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RUFUS R. WADE, Chief
Boston, Mass. L. T. FELL, Chief
Orange, N. J, HENRY DORN, Chief
Columbus, Ohio. JAMES CONNOLLY, Chief . .
New York City. HENRY SIEBERS, .
Milwaukee, Wis. W. P. KELLEY, .
Killingly, Conn. L. R. CAMPBELL. Deputy Com'er of Labor, Rockland, Maine.
The importance of bringing together the Factory Inspectors of the different States has long been recognized. The benefits that would likely accrue from a conference of those whose duties involve such vast consequences to community were manifest. The laws on the subject of inspection in the various States are so different as scarcely to be recognizable as being upon the same general subject. To produce something like uniformity, both in the laws and in the practice of the inspectors, was deemed desirable, and this could only be effected by an interchange of views and a comparison of the statutes under which each inspector acted. To accomplish so laudable a purpose, Mr. HENRY Dorn, Chief Inspector of Workshops and Factories of Ohio, opened a correspondence during the year 1886 with the Inspectors of other States, with the view of bringing about a meeting at as early a date as practicable. This, of course, took considerable time. Each Inspector entertained views peculiar to himself on the subject, and these conflicting ideas had to be harmonized.
But Mr. DORN persevered in his efforts, and finally succeeded. The Philadelphia Convention, whose proceedings are recorded in the following pages, was held, and every man who attended that meeting is fully satisfied with the results. The wisdom and foresight that suggested the movement were manifest to the members. A permanent organization was effected and arrangements made for annual meetings hereafter. These annual meetings will, no doubt, grow in importance and interest, and, it is confidently believed, will result in incalculable benefit to all concerned, to the employer as well as the employe, and to the public at large. That such may be the case is the ardent hope of the Factory Inspectors who assembled at Philadelphia on the 8th and 9th of June, 1887; and I believe that I but voice the sentiment of all my associates in that Convention, when I say that Hon. HENRY DORN, Chief Inspector of Workshops and Factories of Ohio, is deserving of all praise for his untiring efforts in bringing us together, and for the wisdom, born of experience, he exhibited in our deliberations, showing, as he so clearly did, a complete mastery of the entire subject.
FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTION,
PHILADELPHIA, WEDNESDAY, June 8, 1887. The First National Convention of State Factory Inspectors convened in the Chamber of the Common Council of the city of Philadelphia at 11 o'clock A. M., and was called to order by Mr. HENRY DORN, Chief Inspector of Ohio, who introduced Hon. CHARLES LAWRENCE, President of the Common Council, who welcomed the members to the city in an eloquent address.
Mr. DORN then delivered the following address :
Gentlemen of the Convention :
We have assembled for the purpose, as I understand it, of taking counsel, one of another, as to the best means of accomplishing the object for which the office of factory inspector was created.
We, as factory inspectors, are unlike, in the duties imposed upon us and the results to be attained, all other officers of the States we represent, and for this, among other reasons, I do not think it advis able to connect the office of factory inspector with any other, or to subordinate it in any way to any bureau or department of the State government.
As the duties of the inspector are distinct from those of any other officer, so are the abilities necessary for the proper and successful discharge of those duties of a different order from those required of the heads of other departments.
There seems to be a disposition to unite the offices of factory inspector and commissioner of labor statistics. The latter is an office of great importance, but its proper sphere is the collection of facts, and the systematic arrangement of data for the information and guidance of the legislator, while the purpose of the former is to effect immediate results. While an ability to collate and analyze ascertained facts concerning the social and industrial condition of the people is an absolute requisite in the statistician, the factory inspector should be a master of mechanism, and also be possessed of a fair knowledge of hygiene, at least as far as relates to ventilation, and the effect of different gases, dust, etc., upon health. The two positions are so dissimilar in every respect, it seems strange that it should ever have occurred to any one to unite them under one head.
A man may be a master of statistics, and yet not know the difference between a pulley and a fly-wheel; and, on the other hand, while a man may be a thorough adept in mechanism, he may be as ignorant of the teachings of statistics as the red man of the forest.
The office of factory inspector is of comparatively recent origin. The people at large possess but a limited knowledge of its designs, and have but an imperfect idea of what it may accomplish for their good, and before we can succeed fully in our undertaking, the people must be made acquainted with the importance of the subject, the necessity of thorough inspection, both from the standpoint of the philanthropist and from that of the patriotic statesman.
Many well meaning men look upon us as being in some way identified with those who are considered labor agitators, while the fact is that the certain result of a full and cheerful compliance with the laws under which we act would be the lessening of agitation by making the workmen more contented in consequence of improved sanitary conditions, and the reduction to the minimum of liability to accident. Poorly ventilated and otherwise disagreeable workshops or factories are not calculated to produce that peace of mind which reconciles the workman to his hard lot. Neither are mangled or broken limbs convincing arguments that the pathway of the laborer is strewn with roses.
Make our workshops and factories comfortable and healthy, and secure those employed therein against the accidents that are now of daily occurrence, and one great source of discontent and consequent strikes will be removed. While millions of money are spent in the interest of domestic live stock, it does not seem extravagant to ask for a few thousand in the interest of humanity. It is folly to expect either men or women to be contented, and to cheerfully perform their laborious tasks, while breathing a poisonous atmosphere, and in momentary danger of being either killed or crippled for life by insecure machinery, or of having their bodies charred by the flames of a burning workshop or factory, from which the means of egress are insufficient.
When mishap overtakes them, what have they to rely on for support? They and their little ones, in such a contingency, which is of frequent occurrence, have the alms-house only to rely on, and that is not a very agreeable fact to contemplate by those who have been taught to consider themselves the peers of the highest.
The American mind naturally revolts at the thought of having to be supported by public charity. The factory operative knows he has contributed his share to the wealth of the country, and to know that the heartless, criminal negligence of his employer may at any time consign him and those dependent on him for support to the tender mercies of the public alms-house, is not likely to convince him that he is treated as he should be, or that combinations and strikes are as