­setts’ legislative attention. The factory environment was quickly located within the broader state l­ abor and public health agendas. In 1870, the First Annual Report of the Mas­sa­chu­ setts ­Labor Statistics Bureau argued, “­There is a peril to life and limb from unguarded machinery, and peril to health from lack of ventilation . . .”17 By 1874, the State Department of ­Labor argued that the cotton operative “. . . when surrounded by the vari­ous gases, steam, dust, heated air, and oil-­fouling condition of the factory, and working in a room with many o ­ thers, [has] all the circumstances connected with his employment demanding a large consumption of oxygen.”18 Each operative needed between 25 and 30 cubic feet of fresh air per minute and an air space of between 1,000 to 3,000 cubic feet, depending on the surroundings and means of ventilation.19 Yet the department’s survey of Mas­sa­chu­setts mills could not find any textile town where the mills had consistently better ventilation than elsewhere.20 Indeed, the scientific and technological challenges involved in ventilating and heating a factory contrasted dramatically with the s­ imple ventilation found in most public buildings, particularly in schools, where win­dows ­were readily opened. Nevertheless, the Department

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When the Air Became Important

of ­Labor was determined to tackle the scientific and legislative challenges associated with factory ventilation. Concerns about hygiene and ventilation drew engineers into the workplace in a new capacity—­managing the air for h ­ uman health as well as the machines of production. Thus, by 1880, American mill ­owners favored steam-­heating. Initially, pipes ran along the walls u ­ nder open win­dows to warm the fresh air that ventilated the workroom. However, in addition to being a fire hazard, the combination of low pipes and open win­dows did not create ideal manufacturing conditions, and the steam pipes ­were soon put overhead.21 Nevertheless, by 1887, the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislators had become aware of just how impor­tant ventilation was to ­human health. They authorized factory inspectors to require fans or other apparatus to improve ventilation in factories where more than five ­people ­were employed, provided the cost to employers was not excessive. While many mill man­ag­ers chose inexpensive fans, ­others invested in technologies that also improved productivity. One of the first technology firms to successfully manage internal temperature and ventilation was the Boston Manufacturer B. F. Sturtevant. By 1891, its early system of heating air with forced air-­ventilation had been installed in over 500 buildings, including textile factories in Mas­sa­ chu­setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania.22 However, while technology could largely control temperature, maintaining consistent humidity levels to prevent thread breakage remained problematic. Recognizing a potential new market, Sturtevant developed a moistening system, which was installed in the Pacific Mills in Lawrence in 1887 and in the Globe Yarn Mill of Fall River two years ­later.23 Technological competition for machines that could more effectively control the internal environment quickly ­rose, permanently entangling science with the social body to benefit both manufacturers and workers. Nevertheless, both engineers and manufacturers readily acknowledged that workers’ well-­being was merely a bonus to the production efficiencies gained from ­these technological developments. In 1901, The Engineering Magazine observed, “The history of the world’s industries affords no encouragement that working conditions ­will be spontaneously and vitally improved by the mass of employers, ­unless the latter can see profit in the change.”24 The technology b ­ ehind manufactured air developed rapidly. The term “air-­ conditioning” was in­ven­ted in 1906 by Stuart Cramer, a textile mill engineer from Charlotte, North Carolina. Cramer had designed a method for humidifying the atmosphere instead of directly moistening cloth. This air-­conditioning held the potential to maximize the control and consistency of the mill environment and increase worker comfort.25 ­Human comfort was now a recognized contributor to productivity, although it was ­after World War I before this idea was



“I Used to Feel Ill with It” 75

widely accepted. U ­ ntil then, air quality remained a community-­specific issue, with traditional ventilation methods slow to die. Well into the 1950s operatives continued to open win­dows for a more comfortable internal climate.26 As early as the 1870s the mayor of Holyoke, Judge Pearsons, was promoting the h ­ uman and economic benefits of improved factory ventilation. Cost was immaterial ­because “pure air is a necessity to health.”27 Alongside the local board of health, the town worked to improve the air quality within the city’s public buildings, including factories.28 While the direct influence of this rhe­toric on employers is unclear, in 1880, the trea­surer of the city’s Lyman Mills claimed, “[T]he mills are not run on selfish princi­ples only, the welfare of ­those employed is carefully considered.”29 Indeed, Lyman Mills had incorporated the working environment into its accumulation matrix and gained a reputation for having some of the best factory conditions in the industry. However, the mill environment needs to be contextualized alongside the Holyoke workers’ living environment. An 1875 Mas­sa­chu­setts Bureau of ­Labor Statistics investigation into wages and expenditure found nearly two hundred unskilled workers living in a four-­story tenement building and basement that had eigh­teen tenements and ninety rooms. It had only two doorways and inadequate sanitation. Many of the residents ­were recent Irish immigrants, of whom 24 ­percent relied on the earnings of c­ hildren less than fifteen years old to survive.30 Yet Holyoke ignored ­these pockets of environment. Middle-­class employers’ ac­cep­ tance and engagement in the public health campaigns surrounding factory ventilation ­were motivated by economics and politics (in an attempt to prevent further government intervention in industry). Any improvement to workers’ health and well-­being was coincidental, particularly for ­those surviving on low wages and living in substandard, overcrowded housing. Other Mas­sa­chu­setts textile communities ­were also selective about tackling internal environments. By the 1880s some Fall River employers recognized the economic benefits of improved factory air quality. Into the 1920s, the town’s Granite Mills regularly invested in new atmospheric technologies. While some of t­ hese machines met legislative guidance and aided production, they also earned the firm the reputation of being a good place to work.31 The town’s Richard Borden Mill, Durfee Mills, and Stafford Mills also invested in atmospheric technologies. Richard Borden Mill purchased the Cramer System of Air-­ Conditioning and Humidifying in 1910, and the Stafford Mills bought a humidifier from the American Moistening Com­pany in 1914.32 Around the same time, Lowell’s Merrimack, Hamilton, and Bunting mills modernized their heating and ventilation machinery; so did the Wood and Ayer mills in Lawrence.33 Indeed, many New ­England manufacturers w ­ ere recognizing the productivity and

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When the Air Became Important

labor-­ recruitment benefits that came from improved factory environments. Operatives knew that firms with better air quality w ­ ere more comfortable places to work and actively sought employment t­here.34 They also became more proactive in demanding better conditions. In 1912 Lowell mill operatives of many nationalities went on strike for what l­ abor activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn argued ­were “better, cleaner and healthier conditions in the city of Lowell.”35 However, improvements to working-­class living environments ­were slow to come. Housing conditions in parts of Lowell and Fall River ­were similar to ­those found in Holyoke. The 1885 Mas­sa­chu­setts state census revealed that three Fall River wards averaged over twelve p ­ eople per dwelling, with only one ward having fewer than nine ­people per dwelling.36 During the hard times of 1903 and 1904, ­whole families moved into the tenements of friends and relatives, doubling the population. A 1912 survey of Fall River housing found the most overcrowded and dilapidated housing in the older parts of town where newer immigrants lived.37 In contrast, in 1910 the Mas­sa­chu­setts Bureau of Statistics of ­Labor had found the newer tenements, built as detached blocks, had sufficient light and air. Clearly, before the G ­ reat War, interest in aerial hazards remained selective. Economic priorities secured improvements to the aerial quality in workplaces before ­doing so in the home, despite the latter holding individual and civic benefit. While production ­factors primarily drove manufacturers’ technological investment choices, politics also influenced both science and factory air quality. In 1908, the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature required that only pure ­water be used for humidifying factories and workshops to safeguard workers’ health. In 1910, the legislature regulated mill humidity levels and temperature, closely following En­glish laws.38 As discussed in chapter three, in 1912, the state commissioned a clinical study into relationships between humidification techniques and disease contagion. While Clark and Gage prioritized the tuberculosis risk, they conceded the importance of good ventilation and noted how a feeling of depression could come over t­ hose working in poorly ventilated rooms.39 In the years following this report, cotton employers gradually and voluntarily lowered humidity levels and/or invested in the “germ-­free” humidifiers. Humidifying companies capitalized on the growing market demand. In 1912 the American Moistening Com­pany based in Providence, Rhode Island, advertised, “With our equipment the manufacturer is enabled to defy climatic conditions or weather fluctuations and to discount geo­graph­i­cal location. We can give to a mill, no ­matter where it is located, the advantage of uniform atmospheric conditions not surpassed by the best textile localities of ­Great Britain.”40 By 1914, the American cotton-­trade press regularly promoted artificial humidity. It was “no longer



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a question of w ­ hether or not any artificial humidification should be a­ dopted. The question now is what method should be employed, and ­whether it is advisable to maintain regular and uniform humidification at all seasons of the year.”41 ­These arguments reflected the scientific management theories of Frederick Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, which gained popularity in the early twentieth ­century.42 Yet despite the scientific, humanitarian, and economic arguments for improving the factory environment, some firms ignored them all, including the Boott Mills and many Fall River and New Bedford firms. Hence, while politics, science, industry, and city residents all agreed that improving factory air quality was impor­tant, neither the legislative, scientific, nor social body could successfully impose a specific aerial environment. British Recognition of the Need to Address Factory Air Quality

By the late nineteenth ­century, urban middle-­class Brits still believed that factory smoke was a sign of wealth and well-­being and the fireplace a sign of domesticity. Industrialists and the working classes emphasized the jobs that factories provided and agreed with the right to a “cheerful fireplace” in the home. Consequently, l­ittle pressure was put on local authorities or Parliament for robust legislation to tackle smoke pollution,43 despite growing recognition of the relationship between smoke and the bronchitis group of respiratory diseases. By the 1870s, bronchitis had become the most common cause of death in ­England’s factory towns, with figures consistently between 50,000 and 70,000 p ­ eople per annum.44 For mill workers, the health damage caused by pollution and the largely unsanitary, overcrowded living environment was only exacerbated by heat and humidity inside the mills. While separate issues with dif­fer­ent causation, t­ oward the end of the c­ entury, middle-­class anti-­smoke activists’ campaigns to reduce smoke pollution45 paralleled the rhe­toric surrounding internal factory air. Just how aware British operatives ­were about middle-­class air-­quality campaigns is unclear. However, they w ­ ere well aware that certain aspects of the working environment made them feel unwell. In 1871, over 1,600 Todmorden weavers signed and submitted a petition to Parliament complaining about the composition of the sizing, a glue-­like substance used to stiffen cotton thread and cloth, and—­crucially—­steaming and the lack of ventilation in the sheds. They argued that poor ventilation not only contributed to operatives’ breathing difficulties and loss of appetite but also caused or aggravated bronchitis and consumption.46 Rather than seek broader ventilation improvements, which would affect production, they campaigned to ban size. Although the local MOH, Dr. James Buchanan, supported the weavers, manufacturers successfully convinced the

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government that size was essential to production. Despite the operatives’ failed efforts, they had raised British awareness about poor factory air quality. Steaming quickly replaced size as the predominant aerial hazard, when the 1884 factory inspectorate admitted that steam might damage workers’ lungs: “We cannot doubt that during frosty winter after­noons when steam jets have been for hours in full operation and when the products of gas combustion have been added to the exhalations from the lungs of workpeople, the atmosphere of a weaving shed must be in a high degree injurious to constitutions predisposed to pulmonary disease or dyspepsia.”47 The inspectorate’s emphasis of the individuality of both health and disease is clear. In contrast, in 1887 the Blackburn MOH Dr. William Stephenson connected the urban and factory environments. He argued that the high death rates from respiratory prob­lems in his town related to both the practice of steaming in the weaving sheds and to factory smoke.48 Medical recognition of unhealthy factory air quality also provided the rationale for greater medical involvement in factory regulation. This, in turn, could raise the MOsH public profile.49 Nevertheless, despite the growing awareness of factory aerial hazards, the middle-­class preoccupation with fresh air and foul in the living environment, together with manufacturers’ technological choices, prevented any substantial factory reform. Legislation only tinkered with factory air quality. In 1889 Parliament regulated factory aerial quality with the Cotton Cloth Factories Act. This controlled, but did not abolish, steaming. The Act was both a contributor to and the result of protracted discussions between MOsH, operatives, manufacturers, and the government. It set a requirement of 600 cubic feet of fresh air for each person employed in a weaving shed where steam was used. However, it did not abolish high levels of heat or humidity. In fact, ­after the Act, the number of employers using steam humidity actually increased, particularly in Burnley and Padiham.50 The manufacturers argued that the legislation was technologically impossible and that attempts to regulate steaming would handicap En­glish manufacturers in the international market. They also maintained that “steaming, not overdone, is beneficial and not injurious,”51 to the health of the work ­people. Such inadequate legislation forced workers to reinvigorate their campaign to end steaming. In 1906, the Amalgamated Weavers’ Association (AWA) balloted members about the use of steam in weaving sheds, which renewed po­liti­cal and medical interest in the mill environment, but with no consensus. Of more than 68,000 members, only 4.5 ­percent favored it. While this forced the British government to investigate the factory environment, politicians targeted ventilation and carbon dioxide levels, not steam, which was the issue on the ballot. The medical



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profession confirmed the importance of good ventilation but could not agree on the appropriate standards. Physiologists  J.  S. Haldane and Dr.  Leonard Hill argued that relaxing factory-­ventilation requirements was acceptable so long as ­there was no corresponding increase to dust levels. Factory ventilation could be set at twelve volumes of carbon dioxide to ten thousand volumes of air.52 In contrast, both the Darwen MOH, Dr. F. G. Haworth, and the sanitary reformer and Manchester MOH, Dr. Arthur Ransome (a protégé of Sir Henry Roscoe who had set the original air-­quality standards of nine volumes of carbon dioxide per ten thousand volumes of air53), argued that raising ventilation requirements would lower mortality rates.54 However, Haworth weakened their argument by acknowledging that workers became acclimated to their surroundings.55 Dr. William Moir, who practiced in Blackburn and Darwen, praised the healthy qualities of steam, arguing how “chronic rheumatism is much more likely to be benefited by a high relative humidity figure than other­wise; and bronchial cases benefit very considerably by g­ oing into a humid shed, more than if it ­were a dry one.”56 Without medical consensus about acceptable carbon-­dioxide levels or the health hazards attributable to working in a humid environment, and with the suggestion that relaxing the carbon-­dioxide standard might gradually reduce the need to steam, the ­union’s challenge to established science was discredited. Nevertheless, the committee conceded how “humidification in any shape or form combined with hot atmosphere ­causes bodily discomforts and injury to health.”57 The lack of scientific consensus on any issue led the chairman Sir Hamilton Freer-­Smith to support employers and relax the existing legislation. Nationally, the economic argument had prevailed. Instead, factory air quality debates became locally sensitive. From the late nineteenth c­ entury successive Blackburn MOsH consistently included the workplace in their efforts to improve the towns’ public health. Dr. Stephenson was a particularly out­spoken and ardent campaigner for factory reform. He persuaded employers to invest in cloakrooms to keep workers’ outdoor clothing dry and to more rigorously follow the Factory Act requirements. He urged employers to purchase fans to improve ventilation and to install humidifiers and hygrometers.58 Stephenson’s success is evident. In 1899, the Blackburn Man­ag­ers’ Association publicly acknowledged that good ventilation benefited workers’ health and productivity.59 Yet the town could not agree on what comprised acceptable mill-­air quality. At the 1899 Royal Institute of Public Health Congress in Blackpool, the Blackburn barrister E. L. Hartley argued that the “occupation of a weaver is the healthiest of all occupations in that town [Blackburn].” The town would do well to pay such close attention to the ventilation of “other industries, workshops, ware­houses, schools, cottages, churches,

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theatres, law-­courts, ­etc. to which the Act of 1889 does not apply.”60 Despite the dif­fer­ent views about the factory environment, at this point in time, and in a reversal of earlier Chadwickian public health reforms which emphasized urban sanitation, the workplace had briefly become the locus of public health interest. Gradually and scientifically, new ventilation technology was introduced into the Blackburn weaving sheds. This pro­cess and its effects w ­ ere observed by manufacturers, doctors, and weavers alike. By 1907 the town’s new MOH, Dr. Greenwood, believed the ventilation improvements had greatly benefited the general health of the town’s weavers.61 The town’s employers agreed, while also recognizing the production benefits. In 1913 John Taylor, secretary of the local employers’ association wrote to the man­ag­er of Messrs Wilding Bros Ltd. arguing how: “The atmosphere in your shed is very bad and it ­will pay you to take steps to improve the ventilation, as it ­will greatly benefit the operatives and therefore tend to increase your production.”62 The uneven industrial improvements in Blackburn caused local weavers to stage an impromptu series of strikes and walkouts to protest the poor air quality in certain factories.63 ­After a strike in November 1913, employers threatened to dismiss f­ uture strikers, while at the same time, some w ­ ere purchasing new technologies. Hence, although workers’ health and the socioeconomic needs of production w ­ ere firmly integrated within Blackburn’s evolving public health context, individual employers still determined the quality of individual factory environments. In other Lancashire towns, narrower public health contexts excluded the working environment. As described in chapter two, Burnley prioritized municipal socialism to the neglect of structural or medical investment. In addition to ­these deficiencies, and unlike Manchester, Blackburn, and Bolton, Burnley did not have a meteorological station.64 Meteorological stations ­were equipped to take hygrometric readings, without which it was impossible to compare internal and external temperatures and humidity. Hence, even if the Burnley MOH or employers had wanted to introduce new technologies to improve the factory atmosphere, they would have scientifically strug­gled. More broadly, without community or local scientific interest in the relationship between air and health, it is unsurprising that Burnley did not consider workspaces to be sites of ill-­health. In 1884 the MOH Dr. Thomas Dean argued, “­People have no right to expect the pure air of a desert in a thickly populated manufacturing town where every­thing, both mechanical and h ­ uman is at high pressure.”65 Instead, the prevalence of bronchitis and phthisis among the working classes was their own fault. Operatives should have paid “more attention to my reiterated advice to breathe through the nose, and not through the mouth, on leaving warm workshops in Winter.”66 Employers agreed, even accusing operatives of



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stopping up existing mill ventilators with rags.67 In 1901, and with the support of Percy Bean of the Textile Laboratory in Manchester, the Burnley employers argued that steam increased factory ventilation and lowered carbon dioxide levels. This, in turn, lowered sickness rates.68 The secretary of the Burnley Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Crook, agreed, writing in the Textile Mercury about both the production and health benefits of steam.69 Without scientific or po­liti­cal interest or investment in public health, and with no civic recognition of the broader context of health, ­there was ­little technological investment in Burnley in the de­cades before the ­Great War. Of the two towns, Blackburn was the more unique, with its community understanding of public health. Most Lancashire town councils did not try to influence local employers’ managerial decisions. While individual mill man­ag­ ers may well have considered operative well-­being when investing in new machinery, a widespread technological disinterest in Lancashire meant that any improvements to the factory environment w ­ ere marginal. Indeed, the American engineering com­pany Sturtevant strug­gled to enter the Lancashire market.70 Despite promoting its humidifying and ventilation systems’ multiple benefits, including cost, productivity, and sanitary improvements, Sturtevant received few ­orders from Lancashire firms. Meanwhile, Lancashire employers blamed operatives’ personal habits and living conditions for their ill-­health: “Comfort in employment is a condition which few of us are able to secure . . . . ​Discomfort is universal.”71 By deflecting the ­causes of ill-­health back to individuals, employers avoided contributory responsibility in urban ill-­health. In only a few towns did the social body comprise the full community. Most towns ignored or denied any industrial health hazard. Instead, it took catastrophes and the ­Great War to challenge understandings about the relationship between health and the factory atmosphere, but by then it was with the new focus of worker fatigue. The Rise and Fall of Environmental Fatigue in New E ­ ngland

Alongside early twentieth-­century Western concerns about the “health of the nation,” an international interest in industrial psy­chol­ogy and industrial physiology emerged. ­These new scientific fields elicited several fatigue studies that confirmed the bodily damage caused by physical exhaustion and m ­ ental fatigue from monotonous, repetitive work.72 However, research findings and best practices ­were slow to disseminate into the American and British textile industries, despite employers’ short-­lived postwar interest in the relationship between fatigue and efficiency. American public and professional interest in the relationships between environments and fatigue had grown alongside catastrophic events, including the widely reported Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in New

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York. One-­hundred and forty-­three female garment workers w ­ ere killed due to neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. Muckrakers, social scientists, and engineers investigated the ­causes of this and other industrial “accidents.” Although sensationalist in nature, their reports helped raise public awareness of the threatened worker body. Threats ­were multiple and did not concern simply accidents and contagious diseases. They included the psychological and physiological consequences of hard ­labor and sweatshop conditions, including fatigue. Workers’ health in Amer­ic­ a had become more closely entwined within the scientific drive ­toward economic efficiency—­but only when the two agendas coincided. Fatigue was one topic where science and efficiency coincided. In 1912 Josephine Goldmark published the results of her massive study on fatigue and industry. She linked fatigue to individual efficiency and tried to persuade businesses of the need for protective l­abor legislation.73 While medical science had recognized a causal relationship between machine speed, monotony, noise, long hours, piecework, and fatigue, Goldmark emphasized how fatigue was particularly detrimental to pregnant w ­ omen, raising infant mortality rates and lowering birthrates.74 Her methodology reflected the Mas­sa­chu­setts practice of viewing both homes and public spaces as contributors to ill-­health, and in this case, infant mortality.75 Industry contested Goldmark’s results, claiming that fatigue was a psychological condition unrelated to the workplace. They preferred Taylor’s argument for greater efficiency, which would make workers happier and more prosperous.76 Unconvinced, Goldmark contended that worker fatigue was also caused by overlong hours and employer-­ induced speed-­ ups, which required operatives to tend to increasing numbers of machines.77 This practice was particularly notorious in cotton manufacturing and especially in weaving.78 Weavers suffered further psychological challenge, ­because weaving required the greatest concentration of all mill tasks, while the workroom was the noisiest. Weavers found it particularly difficult to protest their working environment, b ­ ecause weaving was not dominated by any one ethnic group, making organ­ization difficult. But where discourses surrounding production efficiency, gender, and ethnicity could have prevented the topic of fatigue from being added to a state reform agenda, war placed the topic firmly on the national health agenda. As Amer­ic­ a became increasingly involved in World War I, concerns about the nation’s health in general r­ ose on both the federal and state agendas. At the same time, the medical profession and some politicians questioned government involvement in health care, fearing dependence. Understandings about what comprised health ­were also changing.79 In Mas­sa­chu­setts, the state DOH rede-



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fined health to comprise “freedom from a growing list of specific diseases.”80 Ironically, this prevention agenda reduced the cotton-­town doctor’s influence on local healthcare decisions, while holding the potential to address occupationally specific diseases. Nevertheless, b ­ ecause the relationship between air quality and workers’ health had been related to the national agendas of health and economic efficiency, the factory environment in the Mas­sa­chu­setts cotton towns remained u ­ nder scrutiny. The purpose and effect of state preventive medicine had become contentious in a way that the earlier sanitary agenda had not. When, in 1917, Amer­i­ca entered the war, the Council on National Defense (CND) set up a Committee on Industrial Fatigue (CIF), with a definite productionist mission. Funded by the federal Public Health Ser­vice (PHS), the CIF conducted biomedical research. It critiqued Taylorism, claiming that the continual quest for greater efficiency reduced output and increased worker fatigue. However, the CIF was unable to convince businesses, despite the growing interest by manufacturing in what medicine could offer the workplace.81 Employers attacked the PHS war­ time study of industrial fatigue for being “unfair,” “un­scientific,” and “entirely erroneous.”82 Yet ­there was no unan­im ­ ous opposition by cotton manufacturers to the fatigue findings. At the 1917 annual meeting of the NACM, some employers argued, “A man is more apt to be careless when tired, when not nourished, when he has not had sleep or when he has been dissipating or carousing; all t­ hose affect his physical being and his ner­vous system and make him careless. It is found that the danger hour is Monday morning.”83 ­Others recognized that “fatiguing conditions of work, fatiguing methods of work, hours of work, all have some influence unquestionably on breaking down the sub-­normal man or making the normal man more subject to disease.”84 Still other manufacturers believed ­these views to be outdated85 or blamed eye trou­bles for affecting individuals’ ability to concentrate.86 Despite fatigue losing its scientific potency a­ fter the war, during the 1920s the cotton trade journals regularly debated relationships between heat, humidity, fatigue, and the ­human body, to no consensus.87 It was only in 1927, a­ fter the British IFRB concluded that humidity had a negligible effect on workers’ health, that the American trade press reached a consensus about the working environment. Countering the IFRB, the press argued that it was essential to maintain a “sensible temperature” in factories, with good ventilation, to ensure worker comfort and maximize production. They further critiqued the British study for being too small.88 Instead, American engineers sought atmospheric conditions that benefited both production and “the health of the employee,”89 which included heat and humidity levels, ventilation, and light. Managing ­these conditions retarded operative fatigue and added to the “comfort and efficiency of the operatives.”90

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­Human comfort now equated with efficiency rather than health. Despite the vagueness and individuality of the definition of “comfort,” inserting the concept of comfort into the wider discussion was more conducive to employers’ perceptions of health and fatigue than scientific arguments had been. Comfort was individual and could be firm-­specific; therefore, it lay outside the po­liti­cal arena. By the 1930s textile journals regularly featured articles about the scientific, economic, and humanitarian f­actors surrounding worker fatigue. Yet t­here remained no methodology for mea­sure­ment. Instead, success stemmed from trial and error. Initiatives included paid rest periods to combat physical and ­mental fatigue along with better management of par­tic­u­lar workplace ­factors, including lighting, ventilation, elbow room, noise, vibration, and machinery conditions, through using the correct tools and existing safety devices and through adherence to other technological requirements. Monotony was not considered a contributor to fatigue b ­ ecause “one person’s monotony is another’s stimulating rhythm.”91 Nevertheless, the New E ­ ngland fatigue experiments w ­ ere short-­lived. Scientists and manufacturers w ­ ere increasingly pointing out the individual contributors to fatigue, including recreation, ­family duties, and sleep habits, with a corresponding shift in responsibility for health and comfort.92 Workers ­were also becoming increasingly skeptical about industrial medicine due in part to the growing number of mandatory physical exams by industrial physicians and researchers.93 Without workers’ cooperation, both scientific and industrial reform stagnated. Despite short-­lived interest in the economic and humanitarian impact of fatigue on operative health, ­little changed in the workers’ daily routine. Nevertheless, the Mas­sa­chu­setts stretch-­out of the mid-1920s prob­ably increased worker fatigue. The state’s textile industry was struggling for survival with the numbers employed plummeting (see ­Table 2.3). The remaining firms ignored legislation, science, and scientific management theories.94 Fatigue was the workers’ prob­lem. Fatigue also followed the industry to the southern states, where few employers engaged with the science of ­human efficiency. The southern climate was hotter and more humid than the northern, making many mills excessively uncomfortable to work in and making worker fatigue common.95 In all American mills, poverty, the Depression, and the individual nature of both comfort and fatigue prevented collective worker mobilization. Fatigue no longer comprised part of the po­liti­cal or community health agenda or the industrial accumulation matrix. Economic survival was more impor­tant than workers’ well-­being. Yet generalizing about industrial fatigue neglects institutional legacies and locally sensitive environments. In firms where mill o ­ wners promoted paternal-



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ism and welfare, ­simple initiatives could lower fatigue levels and minimize industrial unrest. Philip Scranton has argued that “paternalism served workers as a line of re­sis­tance against the atomization of ­labor, and served cap­i­tal­ists as a strategy that married profit with the preservation of the customary duties and status of community leaders.”96 Indeed, the antebellum paternalism of the Lowell manufacturers is well documented.97 When considering that paternalism, together with historical community and local BOH interest in mill workers’ well-­being, formed part of the collective health of city residents and secured earlier improvements to mill ventilation, it seems plausible that during the 1920s the Lowell factory environment was marginally better than that in towns without paternalistic foundations, including Fall River and New Bedford. Further, workers ­were more than capable of appreciating the benefits of welfare schemes without necessarily internalizing corporate objectives. For example, between 1840 and 1930 the Lowell textile employers collectively funded and operated a hospital. While mill employees could use the hospital’s ser­vices ­free of charge, the hospital represented another aspect of employer control over their lives. Instead, ­unless poverty necessitated, operatives chose alternative sources of health care, with Catholic immigrants turning to the nearby St. John’s Hospital.98 In Holyoke, too, tradition and welfare had been bound together at the Lyman sures Mills since the onset of textile production.99 Welfare capitalism mea­ included investing in new technologies to improve factory aerial quality, improving ­labor relations, and raising wages to be higher than at many other Mas­sa­chu­ setts firms. Such initiatives may well have helped workers to tolerate workloads or lower fatigue levels. In Manchester, New Hampshire, Tamara Hareven found that workers at the paternalistic Amoskeag Mills identified with com­pany aims but that most operatives considered the Amoskeag’s long-­established welfare programs supplementary to the higher wages to which they w ­ ere entitled, not as a replacement for them.100 Benefits included a free-­of-­charge com­pany nurse and dental care, a recreation department, and a com­pany playground.101 While such initiatives may reflect mill o ­ wners’ genuine concern for workers’ well-­being, they may also stem from man­ag­ers’ belief in the relationship between working environments, profits and productivity, and ­labor retention.102 Tradition and welfare each inspired, strengthened, and gave credibility to the other. Alongside associated legislative requirements, including seats for ­women workers and the ten-­hour workday for ­women and ­children in Mas­sa­chu­setts, welfare may have enabled workers to better manage, or at least find easier to tolerate, the grinding fatigue of factory work. Although fatigue never became a top priority for or­ga­nized l­abor, it also never completely dis­appeared from their list of concerns. In 1934, the UTW

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called a strike throughout New ­England to protest deteriorating working conditions. Although the strike united both skilled and unskilled workers, it failed. First the UTW and, in 1939, its successor, the TWUA, fought to balance wages, workload, and investment at the few remaining New E ­ ngland firms.103 Although secondary, the issue of fatigue remained an implicit concern. In a 1940s ­union recruitment poster at the American Thread Com­pany of Willimantic, Connecticut, the TWUA advertised how increased workloads, or the stretch-­ out, “. . . robs the worker of his rightful share in the fruits of his l­abor, and it also robs e­ very businessman in town of benefits he would get from the worker’s increased purchasing power.”104 Economic decline meant l­abor was fighting a losing ­battle—­and they knew it. The Mas­sa­chu­setts interest in small geo­ graph­i­cal and industrial-­specific pockets of environments had been bypassed by a new social responsibility that prioritized alleviating the hardships caused by chronic diseases, particularly cancer.105 More importantly, the prevention of ill-­health had shifted from being a community responsibility, as in earlier public health campaigns, to being the responsibility of scientists and individuals. Addressing locally sensitive environments had been surpassed by the quest for widespread, dramatic cures. National Debates about Fatigue, Heat, and Humidity in Interwar Britain and Lancashire’s Response

When war broke out in 1914, Britain scrambled for war readiness. The decision to lengthen the work day to twelve hours led to increased accident rates, spoiled work, falling productivity, absenteeism, and other indicators of physical and ­mental fatigue. To investigate such concerns, the government set up a Health of Munitions Workers Committee (HMWC) in 1915. The HMWC was publicly criticized for primarily comprising medical men and government officials interested in science, rather than members devoted to the practical ­matters of war production. Science was not necessary to recognize that ­people “do not work well when they are tired.” While the committee might make useful suggestions about “other conditions affecting health and efficiency besides [the] hours of work—[including] air, temperature, food, and clothing . . . ,” the real prob­lem of fatigue was “practical.”106 Despite t­ hese criticisms, the HMWC had evidenced a clear, scientific relationship between workers’ health, fatigue, and efficiency.107 Additional industrial efficiency studies revealed positive relationships between shorter working hours, welfare, and productivity. While ­these studies marked the first time that the British government had recognized external influences on health at work, particularly fatigue and undernourishment,108 the HMWC concluded that the ­causes and consequences of fatigue required more research. This



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allowed employers to continue deflecting responsibility for health to their workers. Most British man­ag­ers continued to neglect the h ­ uman component of production, particularly the limits of ­human physiology and psy­chol­ogy. The combination of employers’ ignorance and disinterest in science both contributed to and exacerbated operatives’ physical and m ­ ental fatigue ­after the war.109 ­After the war and ­under the auspices of the MRC, the IFRB replaced the HMWC but retained similar membership. In 1920, the IFRB outlined its objective: “to obtain exact facts about fatigue caused by industrial employment in dif­fer­ent trades and ­under dif­fer­ent conditions in the same trade, but the Board is not itself concerned with the alteration of existing conditions by legislation or other­wise. The results obtained ­will be published, and then it ­will be pos­si­ ble for persons employed and o ­ thers interested to make any suggestions they think necessary for improved conditions when they have weighed the facts.”110 Walter Fletcher, secretary of the MRC and a leading or­ga­nizer of the IFRB, sought to ensure that British fatigue research remained separate from the American scientific management experiments, which he believed was merely a way to exploit workers for maximum profit.111 What Fletcher did not realize was the impact the postwar recession and selective managerial skepticism would have on implementing any research findings in Lancashire. Cotton manufacturers had ­little incentive to experiment with any IFRB recommendations. Between 1924 and 1936 Lancashire cotton cloth output fell by more than 65 ­percent while the numbers employed fell by more than half.112 Few employers engaged in the argument by the IFRB and some MOsH about the benefits of introducing workplace safety and welfare organ­izations.113 Practical prob­lems also prevented experimentation with scientific management. The vast majority of textile firms only kept wage-­payment figures, with no productivity rec­ords to provide information about worker efficiency.114 Instead, what Stanley Wyatt from the IFRB had aptly stated in 1920 about cotton manufacturers remained true: “What was good enough for their ­fathers and grand­fathers [w]as good enough for them.”115 Structurally and practically, cotton manufacturers’ denial of multiple industrial realities only served to compound operative fatigue. Their competitive individualism was detrimental to both the industry and workers’ health, while horizontal competition was not conducive to Lancashire’s vertical specialization.116 Moreover, manufacturers’ defensive, collective agreements with the trade ­unions hindered productivity growth,117 while their attempts to grow productivity using mostly outdated machines only increased worker fatigue. Despite recognizing the need for greater efficiency in the face of rising competition from India and Japan, Lancashire cotton manufacturers repeatedly denounced unproven claims that certain working conditions caused fatigue and reduced

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competitive advantage.118 Hence, the HMWC’s war­time conclusion—­that if tired workers could be threatened, incentivized, or persuaded to maintain output at work, ­whether by nationalistic appeals or by machine pacing, then no fatigue existed—­was not only ­adopted but also extended by the IFRB and, in 1928, by its successor, the Industrial Health Research Board (IHRB). Con­ve­niently, t­ hese po­liti­cal and economic conclusions matched employer preferences. During the 1920s and 1930s, British textile employers ­shaped industrial psy­chol­ogy and its associated arguments about the relationship between fatigue and efficiency to their own advantage, with ­little re­sis­tance from ­labor.119 For example, employers argued that what constituted monotonous work to one person provided fulfillment to another. Therefore, workplace monotony could be resolved by employing the right ­people for the right job. In Lancashire this would be aided by traditional craft-­pride.120 Ignoring engineers’ claims that investing in new technology would elicit both production benefits and cost savings,121 employers and workers alike became preoccupied with internal industrial prob­ lems, further decreasing their willingness to cooperate with the IFRB and IHRB as the interwar depression deepened.122 ­Labor was particularly skeptical about the IFRB and IHRB findings b ­ ecause of limited official trade-­union repre­sen­ta­tion on the boards and b ­ ecause of concerns about jobs and wages if new technologies ­were introduced. Widespread industrial skepticism about the boards, combined with economic decline, steered science t­oward relating fatigue to the ongoing and contested debates about the workplace atmosphere. Led by S. Wyatt, A. B. Hill, H. M. Vernon, and T. Bedford, the IFRB pioneered scientific methods for determining the best humidity levels, temperatures, and air speeds necessary to maximize production in dif­fer­ent pro­cesses and industries, including in the cotton-­weaving sheds. Their experiments found that better air movement not only aided worker comfort but improved productivity, as fans ­were a s­ imple, inexpensive solution.123 Nevertheless, weavers w ­ ere again ascribed some responsibility for comfort. Wyatt argued that ­women workers should wear cooler clothing that was more suitable to warm factory environments.124 Yet operatives remained unaware of many of the occupational contributors to ill-­health. ­After a 1926 Government Humidity Enquiry Committee investigated heat in factories, the AWA responded: “The weavers are so much concerned about the necessity of making a living wage from the inferior quality of yarns supplied that they are not in a position to observe the deleterious effects of humidity on their health. If one takes the average weaver, wages are the primary consideration, his health only begins to trou­ble him ­after the effects of humidity have become apparent. U ­ nless he is studiously inclined, this is a question beyond him entirely.”125 The same was true for most health issues. ­Until



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an individual became ill, many workplace hazards, including fatigue, remained obscured by doubt, economic realities, lack of health information, and the belief that “it ­won’t happen to me.” From 1928 debates about the health consequences of working in a humid environment and about responsibility for health at work dramatically declined. In 1927 the IFRB compared the sickness rates and productivity of 10,000 weavers working in humid sheds with 10,000 working in dry sheds. They concluded that while excessive steaming may reduce individual efficiency, ­there was no correlation between “normal” exposure to steam and weavers’ illness.126 The following year, the Home Office confirmed that employment in a humid shed was no more injurious to weavers’ health than in a dry one.127 The statistical basis of t­ hese reports was such that neither employers nor trade u ­ nions argued the conclusions. Economics, science, and politics had coincided to narrow the formal par­ ameters of an industrial hazard regime in Lancashire cotton manufacturing. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to generalize about the entire cotton industry or to believe that debates about heat, humidity, and fatigue ended in 1928. Mea­sur­ing both the ­causes and levels of fatigue remained difficult ­because fatigue is an individual experience with multiple contributors. It is also difficult to determine how fatigue contributed to worker absenteeism. Operatives ­were absent for many reasons, including fatigue, sickness, and domestic prob­ lems (such as ­women weavers who took time off to care for a sick child or an el­derly relative).128 Employer welfare also influenced worker fatigue, while its nature and extent varied across industry. Steve Jones found that industrial welfare was more prevalent in the fine-­spinning areas of Lancashire, like Bolton, than in coarse spinning centers like Oldham and plain weaving towns like Blackburn and Burnley.129 Leading welfare providers included Tootal Broadhurst Lee of Bolton and two Manchester firms, the Fine Cotton Spinners and Doublers’ Association and the En­glish Sewing Cotton Com­pany. ­These firms introduced profit-­sharing, canteens, dental treatment, washing accommodations, recreational facilities, and lockers for outdoor clothing. Other firms, including Ashton Bros of Hyde, offered medical schemes and rest rooms.130 By the mid1920s occupational welfare had become an accepted practice at ­these firms. While occupational welfare did not directly address workloads or prevent worker fatigue, employers who catered to h ­ uman comfort and con­ve­nience may well have reduced fatigue levels compared to firms without such provisions— or at least made the conditions more bearable. Coarse cloth manufacturers also displayed some interest in the relationships between fatigue, health, and productivity. Both Blackburn’s employers and the

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town’s Weavers’ Amalgamation acknowledged considerable variation in efficiencies and mill conditions throughout the industry and within the town.131 Huge audiences turned out for the postwar Chadwick Lectures on industrial hygiene where the physiologist Professor Leonard Hill spoke about “Ventilation and Efficiency in Factories,” Professor Barker discussed the “Heating and Airing of Weaving Sheds and Factories,” and the engineer Professor Henry John Spooner explained the “Prob­lems of Noise and Fatigue in Factories.”132 Hill argued that broadening the public health remit to include work spaces would improve workers’ health and productivity and decrease l­abor unrest, saying, “If we could get rid of coal smoke, build garden cities, and have playing fields round well ventilated factories and workshops the strength and health of the workers would be increased and industrial unrest would dis­appear.”133 Such optimism was misplaced. Nevertheless, the Blackburn employers’ prewar paternalism remained even ­after the war to the extent that they acknowledged their “duty” to look a­ fter operatives’ health,134 despite collectively refusing to adopt the proposed Welfare Work scheme and, instead, emphasizing the importance of municipal health provision.135 However, the broader municipality was investing l­ ittle in health care, while emphasizing workplace sanitation mea­sures.136 By 1936, Blackburn and other Lancashire boroughs spent below the national average on health ser­vices and public health initiatives, with only Bolton spending less per 1,000 population on healthcare than Blackburn.137 Health was no longer a community po­liti­cal priority. Blackburn’s declining interest in the health and welfare of its residents extended to the factories. The 1937 Factory Act gave local MOsH the power to require mechanical ventilation in cotton factories when existing ventilation was insufficient. It had ­little impact. In a strictly private and confidential letter between members of the Blackburn Manufacturers’ Association, the author wrote how the Act required that “Effective and suitable provision must be made for securing and maintaining, by the circulation of fresh air, the adequate ventilation of ­every workroom. In the case of weaving sheds, ­etc., it could be contended that the action of the r­ unning machinery, opening and shutting of doors, ­etc., ­will maintain circulation of air, . . .”138 While ventilation was accepted in principal, the practicalities had been redefined to allow employers to operate as they saw fit. Increasingly, Blackburn public health officials emphasized individual responsibility for health. In 1938 the town’s MOH, Dr.  V.  T. Thierens, or­ga­nized a Public Health Exhibition promoting the individual’s role in disease prevention.139 Employers also posted signs on factory walls assigning workers personal responsibility for accident and disease prevention.140 That same year the Pilgrim Trust Report on unemployment, Men without Work,



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noted how “the predominant impression which Blackburn leaves is that of grimness. . . .”141 With over a quarter of the towns’ workforce unemployed and many of ­those only in part-­time work, unemployment relief took priority over public health initiatives. Ironically, b ­ ecause fatigue incorporates life’s full socioeconomic spectrum, the tired, impoverished, ill-­fed, part-­time workers prob­ ably experienced fatigue to the same or a greater extent than when employed full time. Throughout Lancashire, individual responsibility for health was promoted before civic responsibility for disease prevention. In 1921, the Burnley MOH, Dr. Thomas Holt, noted, “What­ever the community does in combating disease ­will be of ­little use ­unless it can get the individual to show a better appreciation of the value of personal cleanliness in its widest sense, as well as the value of health surroundings and pure atmosphere.”142 Yet ­there is ­little evidence that Burnley ­women did not try to keep their homes as clean as pos­si­ble.143 The town spent more than other Lancashire districts on major health ser­vices, with tuberculosis and maternal and child welfare comprising the town’s core spending on major public health ser­vices per 1,000 population by the mid-1930s. Yet Burnley’s death rate per 1000 population remained higher than Blackburn’s and higher than the average for ­England and Wales (see ­Table 2.5). Work may well have been a contributor. The town’s cotton manufacturers practiced heavy steaming and demonstrated complete disinterest in their employees’ health.144 Burnley employers ­were reputed for ignoring government regulation and refusing to adjust factory temperatures or improve ventilation.145 The workplace lay outside Burnley’s understandings of the community health environment. Hence, it is unsurprising that, in 1934, the town’s MOH, Dr. D. C. Lamont, effectively dismissed the textile industry’s role as a major contributor to the town’s “morbidity and mortality” rates. Respiratory diseases w ­ ere simply part of the “nature of t­ hings.” Lamont noted, “Apart from the accepted prevalence of respiratory and rheumatic affections found amongst textile workers, ­there does not appear to be any undue morbidity or mortality directly related to any one of the commoner occupations of the inhabitants; and judging by the spectacular diminution of the death rate from respiratory disease in the pres­ent ­century, and allowing for the decrease in the numbers employed, workers in textile pro­cesses would appear to suffer less severely from respiratory affections now than formerly.”146 The town’s po­liti­cal, economic, and medical leaders did not recognize the relationship between fatigue, poverty, and health. Indeed, determining ­whether the locus of ill-­health and the contributors to fatigue ­were the working or living environment, or a combination of both, remained difficult ­because the town’s nineteenth ­century back-­to-­back housing had not been replaced.147

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Despite being impoverished, Burnley operatives recognized that work contributed to their fatigue. In February 1930 Burnley operatives complained of their exhaustion from operating eight looms instead of four. They requested that Dr. Legge from the Home Office investigate how operatives’ fatigue related to the stretch-­out. However, the town’s employers refused to invite external investigators into their mills and insisted on using local doctors,148 raising questions about impartiality. Indeed, sustained disinterest in occupational environments by local governments and their MOsH suggest that employers knew local doctors ­were more likely than the Home Office to decide in their f­ avor. The factory had been deliberately removed from the middle-­ class community spectrum of health, but not from that of the working class, ­because the factory comprised their daily real­ity. In this case, the town’s ­middle classes had successfully replaced the pre-­established state oversight of the workplace with a local regime. Lancashire’s varied environmental par­ameters of health reflected t­hose of broader Britain. While public interest in fatigue and the science ­behind it grew during the 1920s, the exact ­causes of physical and ­mental fatigue remained ­under debate, with gender as a complicating ­factor. Gendered experiences of fatigue had impor­tant implications for industries like course cloth-­weaving, where men and w ­ omen worked alongside each other in similar numbers while earning the same wage rate.149 Yet gender proved to be a further distraction from understanding the relationship between work, health, and production. A plethora of government reports and articles in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene sustained the ambiguous relationship between work fatigue and health.150 While a 1929 article in The Times linked occupational noise to fatigue,151 creating a single medical public was difficult ­because of the continued lack of consensus about the c­ auses and consequences of ill-­health. Yet, as Steve Sturdy has argued, the continued formation of local publics which debated and acted to encourage government action dampens the notion that the broader public was reduced to passive consumers. In the public sphere, discourse must be considered alongside action.152 And, as Joseph Melling has reasoned, we cannot merely think about the interests of respective organ­izations, or how responsibility and blame ­were apportioned; instead, we must consider the constraints ­under which the dif­fer­ent actors operated.153 While interwar economic decline certainly called for pragmatism from all involved parties, neither local nor state governments prioritized the health needs of their constituents. Many Lancashire employers actively ignored science, citing employers’ autonomy and current economic challenges. Instead, it was the cotton operatives and their representatives, with occasional help from the MOsH, who highlighted the importance of locally sensitive environments to the broader health of the community.



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Although textile operatives did not fully understand the science ­behind the work-­health relationship, they knew that work affected their health. Since the 1880s, and despite fierce employer opposition, the AWA and the United Textile Factory Workers’ Association (UTFWA) had continually fought to end steaming. Although unsuccessful, the u ­ nions managed to secure improvements to factory ventilation, the temperatures at which steaming could occur and the purity of the ­water used for steaming. Some towns ­were more successful than ­others, with the Nelson Weavers’ Association preventing the majority of the town’s employers from introducing steam ­until 1929.154 That year, the AWA lost its b ­ attle when the Nelson firm Messrs. Schofield, Preston and Co., Ltd. introduced humidity into a previously dry shed. The employers collectively refused to “discourage any firm from adopting artificial humidity wherever they consider that by its adoption they could improve the quality and output of their mill.”155 However, the ­unions’ failure may also stem from their inability to sustain a firm, consistent narrative of ­either disease or industrial reform when dealing with employers or government investigators. In 1920, Luke Bates, secretary of the Blackburn Weavers’ Association, admitted that: “­Those who work in a humid shed w ­ ill be more susceptible in my judgment to complaints like rheumatism and colds, but on the other hand I recognise [sic] that in the dry sheds ­there are certain diseases they are more subject to than t­hose who work in the humid sheds.”156 In short, t­here ­were no healthy working atmospheres. Moreover, in 1934 the Chief Inspector of Factories, D. R. Wilson, examined humidity rec­ords for the previous four years and found that “in many dry sheds the atmospheric conditions do not differ noticeably from ­those in any other class of factory, for which no special provisions as to hygrometers have ever existed or even been contemplated.”157 ­There was no solution to humidity in the workplace. Hence, the economic, po­liti­cal and community constraints within which the workers campaigned lend greater significance to their achievements in regulating the working atmosphere than if the outcome alone is considered. Although both employers and workers deferred to the state to determine the Lancashire discourses of health, ventilation, steam and fatigue, it was local forces rather than national ones that determined the outcome. Coping with Excessive Steam and Fatigue

The many scientific investigations into the relationship between steaming, temperature, and health do not hide the fact that, in both Amer­ic­ a and Britain, city residents and workers had to deal daily with the health consequences of bad air—­both inside and outside. The protracted nature of respiratory prob­lems, along with community and firm-­specific environments meant the coping strategies

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­adopted w ­ ere individualized. In cotton factories, many mill operatives changed employers in search of better working conditions.158 This practice, alongside sporadic collective protests about poor working environments, demonstrates just how much textile workers valued a healthy working environment. When reforming the factory or switching employers was not pos­si­ble, operatives used alternative strategies to try to retain some autonomy and agency in an environment dominated by economic realities. By the early twentieth ­century, the journals and almanacs of the British and American textile districts advertised a huge array of “lung tonics” and cough remedies, which encouraged widespread self-­medication to cope with the effects of both indoor and outdoor pollution. In addition to the Lancashire-­ based Beecham’s pills, Lancashire and Yorkshire journals, such as The Cotton Factory Times and Bill O’Jack’s Lancashire Monthly, advertised tonics that relieved or even cured respiratory prob­lems ranging from bronchitis to asthma, influenza, colds, whooping cough, and hoarseness. Brands included Smalley’s Bronchial Essence, Owbridge’s Lung Tonic, and Dr. J. Collis Browne’s Chlorodyne: The Best Remedy Known for Coughs, Colds, Asthma, and Bronchitis.159 Their extensive use led the Lancashire working-­class humorist, novelist, journalist, and social investigator C. Allen Clarke to bemoan operatives’ growing dependence on them. In 1899 he wrote, “­There is an ever-­present proof of the unhealthiness of the Lancashire manufacturing towns. Nowhere w ­ ill you find so many ‘quack’ doctors and herbalists; nowhere ­will you find a greater sale of patent medicines and pills. The Lancashire factory operatives hardly ever feel quite well; they are always hanging between moderately bad health and serious illness, mostly trou­bles of indigestion and chest complaints. Not sufficiently ill to call in the ser­vices of a qualified practitioner (which is expensive), they are nearly always ill enough to require dosings of bronchitis mixture, headache pills, ­etc.”160 ­These tonics and pills w ­ ere supplied by itinerant traders and manufacturing chemists, few of whom had any qualifications. While their fees ­were less than ­those of a doctor, the merchant’s success depended on sales, and traders quickly learned the importance of high viscosity to sales. One early twentieth-­century Salford trader noted how high viscosity meant “Bronchitics swore by it and sales soared.”161 Once again, economics and health ­were firmly entwined, but this time to address the ill-­health caused by industry and disease. In New ­England, too, the mill towns attracted traders advertising cures for the symptoms of respiratory disease and fatigue. Lowell became a center for such remedies, with many brands in­ven­ted in the town. T ­ hese included Ayer’s Ague Cure and Ayer’s Cherry Pictoral, which contained morphine and alcohol; Park-



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er’s Tonic, which contained 41.6 ­percent alcohol and claimed to cure “coughs, consumption and asthma”;162 alcohol-­ free ­ Father John’s Medicine, which claimed to cure “coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, consumption and all throat and lung trou­bles”;163 and Thompson’s Moxie Nerve Food. Other New ­England tonics included Dr. William Hall’s Balsam for the Lungs, which claimed to cure “consumption, cold, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, croup, whopping cough, and all diseases of the breathing organs.”164 In the cotton-­manufacturing community of Lewiston, Maine, Hale’s Honey of Horehound and Tar advertised having “the Cure of Coughs, Colds Influenza, Hoarseness, Difficult Breathing and all Afflictions of the Throat, Bronchial Tubes and Lungs, leading to Con­ ere the patent medicines available in sumption.”165 Indeed, so numerous w Lancashire and New ­England that it would have been impossible for city residents and mill operatives in ­either region to avoid their advertising. Moreover, they willingly partook. While the curative effect of the tonics was dubious, alcohol would have provided temporary relief from coughing and pain, while morphine would have forced rest. More importantly, self-­medication provided impoverished mill workers with the autonomy to manage the health consequences from living and working in poor environments, while enabling them to continue earning a living. While Lancashire and New ­England operatives’ strategies for coping with the effects of heat, humidity, and fatigue in the two regions shared commonalities, individual workers’ voices become increasingly vis­i­ble from the interwar years. New ­England and Lancashire textile workers’ oral histories, collected in the latter de­cades of the twentieth c­ entury, ­were designed to capture memories of life and work in cotton towns.166 The fact that former mill workers regularly mentioned the heat and humidity in the mills suggests their importance. Fatigue received ­little comment. Work was a part of life and so was dealing with the consequences of working long hours for low wages. Few mills in New E ­ ngland or Lancashire offered year-­round employment, and short-­time work was common in interwar Lancashire. In such an environment, fatigue may simply have been a fact of life stemming from living in poverty, which came with an insufficient diet and the daily grind for survival. Nevertheless, operatives’ narratives reinforce both an individual and a collective experience in the working environment. Their strategies for coping with conditions at work and at home ­were fluid and often overlapped. Operatives’ experiences reflect the commonality of the ­human experience much more than they do a gendered or, in the case of New ­England, ethnic experience of industrial life. During the 1920s and 1930s in New ­England, with both a declining textile industry and the ­Great Depression, it may seem unsurprising that many operatives

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Figure 4.1 ​“Give Us Steam,” Cotton Factory Times, May 10, 1912. Reprinted with the permission of https://­lancashirecottoncartoons​.­com​/­, Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke.

accepted hot, humid conditions simply to have a job. Yet workers’ memories suggest their rationale was not purely economic. Dori Nelson, Albert Parent, and Arthur Morrissette all worked in the Lowell mills from the 1920s. They, along with William Beaulieu of Lawrence and other mill workers, remembered how heat and humidity comprised a daily working real­ity. “It . . . ​[was] hot. Oh yes, oh yes, well it was part of life. It was part of our life. . . . ​We accepted it, we accepted the conditions in the mill as part of our life. The humidity in ­there. . . .”167 Friendships and pride helped them tolerate the heat. Nelson remembered, “I liked the p ­ eople I was working with and I liked the job.”168 James Simpson, who worked in the mills ­after World War II, remembered with pride the strength and forbearance of the earlier Lowell workers as well as their poverty:



“I Used to Feel Ill with It” 97

And ­those mill workers in Lowell, boy, they would give you a day’s work now. I’m telling you! In the hot weather they would be in t­ here and t­ hose frames generate heat, oh! And it would, the humidity would get high and they had overhead sprinklers shooting out ­water. And t­ hose p ­ eople, the ends would be breaking down and they would be trying. To keep, sometimes they would have to stop machinery, it was so bad. And it ­isn’t like ­today. They say, “I’m g­ oing home.” You c­ ouldn’t afford to go home. You had to stay ­there, work, and take the good with the bad. ­Because you ­couldn’t run around, like, from one plant to the other and get jobs that easy, you know.169

When changing employers was not an option, some operatives proactively tried to change their immediate surroundings. Camille Theriault, who worked in the Boott Mills, remembered, “It was warm, real hot in the spinning room especially. Spinning rooms and weave rooms and cardrooms, and all t­hose big places it was quite warm. But we had to lift up the win­dows. The win­dows, as long as the win­dows ­were open we w ­ ere all set.”170 While open win­dows ­were contested ground, opening and shutting win­dows gave workers agency and control over the internal micro-­environment. U ­ nless nailed shut, all workers could operate the win­dows, whereas only mill man­ag­ers controlled humidifiers, ventilators, and fans. The potential to open win­dows of dif­fer­ent sizes highlights the many variations between mill environments and the complexities associated with ­human comfort. ­Because comfort is individual, parts of the mill and even parts of one mill room may have had open win­dows, while other win­dows may have remained closed to suit another’s comfort or the belief that closed win­dows improved production—­a par­tic­u­lar concern for ­those on piece-­rate wages. Joseph Golas remembered how, in Lowell, “Even with the win­dows open, it d ­ idn’t do them ­people any good, b ­ ecause they w ­ ere working [in] like hundred twenty degrees.”171 Nevertheless, experienced mill workers could be more a­ dept than mill man­ag­ers at creating the best working environment pos­si­ble in an inexact pro­cess.172 The conflicts between pro­cess, comfort, and control w ­ ere multiple. While air-­ conditioning was originally designed to improve the mill environment, many operatives did not remember air-­conditioning. The “science of ventilation” had failed to spread throughout New ­England and was found only in isolated mills. This was despite the efforts of air-­conditioning manufacturers who, in the 1930s, advertised how open win­dows ­were bad for production and profits, and offered air-­conditioning as the solution.173 Ironically, mill operatives retained greater control over productivity and personal comfort without this new science.

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Lancashire operatives’ memories of the working environment shared only some similarities with t­ hose of their New E ­ ngland counter­parts. While operatives remembered the heat and humidity, they did not mention opening win­dows. Mill design meant that Lancashire weaving firms had win­dows in the roof, which ­were designed to capture as much sunlight as pos­si­ble while making workrooms cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It also made opening win­dows difficult, if not impossible. Hence, although ­unions had a stronger foothold in Lancashire, New E ­ ngland operatives may have had greater control over their daily working environment. Nevertheless, Preston operatives clearly remembered both the heat and associated health effects;174 so did mule spinner Bill Disby and Oldham weaver Marjory Shaw. Shaw recounted: “[The mill] was stifling, with the heat in summer. . . . ​Oh, I used to feel ill with it, you know.” While she had not heard of stress, she recognized its symptoms, including fatigue: “I used to lose sleep over what, the t­ hings I might have let go in me cloth. And me ­father lost hours of sleep . . . ​, wonderin how to keep the shut­tles from flyin out, and t­ hings like that.”175 Pro­cess was the priority and workers simply had to cope. Yet despite the hard work and fatigue, some Lancashire operatives had fond memories of mill life. Elsie Hansford remembered how, in the Oldham mills, “It was a very happy atmosphere, ­really. It was very hard work, but we loved goin, to tell you the truth, but we enjoyed it. But we did long hours.”176 Preston mill workers also remembered the friendships made in the mills, despite the fact that some hated mill work.177 Love it or hate it, similar to their New ­England counter­parts, workplace friendships would have made working long days in the hot, humid mills more bearable. Poverty prevented mill operatives from directly combating or protesting poor working environments, including separating the causal ­factors of ill-­health between home and work. Indeed, the substandard housing found in many Lancashire towns only compounded any ill-­health workers’ believed stemmed from occupational ­causes.178 In 1920, Joseph Cross, the secretary of the AWA, argued that among Blackburn weavers “. . . the amount of sickness that we have in comparison [to operatives elsewhere], our physique is a lot worse and more weak than what it is in other parts of the country.”179 By 1938, ­after years of industrial decline, many Blackburn families had more than one member working and still lived in a state of abject poverty.180 Grinding poverty would affect general health, while the poor living and working environments made it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between the sites of ill-­health. Moreover, the Lancashire poverty indicators w ­ ere universal, including patent medicines, alcohol, and gambling.181 For t­ hose living in declining Lancashire mill towns, the daily strug­gle for existence did not vocalize the relationship between poverty and



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fatigue. Instead, the interwar British fatigue debates occurred on the national stage among lawmakers, scientists, and employers. British debates about factory aerial quality continued during and ­after World War II. When, in 1947, the Joint Advisory Committee of the Cotton Industry recommended introducing air-­conditioning in factories to create uniform atmospheric control, while any benefits to workers’ health w ­ ere ignored.182 By this time, however, industrial decline was so deep that the recommendation was ignored. Instead, external air pollution became the new po­liti­cal, medical, and social priority. In the winter of 1952, the widespread use of coal in London’s domestic fireplaces and factories caused extraordinarily high levels of atmospheric pollution. When combined with December’s winter weather, a smoke-­ laden fog blanketed London, which not only inhibited visibility but caused at least 4,000 deaths and many respiratory prob­lems. The ensuing Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 required factories to convert to smokeless fuels to improve community air quality. While the state was willing to ban practices insidious to broader public health, they only tinkered with factory regulation.183 Despite the intimate connections between the internal and external environments, and the ­causes of ill-­health, the impact of factory aerial quality remained locally constructed. Conclusion

In both the United States and ­Great Britain, public health debates about the potential risks associated with temperature and ventilation inside buildings transferred from the community living environment to the factories. This only made the working environment more contested. Physicians, doctors, workers, employers, and engineers debated the “ideal manufacturing conditions” for cotton-­cloth production and the health of workers—to no consensus. While the work-­health connection was more readily recognized in New E ­ ngland than it was in Lancashire, without consensus about the ideal atmospheric conditions for ­either production or operatives’ health, or enforced air-­quality standards, employers in both countries remained f­ ree to operate their mills as they saw fit. While Stephen Mosley criticized British local government for not ­doing more to combat external air pollution,184 without scientific consensus about the extent of the prob­lem or agreement on air-­quality standards, governments at all levels ­were limited in their abilities to act decisively. The same is true for factory air quality. In towns like Holyoke and Blackburn, where early twentieth-­century local governments sought to improve the internal factory environment, any successes stemmed from the efforts of individuals who secured community consensus about the public health benefits of factory reform and an associated

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commitment to be­hav­ior change. However, without scientific consensus about what bodily damage is caused by a certain industrial pro­cess and about what components require reform, individual perceptions and economic priorities can obscure relationships between science and health, and prevent constituents from seeking or agreeing to reform. Policy innovation must include agreement on the ­causes of ill-­health. Indeed, this chapter highlights how public health reform is at its most successful when it emerges from the community rather than from government forces. Whenever a community prioritized its own health, scientists, employers, and constituents worked together to achieve some success, as seen in New ­England’s efforts to address temperature and ventilation in all community buildings and in Blackburn’s short-­lived efforts at improving and regulating the factory atmosphere. Science and medicine can only influence locally sensitive environments when they are accepted by legislators, employers, workers, and entire communities. The workplace is only a tiny pocket of environment. For any industrial hazard regime to be reformed, it must be connected to intra-­and extra-­workplace sources of health risks. However, as in the case of cotton dust, hazards defined as occupationally specific strug­gle to gain po­liti­cal, medical, and social interest.

Chapter 5

Dust A New Socio-­Environmental Relationship

Thus far, this book has demonstrated how, when par­tic­u­lar public health discourses ­were transferred from the urban community to the workplace, limited improvements to factory air quality could be secured. This chapter documents a dif­fer­ent relationship between the community and the workplace. H ­ ere, the occupationally specific disease byssinosis was not incorporated into broader public health discourses surrounding dust and air quality. Instead, it remained a regional industrial hazard, which gained po­liti­cal and social awareness only during mid-­twentieth ­century compensation debates. Byssinosis is a chronic respiratory illness caused by regular and usually prolonged exposure to cotton or flax dust. Early symptoms include tightness of the chest, dyspnea and coughing that can be confused with that of bronchitis, pneumonia, and sometimes tuberculosis. Byssinosis is acquired gradually, from many years of working in the cotton or flax industries, with the highest disease rates in the American and British industries found in workers with over eigh­teen years’ dust exposure.1 Symptoms ­were worst on Mondays, a­ fter the Sunday break, and in Lancashire became labeled that “Monday feeling.” The symptoms eased as the week progressed and workers again became acclimatized to the dusty atmosphere. In acute cases, sufferers became partially or fully incapacitated with irreversible chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. While leaving the industry relieved some of the symptoms and prevented the illness from progressing, the long-­term chronic effects ­were irreversible and could prove fatal. T ­ here was also a time lag before victims displayed symptoms. Further, not every­one who worked for prolonged periods in cotton-­cloth manufacturing contracted byssinosis. T ­ hose most at risk worked in the preparatory

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stages or carding rooms and included more men than w ­ omen. The byssinosis risk decreased as the cotton moved through the roving, spinning, and weaving pro­cesses. By the cloth-­finishing stages, where chemicals and dyes posed dif­ fer­ent health threats, ­there was very ­little atmospheric dust. For ­these reasons, doctors not only strug­gled to identify byssinosis but also had difficulty proving disease causation and obtaining medical consensus about the dust-­health relationship. This, in turn, hindered related industrial reform and compensation campaigns. Bernardino Ramazzini, the ­father of occupational medicine, first described byssinosis in 1705.2 From the days of the early factories, British and American workers and doctors had recognized that inhaling cotton dust both caused and exacerbated respiratory prob­lems. Yet it was the 1870s before German and French doctors named the disease byssinosis.3 Diagnosis has remained contentious ever since. It was well into the twentieth ­century before British and American scientists and governments publicly acknowledged that byssinosis was an occupational hazard, despite individual scientists having earlier identified it. ­After late-­nineteenth-­century laboratory science determined that germs did not attach themselves to dust, science and politics concluded that cotton dust held no direct public health connection. It was merely an inevitable byproduct of production. Instead, compensation was where medical and po­liti­cal debates intersected the working and social environments. Britain offered compensation to certain suffering workers starting in 1941, but it was the 1950s before the Lancashire cotton workers recognized byssinosis as a major occupational health concern. While their “discovery” renewed medical and po­liti­cal interest during the 1960s and 1970s, compensation was the priority. In Amer­i­ca, during the first half of the twentieth ­century, individual New E ­ ngland doctors identified cases of byssinosis, or “brown lung.” Yet it was 1969 before the disease gained formal recognition as an American prob­lem. Compensation remained contentious for the rest of the ­century. American and British public interest in byssinosis as well as in compensation for its victims was limited, and occupational and medical knowledge about the disease’s relationship to cotton dust was ignored. Instead, cotton operatives’ respiratory prob­lems ­were linked to poverty and lifestyle choices, including smoking, and provided excuses for restricting or preventing compensation. By defining the diseased workers’ body in individual terms, employer responsibility was removed from both cause and liability. A ­ fter all, compensation was dependent on individual victims proving causation. If the link between acute respiratory symptoms and dust inhalation was deemed only a correlation rather than a direct cause, compensation could be avoided. Even in late 1980s Britain,

Figure 5.1 ​Lewis Hine, photographer, 15 year old sweeper—­Spinning and Spooling room—­Berkshire Cotton Mills. Location: Adams, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1916. National Child Labor Committee collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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the causative toxin of byssinosis remained u ­ nder question, and medical experts still disagreed about the nature of the disease.4 This pro­cess of understanding and ­handling byssinosis reveals how factory air quality became impor­tant in a very dif­fer­ent manner. It was now a question of who and what had polluted the air that individual workers’ breathed. How to eradicate pollutants, instill h ­ uman comfort, and compensate victims ­were distant, secondary considerations. Air-­quality standards would presuppose scientific validity to claims that a certain level of pollution in the air, when exceeded, would cause a par­tic­ul­ar detrimental effect to health.5 Alongside scientific consensus runs a social-­value component.6 How much responsibility for health w ­ ill society assume? Willingness to assume even a ­little responsibility, in turn, suggests that society believes that not only is ­there an ­actual prob­lem to be addressed but also that society is willing to pay the price to alleviate the prob­lem, ­either directly or indirectly, by forcing lawmakers to mandate industrial reform. Inevitably, this raises social and po­liti­cal questions about w ­ hether the benefits of health protection warrant the expense of enforcing an effective air-­quality standard. Additionally, do the benefits of health protection outweigh the risks that come from a lack of protection?7 Whereas tuberculosis could affect anyone, and ventilation, heat, humidity, and fatigue created potential health prob­lems in all public buildings and many industrial pro­cesses, cotton dust affected very few workers. This, alongside middle-­class social disinterest in specifically working-­class health issues meant that society, medicine, and politics ­were slow to address dust in the mills. Indeed, the byssinosis story reinforces Ronald Johnston’s and Arthur McIvor’s argument that the social and po­liti­cal neglect of many industrial diseases is a cause of relative poverty and social exclusion.8 This chapter traces the growing recognition of the hazards caused by inhaling cotton dust and relates byssinosis to broader public, medical, and po­liti­cal understandings of dust. It suggests that while public concerns about other dusts in the living environment could have been related to cotton dust to create widespread social awareness of dust as a health hazard, they w ­ ere not. Despite growing public interest in the potential respiratory hazards of urban dust, the dusts of the urban living and working environments remained separate in discussions. Dust diseases ­were excluded from the British schedule of industrial diseases eligible for compensation in 1906. By 1930 only a few occupational dust diseases had been added, notably silicosis and asbestosis. While employer pressure successfully prevented byssinosis from entering compensation debates, by the 1930s, British public health campaigns w ­ ere tackling urban dust and dirt, both in the home and on the street. In Amer­i­ca, ­because Progressive Mas­ sa­chu­setts had been a leading state in introducing ­labor legislation, historians

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Charles Levenstein, et al., argued that the 1911 ban of the suction shut­tle suggests that had the cotton industry remained in New ­England, byssinosis may have gained earlier recognition.9 This chapter contends this was unlikely, ­because New ­England scientists and cotton town physicians ­were some of the earliest in Amer­i­ca to “discover” byssinosis and ­were involved in early scientific investigations of cotton-­dust hazards. Instead, ­those in politics, medicine, and society ­were unreceptive to formally recognizing byssinosis u ­ ntil the 1960s. Ultimately, this chapter reveals that for workplace reform to occur, social, medical, and po­liti­cal support are required, alongside the education of workers about the aerial hazards. Without all four, economic priorities readily prevail to the detriment of workers’ health and well-­being. A Disease with No Name: Cotton Dust and Operative Health before 1918

By the 1830s, doctors and cotton-­town residents recognized that inhaling cotton dust caused respiratory prob­lems. In 1831 the Manchester physician James Phillips Kay wrote, “in some coarse mills, the atmosphere is so loaded with foreign particles as to prove a source of pulmonary irritation to the visiter [sic], who spends even a few minutes in the rooms. . . . ​A chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchi, is a common disease amongst t­hose employed in the most dusty rooms of the cotton mills. . . . ​Their strength and health are gradually impaired.”10 Similarly, in 1837 a Philadelphia physician wrote how, in the carding and breaking rooms of the city’s cotton mills, “the atmosphere is one floating mass of cotton particles, which none but t­ hose accustomed to it, can breathe, for an hour together, without being nearly suffocated.”11 By 1849 Lowell physicians ­were arguing that working long hours in poorly ventilated, overheated, lint-­filled rooms caused or at least enhanced lung diseases.12 Yet ­these doctors also noted how some operatives who had worked many years in the dusty environment experienced no respiratory prob­lems, inserting an ele­ment of doubt about the origins of respiratory disease.13 By 1861, the British physician Dr.  Edward Headlam Greenhow had determined cotton dust to be the cause of many respiratory prob­lems among cotton workers.14 Other doctors agreed, observing how few cardroom workers ­were able to continue working past the age of forty.15 Yet despite cotton-­town doctors in both regions clearly recognizing a causal health prob­lem, they did not label the disease or press for industrial reform and further medical research. Mill operatives and novelists made similar observations about cotton-­dust hazards. Early Mas­sa­chu­setts workers wrote letters home complaining that the cotton dust inhibited their breathing.16 In 1845 Elizabeth Hemingway testified

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to a Mas­sa­chu­setts legislative committee that “In all seasons flying lint is a source of ­great discomfort.”17 In the 1854 British novel North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell’s character Bessy explained how the fluff “winds round the lungs, and tightens them up. . . . ​Wi’ the fluff filling my lungs, . . . ​I thirst to death for one long deep breath o’ the clear air yo’ speak on.”18 However, b ­ ecause ­there was no defined, named disease attributable to cotton-­dust inhalation and ­because the physical symptoms w ­ ere similar to t­hose of the prevalent respiratory diseases of the time—­bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis—­physicians, workers, and social reformers could only allude to causation. They could not prove it. Byssinosis remained an ambiguous disease despite growing medical interest in cotton-­dust hazards. Indeed, widespread use of the term “byssinosis” is not documented u ­ ntil well into the twentieth c­ entury.19 While by 1887, Mas­sa­ chu­setts had passed legislation allowing factory inspectors to require a “fan or other mechanical means be installed to reduce the inhalation of injurious dust” in factories, employers w ­ ere not required to do so.20 Instead, broader public health debates about environmental dusts superseded understanding about the health consequences of prolonged cotton-­dust inhalation. In an 1892 article in The Sanitarian, the American Dr. W. H. Bennett wrote, “The atmosphere we breathe is filled with suspended ­matter of the foulest and filthiest [sic] kind, in the shape of dust particles ground from the pavements, ashes, the dejections of animals, the dried and pulverized sputa of a million persons, garbage, dead animals, and offal, besides the poisonous gases from ten thousand factories and sewers.” This environmental dust caused catarrh, he said, and p ­ eople residing in dirty, dusty cities w ­ ere the worst affected. While moving from the city to the comparatively pure air of the countryside brought victims relief, Bennett recognized how this did “not by any means always cure the patient.”21 Publicly, however, dust was not considered a universal prob­lem, despite scientists and politicians increasingly recognizing how dust posed a potential health risk. With similar timing, the Lancashire MOsH also observed how several types of dust posed general health hazards, but they cast doubt on the severity of a specific cotton-­dust hazard. In 1891 the Blackburn MOH, Dr. James Stephenson, wrote generally about how cotton and size dust contributed to operatives’ ill-­health, alongside “temperature,” “impurity of atmosphere from respiration,” and “humidity.”22 At the time, however, further research into the impact of cotton dust on operatives’ breathing was not deemed necessary.23 In 1899 Stephenson’s successor, Dr. James Wheatley, expressed concerns about the cleanliness of all public buildings ­because “[i]n all ­these places the dust of the rooms is apt to be a source of danger . . .”24 Yet similar to his Mas­sa­chu­setts counter­parts,

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Wheatley minimized cotton dust as a hazard: “­There appears to be very l­ittle known as to the influence of cotton fibre when inhaled. . . . ​It is probable that when breathing through the nose is practiced that nearly all the cotton fibre is arrested in the nasal cavities, and u ­ nder any circumstances it is unlikely to find its way to the pulmonary alveoli, or even into the small bronchial tubes.”25 Lancashire doctors believed it was the urban dust prob­lem that contributed to catarrhs, bronchitis, influenza, tuberculosis, and skin diseases.26 ­These diseases ­were particularly prevalent among wool, cotton, flax, and shoddy workers. Once again, the medical separation of the urban and textile dust hazards, alongside ambiguities concerning any bodily damage caused by cotton-­dust inhalation, prevented disease recognition. The medical differentiation between dusts raised questions about the differences between inhaling “soft” versus “hard” dusts. In 1892, the BMJ noted how “the harder the dust is, the more apt it is to lead to a phthisical condition.”27 In other words, inhaling sharp, angular, mineral particles was more injurious to the respiratory system than inhaling other types of dust, and it was more likely to cause death.28 A 1905 article in the American trade journal Textile World Rec­ord agreed: “As a rule, dust of organic origin is not of itself particularly harmful, b ­ ecause it is not hard, without sharp corners and edges, and hence not likely to cause a lesion of the membranes. . . . ​Cotton dust . . . ​is safe . . . ​[as] at most it only tends to dry off the mucous membranes, and never ­causes specific diseases like ‘stone cutters’ asthma or ‘coal lung.’ ”29 The medical and industry focus on mortality ignored chronic respiratory prob­lems. Around the same time, the American federal government, through the Bureau of ­Labor, investigated Mas­sa­chu­setts weavers’ respiratory health. The bureau’s report, published in 1908, concluded that excluding tuberculosis, mortality rates from respiratory diseases ­were much lower among American textile workers than among their Blackburn counter­parts ­because of Lancashire’s naturally damp climate. Moreover, the report contended that the New E ­ ngland mills ­were healthier ­because of better ventilation and ­because of American manufacturers’ preference for the vegetable compound sigo (used for starch) rather than for clay, as was used in Lancashire.30 Indeed, Mark Aldrich has argued that byssinosis was not a recognized prob­lem among New E ­ ngland textile workers then or in the few years that followed. Using two federal ­Labor Department investigations from 1912 and 1919 regarding the c­ auses of death among cotton-­mill workers and other residents in New ­England mill towns,31 Aldrich found no statistical difference in mortality rates from respiratory ailments among pickers and carders in Fall River than among other residents.32 Nevertheless, he admitted that not only w ­ ere overall mortality rates among mill workers higher than

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in the general population, but also that the data did not address morbidity. The etiology of byssinosis and the fact that most victims suffered chronic respiratory prob­lems, with only a handful of deaths resulting meant that few, if any, cases met the statistical criteria. Instead, during the early twentieth c­ entury, a growing consensus emerged between American politics, society, and medicine that cotton dust was merely irritating, not life-­threatening. The Mas­sa­chu­setts BOH acknowledged, “It is a well-­known fact that the dust arising in the vari­ous lines of textile work is exceedingly irritating to the respiratory passages. . . . ​The quantity of [cotton] dust is commonly sufficient to cause a distinct cloudiness of the atmosphere, which, in a room lacking proper ventilation, is a serious menace to the health of the operatives.”33 In 1908, the Boston Eve­ning Transcript described industrial dusts, including cotton, as merely “irritating to the nose and throat.”34 Medicine agreed. A 1912 article in JAMA concluded that the majority of dusts inhaled, including cotton dust, found their way “into the stomach, not into the lungs as has been confidently assumed.”35 Indeed, most dusts ­were perceived as being merely annoying, and adequate ventilation would solve any associated prob­lems. This po­liti­cal and medical ambiguity concerning the health hazards posed by dust led to vague regulation. In 1909, the Mas­sa­chu­setts legislature mandated that: “A factory, workshop or garage where more than one person is employed s­ hall be ventilated that all gases, vapors, dust or other impurities injurious to health, w ­ hether generated in the course of the manufacturing pro­cess or handicraft carried on therein, or other­wise, ­shall so far as practicable, be rendered harmless.”36 In short, cotton manufacturers could (and did) operate as they saw fit.37 Industrial cotton dust differed from urban environmental dust and when separated from contagious diseases, did not pose a specific health hazard. Although Progressive Era social reformers recognized that dust from all ­ ngland town councils environments affected health,38 the only dust the New E willingly tackled was urban dust. In 1912, the Lawrence BOH resolved: “That this Board of Health in view of the fact that dust, especially street dust, has been demonstrated to be one of the greatest ­factors in spreading infectious and contagious diseases, and in view of the fact that since the general cleaning up of the alleys this spring, and the use of a new preparation for laying the dust this season instead of w ­ ater we have been unusually ­free from all contagious and infectious diseases; and we also know that the preparation used is a coal tar product. . . .”39 Street dust had been linked to contagious diseases, but the BOH acknowledged that medical understandings of contagious diseases w ­ ere changing.40 Indeed, with similar timing, mainstream American journals and public health publications ­were shifting ­toward a socioeconomic view of health.

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Frederick Hoffman of the Prudential Life Insurance Com­pany argued that if diseases such as tuberculosis ­were to be defeated, living conditions had to be improved.41 However, this selective broadening of the disease environment complicated the burden of proof for causation. A 1916 federal survey of cotton workers’ health found “no conditions of the eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, lungs, skin, or digestive tract which could not be attributed to ­causes other than occupational.”42 Nevertheless, World War I gradually increased federal and scientific interest in worker health. During the early years of the war, and as the United States became increasingly involved in supplying Eu­ro­pean combatants with munitions and other goods, the U.S. Public Health Ser­vice (USPHS) was asked to investigate relationships between occupations and disease. The USPHS quickly recognized how both the home and the place of employment w ­ ere predisposing f­actors influencing workers’ health.43 However, it was the industrial hygienists who identified dust to be an in­de­pen­dent disease agent. In 1915, the Ohio-­based industrial hygienist Emery Hayhurst discovered that dust caused pneumoconiosis in­de­pen­dent of tuberculosis. Hayhurst argued that iron, coal, cotton, and silica dusts produced a fibrosis, or phthisis, which was complicated by tuberculosis bacillus, not the other way around.44 Ac­cep­tance of Hayhurst’s findings took time. In 1917, Mas­sa­chu­setts manufacturers still believed that cotton dust might spread contagious diseases, but they did not believe that the dust alone caused disease.45 Instead, employers developed what Daniel Berman calls a business-­controlled “compensation-­safety apparatus,” where corporations influenced every­thing from compensation and workplace inspections, to research and occupational health, to safety education.46 Early twentieth-­century compensation had been designed to be “no fault,” making it very difficult for workers to prove the existence of industrial diseases. While the industrial boom had sparked interest in both urban reform and the occupation-­disease relationship, at the same time, the forces of that growth and wealth creation could not be impeded. In Britain, rising urban pollution levels and high disease rates focused Lancashire MOsH attention on dust in public environments. By 1883, Lancashire had the highest death rates from respiratory disease of any county in E ­ ngland and Wales, due in part to pollution from coal burning in homes and factories.47 Dirt and coal dust w ­ ere everywhere. By 1910, many MOsH w ­ ere advising cleaning regimes for use in homes and public buildings, particularly schools. Dry sweeping was to be avoided. Instead, floors should be sprinkled with disinfectant, and furniture and ledges wiped with “a cloth moistened with carbolacene” or other disinfectant.48 Cleanliness was not the priority; rather, it was to remove

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the dust that could transmit contagious diseases.49 Indeed, working-­class Lancashire ­women accepted cleanliness; they simply strug­gled with the dust and dirt.50 Living in such environments, textile workers ­were unlikely to view cotton dust as a distinctive health hazard, while local MOsH had multiple dusty environments to address. In ­these towns, community air pollution became a greater priority than workplace air pollutants. However, parliamentary and scientific interest in occupationally specific dusts was gradually increasing. In 1908, Thomas Oliver’s Diseases of Occupation identified byssinosis to be a disease of occupation.51 That same year, Dr. Edgar Collis acknowledged the work of successive Blackburn MOsH in identifying a pattern of ill-­health among ­those working in the dustiest parts of the mills. The Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives asked Collis to investigate the respiratory health of their members.52 He examined 126 male cardroom workers from Blackburn. Of t­ hese, 98 workers, or 78 ­percent, ­either complained about or w ­ ere found to suffer from asthma. Moreover, few older men remained in the industry, having left in their forties ­because of respiratory prob­lems caused by cotton dust. Collis concluded that cotton dust needed to be removed from the cardroom to protect workers’ health.53 Yet while dust had been scientifically identified as an in­de­pen­dent disease agent, it quickly became entangled in po­liti­cal and economic debates. In response to Collis’s report, factory inspectors required manufacturers to install exhaust ventilation or dust extractors to remove dust and threatened prosecution for noncompliance. At a cost of approximately £1,500 per mill, employers argued that the technical costs ­were prohibitive and that existing manufacturing pro­cesses w ­ ere safe.54 Upon investigation, the superintendent inspector for the northwestern division found the new dust extractor’s effect on air quality to be no dif­fer­ent from the old ones. The only difference was that the trade ­unions preferred the new ones.55 Thus, Collis’s research made ­little impact. Interest in the cotton-­dust hazard was short-­lived. By 1914, Lancashire textile employers had secured medical approval for their existing dust extractors. Dr. E. S. Reynolds, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Manchester, argued that “practically all mills are fitted with dust-­removing apparatus in accordance with Home Office ­orders, and the improvement effected in the air of cardrooms may be perceived in old mills as well as in the new ones.” More impor­tant, “[b]adly ventilated living and sleeping rooms may have as much to do with the state of his health as unsatisfactorily ventilated workrooms. . . . ​In considering industrial diseases, it is essential to take into consideration the ­whole environment, including the local meteorological conditions, the impurity of the atmosphere, and social conditions such as housing, rate of wages, and

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the question of alcoholism.”56 The cause of respiratory prob­lems had been deflected from the workplace to the city environment and to individual be­hav­ ior. As Dr. Henry Pilkington noted in 1915, inhaling cotton dust remained merely “irritating.”57 It was not a health risk. The corollary ­factors of respiratory disease surpassed the causal ones. While the workplace ecological system had extended into the public sphere through dust, the po­liti­cal, medical, and economic differentiation between the c­ auses of ill-­health prevented cotton dust from becoming a medical, po­liti­cal, or social concern. The Ambiguity Surrounding Byssinosis

Mobilization for the ­Great War stimulated po­liti­cal and scientific interest in relationships between health and work. A ­ fter the war, both the American and British governments placed all pneumoconioses, or occupationally caused restrictive lung diseases, on the list of diseases requiring greater research. Individual doctors in both countries identified cases of byssinosis. Yet ­there ­were no permanent, adequate reforms of shop-­floor practices. For the rest of the ­century, proof of disease causation remained controversial, and government prioritized the needs of industry. Moreover, the po­liti­cal and industrial behavioral patterns established during the interwar years remained in place for de­cades. For Mas­sa­chu­setts, the 1920s proved to be a de­cade of significant change, both in economics and in public understandings of health. While by 1914, Mas­ sa­chu­setts workers w ­ ere legally protected from the dangers of long hours and unsanitary factories to an extent not found in other industrialized states, a­ fter the war, chronic diseases that could affect anyone became the priority, particularly cancer and heart disease. Chronic industrial diseases fell outside the new public health remit. At the same time that the New ­England cotton industry was migrating south, the Mas­sa­chu­setts Department of Public Health was reshaping its efforts around disease being both a social and a biological phenomenon. While it is unclear how the department arrived at that theory, it was even less clear ­whether the department felt competent to actually exercise its newfound authority.58 The department frequently substituted the phrase “public hygiene” for “public health,” as the word “hygiene” placed the burden of responsibility on individuals to change personal be­hav­ior in order to prevent disease. When combining this changing understanding of public health and disease with the industrial decline, it is far from surprising that state officials and doctors ignored occupational dusts. Instead, a­ fter the ­Great War, the federal government and trade ­unions took up the cause of industrial health. During the 1920s the federal government increasingly investigated occupational health concerns. In 1929 the U.S. Department of L ­ abor reported how mill

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nurses discovered that respiratory diseases ­were the leading cause of workdays lost due to illness, with northern mill workers suffering more than their southern counter­parts. This finding not only related to New E ­ ngland’s lengthier industrial history but also to southern factories being better ventilated than northern mills, due in part to less need for manmade heat. Yet ­these findings ­were quickly qualified when respiratory diseases ­were found to be the main cause of workers’ absence in other industries.59 Nevertheless, in 1920s Mas­sa­chu­setts, the growing public interest in chronic diseases would have supported greater state interest and intervention in the workplace. Instead, the chronically ill ­were left in the hands of private medical prac­ti­tion­ers, with the textile trade ­unions increasingly shouldering the mantle for industrial health reform. Despite their falling membership—­with the largest u ­ nion, the UTW, g­ oing from 104,900 members in 1920 to just 30,000 in both 1924 and 193060—­the u ­ nions regularly campaigned for the health of their members. In 1929, the American Federation of Textile Operatives, a New E ­ ngland ­union comprising mostly skilled workers, called for improvements to the unhealthful and unsanitary conditions in mills (particularly in relation to air quality), the passage of child ­labor laws, a forty-­eight-­hour work week, and reforms to worker-­compensation legislation.61 However, both declining membership and a declining industry minimized their impact. It was the following de­cade before interest in occupational dust hazards resurfaced. Around the same time, Britain was selectively investigating textile workers’ health. In 1922 the BMJ identified what became known as mule-­spinners’ cancer, or scrotal cancer.62 In contrast, in 1926 Dr.  E.  L. Middleton, the medical inspector of factories, argued that the cotton dust prob­lem in cardrooms had been resolved by earlier technological investments and ventilation improvements.63 When the following year, the Manchester MOH Dr.  William Francis Dearden outlined all the health prob­lems attributable to textile work, he agreed that “in most Lancashire card-­rooms the dust prob­lem is being satisfactorily dealt with.”64 Manufacturers also agreed, claiming that the living environment remained the primary locus of ill-­health.65 Without a robust call for reform, and reflecting the vague Mas­sa­chu­setts factory legislation, British doctors and politicians concluded that “the nature of the pro­cess makes it practicable exhaust appliances ­shall be provided and maintained. . . .”66 Nevertheless, interest in both pneumoconiosis and workers’ welfare was increasing. From the end of the First World War, left-­wing doctors and medical scientists argued that the total health of the individual was central to the total health of society, within which disease prevention was central,67 necessitating occupational health reforms. It was only a ­matter of time before the cotton dust-­disease relationship came ­under greater scientific scrutiny.

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In the late 1920s, u ­ nder the aegis of the MRC, which initiated and or­ga­nized all new research in the basic medical sciences,68 Dr. A. Bradford Hill conducted the world’s first epidemiological study of byssinosis. Hill examined cardroom workers and identified that preparatory workers suffered more from respiratory diseases than did the general population. Cotton dust was the leading contributor. Hill was also the first doctor to recognize that female operatives’ health was ­ omen worked farther than men also at risk from cotton dust.69 ­Because most w from the carding machines where the dust initiated, Hill hypothesized that ­either considerably less dust was needed to impair breathing than had been previously thought or that floating fibers posed a hazard. However, ­because most of the w ­ omen who suffered severe respiratory prob­lems ­were aged between fifty and fifty-­nine, Hill concluded that their ill-­health was caused by poor mill conditions from when they had been young operatives rather than by current cardroom conditions. Nevertheless, Hill had confirmed that cotton-­dust inhalation did indeed cause a specific respiratory disease. Shortly thereafter, the government designed a three-­stage model explaining how cotton-­dust inhalation affected health. This 1932 model remained in use for de­cades and included temporary irritation (which was reversible), temporary disablement or incapacity, and total disablement or incapacity.70 Another impor­tant conclusion was that, unlike victims of asthma or emphysema, mill workers had difficulty only when breathing in and not when breathing out. Initially, scientists thought this would make it feasible to separate byssinosis from other respiratory prob­lems and the cotton-­dust hazard from that of other dust hazards. However, a subsequent scientific review of Hill’s x-­ray films identified chronic bronchitis and emphysema, not byssinosis.71 ­Because byssinosis sufferers did not exhibit any specific radiographic change in their lungs, they could not be distinguished from bronchitis sufferers.72 Despite the lack of scientific consensus about byssinosis, the 1930s became the de­cade of scientific research into the cotton-­dust hazard. During the 1930s at Manchester University, the MRC conducted a series of controversial studies on the allergens found in cotton dust, which hindered, rather than advanced, the case for byssinosis compensation.73 The MRC was reluctant to use statistical methods,74 and in 1937, they published a study that found fewer cases of respiratory diseases among both male and female preparatory workers than had Hill’s study.75 This raised the ele­ment of doubt about both disease prevalence and causation. Consequently, the study allowed the Departmental Committee on Compensation to conclude in 1939 that, similar to Hill’s conclusion a de­cade earlier, cardroom conditions had been much improved since Collis’s report. The committee also rejected the Cardroom Workers

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Amalgamated Union’s ongoing requests for disease recognition and compensation. Set within the context of the interwar depression and industrial decline, the government had no reason to act. While cotton dust was firmly on the British medical and po­liti­cal stage, the lack of scientific consensus separated it from both public health debates and debates about social medicine, despite the potential overlap. The doctors interested in social medicine formally or­ga­nized as the Social Medical Association (SMA) in 1930. Their arguments about disease prevention and social responsibility influenced debates about the formation of the NHS. However, the NHS’s emphasis on curative rather than preventive medicine and the omission of occupational health from its initial remit reflects the government’s sustained reluctance to intervene in industry. Amer­i­ca observed the British scientific studies and social value debates. Following the 1932 report, a federal investigation sought to test the Lancashire findings in Amer­i­ca. ­Under the auspices of public health, Dr. J. J. Bloomfield and Dr. W. C. Dreessen examined the effects of cotton-­dust exposure on operatives in one South Carolina mill. Issuing their findings in two public health bulletins published in 1933, they concluded that cardroom workers’ breathing was no worse than that of spinners or weavers; that t­hose who complained of respiratory prob­lems, including tightness of the chest, demonstrated no respiratory abnormality in x-­rays; and that while cardroom hands had more long-­term absences than other mill-­workers due to illness, it was not b ­ ecause of respiratory prob­ lems. Moreover, cardroom hands’ frequent short-­ term absences due to respiratory illness provided “spare hands a chance to work.”76 In sum, cotton dust had “no adverse effect on health.”77 The only distinction between cotton dust inhalation and other respiratory diseases was the cause, not the clinical results.78 Therefore, if byssinosis could be easily masked by other respiratory diseases and if it did not appear on X-­rays, doctors had to combine medical examinations with a patient’s work history to secure a diagnosis. Even then, not all who w ­ ere afflicted with the disease displayed the classic symptoms.79 This ongoing medical ambiguity about disease causation delayed disease recognition, workplace reform, and compensation. The federal government did not have sufficient scientific evidence to require industrial reform or to provide compensation for ill workers. Nevertheless, occupational diseases remained within the federal public health framework, thus implying, if not securing, the importance of prevention. Indeed, American scientific and po­liti­cal interest in the aerial hazards caused by dusts was growing. In 1935, a U.S. Department of L ­ abor investiga­ omen in Industry, concluded that dust posed tion, The Health and Safety of W a significant respiratory hazard to workers, although it did not specify “occupa-

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tional dust.” It also concluded that removing dust from workplaces simply required regular cleaning, which would save both ­labor and machines.80 Despite the obvious oversight, the 1930s became somewhat of an American scientific watershed for recognizing how par­tic­ul­ar dusts, including silica and asbestos, caused specific respiratory hazards. Franklin Roo­se­velt’s 1935 Social Security Act made federal funds available for ­every state board of health to establish an industrial hygiene division, creating the potential for the recognition and reform of occupationally specific diseases. Science does not always result in reform, however, so in the reputedly “progressive” state of Mas­sa­chu­setts, this potential was not realized. Prior to 1935, Mas­sa­chu­setts and New York w ­ ere the only states that had industrial hygiene units within their l­ abor departments, although five other state health departments conducted limited hygiene activities (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Mary­land, and Mississippi).81 The Mas­sa­chu­setts industrial hygiene division employed no medical personnel and only one engineer.82 It operated on the premise that, for scientific prevention to be introduced, identification of disease causation was necessary.83 Noncontagious diseases like byssinosis ­were controversial ­because causation was often ambiguous; thus, they did not fit the Mas­sa­chu­setts “progressive” agenda. Indeed, lifestyle choices, particularly smoking, and the home environment ­were still considered the dominant causal ­factors of respiratory disease. Therefore, the state concluded that the 1909 factory legislation did not need revision, b ­ ecause “all gases, vapors, dust or other impurities injurious to health . . . ​so far as practicable, [­shall] be rendered harmless.”84 The Social Security Act’s potential had not been realized. When ambiguity about both aerial hazards and their causation are considered alongside in­effec­tive federal and state legislation, a partisan social reform movement, industrial decline, and a national depression, state inaction to cotton dust hazards is unsurprising. Yet, despite the state po­liti­cal and economic context, some Mas­sa­chu­setts cotton-­town physicians identified cases of byssinosis. During the 1930s Dr. H. Leonard Bolen, a physician at Fall River General Hospital, conducted a long-­ term study of a male patient who had worked in a cardroom for about ten years by 1930. The patient presented at the hospital with classic symptoms of byssinosis, including dyspnea, an unproductive cough that he had believed to be bronchitis, and a tendency to rapidly become out of breath. Bolen studied the patient and the vari­ous treatments given over the course of the next ten years, combining the patient’s occupational history with x-­ray films, which revealed a gradual mottling throughout the lungs. Diagnosis was a slow pro­cess, and Bolen’s conclusions shifted from bronchitis to lung abscess to bronchiectasis and, lastly, to byssinosis. Patient treatments included every­thing from cough

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mixtures to tonsillectomies to having his turbinates removed, and from expectorant drugs to iodides to ammonium chloride. Yet what brought most relief to the patient was having his head low with his hands touching the floor, ­because this position facilitated drainage from the lungs. The x-­ray examination of another patient who had worked in vari­ous mill departments, combined with his work history, secured a second byssinosis diagnosis. Bolen’s x-­rays had proven what the 1932 British study had not: when x-­rays ­were repeated over a long period of time, byssinosis was visibly distinguishable from other respiratory diseases. Yet, when in 1943, some of Bolen’s x-­rays w ­ ere published in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, his findings secured l­ ittle po­liti­ cal, medical, or local interest. Moreover, despite acknowledging that byssinosis was pres­ent in New ­England and had been for years, Bolen concluded that industrial dust extraction was improving. Suffering workers should simply leave the industry.85 Bolen did not suggest further industrial reform or compensation for a changing industry, despite the high probability that other Mas­sa­chu­setts workers also suffered from byssinosis. Bolen had reached conclusions similar to ­those of M. F. Trice, an industrial hygienist for the North Carolina Department of Health and the State Industrial Commission. Building on the state’s work on asbestos-­and silica-­related diseases in the 1930s, Trice and his colleagues investigated the cotton-­dust prob­lem, with Trice sounding the alarm. A proactive campaigner for improving working environments, Trice even managed to get an article on “cardroom fever” into the employers’ journal Textile World in 1940.86 Although Trice described the symptoms of byssinosis, the editor would not allow him to use the word.87 Being an industrial hygienist, Trice was more concerned with prevention than compensation. He argued for better ventilation, vacuum strippers, and grinders to reduce the dust on machines, and the greater use of vacuum cleaners throughout the mills.88 He did not mention compensating the victims. Trice and Bolen ­were two of the first American scientists to recognize that byssinosis was an American prob­lem. However, in Mas­sa­chu­setts, without an ardent individual like Trice in the industrial hygiene department, dust did not make the po­liti­cal agenda. Si­mul­ta­neously, though Trice lacked the medical authority to gain federal attention, neither did he seek it. Trice was interested only in local issues.89 For now, byssinosis remained a regional industrial disease. This limitation inhibited federal recognition, industrial reform, and compensation for victims. During World War II, the federal government introduced productivity-­ motivated policies designed to improve workers’ health and safety. They did not intend for occupational health to become institutionalized within the

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federal government. Instead, state and local agencies ­were to remain responsible for occupational health activities. By the end of the war, northern and southern state officials, industrial hygienists, and many public health doctors all agreed that cotton dust posed a probable respiratory health hazard. While politicians and doctors ­were aware of the British byssinosis research, throughout Amer­i­ca, the exact pre­sen­ta­tion of the disease and diagnostic certainty remained contentious.90 Nevertheless, ­there ­were steps ­toward eventual disease recognition and, despite industrial decline, New ­England remained at the forefront of postwar byssinosis research. ­After North and South Carolina mill workers repeatedly complained about the hot, humid, dust-­laden mill atmosphere, the two proactive state boards of health sought federal guidance, with an initial idea of drafting health and safety codes for the textile industry. In 1944, Verne Zimmer, director of the Division of ­Labor Standards at the U.S. Department of ­Labor, asked Philip Drinker at the Harvard School of Public Health to conduct a “survey of atmospheric conditions in cotton textile mills.”91 Drinker was a chemical engineer turned industrial hygienist, whose previous research included evaluating respiratory protection, sampling for air contaminants, and designing ventilation controls. While scientifically, he was an ideal candidate for the job, all his earlier research had concluded that cotton dust did not pose a serious health risk to workers.92 Drinker began his new studies on the production and control of lint and dust in the cotton mills of the Nashua Manufacturing Com­pany in New Hampshire. He also consulted the New ­England textile machinery firm the Saco Lowell Shops, who recognized the market potential of the study. Both firms funded Drinkers’ research. ­Because the Nashua Com­pany had much to lose if Drinker revealed that the air pollutants in cotton mills caused an occupationally specific disease, to secure their participation and funding Drinker emphasized to them that his Cotton Dust Proj­ect was an engineering study rather than a medical one. The aim, he told them, was to improve general working conditions and the quality of the goods manufactured. From the start, Drinker made it clear that he did not perceive the existence of any health hazards in the textile industry.93 Unsurprisingly, Drinker’s final report concluded that mill fever was not a serious prob­lem and was preventable with s­ imple dust controls.94 However, much of the proj­ect’s research had been conducted by Leslie Silverman, a mechanical engineer and industrial hygienist who was interested in both the national and international context of cotton dust. Silverman had visited northern and southern mills and traveled to the Shirley Institute in Manchester, ­England. Despite witnessing the dust levels throughout Amer­i­ca’s mills, to assuage the study’s sponsors, Silverman revised the final proj­ect report published in Heating and

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Ventilation in 1949 to minimize the dust hazard.95 Yet his concluding article about the Harvard Cotton Dust Proj­ect, published in 1950, revealed that Silverman was convinced that byssinosis was an American prob­lem. Indeed, during the course of the Harvard proj­ect, ­after studying the degree of dust exposure needed to cause byssinosis and the f­ actors surrounding dust production, which ­were identified in the USPHS’s 1947 review of existing lit­er­a­ture on cotton dust,96 all researchers except Drinker acknowledged that byssinosis was an American prob­lem. However, the New ­England proj­ect had ended. Moreover, the engineers and academics involved ­were more interested in research than industrial reform. Their research findings ­were not disseminated to the medical profession, and no individual instigated a vigorous campaign for awareness, reform, or compensation. Science had identified a potentially significant aerial health hazard but not the full causal profile. Throughout the Harvard study, or­ga­nized l­abor had been skeptical about researcher bias, b ­ ecause northern industry had financed the research. They w ­ ere further disillusioned when mill conditions did not improve a­ fter the study. The engineers and industrial hygienists had abandoned the workers, just as the doctors had before them. For their part, postwar American society was more interested in the delivery of health care and the po­liti­cal issues surrounding the Cold War and communism than they ­were about the health of its workers.97 Without a loud, collaborative voice for reform, American byssinosis victims suffered alone. In contrast to the American situation, the demands of the World War II economy forced the British government to devote more attention to working conditions and compensation for industrial hazards. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale have highlighted how it was the trade ­union efforts that fi­nally led the British government to introduce a limited byssinosis compensation scheme in 1941.98 Eligible male applicants needed to have worked twenty or more years in the cardroom with their breathing having become permanently disabled. Even then, compensation was minimal. W ­ omen ­were excluded from the scheme b ­ ecause they ­were not believed to be afflicted with the disease. Between 1942 and 1947 only thirty-­nine Lancashire operatives out of well over twenty thousand cardroom workers ­were diagnosed with byssinosis.99 ­These figures only reinforced to government officials and doctors how byssinosis was in marked decline in Lancashire.100 And only then was compensation introduced.101 The burden of proof remained with the victim, however, and remained contentious. ­After World War II both British and American byssinosis research was influenced by a physician at Manchester University, Dr. Richard Schilling. U ­ ntil the early 1950s, a major obstacle in identifying cases of byssinosis had been the lack

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of radiographic change in the lungs, which made it impossible to distinguish byssinosis sufferers from bronchitics.102 Schilling demonstrated how the symptoms of byssinosis and bronchitis ­were dissimilar in the early stages of disease, with similarities found only in the ­later stages, which was often when the ill worker first visited his or her doctor. His methodology comprised researching live, rather than deceased, victims. He visited the mills, interviewed workers, and conducted detailed investigations—­all ­things the British government had not done. Schilling demonstrated that carding engines, although cleaned by modern methods, remained a core source of the disease.103 Methods of dust extraction, local exhaust ventilation and filters, and dust removal via air-­washing w ­ ere all in­effec­tive; so ­were the 1944 recommendations by the Joint Advisory Committee of the Cotton Industry.104 Schilling also found that not only was the air quality in the mills far worse than the government had thus far reported, but also that many sick workers ­were not receiving compensation. Schilling’s evidence was irrefutable and secured the widening of the compensation par­ameters to include ­women, but only ­after the new national insurance benefits of 1948. Over the next few de­cades, the cotton trade ­unions secured compensation rights for operatives employed in other parts of the mill. During the 1950s and 1960s, over four thousand workers w ­ ere diagnosed with the disease,105 with compensation superseding industrial reform. In 1964, cotton machinery was similar to that from fifty years earlier. The Industrial Health Advisory Committee Report admitted that “Although modern dust suppression devices are effective in reducing total dust concentrations, they are not effective in reducing concentrations of fine dust particles, which are thought to be the cause of byssinosis.”106 No solution to the dust was ever found, although in a declining industry, any efforts in this area are questionable. It was not u ­ ntil the early 1970s that compensation was extended to all affected workers in Britain, despite weavers having argued at their 1966 annual conference that they too suffered from byssinosis.107 For politicians and industrialists, compensation for damaged bodies was preferable to facing industrial realities. ­After Drinker’s Cotton Dust Proj­ect, American byssinosis research lulled before it became entangled within the broader social-­reform movement of the 1960s. The 1950s pause stemmed partly from the efforts of Liberty Mutual, the Boston-­based insurer who did not want to be part of ­either piecing together the evidence of byssinosis, identifying the prob­lem, or dealing with ill workers.108 Let down by medicine, science, and compensation mechanisms, and led by the TWUA research director, the economist George Perkel, the textile trade u ­ nions now shouldered the mantle for disease recognition. It was the 1970s, however, before the textile ­unions invited a physician or industrial hygienist to interpret

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science from ­labor’s viewpoint.109 ­Until then, science and ­labor maintained separate reform campaigns. The scientific research into byssinosis grew rapidly ­after Schilling identified byssinosis to be an international prob­lem. In 1961, along with C. B. McKerrow, Schilling published the results of a pi­lot study conducted at two American cotton mills. Dust concentrations around the carding machines ­were found to be much lower than ­those in En­glish mills spinning similar types of cotton,110 but byssinosis was pres­ent in Amer­ic­ a. This post-­ World War I shift of byssinosis research from the public health arena to industrial medicine, combined with the 1960s social-­reform movement, helped secure American recognition of byssinosis. McKerrow and Schilling’s findings w ­ ere reinforced by the Dutch physician, Arend Bouhuys, particularly the research he performed while at Yale University in Connecticut. By 1969, Bouhuys’ studies into the etiology of byssinosis had been published in well-­respected journals and w ­ ere deemed uncontroversial. While his research secured American acknowledgement of byssinosis, the timing is indicative; earlier byssinosis studies had been largely ignored, but Bouhuys’ work coincided with widespread social reform. Alongside civil rights, po­liti­cal activism and social reform pressures forced the federal government to address the full remit of workplace health and safety. They were aided by the largest American cotton-­ ­ manufacturing firm Burlington Mills, which in 1969 allowed scientific investigators into its North Carolina mills to conduct the first large-­scale American epidemiological study of byssinosis. Burlington even publicly acknowledged that byssinosis was an occupational disease pres­ent in its mills.111 Workers’ health was once again deemed good business. Nevertheless, Burlington acted alone. Despite the 1969 federal legislation providing compensation to byssinosis sufferers, the burden of proof for the disease’s causation remained with the victims. The textile trade press quickly reasserted the ele­ment of doubt surrounding causation and used this to challenge the need for compensation.112 Robert Armstrong, public relations director for the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, argued that the ele­ ment of diagnostic doubt meant that manufacturers did not “want to be taken in by ­people who think it’s [compensation] an easy way to get rich.”113 Textile manufacturers continued to oppose medical science and federal regulation. Indeed, in 1972, the textile industry reportedly gave more money to Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign than did any other industry, simply b ­ ecause on a campaign visit to Charlotte, North Carolina, Nixon had promised that the newly created federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would not propose any “highly controversial standards, i.e., cotton dust.”114 They did not.

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In both Britain and Amer­i­ca, it was the repeated voices of medicine and or­ga­nized ­labor that contributed to the formal recognition of byssinosis, which separated it from other respiratory diseases and proved it was caused by cotton dust alone. While it is impossible to say ­whether disease recognition could have been secured earlier if medicine, science, engineering, and l­ abor had united, previous chapters have certainly suggested that when many voices are united to reform environments, change may happen. However, reform agendas w ­ ere separate from compensation. Compensation for byssinosis victims would remain contentious for the rest of the c­ entury, with sufferers in both countries struggling to be heard. “I Give Them an Honest Day’s Work. But I D ­ idn’t Figure on Giving Them My Health.” : Mill Workers and Byssinosis

Not only w ­ ere trade u ­ nions vital to the po­liti­cal campaigns for byssinosis recognition and compensation in both countries, they also raised awareness among the workers about the disease, its symptoms, and victim rights. When the British government refused to impose additional costs on a ­dying industry, ­unions helped victims take common law actions.115 American ­unions exerted pressure on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to apply existing knowledge about byssinosis while continuing research into both disease etiology and prevention.116 Alongside ­these efforts ran campaigns to educate workers. In 1976, Lacy Wright, spokesperson for the American Brown Lung Association—­a collaboration of trade u ­ nions, grass roots activists, and organizers seeking industrial reform and compensation for byssinosis victims117—­ argued before an industrial commission that “We are completely convinced that ­there has been no education among cotton mill workers as to what their rights are. They ­don’t know.”118 While Johnston and McIvor’s earlier argument about the relationship between industrial disease, relative poverty, and social exclusion applies to both countries’ byssinosis stories,119 so too was poverty a deterrent to workers’ ability to learn about byssinosis and their related rights. To try to raise awareness of the industrial dust hazard, British ­unions linked the working environment to broader air-­quality debates, hoping the associated public health agenda would transfer into the workplace.120 Instead of labeling dust an industrial hazard, the u ­ nions argued that a polluted working environment was a form of air pollution. At the 1956 UTFWA Conference, the Environmental Officer Mr. H. Bradley, JP from Darwen, announced, “This Conference notes with concern the damaging effects of air pollution, in the form of dust created in the vari­ous pro­cesses connected with cotton spinning and weaving, upon the health of the operatives employed therein.”121 Only four years ­after

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the G ­ reat Smog of London had made air pollution a public and po­liti­cal priority, the textile ­unions had firmly embedded the associated public rhe­toric into their occupational campaigns. They applied the 1956 Clean Air Act, which sought to reduce urban smoke pollution, to the internal factory environment. The stakes ­were higher with byssinosis than with earlier health campaigns surrounding ventilation, heat, and humidity ­because of the potential for compensation. Nevertheless, despite growing public awareness about the detrimental effects of polluted air on ­human health, the burden of proof remained with the victim to prove disease causation rather than with the employer to prove air-­quality standards had been met. To raise disease awareness among operatives and to increase early diagnosis, the AWA distributed circulars to local groups that provided information about the symptoms of byssinosis. They urged ill workers to visit their doctors to secure a referral for a byssinosis diagnosis.122 Nevertheless, Lewis Wright, General Secretary of the AWA, bemoaned the ongoing difficulties in obtaining a byssinosis diagnosis, b ­ ecause “Respiratory diseases, such as Asthma and Bronchitis are not uncommon amongst our members, and it is sometimes difficult to prove that their condition arises from their employment.”123 Integrating indoor and outdoor air pollution campaigns secured ­little success due to the difficulties surrounding disease identification and proof of causation. Despite ­union efforts, operatives’ awareness of the biomedical and legislative developments surrounding dust inhalation or even around the term “byssinosis” was marginal at best. Few workers realized, u ­ ntil too late, that cotton dust could permanently damage their lungs. Interviews with female Lancashire operatives who worked in vari­ous mill departments between the 1930s and 1980s and who suffered from byssinosis reveal the sentiment that “If anyone would have told me this would happen, I w ­ ouldn’t have gone in.”124 They had “Never heard the word [byssinosis], never heard the word til years a­ fter come out of t’mill.”125 “We w ­ ere never told anything like that. You never dreamt of work hazards.”126 Instead, the British discourse of byssinosis was predominantly male, comprising trade ­union members, medics, and government officials.127 It did not include victims. Although compensation became available ­later in Amer­i­ca than in Britain, New E ­ ngland mill workers’ oral history collections reveal varied memories about dust.128 Lowell operative Valentine Chartrand, who spent over twenty years in the mills from World War I, recalled, “­Because in the winter the win­dows are all closed, you know? And all you get is that lint flying around. And you breathe a lot of that. And I always had a feeling that ­wasn’t good for your lungs. . . .”129 Sydney Muskowitz who entered the Lowell mills in 1937, remembered how,

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­because of the dust, thirty years l­ater, “I ­couldn’t breathe, getting dizzy. Pains in the chest. . . . ​I believe it was the heat and the dust that irritated my heart.”130 Although interviewed in the 1980s, t­ hese operatives ­were unaware of the term “byssinosis,” but they clearly remembered the dust and its h ­ uman impact. The same was true in the southern industry. Pearl Hartgrove, who had worked in the cotton textile mills of Monroe County, North Carolina, since the age of nine in 1921, was suffering from byssinosis in the 1950s. She was never told that she had the disease or that her respiratory prob­lems ­were caused by work. It was only ­after leaving the mills in 1975 and attending a screening clinic for textile workers that Hartgrove learned she had byssinosis and that compensation was available.131 Similarly, Willie Rappe spent over fifty years working in the Carolina textile mills. By 1975, he strug­gled to breathe and was diagnosed with byssinosis. ­Until that point he had been unaware of the disease, believing he gave “them an honest day’s work. But I d ­ idn’t figure on giving them my health.” By 1976, only thirty-­eight North Carolina victims of byssinosis had been awarded compensation by the State Industrial Commission, while South Carolina made its first brown lung award in 1975. Despite the lack of compensation, victims actively demonstrated for industrial reform, regulation, and compensation so that “the young ones as is still in the mills not to come out in the condition we are.”132 In 1978 they fi­nally secured federal attention. President Jimmy Car­ter’s administration introduced the most comprehensive and strictest dust-­ hygiene standards of any country in the world, alongside the medical surveillance of workers at risk.133 Let down by politics, medicine, and society, ill workers had only two options: they could leave the industry or continue working. In both countries, many chose the latter and tried to manage their respiratory symptoms using only their personal understandings of health. Many of their coping strategies ­were similar to t­ hose used for illnesses described in the earlier chapters. Lancashire workers ate tripe, the edible lining of an animal’s stomach, finding that the small hairs on the tripe helped to clear the cotton dust from the esophagus. Tripe shops remained plentiful across Lancashire into the 1960s. In both regions, operatives switched to firms where conditions ­were better or left the industry. They drank gin and other liquors or patent medicines to quiet their coughing. Other times, they sought to clear the cotton dust from their airways by coughing and spitting, and if they needed to induce coughing, operatives would chew tobacco.134 To middle-­class observers, this was a disgusting habit, particularly among ­women. They argued that spitting spread diseases, while mill man­ag­ers worried about tobacco stains on the cloth. Yet to workers, spitting served a practical, preventive health function. Lastly, some operatives used respirators or masks of vari­ous

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types.135 ­These ­were usually cheap, disposable, and, as Richard Schilling discovered, of l­ittle effect.136 They w ­ ere also optional, uncomfortable, and unsightly, and few workers wore them except the strippers and grinders.137 The piecework system, tradition, poverty, the lack of sufficient paid time to clean, and—­for ­women in particular—­the priority of the f­amily further hampered laborers’ efforts to work safely, making them choose between time and money.138 In addition, operatives had to choose between employment now and disease in the ­future.139 When, in the 1960s, the Harvard environmental physiologist Joseph Brain visited the North Carolina Mills to research the impact the working environment had on operatives’ health, he remembered how some operatives told him, “I know ­these [dust] exposures are bad for me, but I need the work. I have ­children. I have to feed my kids. And I’d rather breathe this dust and have lung disease twenty years from now than lose my job.”140 Workers’ disease awareness and their responses clearly varied depending on individual experience, what they ­were told and by whom, and personal priorities.141 At the same time, the availability of compensation suggests that what historian Keith Wailoo calls the “commodification” of the working-­class body is also relevant.142 Yet the byssinosis story is more complicated. Although workers who sought compensation used their diseased body as a commodity, b ­ ecause it had a cash value, the delay in byssinosis symptoms and the resulting confusion in identifying the disease meant that most workers sought compensation only a­ fter they had left the mill or when their disability was such that they could no longer work. Most operatives kept working while they could, e­ ither b ­ ecause they perceived the risks of not working as greater than ­those of gaining a potential disability in the ­future143 or b ­ ecause they ­were unsure what other job they could do. When they fi­nally sought compensation, they ­were not trying to get rich; they ­were merely seeking to get by—­just as they had while working. Conclusion

While knowledge about the health hazards attributable to cotton-­dust inhalation was created and distributed by the same range of actors as the knowledge about the hazards of tuberculosis, ventilation, and temperature, byssinosis became a regional prob­lem rather than a public health concern. While urban dust and air pollution became an identified health risk, urban dust affected every­one. Cotton dust was an industrial, working-­class phenomenon that could be separated from more public dusts. The separation of causal disease sites was impossible for contagious diseases, ventilation, and internal climate, b ­ ecause the associated health hazards ­were pres­ent in all buildings. The multiple scientific, medical, po­liti­cal, and social understandings of dust and disease causa-

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tion, along with the similar symptoms of several respiratory illnesses, contributed to a delay in both the identification of, and workers’ knowledge about, the industrial hazard. If an injured worker does not recognize the health hazard, then he is dependent on medical and po­liti­cal professionals to identify it, on engineers to design a solution, and on society to educate him. This effectively returns us to a question posed at the start of this chapter: How much responsibility for health w ­ ill society assume? The multiple understandings of byssinosis, its ­causes, and its effects, in addition to the contested nature of compensation, suggest that occupationally specific diseases ­will always strug­gle for recognition when placed alongside diseases or health risks found in both working and living environments. Indeed, such debates are currently being played out in the developing world, where a lack of money, medical resources, and po­liti­ cal ­will limit potential dust-­control mea­sures.

Chapter 6

“The Noise ­Were Horrendous” The Ignored Industrial Hazard

In July 1948 the New York State Court of Appeals deci­ded in f­ avor of the claimant in Slawinski v. J. H. Williams and Co., toolmakers, for hearing loss caused by the industrial noise the claimant endured while still actively employed at the com­pany. Not only did the court recognize hearing loss due to industrial noise as an occupational disease, but it also confirmed that an occupational disease could hold compensable disability, even without any loss of earnings.1 For American workers, this was a landmark ruling. The case spurred other states and employers to take mea­sures to try to prevent or minimize occupational hearing loss in order to limit potential compensation claims, which w ­ ere believed to damage the national economy; protecting workers was not the priority. It was 1963 before the federal government mandated American employers to assess and monitor noise levels in the workplace and to protect their employees from excessive noise exposure. Related compensation, however, remained ­under state jurisdiction. In 2003 former Lancashire weavers in Burnley and Pendle received nearly £40,000 in compensation for hearing loss caused by occupational noise from the insurance companies of insolvent textile firms.2 Yet in 2007 a Nottingham High Court judge rejected claims from seven former textile workers that they had been deafened by the machines at the nearby Coats Viyella and Courtaulds factories. The operatives’ ­lawyers had argued that the employers had breached the 1959 and 1961 Factories Acts, which required employers to make the workplace safe as far as reasonably pos­si­ble, including protecting workers’ ears from noise damage. The employers ­were also allegedly in breach of the 1989 Noise at Work Regulations, which set maximum noise exposure limits at 85 and 90

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decibels. Darren Smith, the l­ awyer representing Courtaulds Textiles, responded that a win would have “opened the floodgates for thousands of claimants.” Indeed, more than seven hundred other claims ­were riding on the judge’s decision.3 The judge ruled that the risk of damage to hearing was so small that t­ here was no breach of employer duty to safeguard workers. For solvent companies, liability took pre­ce­dence over workers’ well-­being. Moreover, as in Amer­ic­ a, members of the judiciary—­rather than medics or victims—­were increasingly taking a central role in defining occupational hazards. Anyone who visits the working replica of an early textile factory ­will at once realize how much of a prob­lem the racket was, especially in the weaving rooms. As the Lancastrian Allen Clarke observed in 1899, the din in the weaving room was “even worse than that of the spinning—­room, and in which a deaf and dumb method of communication has to be used.”4 Yet in the over one hundred fifty years of textile manufacturing in Amer­ic­ a and Britain, operatives, doctors, social reformers, and politicians did not consider industrial noise an aerial hazard. Consequently, t­ here ­were no vigorous reform or compensation campaigns, ­until ­after most of the industry had left. B ­ ecause debates surrounding the health implications of long-­term exposure to occupational noise have continued into the twenty-­first ­century, we can see hints of the peculiarity of noise-­induced health prob­lems. First, symptoms of deafness are not visibly obvious and take years to manifest, often occurring a­ fter the victim has left the industry; moreover, not all workers are equally affected by noise. Second, while hearing loss is debilitating, it is not life-­threatening. Nevertheless, deafness can hinder p ­ eople from seeking redress for life-­threatening illnesses like byssinosis and makes organ­izing victims difficult. Third, although hearing loss can lower per­for­mance levels, it does not prevent most ­people from completing the job; and, in most cases, the threshold from acute to impaired hearing is usually passed without the victim’s knowledge. Fourth, alongside contagious diseases, hearing loss can have multiple ­causes, both on and off the job. Pre-­antibiotic ear infections, for instance, certainly held greater repercussions for health and hearing than a similar infection would t­oday. Causal models for hearing disorders w ­ ere further complicated by turn-­of-­the-­twentieth-­century debates about personal susceptibility and ge­ne­tic predispositions to deafness, exposure levels, and the long latency periods before the impact of noise was identifiable.5 Lastly, hearing loss is not singular to any par­tic­u­lar industry but is a prob­lem for many, making it more difficult to place deafness on a single industry’s reform agenda. The nineteenth-­century textile factories made up the first industry in which large numbers of workers w ­ ere exposed to excessive noise in peacetime. However, a ­century ­later ­there remained no scientific or industrial consensus about what

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comprised dangerous noise levels or who was responsible for preventing the related hearing loss. Instead, industrial deafness was only sporadically debated in dif­fer­ent national, regional, local, and occupational contexts. ­There are two separate issues—­noise and hearing loss. Similar to dust and byssinosis, t­ here is a causal relationship between the two. Awareness of uncomfortably loud noise came before it was associated with hearing loss. And hearing loss was publicly recognized long before it was labeled a health concern. Hence, industrial noise provides a case when the air became impor­tant for the symptoms years before any health hazard was identified. Therefore, weavers’ deafness was entwined with three noise narratives. First was the broader social and po­liti­cal context of noise, which ­rose to importance in many western countries around 1900 and then sporadically ­until the 1970s. By this time, most western countries had introduced ­either “noise nuisance” laws or environmental legislation that incorporated noise as an issue, but neither of t­ hese necessarily targeted industrial noise.6 Noise had become associated with urbanizing industrial communities and workplaces, and similar to smoke, noise was considered a product of both residential and industrial pollution.7 Both American and British elites complained about the outside noise caused by the working classes and formed anti-­noise movements. Zoning regulations soon surrounded industrial districts and increased class divisions.8 Secondly, and concurrently, workplace noise was attributed to the improved efficiency of workers and machines.9 Industrial noise was a sign of both pro­gress and modernity. Similar to factory smoke, it represented opportunity and economic growth.10 Lastly, industrial noise was related to its impact on the ­human body, primarily in regard to hearing loss but also in regard to fatigue in certain industries, including shipbuilding, metal-­working, and cotton-­weaving.11 Although debates about noise became contentious, b ­ ecause they comprised so many dif­fer­ent national, regional, urban, and industrial priorities, the impact of occupational noise on workers’ health only occasionally entered ­ these debates. Scientists, workers, and politicians only acknowledged that deafness was a potential hazard for textile workers a­ fter industrial decline was irreversible. While earlier chapters emphasized the complex relationships between industrial illness and public health concerns, this chapter incorporates the concept of disability and revisits the importance of class. Arthur McIvor and Ronnie Johnston and Alan Derickson identified occupational deafness as part of the social legacy of ill-­health and disability among the working class in industries such as coal mining, both in Britain and Amer­i­ca.12 In textile regions, class hindered any efforts to secure attention for occupational health prob­lems. In the U.S. South, industrial deafness was ignored, but it is unclear w ­ hether it was



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ignored—­both by ­others and by mill workers themselves—­because they w ­ ere poor.13 British class divisions made hearing aids a middle-­class privilege u ­ ntil the NHS was formed, while working-­class deafness was ignored.14 Yet, if working-­ class deafness was largely overlooked in both countries, why did working-­class noise become objectionable in some situations and not in ­others? Similar to the health hazards discussed in previous chapters, the answer is entangled with debates over public health and urban air quality, the social and economic contexts of mill communities (which include perceptions of ill-­health and disability), and scientific knowledge. This chapter examines this ignored aerial hazard. It explores the forces that interacted to raise awareness of occupational deafness—­ a non-­ fatal, non-­ contagious, and non-­interruptive ­human cost of production. By first examining how the noise of cotton manufacturing became an aerial hazard, it relates industrial noise to broader social concerns about urban noise. Next, it examines how scientific interest in the relationship between workplace noise and hearing loss grew during the interwar years, focusing on why constant exposure to loud noise was classed an individual prob­lem and not a production one. Last, it addresses how industrial noise became incorporated into broader po­liti­cal, medical, and social debates in the latter half of the twentieth ­century. While, in Amer­ic­ a, industrial noise became entwined with broader environmental campaigns, in Britain, noise remained a “nuisance” and only certain “nuisances” required action. Throughout, this chapter highlights how dif­fer­ent agendas contributed to the noise rhe­toric. It reveals how medicine, science, politics, and the public combined to shape an American noise agenda that only occasionally included industrial noise. In contrast, the limited British scientific interest in industrial noise left reform to legislators, while employers successfully ignored or opposed effective noise regulation. Despite the dif­fer­ent narratives, central to both countries’ experiences ­were debates about individual versus collective experiences of both noise and its effects. Meanwhile, urban socie­ties continually strug­gled with controlling mechanical sounds, particularly t­ hose caused by the means of production. First, however, we must consider just how noisy the mills ­were in both countries. Noise is mea­sured on a logarithmic scale. Ten points’ difference on the scale equates to ten times the difference in sound energy, meaning that 100 decibels of noise has ten times more sound energy than 90 decibels. Over the last hundred years the noise level classified as dangerous to ­people’s health when ­under constant exposure for eight hours or more has varied between 80 and 95 decibels. Most scientists agree that prolonged exposure to noise levels over 85 decibels significantly impairs hearing, with less consensus at the

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­Table 6.1  Comparable Noise Levels in Decibels Busy Street Traffic Pneumatic Drill at 10 Feet Weaving Looms Airplane Propeller Noise Disco Noise (1992)

70 dB 90 dB 94–103 dB 110 dB 97 dB

Sources: P. Sabine, “The Prob­lem of Industrial Noise,” AJPH (March 1944): 265–270; F. Godlee, “Noise: Breaking the Silence,” BMJ 304 (January 11, 1992): 111; WHS, TWUA, MSS 396, Box 673, “New Federal Regulations Concerning Occupational Noise Exposure,” July 27, 1970.

damage caused by levels between 80 and 85 decibels. ­Table 6.1 contextualizes the noise levels of a weaving shed with other loud noises, clearly identifying how weavers faced a high risk of hearing loss. Further, in an industry that did not invest heavi­ly in new technologies, noise levels in 1960s New E ­ ngland and Lancashire remained similar to ­those of a ­century earlier. Identifying the Occupational Noise Prob­l em

­Today, noise is considered an air pollutant. It is a public health concern, a community concern, and an accepted contributor to environmental pollution. Popu­ lar publications, policy documents, and academic papers all assert the belief that per­sis­tent noise hinders economic and population growth. However, distinguishing between wanted and unwanted sound is difficult. Defining “unwanted sound” is subjective, making the “prob­lem” of industrial sound personal. Industrial machines might be noisy, but they provide jobs, fuel the economy, and give social benefits. Nevertheless, the relationship between industrial noise and hearing loss has been recognized for centuries. In his Diseases of Workers, first published in 1700, Ramazzini observed how the noise made by Venetian coppersmiths was so loud that the ears w ­ ere injured, deafness was inevitable, and workers’ health suffered.15 Such instances of excessive noise ­were rare in the predominantly agricultural environments of Eu­rope where much ­labor was done in the home. Even the early factories tended to be built away from city centers. Gradually, industrial activities acquired their own, more enclosed spaces and noise levels increased.16 In Amer­i­ca and Britain, industrial noise came to public attention through lit­er­a­ture, well before science identified any associated health hazard and urbanization magnified the issue. The popu­lar author and former New ­England mill girl Lucy Larcom wrote how the noise of the mills “was particularly distaste­ omen made similar comments.18 ful” and “made her head ache so.”17 Other mill w In her 1848 novel Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote about the growing



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Figure 6.1 ​Trafalgar Shed, Burnley, Lancashire, c. 19-­teens. Reprinted with the permission of the Weavers’ Triangle, Burnley.

industrial noise in Lancashire: “­Here in their seasons may be seen the country business of hay-­making, ploughing, &c., which are such pleasant mysteries for townspeople to watch; and ­here the artisan, deafened with noise of tongues and engines, may come to listen awhile to the delicious sounds of rural life.”19 In North and South, Gaskell’s mill worker, Bessy, complained about the “clashing and clanging and clattering that has wearied a’ my life long.” She dreamed about getting “away from the endless, endless noise.”20 Indeed, by the mid-­nineteenth ­century it was widely accepted that the cotton mills of both New E ­ ngland and Lancashire w ­ ere uncomfortably noisy. Yet while weavers and some social observers believed that mill noise caused worker fatigue and at least temporary hearing loss, science did not become interested in industrial noise u ­ ntil ­toward the end of the c­ entury. In the 1880s, first German, and then American and Glaswegian, studies examined ­whether certain industrial pro­cesses caused deafness.21 An 1896 German study clearly connected weavers’ deafness to industrial noise,22 but it received ­little attention in American and British textile regions. Instead, it took late-­nineteenth-­century sensitivities to the rising noise in American and Eu­ro­pean cities to place noise on the urban public health agendas. While cities have always been associated with noise, by 1900 city noise was related to par­tic­u­lar ­human be­hav­iors. First, horse-­drawn vehicles clattered down cobblestoned streets, followed by vehicles powered first by steam and ­later by internal-­combustion engines. Rising numbers of ­people and animals also

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contributed to sounds reflecting and rebounding off walls. In Amer­i­ca, the steamboat whistles on the Hudson River in New York became the first urban noise to gain widespread attention ­after middle-­class residents complained about their frequency. Noise became medicalized in 1901 when Dr. John Girdner coined the disease name “Newyorkitis.” This was a contagious disease caused by an unhealthy addiction to noisy environments, which affected p ­ eople’s moral, ­mental, and physical health.23 The city’s poor w ­ ere most affected by both “Newyorkitis” and tugboat whistles, particularly the insane and sick who ­were confined in public hospitals along the East River and on Randall and Blackwell islands. Then what started as a local issue gained federal attention. In 1907, New York congressman William S. Bennett secured the passage of the first federal bill, the Bennett Act, for the suppression of a par­tic­u­lar noise—­steamboat whistles—in all federal ­waters.24 That same year the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise was founded to remove “unnecessary noise, which first wrecks health and then is the chief torment of illness.”25 This New York case elicited po­liti­cal, medical, and social recognition of noise as a potential health hazard that crossed class bound­aries. Quickly, the anti-­noise movement spread from New York to other cities and industries. Articles about the damaging effects of noise on hearing began appearing in popu­lar journals, including Forum and ­Century,26 with a surge in articles in the late 1920s and 1930s and again in the late 1960s.27 Public health workers ­were given training manuals about the impact of noise on health.28 Yet po­liti­cal interest in controlling the sources of noise was selective. Interest in specific, individual, outdoor noises did not transfer into an interest in places of work. Noise caused by work was only of middle-­class interest when it affected, and could thus be controlled by, the ­middle class. In Britain, industrial noise quickly became tangled with factory and public health legislation. The 1848 Public Health Act had given local boards of health the authority to supervise factories. Subsequent legislation in the form of the Health of Towns Act (1853), the Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Act (1855), the Local Government Act (1858), and the Sanitary Act (1866) extended local authority powers to include inspecting factories and disciplining mill ­owners who ­were causing nuisances. Yet it was the British local authorities who regulated when and where noisy industrial activities could occur, such as in blacksmith and coppersmith shops and in textile mills. A complaint was necessary before an employer could be required to remove a nuisance, creating a repressive system.29 Yet the abatement of such nuisances required property to have been damaged, meaning p ­ eople without property w ­ ere unlikely to win a case about noise.30 Further, if the owner of a business or factory had ­adopted



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“the best known means” or the most “practicable” method for preventing a nuisance, local authorities could, and usually did, dismiss the complaint.31 This British reliance on common law prevented the development of a social movement to combat noise, similar to ­those movements being formed in Amer­i­ca and elsewhere in Eu­rope.32 Moreover, the selectivity of noise hazards prevented broader recognition of the physically disabling properties of noise. Industrial deafness gained po­liti­cal awareness in 1907 when the Home Office Departmental Committee on Compensation for Industrial Diseases debated ­whether to include deafness caused by work on the list of compensable injuries and illnesses. While medical witnesses confirmed that certain jobs, such as boiler­ making and grinding, caused deafness, they also asserted that t­hese workers ­were not concerned about hearing loss b ­ ecause it did not prevent them from working or interfere with their daily lives. Moreover, ­because deafness did not inhibit work, industrial deafness was not compensable.33 This was both an economic and a class-­based decision. While the ­middle classes ­were very concerned about their own hearing loss and used a range of costly devices to try to retain their hearing,34 industrial productivity took priority over working-­class hearing. In contrast, early-­twentieth-­century American recognition of noise as a potential health hazard and the inclusion of “unnecessary noise” on urban public health agendas gave physicians the authority to investigate factory noise.35 The raft of American state legislation that followed the Federal Bennett Act of 1907, however, merely outlawed specific short-­term noises, including bells, whistles, clocks, and sirens. T ­ hese acts reflected Progressive Era confidence in the exemplary power of the law. Yet anti-­noise reformers and their legislation did not fully grasp all that the noise prob­lem would entail, including issues of enforcement and deafness.36 In Mas­sa­chu­setts, the 1911 legislature recognized that certain occupations associated with loud noises, such as weaving, produced permanent injury to the ear. Yet that same year, medicine sought to reinforce its role in identifying health prob­lems at work and in managing the reform agenda. Dr. William C. Hanson, who was the vice president of the Industrial and Occupational Hygiene Group of the International Congress on Hygiene and Demography, the assistant secretary to the Mas­sa­chu­setts State Board of Health, and the State Medical Inspector of Factories, explained: Medical men alone are in a position to make the best use of facts obtained concerning the sanitary conditions of the premises where men and ­women work; to study the pos­si­ble injurious effects of certain pro­cesses upon the health of the person engaged therein; to inspect devices designed to protect the employees against injurious and dangerous substances, as

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well as to detect pathological signs or symptoms of certain poisons and dusts and fume incident to some occupations; to inquire as to the health of the employees; to make physical examination of minors, and, whenever pos­si­ble, of adults, engaged in trades deemed to be injurious to health; and to collect and make proper use of all facts and data, including morbidity and mortality statistics pertaining to occupational hygiene.37

One of the early hazards physicians identified was the loud noises of certain occupations, including weaving, which caused permanent hearing damage. Yet while doctors agreed that deafness constituted a serious handicap in certain occupations, such as engineering and firefighting, in other occupations, including weaving, they considered deafness merely an incon­ve­nience.38 A weaver, it was said, became “accustomed to the noise and learn[ed] to neglect a constant hum or roar in his environment.”39 This argument may have been influenced by the large number of weavers in Mas­sa­chu­setts compared to the number of engineers or firefighters. Certainly the nature of each of ­these occupations could support the argument that engineers and firefighters had a greater need for occupational hearing than did weavers. Nevertheless, industrial deafness had gained legislative, po­liti­cal, and medical recognition, and the medical framework for reform had been established. While, before World War I, weavers had complained about industrial noise, they largely accepted it as part of the job and did not vociferously object to it. In 1912, Mr. Lipson testified to the Mas­sa­chu­setts House of Representatives about the Lawrence Strike: “I am a weaver and the ears of the weaver are injured from the noise of the machinery. I do not hear as well you know; that is what we get in the mill—­that is the premium.”40 While the “Bread and Roses” strike addressed pay and conditions, factory noise was not on the impoverished and ill-­educated workers’ list of grievances. Further, limited technological alternatives and their associated investment costs made reducing machine noise difficult. More impor­tant, on the eve of war, no one in e­ ither country—­whether worker, reformer, physician, or legislator—­firmly believed that factory noise posed a serious health risk. ­A fter the G ­ reat War: “Objectionable” and “Individual”

The etiological ambiguity surrounding deafness ended with the ­Great War. British medicine came to recognize that soldiers’ exposure to shelling caused sensory overload, which included functional deafness. A 1915 article in the Lancet described the auditory effect of the shells as a “gross extension of the



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pathological modern industrial environment.”41 However, the ­middle and upper classes believed the physical impact of war—­particularly, the psychological prob­ lems attributable to soldiers’ shell shock—­was far worse for working-class soldiers than for their wealthier counter­parts ­because they ­were believed not to be so strong in character.42 Yet it was the working classes who ­were daily exposed to industrial noise. Despite the confusion about the exact cause, effect, and treatment of shell shock, the mere medical and po­liti­cal recognition that an injury need not be vis­i­ble forced a British reinterpretation of the body as capital that could be exchanged for wages.43 A ­ fter the war it was no longer acceptable to ignore individual workers’ physiological and, soon a­fter, psychological well-­ being. However, for textile manufacturers, widespread recognition of the contributors to ill-­health did not secure changes to their daily operating procedures. The ­Great War also raised American medical interest in the noise-­health relationship, leading to the development of audiometric tests, which greatly increased scientific understanding of the c­ auses of hearing loss. In turn, the growing science surrounding the noise-­health relationship stimulated productivity debates but resulted in no substantial industrial reform. In 1919, a U.S. Bureau of ­Labor investigation concluded that “[t]he noise and vibration of the looms constitute an objectionable feature of the room, which is much the same in all mills and is apparently inseparable from the work.”44 With this conclusion, the federal government had provided textile employers throughout the country with permission to avoid the issue, meaning industrial reform now fell ­under state responsibility or was voluntary.45 However, many textile employers ­were quick to dismiss the areal hazard of noise, arguing that noise was beneficial to workers, particularly ­those operatives who ­were already partially deaf! [P]ractically e­ very non-­textile person who has ever visited a weave-­room has expressed surprise that so few weavers eventually become ner­vous wrecks and that their average standard of health is quite as high as that of other textile workers. It is useless to assure ­these outsiders that weavers are unconscious of the noise that to the former is deafening and nerve-­ racking. . . . ​­Until recently, t­ here has been no scientific method of mea­sur­ ing the effect of noise upon ­human beings. . . . ​That such research ­will prove intermittent, occasional and unusual noises to be injurious to the efficiency and health of industrial workers is quite pos­si­ble, but it w ­ ill surprise most manufacturers if continuous and normal noise, like that of a weave-­room, has any harmful effect. In fact, it would not be surprising if it w ­ ere demonstrated that the continuous sound vibrations thus generated actually improved the hearing of many partially deaf persons.46

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The industry was divided in this viewpoint, however. Some manufacturers believed that excessive noise inhibited worker efficiency, and they invested in quieter machines.47 ­Others did not. The lack of consensus only reinforced the federal government’s “voluntary” approach to industrial reform. However, ­because science had enabled a correlation between noise, efficiency, and hearing loss, an industrial research agenda was underway. In 1927, American investigations into the relationships between work, noise, and health revealed a direct correlation between high noise levels, increased worker fatigue, and decreased worker efficiency.48 Yet textile employers sustained their argument that while occupational noise might be objectionable, the impact was individual. Without manufacturer cooperation or legislative involvement, industrial reform would lag b ­ ehind scientific understanding about noise and its effects. Nevertheless, science had helped make noise a public prob­lem that required further study. Forum magazine investigated noise in New York City and introduced the first noise survey. The ensuing surveys helped to formulate the definition of “din” as an unnecessary and harmful noise that was a public nuisance and could be mea­sured by the new audiometers.49 Rather than merely identifying harmful individual noises, science could now mea­sure their effect, and by 1928, the term “decibel” was in popu­lar use for describing noise variations. By the 1930s large-­scale audiometric testing was available. Science could now provide the evidence needed to regulate occupational deafness. As the G ­ reat Depression took hold, however, both the anti-­noise campaigns and the scientific investigations waned. Nevertheless, textile employers ­were now fully aware that excessive noise and vibration could affect worker attitude and productivity.50 By this time, too, science had changed the federal government’s stance on noise. In 1935, the Federal ­Women’s Bureau argued that excessive noise and vibration ­were injurious to the health of individual workers and a menace to the neighborhood in which the plant was located.51 While the G ­ reat Depression limited action, rising public awareness of the dangers of urban industrial noise provided the foundation for further studies on occupational noise and for experts and legislators to begin to address the plight of affected workers. In interwar Britain, urban and industrial noises also became entangled, but ­later than in Amer­ic­ a. By the end of the 1920s the Noise Commission of London argued that street noise was a greater prob­lem than industrial noise ­because it had no rhythm.52 While Dr. Legge and Dr. McKelvie coined the term “cotton-­ weavers’ deafness” in 1927,53 it was the 1930s before industrial deafness entered the British trade journals a­ fter a 1932 IHRB study publicized that not only w ­ ere workers’ bodies subject to the effects of environmental f­ actors such as temperature, humidity, light, and noise, but so was worker efficiency. However, the IHRB



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concluded that noise may have impacted weavers’ output less than the output of other workers, explaining that “[W]eaving, however, is largely an automatic pro­cess. . . . ​It is probable, therefore, that in other occupations, comparable as regards intensity of noise, but depending less upon the mechanical and more upon the ­human ­factor than weaving, the effect of noise upon output may be considerably greater than that demonstrated by this investigation.”54 The IHRB’s conclusions mirrored the findings of similarly timed research done by the National Institute of Industrial Psy­chol­ogy, which was founded in 1921 by psychologist Charles Myers (who had completed some of the early investigations of shell shock) and businessman Henry J. Welch. Critical to the American scientific management movement, Myers argued that ­there was “no one best way” in industrial work.55 Instead, he argued that employers should remove any obstacles that prevented workers’ optimal per­for­mance and confidence. In other words, workers’ physical and ­mental “ease,” or the ­human ­factor of production, was more impor­tant than technological change.56 While production efficiencies certainly included environmental considerations, vocational guidance and se­lection could also aid productivity by matching individuals to tasks and environments.57 The institute’s growing interest in the health impact of working environments separated the ­human f­actor from technology and left industrial deafness on the margins of science. During the 1930s the IHRB continued to study the effect of excessive noise on weavers’ efficiency. In 1935 it concluded that cotton weavers using traditional Lancashire looms and ear protectors that eliminated about half the noise ­were 8 ­percent more productive than their counter­parts without ear protection. While it was the higher noise levels that impeded efficiency, the IHRB reached the same conclusion that American employers had a few years earlier: namely, “the development of partial deafness appears to be the only effective protection which the individual can acquire.”58 Reactions to noise and susceptibility to deafness remained individual and therefore variable. Effectively, British employers could legally ignore the health of individuals.59 While the IHRB studies clearly prioritized production, the noise-­efficiency debates in Amer­i­ca ­were not mirrored in Britain. The British relationship with urban noise paralleled that in other areas of Eu­rope. The British Anti-­Noise League was founded in 1934, along with an Austrian Anti-­Noise League (Antilärm—­Liga Österreich) and the Dutch Sound Foundation (Geluidstichting), followed in 1937 by the Dutch Anti-­ Noise League (Anti-­Lawaaibond). Unlike earlier noise-­abatement groups, however, ­these new anti-­noise groups did not become mass movements and tackled only select urban noises.60 The British anti-­noise campaigns focused on traffic-­and

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transportation-­related noises, particularly the motor horn.61 The lack of widespread public support for an extensive noise-­reduction campaign, combined with the textile recession, justified the British government’s disinterest in industrial noise. So far as pos­si­ble, the factory inspectorate sought a system of industrial self-­regulation,62 believing employers would remember workers’ needs. The medical profession agreed. A 1936 article in the BMJ argued that “before considering legislation it is of course essential that a very detailed and thorough investigation should be made into all aspects of any new type of disability due to industrial work. . . . ​In re­spect of deafness, it is by no means easy to define precisely the working conditions which are in themselves calculated to produce partial or total deafness in a given time. . . . ​The impairment of hearing function in each individual case would have to be assessed in order to determine the degree of disability.” Before employers could be required to change operational practices, further scientific research into relationships between dif­fer­ent industrial noises and hearing loss was required, no m ­ atter how “complex, difficult and tedious the task may be.”63 The micro-­level delineation of noise enabled employers to operate as they saw fit. Mill Communities and Noise

So far, l­abor has not featured prominently in the debates surrounding noise. While this relates partly to middle-­class priorities, mill workers and their representatives also did not consider industrial noise to be hazardous. New ­England mill workers employed during the 1920s and 1930s l­ ater recalled how the noise bothered them, but they accepted it as part of the production pro­cess. Lowell millworker Rene Desjardines remembered, “At that time, nobody knew anything about that [deafness].”64 Grace Burke recalled, “It ­were terribly noisy. When the looms started up, you ­couldn’t hear yourself talk. If you wanted to talk to someone, you had to get right up close and holler. I had to get used to it like every­ one ­else.”65 Mabel Mangan claimed “The noise would drive you out of your mind . . . ​but we ­didn’t know it could hurt you.”66 Doctors reinforced the belief that ­little could be done about the noise. John Falante remembered, “I went to the doctor; I told him I ­can’t hear too good. He ask me where I work. [When I told him], he says, ‘Just forget it; that’s from t­ hose noises all day.’ . . . ​[He] c­ an’t do nothing [about deafness].”67 Instead of protesting something that even medics did not believe could be resolved, weavers ­adopted coping strategies to manage both noise and hearing loss. They shouted directly into another’s ear or communicated with their hands in a crude type of sign language.68 Noise and hearing loss did not impede workers’ ability to communicate or to earn, and earning was becoming increasingly impor­tant. By 1927, the U.S. government



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estimated that the average yearly earnings of New Bedford mill workers had fallen to about $1,000, which was less than half of what the government estimated to be a “minimum health and decency bud­get.”69 Machine noise indicated employment opportunities; hearing loss was a community-­accepted economic byproduct. Lancashire mill workers similarly accepted loud noises and hearing loss as part of the job. Operatives working in the 1930s and 1940s have since recounted how the noise and associated vibration was commonly known as weavers’ sickness. Tom Young remembered how “within the first week, I was violently sick. The noise levels ­were extremely high. But it was a fact of life, you just went in. You almost came out and banged your head against the wall to make the howling stop. But it made me extremely sick and ­people said, ‘It’s normal, it’s weaving sickness.’ ”70 Peggy Jones recalled how she “hated it . . . ​I ­didn’t like the noise. I ­didn’t like being closed in. I ­didn’t like the heat and every­ thing. It was horrible.”71 Fellow mill worker George Wrigley agreed: “The noise ­were horrendous. . . . ​[But] like anything ­else when ­you’re young, you just take it. It’s your job. ­You’ve gone into it, get on with it.”72 Instead, as Raymond Watson recognized: “They just d ­ idn’t seem to bother about p ­ eople goin deaf. The ­people themselves knew they ­were ­going deaf but they just accepted it in the old days, ­didn’t they? They accepted it as that’s what happened. If you worked in the mill, it affected your hearing.”73 Ac­cep­tance of the inevitability of mill noise led Lancashire weavers to develop coping mechanisms similar to t­hose of their American counter­parts. They shouted and read lips to communicate in noisy environments, becoming renowned for their lip-­reading skills. Such coping mechanisms enabled communication both within and outside the mill.74 In his bestselling book The Road to Nab End, William Woodruff recounted his childhood growing up in Blackburn during the 1920s and 1930s: “The habit of shouting sprang from a good-­natured exuberance; also the constant clatter of the mill machinery had made many of the workers partly deaf. It was common for p ­ eople to cup their ear with their hand and shout ‘Eh?’ In the mills they used lip-­reading or shouted to be heard. Shouting in our h ­ ouse was common. . . . ​Nobody apologized for making a noise. Except for churches and funerals it was unnatural for us to be quiet.”75 Noise was not only accepted but expected in Lancashire mill towns. ­Because most mill workers ­were Lancashire born and bred, few knew anything dif­fer­ent. As in other Eu­ro­pean countries “[t]he workers ­didn’t notice noises that brought them bread.”76 The workers’ language of noise did not include the word “health,” so in textile towns, the entire community adapted their be­hav­ior to compensate for the effects of noise.

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Not only did textile workers accept the inevitability of industrial noise; their trade ­unions did not prioritize it. Occupational noise was only included on the list of reforms u ­ nder the broad category of “working conditions.” Where the Lancashire ­unions expressed interest in noise, it was in relation to worker comfort and self-­improvement. In 1927, the Burnley and District Weavers, Winders and Beamers Association argued: The deafening and distracting noise of a weaving shed is one of the more prominent amongst the difficult prob­lems in weaving, and one moreover that constitutes a real and serious deterrent to many a potential and capable weaver, especially amongst w ­ omen; for it is well known that they, much more than men, are susceptible to ner­vous and other forms of headache. The solution of this prob­lem w ­ ill remove one of the most serious impediments to the adoption of weaving as a trade, by many who cannot possibly endure the clanging and perpetual rattling of the picking motion, pickers, shut­tles, and driving b ­ elts. Although the power loom has been improved in many ways, giving increased output with a more perfectly woven cloth, the solution of this noise prob­lem has, so far, baffled the genius of inventors, and it ­will be a happy day for weavers when the noise of a weaving shed is subdued so far as to permit the musical programmes and other forms of entertainment provided by the B.B.C. being diffused throughout a weaving shed, for the plea­sure and edification of the weavers. So may it come to pass in the ­future.77

The ­union had made loud noise objectionable, individual, and gendered in a way not found in weavers’ testimonies or in the po­liti­cal and medical noise discourses. For the ­union, hearing loss and operative deafness ­were not the priority. It was the 1960s before industrial deafness gained widespread attention by trade ­unions and scientists in both countries, reflecting what Paul Weindling considered the gap between the awareness of a hazard and effective action to eliminate the danger found in many areas of occupational health.78 Noise no longer fell u ­ nder the public health remit. As astutely observed in the final report of the Noise Abatement Commission of New York in 1936 “municipal health officials are not interested in the abatement of noise b ­ ecause of their absorption in more impor­tant public health activities, and b ­ ecause ­there are no definite data indicating the effect of urban noise upon the mortality and morbidity rates of municipalities. . . . ​The general attitude seems to be that noise abatement is a



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broad municipal prob­lem with many aspects other than the protection of public health.”79 Local communities defined the par­ameters of acceptability. In the depression-­laden New ­England and Lancashire mill towns, industrial noise was not only acceptable; it was the welcome sound of employment. The American and British disinterest in noise was not reflected internationally. Between 1929 and 1936, five countries recognized noise-­induced hearing loss (NIHL) as an occupational disease eligible for compensation u ­ nder certified conditions: the USSR was first in 1929, followed by Bulgaria, Mexico, Czecho­slo­va­kia, and Germany, and ­later by Italy and Turkey. While the British Factory Act of 1937 did seek to address the health implications of noise, it had ­little impact. In Amer­i­ca, despite the availability of audiometric tests since the 1920s, it was 1942 before a hearing-­impairment formula was developed and accepted by the AMA.80 ­Until this time, American medicine could not agree how to formally identify the boundary between hearing loss and deafness or to pinpoint the ­causes.81 The language of noise remained vague. Therefore, before World War II, compensation debates for industrial deafness paralleled debates about the relationship between noise and hearing loss. They remained inconclusive ­because ­there was no medical or scientific consensus about the level at which factory noise became dangerous. World War II and the Postwar World: Acknowledging Industrial Deafness

The interwar development of the electronic audiometer had secured multiple benefits. American physicians used the new capability to identify and mea­sure degrees of hearing loss so that they could introduce mass screening programs, including ­those introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. ­These programs attracted considerable public attention, raising awareness about hearing loss. During World War II, the military used the same audiometric testing. Yet it was ­after the war before interest in NIHL r­ ose dramatically due to the combination of mass screenings, the return of disabled veterans claiming compensation for hearing loss, the environmental noise movement, the war­time employment of ­women, and the growing strength of or­ga­nized ­labor.82 When disabled veterans submitted claims to the Veterans Administration for NIHL caused by the war, they w ­ ere usually accepted.83 The American public was generally sympathetic to the plight of returning veterans. In fact, the social environment was such that it would have been difficult for the administrators of workers’ compensation to ignore NIHL in the war-­related industries of steelmaking, shipbuilding, and forging. From ­here, interest in NIHL snowballed. Hearing-­aid companies began advertising and marketing their products, while manufacturers

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of hearing protectors, industrial noise-­ abatement ser­ vices, and audiometric testing equipment all stood to benefit from the commercialization of the noise “prob­lem.”84 Socially, ­there was growing discomfort in the idea of ­women working in heavy industry and the impact of noise on their health, while an environmental noise movement replaced the earlier urban-­noise movement. This rising social interest in noise and its physical effects placed the topic of industrial noise firmly on the research and reform agenda, although it had l­ ittle impact in textiles. The newfound interest in NIHL required the skills of the otologists and audiologists who had gained technical experience during the war.85 The American Acad­emy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology expanded its focus and began examining hearing loss in c­ hildren, introducing compulsory audiometric examinations and follow-­ups. In 1946, they established the Subcommittee on Noise in Industry to conduct research, provide workers with audiometric tests, and advise employers about how to reduce noise at its source, while recommending the use ­ hese audiometric tests confirmed preof ear protectors in noisy environments.86 T war findings about hearing loss caused by long-­term exposure to the noise of weaving looms.87 Postwar society, science, and politics ­were converging to agree that NIHL had to be addressed. Indeed, a growing number of ­lawyers, physicians, government officials, and technical experts w ­ ere proclaiming expertise about the effects of noise to ­human health.88 Or­ga­nized ­labor also joined the campaigns, seeking compensation for ­those working in heavy industries while raising awareness among the broader l­abor movement about the health hazards attributable to industrial noise. Securing compensation for industrial NIHL proved more difficult than securing the same for hearing loss caused by war, b ­ ecause harmful noise levels w ­ ere found in most industries and affected thousands of workers. The potential for hearing-­ loss claims was enormous. Questions w ­ ere again raised about certainty and causation. How could work-­induced hearing loss be distinguished from hearing loss from other c­ auses?89 Central to t­hese debates was the freedom of contract, which formed a cornerstone of American politics despite the real­ity that many workers ­were limited in the jobs they could take. By nature, this type of contract limited employer liability.90 Hence, in 1948, when Matthew Slawinski was awarded $1,661.25 for hearing loss while still actively working and suffered no loss of earnings, it released a flood of claims for hearing loss caused by occupational noise in many states. It also secured the realization that something had to be done to curb industrial noise, and it had to be done soon—­ before the financial costs of inaction became exorbitant. While American postwar public debates about noise ­were initially confined to the areas of compensation and bioscience, science also provided the exper-



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tise that trade ­union campaigns needed for industrial reform. ­After weaving looms ­were added to the list of noisy war­time machines, proposed solutions included fixing absorbent materials to factory walls and ceilings, using intelligent planning for plant layouts, segregating noisy machines, and introducing ­simple ear defenders.91 None of the suggestions interfered with or challenged existing production techniques. Nevertheless, employers and or­ga­nized ­labor at the few remaining New ­England firms prioritized pay, workload, workers’ rights, and general conditions.92 Concerns about industrial deafness had migrated to the southern states alongside the industry. While poverty limited southern mill workers’ reform initiatives,93 the growing po­liti­cal, medical, and social interest in noise kept the issue on the TWUA reform agenda. In 1963, the TWUA research department described how “the high level of noise [in the weaving rooms] is often almost deafening and an impor­tant ­factor in causing ner­vous fatigue.”94 While worker fatigue could affect productivity, this claim had no impact. Indeed, as the TWUA had acknowledged in the 1950s, the shrinking domestic textile market left the ­union “bargaining from weakness” and expecting many of their efforts to be fruitless.95 Nevertheless, industrial noise had gained po­liti­cal interest simply ­because the issue formed part of the broader NIHL campaigns. In 1969, the Johnson administration passed historic regulations on occupational noise, establishing a permissible noise-­exposure level of 90 decibels for an eight-­hour work day, despite the TWUA seeking an 80-­decibel standard.96 Even at 90 decibels, the lack of factory inspectors left the 1969 legislation weak and poorly implemented. In January 1971, ­after the passing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, William Pollock, the general president of the TWUA, wrote to James Hodgson, secretary of the U.S. Department of ­Labor, outlining textile workers’ concerns. In par­tic­u­lar, Pollock highlighted how “Excessive noise in the mills has impaired the hearing of workers and created undue tension and fatigue.”97 Hodgson and Marcus Key, MD, the assistant surgeon general and director of the Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health, replied that the government had a “responsibility to make the Act work.” The priority was “the preservation of the health of the nation’s working men and w ­ omen.”98 Despite ­these reassurances, and despite the introduction of a Hearing Test Program in 197299 and the Noise Control Act of 1972—­which regulated noise that damaged public health, including noise from aircraft, engine-­powered devices, power tools, and lawnmowing equipment—­the TWUA remained divided. In July 1975 they still had not finalized their position on the maximum noise exposure level in weave rooms. Instead, the TWUA argued the economic feasibility of an 85-­dB standard, 5 dB higher than their 1969 request. Business and insurance interests

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had been clearly b ­ ehind the weak NIHL legislation. This, in turn, must have influenced the TWUA’s position ­because of the jobs at stake. By the 1970s, noise was firmly on the American public agenda. Newspaper articles debated how much noise of any kind was too much. While many articles prioritized tele­vi­sion noise, newspapers in textile communities included the noise in the mills.100 The growing public and scientific interest in all noise forced OSHA to admit that the existing industrial noise limits had never been enforced. In an attempt at re-­establishing authority in this area, OSHA demanded that the textile industry meet a new 85-­dB standard and actually reduce factory noise rather than merely provide workers with earplugs. OSHA’s weakness was clear when they accepted the cotton manufacturers’ response that earplugs provided sufficient protection for workers. What fi­nally drew the nation’s attention to the textile working environment was Sally Field’s Oscar winning per­for­mance in Norma Rae, the 1979 Hollywood movie loosely based on the activities of Crystal Lee Sutton, a young u ­ nion activist employed at a J. P. Stevens Mill in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Despite living in poverty, Sutton stood up to the mill bosses and helped form an operatives’ ­union to try to improve mill conditions. While the film’s popularity coincided with gradually improving working conditions, greater employee use of hearing protection, and the introduction of hearing conservation programs, ­these changes ­were not solely b ­ ecause of Norma Rae. Reforms w ­ ere also introduced b ­ ecause of the growing public awareness of industrial NIHL, which occurred through first urban and then environmental noise campaigns; the ­human costs of war; the introduction of hearing tests in the military, schools, and industries; and Hollywood. Individually and cumulatively ­these ­factors pressured employers to address industrial noise. As with other industrial hazards, private actors, grassroots movements, legislation, and local and national agencies all helped to shape understandings of industrial noise, while Hollywood united the forces of change. In Britain, World War II had raised similar industrial noise concerns. However, the determination of the British public to effect reform did not parallel that found in Amer­i­ca. Concerns about war workers’ health helped industrial health to achieve only a limited new importance; so did a growing interest in the postwar ­future of the country.101 When the 1944 Joint Advisory Committee of the Cotton Industry realized that the costs associated with implementing noise absorption mea­sures ­were high, they did not make any effort to reference industrial noise despite the IHRB mandate to address noise in weaving sheds.102 This is unsurprising. In the early years of the war, production capacity in cotton manufacturing declined by between 30 and 40 ­percent,103 while the cotton workforce fell from 360,000 operatives in 1937 to 210,000 by the end of 1941.104 The



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TUC, which had continuously campaigned for healthier working conditions during the interwar years, considered the war­time expansion of factory medical ser­vices and the government’s commitment to creating a national health ser­vice as an opportunity for a national industrial-­health ser­vice. They ­were disappointed. The NHS did not include an occupational health ser­vice, effectively marginalizing occupational medicine in ­England, Wales, and Scotland.105 Rapidly rising health costs was an impor­tant f­ actor. The 1944 White Paper had estimated the cost of the NHS to be between £108 and £134 million. During the first nine months of the NHS, t­hese costs w ­ ere recalculated to be £279.3 million. By 1956–1957 total expenditure on the NHS had reached £633 million.106 The government also favored curative or palliative treatment rather than preventive health care, with compensation for industrial injuries. Workers’ compensation legislation changed in 1946. Now a disease that caused loss of faculty but not necessarily the loss of wages might be prescribed ­under the Act. Therefore, although deafness was not currently an occupational disability ­under the law, t­here was now no reason why it should not be one. However, ­because industrial noise was firmly entwined within public “nuisance” debates and economic interests, it was not considered for reclassification. Scientific studies into the impact of dif­fer­ent noise levels on workers’ health acknowledged that loud noise was uncomfortable, but continued to maintain that it did not interfere with production. In a 1953 article in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine, Colin Johnston outlined the findings of a study regarding the methods used for assessing hearing loss caused only by acoustic trauma.107 Johnston concluded that overall noise levels had to exceed 105 to 108 decibels to cause serious damage to a majority of workers. Less intense noise would damage the hearing of only t­ hose few individuals prone to injury.108 This conclusion only confirmed prewar arguments about the individuality of noise. Further scientific investigation sought to relate the noise of weaving sheds to weavers’ hearing loss.109 The timing of ­these investigations coincided with broader noise campaigns. In 1963, the Wilson Report on Noise examined noise within the context of public nuisances, particularly motor vehicle noise, concluding that compensation should be considered for public nuisances.110 In contrast, only a few individuals ­were both exposed to industrial noise and susceptible to hearing loss. Therefore, industrial noise was not a public nuisance and did not require compensation. The legacy of the common law on nuisances was clear. While the science of noise had been firmly established, new studies regarding industrial noise exposure vindicated the employer. Between 1964 and 1967, a series of four studies found no gender difference in hearing loss

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among weavers when accounting for years of exposure and age. The lack of consensus about the “degree of hearing handicap sustained by weavers ­after long-­term exposure to the noise of their job”111 meant that certain individuals ­were more susceptible to the noise than ­others.112 Yet production suffered if looms ran more slowly in order to lower noise levels. ­Because employers w ­ ere more concerned with developing systems to control ­labor rather than scientifically improving worker efficiency through research on work methods and energy, ­those in politics and industry ignored t­ hese studies.113 The existing legislation required only that employers protect workers’ ears from noise damage, which was feasible with earplugs. It did not require investment in new machines, and it placed responsibility on the victim, who must correctly use ­ ere further vindicated by the 1970 Dove Report on the earplugs.114 Employers w textile engineering, which concluded that t­ here was “no known means of eco­ nom­ically reducing loom noise.” The author, A. R. Dove, highlighted how an American weaving shed had successfully modified both looms and sheds to meet the Washington State Occupational Health Standards at a cost of 50 cents a month per employee.115 The British government considered such costs too high for a d ­ ying industry and continued to argue the individual susceptibility to deafness, thereby preventing industrial NIHL from falling u ­ nder workers’ compensation legislation.116 While the Lancashire trade u ­ nions had included noise on their reform agenda for de­cades, it was the 1970s before it became a priority.117 The timing was prompted by two events: the American introduction of OSHA and the 1970 British Industrial Injuries Act Enquiry into Occupational Hearing Loss. The latter sought to ascertain which, if any, jobs caused enough hearing loss to be prescribed as an industrial disease u ­ nder the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act of 1965 and to determine the arrangements necessary to address any eventual claims for benefits.118 In 1970, trade ­unions ­were invited to submit to the Enquiry administrators evidence for deafness that was potentially caused by “working in conditions of intermittent or continuous noise” and to provide “the numbers of operatives suffering from deafness, particularly with a medical certificate.”119 The Lancashire response was limited. Rossendale Textile Workers’ Association, which incorporated Haslingden, identified only two ­women who claimed their deafness was caused by weaving, while the Bolton and Accrington, Church and Oswaldtwistle Weavers’ Associations each provided details of one member claiming occupational deafness.120 In contrast, Barnoldswick provided details of twenty members claiming occupational NIHL.121 Most of t­ hese weavers had worked forty or more years in the mills and ­were primarily aged between sixty and eighty. It is difficult to determine exactly



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why more Barnoldswick weavers’ than o ­ thers self-­identified that their hearing loss was caused by work, but several potential explanations emerge. Survey publicity may have been selective; weavers may not have considered weaving to be the cause of their hearing loss; or victims may have had no interest in the study. Moreover, by the 1970s, the composition of the Lancashire workforce had changed. Lancashire mills w ­ ere closing at a rate of one per week, and the pay in the remaining mills was less than for most other jobs. During the 1950s and 1960s, an influx of workers came from the Indian subcontinent. They ­were predominantly non-­unionized and spent fewer years in the mills. Consequently, ­there ­were fewer weavers who had experienced prolonged noise exposure. In all, the study was too late for the victims. Po­liti­cally, occupational NIHL in Britain had never been fully integrated with public nuisance legislation, and it had never been classed a major health hazard. Consequently, it never attracted widespread social or medical concern. It was 1975 before occupational deafness became a prescribed industrial disease. Industrial noise was an isolated, regional issue where the needs of capitalism dominated politics. Throughout the lifespan of the industry, Lancashire employers had successfully avoided responsibility for deafness among their workforce. The legacy of their actions had to be absorbed by their insurance companies de­cades ­after the mills had closed. Conclusion

In 1973, the International ­Labour Organ­ization (ILO) bemoaned the fact that ­there remained “no international standards regarding the maximum tolerable level of noise.”122 Even in the 1980s, worldwide debate continued over what constituted a safe level of noise exposure.123 Clearly, certain disabilities had been medically underestimated. Textile workers’ hearing loss was not merely an industrial legacy or simply part of an evolving health and safety regime. Rather, for occupational hazards that included disability to become industrial hazard regimes, they needed physicians, employers, workers, legislators, and the public to recognize that ­those hazards ­were true health hazards. While such a consensus gradually emerged in the American South, it was too late for New ­England and it had bypassed Lancashire. Separating health from safety in the workplace made dif­fer­ent rational perceptions about the relationship between occupation and chronic disability vis­i­ble. Britain lagged b ­ ehind the rest of the world in recognizing industrial hearing loss for the rest of the ­century. In 1992 the assistant editor of the BMJ, Fiona Godlee, wrote how “Environmental noise prob­ably contributes ­little to the overall risk of hearing loss, except where loud ­music is concerned. . . . ​Deafness caused by noise at work is not a twentieth c­ entury

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phenomenon.”124 Occupational noise was not a public nuisance to British air quality and remained outside the medical, po­liti­cal, and social reform agendas. Yet in 2005, a study published in the AJIM estimated that approximately 16 ­percent of the world’s adult-­onset hearing loss was caused by occupational noise exposure. This figure was even higher in the developing regions than in developed ones.125 Indeed, it is unsurprising that in 2014, the WHO identified occupation-­induced hearing loss to be one of the most common occupational hazards, but less than one-­third of countries had programs to combat it.126 For this rec­ord to improve, as demonstrated by the textile regions of New ­England and Lancashire, recognition of occupational NIHL requires public or community support alongside the support of the medical profession. ­Until communities identify par­tic­u­lar occupational noises to be a public hazard that in some way affects the health and well-­being of its residents, occupational deafness w ­ ill remain invisible. Further, ­because many of the noisiest jobs have moved from the developed to the developing world, NIHL has followed, alongside the transnational dimensions of industrial deafness.

Chapter 7

Conclusion When Does the Air Become Impor­tant?

In 2013 approximately eight hundred ­people w ­ ere killed or injured in largely unreported fires in Bangladesh’s garment and textile factories. Most of t­hese factories made cloth and clothes for familiar western firms, including Primark, the Walmart Group, Gap, H&M, Sears, C&A, and Next. While t­ hese incidents led to the formation of two international deals designed to pump money into the country to improve garment-­factory standards and provide regular safety inspections, employers ­were able to avoid implementing the recommendations and requirements, partly b ­ ecause of the timing of the agreements. They coincided with the Bangladeshi government’s deliberations about introducing a minimum wage for textile workers, making the negotiations particularly sensitive. In addition, the campaign group ­Labour ­Behind the Label, a pressure group for workers’ rights, argued that b ­ ecause the international deals covered only garment factories and not fabric mills, it made worker safety uneven.1 What effect could international standards r­ eally have if the textile manufacturing companies that made cloth for garments ­were not inspected and if ­there was no guarantee that safety standards would be implemented or enforced? Indeed, in 2017 more than one-­quarter of Bangladeshi workers employed in the blowroom and carding sections of the country’s cotton-­manufacturing firms faced diseases caused by cotton dust.2 Recent studies of cotton workers in Turkey, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, China, India, and Pakistan have also found high rates of byssinosis, with 32 ­percent of Chinese operatives suffering from the disease.3 The Pakistani weaving rooms have noise levels over 100 decibels, which has prob­ably caused many cases of NIHL.4 ­These countries also strug­gle with social compliance with ILO conventions on l­ abor laws for w ­ omen and c­ hildren,

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as well as World Trade Organ­ization requirements concerning the working environment, health and hygiene, and the right to form trade ­unions. Yet the relevant pres­ent to cotton manufacturing’s past does not end in the mills. Local and national governments in current cotton-­manufacturing countries also strug­gle to tackle the broader aerial hazards of urban air pollution and high disease rates, while high levels of poverty pose additional po­liti­cal, social, and economic challenges. The disconnect of textile productions past, between the workplace and broader aerial hazards, are clearly mirrored in our most modern iterations of the global textile trade. ­Will the results of ­these countries’ challenges to address aerial hazards in the workplace and beyond mirror t­ hose of past cotton-­manufacturing centers, or ­will current environmental and h ­ uman rights concerns influence the pro­cess? In the New E ­ ngland and Lancashire industries, safety and wages ­were the first occupational issues to make the po­liti­cal agenda. The air quality of the working environment followed only gradually, becoming impor­tant ­after public health campaigns, science, and politics identified par­tic­u­lar risks. This suggests that in current cotton-­textile-­producing countries, the internal factory air quality may eventually make the po­liti­cal and community reform agenda. Meanwhile, how many operatives must suffer respiratory or aural damage? This book has shown that improving the internal factory environment does not result simply from legislation or regular factory inspections, although ­these mea­sures can comprise an impor­tant part of the pro­cess by effecting knowledge transfer, understanding, and change. Instead, improvement comes from connecting the aerial hazards of the workplace with the health of all constituents and current health priorities. Community health priorities play a vital role in transferring health reform from the living to the working environment, and individual reformers, w ­ hether social or medical, can help drive forward par­tic­ul­ar health reform-­campaigns in their towns. For any reform to succeed, constituent support is central; yet what secures improvements to workplace aerial hazards in one community or region may not succeed in another, due to dif­fer­ent local health priorities, employer strength, local or regional economic f­actors, and worker disinterest. While the industrial hazards described in this book have followed the cotton-­manufacturing industry to the third world, we must appreciate the limits of past actors and the West’s pres­ent powers to alleviate industrial hazards elsewhere. At the same time, further transnational studies of aerial hazards, including in the workplace, can help determine how local and federal responsibilities for health have been apportioned and the role of medicine, science, engineering, and l­abor in informing ­these debates. While one country’s experiences cannot directly transfer to another country, they can inform understandings and help shape reform debates.

Conclusion 151

This study complements the growing number of historical studies on occupational disease. It has compared understandings of industrial hazards in one industry, across two nations, and the varied local and national responses to them. It has revealed how some aerial hazards ­were ignored, even by the victims. It has exposed the shifting bound­aries of health within and between the two countries, challenging ele­ments of the belief that Britain led the way in factory reform. Instead, this volume suggests that, regardless of which country first raised awareness of par­tic­u­lar industrial hazards, the knowledge and understanding of each hazard, and responses to that hazard, related to community understandings about healthy environments, science, and the local economy. The relationship between knowledge and understanding is particularly impor­ tant: Workers w ­ ere clearly aware that the air quality in the mills affected their health, but it took time for them to appreciate that any bodily damage could be slow to materialize, last long term, and in some cases, become fatal. Mill workers’ oral testimonies suggest that, had they been aware of the potential bodily damage caused by mill work, they may have made alternative employment choices. While identifying the fine line between when a healthy body becomes an ill body is difficult, it is this relationship that connects industrial health with industrial illness. While “industrial health” implies prevention, “industrial illness” suggests the failure or non-­implementation of preventive mea­sures. This study has revealed examples of prevention, but also of ignorance and disinterest. It has suggested the need for a perspective that is broader than our current one in analyzing industrial hazards. In 2012 Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling suggested that the term “industrial hazard regime” was a useful lens through which to view and understand the dangers of industry.5 Whereas this term includes the sociocultural aspects of hazards and the perceptions through which hazards w ­ ere produced, Michelle Murphy’s “regimes of perceptibility” sets contours around a “disciplinary or epistemological tradition” that includes industrial hazards and involves both perceptions and imperceptions.6 Both “industrial hazard regimes” and “regimes of perceptibility” hold resonance to aspects of this study; however, neither is fully applicable. When specific industrial hazards ­were identified, including contagious diseases, which became both a public and industrial danger in New ­England, regimes ­were formed to tackle the hazard. Yet the lack of collective scientific knowledge and understanding about a specific hazard and its causation could also prevent a regime from being formed. While “regimes of perceptibility” can help define some potential health hazards, this study has shown how in the New ­England and Lancashire textile industries, such regimes ­were not the “natu­ral or inevitable outcomes of social and technical arrangements”

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that Murphy argues.7 While some technical arrangements, including ventilation and humidifying apparatus, came to be understood as a potential source of ill-­health in New ­England, ­others suffered long delays in being linked to ill-­ health, particularly dust and NIHL. Moreover, it would be difficult to say that the timing b ­ ehind the awareness of aerial hazards was always natu­ral or inevitable, ­because consensus was lacking about both disease causation and the ensuing bodily impact. Rather than offer a defined, new way of viewing the relationship between health and the working environment, this study suggests the need for broader understanding of the local, regional, and national contexts of social, economic, po­liti­cal, and medical disease knowledge and action. A broader view enables us to appreciate why dif­fer­ent communities responded to par­tic­u­lar health hazards in the manner in which they did. It also allows us to compare how dif­fer­ ent countries and communities came to recognize, understand, address, or ignore the air quality in the workplace and what s­ haped any associated regional or national responses. Such an approach can be helpful for understanding the context of the world’s current cotton-­manufacturing regions along with any cross-­national differences as ­these countries develop their own industrial hazard histories. This broader approach to understanding industrial hazards also suggests that, just as in Britain and Amer­ic­ a, international regulatory standards and factory inspections ­will have ­little lasting impact on the working environment. Standards and inspections provide only a ban­dage that western clothing firms and local governments can point to as their initiative for patching up workers’ health and safety. Alone, they ­will not secure lasting reforms on the shop floor. Knowing and Mobilizing or Coping

The working classes have and w ­ ill always bear the brunt of any environmental hazard ­because they have less choice in where to live and work than their wealthier neighbors. While every­one is susceptible to contagious diseases, in cotton towns it was the impoverished mill workers who faced the greatest exposure, both in and outside the mill. Operatives developed their own understandings of disease contagion and other workplace hazards and formed coping mechanisms or ways to manage the symptoms of ill-­health. While certain mill communities developed a shared understanding of par­tic­ul­ar aerial hazards, only in the case of tuberculosis—­and, to an extent, factory ventilation in Mas­sa­chu­setts and Blackburn—­did the community pressure mill ­owners to improve factory air quality. Even then, such pressures for reform ­were selective ­because the mills ­were valuable local employers. More frequently, however, and similar to their

Conclusion 153

modern-­day counter­parts, operatives w ­ ere left to daily manage the hazards of the workplace the best they could. How operatives managed workplace aerial hazards depended on their knowledge about the risks and their physical symptoms of ill-­health. While broader public health campaigns made them aware of the long-­term detrimental effects of tuberculosis, many theories abounded about contagion. Yet other workplace risks ­were not deemed hazardous, particularly if the health impact diminished ­after workers left the mills. Moreover, few operatives understood the contagion discourse or that dust inhalation and hearing loss could have a detrimental long-­term impact on their health. Instead, they sought to relieve daily coughing and poor respiration, and adapted their communication to cope. Indeed, the results of any scientific studies on factory health concerns rarely found their way to t­ hose on the shop floor. Only when medicine took their findings to communities could the constituents forge their own understandings of health and disease, and campaign for reform, as happened with tuberculosis and ventilation in Mas­sa­chu­setts. ­These initiatives proved more successful at securing reforms than did compensation debates. Yet compensation is essential for workers injured by their daily tasks. This book has highlighted trade u ­ nions’ efforts in improving health and safety, educating their members, and securing compensation for ill members. T ­ hese knowledge relationships raise questions about how much more quickly workplace air quality might have been addressed had science and medicine equipped workers with more information and listened more carefully to the lived experiences of the victims. What might each group have learned from the other about education and reform, both local and legislative, and the power of cooperation? In contrast, the history surrounding occupational noise reveals the limitations of both experts and social movements, as well as the growing power of the judiciary at defining occupational hazards. Workers daily ­adopted a variety of strategies for coping with the bodily damage caused by their work environments, including coping strategies, self-­medication, changing employers, and exiting the industry. Such strategies may also be found ­today, in the textile mills in developing countries. Indeed, the dif­fer­ent relationships between science, knowledge, and reform in Amer­i­ca and Britain help explain how developing consensus about aerial hazards is a slow pro­cess. Certainly the contents of scientific journals and government studies about the harmful effects of dust inhalation and the ­causes and effects of fatigue crossed the Atlantic Ocean then and now. Yet few turn to textile production’s past for understanding or for the opportunities it can pres­ent. The lack of agreement about the ­causes of ill-­health, which inhibited scientific research, reform, and compensation, still remains. This prob­lem is mirrored in

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When the Air Became Important

­today’s textile producing centers, where knowledge about workplace hazards and the economic benefits of a healthy workforce remains slow to disseminate or convince. Like their counter­parts in Lancashire and New ­England, t­oday’s cotton operatives remain largely unaware of the long-­term health hazards they face. Without education about the aerial hazards of work, operatives ­were, and still are, unable to make informed choices about ­whether to accept the risks. The Economics of a Healthy Working Environment

Throughout this study of textile-­workplace aerial hazards, and similar to in other industries, politics has prioritized the needs of employers before the health of workers. The impact of employers’ re­sis­tance to regulation was particularly poignant in the case of byssinosis. The American textile industry argued that the cotton-­dust standard of 200 micrograms/m3 was invalid ­because OSHA had failed to show that the cost of compliance was justified by the health benefits gained.8 It took a 1981 United States Supreme Court ruling to uphold the standard. Even then, it was lower than the 1972 British level of 500 micrograms/m.3 When President Ronald Reagan’s administration moved to reconsider the ruling, the Department of Commerce successfully argued that regulation had secured the modernization of the industry.9 This decision reflects some of the core issues r­ unning through this study: When do the benefits of health protection warrant the expense of reform? And do the benefits from investment outweigh the risks of inaction? What are the best ways to make employers aware of the importance of the work-­health relationship? In the years surrounding 1900, many New E ­ ngland textile manufacturers voluntarily improved their ventilation and humidification systems and invested in new weaving technologies to reduce the spread of contagious diseases, believing that a healthier worker was a more productive one. While production goals drove this reform, employers, legislators, and communities acknowledged the work-­health link. In Britain, while the Lancashire trade ­unions secured compensation for occupational disability caused by byssinosis, it was effectively the end of Lancashire cotton manufacturing that wiped out the disease10—­not the ac­cep­tance of a work-­health relationship. Addressing ­those questions was then, and now remains, a challenge. Regulation, reform, and enforcement are slow pro­cesses. While dust inhalation and NIHL gained the attention of New E ­ ngland and Lancashire mill communities, difficulties surrounding proof of causation and any compensation mechanisms inhibited action. T ­ hese prob­lems have followed the industry to current global textile centers, where consensus about occupational causation of disease and the ­legal mechanisms for compensating ill and disabled workers remains problematic. This enables ­today’s textile employers to successfully

Conclusion 155

resist regulation and industrial reform.11 Governments have ignored health and science, choosing instead to focus on economic development, and this has been to the detriment of their constituents’ health. While some countries have a­ dopted diagnostic methods developed in Britain and Amer­i­ca, confidence in the results remains limited.12 Even in the twenty-­first ­century, worldwide consensus is lacking about ­whether NIHL is actually a disability. NIHL does not prevent work and is not life-­threatening, but it does affect the quality of life. This lack of consensus continues to allow governments, textile employers, operatives, and communities to overlook noise as a health risk. Such controversies surrounding the dangers of industrial noise led Sataloff and Sataloff to conclude in 2006 that “Hearing loss due to occupational noise exposure is our most prevalent industrial malady. . . .”13 While in 2000, approximately 16 ­percent of the world’s adult-­ onset hearing loss was due to occupational noise exposure, the prevalence was ­ hether higher in developing countries than in developed ones.14 It is unclear w this disparity reflects the West’s improved use of personal hearing protection at work, dramatic differences in workplace noise levels, better treatment of diseases associated with hearing loss in developing countries, or a combination of ­these ­factors. It could simply reflect that the noisiest jobs have moved to other parts of the world.15 Yet while scientific concern about the relationship between noise and health is growing, the reform of industrial practice lags far ­behind. While the needs of production have always dominated employers’ agendas, this study has shown that, sometimes, air quality can be positively connected to both the needs of production and workers’ health. However, t­ here has never been and never ­will be a single method for achieving improvements to the air quality of the workplace. The hazards are too easily ignored. Yet this should not inhibit western countries’ potential influence on the reform of industrial practices in the developing world—­particularly a­ fter the creation of the free-­ trade agreement in North Amer­i­ca and the establishment of the World Trade Organ­ization in 1995 enabled large corporations to contract out work.16 Subcontracting holds the benefits of limiting liability and corporate involvement in ­labor disputes and workers’ compensation claims. It also enables western corporations to deny responsibility for poor working environments, air quality, and safety standards, while pointing blame at e­ ither the local com­pany or the country. Yet it also provides a win­dow of opportunity for sharing knowledge about the relationships between production, health, and hazards. Industrialized countries have a responsibility to share their scientific and medical knowledge and seek regulatory safeguards for workers based on their own experiences of industrial hazards, connecting with, rather than

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disconnecting from, textile’s production past. Even if international legislation is unsuccessful, the efforts involved and the associated publicity, particularly when done through the internet and social media, can help inform and empower constituents, workers, employers, and doctors to improve air-­quality standards in their communities’ workplaces. However, if western experience is anything to go by, in current global textile centers, the nations w ­ ill need to align the priorities of individual health and industrial prosperity in order for air quality in the work environment to become impor­tant.

Acknowl­edgments

This book originated from conversations with the late John Pickstone, although it took several years before I began writing it. I originally thought it would be a book about the many facets of occupational health, but I soon discovered a story about aerial hazards that intersected with public and occupational health. The relationships between t­hese environments took the story in a dif­fer­ent direction that made the story much richer; it allowed me to delve into public health campaigns, community health priorities, and po­liti­cal and medical agendas across two countries. As with any academic endeavor, however, the professional assistance and efforts of colleagues, ­family, and friends has been vital in helping me see the proj­ect through to completion. Colleagues helped me shape ideas with their conversation and feedback on draft chapters. Of t­ hose, I would like to thank Rima Apple, Mary Blewett, David Bradley, Flurin Condrau, Pamela Dale, Graeme Gooday, Jennifer Gunn, Mark Jackson, Vlad Janković, Ronnie Johnston, Vicky Long, Elaine McFarland, Arthur McIvor, Joseph Melling, Neil Pemberton, Stephanie Snow, Elizabeth Toon, Michael Worboys, and an anonymous reviewer. In addition, Chris Sellers and John Stewart provided valuable comments about most of the manuscript and supported the entire proj­ect. I have presented parts of this study at vari­ous conferences, including ­those of the American Association for the History of Medicine, the Society for the Social History of Medicine, and the Eu­ro­pean Association for the History of Medicine and Health. The insightful comments of conference participants have strengthened and ­shaped the arguments herein. Seminar papers that I presented at University College Dublin, Lund University, Northumbria University, the University of York, Birmingham University, and the University of Minnesota also allowed me to explore ideas, and I am grateful to the many participants for their helpful comments. I would like to thank Graeme Gooday for kindly sharing an unpublished article and manuscript about hearing devices. I would also like to thank Michael Guida for sharing his unpublished master’s dissertation about occupational hearing loss. Colleagues in the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare, Glasgow, provided a supportive and friendly environment in which to work. Rima Apple encouraged me to submit my proposal to the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series and has been a superb mentor. Both Rima and Janet Golden, the series’ editors, believed in the proj­ect from the start. I could not ask for a better editor than Peter

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Acknowl­e dgments

Mickulas at Rutgers University Press. His generosity, patience, and invaluable advice have made this a better book. Indeed, the comments and generosity of all the ­people mentioned ­here have undoubtedly made this a better book, and I am grateful to them. Any remaining errors or omissions are my own. No history proj­ect would succeed without the time, enthusiasm, and helpfulness of archivists. I was fortunate to meet many who went out of their way to help me identify relevant materials. In Amer­ic­ a, I would like to thank the archivists at the Baker Library of Harvard Business School, the Mas­sa­chu­setts Institute for Technology, the Fall River Historical Society, the Mas­sa­chu­setts State Archive, the Lowell National Historic Park, the Center for Lowell History, the American Textile History Museum, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Notably, Martha Mayo, at the Center for Lowell History, and Claire Sheridan, at the ATHM, ­were more generous with their time and efforts than any researcher could ever imagine! I would not have finished this proj­ect without your help! In Britain, I would like to thank the many archivists and librarians at the Lancashire Rec­ord Office, the Manchester Central Library, the John Rylands Library, and the National Archives. You patiently found file ­after file of papers on public health and textile manufacturing. In addition, I would like to thank the Wellcome Trust for funding some of this research, particularly the travel. Parts of this volume have been adapted from previously published articles. I would like to thank the relevant journal and book editors for their kind permission to reuse some of this material. T ­ hese articles include “Workplace Health and Gender among Cotton Workers in Amer­i­ca and Britain, c. 1880s–1940s,” International Review of Social History 61, no. 3 (2016): 459–485 and “ ‘Stop Kissing and Steaming!’: Tuberculosis and the Occupational Health Movement, 1870– 1918,” Urban History 32, no.  2 (2005): 223–246, both courtesy of Cambridge University Press; “ ‘The Dangers Attending ­These Conditions Are Evident’: Public Health and the Working Environment of Lancashire Textile Communities, c. 1870–1939,” Social History of Medicine 26, no. 4 (2013): 672–694, courtesy of Oxford University Press; and “Technological Choice and Environmental Inequalities: The New E ­ ngland Textile Industry, 1880–1930,” in Environmental and Social Justice in the City: Historical Perspectives, ed. G. Massard-­Guilbaud and R. Rodger (Knapwell: White Horse Press, 2011), 249–270. Lastly, no book comes to fruition without the support of friends and f­ amily. I wish to thank Anne Goulston and Jim and Patti Pransky for providing me with a home away from home on my many trips to Boston. Many friends in Amer­i­ca and Britain have been patient throughout what has been a long pro­cess. They have put up with my tales about the links between public and environmental health and stories of occupational health prob­lems, past and pres­ent. I must also



Acknowl­e dgments 159

thank them for their welcome distractions, reminding me how necessary it is to keep the work-­life balance. ­These include Helen B., Helen and Paul W., Paul F., Simon and Diane, Simon and Emma, Tony and Rachel, Brian, Nina, Denise (you ­will always be remembered), Susan, Mo, Peggy and Bobby, Judy and Art, Jennifer, Catriona and Alban, Fiona, Jen, Kirsty, Mhairi, Sharon, Sylvia, and Aileen. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me! Most of all, however, I must thank my ­mother, Peter, Joe, and Katie for their love and laughter.

Notes

Chapter 1  Introduction

1. Michelle Murphy, Sick Building Syndrome and the Prob­lem of Uncertainty (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 24. 2. McEvoy began this debate in relation to occupational safety. Arthur McEvoy, “Working Environments: An Ecological Approach to Industrial Health and Safety,” Tech­ nology and Culture 36, no. 2 (1995): S145–­S172. 3. Jake Blumgart, “Obama’s OSHA: Improved, But Still Weak,” Salon, March 2, 2012; Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North Amer­ic­ a 9, no. 5 (2012). 4. Nicholas Watt, “David Cameron Pledges to Tackle ‘Health and Safety Monster,’ ” The Guardian, January 5, 2012; Andrew Woodcock, Dan Bentley, Ben Glaze, “David Cameron: I ­Will Kill Off Safety Culture,” The In­de­pen­dent, January 5, 2012. 5. Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor, “What­ever Happened to the Occupational Health Ser­vice? The NHS, the OHS and the Asbestos Tragedy on Clydeside,” in The NHS in Scotland. The Legacy of the Past and the Prospect of the ­Future, ed. Chris Nottingham (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 79–105. 6. McEvoy, “Working Environment.” 7. The mid-­Atlantic states also had a burgeoning textile industry. However, this differed from New E ­ ngland in terms of the cloth produced and the manufacturing pro­cess, making New ­England and Lancashire better comparators. See Philip Scranton, Pro­ prietary Capitalism: The Textile Manufacture at Philadelphia, 1800–1885 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Philip Scranton, Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865–1925 (Prince­ton: Prince­ton University Press, 1997). 8. James Montgomery, A Practical Detail of the Cotton Manufacture of the United States of Amer­i­ca and the State of Cotton Manufacture of that Country Contrasted and Compared with that of G ­ reat Britain (Glasgow: J. Niven Jr., 1840; repr., New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1969). 9. For example, William Lazonick, “Production Relations, L ­ abour Productivity and Choice of Technique: British and United States’ Cotton Spinning,” Journal of Eco­ nomic History 41 (1981): 491–516; William Lazonick, Competitive Advantage on the Shopfloor (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990); William Lazonick, “Rings and Mules in Britain: A Reply,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 99 (1984): 393–398; Timothy Leunig, “A British Industrial Success: Productivity in the Lancashire and New E ­ ngland Cotton Spinning Industries a ­Century Ago,” Economic History Review 56, no. 1 (2003): 90–117; Timothy Leunig, “New Answers to Old Questions: Explaining the Slow Adoption of Ring Spinning in Lancashire, 1880– 1913,” Journal of Economic History 61, no. 2 (2001): 439–466; William Mass and William Lazonick, “The British Cotton Industry and International Competitive Advantage: The State of the Debates,” Business History 32, no.  4 (1990): 9–65; Timothy Leunig, “The Myth of the Corporate Economy: F ­ actor Costs, Industrial Structure and Technological Choice in the Lancashire and New ­England Cotton Industries, 1900–1913” (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Oxford, 1996); H.  J. Habakkuk, American and British Technology in the Nineteenth ­Century

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10. 11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

Notes to Pages 5–6

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962); David Jeremy, Transatlantic Indus­ trial Revolution: The Diffusion of Textile Technologies between Britain and Amer­ i­ca, 1790–1830 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981); David Jeremy, “British Textile Technology Transmission to the United States: ‘The Philadelphia Region Experience,’ ” Business History Review 47, no. 1 (1973): 24–52; William Mass, “Technological Change and Industrial Relations: The Diffusion of Automatic Weaving in the United States and Britain” (unpublished PhD thesis, Boston College, 1984); Lars  G. Sandberg, “American Rings and En­glish Mules: The Role of Economic Rationality,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 73 (1969): 25–43; and Gary Saxon­ house and Gavin Wright, “Rings and Mules around the World: A Comparative Study in Technological Change,” Technique, Spirit and Form. Reprinted in The Textile Industry and the Rise of the Japa­nese Economy, ed. Michael Smitka (New York: Garland, 1998). Alfred Marshall, Princi­ples of Economics (London: MacMillan, 1890). See, for example, Mary B. Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values: The British and American Cotton Industries since 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: W ­ omen Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); Trevor Griffiths, The Lancashire Working Classes, c. 1880–1930 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Miriam Glucksmann, Cottons and Casu­ als: The Gendered Organisation of ­Labour in Time and Space (Durham: Sociology Press, 2000). Geoffrey Tweedale, “Occupational Health and the Region: The Medical and Socio-­ Legal Dimensions of Respiratory Diseases and Cancer in the Lancashire Textile Industry” in King Cotton: A Tribute to Douglas A. Farnie, ed. J. F. Wilson (Lancaster: Crucible Books, 2009), 325–341. Contemporaries also compared the two industries. See Living Conditions of the Wage-­Earning Population in Certain Cities of Mas­sa­chu­setts with Some Compari­ sons between the United States and the United Kingdom (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1911). For a brief summary of this argument, see Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values, 2; for a specific study on spinning technology, see Saxon­ house and Wright, “Rings and Mules around the World” and Gregory Clark, “Why I­sn’t the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills,” Journal of Economic His­ tory 47 (1987): 141–173. Elisha Bartlett, MD, A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills, against the Charges Contained in the Boston Times, and the Boston Quarterly Review (Lowell: L. Huntress, 1841); Charles Thackrah, The Effects of the Arts, Trades, and Professions and of the Civic States and Habits of Living, on Health and Longevity: With Suggestions for the Removal of Many of the Agents Which Produce Disease, and Shorten the Duration of Life (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1832): 144–146. “Report on the Statistics of L ­ abor: Condition of Textile Fabric Manufactories in Mas­ sa­chu­setts,” in Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of L ­ abor (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1874), 109–159; Nigel Morgan, Deadly Dwellings: The Shocking Story of Housing & Public Health in a Lancashire Cotton Town: Preston from 1840–1914 (Preston: Mullion Books, 1993). Theodore Steinberg, Nature Incorporated: Industrialization and the W ­ aters of New ­England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 210–236; B.  G.



Notes to Pages 6–7

163

Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1842– 1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972). 18. Allen Clarke, The Effects of the Factory System (London: Grant Richards, 1899; repr., Littleborough: George Kelsall, 1989), 56. 19. Charles Verrill, “Infant Mortality and its Relation to the Employment of ­Mothers in Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts,” in Transactions of the 15th International Congress on Hygiene and Demography (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1913), 3: 319–320. 20. John T. Cumbler, Working Class Community in Industrial Amer­i­ca: Work, Leisure and Strug­gle in Two Industrial Cities (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979), 114–118. 21. BPP 1845 [603] XVIII, “The Report on Preston of the Rev. J. Clay,” Appendix to the Second Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of the Large Towns (London: HMSO 1845), 35–36; Morgan, Deadly Dwellings; Angus B. Reach, Man­ chester and the Textile Districts in 1849 (1849; repr., Helmshore: Helmshore Local History Society, 1972), 71, 76; J.  C. Brown, “The Condition of ­England and the Standard of Living: Cotton Textiles in the Northwest, 1806–1850,” Journal of Eco­ nomic History 50, no. 3 (1990): 591–614. 22. Arthur McIvor, A History of Work in Britain, 1880–1950 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 134–135. 23. Mathew Thomson, Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture, and Health in Twentieth-­ Century Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 142–150. 24. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “Safety and Health as a Class Issue: The Workers’ Health Bureau of Amer­i­ca during the 1920s” in ­Dying for Work: Workers’ Safety and Health in Twentieth-­Century Amer­i­ca, ed. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 58; David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “Occupational Safety and Health Policies during the New Deal,” in ­Dying for Work, 83–102. 25. Anthony Wohl, Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian Britain (London: Dent, 1983), 257–284. 26. Steve Sturdy, “The Industrial Body,” in Companion to Medicine in the Twentieth ­Century, ed. Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (London: Routledge, 2003), 217–234; Joseph Melling, “The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working: Trade Unions, Employers and Responses to the Risk of Occupational Illness in British Industry, c. 1890–1940s,” ESRC Centre for Analy­sis of Risk and Regulation Discussion Paper No. 12 (2003): 14–34. 27. Joseph Melling, “Employers, Industrial Welfare and the Strug­gle for Work-­Place Control in British Industry, 1880–1920,” in Managerial Strategies and Industrial Relations: An Historical and Comparative Study, ed. H. F. Gospel and C. R. Littler (London: : Heinemann Educational Books, 1983), 55–81. 28. For example, Christopher Hamlin, Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of Chadwick, 1800–1854 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); R. Woods and J. Woodward, eds., Urban Disease and Mortality in Nineteenth ­Century ­England (London: Heinemann Educational Book, 1983); Sally Sheard and H. Power, eds., Body and City: Histories of Urban Public Health (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000); Anne Hardy, The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medi­ cine (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). 29. Stephen Mosley, “Fresh Air and Foul: The Role of the Open Fireplace in Ventilating the British Home, 1837–1910,” Planning Perspectives 18 (2003): 1–21; Stephen

164

Notes to Pages 8–9

Mosley, “The Home Fires: Heat, Health, and Atmospheric Pollution in Britain, 1900– 45,” in Health and the Modern Home, ed. Mark Jackson (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), 196–223. 30. Daniel T. Rod­gers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000). 31. Melvin T. Copeland, The Cotton Manufacturing Industry of the United States (1917; repr., New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966), chap. 17; Barbara Harrison, Not Only The ‘Dangerous Trades’: ­Women’s Work and Health in Britain, 1880–1914 (Abingdon, Routledge, 1996); Carolyn Malone, ­Women’s Bodies and Dangerous Trades in ­England 1880–1914 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2003); Caroline  H. Dall, ­Woman’s Right to L ­ abor; or, Low Wages and Hard Work: In Three Lectures, Delivered in Boston, November 1859 (Boston: Walker Wise & Co., 1860); Ardis Cameron, Rad­ icals of the Worst Sort: Laboring W ­ omen in Lawrence, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1860–1912 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 57; Susan M. Kingsbury, ­Labor Laws and Their Enforcement, with Special Reference to Mas­sa­chu­setts (New York: Longmans, 1911); and Carl Gersuny, Work Hazards and Industrial Conflict (Hanover, NH: University Press of New ­England, 1981). 32. Rod­gers, Atlantic Crossings. 33. E. Crooks, The Factory Inspectors: A Legacy of the Industrial Revolution (Stroud: History Press, 2005). 34. Harrison, Not Only the ‘Dangerous Trades’; Barbara Harrison, “Suffer the Working Day: ­Women in the ‘Dangerous Trades,’ ” British Feminist Histories: W ­ omen’s Stud­ ies International Forum 13, no. 1 (1990): 79–80. 35. John Duffy, A History of Public Health in New York City, 2 vols. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1968, 1974); Stuart Galishoff, Safeguarding the Public Health: Newark, 1895–1918 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975); Judith Walzer Leavitt, The Healthiest City: Milwaukee and the Politics of Health Reform (Prince­ton: Prince­ton University Press, 1982); Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State, 1–2; Charles Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1987); Martin Melosi, Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in Amer­ic­ a from Colonial Times to the Pres­ent (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999). 36. Colin Gordon, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Healthcare in Twentieth ­Century Amer­i­ca (Prince­ton: Prince­ton University Press, 2004). 37. Allison Hepler, ­Women in ­Labor: ­Mothers, Medicine, and Occupational Health in the United States, 1890–1980 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2000), 12. 38. Robert  H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877–1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967); Daniel Berman, Death on the Job: Occupational Health and Safety Strug­gles in the United States (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979); Daniel Berman, “Why Work Kills: A Brief History of Occupational Health in the United States,” International Journal of Health Ser­vices 7 (1977): 63–87; Gersuny, Work Hazards; Jacqueline Corn, “Protective Legislation for Coal Miners, 1870–1990: Response to Safety and Health Hazards,” in ­Dying for Work, 67–82; William Graebner, Coal Mining Safety in the Progressive Period: The Po­liti­cal Economy of Reform (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1976); David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “The Early Movement for Occupational Health and Safety, 1900–1917,” in Sick­ ness and Health in Amer­i­ca: Readings in the History of Medicine, 3rd rev. ed., ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 467–482.



Notes to Page 9

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39. Alice Kessler-­Harris, Out to Work: A History of Wage-­Earning W ­ omen in the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982). 40. For example, Thomas Dublin, ­Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1826–1860, 2nd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993); Greenlees, Female ­ Labour Power; Michael Savage, “­Women and Work in the Lancashire Cotton Industry, 1890–1939,” in Employers and L ­ abour in the En­glish Textile Industries, 1850–1939, ed. J. A. Jowitt and A. J. McIvor (London: Routledge, 1988), 203–223; Jutta Schwarzkopf, Unpicking Gender: The Social Construction of Gender in the Lancashire Cotton Weaving Industry, 1880–1914 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004); Janet Greenlees, “Equal Pay for Equal Work?: A New Look at Gender and Wages in the Lancashire Cotton Industry, 1790–1855,” in Working Out Gender: Perspectives from L ­ abour History, ed. Margaret Walsh (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 167–190; Alan Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work, 1900–1950 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003); Griffiths, Lancashire Working Classes; Joseph White, The Limits of Trade Union Militancy: The Lan­ cashire Textile Workers, 1910–1914 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978); Michael Winstanley, “The Factory Workforce,” in The Lancashire Cotton Industry: A History since 1700, ed. Mary B. Rose (Preston: Lancashire County Books, 1996), 121–153. 41. For example, Clark Nardinelli, Child ­Labor and the Industrial Revolution (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); Dublin, ­Women at Work; Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power; Marjorie Cruickshank, ­Children and Industry: Child Health and Welfare in North-­West Textile Towns during the Nineteenth C ­ entury (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1981); Hepler, ­Women in ­Labor; Peter Kirby, Child Workers and Industrial Health in Britain, 1780–1850 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2013). 42. Gersuny, Work Hazards; P.W.J. Bartrip, Workmen’s Compensation in Twentieth ­Century Britain: Law, History and Social Policy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1987); P.W.J. Bartrip and S. B. Burman, The Wounded Soldiers of Industry: Industrial Compensa­ tion Policy 1833–1897 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983); Mark Bufton and Joseph Melling, “ ‘A Mere ­Matter of Rock’: Organised ­Labour, Scientific Evidence and British Government Schemes for Compensation of Silicosis and Pneumoconiosis among Coalminers, 1926–1940,” Medical History 49 (2005): 155–178; Mark Aldrich, Death Rode the Rails: American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1828–1965 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); Mark Aldrich, Safety First: Technology, ­Labor, and Business in the Building of American Work Safety, 1870–1939 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997). 43. Michelle Abendstern, Christine Hallett, Lesley Wade, “Flouting the Law: W ­ omen and the Hazards of Cleaning Moving Machinery in the Cotton Industry, 1930–1970,” Oral History 33, no. 2 (2005): 69–78; Christine Hallett, Michelle Abendstern, Lesley Wade, “The Strug­gle for Sanitary Reform in the Lancashire Cotton Mills, 1920–1970,” Jour­ nal of Advanced Nursing 48, no. 3 (2004): 257–265; Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor, Lethal Work: A History of the Asbestos Tragedy in Scotland (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 2000); Geoffrey Tweedale, Magic Mineral to Killer Dust: Turner and Newall and the Asbestos Hazard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Arthur McIvor and Ronald Johnston, Miners’ Lung: A History of Dust Disease in British Coal Mining (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); Mary Blewett, The Last Generation: Work and Life in the Textile Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1910–1960 (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1990); Tamara  K. Hareven and Randolph Langenback,

166

44.

45.

46. 47.

48.

49. 50.

51. 52.

53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58.

Notes to Pages 9–11

Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory City (Hanover, University Press of New ­England, 1978). Tweedale, “Occupational Health;” Geoffrey Tweedale and David Higgins, “Oil on the ­Water: Government Regulation of a Carcinogen in the Lancashire Cotton Spinning Industry,” Business History 52, no. 5 (2010): 695–712; Charles Levenstein, Dianne Plantamura, and William Mass, “­Labor and Byssinosis, 1941–69,” in Rosner and Markowitz, ­Dying for Work, 208–223; Charles Levenstein and Gregory F. DeLaurier with Mary Lee Dunn, The Cotton Dust Papers: Science, Politics, and Power in the “Discovery” of Byssinosis in the U.S. (Amityville: Baywood, 2002); Arthur McIvor, “State Intervention and Work Intensification: The Politics of Occupational Health and Safety in the British Cotton Industry, c.1880–1914,” in ­Labour, Social Policy and the Welfare State, ed. A. Knotter, B. Altena, and D. Damsma (Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1997), 125–142. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Mondays without Dread: The Trade Union Response to Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry in the Twentieth ­Century,” SHM 16, no. 1 (2003): 79–96; Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Poisoned by the Fluff: Compensation and Litigation for Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry,” Journal of Law and Society 29, no. 4 (2002): 560–579; Robert E. Botsch, Organ­ izing the Breathless: Cotton Dust, Southern Politics, & the Brown Lung Association (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993); Terry Wyke, “Mule Spinners’ Cancer,” in The Barefoot Aristocrats: A History of the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners, ed. Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke (Littleborough: George Kelsall, 1987), 184–196. Chris Sellers, Hazards of the Job: From Industrial Disease to Environmental Health Science (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). For example, Chris Hamlin has argued that the British po­liti­cal emphasis on public health related to the desire to improve its world image as the leading industrial nation. Hamlin, Public Health. Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling, eds., Dangerous Trade: Histories of Indus­ trial Hazard across a Globalizing World (Philadelphia: ­Temple University Press, 2012), 4. Murphy, Sick Building Syndrome, 24. Paul Weindling, “Linking Self Help and Medical Science: The Social History of Occupational Health,” in The Social History of Occupational Health, ed. Paul Weindling (London: Croom Helm, 1985), 2–31. Tweedale, Magic Mineral to Killer Dust, 289. Mark Bufton and Joseph Melling, “Coming Up for Air: Experts, Employers, and Workers in Campaigns to Compensate Silicosis Sufferers in Britain, 1918–39,” SHM 18 (2005): 63–86; McIvor and Johnston, Miners’ Lung. Bowden and Tweedale, “Mondays without Dread,” 94–95. Tweedale and Higgins, “Oil on the W ­ ater;” Wyke, “Mule Spinners’ Cancer.” Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives, chap. 6; Alan Fowler, “Lancashire Cotton Trade Unionism in the Interwar Years,” in Jowitt and McIvor, Employers and L ­ abour, 107–126. Vicky Long, The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914–60 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 221. See also Johnston and McIvor, Lethal Work. Ernst P. Boas, “The Unseen Plague of Chronic Sickness,” Survey Midmonthly 74 (December 1938): 376, as cited in David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, Deadly Dust:



Notes to Pages 11–17

167

Silicosis and the Politics of Occupational Disease in Twentieth-­Century Amer­ic­ a (Prince­ton, NJ: Prince­ton University Press, 1991), 8. 59. Levenstein, et al., Cotton Dust Papers; Lawrence Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); Joshua L. Rosenbloom, “The Challenges of Economic Maturity: New ­England, 1880–1940,” in Engines of Enterprise: An Eco­ nomic History of New E ­ ngland, ed. Peter Temin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 153–200; Lynn Elaine Browne and Steven Sass, “The Transition from a Mill-­Based to a Knowledge-­Based Economy: New ­England, 1940–2000,” in Temin, Engines of Enterprise, 201–252. 60. D. Brody, “­Labor History, Industrial Relations, and the Crisis of American L ­ abor,” Industrial and ­Labor Relations Review 43 (October 1989): 15–16; Clete Daniel, Cul­ ture of Misfortune: An Interpretive History of Textile Unionism in the United States (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001); William F. Hartford, Where is Our Respon­ sibility? Unions and Economic Change in the New E ­ ngland Textile Industry, 1870– 1960 (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1996). 61. Levenstein, et al., “­Labor and Byssinosis.” 62. Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth-­Century South (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1987). 63. Botsch, Organ­izing the Breathless. 64. Levenstein, et al., Cotton Dust Papers; Botsch, Organ­izing the Breathless. 65. Janet Greenlees, “Workplace Health and Gender among Cotton Workers in Amer­i­ca and Britain, c. 1880s–1940s,” IRSH 61, no. 3 (2016): 459–485. 66. Arthur McIvor, “Employers, the Government and Industrial Fatigue in Britain, 1890– 1914,” BJIM 44, no. 11 (1987): 724–732. 67. ­After the ­Great War, the British Medical Research Council established a Social Medicine Research Institute, which included three subcommittees concerned with tuberculosis, including an Occupational Phthisis Committee. Dorothy Porter, “How Did Social Medicine Evolve and Where is it Heading?,” PLOS Medicine 3, no. 10 (2006): 1667–1672; Shaun Murphy, “The Early Days of the MRC Social Medicine Research Unit,” SHM 12 (1999): 389–406; Linda Bryder, “The Medical Research Council and Treatments for Tuberculosis before Streptomycin,” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 107, no. 10 (2014): 409–415. Chapter 2  Textile Towns and Mill Environments

1. GATT, Textiles and Clothing in the World Economy (Geneva: GATT, 1984), 4–5; A. D. Chandler, Jr. and R. Tedlow, The Coming of Managerial Capitalism: A Casebook on the History of American Economic Institutions (Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, 1985), 140. 2. Edward Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture in ­Great Britain (London: H. Fisher, R. Fisher, and P. Jackson, 1835), 89. 3. J. K. Walton, “Proto-­Industralisation and the First Industrial Revolution: The Case of Lancashire,” in Regions and Industries, ed. Pat Hudson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 41–68. 4. Peter Temin, “The Industrialization of New ­England, 1830–1880,” in Engines of Enterprise: An Economic History of New ­England, ed. Peter Temin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 109–152, 110. 5. Mary B. Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values: The British and American Cotton Industries since 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 46–47.

168

Notes to Pages 17–21

6. James Montgomery, Cotton Manufacture of the United States of Amer­i­ca (1840; repr., New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1969), 160–161. 7. Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values, 47–48. 8. For example, Douglas Farnie et al., eds., Region and Strategy in Britain and Japan: Business in Lancashire and Kansai, 1890–1990 (London: Routledge, 1999); Geoffrey Timmins, Made in Lancashire: A History of Regional Industrialisation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998); Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values; Temin, “Industrialization”; Mary Rose, ed., The Lancashire Cotton Industry: A History since 1700 (Preston: Lancashire County Books, 1996); Douglas Farnie, The En­glish Cotton Industry and the World Market, 1815–1896 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979); John Singleton, Lancashire on the Scrapheap: The Cotton Industry, 1945–1970 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); David Jeremy, Arti­ sans, Entrepreneurs and Machines: Essays on the Early Anglo-­American Textile Industries (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998); David Jeremy, Transatlantic Industrial Revo­ lution: The Diffusion of Textile Technologies between Britain and Amer­i­ca, 1790– 1830s (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981); Thomas Russell Smith, The Cotton Tex­ tile Industry of Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts: A Study of Industrial Localization (New York: King’s Crown Press, 1944). 9. For example, John Pickstone, Medicine and Industrial Society: A History of Hospi­ tal Development in Manchester and its Region, 1752–1946 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1983); S.R.S. Szreter, “The Importance of Social Intervention in Britain’s Mortality Decline, c. 1850–1914: A Reinterpretation of the Role of Public Health,” SHM 1 (1988): 1–38; G. Kearns, W. R. Lee, and J. Rogers, “The Interaction of Po­liti­cal and Economic ­Factors in the Management of Urban Public Health,” in Urbanisation and the Epidemiologic Transition, ed. M. C. Nelson and J. Rogers (Uppsala: Historiska Institutionen, 1989); John Welshman, Munici­ pal Medicine: Public Health in Twentieth-­ Century Britain (Bern: Peter Lang, 2000); Charles Rosenberg, The Care of Strangers: The Rise of Amer­ic­ a’s Hospital System (New York: Basic Books, 1987); Janet Greenlees, “Technological Choice and Environmental Inequalities: The New ­ England Textile Industry, 1880– 1930,” in Environmental and Social Justice in the City: Historical Perspectives, ed. G. Massard-­ Guilbaud and R. Rodger (Knapwell: White Horse Press, 2011), 249–270. 10. Laurence Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 5. 11. Robert F. Dalzell, Jr., Enterprising Elite: The Boston Associates and the World They Made (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1987), 67–68. 12. For more on Lowell and the early female ­labor force, see Thomas Dublin, ­Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1826–1860, 2nd  ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993); and Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: ­Women Workers’ Influence on Business Prac­ tices in the British and American Cotton Industries, c. 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). 13. For more on early mill architecture and conditions, see John Coo­lidge, Mill and Man­ sion: A Study in Architecture and Society in Lowell Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1820–1865 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1942); Betsy Bahr Peterson, “Industrial Architecture from the Inside: Textile Mill Design and the Factory Workplace, 1860– 1920,” in The Continuing Revolution: A History of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, ed. Robert Weible (Lowell: Lowell Historical Society, 1991), 197–212.



Notes to Pages 21–25

169

14. Elisha Bartlett, MD, A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills, against the Charges Contained in the Boston Times, and the Boston Quarterly Review (Lowell: L. Huntress, 1841). 15. Mary H. Blewett, “USA: Shifting Landscapes of Class, Culture, Gender, Race and Protest in the American Northeast and South,” in The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650–2000, ed. Lex Heerma Van Voss, Els Hiemstra-­ Kuperus, and Elise Van Nederveen Meerkerk (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 539. 16. Isaac Cohen, American Management and British L ­ abor: A Comparative Study of the Cotton Spinning Industry (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 122; see also Mary Blewett, Constant Turmoil: The Politics of Industrial Life in Nineteenth-­Century New ­England (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 2000). 17. John T. Cumbler, Working Class Community in Industrial Amer­i­ca: Work, Leisure and Strug­gle in Two Industrial Cities (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979), 103–105; Blewett, Constant Turmoil. 18. Cohen, American Management, 28–54. 19. Ibid., 156–157. 20. Blewett, Constant Turmoil. 21. Donald Cole, Immigrant City: Lawrence, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1845–1921 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963), 203, 209. 22. Blewett, “USA: Shifting Landscapes,” 549; Ardis Cameron, Radicals of the Worst Sort: Laboring ­Women in Lawrence, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1860–1912 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995). 23. Census of Mas­sa­chu­setts 1905, Vol. I, xliii; Bureau of Statistics, Living Conditions of the Wage-­Earning Population of Certain Cities in Mas­sa­chu­setts with Some Com­ parisons between the United States and the United Kingdom (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1911), 277 24. Greenlees, “Technological Choice,” 265. 25. Lemuel Shattuck, Report of the Sanitary Commission of Mas­sa­chu­setts 1850 (Boston: Dutton and Went­worth, 1850), 2. 26. B. G. Rosenkrantz, “Cart before the Horse: Theory, Practice and Professional Image in American Public Health, 1870–1920,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 29 (1974): 55–73; Martin V. Melosi, Garbage in the Cities: Refuse, Reform, and the Environment, 1880–1980 (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1981). 27. Stephen Mrozowski, Grace Ziesing, and Mary Beaudry, Living on the Boott: Histori­ cal Archaeology at the Boott Mills Boarding­houses, Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1996), 52–53. 28. B. G. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1842–1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 102–103. 29. William Bayard Hale, “The Importance of Churches in a Manufacturing Town,” Forum 18 (September 1884–­February 1895): 295. 30. Cumbler, Working Class Community, 108, 114–117. 31. Ibid., 107–108. 32. Mas­sa­chu­setts Board of Health Report (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1912), 734. 33. Mas­sa­chu­setts State Census 1898, Vol. 1, 389–390; Mas­sa­chu­setts State Census 1905, Vol. 1, 67, 110; cited in Cumbler, Working Class Community, 120, 132; Forty-­First Annual Report of the Mas­sa­chu­setts Bureau of L ­ abor Statistics (1910), 279. In his federally sponsored investigations of 1911, 1912, and 1916, sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine exposed the poverty, poor working conditions, and, most specifically,

170

Notes to Pages 27–31

the widespread use of child ­labor in Fall River and New Bedford. National Child ­Labor Committee Collection, http://­www​.­loc​.­gov​/­pictures​/­collection​/­nclc​/­. 34. Cole, Immigrant City, 61. 35. Cole, Immigrant City, 68. 36. Ibid., 71. 37. Robert Todd and Frank Sanborn, The Report of the Lawrence Survey (Lawrence, MA: 1912), 54–60; U.S. Census Bureau, Thirteenth Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1910. Abstract of the Census with Supplement for Mas­sa­chu­setts (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913), as cited in Cole, Immigrant City, 73. 38. H. W. Clark and S. D. Gage, “A Study of the Hygienic Condition of the Air in Certain Textile Mills with Reference to the Influence of Artificial Humidification,” Mas­sa­chu­setts Board of Health Report 44 (1912): 659–692. 39. Cole, Immigrant City, 78–81. 40. Todd and Sanborn, Report of the Lawrence Survey, 125. 41. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “The Early Movement for Occupational Safety and Health, 1900–1917,” in Sickness and Health in Amer­i­ca: Readings in the His­ tory of Medicine and Public Health, ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald L. Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 507–521; Martin V. Melosi, The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in Amer­i­ca from Colonial Times to the Pres­ent (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000); J. Duffy, “The American Medical Profession and Public Health: From Support to Ambivalence,” BHM 53, no. 1 (1979): 1–22. 42. Municipal Register of the City of Holyoke for 1880. Containing the Mayor’s Address, City Government Roster, Rules and ­Orders of the City Council, Annual Reports, ­etc. (Holyoke: Transcript Printing House, 1881), 165. 43. Thirty-­Fifth Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Mas­sa­chu­setts (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1903), xx. 44. William Hartford, Where is Our Responsibility?: Unions and Economic Change in the New E ­ ngland Textile Industry, 1870–1960 (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1996), 54. 45. Laurence Gross, “The Game is Played Out: The Closing De­cades of the Boott Mill,” in Weible, The Continuing Revolution, 281–300. 46. Irving Bern­stein, A History of the American Worker, 1920–1933: The Lean Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960), 255, cited in Gross, “The Game is Played Out,” 282. 47. Gross, “The Game is Played Out,” 283–284; Gross, Course of Industrial Decline, 118–138. 48. A notable exception is the Gregs of Quarry Bank Mill at Styal, near Manchester. See Mary B. Rose, The Gregs of Quarry Bank Mill: The Rise and Decline of a ­Family Firm, 1750–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). 49. Walton, “Protoindustrialization”; Timmins, Made in Lancashire. 50. John Walton, Lancashire: A Social History, 1558–1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 199–200. 51. Farnie, En­glish Cotton Industry, 308–312. 52. Michael Savage, The Dynamics of Working-­Class Politics: The L ­ abour Movement in Preston, 1880–1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 66. 53. Ibid., 64–80, 202–206. 54. Alysa Levene, Martin Powell, John Stewart, and Becky Taylor, Cradle to Grave: Municipal Medicine in Interwar E ­ ngland and Wales (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011), esp. chaps. 2 and 4.



Notes to Pages 31–33

171

55. Nigel Morgan, Deadly Dwellings: The Shocking Story of Housing & Public Health in a Lancashire Cotton Town: Preston from 1840 to 1914 (Preston: Mullion Books, 1993), 48–50. 56. For example, Szreter, “Importance of Social Intervention”; John Welshman, “The Medical Officer of Health in E ­ ngland and Wales, 1900–1974: Watchdog or Lapdog?,” Journal of Public Health and Medicine 19, no. 4 (1997): 449; R. I. Woods and J. H. Woodward, eds., Urban Disease and Mortality in Nineteenth–­Century ­England and Wales (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984); B. T. Preston, “Rich Town, Poor Town: The Distribution of Rate-­Bourne Spending Levels in the Edwardian City System,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series 10 (1985): 77–94; G. Kearns, W. R. Lee, and J. Rogers, “The Interactions of Po­liti­cal and Economic ­Factors in the Management of Urban Public Health,” in Urbanisation and the Epi­ demiologic Transition, ed. M. C. Nelson and J. Rogers (Uppsala: Historiska Institutionen, 1989), 9–81. 57. Pickstone, Medicine and Industrial Society; Welshman, Municipal Medicine; F. Bell and R. Millward, “Public Health Expenditures and Mortality in ­England and Wales, 1870–1914,” Continuity and Change 13 (1998): 221–249; Barry Doyle, “The Changing Functions of Urban Government,” in the Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol. 3, 1840–1950, ed. Martin Daunton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 287–313. 58. Janet Greenlees, “Stop Kissing and Steaming: Tuberculosis and the Occupational Health Movement, 1870–1918,” Urban History 32, no. 2 (2005): 229–233. 59. For a full account of Preston housing, including images, see Morgan, Deadly Dwell­ ings, esp. 55–56. 60. Elizabeth Roberts, “Working-­Class Standards of Living in Three Lancashire Towns, 1890–1914,” IRSH 27, no. 1 (1982): 43–65. 61. Derek Beattie, Blackburn: A History (Halifax: Ryburn Publishing, 1992), 41; Walton, Lancashire, 231–232; G. N. Trodd, “Po­liti­cal Change and the Working Class in Blackburn and Burnley, 1880–1914,” (PhD thesis, Lancaster University, 1978), 132–134. 62. Patrick Joyce, “The Factory Politics of Lancashire in the L ­ ater Nineteenth ­Century,” The Historical Journal 18 (1975): 545; Beattie, Blackburn, 60–61. 63. Pickstone, Medicine and Industrial Society, 142–431. 64. Beattie, Blackburn, 40, 42–44. 65. Andrew Bullen, “Pragmatism vs. Princi­ple: Cotton Employers and the Origins of an Industrial Relations System,” in Employers and ­Labour in the En­glish Textile Indus­ tries, 1850–1939, ed. J. A. Jowitt and A. J. McIvor (London: Routledge, 1988), 31–35. 66. Ibid., 15. 67. Ibid., 56. 68. Nigel Morgan, “Infant Mortality, Flies and Horses in Later-­Nineteenth-­Century Towns: A Case Study of Preston,” Continuity and Change 17, no. 33 (2002): 107 and 131; Stefan Muthesius, The En­glish Terraced House (London: Yale University Press, 1983), 126. 69. HRBL/2/1/3, Annual Report upon the Health of Blackburn for the Year (hereafter Blackburn MOH Report), 1890, 26; HRBL/2/1/8, Blackburn MOH Report, 1896, 60–61; HRBL/2/1/8, Blackburn MOH Report, 1897, 62–66; HRBL/2/1/10, Blackburn MOH Report, 1902, 143–144; Public Health, February 1903, 284. 70. Janet Greenlees, “ ‘The Dangers Attending ­These Conditions Are Evident’: Public Health and the Working Environment of Lancashire Textile Communities, c. 1870– 1939,” SHM 26, no. 4 (2013): 672–694.

172

Notes to Pages 33–39

71. This supports Elizabeth Roberts’ similar findings in relation to IMR and maternal neglect in Lancashire. Elizabeth Roberts, A ­Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working-­Class ­Women, 1890–1940 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984), chap. 4 and 168. Beattie, Blackburn, 67; Greenlees, “The Dangers.” 72. Pope, Unemployment, 104–108; E. M. Gray, The Weavers’ Wage: Earnings and Col­ lective Bargaining in the Lancashire Cotton Weaving Industry (Manchester: Victoria University, 1937), 28–30. 73. Greenlees, “The Dangers.” 74. Alice Russell, Po­liti­cal Stability in L ­ ater Victorian ­England: A So­cio­log­i­cal Analy­ sis and Interpretation (Sussex: The Book Guild, 1992), 254. 75. “Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890 and Housing, Town Planning & c., Act of 1909,” in BPP [Cd. 7511], Forty-­Third Annual Report of the Local Government Board, 1913–14 (London: HMSO, 1914), 36. 76. CBBu 7/9, Annual Report of the Burnley Corporation Officials, Including the MOH (hereafter Burnley MOH Report), 1932–1934, 12. 77. Greenlees, “The Dangers,” 688. 78. BMJ, June  7, 1913, 1, 1254, 2736; The Medical Officer, December  28, 1912, 23–24. 79. CBBu 6/4, Burnley MOH Report, 1905, 5. 80. Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 164–168; Jill Liddington and Jill Norris, One Hand Tied ­behind Us: The Rise of the ­Women’s Suffrage Movement (London: Virago, 1985), 58–59; Walton, Lancashire, 310. 81. CBBu 6/1 1874–1893, Burnley MOH Report, 1923, 80, 50, cited in Greenlees, “The Dangers,” 688. 82. Greenlees, “The Dangers,” 688. 83. Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 164–168; Greenlees, “The Dangers,” 688. 84. Joyce, “Factory Politics,” 529; W. Bennett, The History of Burnley from 1850 (Burnley: Burnley Corporation, 1951), 95–97, cited in Jutta Schwarzkopf, Unpicking Gender: The Social Construction of Gender in the Lancashire Cotton Industry (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 19. 85. Cotton Factory Times, November 27, 1891, April 8, 1887, cited in Trodd, “Po­liti­cal Change,” 32. 86. DDX 1145/1/1/4, Minutes, May 29, 1919–September 27, 1926, October 12, 1922. 87. Walton, Lancashire, 340. 88. James Buchanan, Report by Dr. Buchanan on Certain Sizing Pro­cesses used in the Cotton Manufacture at Todmorden, and Their Influence on Health, BPP [Cd. 203] LIV, 63 (London: HMSO, 1872). 89. “Letters from Susan: Letter Second,” Harriet Farley 4 (June  1844): 169–170, as reprinted in The Lowell Offering: Writing by New ­England Mill ­Women, 1840–1845, paperback edition with introduction and commentary by Benita Eisler (New York: Norton, 1998), 51. 90. Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power, 180–181. 91. Arthur McIvor, “Employers, the Government and Industrial Fatigue in Britain, 1890– 1914,” BJIM 44, no. 11 (1987): 724–732; Josephine Goldmark, Fatigue and Efficiency: A Study in Industry (New York: Charities Publication Committee, 1912), 56–58. 92. For example, Reynold Spaeth, “The Prob­lem of Fatigue,” JIH 1 (May 1919): 22–53; H. M. Vernon, MS, “The Influence of Fatigue on Health and Longevity,” JIH 3, no. 3 (1921): 93–98; J. S. Purdy, “Lighting and Ventilation of Factories, Hours of L ­ abor and Health,” JIH 3, no. 11 (1922): 349–358.



Notes to Pages 39–41

173

93. See, for example, Arthur McIvor, “Manual Work, Technology and Industrial Health, 1918–39,” Medical History 31, no. 2 (1987): 160–189; Gross, Course of Industrial Decline. 94. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Poisoned by the Fluff: Compensation and Litigation for Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry,” Journal of Law and Soci­ ety 29, no. 4 (2002): 560–579. 95. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Mondays without Dread: The Trade Union Response to Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry in the Twentieth ­Century,” SHM 16, no. 1 (2003): 79–95; Alan Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work, 1900–1950: A Social History of Lancashire Cotton Operatives in the Twentieth ­Century (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 132–141; Robert  E. Botsch, Organ­izing the Breathless: Cotton Dust, Southern Politics, and the Brown Lung Association (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1993); J. K. Corn, “Byssinosis—­An Historical Perspective,” AJIM 2 (1981): 331–352; Charles Levenstein et al., “­Labor and Byssinosis, 1941–69” in ­Dying for Work: Workers’ Safety and Health in Twentieth ­Century Amer­i­ca, ed. D. Rosner and G. Markowitz, 208–223; Charles Levenstein et al., The Cotton Dust Papers: Science, Politics, and Power in the “Discovery” of Byssinosis in the U.S. (Amityville: Baywood, 2002). 96. Brief mentions of factory noise appear in general discussions about working conditions, delays in regulation, and the relationships between productivity and psychological makeup. Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives, 184; McIvor, “Manual Work,” 168; Jamie Bronstein, Caught in the Machinery: Workplace Accidents and Injured Workers in Nineteenth ­Century Britain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 15; Mark Aldrich, Safety First: Technology, L ­ abor, and Business in the Building of American Work Safety, 1870–1939 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1997), xviii; Carl Gersuny, Work Hazards and Industrial Conflict (Hanover, NH: University Press of New ­England, 1981); Gross, Course of Industrial Decline, 122, 124, 181; Levenstein et. al., Cotton Dust Papers, 128; In a rare study, David Bradley incorporates industrial deafness into the evolving health and safety culture of the Scottish steel industry. David Bradley, “Occupational Health and Safety in the Scottish Steel Industry, c. 1930–1988: The Road to ‘Its Own Wee Empire’ ” (PhD thesis, Glasgow Caledonian University, 2012), chap. 5. 97. P. Sabine, “The Prob­lem of Industrial Noise,” AJPH, March 1944, 265–270; F. Godlee, “Noise: Breaking the Silence,” BMJ 304 (January 11, 1992): 111; TWUA, MSS 396, Box 673, “New Federal Regulations Concerning Occupational Noise Exposure,” July 27, 1970. 98. Carey P. McCord, et al., “Noise and Its Effect on ­Human Beings,” JAMA 110 (1938): 155; Godlee, “Noise,” 111. 99. TWJ, Feb 7, 1920, 200. 100. TM, May 9, 1914, 369. 101. TM, May  30, 1914, 438; see also TM, May  10, 1890; January  3, 1891, 5–6; and August 13, 1914. 102. NWSA, Elsie Hansford; NWSA, Hallett et al., “Strug­gle,” 260. 103. NWSA, Harvey Kershaw, “The conditions in the mill w ­ ere very much dependent on the employer”; NWSA, Bill Disby and Joe Richardson, “Conditions always varied.” 104. Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 46–47. 105. Greenlees, “Technological Choice.” 106. Gross, Course of Industrial Decline, 133–138, esp. 134, 136, 137.

174

Notes to Pages 41–46

107. William Hartford, The Working ­People of Holyoke: Class and Ethnicity in a Mas­sa­ chu­setts Mill Town, 1850–1960 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 163–164. Chapter 3  Tuberculosis in the Factory

1. Mas­sa­chu­setts Commission to Investigate the Inspection of Factories, Workshops, Mercantile Establishments and Other Buildings, Hearing 1910, 246–247. 2. Santiago makes a similar argument about exposure to hazards both in the workplace and the home. Myrna Santiago, “Work, Home and Natu­ral Environments: Health and Safety in the Mexican Oil Industry, 1900–1938,” in Dangerous Trade: Histo­ ries of Industrial Hazard across a Globalizing World, ed. Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling (Philadelphia: ­Temple University Press, 2012), 33–46. 3. In contrast to McEvoy’s argument about the workplace ecological system, with the workers’ body as the biological core. Arthur F. McEvoy, “Working Environments: An Ecological Approach to Industrial Health and Safety,” in Accidents in History: Injuries, Fatalities, and Social Relations, ed. Roger Cooter and Bill Luckin (Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 1997), 60. 4. Daniel Rod­gers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age, 2nd  ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), chaps. 4 and 5; Francis  G. ­Castles, The Working Class and Welfare: Reflections on the Po­liti­cal Development of the Welfare State in Australia and New Zealand, 1890–1980 (Wellington, NZ: Allen and Unwin, 1985); Peter J. Coleman, Progressivism and the World of Reform: New Zealand and the Origins of the American Welfare State (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987). 5. Linda Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain: A Social History of Tuberculosis in Twentieth-­Century Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 3. 6. Georgina Feldberg, Disease and Class: Tuberculosis and the Shaping of Modern North American Society (Rutgers: Rutgers University Press, 1995), 37–38. 7. Michael Worboys, Spreading Germs: Disease Theories and Medical Practice in Britain, 1865–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 231, 230. 8. Ibid., 236, 215. 9. Ibid., chap. 6, esp. 206. 10. Lancet, September 28, 1912, 869–870; BMJ, April 3, 1915, 605; Robert Koch, “Aetiology of Tuberculosis,” American Veterinary Review 13 (1894): 205–208; T. M. Daniel, Pioneers in Medicine and Their Impact on Tuberculosis (New York: University of Rochester Press, 2000), chaps. 2 and 5; C. Levenstein and G. F. DeLaurier, with M. Lee Dunn, The Cotton Dust Papers: Science, Politics, and Power in the “Discov­ ery” of Byssinosis in the U.S. (New York, Baywood, 2002), 16. 11. Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Mas­sa­chu­setts (hereafter ARSBHM) (Boston: Wright & Potter, 1906), 451. 12. BPP 1884–1885 [C. 4369] XV, Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and ­Workshops to Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Home Depart­ ment, for the Year Ending 31st  October, 1884 (hereafter Factory Inspector’s Report), 17. 13. BPP 1894 [C. 7368] XXI, Factory Inspector’s Report, Year Ending 31st  October, 1893, 9. 14. Arthur McIvor, “Germs at Work: Establishing Tuberculosis as an Occupational Disease in Britain, c. 1900–1951,” SHM 25, no. 4 (2012): 816. 15. Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, 125–127.



Notes to Pages 46–50

175

16. Socialist Medical Association (SMA), “Action Required,” Rec­ord 36 (February 1957): 231, quoted in Arthur McIvor and Ronald Johnston, Miners’ Lung: A History of Dust Disease in British Coal Mining (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 1. 17. Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, 126. 18. JAMA, July  30, 1887, 155; August  3, 1889, 165–166; November  23, 1889, 745; March 31, 1906, 976; February 29, 1908, 709. 19. Sheila M. Rothman, Living in the Shadow of Death: Tuberculosis and the Social Experience of Illness in American History (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 181. 20. Charles V. Chapin, “The State of Tuberculosis,” (Fiske Fund Prize Dissertation, 1900); Levenstein et. al., Cotton Dust Papers, 15–28; Boston Globe, March 27, 1911. 21. H. M. Biggs, T. M. Prudden, and H. P. Loomis, Report on the Prevention of Pulmo­ nary Tuberculosis to the Board of Health of New York City, 1889, quoted in Daniel, Pioneers in Medicine, 113–116. 22. “An Act to Authorize the State Board of Health to Define What Diseases to be Dangerous to the Public Health,” Acts and Resolves, March 8, 1907, chap. 183 and 139; “An Act to Provide for the Compulsory Notification of Tuberculosis and other Diseases Contagious to the Public Health,” Acts and Resolves, June 6, 1907, chap. 480 and 436–438; David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, Deadly Dust: Silicosis and the Politics of Occupational Disease in Twentieth-­Century Amer­i­ca (Prince­ton, NJ: Prince­ton University Press, 1991), 22–23. 23. ARSBHM, 1904, 1906, 1909, 1911, and 1914. 24. Worboys, Spreading Germs, 206–209. 25. CBP/22/11, Medical Officer of Health Report for Preston (hereafter Preston MOH Report), 1888–1889, 12; CBP/22/12, Preston MOH Report, 1889–1890, 18; CBP/22/38, A. M. Hewatt, “Report on Tuberculosis,” Preston Annual MOH Report 1915–16, 8; HRBL/2/1/1, Blackburn MOH Report, 1887, 9; I. Waddington, “The Development of Medicine as a Modern Profession” and John Woodward, “Medicine and the City: The Nineteenth-­Century Experience,” in Urban Disease and Mortality in Nineteenth ­Century ­England, ed. Robert Woods and John Woodward (London: Palgrave, 1984), 65–78. 26. Ibid., 230. 27. Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, chap. 1, esp. 45. 28. Josiah Curtis, Brief Remarks on the Hygiene of Mas­sa­chu­setts, More Particularly of the Cities of Boston and Lowell (Philadelphia: T. K. and P. G. Collins, 1849); Gilman Kimball, MD, Report of the Lowell Hospital, from 1840–1949 (Lowell, 1849), 11, 13, and 14; John  O. Green, MD, The Factory System, in its Hygienic Relations: An Address, Delivered at Boston at the Annual Meeting of the Mas­sa­chu­setts Medical Society, May  27, 1846, Published by the Society (Boston: W.M.S. Damrell, 1846), 24–25; Nancy Zaroulis, “­Daughters of Freemen: The Female Operatives and the Beginnings of the ­Labor Movement,” in Cotton Was King, ed. Arthur Eno (Lowell: Lowell Historical Society, 1976), 115–117; Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: ­Women Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 180–181. 29. J. F. Alleyne Adams, MD, “The Prevention of Disease in Mas­sa­chu­setts, The Shattuck Lecture for 1892,” The Sanitarian 29, no. 275 (October 1892): 348. 30. ARSBHM, 1906, 454 31. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “The Early Movement for Occupational Safety and Health, 1900–1917,” in Sickness and Health in Amer­i­ca: Readings in the His­ tory of Medicine and Public Health, 2nd rev. ed., ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald

176

32. 33. 34.

35. 36. 37.

38. 39.

40.

41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56.

Notes to Pages 50–54

Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 507–521, esp. 518–520; Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, chap. 1; Christopher Sellers, Hazards of the Job: From Industrial Disease to Environmental Health Science (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), chap. 3. Nathan Allen, MD, “Diffusion of Sanitary Knowledge,” The Sanitarian 10, no.112 (July 1882): 404. “The Prevention of Tuberculosis in Brookline, Mass.,” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 138 (February 10, 1898): 141, quoted in Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, 20. “Governor Douglas’ Inaugural Address,” Fall River Daily Herald, January 5, 1905, reprinted in Victorian Vistas: Fall River, 1901–1911, ed. Philip T. Silvia, Jr. (Fall River: R. E. Smith Printing Co., 1992), 250. Barnum trained u ­ nder Jane Addams at Chicago’s famous Hull House. Fall River Daily Herald, January 9, 1905, reprinted in Victorian Vistas, 251. ARSBHM, 1904, 1906, 1909, 1911, and 1914; JAMA, March 31, 1906, 976; JAMA, February 29, 1908, 709. Hearing, 254; Carl Gersuny, Work Hazards and Industrial Conflict (Hanover, NH: University Press of New E ­ ngland, 1981), 37; John Duffy, “The American Medical Profession and Public Health: from Support to Ambivalence,” Bulletin of the His­ tory of Medicine 53, no. 1 (1979): 10. Ibid., 84. B. G. Rosenkrantz, “Cart before Horse: Theory, Practice, and Professional Image in American Public Health, 1870–1920,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 29 (1974): 57; M. V. Melosi, Garbage in the Cities: Refuse, Reform, and the Environment, 1880–1980 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1981). Mas­sa­chu­setts State BPH, 23d Annual Report, 1903, 387–415; B. G. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1842–1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 102–105, see also chap. 2. Feldberg, Disease and Class, 87, 88; NASPT, Tuberculosis Directory, 1911. ARSBHM, 1906, 466. Ibid., 466. Ibid., 466. ARSBHM, 1907, 2; 1909, 766; 1910, 458, 462, and 512. Fifth Annual Report on the State of ­Labor, Boston: 1874, 130. Hearing, 8–10, 231–232, 244. Ibid., 231. Ibid., 244. Ibid., 133–134. Ibid., 637. Ibid., 246–247. Levenstein et. al., Cotton Dust Papers, 26. Pawtucket Times, March 25, 1918, April 1, 1918, and April 20, 1918. Anthony Bale, “Amer­i­ca’s First Compensation Crisis: Conflict over the Value and Meaning of Workplace Injuries u ­ nder the Employees’ Liability System,” in ­Dying for Work: Health in Twentieth-­Century Amer­ic­ a, ed. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 34–52. H. W. Clark and S. DeM. Gage, “A Study of the Hygienic Condition of the Air in Textile Mills with Reference to the Influence of Artificial Humidification,” 44th Annual Report of the Mas­sa­chu­setts State Board of Health, Pub. Doc. No. 34, 1912, pp. 1306–1309, also published in AJPH 3, no. 12 (1913): 1294–1310.



Notes to Pages 54–58

177

57. Feldberg, Disease and Class, 88; David Rosner, A Once Charitable Enterprise: Hos­ pitals and Health Care in Brooklyn and New York, 1885–1915 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 5; Chapin, “State”; Betsy Bahr Peterson, “Industrial Architecture from the Inside: Textile Mill Design and the Factory Workplace, 1860–1920,” in The Continuing Revolution: A History of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, ed. Robert Weible (Lowell: Lowell Historical Society, 1991), 203–205. 58. C.J.H. Woodbury, secretary of the NACM, in a letter to Theo­philus Parsons, trea­surer, Lyman Mills, November 27, 1914, Lyman Mills, PO-9, Folder 6. 59. William F. Hartford, Where is Our Responsibility? Unions and Economic Change in the New E ­ ngland Textile Industry, 1870–1960 (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1996), 38. 60. John B. Andrews, “Occupational Diseases and Legislative Remedies,” AJPH 4, no. 3 (March 1914): 179–184, quote 183. 61. Victor Stafford, “Industrial Hygiene and Sanitation,” AJPH 6 (October  1916): 1133–1134. 62. British and Foreign Medical Review, 1843, 289. Reprinted from the Report from the Committee on the Bill to Regulate the L ­ abour of ­Children in the Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom; with the Minutes of Evidence, Appendix, and Index. Ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 1832. 63. W. Cooke Taylor, Notes of a Tour in the Manufacturing Districts of Lancashire; in a Series of Letters to his Grace the Archbishop of Dublin (London: Duncan and Malcolm, 1842), 23, cited in British and Foreign Medical Review, 1843, 302, 305. Mr.  Noble of Manchester in the Journal of the Statistical Society, quoted in the British and Foreign Medical Review, 1843, 310–311. 64. CBBu 6/2, Burnley MOH Report, 1898, 65. 65. CBBu 6/4, Burnley MOH Report, 1906, 28. 66. For example, Arthur Newsholme, MOH for Brighton in the late nineteenth c­ entury. John M. Eyler, Sir Arthur Newsholme and State Medicine, 1885–1935 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), esp. 143–144. Also, Archibald Chal­mers, MOH for Glasgow. Glasgow Medical Officer of Health Report (Glasgow, 1903), 78–79, cited in McIvor, “Germs at Work,” 815. 67. Tuberculosis 4, no. 11 (October 1902): 154, quoted in McIvor, “Germs at Work,” 815. 68. Daniel, Pioneers, chap. 6; Charles Webster, “Medical Officers of Health—­For the Rec­ ord,” Radical Community Medicine, 1986, 10–14; John Welshman, “The Medical Officer of Health in ­England and Wales, 1900–1974: Watchdog or Lapdog?,” Journal of Public Health Medicine 19, no. 4 (1977): 443–450; G. Kearns, “Town Hall and Whitehall: Sanitary Intelligence and the Relations between Central and Local Government, The Case of Liverpool, 1840–63,” in Body and the City: Histories of Urban Public Health, ed. Sally Sheard and Helen Power (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 89–108. 69. M. E. Pooley and C. G. Pooley, “Health, Society and Environment in Nineteenth ­Century Manchester,” in Urban Disease and Mortality, 148–175; R. Woods, “Mortality and Sanitary Conditions in the ‘Best Governed City in the World’—­Birmingham, 1870–1910,” Journal of Historical Geography 4, no. 1 (1978): 35–56. 70. CBP/22/18, Preston MOH Report, 1896–97, 16–17; Nigel Morgan, Deadly Dwellings: The Shocking Story of Housing & Public Health in a Lancashire Cotton Town, Pres­ ton from 1840–1914 (Preston: Mullion, 1993), chaps. 2 and 3; Nigel Morgan, An Introduction to the Social History of Housing in Victorian Preston (Preston: Preston Curriculum Development Centre, 1983), 46; Millward and Bell, “Choices for Town Councilors,” 158.

178

Notes to Pages 58–61

71. CBP/22/11, Preston MOH Report, 1888, 12; CBP/22/12, Preston MOH Report, 1889– 90, 18; CBP/22/15, Preston MOH Report, 1892, 11; CBP/22/18, Preston MOH Report, 1896, 16–17; CBP/22/25, Preston MOH Report, 1902, 17; and CBP/22/26, Preston MOH Report, 1903, 17. 72. BPP 1884–1885 [c. 4369] XV, Factory Inspector’s Report, 17. BPP 1892 [c. 6720] XX, Factory Inspector’s Report, 9; BPP 1896 [c. 8067, c. 8068] XIX, Factory Inspector’s Report, 124; BPP 1899 [c. 223] XI, Factory Inspector’s Report, 286–291. 73. TM, January 5, 1907; HRBL/2/1/15, Blackburn MOH Report, 1908, 203–205, and HRBL/2/1/18, Blackburn MOH Report, 1911, 245. 74. A core exception is anthrax, which gained national po­liti­cal attention to the neglect of other industrial hazards and the health of rural dwellers. Tim Car­ter and Joseph Melling, “Trade, Spores, and the Culture of Disease: Attempts to Regulate Anthrax in Britain and its International Trade, 1875–1930,” in Dangerous Trade, 60–72. 75. HRBL/2/1/1, Blackburn MOH Report, 1887 (Dr.  William Stephenson, MOH), 9; HRBL/2/1/3, Blackburn MOH Report, 1891 (Dr. Barwise, MOH), 26; HRBL/2/1/8, Blackburn MOH Report, 1898 (Dr.  James Wheatley, MOH), 79, 66; HRBL/2/1/9, Blackburn MOH Report, 1901 (Dr. James Wheatley, MOH), 76–79; and HRBL/2/1/10, Blackburn MOH Report, 1902 (Dr. Alfred Greenwood, MOH), 125, 143–144. 76. HRBL/2/1/3, Blackburn MOH Report, 1890, 26; HRBL/2/1/8, Blackburn MOH Report, 1896, 60–61; HRBL/2/1/8, Blackburn MOH Report, 1897, 62–66; HRBL/2/1/10, Blackburn MOH Report, 1902, 143–144; Public Health, February 1903, 284. 77. Anne Hardy, “Public Health and the Expert: the London Medical Officers of Health, 1856–1900,” in Government and Expertise: Specialists, Administrators and Profes­ sionals, 1860–1919, ed. R. M ­ acLeod (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 141–142; Welshman, “Medical Officer.” 78. Fall River Daily Herald, April 28, 1902. 79. BPP 1912–1913 [Cd. 6184] xxvi, Report to the Home Office and to the Local Govern­ ment Board upon an Inquiry into the Alleged Danger of the Transmission of Certain Diseases from Person to Person in Weaving Sheds by Means of “Shuttle-­Kissing” (hereafter Shut­tle Kissing Report), 81–104; HRBL/2/1/18, Blackburn MOH Report, 1911, 154; Allen Clarke, The Effects of the Factory System (1899; repr. Littleborough: George Kelsall, 1985), 43. 80. DDX 1123/6/130, UTFWA Report to the Home Secretary, February 26, 1914, 59; BPP 1911 [Cd. 5566] xxiii, Second Report, 807. 81. Arthur McIvor, Organised Capital: Employers’ Associations and Industrial Relations in Northern ­England, 1880–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Arthur McIvor, “Cotton Employers’ Organisations and ­Labour Relations, 1890–1939,” in Employers and ­Labour in the En­glish Textile Industries, 1850–1939, ed. J.  A. Jowitt and Arthur McIvor (London: Routledge, 1988), 1–26. 82. BPP 1911 [Cd. 5566] xxiii, 807, Second Report, 1–10, 24–25. DDX 1123/6/130, UTFWA Report to the Home Secretary, February 26, 1914, 59. 83. In early twentieth ­century Birmingham, the MOH and city officials also emphasized individual responsibility for health in order to triumph over circumstance, or, in this case, over tuberculosis. M. Niemi, “Public Health Discourse in Birmingham and Gothenburg, 1880–1920,” in Sheard and Power, Body and the City, 123–142. 84. BPP 1912–1913 [C. 6184] xxvi, Shuttle-­Kissing Report, 90. 85. The Lancet, June 20, 1914, 1791. 86. Allard Dembe, Occupation and Disease: How Social ­Factors Affect the Conception of Work-­Related Disorders (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996).



87. 88. 89. 90.

Notes to Pages 61–66

179

Car­ter and Melling, “Trade, Spores, and the Culture of Disease.” Hardy, “Public Health,” 131. Feldberg, Disease and Class, 105. J. Tobey, “Why is ­There Less Tuberculosis?,” American Memory 4 (January 1925): 77, quoted in Feldberg, Disease and Class, 106. 91. Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, 45; Feldberg, Disease and Class, 121–123. 92. Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, 69. 93. Ibid., 72–73. 94. Ibid., 98. 95. Rosenkrantz, Public Health, 123. 96. Ibid., 121–122. 97. ARSBHM, 1913, 589. 98. “Powers and Duties of the Board,” as noted in the House Report on the State Board of ­Labor and Industries in Accordance with Chapter 73, Resolves of 1918, Mas­sa­ chu­setts (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1919), 8 (hereafter House Report, 1919). 99. My emphasis. House Report, 1919, 10. 100. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State, 126–127. 101. U.S. Bureau of Census, The Statistical History of the United States from Colonial Times to the Pres­ent, series B (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1976), 155–162. 102. Report of the Board of Health for the Year Ending December 31, 1919 (Fall River, Baggett Co., 1920), 509. 103. Annual Report of the (Fall River) Board of Health for the Year Ending December 31, 1920 (Fall River BOH Report) (Fall River: Baggett Co., 1921), 512; Fall River BOH Report, 1922 (Fall River, Gagnon Printing Co., 1923), 763. 104. D. B. Armstrong, “Indications from the Experience of the Framingham Tuberculosis Experiment,” NEJM 188 (1923): 433–435. 105. D. B. Armstrong, “The Framingham Health Demonstration and Industrial Medicine,” JIH 3, no. 6 (1921): 183–186. 106. TW, July 25, 1925; TW, March 6, 1926, 62. 107. George W. Comstock, “Commentary: The First Framingham Study: A Pioneer in Community-­Based Participatory Research,” International Journal of Epidemiology 34, no. 6 (October 2005): 1188–1190. 108. TW, October 25, 1930, 46–48; W. M. Trafton, “Humidity—­Its Relation to Humanitarianism and Commercialism,” Transactions of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, nos. 122 and 123 (May and October 1927): 225–234; Lawrence Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 136–138. 109. “Resolution to Investigate the Prevalence of Cancer and the Need for Public Facilities, Mas­sa­chu­setts,” Acts and Resolves 1925, Chapter 20 (April 16, 1925); Legislation to Authorize Medical Care of Cancer Patients through the Department of Public Health, Acts and Resolves 1926, Chapter 391 (May 29, 1926). 110. Rosenkrantz, Public Health, 162–163. 111. H.R.M. Landis, “The Relation of Organic Dust to Pneumokoniosis,” JIH 7, no. 1 (January 1925): 2; see also C.E.A. Winslow and L. Greenburg, “Industrial Tuberculosis and the Control of the Factory Dust Prob­lem,” JIH 2 (January 1921): 333–343. 112. Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth-­Century South (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987), 3–14. 113. Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, 95, 91.

180

114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 22. 1 123.

124.

125.

126.

27. 1 128.

Notes to Pages 66–71

Burnley MOH Report, 1921, 8. Blackburn MOH Report, 1921, 23. Ibid., 24; Blackburn MOH Report, 1922, 32. Preston MOH Report, 1928, 77–78; Burnley MOH Report, 1925, 82–83. Burnley MOH Report, 1922, 8. See Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain, 70–96. TUC, Annual Report, 1931, 33, 145; 1938, 46, 107–108, quoted in McIvor, “Germs at Work,” 820. BPP 1920 [C. 1088] XXI, Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1919– 1920, 88. BPP 1921 [C. 8230] XII, Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 1920, 77. A. Bradford ­Hill, Artificial Humidification in the Cotton-­Weaving Industry: Its Effect upon the Sickness Rates of Weaving Operatives, IFRB Report No.  48 (London: HMSO, 1927). S. Wyatt, Variations in Efficiency in Cotton Weaving, IFRB Report No. 23 (London: HMSO, 1923); Atmospheric Conditions in Cotton Weaving, IFRB Report No. 21 (London: HMSO, 1923); J. Jackson (Chair), Report of the Departmental Committee on Artificial Humidity in Cotton Cloth Factories: With Appendices (London: HMSO, 1928). McIvor, “Cotton Employers”; Arthur McIvor, “Health and Safety in the Cotton Industry: A Lit­er­a­ture Survey,” Manchester Regional History Review 9 (1995): 55. DDX 1123/6/130, UTFWA Report February 26, 1914, 55; DDX 1123/6/2/129, Notes from a Conference of Employers, Operatives, and Inspectors Concerning the Fencing of Machinery, ­etc., in Cotton-­Weaving Factories, 13th meeting, November 7, 1928. Hill, Artificial Humidification; J. Jackson (Chair), Home Office Report of the Depart­ mental Committee on Artificial Humidity in Cotton Cloth Factories (London: HMSO, 1928), 18–22. See also W. F. Dearden, “Health Hazards in the Cotton Industry,” JIH 9, 9 (September 1927): 373. McIvor, “Germs at Work.” Joseph Melling, “The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working: Trade Unions, Employers and Responses to the Risk of Occupational Illness in British Industry, c. 1890–1940s,” ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation Discussion Paper No. 12 (2003): 14–34.

Chapter 4  “I Used To Feel Ill with It”

1. Lowell Courier, July 7 and July 8, 1873; Vox Populi, July 9, 1873. 2. TWUA M86-171, Box 115, TWUA President William Pollock to the Honorable James Hodgson, Secretary, U.S. Department of ­Labor, January 11, 1971. 3. Martin H. Manser, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, 2nd ed. (New York: Infobase, 2007), 75. 4. Tim Car­ter and Joseph Melling, “Trade, Spores, and the Culture of Disease: Attempts to Regulate Anthrax in Britain and Its International Trade,” in Dangerous Trade: His­ tories of Industrial Hazard across a Globalizing World, ed. Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling (Philadelphia: ­Temple University Press, 2012), 61. 5. Vladimir Janković, Confronting the Climate: British Airs and the Making of Envi­ ronmental Medicine (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 69. 6. Chris Hamlin, Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of Chadwick: Britain, 1800–1854 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Stephen Mosley, “Fresh Air and Foul: The Role of the Open Fireplace in Ventilating the British Home, 1837– 1910,” Planning Perspectives 18 (2003): 1–21; Stephen Mosley, “The Home Fires:



Notes to Pages 71–75

181

Heat, Health and Atmospheric Pollution in Britain, 1900–45,” in Health and the Mod­ ern Home, ed. Mark Jackson (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007), 191–223. 7. Mosley, “Fresh Air.” 8. Nancy Tomes, The Gospel of Germs: Men, W ­ omen and the Microbe in American Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 58. 9. Transactions of the American Medical Association 2 (1849): 431–432, 530–534 10. Transactions of the AMA, 2 (1849): 500. 11. Ibid., 518. 12. Gail Cooper, Air Conditioning Amer­ic­ a: Engineers and the Controlled Environment, 1900–1960 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 11. 13. George Palmer, “What Fifty Years Have Done for Ventilation,” in A Half C ­ entury of Public Health, ed. M. P. Ravenel (New York: American Public Health Association, 1929), 338, 341–342, 344–345, quoted in Betsy W. Bahr, “New E ­ ngland Mill Engineering: Rationalization and Reform in Textile Mill Design, 1790–1920” (PhD thesis, University of Delaware, 1987), 245–246. 14. B. G. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1842–1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 49–50. 15. Tomes, Gospel of Germs, 49–58. 16. Ibid., 58. 17. Mas­sa­chu­setts First Annual Report of the L ­ abor Statistics Bureau (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1870). 18. Fifth Annual Report on the Statistics of ­Labor: Part V. Condition of Textile Fabric Manufactories in Mas­sa­chu­setts (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1874), 116–117. 19. Ibid., 117. 20. Ibid., 117–154. 21. TWR 28, no. 7 (April 1905): 99; Bahr, “New ­England Mill Engineering,” 244–245. 22. 500 Representative Buildings (Boston: B. F. Surtevant Co., 1891), cited in Bahr, “New ­England Mill Engineering,” 249 and 247. 23. Bahr, “New ­England Mill Engineering,” 250. 24. L. Allen, “Economy of Heating and Ventilating the Machine Shop,” Engineering Mag­ azine 21 (April 1901): 78–79. 25. Cooper, Air Conditioning Amer­i­ca, 18–19. 26. For example, MWOL, 85.15, testimony of Lottie Lemke; MWOL, 85.13, Albert Parent; MWOL, 84.06, Camille Theriault; WPOL, 85.31, Joseph Golas. However, ­others remembered the win­dows being nailed shut, e.g., WPOL, 85.29, John Falante. See also TW, July 16, 1927; Amoskeag Manufacturing Co., Employee Suggestions, Manchester, NH 1933 CD, June 25, 1933. 27. Emphasis in original. Municipal Registers for the City of Holyoke, Mayor’s Address, 1875, 23–24. 28. See the Municipal Register’s for the City of Holyoke from 1875 onward, particularly mayoral addresses and board of health reports. 29. Lyman Mills Papers, PA-1, Trea­surer of the Lyman Mills to the Mill Agent, n. d., early 1880. 30. Mas­sa­chu­setts Bureau of L ­ abor Statistics, 6th Annual Report (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1875), 369–370, 385–386, 392; William Hartford, The Working P ­ eople of Holy­ oke: Class and Ethnicity in a Mas­sa­chu­setts Mill Town, 1850–1960 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 64–65. 31. Thomas R. Smith, The Cotton Textile Industry of Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts: A Study of Industrial Localization (New York: King’s Crown Press, 1944), 58; FRHS, Granite

182

Notes to Pages 75–78

Mills Collection, Rec­ord Book of the Directors Meetings, October 23, 1911–­December 31, 1928, December 23, 1912. 32. Janet Greenlees, “Technological Choice and Environmental Inequalities: The New ­England Textile Industry, 1880–1930,” in Environmental and Social Justice in the City: Historical Perspectives, ed. G. Massard-­Guilbaud and R. Rodger (Winwick: White Horse Press, 2011), 261–262. 33. American Wool and Cotton Reporter 23 (1909): 873–876. 34. Greenlees, “Technological Choice”; MWOL, 85.04, Diane Ouellette; MWOL, 85.03, Jean Rouses. For further discussion of working conditions, ­labor recruitment, and retention, see Janet Greenlees, “Workplace Health and Gender among Cotton Workers in Amer­i­ca and Britain, c. 1880s–1940s,” IRSH 61, no. 3 (2016): 459–485. 35. Quoted in Mary T. Mulligan, “Epilogue to Lawrence: The 1912 Strike in Lowell, Mas­ sa­chu­setts,” in Surviving Hard Times: The Working ­People of Lowell, ed. Mary H. Blewett (Lowell: Lowell Museum, 1982), 79–104. 36. Quoted in John T. Cumbler, Working-­Class Community in Industrial Amer­ic­ a: Work, Leisure, and Strug­gle in Two Industrial Cities, 1880–1930 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1979), 116. 37. Cumbler, Working Class Communities, 134. 38. Mas­sa­chu­setts State Laws, Acts of 1910, chap. 543. 39. H. W. Clark and S. DeM. Gage, “A Study of the Hygienic Condition of the Air in Textile Mills with Reference to the Influence of Artificial Humidification,” 44th Annual Report of the Mas­sa­chu­setts State Board of Health, Pub. Doc. No. 34 (1912): 663, 670. 40. Emphasis in original. American Moistening Co., Automatic Humidity Controller (Boston: American Moistening Co., 1912), 9; Quoted in Cooper, Air-­Conditioning Amer­i­ca, 31. 41. TWR, April 1914, 123. 42. F. W. Taylor, Scientific Management (New York: Harper and Row, 1941); F. B. Gilbreth, Motion Study (New York: Van Norstrand, 1911). 43. Stephen Mosley, The Chimney of the World: A History of Smoke Pollution in Victo­ rian and Edwardian Manchester (London: Routledge, 2008), 182–186. 44. Registrar General’s Annual Reports, quoted in Mosley, Chimney of the World, 60. 45. For anti-­pollution campaigns, see Mosley, Chimney of the World, 117–180. 46. James Buchanan, Report by Dr. Buchanan on Certain Sizing Pro­cesses Used in the Cotton Manufacture at Todmorden and on Their Influence upon Health, BPP [Cd. 203] LIV 63 (London: HMSO, 1872). 47. J. H. Bridges and E. H. Osborn, Report on the Effects of Heavy Sizing in Cotton Weav­ ing upon the Health of the Operatives Employed, BPP [Cd. 3861] LXXII (London: HMSO, 1884), 8. 48. HRBL/2/1/1, Blackburn MOH Report, 1887 (Dr. William Stephenson, MOH), 8. 49. The Lancet, June 15, 1885, 1212. 50. The number of weaving sheds registered as “wet” sheds, or sheds using live steam, increased from about 600 in 1891 to 825 by 1896; H. E. Roscoe, Report of a Commit­ tee Appointed to Inquire into the Working of the Cotton Cloth Factories Act, Evidence: BPP [Cd. 8349] XVII, 1879, 1; Alan Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work, 1900–1950: A Social History of Lancashire Cotton Operatives in the Twenti­ eth ­Century (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 152–153. 51. TM, March 4, 1899, 169.



Notes to Pages 79–82

183

52. Sir Hamilton Freer-­Smith (Chair), Departmental Committee on Humidity and Ven­ tilation in Cotton Weaving Sheds, 10, BPP 1909 [Cd. 4484] XV, 635 (London: HMSO, 1909). Freer-Smith, Evidence: BPP [Cd. 4485] XV, 657 (London: HMSO, 1909), 87–93. 53. Roscoe, Report, 1897, 10–12. 54. Freer-­Smith, Evidence, 203–208; DDX 1123/6/2/130 AWA, n. d., c. 1907/08, 1. 55. Freer-Smith, Evidence, 11. 56. Ibid., 94. 57. Sir Hamilton Freer-Smith (Chair), Minutes of Evidence and Appendices of the Departmental Committee on Humidity and Ventilation in Cotton Weaving Sheds, Second Report, BPP [Cd. 5566] XXIII (London: HMSO, 1911), 9. 58. DDX 1115/4/2, Blackburn and District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association, Letter Book, 1906–1913 (hereafter Letter Book), April 19, 1912; Nov. 20, 1912; HRBL/2/1/3, Blackburn MOH Reports for 1890, 26; HRBL/2/1/8, 1896, 60–61; HRBL/2/1/8, 197, 62–66; HRBL/2/1/190, 1902, 143–44; Public Health, February  1903, 284; Janet Greenlees, “ ‘The Dangers Attending ­These Conditions Are Evident:’ Public Health and the Working Environment of Lancashire Textile Communities, c. 1870–1939,” SHM 26, no. 4 (2013): 672–694; TM, November 11, 1899, 380–382. 59. TM, November 11, 1899, 380–382. 60. TM, October 7, 1899, 280. 61. TM, January 5, 1907, 3. 62. DDX 1115/4/2, Letter Book, 1906–1913, John Taylor, Secretary to Messrs Baird & Tatlock, Ltd., Scientific Instrument Makers, August 31 (prob­ably 1912); DDX 1115/4/2, Letter Book, 1906–1913, J. Taylor to B. A. Whittelegge, C.B., M.D., H.M. Chief Inspector of Factories, Home Office, London. May  1, 1913; DDX 1115/4/2, Letter Book, 1906–1913, John Taylor to T. Telly Esq., Messrs Wilding Bros Ltd., Alexandra Mills, Preston, September 1, 1913. 63. Ibid., November 13, 1912 and November 18, 1913. 64. F. Scarisbrick, Steaming in Weaving Sheds (Blackburn: J. Dickinson, 1907), 17 65. CBBu 6/1, Burnley MOH Report, 1884, 84. 66. Ibid., 1896, 79–80. 67. TM, October 22, 1904, 297. 68. TM, November 16, 1901, 358. 69. TM, January 23, 1906, 452–453. 70. TM, April 13, 1901, 284–285. 71. TM, March 6, 1909, 176; see also TM, November 9, 1907, 347. 72. For example, Josephine Goldmark, Fatigue and Efficiency: A Study in Industry (New York: Charities Publication Committee, 1912); In 1913, the British Home Office appointed the physiologist A.  F. Kent to undertake a series of experiments on industrial fatigue, as did the British Association for the Advancement of Science. A. J. McIvor, “Employers, the Government, and Industrial Fatigue in Britain, 1890– 1918,” BJIM 44, no. 11 (1987): 729. 73. Goldmark, Fatigue and Efficiency. 74. Allison Hepler, ­Women in ­Labor: ­Mothers, Medicine, and Occupational Health in the United States, 1890–1980 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2000), 24–25. 75. Goldmark, Fatigue and Efficiency, 91, 95. 76. Alan Derickson, “Physiological Science and Scientific Management in the Progressive Era: Frederic S. Lee and the Committee on Industrial Fatigue,” BHR 68 (1994): 51, 52. 77. Hepler, ­Women in L ­ abor, 25.

184

Notes to Pages 82–85

78. For example, Laurence F. Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 93–95, 200; Cumbler, Working-­Class Community, 130, 201. 79. Rosenkrantz, Public Health, 145. 80. Rosenkrantz, Public Health, 127 81. Derickson, “Physiological Science”; see also Richard Gillespie, “Industrial Fatigue and the Discipline of Physiology,” in Physiology in the American Context, 1850– 1940, ed. Gerald Geison (Bethesda: American Physiological Society, 1987), 195–208. 82. National Industrial Conference Board, Special Report No. 14, as quoted in “The Strange Case of Bulletin Number 106,” Industry 2 (October 1, 1920): 2, 3, quoted in Christopher Sellers, Hazards of the Job: From Industrial Disease to Environmental Health Science (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 151. 83. E.  B. Saunders (Chairman), “Factory Safety and Sanitation,” Transactions of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers 102 (April 25–26, 1917): 364. 84. Arthur H. Lowe, “Health Insurance and Old Age Pensions,” Transactions of the NACM 102 (April 25–26, 1917), 379. 85. Saunders, “Factory Safety and Sanitation,” 364. 86. Eugene Szepesi, “Welfare Impor­tant ­Factor in Industrial Efficiency,” TWJ, January 12, 1918, 115. 87. N. T. Thomas, “Significant Savings in Mill Operations,” TW, Nov. 15, 1924, 121– 125; Frank Scudder, “Humidity in Weaving Sheds,” TW, July 9, 1921, 147–151; J. A. Hunter, “Air Movement in Weave Rooms,” TW, Aug. 7, 1926, 87, 88. A. W. Thompson, “Impairment to Operative Efficiency?,” TW, July 16, 1927, 51–53, quote on 53. 89. Charles Forsaith, “Test Shows Effect of Constant Standard Humidity in the Cotton Mill,” TW, June 1, 1929, 189–193; Prof. George B. Haven, MIT, “Practical Program for Humidity,” TW, March 17, 1928, 42–43. NACM Committee, “Standards Suggested for Humidifying Practice,” TW, November 9, 1929, 29–31. Quote from “A.S.M. E. (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), Papers on Humidification and ­Water Purification,” TW, October 25, 1930, 46–48, 47; “Industrial Cotton Mills Supplements Direct-­Moisture Humidification with Cooling and Ventilating System,” TW, February 14, 1931, 28–29; “Trends in Mill Modernization,” TW, February 6, 1932, 151–158. 90. A. W. Benoit, “Air Conditioning,” TW, November 1937, 92–93; see also “Up-­to-­Date Air Conditioning: Impor­tant Feature of Modernization Program at Buck Creek Cotton Mills,” TW, August 1939, 50–52; “Humidity—­Its Relation to Humanitarianism and Commercialism,” Transactions of the NACM, 1927, 225–234, 254–264. 91. R. Presgrave, “Frequent Rest Periods for Workers Prevent Fatigue and Increase Productivity,” TW, October 17, 1931, 40–41, 68. 92. Rex B. Hersey, “The Subjective Side of Fatigue in Industry,” JIH 13, no. 6 (June 1931): 185–203. 93. Sellers, Hazards of the Job, 150–51. 94. Gross, Course of Industrial Decline, 136–38, 182–83; C. M. Green, Holyoke, Mas­sa­ chu­setts: A Case Study of the Industrial Revolution in Amer­i­ca (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1939), 238; H.  T. Johnson and R.  S. Kaplan, Relevance Lost: The Rise and Fall of Management Accounting (Boston: Business School Press, 1987), 31. 95. Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth-­Century South (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987), 70–72. 96. Philip Scranton, “Va­ri­e­ties of Paternalism: Industrial Structures and the Social Relations of Production in American Textiles,” American Quarterly 36 (1984): 239.



Notes to Pages 85–87

185

97. Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: ­Women Workers’ Influence on Business Prac­ tices in the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 142, 187; Thomas Dublin, ­Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1826–1860, 2nd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 77–78, 142–143. 98. Janet Greenlees, “ ‘For the Con­ve­nience and Comfort of the Persons Employed by Them’: The Lowell Corporation Hospital, 1839–1930,” Medical History 57, no. 1 (2013): 45–64. 99. Hartford, Working P ­ eople, 169. 100. Tamara Hareven, ­Family Time and Industrial Time: The Relationship between the ­Family and Work in a New ­England Industrial Community (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 62–66. 101. Tamara Hareven and Roger Langenbach, Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-­City (Hanover: University Press of New ­England, 1978), 96; Amoskeag Collection, H-2 Happenings Book, May 10, 1911; June 1912; H-7, Happenings Book, 1916, June 14, 1916. 102. Greenlees, “Technological Choice,” 264–268. 103. William Hartford, Where is Our Responsibility?: Unions and Economic Change in the New E ­ ngland Textile Industry, 1870–1960 (Amherst: University of Mas­sa­chu­setts Press, 1996). 104. TWUA, USS MSS 129A, Box 1, File 10A, ­union recruitment poster in the 1940s. 105. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State, 161. 106. “Factory Work and Fatigue,” The Times, September 20, 1915. 107. Ibid.; “Overtime Fatigue: Effect on the Worker,” The Times, September 29, 1916; “Efficiency and Fatigue,” The Times, April 23, 1917; “Industrial Fatigue: A Research Board,” The Times, December 20, 1918; “Fatigue and Efficiency,” The Times, August 1, 1918; “Work Fatigue: Shorter Hours to Increase Output,” The Times, December 21, 1918; Gail Braybon, ­Women Workers in the First World War: The British Experience (London: Croom Helm, 1981). 108. A. J. McIvor, “Manual Work, Technology and Industrial Health, 1918–39,” Medical History 31 (1987): 162. 109. McIvor, “Employers, the Government, and Industrial Fatigue.” 110. IFRB, Annual Report, March 31, 1920, 27. 111. Medical Research Committee Archives, PF 20, letter from W. Fletcher to J. R. Clynes on January 7, 1918, quoted in McIvor, “Manual Work,” 163. 112. Mary B. Rose, Firms, Networks and Business Values: The British and American Cotton Industries since 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 199. 113. Vicky Long, The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Industrial Health in Britain, 1914–60 (Basingstoke: Plagrave, 2011), 67; e.g., The Dr. James Robertson, MOH for Darwen, TM, November 12, 1927. 114. S. Wyatt, Individual Differences in Output in the Cotton Industry, IFRB Report No. 7 (London: HMSO, 1920), 12. 115. S. Wyatt, Variations in Efficiency in Cotton Weaving, IFRB Report No. 23 (London: HMSO, 1920), 50–51; Joseph Melling, “Employers, Industrial Welfare and the Strug­gle for Work-­Place Control in British Industry, 1880–1920,” in Managerial Strategies and Industrial Relations: An Historical and Comparative Study, ed. H. F. Gospel and C.  R. Littler (London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1983), 55–68; Noel Whiteside, “Industrial Welfare and ­Labour Regulation in Britain at the Time of the First World War,” IRSH 25 (1980): 307–331.

186

Notes to Pages 87–90

116. J. Tomlinson and N. Tiratsoo, “An Old Story, Freshly Told? A Comment on Broadberry and Crafts’ Approach to Britain’s Early Post-­War Economic Per­for­mance,” BH 40, no. 2 (1998): 62–72; William Lazonick, “Competition, Specialization, and Industrial Decline,” Journal of Economic History 41 (1981): 31–38; William Lazonick, “Industrial Organ­ization and Technical Change: The Decline of the British Cotton Industry,” BHR 57 (1983): 195–236. 117. S. N. Broadberry and N.F.R. Crafts, “The Post-­War Settlement: Not Such a Good Bargain A ­ fter All,” BH 40, no.  2 (1998): 73–79; Sue Bowden and David Higgins, “ ‘Productivity on the Cheap?’ The ‘More Looms’ Experiment and the Lancashire Weaving Industry during the Inter-­War Years,” BH 41, no. 3 (1999): 21–41. 118. TM, March 20, 1920, 326–27; TM, November 12, 1921, 509. 119. For example, TM, April 28, 1923; TM, January 3, 1925; TM, December 5, 1925; TM, April 14, 1928, 298–99; TM, August 6, 1937, 131–32. 120. TM, July 31, 1926. 121. TM, April 9, 1927, 388; TM, November 8, 1929, 434; TM, March 18, 1932, 265; TM, February 19, 1932, 166; TM, November 18, 1932; TM, January 1, 1937, X; TM, September 24, 1937, 307; TM, August 26, 1938, 260–61; TM, August 19, 1932. 122. McIvor, “Manual Work,” 167. 123. S. Wyatt, Fan Ventilation in a Humid Weaving Shed, IFRB Report No. 37 (London: HMSO, 1926). 124. S. Wyatt, Atmospheric Conditions in Cotton Weaving, IFRB Report No. 21 (London: HMSO, 1923), viii; NA LAB 14/2056, 255903, Summary of Evidence to Investiga­ tion of the IFRB Humidification Enquiry Committee, Evidence of Dr. H. M. Vernon, MA, MD, Blackburn, n. p. 125. NA LAB 14/2056, 255903, W. J. Tout and Jas. Helm, Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, “Precis of Evidence to be Given before the Government Humidification Enquiry Committee,” typescript, October 8, 1926, 632. 126. A. B. Hill, Artificial Humidification in the Cotton Weaving Industry: Its Effect upon the Sickness Rates of Weaving Operatives, IFRB Report No. 48 (London: HMSO, 1927), 72. 127. J. Jackson (Chair), Home Office Report of the Departmental Committee on Artificial Humidity in Cotton Cloth Factories (London: HMSO, 1928), 18–22, 31–32. 128. HRBL/2/1/30, Blackburn MOH Report, 1923, 18. 129. Steve Jones, “Cotton Employers and Industrial Welfare between the Wars,” in Employers and ­Labour in the En­glish Textile Industries, 1850–1939, ed. J. A. Jowitt and A. J. McIvor (London; Routledge, 1988), 67–68. 130. Jones, “Cotton Employers,” 69. 131. DDX 1115/8/3, notices sent by the Blackburn and District Cotton Employers’ Association, 1931–38, from the Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, Accrington, November 12, 1937. 132. HRBL/2/1/28, Blackburn MOH Report, 1921, 44. 133. TM, November 18, 1922. 134. DDX 1115/1/3, Blackburn & District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association Minute Book, minutes, November 12, 1913–1920, Jan. 1919; and DDX 1115/1/3, Blackburn & District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association Minute Book, “Blackburn & East Lancashire Royal Infirmary, Proposals for Increased Financial Support, 1918.” 135. DDX 1115/1/4, Blackburn & District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association Minute Book, 22 Jan. 1919–25, Jan., 1923, May 14, 1922. 136. MOH Report, Blackburn, 1932.



Notes to Pages 90–92

187

137. Alysa Levene et al., Cradle to Grave: Municipal Medicine in Interwar ­England and Wales (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011), 52, 54. 138. DDX 1115/9/2, Blackburn and District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association, circulars received from the Cotton Spinners’ and Manufacturers’ Association, June 4, 1920– 1913, May 1939. Letter, April 1938. 139. DDX1115/1/7, Blackburn & District Cotton Manufacturers’ Association, Minutes, September 23, 1931–1933, January 1939, May 2, 1938. 140. Levene et. al., Cradle to Grave, 52, 54; DDX 1115/1/6, Minute Book, 5 Oct. 1927–7 Sept., 1931, May 7, 1928. 141. A report made to the Pilgrim Trust, Men without Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938), 82. 142. CBBu 7/5, Burnley MOH Report, 1921, 8. 143. Elizabeth Roberts, A ­Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working-­Class ­Women, 1890–1940 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), 164–168. 144. Patrick Joyce, “The Factory Politics of Lancashire in the L ­ ater Nineteenth ­Century,” The Historical Journal 18 (1975): 529; W. Bennett, The History of Burnley from 1850 (Burnley: Burnley Corporation, 1951), 85–97; Jutta Schwarzkopf, Unpicking Gender: The Social Construction of Gender in the Lancashire Cotton Weaving Industry, 1880– 1914 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 19, 85–97. 145. DDX 1145/1/1/4, Minutes of the Burnley Master Cotton Spinners’ and Manufactur­ ers’ Association, Minute Book (hereafter Burnley Minutes), 29 May, 1919–27, Sept. 1926, October 12, 1922. 146. CBBu 7/9, Burnley MOH Report, 1934, 12. 147. CBBu 7/9, Burnley MOH Report, 1932, 12. 148. DDX 1145/1/1/4, Burnley Minutes, February 5, 1930. 149. For example, The Times, September 20, 1915; September 29, 1916; April 23, 1917; August 10, 1918; December 21, 1918; January 14, 1919; April 6, 1920; August 26, 1920; February 15, 1921; November 8, 1921; November 9, 1921; January 9, 1922; March  7, 1922; September  17, 1923; September  19, 1923; February  10, 1925; March 24, 1925; November 21, 1925; August 28, 1925; June 21, 1926; July 24, 1926; December 31, 1926; March 3, 1927; November 26, 1927; and June 18, 1928. Industry thought w ­ omen ­were more subject to industrial fatigue than men, but did not explain why (e.g., TM, January 3, 1925). 150. For example, H. M. Vernon, MD, “Recent Investigation on Atmospheric Conditions in Industry” JIH 4, no. 8 (1922): 315–324; J. S. Purdy, “Lighting and Ventilation of Factories, Hours of L ­ abor and Health,” JIH 3, no. 11 (1922): 349–358; S. Wyatt, “The Effect of Atmospheric Conditions on Health and Efficiency (with Special Reference to the Cotton Industry),” JIH 7, no. 7 (1925): 317–344; H. M. Vernon and T. Bedford, “The Ventilation and Heating of Factories,” JIH 9, no. 2 (1927): 51–60; C. P. Yaglou, “Temperature, Humidity and Air Movement in Industries: The Effective Temperature Index,” JIH 9, no. 7 (1927): 297–309; A. W. Sanders, “The H ­ uman Side of How to Do It Best,” JIH 7, no. 12 (1925): 559–566. 151. “Noise as a Cause of Fatigue,” The Times, January 7, 1929, 8. 152. Steve Sturdy, ed., Medicine, Health and the Public Sphere in Britain, 1600–2000 (London: Routledge, 2002), 20. 153. Joseph Melling, “The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working: Trade Unions, Employers and Responses to the Risk of Occupational Illness in British Industry, c. 1890–1940s,” ESRC Centre for Analy­sis of Risk and Regulation Discussion Paper No. 12 (2003): 14–34.

188

Notes to Pages 93–98

154. Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives, 166; A. and L. Fowler, The History of the Nel­ son Weavers Association (Nelson: Burnley, Nelson, Rossendale & District Textile Workers Union, 1984). 155. DDX 1089/25/1, Report of the Joint Committee Meetings of the Amalgamated Weav­ ers’ Association, 1915–1951, February 15, 1929. 156. DDX 1123/6/2/130, Proceedings, 27. 157. DDX 1123/6/2/202, letter from D. R. Wilson, Chief Inspector of Factories to the Secretary of the Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, June 2, 1934. 158. See Greenlees, “Workplace Health.” 159. For example, Bill-­o’-­Jack’s Lancashire Monthly, no. 26 (1911): 16 (Smalley’s Bronchial Essence); Original Clock Almanac for 1905 (Owbridge’s Lung Tonic, 1905); Mosley, Chimney of the World, n. 235, 58–59; Dr. J. Collis Browne, “Chlorodyne: The Best Remedy Known for Coughs, Colds, Asthma, Bronchitis,” CFT, February 3, 1911). 160. Allen Clarke, The Effects of the Factory System (London: Grant Richards, 1899; repr., Littleborough: George Kelsall, 1985), 57. 161. Robert Roberts, The Classic Slum: Salford Life in the First Quarter of the ­Century (Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1971), 125. 162. For example, “Warner’s Safe Cure for Kidney & Liver and Brights Disease, and Jaundice, Gravel, Stone, Catarrh of Bladder, Pain in Back, Headache, Dropsy, Impotence, Dyspepsia, Inflammation of Kidney’s, Livery & Urinary Organs, Tumors, Abscesses, Irregular Periods, Convulsions, and More!” Lowell Daily News, March 26, 1902; “If Bilious, Sick or Constipated, Take Cascarets,” Lowell Courier-­Citizen, February 18, 1915; “Wrights Indian Vegetable Elixir for Coughs, Colds, Whooping Cough,” Lew­ iston Daily Eve­ning Journal, March 27, 1885. 163. The Pittsburgh Press, February 16, 1904. 164. P.  M. Baker, “Patent Medicines: Cures and Quacks,” Pilgrim Hall Museum, 5, accessed June 9, 2016, http://­www​.­pilgrimhallmuseum​.­org​/­pdf​/­Patent​_­Medicine​ .­pdf. 165. Lewiston Daily Eve­ning Journal, March 27, 1885. 166. Collections are held at the NWSA, Lancashire, and the CLH, Lowell. 167. For example, MWOL, 85.07, Arthur Morrissette; 85.17, Dori Nelson; 85.13, Albert Parent; Shifting Gears, LOH, SG-­LA-­T509 Willieam Beaulieu. 168. MWOL, 85.17, Dori Nelson. 169. MWOL, 85.11, James Simpson. 170. MWOL, 84.06, Camille Theriault; see also 84.04, Doherty and Graham; 85.15, Lottie Lemke; and 85.14, Jeannette Paquette. 171. WPOL, 85.31, Joseph Golas; Shifting Gears, SF LA T523: Madeline and Joseph Carpenito had similar memories. 172. Cooper, Air Conditioning Amer­i­ca, 45. 173. Textile Bulletin 50 (May 28, 1936): 12; Textile Bulletin 48 (June 27, 1935): 32, cited in Cooper, Air Conditioning Amer­i­ca, 45–46. 174. Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 61. 175. NWSA, Marjory Shaw; see also Bill Disby and Joe Richardson, Elsie Hansford, Horace Thornton, and Stanley Graham. 176. NWSA, Elsie Hansford; Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 62. 177. Roberts, ­Woman’s Place, 59, 62. 178. Greenlees, “The Dangers”; Rex Pope, Unemployment and the Lancashire Weaving Area, 1920–1938 (University of Central Lancashire: Harris Paper Three, 2000), 5;



179. 180. 181. 182.

183.

184.

Notes to Pages 98–105

189

Nigel Morgan, Deadly Dwellings: The Shocking Story of Housing and Public Health in a Lancashire Cotton Town: Preston from 1840–1914 (Preston: Mullion Books, 1993). DDX 1123/6/2/130, Proceedings at a Conference on Artificial Humidity in Cotton Weaving Sheds, 18 Exchange St., Manchester, Wednesday, July 7, 1920, 13. Pilgrim Trust, Men without Work, 85. John Walton, Lancashire: A Social History, 1558–1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 343. Interim Report of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Cotton Industry: Ventilation, Temperature, Use of Steam in Humidification and Lighting (London: HMSO, 1947), 2, 3, 4, 5. Arthur McIvor, “State Intervention and Work Intensification: The Politics of Occupational Health and Safety in the British Cotton Industry, c. 1880–1914,” in ­Labour, Social Policy and the Welfare State, ed. A. Knotter, B. Altena, and D. Damsma (Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG, 1997), 125–139. Mosley, Chimney of the World.

Chapter 5  Dust

1. H. R. Imbus and M. W. Suh, “A Study of 10,133 Textile Workers,” Archaeological Environmental Health 25 (1973): 183–191, cited in Jacqueline Corn, “Byssinosis—­An Historical Perspective,” AJIM 2 (1981): 333. 2. Bernardino Ramazzini, A Treatise of the Diseases of Tradesmen (London: Andrew Bell et al., 1705). 3. A. Massoud, “The Origin of the Term ‘Byssinosis,’ ” BJIM 21 (1964): 162. 4. J. M. Harrington (IIAC chairman), cover letter dated May 31, 1989, in the Department of Social Security, Respiratory Disease in Textile Workers (London, 1989), C. 778, cited in Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Mondays without Dread: The Trade Union Response to Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry in the Twentieth ­Century,” SHM 16, no. 1 (2003): 87. 5. Corn, “Byssinosis,” 348. 6. In Britain, proponents of social medicine ­were asking similar questions. See John Stewart, “The ­Battle for Health”: A Po­liti­cal History of the Socialist Medical Asso­ ciation, 1930–51 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), esp. chaps. 2 and 3; John Stewart, “ ’Man against Disease’: The Medical Left and the Lessons of Science, 1918–48,” in Scien­ tific Governance in Britain, 1914–79, ed. Don Leggette and Charlotte Sleigh (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 199–216. 7. Corn, “Byssinosis,” 348. 8. Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor, “ ‘Dust to Dust’: Oral Testimonies of Asbestos-­ Related Disease on Clydeside, c. 1930 to the Pres­ent,” Oral History 10 (2001): 135–151. 9. Charles Levenstein and Gregory D. DeLaurier with Mary Lee Dunn, The Cotton Dust Papers: Science, Politics, and Power in the “Discovery” of Byssinosis in the U.S. (New York: Amityville, 2002), 27. 10. James Phillips Kay, MD, “Observations and Experiments concerning Molecular Consumption: and on Spinners’ Phthisis,” North of ­England Medical and Surgical Journal 1 (August 1830–­May 1831): 358–360. 11. Pennsylvania Senate Journal 2 (1837–1838): 289. 12. Josiah Curtis, Brief Remarks on the Hygiene of Mas­sa­chu­setts, More Particularly of the Cities of Boston and Lowell (Philadelphia: T. K. and P. G. Collins, 1849); Gilman

190

13. 14.

15.

16.

17. 18.

19.

20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

Notes to Pages 105–107

Kimball, MD, Report of the Lowell Hospital from 1840–49 (Lowell, 1849), 11, 13, 14; John  O. Green, The Factory System, in its Hygienic Relations: An Address, Delivered at Boston at the Annual Meeting of the Mas­sa­chu­setts Medical Society, May 27, 1846, Published by the Society (Boston: W.M.S. Damrell, 1846), 24–25. Ibid. E. Greenhow, “Dr. Greenhow’s Report on Districts with Excessive Mortality from Lung Diseases,” in John Simon, Third Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council (London: House of Commons, 1861), appendix, 102–194. Jesse Leach, “Surat Cotton, as it Bodily Affects Operatives in Cotton Mills,” The Lan­ cet, December 5, 1863, 648; BPP 1864 [3309], 62; J. T. Arlidge, The Hygiene, Dis­ eases and Mortality of Occupations (London: Percival & Co., 1892), 355. For example, Sarah Grinnell to O. H. Grinnell, November 6, 1842, Jackson Homestead, MA, also cited in Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: ­Women Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780– 1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 177. Hannah Josephson, The Golden Threads (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949), 257. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1854–1855; repr., Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1970), 145; Allen Clarke also noted the “dusty air of the mill” in The Effects of the Factory System (London: Grant Richards, 1899), 57. E. H. Osborn, Reports upon the Conditions of Work in Flax Mills and Linen Facto­ ries in the United Kingdom, BPP 1893–1894 (C. 7287) XVII, 537; Supplement to the 55th Annual Report of the Registrar-­General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in ­England. Part II, BPP 1881–1890 (C. 8503) XXI, lxxii; also cited in Bowden and Tweedale, “Mondays,” 83. Acts of 1887, 173, 2. Manual for the Use of the Board of Health of Mas­sa­chu­setts Con­ taining the Statutes Relating to Public Health (Boston: Wright and Potter, 1894), 93. W. H. Bennett, “Dust and a Polluted Atmosphere as Prime ­Factors in the Causation of Chronic Catarrh of the Upper Air-­Passages; With Some Remarks on Deviations of the Nasal Septum and Treatment,” The Sanitarian 23, no. 271 (June 1892): 518, 526, 519, 522. HRBL/2/1/3, Blackburn MOH Report, 1891, 26. Arlidge, Hygiene, 2. HRBL/2/1/9, Blackburn MOH Report, 1899, 85. James Wheatley, “Influence of the Cotton Industry on the Health of the Operatives,” Public Health, April 1896, 220. Sir James Crichton-­Browne, “The Dust Prob­lem,” an address to the Section in Sanitary Science and Preventive Medicine of the Sanitary Institute Congress, Manchester, September 1901, cited in Dr. A. N. Bell, “Dust and Disease,” The Sanitarian 400 (March 1903): 194. BMJ, May 14, 1892, 1046. Bell, “Dust and Disease,” 195, 196. TWR, March 1905. U.S. Department of ­Labor, “Textile Weavers,” Bulletin of the Bureau of ­Labor (November 1908): 741. U.S. Bureau of L ­ abor, “­Causes of Death amongst ­Women and Child Cotton Mill Operatives,” Report on the Condition of W ­ omen and Child Wage Earners in the United States, v. 14 (Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1912); Arthur Reid



Notes to Pages 107–110

191

Perry, Preventable Death in Cotton Manufacturing Industry, U.S. Department of ­Labor, Bureau of L ­ abor Statistics, No. 251 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919). 32. Mark Aldrich, “Mortality from Byssinosis among New E ­ ngland Cotton Mill Workers, 1905–1912,” Journal of Occupational Medicine 24, no. 12 (December 1982): 997–980. 33. 36th Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Mas­sa­chu­setts 28 (1904): 473. 34. Boston Eve­ning Transcript, July 24, 1908, 8. 35. JAMA, May 11, 1912, 1448–1449. 36. Ventilation of Factories and Workshops, Sect. 117, Mas­sa­chu­setts Legislation, 1909, 514. 37. Lawrence Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 136. 38. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, “The Early Movement for Occupational Safety and Health, 1900–1917,” in Sickness and Health in Amer­i­ca: Readings in the His­ tory of Medicine, 3rd ed., ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald Numbers (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 476. 39. Lawrence Immigrant Archives, Annual Report of His Honor the Mayor Director of Finance and Public Affairs for Year Ending 1912, Board of Health (Lawrence: Rushforth’s Critic Press, 1912), 476. 40. The Report of the Lawrence Survey: Studies in Relations to Lawrence, Mas­sa­chu­ setts, Made in 1911, u ­ nder the Advice of Francis H McLean by Robert E. Todd and Frank B. Sandborn at the Procurement of the Trustees of the White Fund (Andover: Andover Press, 1912), 241. 41. Argued in David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz, Deadly Dust: Silicosis and the Poli­ tics of Occupational Disease in Twentieth-­Century Amer­ic­ a (Prince­ton: Prince­ton University Press, 1991), 30. 42. M. V. Safford, “Influence of Occupation on Health during Adolescence,” in U.S. Trea­ sury Department, Public Health Ser­vice Bulletin, no.  78, 1916 (Washington, DC); also cited in B. H. Caminita et al., A Review of the Lit­er­at­ ure Relating to Affections of the Respiratory Tract in Individuals Exposed to Cotton Dust, Public Health Bulletin No. 297 (Washington, DC: U.S. Public Health Ser­vice, 1947), 16. 43. Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, 30. 44. Emery R. Hayhurst, Industrial Health Hazards and Occupational Diseases in Ohio (Columbus: Ohio State Board of Health, 1915), 18, cited in Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, 30–31. 45. For example, E.  B. Saunders, “Factory Safety and Sanitation,” Transactions of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers 102 (April 25–26, 1917): 351–371, 366. 46. Daniel Berman, Death on the Job: Occupational Health and Safety Strug­gles in the United States (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979), 4. 47. John Leigh, “Coal Smoke: Report to the Health and Nuisance Committees of the Corporation of Manchester,” Health Journal and Rec­ord of Sanitary Engineering, vol. 1 (1883), cited in Stephen Mosley, The Chimney of the World: A History of Smoke Pollution in Victorian and Edwardian Manchester (London: Routledge, 2001), 98. 48. CBP/22/33, Preston MOH Report, 1910–1911, 22. 49. CBP/22/38, Preston MOH Report, 1915–1916, 8; see also HRBL/2/1/9, Blackburn MOH Report, 1899, 85, 88. 50. Elizabeth Roberts, A ­Woman’s Place: An Oral History of Working-­Class ­Women, 1890–1940 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984), 131.

192

Notes to Pages 110–113

51. Thomas Oliver, Diseases of Occupation (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1908). 52. The Textile Manufacture, August 15, 1908, 253–254; Edgar L. Collis, “Dust in the Cardroom,” Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for 1908 (London: HMSO, 1908), 203–205. 53. Collis, “Dust in the Cardroom”; see also Alan Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work, 1900–1950: A Social History of Lancashire Cotton Operatives in the Twen­ tieth C ­ entury (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 132–134. 54. Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives, 134. 55. TM, June 5, 1909, 423–424. 56. TM, October 17, 1914, 291. 57. CBP/22/38, Preston MOH Report, 1915–1916, 7, 8. 58. B. G. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1842–1936 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972), 131. 59. U.S. Department of ­Labor, “Causes of Absence for Men and for ­Women in Four Cotton Mills,” Bulletin of the ­Women’s Bureau, no. 69 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1929), 18–19. 60. Appendix 5: “Membership (Selected Unions),” in ­Labor Unions: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Institutions, 1st ed., ed. Gary M. Fink (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood), 1977, cited in Charles Levenstein, Dianne Plantamura, and William Mass, “­Labor and Byssinosis, 1941–1969,” in ­Dying for Work: Workers’ Safety and Health in Twentieth-­Century Amer­i­ca, ed. David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 210. 61. Levenstein et. al., “­Labor and Byssinosis,” 211–212. 62. A. H. Southam and S. R. Wilson, “Cancer of the Scrotum: The Etiology, Clinical Features, and Treatment of the Disease,” BMJ, November 18, 1922, 971–974. 63. E. L. Middleton, “Dust in Cotton Card Rooms,” JIH 8, no. 10 (1926): 436, 448. 64. William Francis Dearden, “Health Hazards in the Cotton Industry,” BMJ, March 12, 1927, 454. 65. TM, April 9, 1921, 387; TM, August 4, 1923, 92; TM, August 5, 1922, 118. 66. TM, June 14, 1924, 527. 67. Stewart, ­Battle; Stewart, “Man against Disease.” 68. For more on the MRC and its activities, see Linda Bryder, “The Medical Research Council and Clinical Trial Methodologies before the 1940s: The Failure to Develop a ‘Scientific Approach,’ ” JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the History of Treatment Evaluation, 2010, https://­www​.­jameslindlibrary​.­org​/­articles​/­the​-­medical​-­research​ -­council​-­and​-­clinical​-­trial​-­methodologies​-­before​-­the​-­1940s​-­the​-­failure​-­to​-­develop​ -­a​-­scientific​-­approach​/­; Joan Austoker and Linda Bryder, Historical Perspectives on the Role of the MRC (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). 69. A. Bradford Hill, Sickness among Operatives in Lancashire Cotton Spinning Mills (with Special Reference to Workers in the Cardroom) (London: HMSO, 1930). 70. Home Office, Report of the Departmental Committee on Dust in Card Rooms in the Cotton Industry (London: HMSO, 1932); also cited in Geoffrey Tweedale, “Occupational Health and the Region: the Medical and Socio-­Legal Dimensions of Respiratory Diseases and Cancer in the Lancashire Textile Industry,” in King Cotton: A Tribute to Douglas A. Farnie, ed. J. F. Wilson (Lancaster: Crucible Books, 2009), 328. 71. Home Office, Report. 72. The power­ful connection and confusion between diseases has been demonstrated in F. F. Cinkotai, “Recent Trends in the Prevalence of Byssionsis Symptoms in the Lancashire Textile Industry,” BJIM 45 (1988): 782–789; C.A.C. Pickering, “Byssinosis,”



73. 74. 75. 76.

77. 78. 79.

80.

81. 82.

83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90.

91.

92. 93. 94. 95. 96.

Notes to Pages 113–118

193

in Occupational Lung Disorders, ed. W.  R. Parkes (London: Butterworth Heinemann, 1994). C. Prausnitz, Investigations on Respiratory Dust Disease in Operatives in the Cotton Industry. MRC Special Report Series 212 (London: HMSO, 1936). Martin V. Edwards, “Control and the Therapeutic Trial, 1918–1948,” JLL Bulletin, 2004; Bryder, “Medical Research Council.” P. N. Harvey, Appendix to the Report of the Departmental Committee on Compen­ sation for Card Room Workers (London: HMSO, 1939). J. J. Bloomfield and W. C. Dreessen, Exposure to Dust in a Textile Plant, Public Health Bulletin No. 208 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933); Rollo Britten, J. J. Bloomfield and Jennie Goddard, The Health of Workers in a Textile Plant, Public Health Bulletin No. 207 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1933), 14–15. Britten et al. “Health of Workers,” 1. Robert Botsch, Organ­izing the Breathless: Cotton Dust, Southern Politics, and the Brown Lung Association (Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press, 1993), 39. David Wegman, Charles Levenstein, and Ian A. Greaves, “Commentary: Byssinosis: A Role for Public Health in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty,” AJPH 73 (February 1983): 189. Harriet A. Byrne, “The Health and Safety of W ­ omen in Industry,” U.S. Department of ­Labor, Bulletin of the ­Women’s Bureau, no. 136 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935), 3, 7. Jacqueline Karnell Corn, Responses to Occupational Health Hazards: A Historical Perspective (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992), 13. North Carolina’s industrial hygiene personnel included two medical personnel and two engineers. Jack J. Bloomfield, “Development of Industrial Hygiene in the United States,” AJPH 28 (December 1938): 1391. Rosenkrantz, Public Health and the State, 132. Manual of the Laws Relating to Public Health, 1938 (Boston: Mas­sa­chu­setts Department of Public Health, 1938), 332. H. Leonard Bolen, “Byssinosis—­Report of Two Cases and Review of the Lit­er­a­ture,” JIHT 25 (1943): 215–224. M. F. Trice, “Card-­Room Fever,” TW, March 1940, 68. Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth-­Century South (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987), 232. Trice, “Card-­Room Fever.” Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 140. See, for example, Sander’s classification of byssinosis as an allergy. Dr. O. A. Sander, “The Pneumoconioses,” Industrial Medicine & Surgery 15 (1946): 528–530, 528, also cited in Rosner and Markowitz, Deadly Dust, 184–185. Philip Drinker, Atmospheric Conditions in the Cotton Textile Plants, Special Bulletin No. 18 of the USDOL, Division of L ­ abor Standards, June 1945, also cited in Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 53. Drinker, Atmospheric Conditions, 8. Ibid. Also cited in Levenstein, et al., Cotton Dust, 57. Drinker, Atmospheric Conditions, 8. “Pres­ent En­glish Practice in Cotton Textile Pro­cess Ventilation,” Heating and Ven­ tilation, June 1949, cited in Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 65. Caminita et al., A Review of the Lit­er­a­ture, 72.

194

Notes to Pages 118–122

97. Corn, Responses, 17–18. 98. Bowden and Tweedale, “Mondays.” 99. R.S.F. Schilling, “Byssinosis in Cotton and Other Textile Workers,” Lancet 2 (August 11, 1956): 265. 100. Tweedale, “Occupational Health,” 328. 101. BPP [Cd. 1695] 346, Departmental Committee on Compensation (London: Home Office, 1939). 102. Pickering, “Byssinosis.” 103. R.S.F. Schilling, A Challenging Life: Sixty Years in Occupational Medicine (Croydon: Canning Press, 1998), 94; Schilling, “Byssinosis in Cotton and Other Textile Workers,” 261–265 and Lancet 2 (August 18, 1956): 319–325. 104. Schilling, Challenging Life, 81–116; G. P. Barnett, Ministry of ­Labour and National Ser­ vice, Interim Reports of the Joint Advisory Committee of the Cotton Industry, (1) Sanitary Accommodation ­etc. (2) Dust in the Card Rooms (London: HMSO, 1946). 105. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Poisoned by the Fluff: Compensation and Litigation for Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry,” Journal of Law and Soci­ ety 29, no. 4 (2002): 568 106. Joint Standing Committee on Health and Welfare in the Cotton Industry, Minutes of 3rd Meeting (London: HMSO, 1964), 2. 107. DDX 1123/10/2 AWA, Report of the Proceedings at the Annual Conference (at Morecambe), 37–43. 108. Levenstein et al. argues that Liberty Mutual was in a position to identify and address byssinosis in Amer­i­ca and failed in its responsibility to do so. Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 73–78. 109. Levenstein et al., “­Labor and Byssinosis,” 217–220. 110. C. B. McKerrow, MD, and R.S.F. Schilling, MD, “A Pi­lot Enquiry into Byssinosis in Two Cotton Mills in the United States,” JAMA 177, no. 12 (1961): 850–853. 111. Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 121–137. 112. TW, June 1969, 47–51; see also Levenstein et al., Cotton Dust, 124. 113. TWUA M86-171, Box 113, Washington Post, n.d. 114. TWUA Box 24/25 M86-403, The Nation, Feb. 21, 1976; TWUA Box 122 M86-171, Letter from Sol Stetin to George Perkel, July 29, 1974. 115. Bowden and Tweedale, “Poisoned.” 116. TWUA M86-171, Box 113. Letter from George Perkell, to Marcus Key, Director of NIOSH, January 5, 1973. 117. Botsch, Organ­izing, 122. 118. TWUA M86-403, Box 241/15. New American Movement, February, 1976, 6. 119. Johnston and McIvor, “Dust to Dust.” 120. For more on the air-­quality debates, see Mosley, Chimney; Stephen Mosley, “The Home Fires: Heat, Health, and Atmospheric Pollution in Britain, 1900–1945,” in Health and the Modern Home, ed. Mark Jackson (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007), 196–223; Catherine Mills, “Coal, Clean Air, and the Regulation of the Domestic Hearth in Post-­War Britain,” Health and the Modern Home, 224–243; Gregg Mitman, “Cockroaches, Housing, and Race: A History of Asthma and Urban Ecol­ ogy in Amer­ic­ a,” in Health and the Modern Home, 244–265. 121. DDX 1123/5/4/5 AWA, correspondence with the United Textile Factory Workers’ Association, January 31, 1956. 122. DDX 1123/4/46 AWA, circulars sent out December 8, 1956, Circular 2377, Pneumo­ coniosis and Byssinosis.



Notes to Pages 122–127

195

123. DDX 1123/4/46, letter from Lewis Wright, general secretary, to the district secretary, February 8, 1956. 124. NWSA, Mona Morgan, b. 1922, cardroom worker, 1936–1946 and 1953–1970s; see also NWSA, Elsie Hansford, ring, card and winding room worker. Also cited in Janet Greenlees, “Workplace Health and Gender among Cotton Workers in Amer­i­ca and Britain, c. 1880s–1940s,” IRSH 61, 3 (2016): 470. 125. NWSA, May Mitchell, cardroom worker, 1936–1946; also cited in Greenlees, “Workplace Health and Gender,” 470. 126. NWSA, Ethel Fielding, ring room worker, 1941–1980s; also cited in Greenlees, “Workplace Health and Gender,” 470. 127. Tweedale and Bowden, “Poisoned” and “Mondays.” 128. National Child ­Labor Committee, The Child in the Cotton Mill (New York: Pamphlet 260, March 1916), 5; CLH WPOL, 85.26, Grace Burke. 129. CLH MWOL, 84.01, Valentine Chartrand. 130. CLH MWOL, 84.09 and 86.31, Sidney Muskowitz. 131. B. M. Judkins, We Offer Ourselves as Evidence: ­Toward Workers’ Control of Occu­ pational Health (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), 111–112. 132. Fran Lynn, “The Dust in Willie’s Lungs,” The Nation, February 21, 1976, 209–212. 133. Department of ­Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Occupational Exposure to Cotton Dust,” Final Mandatory Occupational Safety and Health Standard, Federal Register 43, no. 122 (June 23, 1978), part 3, 27350–27463. 134. Cotton Factory Times (hereafter CFT), February 17, 1911; Gross, Course of Indus­ trial Decline, 137; Interview with British operative, anon., April 2001. 135. CFT advert, January 13, 1928. 136. Schilling, Challenging Life, 114. 137. NWSA, Mona Morgan. 138. Michelle Abendstern, Christine Hallett and Lesley Wade, “Flouting the Law: W ­ omen and the Hazards of Cleaning Moving Machinery in the Cotton Industry, 1930–1970,” Oral History 33, no. 2 (2005): 69–78. 139. Joseph Brain, “­Your Science Scares Me,” Harvard Public Health, Fall 2013, 52; Tom Mills, Nation on Film. 140. Brain, “­Your Science,” 52. 141. A similar argument is made in relation to toxic poisoning. Jody Roberts and Nancy Langston, “Toxic Bodies/Toxic Environments: An Interdisciplinary Forum,” Envi­ ronmental History 13, no. 4 (October 2008): 629–703. 142. Keith Wailoo, ­Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001). 143. Melling discusses wages within the context of workers’ understandings of occupational disease. Joseph Melling, The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working: Trade Unions, Employers and Responses to the Risk of Occupational Illness in Brit­ ish Industry, c.1890–1940s. CARR Discussion Papers, DP 12 (London: London School of Economics and Po­liti­cal Science, 2003). Chapter 6  “The Noise ­W ere Horrendous”

1. Aram Glorig, “The Prob­lem of Noise in Industry,” AJPH 51, no. 9 (September 1961): 1340. 2. Lancashire Telegraph, January 25, 2012. 3. Financial Times, February 15, 2007, 3; The Daily Telegraph, February 15, 2007, 5; The Times, February 20, 2007, 2.

196

Notes to Pages 127–130

4. Allen Clarke, The Effects of the Factory System (London: Grant Richards, 1899; repr., 1989, George Kelsall), 51. 5. Allard Dembe, Occupation and Disease, 9. 6. Karin Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture and Public Prob­lems of Noise in the Twentieth ­Century (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008), 24–25. 7. Stephen Mosley, The Chimney of the World: A History of Smoke Pollution in Victo­ rian and Edwardian Manchester (London: Routledge, 2001). 8. Jon Agar, “Bodies, Machines and Noise,” in Bodies/Machines, ed. I.  R. Morus (Oxford: Berg, 2002), 197–220; Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound; Peter Payer, “The Age of Noise: Early Reactions in Vienna, 1870–1914,” Journal of Urban History 5 (2007): 773–793; Raymond Smilor, “American Noise, 1900–1930,” in Hearing History: A Reader, ed. M. Smith (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004), 319–331. 9. Michael Guida, “Silencing the Machines: Workplace Noise and the Threat to Efficiency in Britain and the USA, 1900–1939” (master’s thesis, University College London, 2012). Thompson considers efficiency and office acoustics, Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Lis­ tening in Amer­ic­ a, 1900–1933 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002), 115–168. 10. Alain Corbin, Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the Nineteenth-­Century French Countryside (London: Macmillan, 1994); R. Murray Schafer, The Tuning of the World (New York: Knopf, 1977); Mark Smith, Hearing History: A Reader (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004). 11. Gordon Atherley, “Occupational Deafness: The Continuing Challenge of Early German and Scottish Research,” AJIM 8, no.  2 (1985): 101–117; G. Atherley and W. G. Noble, “A Review of Studies of Weavers’ Deafness,” Applied Acoustics 1 (1968): 3–14. 12. Arthur McIvor and Ronald Johnston, Miners’ Lung: A History of Dust Disease in Brit­ ish Coal Mining (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), esp. 51–53. Deafness is not mentioned in Alan Derickson’s, Workers’ Health, Workers’ Democracy: The Western Miners’ Strug­gle, 1891–1925 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988). 13. Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth–­Century South (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987), 64, 69, 70, and 209. 14. Graeme Gooday and Karen Sayer, “The Commodification of Hearing Aids and Aids to Hearing,” in Rethinking Modern Prostheses in Anglo-­American Commodity Cul­ tures, 1820–1939, ed. Claire L. Jones (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 27–47. 15. Bernardino Ramazzini, Diseases of Workers, trans. W. C. Wright (New York: Hafner Publishing Co., 1964). 16. Rineke van Daalen, Klaagbrieven en gemeentelijk ingrijpen: Amsterdam 1865–1920 (Amsterdam: Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1987): 50 and 67, cited in Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound, 68. 17. Lucy Larcom, A New ­England Girlhood, Outlined from Memory (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1889), 183. 18. Lowell was one of the “noise[iest] plaices that ever I was.” LOWE 5130, Sophia Eaton to her m ­ other, Mrs. Betsey Eaton, July 6, 1847; see also LOWE 14425, Lydia A. Dudley to Miss Olive Elzadah Dudley, Raymond, NH, August 22, 1847, also cited in Janet Greenlees, Female ­Labour Power: W ­ omen Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 177.



Notes to Pages 131–134

197

19. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1848; repr., Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1994), 3. 20. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South, 1970 ed. (Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1854–1855; repr., Harmonds­worth: Penguin Books, 1970), 145, 182, 184–185. 21. Locomotive ­drivers, stokers, blacksmiths, boilermakers, and metal workers. Moos (1880), Schwabach and Pollnow (1881), Gottstein and Kayser (1881), Holt (1882), and Barr (1886). 22. J. M. Maljutin, “Über die Taubheit der Weber,” cited in Burns, Noise and Man (Philadelphia: JB Lippincott Co., 1968). 23. John H. Girdner, MD, Newyorkitis (New York: The Grafton Press, 1901), 27, 30–31. 24. Statutes of the United States of Amer­ic­ a, passed at the 2nd Sess., 59th Cong., 1906– 1907, v. 35, part 1, chap. 892, 881. 25. I. L. Rice, “Our Most Abused Sense—­The Sense of Hearing,” Forum, 1907, 559– 572, cited in George Rosen, “Public Health Then and Now: A Backward Glance at Noise Pollution,” AJPH 64, no. 5 (May 1974): 515; Raymond W. Smilor, “­Toward an Environmental Perspective: The Anti-­Noise Campaign, 1893–1932,” Pollution and Reform In American Cities 1870–1930, ed. Martin V. Melosi (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980), 135–151; Laurence Baron, “Noise and Degeneration: Theodor Lessing’s Crusade for Quiet,” Journal of Con­temporary History 17 (1982): 165–178. 26. I. L. Rice, “An Effort to Suppress Noise,” Forum, 1906, 552–570; I. L. Rice, “The ­Children’s Hospital Branch of the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise,” Forum, 1908, 560–567; I. L. Rice, “Our Barbarous Fourth,” ­Century Magazine 54 (1908): 219–226, also cited in Rosen, “Public Health,” 515. 27. The World Soundscape Proj­ect, accessed January 20, 2016, http://­www​.­sfu​.­ca​/­~truax​ /­wsp​.­html; Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound, 5–6. 28. For example, J. S. MacMutt, A Manual for Health Officers (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1915), 478–79, also cited in Rosen, “Public Health,” 515. 29. Ibid., 59–60. 30. Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound, 58–59. 31. P. Brimblecombe and C. Bowler, “Air Pollution in York 1850–1900” in The ­Silent Countdown: Essays in Eu­ro­pean Environmental History, ed. P. Brimblecombe and C. Pfister (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1990), 186, 191. 32. Smilor, “­Toward an Environmental Perspective”; Baron, “Noise and Degeneration.” 33. Floyd E. Thurston, “The Worker’s Ear: A History of Noise-­Induced Hearing Loss,” AJIM 56 (2013): 373. 34. Gooday and Sayer, “Commodification.” 35. C. J. Blake, “The Suppression of Unnecessary Noise,” in Transactions of the XV Inter­ national Congress on Hygiene and Demography (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1912), vol. 3, part 3, 533; MacMutt, Manual, 478–479. 36. Raymond Smilor, “Cacophony at 34th  and 6th: The Noise Prob­lem in Amer­i­ca, 1900–1930,” American Studies 18, no. 1 (1971): 33. 37. W. C. Hanson, cited in Paul S. Peirce, “Industrial Diseases,” North American Review, October 1, 1911, 539. 38. Peirce, “Industrial Diseases,” 532. 39. G. M. Kober and W. C. Hanson, eds., Diseases of Occupation and Vocational Hygiene (Philadelphia: P. Blakiston’s Son & Co., 1916), 260–261. 40. The Strike in Lawrence, Mass.: Hearings before the Committee on Rules of the House of Representatives on House Resolutions 409 and 433, March  2–7, 1912, 62nd

198

41.

42.

43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

52.

53.

54. 55. 56. 57.

58. 59. 60. 61.

Notes to Pages 135–138

Congress, 2d Sess., Doc. No. 671, 70 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1912). Anon. “Shell Explosions and the Special Senses,” Lancet, March 27, 1915, 663; Tracey Loughran, Shell-­Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 86. Fiona Reid, Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain, 1914– 30 (London: Continuum, 2010); Ted Bogacz, “War Neurosis and Cultural Change in ­England, 1914–22: The Work of the War Office Committee of Enquiry into ‘Shell-­Shock,’  ” Journal of Con­temporary History 24 (1989): 227–256; Peter Barham, Forgotten Lunatics of the G ­ reat War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004). Steve Sturdy, “The Industrial Body,” in Companion to Medicine in the Twentieth ­Century, ed. Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (London: Routledge, 2003), 217–234. Arthur Reid Perry, MD, Preventable Death in Cotton Manufacturing Industry, U.S. Department of ­Labor, Bureau of ­Labor Statistics, No. 251 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1919), 95. Lyman Mills Collection, Acc. 25059, PO-10-7, Miscellany Letter Book to Trea­surer of Lyman Mills, 1916–1919, March 14, 1919. TW, September 3, 1927, 55. “Noise vs. Efficiency,” TWJ, December 4, 1915. Donald Laird, “The Mea­sure of the Effects of Noise on Working Efficiency,” JIH 9, no. 10 (1927): 431–434. Smilor, “Cacophony,” 34. TW, October 17, 1931. Harriet A. Byrne, “The Health and Safety of W ­ omen in Industry,” U.S. Department of ­Labor, Bulletin of the ­Women’s Bureau, no. 136 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935), 7. Edward F. Brown et al., eds., City Noise: The Report of the Commission Appointed by Dr. Shirley W. Wynne, Commissioner of Health, to Study Noise in New York City and to Develop Means of Abating It (New York: Noise Abatement Commission, Department of Health, 1930), 18, 106–107, also cited in Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound, 74. W. B. McKelvie, “Weavers’ Deafness,” Journal of Laryngology and Otology 48 (1933): 607–608, first published as T. M. Legge and W. B. McKelvie, Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops (London: HMSO, 1927). H. C. Weston and S. Adams, The Effects of Noise on the Per­for­mance of Weavers, IHRB Report No. 65 (London: HMSO, 1932), 58 Charles S. Myers, Industrial Psy­chol­ogy (New York: ­Peoples Institute Publishing Com­pany, 1925), 27. Charles  S. Myers, Industrial Psy­chol­ogy (London: Thornton Butterworth Ltd., 1929). Henry J. Welch and Charles S. Myers, Ten Years of Industrial Psy­chol­ogy: An Account of the First De­cade of the National Institute of Industrial Psy­chol­ogy (London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd., 1932), 55–75. H. C. Weston and S. Adams, The Per­for­mance of Weavers ­under Varying Conditions of Noise, IHRB Report No. 70 (London: HMSO, 1935), 14. The Textile Manufacturer, December 1935, 497. Bijsterveld, Mechanical Noise, 112. Ibid., 117–119.



Notes to Pages 138–143

199

62. Helen Jones, “An Inspector Calls: Health and Safety at Work in Inter-­war Britain,” in The Social History of Occupational Health, ed. Paul Weindling (London: Croom Helm, 1985), 226. 63. “Occupational Deafness,” BMJ 2, no. 3959 (November 21, 1936): 1037. 64. MWOL, 85.01, Rene Desjardins; “It was terribly noisy. When the looms started up, you ­couldn’t her yourself talk. If you wanted to talk to someone, you had to get right up close and holler. I had to get used to it like every­one e­ lse.” 65. WPOL, 85.26, Grace Burke. 66. MWOL, 84.02, Mabel Mangan. 67. WPOL, 85.29, John Falante. 68. MWOL, 84.08, Narcissa Hodges. 69. Daniel Georgianna with Roberta Hazen Aaronson, The Strike of 28 (New Bedford: Spinner Publications, 1993), 46. 70. “King Cotton,” Nation on Film, 2003. 71. Ibid. 72. Ibid. 73. Ibid. 74. W. Taylor, J.C.G. Pearson, R. Kell, and A. Mair, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 60 (November 1967): 1117–1121. 75. William Woodruff, The Road to Nab End: An Extraordinary Northern Childhood (London, Abacus: 1993), 34. 76. Woodruff, Road to Nab End, 11; Bijstereld, Mechanical Sound, 72–74. 77. DDX 1274, The Journal of the Burnley & District Weavers, Winders & Beamers Association, January 1927. 78. Paul Weindling, “Linking Self Help and Medical Science: The Social History of Occupational Health,” in Weindling, Social History, 16. 79. “Public Health Aspects of Noise Abatement,” AJPH 26 (1936; Yearbook Supplement 1935–1936): 223–225. 80. R. E. Ginnold, Occupational Hearing Loss: Workers Compensation ­under State & Federal Programs (Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency, 1979), 4. 81. Roy Mills, “Noise Reduction in a Textile Weaving Mill,” American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal (1969): 71–76. 82. Dembe, Occupation and Disease, 208. 83. Ibid., 209. 84. Ibid., 209. 85. Ibid., 208–209. 86. Glorig, “Prob­lem of Noise,” 1338–1339. 87. For example, Paul Sabine, “The Prob­lem of Industrial Noise,” AJPH 34 (1944): 265– 270; F.G.P., “Occupational Deafness,” Canadian Medical Association Journal 51 (October  1944): 367; U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Ser­vices, Division of Occupational Health, Noise and Hearing (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1961); W. Taylor, J. Pearson, A. Mair, and W. Burns, “Study of the Noise and Hearing in Jute Weaving,” Journal of the Acoustical Society of Amer­i­ca 38 (1965): 113. 88. Dembe, Occupation and Disease, 210–211. 89. Ibid., 214–15. 90. Eric Foner, ­Free Soil, F ­ ree L ­ abor, ­Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (1970; repr., New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 11–39. 91. Sabine, “Industrial Noise,” 267–268.

20 0

Notes to Pages 143–145

92. Laurence Gross, The Course of Industrial Decline: The Boott Cotton Mills of Lowell, Mas­sa­chu­setts, 1835–1955 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 215–249. 93. Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Robert Korstad, and James Leloudis, “Cotton Mill P ­ eople: Work, Community, and Protest in the Textile South, 1880–1940,” American His­ torical Review 91, no. 2 (1986): 245–286; Jacquelyn Down Hall, Like a ­Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987). 94. TWUA, MSS 396, Box 673, TWUA Research Department, “Description of Jobs in the Cotton Textile Industry and Synthetic Yarn Weaving,” March 1, 1963; TWUA, MSS 396, Box 673, TWUA Research Department, New York. “Description of Cotton Textile Manufacturing Pro­ cesses and Common Workload Complaints,” July 12, 1963, 21. 95. Clete Daniel, Culture of Misfortune: An Interpretive History of Textile Unionism in the United States (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001), 246. 96. Walsh-­Healey Safety & Health Standards, para. 50–204.10, Occupational Noise Exposure; Federal Register 34, no.  96, part 2, Department of L ­ abor, Safety and Health Standards. TWUA, MSS 396, Box 532, TWUA Research Department, “New Federal Regulations Concerning Occupational Noise Exposure,” August 18, 1969. 97. TWUA, M86-171, Box 115, letter from William Pollock to James Hodgson, January 11, 1971. 98. TWUA, M86-171, Box 115, letter from James Hodgson to William Pollock, February 4, 1971; letter from Marcus Key to William Pollock, February 4, 1971. 99. TWUA, M86-171, Box 125, letter from George Perkel to William Pollock, March 23, 1972. 100. “Noise and Health,” Times News (Burlington, NC), July 11, 1975; “Noise in Textiles Called Dangerous,” Charlotte Observer, July 1975; “TWUA Cites Noise Hazards, Urges Tougher Regulations,” Daily News Rec­ord, July 11, 1975; “U.S. Hearings U ­ nder Way on Factory Noise Limits,” Charlotte Observer, July 13, 1975; “Unit to Convert Shut­tle Looms May Be on Market Soon,” Daily News Rec­ord, February 23, 1976; “NCSU Finds Plastic Parts Could Cut Noise,” Daily News Rec­ord, March 25, 1976. 101. H. A. Waldron, “Occupational Health during the Second World War: Hope Deferred or Hope Abandoned?,” Medical History 41 (1991): 197–212. 102. Alan Fowler, Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work, 1900–1950: A Social History of Lancashire Cotton Operatives in the Twentieth C ­ entury (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 184. 103. John Singleton, Lancashire on the Scrapheap: The Cotton Industry 1945–1970 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 24. 104. Edwin Hopwood, The Lancashire Weavers Story: A History of the Lancashire Cot­ ton Industry and the Amalgamated Weavers’ Association (Manchester: Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, 1969), 140. 105. Vicky Long, The Rise and Fall of the Healthy Factory: The Politics of Health in Indus­ trial Britain, 1914–60 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 201–206; Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor, “What­ever Happened to the Occupational Health Ser­ vice? The NHS, the OHS and the Asbestos Tragedy on Clydeside,” in The NHS in Scotland: The Legacy of the Past and the Prospect of the F ­ uture, ed. Chris Nottingham (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 79–195; Ronald Johnston and Arthur McIvor, “Marginalising the Body at Work? Employers’ Occupational Health Strategies and Occupational Medicine in Scotland, c. 1930–1974,” SHM 21 (2008): 127–144.



Notes to Pages 145–149

201

106. Long, Rise and Fall, 204. 107. Colin M. Johnston, “A Field Study of Occupational Deafness,” BJIM 10 (1953): 41–50. 108. Johnston, “Field Study,” 49–50. 109. DDX1123/4/50, Amalgamated Weavers’ Association circular to members, May 2, 1960. 110. For example, MP Mr.  Neil Marten’s testimony, “Wilson Report on Noise, Oral Answers to Questions,” July  29, 1963, accessed February  1, 2016, http://­www​ .­theyworkforyou​.­com​/­debates​/­​?­id​=­1963​-­07​-­29a​.­13​.­1#g13​.­4. 111. Atherley and Noble, “Review of Studies,” 8. 112. J. R. Kerr, “Noise Prob­lems Connected with the Manufacture of Nylon and Terylene Yarn,” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 60 (1967): 1121–1126. 113. Arthur McIvor, “Manual Work, Technology and Industrial Health, 1918–39,” Medi­ cal History 31 (1987): 185. 114. LAB14/2317, British Textile Employers Association’s report on noise in weaving sheds to the Department of Employment, Safety, Health, and Work Division, June 10, 1971; LAB 14/2317 Ref. SHW/3553/69, letter from employer to factory inspectorate, dated 24.10.69. LAB 14/2317, letter from HMFI to textile employers, June 13, 1972. 115. LAB 14/2317, letter from A. R. Dove, engineering branch, HMFI, June 22, 1971. 116. LAB 14/2317, letter from B. H. Harvey to Mr. Garcia about remit of study commissioned for the cotton industry, April 1970. 117. DDX 1123/5/4/5 AWA, correspondence with the UTFWA, letter from James Milhench, UTFWA, Oldham, to Amalgamation, December 4, 1958. 118. Department of Health and Social Security, Industrial Injuries Act, Enquiry into Occu­ pational Hearing Loss (London: HMSO, 1970). 119. DDX 1123/6/961 AWA, letter from Leslie Hodgson, general secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions, to Affiliated Socie­ties, March 1970. 120. DDX 1123/6/2/961 AWA, letter from Mary E. Abbott, secretary, Rossendale Valley Textile Workers’ Association to H.  C. Kershaw, general secretary, Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, April 16, 1970; letter from Hilda Unsworth, secretary, Bolton, and District Weavers and Winders’ Association to Mr. H. C. Kershaw, Amalgamated Weavers’ Association, April 28, 1970; and letter from Patrick Walker, Accrington, Church and Oswaldtwistle Weavers’ Associations to General Secretary, AWA, May 12, 1970. 121. DDX 1123/6/2/961 AWA, letter from Raymond  W. Hill, secretary, Barnoldswick Weavers’ Association, to Mr. H. C. Kershaw, AWA, May 6, 1970. 122. DDX 1123/9/3/13 AWA, “Safety and Health in the Textile Industry,” subcommittee at ILO, September 28, 1973. 123. Weindling, “Linking Self-­Help,” 8. 124. Fiona Godlee, “Noise: Breaking the Silence,” BMJ 304 (January  11, 1992): 113, 110. 125. D. I. Nelson, R. Y. Nelson, M. Concha-­Barrientos, M. Fingerhut, “The Global Burden of Occupational Noise-­Induced Hearing Loss,” AJIM 48 (2005): 446–458. 126. “Protecting Workers’ Health,” WHO Fact Sheet No. 389, April 2014, accessed January 20, 2016, http://­www​.­who​.­int​/­mediacentre​/­factsheets​/­fs389​/­en. Chapter 7  Conclusion

1. “Burned Down Aswad Factory Slipped through New Safety Net,” The Guardian, October 9, 2013; “Bangladesh Factory Fires: Fashion Industry’s Latest Crisis,” The

202

Notes to Pages 149–155

Guardian, December 8, 2013; “The Environmental Crisis in Your Closet,” Newsweek, August 13, 2015. 2. Afsana Sharim, “Cotton Dust and Fly Affecting Workers Health at Spinning and Pro­ cessing Mills,” Textile ­Today, May 27, 2017. 3. A. A. Nafees and Z. Fatmi, “Available Interventions for Prevention of Cotton Dust-­ Associated Diseases among Textile Workers,” Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan 26, no.  8 (2016): 685–691; George Astrakianakis, Noah Seixas, Janice E. Camp, David Christiani, Ziding Feng, David Thomas, and Harvey Checkoway, “Modeling, Estimating and Validation of Cotton Dust and Endotoxin Exposures in Chinese Textile Operations,” The Annals of Occupational Hygiene 50, no. 6 (2006): 573–582; B. M. Sangeetha, M. Rajeswari, S. Atharsha, K. Saranyaa Sri, S.  Ramya, “Cotton Dust Levels in Textile Industries and its Impact on ­Humans,” International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications 3, no.  4 (2013): 1–6. 4. H. R. Sheikh, “Social Compliance in Pakistan’s Textile Industry,” Pakistan Textile Journal, April 2004, accessed January19, 2018, http://­www​.­ptj​.­com​.­pk​/­Web%202004​ /­04​-­2004​/­general​_­artical​.­html. 5. Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling, “Introduction: From Dangers Trades to Trade in Dangers: ­Toward an Industrial Hazard History of the Pres­ent,” in Dangerous Trade: Histories of Industrial Hazard across a Globalizing World,” ed. Christopher Sellers and Joseph Melling (Philadelphia: ­Temple University Press, 2012), 4. 6. Michelle Murphy, Sick Building Syndrome and the Prob­lem of Uncertainty (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 24. 7. Murphy, Sick Building Syndrome, 24. 8. New York Times, June 18, 1981; Jacqueline Karnell Corn, Responses to Occupational Health Hazards: A Historical Perspective (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992), 172; Office of Technology Assessment, Preventing Illness and Injury in the Work­ place (Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1985), 88, accessed June 13, 2017, http://­ota​.­fas​.­org​/­reports​/­8519​.­pdf. 9. Office of Technology Assessment, Preventing Illness, 87–88; The Economist, December 1980. 10. Sue Bowden and Geoffrey Tweedale, “Poisoned by the Fluff: Compensation and Litigation for Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry,” Journal of Law and Society 29, no. 4 (2002): 560–579. 11. N. W. White, H. Cheadle, and R. B. Dyer, “Workmens’ Compensation and Byssinosis in South Africa: A Review of 32 Cases,” AJIM 21, no. 3 (1992): 295–309; J. Takam and B. Nemery, “Byssinosis in a Textile Factory in Cameroon: A Preliminary Study,” BJIM 45 (1988): 803–809; Xiao-­Rong Wang and David Christiani, “Occupational Lung Disease in China,” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 9 (2003): 320–325; S. G. Ong, T. H. Lam, C. M. Wong, W. K. Chow, P. L. Ma, S. K. Lam, and F. J. O’Kelly, “Byssinosis and Other Respiratory Prob­lems in the Cotton Industry of Hong Kong,” AJIM 12, no. 6 (1987): 773–777; Richard Schilling, “Worldwide Prob­lems of Byssinosis,” Chest 79, no. 4 (1981): 3S–5S. 12. For example, Ong et al., “Byssinosis”; Sharim, “Cotton Dust and Fly.” 13. R. T. Sataloff and J. Sataloff, “Occupational Hearing Loss: Overview,” in Occupa­ tional Hearing Loss, 4th ed., ed. J. Sataloff and R.T. Satalof (Boca Raton: CRC Taylor and Francis, 2006), 1–2. 14. D. I. Nelson, R. Y. Nelson, M. Concha-­Barrientos, and M. Fingerhut, “The Global Burden of Occupational Noise-­Induced Hearing Loss,” AJIM 48 (2005): 446–458.



Notes to Page 155

203

15. H. J. Hoffman, R. A. Dobie, C. W. Ko, C. L. Themann, and W. J. Murphy, “Americans Hear as Well or Better ­Today Compared with 40 Years Ago: Hearing Threshold Levels in the Unscreened Adult Population of the United States, 1959–1962 and 1999–2004,” Ear Hear 31 (2010): 725–734; Floyd E. Thurston, “The Worker’s Ear: A History of Noise-­Induced Hearing Loss,” AJIM 56 (2013): 367–377. 16. Sellers and Melling (with Barry Castleman), “Conclusion,” in Dangerous Trade, 202–205.

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This bibliography has been arranged to enable the reader to locate all of the sources; however, some decisions ­were made to accommodate space. Rather than include ­every item from the archives as separate entries, the collections used are listed by title only. The exact archival reference to each individual item can be found in the relevant footnote. Please note that the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) has now closed. B ­ ecause the manuscript was submitted during the period the museum was transferring its collections to other libraries and museums, the references in the footnotes refer to the original ATHM collection. This monograph also made use of articles from many con­temporary journals and newspapers. T ­ hese have been listed as title-­only entries. Similarly, while all government documents are listed, for t­ hose items where many years w ­ ere consulted, ­these have been included as a single entry by title, such as the Annual Reports of the State Board of Health of Mas­sa­chu­setts or the annual reports for dif­fer­ent government bodies. However, special reports or interim reports, outside regular proceedings, have been separately listed. The title-­only collections are at the beginning of the Government Publications. Full references to each paper consulted can be found in the relevant footnotes. All secondary sources consulted are listed ­here as individual entries.

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Index

Page references with an f indicate a figure; ­those with a t, a ­table. absenteeism, worker, 89 “accidents,” industrial, 82 Accrington, Lancashire, 146 Adams, Dr. J. F. Alleyne, 49–50 aerial environment: imposition on, 77; in textiles, 9 aerial hazards: ambiguity about, 115; between neighboring towns, 7; need for education about, 154; recognition of, 151; and risks to worker health and welfare, 3; transnational studies of, 150; in workplace, 150 aerial quality, 12; assessment of, 60; in British factories, 99; as community priority, 42; deterioration of, 21; factory, 99 air, manufactured, 74. See also bad air air-­conditioning: manufacturers, 97; use of term, 74 air movement: and productivity, 88; and worker comfort, 88 air pollution: and byssinosis, 104; community vs. workplace, 110; external, 99; growing levels of, 72; in home, 71; noise as, 130 air quality: dust extractor’s effect on, 110; economic benefits of improved, 75; effects of exposure to poor, 2; and germ theory, 73; in internal environments, 1; labor-­recruitment benefits of, 76; and national health agendas, 83; and needs of production, 155; regulating internal factory, 72; in workplace, 1, 152 air quality, factory: in Britain, 78; debates on, 79; legislation and, 78; recognition of need to address, 77–81; recognition of unhealthy, 78 air-­quality standards: expense of, 104; scientific consensus for, 99 Aldrich, Mark, 107–108

Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives, 110 Amalgamated Weavers’ Association (AWA), 78, 93, 98; byssinosis information provided by, 122; and heat in factories, 88 American Acad­emy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, 142 American Association for ­Labor Legislation, 55–56 American Brown Lung Association, 121 American Federation of Textile Operatives, 112 American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 148 American Journal of Public Health, 55 American Linen Mills Co., Fall River, MA, 25 American Medical Association (AMA), 46, 141; on importance of ventilation, 71 American Medical Journal, 54 American Moistening Co., Providence, RI, 75, 76 American noise agenda, shaping of, 129 American Textile Manufacturers Institute, 120 American Thread Co., Willamantic, CT, 86 Amoskeag Mills, Manchester, NH, benefits offered at, 85 anthrax: occupational dimensions of, 61; regulation in Britain for, 178n74 anti-­noise campaigns, 136 anti-­noise leagues, 137 anti-­noise movements, 132; and class divisions, 128 anti-­steaming campaigners, in Lancashire, 59 anti-­unionism, 11 Appleton Mill, move to SC of, 28 Armstrong, Robert, 120

227

228 Index

asbestos-­related diseases, 10, 104, 115 Ashton Bros. of Hyde, Lancashire, benefits offered by, 89 asthma: in cardroom workers, 110; and textile employment, 57 atmosphere: dust-­laden, 1; regulation of, 52. See also working environment, of cotton mills audiometers, 136; electronic, 141 audiometric tests, 135, 137, 142; development of, 135; hearing-­impairment formula for, 141 Australia, welfare provision in, 44 autonomy, local, of Lancashire textile towns, 30 Ayer mill, Lawrence, MA, 75 Ayer’s Ague Cure, 94 Ayer’s Cherry Pictoral, 94 bacteriology, 45 bad air: health consequences of, 93; in middle-­class sanitation debates, 71 Bangladesh: byssinosis in, 149; garment and textile factories of, 149 Barker, Professor, 90 Barnum, Gertrude, 50 Bartlett, Dr. Elisha, 21 Barwise, Dr., 59 Bates, Luke, 93 Bean, Percy, 81 Beaulieu, William, 96 Bedford, T., 88 Beecham’s pills, 94 Bee Mill, Oldham, Lancashire, 41 Bennett, Dr. W. H., 106 Bennett, Rep. William S., 132 Bennett Act (1907), 132 Berkshire Cotton Mills, Adams, MA, 103f Berman, Daniel, 109 Biggs, Hermann, 48 Bill O’Jacks Lancashire Monthly, 94 Birmingham, ­England, 178n83 Blackburn, Lancashire, 7, 67t, 89, 152; community health in, 32; death rates for, 31t; decline in consumption deaths in, 66; factory environments in, 80, 99–100; factory reform in, 79; growing up in, 139; meteorological station in, 80; MOH of, 78,

80, 90, 106; MOsH of, 59, 79, 110; population of, 19t; public health in, 34, 81, 90; public health reform in, 36; specialization of, 18, 30; unemployment in, 33; weavers of, 89, 93, 98 Blackburn Infirmary, 32 Blackburn Man­ag­ers Association, 79 Blackburn Manufacturers’ Association, 90 Blackburn Weavers’ Association, 9 blacksmith shops, regulation of noise in, 132 Bloomfield, Dr. J. J., 114 boarding­houses, 21 boards of health (BOH): authority in workplaces of, 51; in Fall River, MA, 25; for Lawrence, MA, 108; in Lowell, MA, 21; MA, 24, 27, 63 Bolen, Dr. H. Leonard, 115, 116 Bolton, Lancashire, 67t, 89, 90, 146; meteorological station in, 80; public health agenda in, 90; specialization of, 18, 30 Boott Mills, of Lowell, MA, 28, 29f, 41, 77, 97 Borden Mills, Fall River, MA, 25 Borough Mills, Oldham, Lancashire, 41 Boston, MA: BOH physicians in, 27; mercantile community of, 17 Boston Associates, 18, 20, 21 Boston Eve­ning Transcript, 108 Bouhuys, Arend, 120 Bowden, Sue, 118 Bradley, H., 121 Brain, Joseph, 124 Bread and Roses strike, 22–23, 134 Brexit, 3 Britain: compensation for industrial injuries in, 145; dust diseases in, 104; federal oversight of factories in, 44; smoke pollution in, 77; urban pollution levels in, 109. See also Lancashire County, ­England; London British factories, compared with American, 5 British Industrial Injuries Act Enquiry into Occupational Hearing Loss (1970), 146 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 145 British Medical Journal, 112, 138, 147

Index 229

bronchi, chronic inflammation of mucous membranes of, 105 bronchitis: in Britain, 46; as cause of death, 77; compared with byssinosis, 106; and factory reform, 80–81 Browne’s Chlorodyne, Dr. J. Collis, 94 “brown lung,” 102 Brown Lung Association, 11 Buchanan, Dr. James, 77 Bunting Mills, Lowell, MA, 75 Burke, Grace, 138 Burke, James, 23, 41 Burlington Mills, NC, 120 Burnley, Lancashire, 7, 32, 67t, 80, 89; compensation for hearing loss in, 126; death rates for, 31t, 34, 91; health risks of, 35; housing in, 34, 58; managing disease in, 66; meteorological station in, 80; MOH in, 55, 58, 66, 80, 91; municipal socialism of, 80; population of, 19t; and post World War I economic decline, 35; public health in, 34, 35, 36, 91; specialization of, 18, 30; steam humidity used in, 78; textile employers of, 35, 91; Trafalgar Shed in, 131f Burnley and District Weavers, Winders and Beamers Association, 140 Burnley Chamber of Commerce, 81 byssinosis, 11, 12, 39; ambiguity surrounding, 106, 111–121; as American prob­lem, 118; American recognition of, 120; causative toxin of, 104; compensation for, 102; controversy over, 115; and cotton-­dust standard, 154; defined, 101; diagnosis of, 102, 115, 123; discourse of, 122; epidemiological study of, 113, 120; etiology of, 108, 120; in health reform, 111; identification of, 115, 118–119; as international prob­lem, 120; in Lancashire, 5; long-­term chronic effects of, 101–102; mill workers and, 121–124; multiple understandings of, 125; occupational hazard, 102; post World War II research in, 117; prevention of, 54, 116; recognition of, 102, 105, 121, 122, 123; as regional industrial hazard, 101; respiratory illness caused by, 36; respiratory symptoms of, 123; suction

shut­tle use in, 53; symptoms of, 101, 115; treatment of, 115–116; x-­rays in, 116 C&A, 149 Cameron, Prime Minister David, 3 capital, workers’ bodies as, 7 carbon-­dioxide levels: acceptable, 79; legislation for, 78–79 carcinogenic oils, for lubricating spinning mules, 10 carding engines, 119 cardrooms, 97; and byssinosis, 102; “cardroom fever,” 116; cotton dust prob­lem in, 112 Cardroom Workers Amalgamated Union, 113–114 Car­ter, President Jimmy, 123 Car­ter, Tim, 61, 178n74 Catholic immigrants, 85 causation, and healthy working environment, 154 Chadwick Lectures on industrial hygiene, 90 Chapin, Dr. Charles, 48 Chartrand, Valentine, 122 Chicopee, MA: public ­water supply of, 24; sanitary campaign in, 51 child ­labor: parliamentary committee debate about, 57; in textile towns, 25, 26f ­children: cotton manufacturing ­labor of, 17; exposure to workplace hazards of, 9; hearing loss in, 142; in ­labor force, 23, 26f; in nineteenth-­century factory-­reform agenda, 7–8; protective ­labor legislation for, 8–9; ten-­hour workday for, 85; workday for, 38 China, byssinosis in, 149 cholera, and working conditions, 49 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 101 Church and Oswaldtwistle Weavers’ Association, 146 Clark, H. W., 54, 76 Clarke, Allen, 94, 127 class, importance of, 128 clean air acts, British: 1956, 99, 122; 1968, 99 cleanliness: in Blackburn, 33; as ­womens’ issue, 35 climate: impact of, 4; and indoor weather, 1

230 Index

coal: London’s use of, 99; pollution from, 109 coarse cloth manufacturers, 89 coarse cloth-­weaving, 92 Collis, Dr. Edgar, 110 Colne, Lancashire, 30 Colonial Textiles, Lowell, MA, 28 comfort, ­human: and efficiency, 84; employers on, 81; and fatigue levels, 89; and potential to open win­dows, 97; and productivity, 74–75 Commerce, Department of, and cotton-­dust standard, 154 Committee on Industrial Fatigue (CIF), of CND, 83 commodification, of working-­class bodies, 124 common law, British reliance on, 133 communicable diseases, death rates associated with, 47t. See also contagious diseases communism, 118 communities, 2; changing definition of health in, 27; health priorities of, 150; and local autonomy, 30; local priorities of urban, 4; and working environments, 5–6, 10, 14, 92–93 Community Health and Tuberculosis Demonstration, 64 compensation, workers’, 153; for byssinosis, 118, 119, 121, 123; campaigns, 127; early twentieth-­century, 109; and healthy working environment, 154; for industrial deafness, 141; for industrial injuries, 145; for industrial NIHL, 142; and medical ambiguity, 114; in occupational health, 11 Compensation for Industrial Diseases, Home Office Departmental Committee on, 133 compensation-­safety apparatus, business-­ controlled, 109 Congress of Industrial Organ­ization (CIO), 11 consumption, 45; debate over ­causes of, 57–58; employment of consumptives, 64; and textile employment, 57. See also tuberculosis contagious diseases, 44; in cotton towns, 152; death rates from, 63; impact of, 4;

prevention of, 63; risks of, 37, 50, 53; social concerns for, 54; spread of, 36, 38, 44; and suction shut­tle use, 53; tuberculosis as, 45; understandings of, 37, 45, 108; in work environments, 1, 63; and working conditions, 49 contract, freedom of, 142 Coon, Dr. William Hall, 53 coppersmith shops, regulation of noise in, 132 cotton, American, 37 Cotton Cloth Factories Act (1889), British, 58, 78, 79–80 cotton dust: allergens found in, 113; and byssinosis, 102, 122; as cause of ill-­health, 111; consensus on effects of, 108; effects of exposure to, 114; health hazards of, 104, 107; illness related to inhaling, 39; impact on operatives’ breathing of, 106; inhalation of, 102, 124; lack of scientific consensus on, 114; and operative health before 1918, 105–111; as respiratory health hazard, 117; respiratory illness caused by, 36 Cotton Dust Proj­ect, 117, 118 cotton factories, 2. See also factories Cotton Factory Times, The, 94, 96f cotton-­goods production: locations for, 15; modernization of, 15 cotton industry: British, 59, 87; Mas­sa­chu­ setts, 7, 18; New ­England, 105, 111; role of Lancashire in, 15 Cotton Industry, Joint Advisory Committee of, 99, 119, 144 cotton manufacturers: and fatigue findings, 83; on operative fatigue, 87. See also employers, textile cotton manufacturing, decline of, 144; in Lancashire, 33, 67, 87, 90, 144, 147; in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 11, 20t, 28, 84 cotton-­manufacturing countries, aerial hazards in, 150. See also aerial hazards cotton-­manufacturing industry: in Bangladesh, 149; centrality of, 3; decline of, 65; domination of, 4; industrial hazards in, 150; investment in new technologies of, 55; tuberculosis debate in, 44; worker health in, 38–39

Index 231

cotton-­manufacturing towns: community health of, 17; educational initiatives of, 50; health reforms in, 55; key, 15; oral histories in, 95 (see also oral histories); standards of living in, 63; tuberculosis death rates in, 67t; and tuberculosis debates, 62; tuberculosis rates in, 43. See also mill towns; textile towns cotton mills, health hazards in, 36 cotton-­textile communities, 13 cotton-­textile-­producing countries, factory air quality in, 150 cotton-­town doctors, 51. See also boards of health; Medical Officers of Health; and specific doctors cotton trade journals, debate about health in, 83. See also specific journals cotton trade ­unions, compensation rights secured by, 119. See also trade ­unions cotton weaving, dominance of, 32. See also weaving cotton workers, 9. See also ­labor; workers Coughlin, Dr. J. W., 43, 53–54, 60 cough remedies, 94 Council on National Defense (CND), Committee on Industrial Fatigue of, 83 Courtaulds Textiles, ­England, 126, 127 Cramer, Stuart, 74 Cramer System of Air-­Conditioning and Humidifying, 75 Crook, Thomas, 81 Cross, Joseph, 98 curative treatment, vs. preventative healthcare, 3 Curtis, Dr. Josiah, 49, 71 Daley, Dr. W. Allen, 66 damp clothes, mill operators’ complaints about, 60–61 Darwen, Lancashire, unemployment in, 33 deafness: “cotton-­weavers,” 136; defining, 128; etiological ambiguity surrounding, 134; as incon­ve­nience, 134; nature of, 127; occupational, 129; as prescribed industrial disease, 147. See also hearing loss deafness, industrial, 10, 13–14, 39–40; acknowledging, 141–147; assessment of,

138; compensation denied for, 133–134; coping with, 139; debate over, 128; development of, 137; recognition of, 134, 136; transnational dimensions of, 148 Dean, Dr. Thomas, 58, 80 Dearden, Dr. William Francis, 112 death rates, in Lancashire mill towns, 30–31, 31t decibel, use of term, 136 Dembe, Allard, 61 Derickson, Alan, 128 Desjardines, Rene, 138 developing countries: hearing loss in, 155; industrial hazards in, 150; reform of industrial practices in, 155 diet, and fatigue, 95 “din,” definition of, 136 diphtheria, 47t, 64 disability, concept of, 128 Disby, Bill, 98 disease, 28, 114; community responses to, 18; dust-­related, 13, 46; fifth theory of, 73; hardships caused by, 86; industrial, in Victorian Britain, 7; industry-­specific, 6; measles, 47t, 63; occupational label for, 16; occupation-­specific, 6; and poverty, 65; role of fatigue in, 83; socioeconomic ­factors influencing, 36; in work environments, 1. See also industrial diseases; occupational diseases Diseases of Occupation (Oliver), 110 Diseases of Workers (Ramazzini), 130 doctors, and tuberculosis prob­lem, 64. See also physicians; and specific doctors Douglas, Governor William, 50 Dove, A. R., 146 Dove Report (1970), 146 Dreessen, Dr. W. C., 114 Drinker, Philip, 117, 118, 119 Durfee Mills, Fall River, MA, 75 dust: aerial hazards caused by, 114–115; and contagious diseases, 110; diseases associated with, 104; environmental, 106; exposure to, 101; extraction of industrial, 116; as health hazard, 2, 108; impact of, 4; infection transferred by, 45, 46; in Lancashire vs. New ­England, 37; occupational, 111; regulation of levels of,

232 Index

dust (continued) 59; severe respiratory prob­lems with, 46; street, 108; tuberculosis linked to, 51; urban, 108; vegetable, 48. See also byssinosis dust-­control mea­sures, limits on, 125 dust diseases, 104; exposure, 101; extraction, 116; extractors, 110 dust hazards, 104, 107; and hygiene standards, 123; refusal to recognize, 107; urban dust compared with cotton dust, 124 dust inhalation, 39; compensation for, 102; harmful effects of, 153; health hazards of, 13; in Lancashire factories, 59; respiratory effects of, 37; understanding of, 153 Dutch Sound Foundation, 137 ear, permanent injury to, 133 ear defenders, 143 ear infections, pre-­antibiotic, 127 earnings, of New Bedford mill workers, 139. See also wages earplugs, 146 ear protection, and OSHA, 144 ear protectors, 137, 142 economic decline: and deafness, 143; and fatigue, 84; industrial, 6; interwar, 28, 92, 111; and tuberculosis, 65 economic imperative, vs. health imperative, 72 economics: and health, 94; of healthy working environment, 154–156; ­house­hold, 73; and improving ventilation, 75 economy, American, post Great War economic boom in, 6 ecosystems: industrial working environments in, 4; place-­based, 3 education, in MA, 16 education campaigns, for tuberculosis health, 53 employers, textile: attitudes ­toward workers’ health of, 40–41; in Blackburn, Lancashire, 32; British, 60; contagion initiatives of, 54–55; and excessive noise, 136; and industrial reform, 135; and mill conditions, 41; New ­England, 21, 154;

and operatives’ ill health, 81; paternalism of, 34, 90; regulation resisted by, 154–155; and responsibility for health at work, 40; and working environments, 10; and work practices reform, 59–60. See also specific towns employment: in interior Lancashire, 95; social context of, 3; variations in terms and conditions of, 41 ­England: death rates for, 31t, 91; patent medicines available in, 95. See also Lancashire County, ­England En­glish, in Fall River, 25 En­glish Sewing Cotton Co., Manchester, benefits offered by, 89 epidemiological studies, 66; of byssinosis, 113, 120 Ethiopia, byssinosis in, 149 ethnicity, of working communities, 4 Eu­rope: agricultural environments of, 130; welfare provision in, 44 factories: air quality in, 1, 41; as disease sites, 29, 35; health inspection introduced in, 28; health issues within, 31; Lancashire, 57; urban hygiene discourse in, 51. See also working environment, of cotton mills Factories and Workshops Act, British, 58 Factory acts, British, 8; 1907, 59; 1911, 59; 1937, 90, 141 factory-­inspection system, and sharing shut­tles practice, 53 factory inspectors, Lancashire, 59 factory reform, 4, 9; in Blackburn, ­England, 79; contentious nature of, 58–60; and public health agendas, 17; state efforts ­toward, 3 factory ventilation: in Blackburn, 33, 79, 80; dust levels in, 79; in Holyoke, MA, 75; in Lowell, MA, 71; in Mas­sa­chu­setts, 73, 74; in Todmorden, 77. See also ventilation Falante, John, 138 Fall River, MA, 21, 53; BOH doctors in, 25, 27, 51, 52, 64; changing manufacture of cotton goods in, 20t; class conflict in, 22; contagion risk in, 8; cotton mills in, 18; death rates for, 6, 25, 25t, 56t; factory

Index 233

environments in, 77, 85; housing in, 21, 24–25, 50, 78; immigrant experience in, 23; manufacturers living locally in, 22; mill owner­ship in, 21–22; population of, 19t; public health in, 24; spinning done in, 22; striking workers in, 50; tenements in, 25; tuberculosis deaths rates in, 55; ­union organ­ization in, 22 Fall River Iron Works, 60 fans, for factory ventilation, 74. See also ventilation Farr Alpaca Co., Holyoke, MA, 41 ­Father John’s Medicine, alcohol-­free, 95 fatigue: ­causes and effects of, 153; and mill noise, 131; noise associated with, 143 fatigue, industrial, 84–85; experiments on, 183n72 fatigue, worker, 36–42, 89; coping with, 93–99; gendered experiences of, 92; government recognition of, 86–87; as health concern, 38, 72, 91; and HMWC, 86; impact of, 4; interwar debates about, 86–93; mea­sur­ing, 89; mill operators’ complaints about, 60–61; in New ­England, 81–86; occupational noise and, 92; and operative health, 84; pregnant ­women and, 82; stretchout and, 82 fibrosis, from dust, 109 Field, Sally, 144 Fine Cotton Spinners, Manchester, benefits offered by, 89 Fitchburg, MA, BOH doctors in, 52 Fletcher, Walter, 87 flu, as leading cause of death, 63 Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley, 76 fog, smoke-­laden, 99 Forum (journal), 132, 136 Fowler, Alan, 10 Framingham Experiment, 64, 65 Freer-­Smith, Sir Hamilton, 79 French-­Canadian immigrants, 23, 25; death rates for, 56t; poverty of, 55; in textile towns, 22 fresh air, required for operatives, 73. See also air quality Gage, Stephen D. M., 54, 76 Gap (retail store), 149

garment-­factory standards, in Bangladesh, 149 Gaskell, Elizabeth, 106, 130, 131 gender: as dominant American po­liti­cal focus, 9; and reform agenda, 9; and working communities, 4. See also ­women germ theory, 73 Gilbreth, Lillian and Frank, 77 Girdner, Dr. John, 132 Gladstone, Prime Minister William, 31 Globe Yarn Mill, Fall River, MA, 26f, 74 Godlee, Fiona, 147 Golas, Joseph, 97 Goldmark, Josephine, 82 Gordon, Colin, 8 Government Humidity Enquiry Committee, 1926, 88 governments, and working environment, 10. See also legislation Granite Mills, Fall River, MA, 41, 75 ­Great Depression, the, 95, 136; and collective worker mobilization, 84 ­Great War, the, 6; impact of deafness of, 134–135; and noise-­health relationship, 135; and relationships between health and work, 111. See also World War I Green, Dr. John, 49 Greenhow, Dr. Edward Headlam, 105 Greenwood, Dr. Alfred, 59, 80 Haldane, John, 46, 79 Hale, William Bayard, 25 Hale’s Honey of Horehound and Tar, 95 Hall’s Balsam for the Lungs, Dr. William, 95 Hamilton, Alice, 62 Hamilton Manufacturing Co., Lowell, MA, 28, 41, 53, 75 Hansford, Elsie, 98 Hanson, Dr. William, 53, 133–134 Hareven, Tamara, 85 Hartgrove, Pearl, 123 Hartley, E. L., 79 Harvard Cotton Dust Proj­ect, 118 Haslingden, Lancashire, 146 Haworth, Dr. F. G., 79 Hayhurst, Emery, 109 hazards, occupationally specific, 100. See also health hazards; industrial hazards

234 Index

health: defining, 63; effect of cotton-­dust inhalation on, 113; and factory atmosphere, 81; as individual responsibility, 34; in MA, 82–83; in nineteenth-­century Lowell, 21; occupational, 3; occupational contributors to, 88; and poverty, 98; and reform agenda, 9; and science, 100; society’s responsibility for, 104; socioeconomic ­factors influencing, 36; socioeconomic view of, 108; and technological pro­cesses, 4; and war, 82; and work, 7; and working environment, 152 health, textile workers’, 7–12; employers’ attitudes ­toward, 40–41; and World War I, 109 health agendas, and British economic priorities, 68 health concerns: air quality in workplace as, 2; occupationally specific, 7 health education, in textile towns, 27 health hazards, 13; aerial, 2; community responses to, 152; ­factors influencing, 42; of mill work, 36–42 health inspection, introduction of, 28 health issues, working-­class, 104 Health of Munitions Workers Committee (HMWC), 86; on fatigue, 88; production objective of, 87 Health of Towns Act (1853), British, 132 health reforms: and disease sites, 44; limitations on, 56; local sensitivities about, 73; twentieth-­century, 6 health risks: historical, 14; workplace, 12 hearing, damaging effects of noise on, 132 hearing aids, 129 hearing conservation programs, 144 hearing loss: adult-­onset, 148, 155; c­ auses of, 135; in ­children, 142; community-­ accepted, 139; defining work-­induced, 142; due to industrial noise, 126; in factory work, 39–40; as industrial disease, 146; and industrial noise, 130; mea­sure­ment of, 141; nature of, 127; noise-­induced, 128, 141; and operation practices, 138; raising awareness of, 141; recognition of, 147; understanding of, 153; as work hazard, 36–37; work-­ induced, 13–14

hearing protection, employee use of, 144 hearing tests, in military, 144 heat: in factories, 88; interwar debates about, 86–93; in oral histories, 96–97; in work environment, 38. See also temperature Heating and Ventilation, 117–118 Hemingway, Elizabeth, 105–106 Higgins, David, 10 Hill, Dr. A. Bradford, 88, 113 Hill, Dr. Leonard, 79, 90 H&M, 149 Hodgson, James, 143 Hoffman, Frederick, 109 Holt, Dr. Thomas, 58, 66, 91 Holyoke, MA, 41; BOH physicians in, 27–28; cotton mills in, 18; death rates in, 25, 25t; housing in, 76; immigrant experience in, 23; improved factory ventilation in, 75; internal factory environment of, 99–100; population of, 19t; public health agenda of, 8; public w ­ ater supply of, 24; sanitary campaign in, 51 homes, primary ventilating agent in, 71. See also housing Horrocks, Crewdson and Co., Preston, Lancashire, 30 horse-­drawn vehicles, noise associated with, 131 hot air, and moisture, 72 hours, working: campaign for shorter, 38; overlong, 82; and productivity, 38, 86 house­hold economics, and ill health, 73 housing: back-­to-­back, 32, 34, 91; in Blackburn, 33; in Burnley, 34, 58, 91; and civic reform, 34; in Lancashire mill towns, 32, 33–34; in New ­England mill towns, 21, 24–25, 50, 76; overcrowded, 34; in Preston, 32; substandard, 98; working-­class living environments, 76; yard space for new homes, 33 housing acts, British: 1890, 34; 1909, 34 Hudson River, New York, steamboat whistles on, 132 humidification: and contagion, 54; as science, 64–65 humidifiers: for factory ventilation, 79; “germ-­free,” 76; spray, 54

Index 235

humidifying apparatus, and ill health, 152 humidity: artificial, 93; and disease contagion, 37–38; health consequences of, 89; as health hazard, 2; interwar debates about, 86–93; and moisture, 72; in oral histories, 96–97; promotion of artificial, 76–77; regulation of, 52, 76; in weaving and spinning rooms, 52; in work environment, 38; and working environment, 8 hygiene discourse, 60 hygrometers, 79, 93 identities, town, 4 ill-­health: agreement about ­causes of, 153; coping mechanisms for, 152 (see also disease) illness, chronic, social implications of, 11 immigrants: Catholic, 85; experience, in mill towns, 23; literacy of, 27; mill town populations, 18, 23; Portuguese, 25, 55, 56t; from southeastern Eu­rope, 27; trade-­union traditions of, 22; unskilled, 21, 22. See also workers India, byssinosis in, 149 industrial diseases: chronic, 111; environment for, 110–111; neglect of, 104; in Victorian Britain, 7 Industrial Fatigue Research Board (IFRB), British, 39, 88; and fatigue, 87; and humidity, 83; on humidity, 83; l­ abor and, 88; productivity study, 89; on weavers and humidity, 89 industrial growth, 21 “industrial hazard regime,” 100; defined, 10; use of term, 151 industrial hazards, 31; analy­sis of, 151; identification of, 151; understanding, 152. See also health hazards industrial health: occupational dusts in, 111; prevention in, 151; reform, 112; responsibility for, 58 Industrial Health Advisory Committee Report, 119 industrial health reform, 112 Industrial Health Research Board (IHRB): and industrial noise, 136–137, 144; and production objective, 87; and workplace atmosphere, 88

industrial hygienists, 109, 117, 118, 119 industrialization: role of Lancashire in, 16; role of MA in, 17 industrialized countries, regulatory safeguards for workers in, 155 industrial machines, 130 industrial reform: and disease diagnosis, 39; government’s “voluntary” approach to, 136; mandating, 104; in New England, 8 industrial regulation, 2 industrial slump, interwar, 66 industry: British cotton economy in, 59; interwar slump in, 66; of Lancashire, 5; social consequences of, 5 infant mortality: in Blackburn, 33; in Burnley, 35; and fatigue, 82; high, 32; infant mortality rate, 25, 33, 82 inspections, factory: of dust as causal ­factor of TB, 46; limitations of, 152; in MA, 9; in textile towns, 17 insurance companies: and accidents, 56; national insurance, 119; and noise, 126, 143, 146, 147; and tuberculosis prob­lem, 64, 109 interest groups, or­ga­nized, and potential disease sites, 44 International Congress on Hygiene and Demography, Occupational Hygiene Group of, 133 International ­Labour Organ­ization (ILO), on noise levels, 147 Ipswich Mills, MA, 28 Irish, 25; death rates for, 56t; poverty of, 55; in textile towns, 22 Italians, in textile towns, 22 Jackson, Joseph, 53 Johnson administration, regulations on occupational noise of, 143 Johnston, Colin, 145 Johnston, Ronald, 3, 104, 121, 128 Joint Advisory Committee of Cotton Industry: on industrial noise, 144; 1944 recommendations of, 119 Jones, Peggy, 139 Jones, Steve, 89 Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 54, 108

236 Index

Journal of Industrial Hygiene, 92 Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicol­ ogy, 116 J. P. Stevens Mill, Roanoke Rapids, NC, 144 Kay, James Phillips, 105 Kent, A. F., 183n72 Kershaw, Harvey, 41 Kessler-­Harris, Alice, 9 Key, Dr. Marcus, 143 Kimball, Dr. Gilman, 49 Koch, Robert, 45 ­labor: and byssinosis, 39, 113–114, 119–120; child, 25, 26f, 57; composition of ­labor force, 23; in cotton manufacturing, 17; in Fall River, MA, 20, 22; in Holyoke, MA, 23; in Lancashire, 29; in Lawrence, MA, 22; and NIHL, 140, 142, 143, 146; retension of, 41, 85; in southern US, 28; value of, 7 ­labor, or­ga­nized, 140, 142, 143, 146; and byssinosis, 39, 113–114, 119–120; and NIHL, 140, 142, 143, 146. See also trade ­unions ­Labor Dept., U.S.: Health and Safety of ­Women report, 114; investigation of cotton-­mill workers by, 107 ­Labor Dept., U.S., investigation of cotton-­ mill workers by, 107 ­labor market, in Lowell, 20 ­labor movement, and industrial noise, 142 ­labor retention, and working environments, 41, 85 ­Labour ­Behind the Label campaign group, 149 Lamont, Dr. D. C., 34, 91 Lancashire County, ­England, 2, 147; aerial hazards in, 11; attempts to regulate steaming in, 68; closing of mills in, 147; community reform agenda of, 34; cotton-­manufacturing towns of, 15; damp climate of, 15; disease prevention in, 91; health par­ameters of, 92; health ser­vices and public health initiatives in, 59–60, 90; healthy working environment in, 154; housing prob­lems of, 6; industrial hazard regime in cotton towns of, 89; industrial

hazards in, 151–152; manufacturing output of, 5; MOsH for, 106; noise in, 139; occupational issues in, 150; patent medicines available in, 95; place-­based priorities of, 29–36, 31t; poverty indicators for, 98; prob­lem of consensus in, 57–62; public health initiatives in, 59–60; respiratory disease in, 109; shut­tle debate in, 61; technological disinterest in, 81; textile towns of, 4; tonics and pills supplied in, 94; tuberculosis in, 67, 69; vertical specialization in, 87; work practices reform in, 59–60 Lancashire looms, 5 Lancet, The, 134–135 Larcom, Lucy, 130 Lawrence, MA: BOH of, 108; BOH physicians in, 27; Bread and Roses strike in, 23, 134; cotton mills in, 18; death rates for, 25, 25t; immigrant experience in, 23; mill in, 28; population of, 19t, 27; public ­water supply of, 24; tenement housing in, 27; woolen goods produced in, 22 Lawrence Manufacturing Corp., 70 Legge, Dr. Thomas, 46, 92, 136 legislation: employers’ re­sis­tance to, 154; industrial, 8; and occupational deafness, 126, 143; preventive, 54; and public health and safety, 53, 132; and tuber­ culosis prob­lem, 64; vs. voluntary reform, 9; for worker safety, 8; for workplace, 52–53. See also specific legislation Levenstein, Charles, 105 liability: and Burnley employers, 35; and freedom of contract, 142; vs. workers’ well-­being, 127 Liberty Mutual insurer, 119 lip-­reading, in mills, 139 Lipson, Mr., 134 Liverpool, ­England, in development of textile regions, 16 living environment: air quality in, 75, 76, 78; and dust, 104; as potential site of disease, 44, 50, 57, 67, 112; and social reform movement, 42, 58; and tuberculosis, 13, 46. See also working environment, of cotton mills Local Government Act (1858), British, 132

Index 237

London: ­Great Smog of, 122; use of coal in, 99 London, Noise Commission of, 136 Long, Vicky, 11 looms: automatic, 5, 20, 30; noise levels associated with, 40; and noise prob­lem, 140; reducing noise of, 146. See also weaving Lowell, MA, 21, 138, 196n18; antebellum paternalism in, 85; BOH in, 21; BOH physicians in, 27, 49, 71, 105; changing ­labor market in, 20; changing manufacture of cotton goods in, 20t; cotton mills in, 18; death rates in, 25, 25t; factory environment in, 85; hospital for mill employees in, 85; housing in, 76; immigrant experience in, 23; ­labor unrest in, 70, 76; mills in, 96, 122; mill ventilation in, 70, 71, 76; operatives memories, 96–97, 122, 123, 138; patent medicines and, 94–95; paternalism, 85; physicians in, 27, 49, 71, 105; population of, 19t; as purpose-­built model industrial town, 18; respiratory disease and fatigue in, 94; tenement housing in, 27; tuberculosis and, 53 Lowell Textile School, weaving room at, 52f “lung tonics,” 94 Lyman Mills, Holyoke, MA, 23, 28, 41, 55, 75, 85 MacKnight, Dr. Adam, 51 management theories, 64 Manchester, ­England, 67t; in development of textile regions, 16; MOH in, 112; specialism of, 30 Manchester, NH, 85 Mangan, Mabel, 138 manufacturers, British, 60. See also employers, textile; and specific towns Maple Mill, working environment in, 41 Mary Barton (Gaskell), 130 masks, used by cotton workers, 123–124 Mas­sa­chu­setts: anti-­tuberculosis campaigns of, 63, 65; BOH in, 27, 63; community pressure in, 152; cotton manufacturing in, 17; cotton-­manufacturing towns of,

15; education in, 16; factory legislation of, 112; first state hospital for tuberculosis in, 53; industrial hygiene division of, 115; ­labor laws in, 24; leading ­causes of death in, 65; occupational disease defined in, 61; progressive politics of, 8; public understandings of health in, 111; recognition of tuberculosis as occupational disease in, 57; regulation of dust in, 108; shut­tle legislation of, 61; textile towns in, 18–29, 26f, 29f; tuberculosis deaths in, 63; tuberculosis in factories of, 45; tuberculosis in workplaces of, 49, 69; tuberculosis reforms of, 55; urban public responsibility in, 49–57, 56t; weavers’ respiratory health in, 107 Mas­sa­chu­setts Bureau of ­Labor Statistics, 75; First Annual Report of, 73 Mas­sa­chu­setts Commission, to investigate inspection of factories, 43 Mas­sa­chu­setts Department of Public Health, on public hygiene, 111 Mas­sa­chu­setts Mill, Lowell, MA, 28 Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), in Blackburn, 33 Mather and Platt, Manchester, 38 McEvoy, Arthur F., 4, 174n3 McIvor, Arthur, 3, 104, 121, 128 McKelvie, Dr., 136 McKenna, Secy. Reginald, 61 McKerrow, C. B., 120 McMahon, Thomas, 28 measles: death rates associated with, 47t; as leading cause of death, 63 Medical Officers of Health (MOsH): in Blackburn, 32–33, 78, 79, 80, 90, 106, 110; in Burnley, 19t, 58, 66, 80, 91, 675; in Darwen, 79; and Factory Act, 90; in Lancashire, 59–60, 61, 106; in Manchester, 49, 58, 79, 112; and medical profession, 49; in mill towns, 31; in Preston, 31, 58, 59; public profile of, 78; in Todmorden, 77–78 Medical Research Committee and Advisory Council, 62 Medical Research Council (MRC), 63, 113; and British fatigue research, 87; cotton dust studies of, 113

238 Index

medicine: importance of science in, 45; industrial, 84; and workplace aerial hazards, 10; and workplace air quality, 153 Melling, Joseph, 10, 61, 69, 92, 151, 178n74 Men without Work (Pilgrim Trust report), 90–91 Merrimack Manufacturing Co., Lowell, MA, 18, 28, 41, 75 Messrs. Schofield, Preston and Co., Ltd., Nelson, Lancashire, 93 Messrs. Wilding Bros. Ltd., Blackburn, Lancashire, 80 Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 64 Middlesex Mill, Lowell, MA, 28 Middleton, Dr. E. L., 112 mill fever, 117 mill towns: declining in Lancashire, 98–99; Lancashire, 30–31, 31t; poverty of, 28. See also textile towns mill work, 43; health hazards attributable to, 36–42; public health risks attributable to, 53; with tuberculosis risks, 43. See also working environment, of cotton mills mill workers, relative poverty of, 6. See also ­labor; poverty; workers Moir, Dr. William, 79 Monarch Mill, Oldham, Lancashire, 41 “Monday feeling,” 101 monotony: in fatigue experiments, 84; workplace, 88 Montgomery, James, 17 Morrissette, Arthur, 96 mortality rates, among mill workers, 107. See also death rates Mosley, Stephen, 99 ­mothers, working, 35, 82 motor horn, noise from, 138 mule-­spinners’ cancer, 112 Murphy, Michelle, 2, 151, 152 Muskowitz, Sydney, 122 Myers, Charles, 137 narratives. See oral histories Nashua Manufacturing Co., NH, 117 National Association of Cotton Manufacturers (NACM), 54–55, 83

National Health Ser­vice (NHS), British, 3, 114, 145 National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) (1933), 29 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and byssinosis recognition, 121 National Institute of Industrial Psy­chol­ogy, 137 National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act (1965), 146 National Recovery Administration (NRA), 29 National Tuberculosis Ser­vice (NTS), 66 nativism, 27 Nelson, Dori, 96 Nelson, Lancashire, 18, 30; Nelson Weavers’ Association, 93 New Bedford, MA, 53; changing manufacture of cotton goods in, 20t; cotton mills in, 18; factory environments in, 77, 85; immigrant experience in, 23; as leading textile center, 21 New Deal, 29; reforms (1930s), 8 New ­England: c­ auses of death in mill towns of, 107; declining textile industry in, 95–96; factory air in, 73–77; healthy working environment in, 154; industrial hazards in, 151–152; manufacturing output of, 5; nineteenth-­century transformation of, 15; noise exposure as hazard in, 147; occupational issues in, 150; in Progressive Era, 48; respiratory disease and fatigue in, 94; textile towns of, 4; traders advertising cures in, 94; welfare capitalism in textile towns of, 41–42 New ­England Journal of Medicine, 54 New York City: noise in, 136; Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, 81–82 “Newyorkitis,” 132 New York World’s Fair, 1939, 141 New Zealand, welfare provision in, 44 Next, 149 NIHL. See noise-­induced: hearing loss Niven, Dr. James, 58 Nixon, Pres. Richard M., 120 noise: abatement prob­lem of, 140–141; acceptability of, 141; as aerial hazard,

Index 239

129; in Amer­i­ca vs. Britain, 129, 133; arguments about individuality of, 145; British industrial, 132; commercialization of, 142; comparable levels for, 130t; dangers associated with, 128, 129, 155; effect upon output of, 137; excessive, in nineteenth-­century textile factories, 127; exposure to, 2, 4, 126–127; factory, 173n96; federal government’s stance on, 136; and financial costs of inaction, 142; gendering of, 140; as health hazard, 2; as health risk, 155; and hearing loss, 130; hearing loss caused by, 36–37, 128; impact of exposure to, 2, 4; individual vs. collective experiences of, 129; industrial, 128; language of, 141; limits or exposure, 126–127; mea­sure­ment of, 129, 135; mill communities and, 138–141; noise abatement groups, 137–138; noise abatement technology, 40; noise-­health relationship, 135; nuisance laws, 128, 145; occupational, 92, 130–134, 136, 140; per­sis­tent, 130; and piece-­rate regulation, 35; pollution, 128; proposed solutions for, 143; recognition of, 138, 144; reduction campaign, 138; rising social interest in, 142; safe exposure level, 147; science of, 131, 136, 145–146; urban, 13, 132; in weave rooms, 143; and worker fatigue, 136; working-­class, 129 Noise Abatement Commission of New York, 140 Noise Control Act (1972), 143 noise-­induced hearing loss (NIHL): and British politics, 147; industrial, 144; lack of worldwide consensus on, 155; occupational recognition of, 148; or­ga­nized l­ abor and, 142, 143; in Pakistan, 149; po­liti­cal interest in, 143; public interest in, 141; quality of life affected by, 155; and workers’ compensation legislation, 146 Norma Rae (film), 144 North and South (Gaskell), 106, 131 novelists: cotton-­dust noted by, 105; industrial noise used by, 105 Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Act (1855), British, 132

Obama, President Barack, 3 Obamacare, 3 occupation, and disease causation and etiology, 2 occupational diseases: byssinosis, 11; hearing loss as, 126; historical studies on, 151; prevention of, 63; refined in Lancashire, 61; social movement addressing, 55–56; specific to cotton manufacturing, 9; tuberculosis recognized as, 57 occupational environments, sustained disinterest in, 92. See also working environment, of cotton mills occupational hazards, defining, 127, 153 occupational health: awareness of, 8; blame in, 11; federal government investigation of, 111; injuries, 9; policy, 42; reforms, 112; responsibility in, 11 occupational medicine, 102; and British NHS, 145 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 120, 143, 146; and noise limits, 144 occupation-­specific diseases, 6 O’Conner, Dr. J. J., 27 Oldham, Lancashire, 89; mills in, 98; specialization of, 18, 30; working environment in, 41 Oliver, Thomas, 46, 110 oral histories: about dust, 122–123; bodily damage in, 151; industrial noise in, 138–139; textile workers’, 95; of work environment, 96–97 Owbridge’s Lung Tonic, 94 Pacific Mills, Lawrence, MA, 74 Padiham, Lancashire, using steam humidity in, 78 paid holidays, 35 Pakistan: byssinosis in, 149; NIHL in, 149 palliative treatment, vs. preventative healthcare, 3 Parent, Albert, 96 Parker’s Tonic, 94–95 Parsons, Theo­philus, 55 paternalism: antebellum, 85; employer, 32; and ­labor turnover, 41

240 Index

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010), 3 Pearsons, Judge W.B.C., 75 Pendle, Lancashire, compensation for hearing loss in, 126 “perceptibility, regimes of,” 2, 10, 151 Perkel, George, 119 phthisis, 45, 46, 57, 58, 60, 109; from dust, 109; and factory reform, 80–81; prevention of, 58. See also tuberculosis physicians: indifference to poor of, 34; and public health agenda, 63. See also doctors; and specific physicians physiology: ­human, 87; industrial, 81 Pilkington, Dr. Henry, 31, 32, 49, 58, 59, 111 planning, industrial, for specific mills, 18 pneumoconiosis, 111, 112; in Britain, 46; dust caused by, 109 pneumonia: compared with byssinosis, 106; death rates associated with, 47t; in Lawrence, MA, 27; as leading cause of death, 64 politics: of health, 8; of healthy working environment, 154; and improving ventilation, 75; and industrial deafness, 133–134; and NIHL, 142, 143, 147; of noise control, 132; and science and factory air quality, 76; and workplace aerial hazards, 10 Pollock, William, 143 Poor Law doctors, 34 population: growth and public health, 24; of Lawrence, 27 Portuguese immigrants, 25; death rates for, 56t; poverty of, 55. See also immigrants poverty: and byssinosis, 121; and collective worker mobilization, 84; death rates and, 32; and disease, 65; and fatigue, 95; and health, 73, 91, 98; health prob­lems attributable to, 32; of mill operatives, 55; poor housing associated with, 25; strain on workers of, 44; tuberculosis associated with, 62; and working-­class communities, 25; and working environments, 98 Preston, Lancashire, 32, 67t; death rates for, 31t, 34; economic specialism of, 30; mill workers of, 98; MOH of, 58; MOsH in, 31;

population of, 19t; public health reforms in, 36 prevention: campaigns, 50; and industrial health, 50, 151; initiatives in workplaces, 49; and public health, 24; vs. sanitary agenda, 83 Primark, 149 production: ­human f­ actor of, 137; profits and health, 33 productivity: and factory environment, 75–76; and worker fatigue, 87 Progressive Era, 11, 44, 48, 108, 133; in MA, 13; TB reform movement in, 50 proto-­industrialization, 16 Prudential Life Insurance Co., 109 psychiatry, industrial, 6 psy­chol­ogy, 87; fatigue and efficiency, 88; ­human, 87; industrial, 81; and workplace aerial hazards, 10 public buildings, cleanliness of, 106 public health, 7; British po­liti­cal emphasis on, 166n47; broadening scope of, 90; control of hygiene in, 73; in factory, 28; industrial-­hazard regime in, 65; and local autonomy, 30; and mill environment, 23; rising concerns about, 15–16; role of prevention in, 24; socioeconomic contributors to, 31; workplace, 101 Public Health (Tuberculosis) Act (1921), British, 62 Public Health Act (1848), British, 132 Public Health Act (1872), 31 public health reform: vs. broader municipal socialism, 34; community support for, 100; industrial health in, 3; medicine’s potential authority in, 45; politics and, 50; social dynamics of, 54; in workplace, 4 Public Health Ser­vice, U.S. (USPHS), 109 Rafferty, Charles, 53 Ramazzini, Bernardino, 102, 130 Ransome, Dr. Arthur, 49, 79 Rappe, Willie, 123 Reagan, Pres. Ronald, and cotton-­dust standard, 154 Report of Sanitary Commission of Mas­sa­ chu­setts (Shattuck), 24

Index 241

research: community-­based participatory, 64; research bias, 118; researcher bias, 118 respirators, used by cotton workers, 123–124 respiratory disease: in Amer­ic­ a vs. Lancashire textile workers, 107; from cotton-­dust inhalation, 113; in Lancashire, 5, 6, 91; in Lawrence, MA, 27; smoke and, 77 respiratory prob­lems: city environment for, 110–111; cotton dust as cause of, 105; protracted nature of, 93; from silica, 115; from size, 37 rest periods, paid, 84 Reynolds, Dr. E. S., 110 Rhode Island, tuberculosis-­reform campaigns in, 54 Richard Borden Mill, Fall River, MA, 75 Road to Nab End, The (Woodruff), 139 Rochdale, Lancashire, 67t Rod­gers, Daniel, 8, 44 Roo­se­velt, President Franklin D., 29, 115 Roscoe, Sir Henry, 79 Rossendale Textile Workers’ Assn., 146 Royal Institute of Public Health Congress (1899), 79 Saco Lowell Shops, 117 safety: equipment, 35; and technological pro­cesses, 4; worker, 6 Salford, ­England, 94 sanatoriums: for tuberculosis, 55; treatment in, 62 Sandler, Dr. Samuel, 64 Sanitarian, The (Bennett), 106 Sanitary Act (1866), British, 132 sanitary science, 28; promotion of, 51–52; public interest in, 50–51 sanitation, 6, 31, 80; in Blackburn, 33, 59, 66; in British historiography, 7; in Burnley, 35; and class, 71; in Fall River, MA, 25, 51; in Holyoke, MA, 75; in Lancashire, 58, 60; in Lowell, MA, 24; in Mas­sa­chu­setts textile towns, 24, 25; as po­liti­cal priority, 41; and population expansion, 25; in Preston, 31; and workplace, 33, 90

Sataloff, J. and R. T., 155 scarlet fever, 47t, 64 Schilling, Dr. Richard, 118, 119, 120, 124 science: and British tuberculosis policy, 61; of fatigue, 92; and health, 100; of impact of noise levels on workers’ health, 145; and NIHL, 142; of noise and health, 155; in post World War II public debates about noise, 142–143; and public health agenda, 63; ­union’s challenge to, 79; and workplace air quality, 153 scientific management: in Amer­ic­ a, 137; and practical prob­lems, 87 Scranton, Philip, 85 scrotal cancer, 112 Sears (retail store), 149 seats for ­women workers, 85 self-­medication, of mill workers, 94, 95, 153 Sellers, Christopher, 10, 151 Shattuck, Lemuel, 24 Shaw, Marjory, 98 shell shock, 137; and British reinterpretation of body, 135; exposure to, 134 Shirley Institute, Manchester, ­England, 117 short-­time work, in interwar Lancashire, 95 “shut­tle kissing,” 48, 61. See also suction shut­tles silicosis, 10, 104 Silverman, Leslie, 117, 118 Simpson, James, 96 sizing, practice of, 37 Slade Mill, Fall River, MA, tenements of, 25 Slashers’ Tenders’ Union, 53 Slawinski, Matthew, 142 Slawinski vs. J. H. Williams and Co., 126 Smalley’s Bronchial Essence, 94 smallpox, death rates associated with, 47t smoke: industrial noise compared with, 128; pollution in Britain, 77; and respiratory prob­lems, 78 social medicine: post-­Word War I rise of, 12; Social Medicine Research Institute, 167n67 social reform, 120; legislation for, 28 Social Security Act (1935), 115 Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise, in New York City, 132

242 Index

South, U.S., 147; industrial deafness in, 128–129; mill workers in, 11; movement of textile industry to, 28; and NIHL, 143; worker fatigue in, 84 speed-­ups, employer-­induced, 82 spinning: mules, 5, 22; mule-­spinners’ cancer, 112; preference for rings, 22; ring spinning, 5; spinning rooms, 97; spinning technology, 162n14; throstle-­spinning, 20, 22 spitting: in Blackburn, 33; of cotton workers, 123; in public places, 51 Spooner, Professor Henry John, 90 Stafford, Dr. Victor, 56–57 Stafford Mills, Fall River, MA, 75 state boards of health, industrial hygiene divisions of, 115 steam: excessive, 93–99; steam heating, 74 steaming: artificial, 37; campaign for legislative ban on, 33; and health, 79, 93; in Lancashire mills, 59, 61; in public health policy, 62; and respiratory prob­lems, 78; support for, 81; ­unions against, 93 Stephenson, Dr. James, 106 Stephenson, Dr. William, 59, 78, 79 Stockport, Lancashire, 32 stretch-­out, 84, 86, 92 strikes: in Blackburn, 80; Bread and Roses, 22–23, 134; 1912 Lawrence, 41; in Lawrence, MA, 134; Lawrence Manufacturing Corp., 70; of Lowell mill operatives, 76; of mule-­spinners, 22; use of vio­lence to combat, 35; UTW in 1934, 85–86 Sturdy, Steve, 92 Sturtevant, B. F., 74, 81 Subcommittee on Noise in Industry, of American Acad­emy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, 142 suction shut­tles: banning of, 38, 60, 67, 105; death associated with, 43; diseases associated with, 60; health hazards attributable to, 59; MA ban of, 54; in public health policy, 62; “shut­tle kissing,” 48, 61; in TB health education campaigns, 53; unhygienic nature of, 52 Supreme Court, U.S., on cotton-­dust standard, 154

Sutton, Crystal Lee, 144 Szreter, Simon, 31 tariffs, and textile industry, 17 Taylor, Frederick, 64, 77, 82; and Taylorism, 83 Taylor, John, 80 technology: atmospheric, 75; and health risks, 2; innovation and competition, 74; investing in new, 88; less labor-­ intensive, 20 temperature: health issues related to, 2, 72, 93; and healthy internal environment, 72; public health debates about, 99; regulation of, 76; of work environment, 8, 38. See also heat tenements: in textile towns, 24–25; ventilation in, 75. See also housing textile communities, 6, 12; of MA, 75. See also mill towns; textile towns textile industry: in Bangladesh, 149; coarse sheeting in, 17; economic survival of, 84; fatigue prob­lem in, 84; government interest in, 15; health and safety codes for, 117; healthy workforce for, 154; in mid-­Atlantic states, 161n7; R. M. Nixon supported by, 120; in two countries, 2; and worker fatigue, 81; ­after World War I, 28. See also Burnley, Lancashire; Colne, Lancashire; Darwen, Lancashire; factories; Fall River, MA; Holyoke, MA; Lawrence, MA; Lowell, MA; Nelson, MA; Preston, MA Textile Laboratory, Manchester, ­England, 81 textile laborers, occupational illness and accidents among, 9. See also mill workers; workers Textile Mercury, 40 textile regions, 15; development of, 16–17 textile towns, 17–36; death rates in, 25t; declining in Lancashire, 98–99; doctors, 48; effects of noise in, 139; health priorities of, 18; in Lancashire, 30–31; local autonomy of, 30; in MA, 18–29, 26f, 29f; as model cities, 21; poverty of, 28; public health doctors in, 7; and public ­water supply, 24; rapid industrial growth of, 6; unhealthiness

Index 243

of, 94; ­women workers in, 26f. See also specific towns textile workers: Bangladeshi, 149; healthy working environment valued by, 94. See also ­labor; oral histories; workers Textile Workers Union of Amer­i­ca (TWUA), 119, 143; on air pollution in textile mills, 70; Hearing Test Program of, 86; and industrial deafness, 143–144 Textile World Journal, 40, 116 Textile World Rec­ord, 107 Theriault, Camille, 97 Thierens, Dr. V. T., 90 Thompson’s Moxie Nerve Food, 95 The Times, 92 Todmorden weavers, petition to Parliament of, 77 Tootal Broadhurst Lee, Bolton, Lancashire, 89 trade press, American, 76–77, 83, 120 Trades Union Congress (TUC), 145 trade u ­ nions, 10, 11; and byssinosis, 39, 113–114, 119–120, 121; compensation sought by, 10; declining membership of, 112; health campaigns of, 112; and industrial health reform, 112; and industrial noise, 140; Lancashire, 11, 146. See also strikes Tremont Mill, Lowell, MA, 28 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, of 1911, 81–82 Trice, M. F., 116 tripe shops, 123 Trump administration, 3 tuberculosis, 6, 37; byssinosis compared with, 106; casual ­factors of, 46; community pressure in, 152; compulsory notification of, 49; death rates associated with, 43, 47t, 57; debate over ­causes of, 57–58; declining interest in occupational TB, 65; diagnosis of, 45; as disease of urban environment, 57–58; doctors’ reluctance to report cases of, 51; eradication programs, 64; financial implications of diagnosis of, 64; as health hazard, 2; identifying and publicizing, 44, 46; as individual’s responsibility, 62; as industrial disease, 68; as industrial hazard, 10; institutional treatment of, 49; in interwar years, 62–68, 67t; in

Lancashire, 67; in Lawrence, 27; as leading cause of death, 46, 63; in MA public health agenda, 53; Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 45; national ­battle against, 62; and personal responsibility, 67–68; prevention of, 62; public health campaigns and awareness of, 153; public health concerns about, 38; in public health discourse, 13; and public health reform, 13; recognition in factories, 48–49; reform campaigns in MA, 54; reporting of, 51; responsibility for treatment of, 62; social costs of, 69; as social prob­lem, 62; among Southern black mill workers, 65; state notification of, 48; synergistic relationship between dust and, 46; among textile workers, 6; understandings about etiology of, 62; and urbanization, 49; and working environment, 8 Turkey, byssinosis in, 149 Twain, Mark, 70 Tweedale, Geoffrey, 5, 10, 118 typhoid fever: death rates associated with, 47t; and working conditions, 49 typhus, and working conditions, 49 undernourishment, government recognition of, 86–87 unemployment: among New E ­ ngland textile workers, 28; Pilgrim Trust Report on, 90–91; and public health initiatives, 91; in textile towns, 28; ­after WWI, 33 Union Mill, Fall River, MA, 26f United Textile Factory Workers’ Association (UTFWA), 93; 1956 Conference of, 121. See also trade ­unions United Textile Workers (UTW) of Amer­ic­ a, 28, 112; 1934 strike called by, 85–86 “unwanted sound,” defining, 130. See also noise-­induced hearing loss urban growth, rapid, 18, 19t; and rising tuberculosis rates, 49 urban planning, 31 vaccinations, 28 Venetian coppersmiths, 130 ventilation: factory requirements for, 73–74; forced-­air, 74; in health agenda, 73; as

244 Index

ventilation (continued) health hazard, 2; health issues related to, 72; ­house­hold, 71; and housing requirements, 34; and ill health, 152; importance of, 1; improved factory, 75; improving domestic, 71; legislation, 78–79; and mortality rates, 79; new technology for, 80; practicalities redefined for, 90; in public health debates, 99; recognition of importance of, 74; regulation in Lancashire of, 59; regulation of factory, 8; science of, 97; in southern factories, 112; and technological innovations, 74; and working environment, 8 Vernon, H. M., 88 Veterans Administration, and NIHL, 141 wages: fairness, 35; mass collective protests about, 37; piece-­rate, 35, 97; substandard, 55 Wailoo, Keith, 124 Wales, death rates for, 91, 311 Walmart Group, 149 war: cotton manufacturing during, 144; and industrial deafness, 134; and national health agenda, 82; and NIHL, 141 Warner, Charles Dudley, 70 Warner’s Safe Cure, 188n162 War of 1812, 17 Washington State Occupational Health Standards, 146 ­water: for humidifiers, 33, 52, 59, 60; from Merrimack River, 27; public, 24; ­water supply and disease, 51 Watson, Raymond, 139 weave rooms, 97 weavers: Blackburn, 89, 93, 98; deafness of, 128, 131; degree of hearing handicap for, 146; effect of excessive noise on, 137; effect of humidity on, 89; employers’ pressure on, 35; health of, 88–89; hearing loss of, 130, 138–139, 147; high death rates for, 58; and poor ventilation, 77; sickness, 139; standard of health of, 135; working environment of, 82 Weavers’ Amalgamation, Blackburn’s, 90 weaving: as healthy occupation, 79; noise associated with, 134, 140

weaving rooms: atmosphere of, 78; noise in, 127, 145; Pakistani, 149; “wet” sheds, 182n50 Weindling, Paul, 10, 140 Welch, Henry J., 137 welfare capitalism, 41–42; in MA firms, 85; occupational, 89; Welfare Work scheme, 90 Welshman, John, 31 Wheatley, Dr. James, 59, 106–107 whooping cough, death rates associated with, 47t Wilson, D. R., 93 Wilson Report on Noise (1963), 145 win­dows, in work environment, 97 Winslow, C.E.A., 62 Wohl, Anthony, 7 ­women: in Bread and Roses strike, 22–23; coping strategies of, 9–10; cotton manufacturing ­labor of, 17; employment opportunities for, 30; and environmental noise movement, 142; excluded from byssinosis research, 118; exposure to workplace hazards of, 9; Health and Safety of ­Women in Industry (US Dept. of ­Labor), 114; and industrial noise, 140; in ­labor force, 23, 36; in nineteenth-­century factory-­reform agenda, 7–8; pregnancy and fatigue, 82; protective l­ abor legislation for, 8–9; radical ­women’s groups, 6; rising tuberculosis rates in, 49; at risk from cotton dust, 113; workday for, 38, 85; workers, 26f; working ­mothers, 35, 82 Woodbury, C.J.H., 55 Wood Mill, Lawrence, MA, 75 Woodruff, William, 139 work: and health, 7; and ideal climate, 1; and reform agenda, 9; shortening work week, 23 work climate, “ideal,” 1 workday: reduction of, 38; ten-­hour, 85; in WWI, 86 worker compensation, and disease diagnosis, 39. See also compensation, workers’ workers: bodies, 2; cardroom, 110; cotton dust hazards noted by, 105; disease

Index 245

awareness of, 124; fatigue of, 81 (see also fatigue); Lowell, MA, 96; “Monday feeling” for, 101; narratives of, 98 (see also oral histories); responses to aerial hazards of, 12; and technological pro­cesses, 4. See also ­labor; trade u ­ nions workforce: British, 6; healthy, 30, 59 work-­health relationship, 12, 48; British debates about, 58; controversial work-­TB relationship, 13, 56–57; importance of, 154; recognition of, 99 working-­class communities, 25; coping of, 152–154 working environment, of cotton mills, 105; in air-­quality debates, 72; air quality of, 150, 156; and best factory conditions, 75; and community health, 92–93; and community priorities, 36; “correct” internal weather for, 71; as disease site, 38; as ecological system, 174n3; economics of healthy, 154–156; of experienced mill workers, 97; and geo­graph­i­cal relocation, 11; health and, 137, 152; “ideal manufacturing conditions” for, 99; improving, 7; influence of community on, 72–73; lack of collective worker protest about, 41; Lancashire vs. New ­England, 98; and local autonomy, 30; management of, 70; operatives’ understandings of, 41; as potential site of infection, 50; and poverty, 98; in public health agenda, 61–62; regulation of, 57, 71, 72; social ­factors influencing, 15; and technological innovation, 74; and

tuberculosis, 8; win­dows in, 97; and workers’ protests, 42. See also factories workplace: aerial quality in, 12; air quality in, 1, 2, 152; in Blackburn, 33; contagious diseases in, 54, 63; and disease, 58; in dominant sanitary discourse, 60; hazards of, 153; health policy innovation in, 61; hearing loss in, 129; legislation for, 52–53; noise levels in, 126; oversight of, 92; and public health, 28, 36; in public health agenda, 52; reform and medical ambiguity, 114; reform of practices, 59–60; understandings of healthy, 38 World Health Organ­ization (WHO), on occupation-­induced hearing loss, 148 World Trade Organ­ization (WTO): on subcontracting, 155; on working environments, 150 World War I, 82; health concerns in, 55; and tuberculosis, 62 World War II, 99; and NIHL, 144; productivity-­motivated policies during, 116–117 Wright, Lacy, 121 Wright, Lewis, 122 Wrigley, George, 139 Wyatt, Stanley, 87, 88 Wyke, Terry, 10 Young, Dr. Thomas, 57 Young, Tom, 139 Zimmer, Verne, 117 zoning regulations, 128

About the Author

Janet Greenlees  is

an associate professor of history at Glasgow Caledonian University, Britain. She is also co-­director of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare, a research collaboration with Strathclyde University, and a member of the Scottish Poverty Information Research Unit. She has published extensively on the history of w ­ omen and work, maternal health, occupational and environmental health, the history of nursing, and the textile industries. Her books ­ abour Power: ­Women Workers’ Influence on Business Practices in include Female L the British and American Cotton Industries, 1780–1860 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).

Available titles in the Critical Issues in Health and Medicine series: Emily K. Abel, Prelude to Hospice: Listening to D ­ ying Patients and Their Families Emily K. Abel, Suffering in the Land of Sunshine: A Los Angeles Illness Narrative Emily K. Abel, Tuberculosis and the Politics of Exclusion: A History of Public Health and Migration to Los Angeles Marilyn Aguirre-­Molina, Luisa N. Borrell, and William Vega, eds. Health Issues in Latino Males: A Social and Structural Approach Anne-­Emanuelle Birn and Theodore M. Brown, eds., Comrades in Health: U.S. Health Internationalists, Abroad and at Home Susan M. Chambré, Fighting for Our Lives: New York’s AIDS Community and the Politics of Disease James Colgrove, Gerald Markowitz, and David Rosner, eds., The Contested Bound­aries of American Public Health Cynthia  A. Connolly, ­Children and Drug Safety: Balancing Risk and Protection in Twentieth-­Century Amer­i­ca Cynthia A. Connolly, Saving Sickly ­Children: The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909–1970 Brittany Cowgill, Rest Uneasy: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Twentieth-­Century Amer­i­ca Patricia D’Antonio, Nursing with a Message: Public Health Demonstration Proj­ects in New York City Tasha N. Dubriwny, The Vulnerable Empowered ­Woman: Feminism, Postfeminism, and ­Women’s Health Edward J. Eckenfels, Doctors Serving P ­ eople: Restoring Humanism to Medicine through Student Community Ser­vice Julie Fairman, Making Room in the Clinic: Nurse Prac­ti­tion­ers and the Evolution of Modern Health Care Jill A. Fisher, Medical Research for Hire: The Po­liti­cal Economy of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Clinical ­Trials Charlene Galarneau, Communities of Health Care Justice Alyshia Gálvez, Patient Citizens, Immigrant ­Mothers: Mexican ­Women, Public Prenatal Care and the Birth Weight Paradox Janet Greenlees, When the Air Became Impor­tant: A Social History of the New E ­ ngland and Lancashire Textile Industries Gerald N. Grob and Howard H. Goldman, The Dilemma of Federal ­Mental Health Policy: Radical Reform or Incremental Change? Gerald N. Grob and Allan V. Horwitz, Diagnosis, Therapy, and Evidence: Conundrums in Modern American Medicine Rachel Grob, Testing Baby: The Transformation of Newborn Screening, Parenting, and Policymaking Mark A. Hall and Sara Rosenbaum, eds., The Health Care “Safety Net” in a Post-­Reform World Laura L. Heinemann, Transplanting Care: Shifting Commitments in Health and Care in the United States Laura D. Hirshbein, American Melancholy: Constructions of Depression in the Twentieth ­Century Laura D. Hirshbein, Smoking Privileges: Psychiatry, the Mentally Ill, and the Tobacco Industry in Amer­i­ca

Timothy Hoff, Practice ­under Pressure: Primary Care Physicians and Their Medicine in the Twenty-­first ­Century Beatrix Hoffman, Nancy Tomes, Rachel N. Grob, and Mark Schlesinger, eds., Patients as Policy Actors Ruth Horo­witz, Deciding the Public Interest: Medical Licensing and Discipline Powel Kazanjian, Frederick Novy and the Development of Bacteriology in American Medicine Rebecca M. Kluchin, Fit to Be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights in Amer­i­ca, 1950–1980 Jennifer Lisa Koslow, Cultivating Health: Los Angeles ­Women and Public Health Reform Susan C. Lawrence, Privacy and the Past: Research, Law, Archives, Ethics Bonnie Lefkowitz, Community Health Centers: A Movement and the ­People Who Made It Happen Ellen Leopold, ­Under the Radar: Cancer and the Cold War Barbara L. Ley, From Pink to Green: Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement Sonja Mackenzie, Structural Intimacies: Sexual Stories in the Black AIDS Epidemic Michelle McClellan, Lady Lushes: Gender, Alcohol, and Medicine in Modern Amer­i­ca David Mechanic, The Truth about Health Care: Why Reform Is Not Working in Amer­i­ca Richard A. Meckel, Classrooms and Clinics: Urban Schools and the Protection and Promotion of Child Health, 1870–1930 Alyssa Picard, Making the American Mouth: Dentists and Public Health in the Twentieth ­Century Heather Munro Prescott, The Morning ­After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States Andrew R. Ruis, Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: School Lunches and Nutrition Policy in the United States James A. Schafer, Jr., The Business of Private Medical Practice: Doctors, Specialization, and Urban Change in Philadelphia, 1900–1940 David G. Schuster, Neurasthenic Nation: Amer­i­ca’s Search for Health, Happiness, and Comfort, 1869–1920 Karen Seccombe and Kim A. Hoffman, Just ­Don’t Get Sick: Access to Health Care in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform Leo B. Slater, War and Disease: Biomedical Research on Malaria in the Twentieth ­Century Paige Hall Smith, Bernice L. Hausman, and Miriam Labbok, Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities Matthew Smith, An Alternative History of Hyperactivity: Food Additives and the Feingold Diet Susan L. Smith, Toxic Exposures: Mustard Gas and the Health Consequences of World War II in the United States Rosemary A. Stevens, Charles E. Rosenberg, and Lawton R. Burns, eds., History and Health Policy in the United States: Putting the Past Back In Barbra Mann Wall, American Catholic Hospitals: A C ­ entury of Changing Markets and Missions Frances Ward, The Door of Last Resort: Memoirs of a Nurse Practitioner Shannon Withycombe, Lost: Miscarriage in Nineteenth-­Century Amer­i­ca