« EelmineJätka »
life. As his average annual earnings do not exceed $750, its value may be approximately calculated. A kilnman, who begins to work at his trade at a later period of life, seems to be even less favorably situated. According to our calculations, the average age of the 297 individual workmen reporting is 32.6, but 49 per cent of these cre below 30 and 68.5 per cent. 'below 35 years. The average number of years of actual work at the trade has been only 14.5. The average earnings in this branch of the trade fall below $600. That is also the rule with the hat makers and finishers, who, however, seem to have a slightly longer period of trade activity-15.5 and 15 years respectively. As will be seen in the tables, the nuni. ber of individuals in these two branches is considerably larger than in any of the other occupations tabulated, namely, 1,247 makers and 1,257 finishers, the average age of the former being 34.5 and of the latter, 32.8 years. The average age of the 57 master shearers in the glass industry, who begin their trade late in life, is 42.6, which, next to that of the 15 pot makers, is the highest average on the list; the duration. of their trade life is, on the other hand, apparently brief-only 12.7 years. The trade income of a master shearer approximates $800 yearly, which is not far below the average annual remuneration of the window-glass blowers. The latter, also enter upon their trade career at a somewhat late period in life. The average present age of the 149 workmen reporting is 35.7 years, and they have been at work, on the average, for 14.1 years. Green bottle blowers earn between $1,000 and $1,100 a year. Their average present age, 514 individuals, is 37.4 years; while the average duration of their active trade life thus far has been 18.3 years. This comparatively extended longevity does not imply any. thing in favor of its being a healthy occupation, for the contrary is true, but, as will be seen further on, is explained by the custom which permits declining blowers to go at “ gaffing.”
Aitogether, the returns from 23 occupations, or branches of trade, have been summarized in the tables reproduced below. Tables 1 and 2 show in detail the facts mentioned above. Table No. 3 indicates the proportion and ages of journeymen in the respective trades who are beginning to decline or fail-facts which are very material in guaging the relative healthfulness of an occupation, and this is supplemented by the valuable though necessarily incomplete record
of the number and ages of workers incapacitated from following the trades at which they once earned a livelihood. In Table No. 5 is noted the nativity of the journeymen at present at work. The remaining tables are merely addenda to those already referred to. Particular attention is directed to the record of the causes of death of deceased members of the Orange, Newark and International Hat Finisher's Associations. These are both interesting and valuable, although the period covered is limited. It would be comparatively an easy matter for all our trade organizations, especially those which have beneficial annexes, to follow this practice and to extend its scope so as to include all cases of sickness. Such carefully kept records, for a series of years, would be of the greatest possible interest and value.
During the progress of this investigation, many complaints and suggestions were received from the workmen respecting the sanitary arrangements of the factories in which they were employed. These are evidence that employes are neither ignorant of nor indifferent to the insalubrious conditions under which they are compelled to work, and which are by no means a necessary incident of their employment.
Most of the buildings in which glass-blowing is done are mere shells, usually frame structures with numerous doors and swinging shutters on all sides. The furnace is placed in the centre of the building, and the tempering ovens, “ glory holes" and lears, at the sides or corners. The heat from the furnace and ovens in ordinary weather makes the whole enclosure so warm that there are few days in the year when all the doors and shutters need to be kept closed, and even when it is moderately warm all of them are opened to admit the air. When the temperature is high, and when any sudden changes of wind alter the currents of air through the factory, the blowers, all of whom work near the furnace, are especially liable to take cold. In many cases the outbuildings, such as the pothouse, batch house, packing sheds and blacksmith shops, are so situated as to obstruct the free circulation of the air as well as to render it impossible for the blowers to escape the dust generated therein. Another source of annoyance is the dust and other particles of matter which settle on the beams and various places of lodgment during the night, or while the furnaces are being cleaned after the melt is made. Then, the fine particles of glass, and the gases from the coal and oil used in the furnaces and "glory holes," are inhaled by the workmen during work hours, and doubtless are the cause of many of the throat disorders common among them. Many of these nuisances might be avoided, and without any considerable expense to employer or employe, if the factories were thoroughly renovated and the dust removed once a week, or oftener, if neces
Within the past generation there has been a very radical change in the method of working in the green-glass bottle and vial trade. Under the old style, known as "single," or "footbench," the blower worked by himself, and where bottles were less than one pint (size), he gathered the glass and completed the bottle without an assistant. Where larger sizes were made it was generally the custom to have a boy to gather the glass, but the blower himself performed all the other necessary operations.
The first innovation commenced in the 50's when “double work" was introduced. At first this was confined to making large sizes of ware, by two blowers and a gatherer, the gatherer taking the glass from the furnace and the blowers working in rotation, each completing his work in the same manner as when working singly. During the 60's the method of finishing at a “glory hole” was introduced and has since become quite general throughout the state, there being only four or five workmen that now work "singly,” and not more than fifty who work at what is known as “double” that is two blowers working in rotation, and each finishing his own ware. The present method is to work in shops of threetwo blowers and a gaffer, or finisher. The blowers gather the glass and mould the bottle, working in rotation; the bottle is then taken from the blower to the gaffer, who finishes it at the "glory hole," a small furnace arranged for the purpose, some feet away from the main furnace or melting pots.
The effect of each of these changes has been to lessen the independence of the individual workman, and to make his work more and more contingent upon others, but has largely increased production. Under the original method of working singly, 72 dozen of one ounce vials were a high average for a day's work of 10% hours; while at present 350 to 400 dozen in a day of 872 to 9 hours are made by three workmen (two blowers and one gaffer). Under the old system, 36 to 40 dozen of one pound bottles were a high average. At present, 150 dozen, and as many as 180 dozen, are made by the three men in much shorter time.
So general has the plan, of shopwork now become, that any description or reference to the trade, must deal with this method of work and the conditions it imposes.
It is also to be observed that these changes in methods of work, have materially shortened the period of active trade-life of the workmen. Working singly under the old system, the blower could accommodate himself to his needs. As he worked by the piece, when indisposed or old age came on, the only effect was to lessen the day's product and reduce the amount of his earnings, with little or no loss to his employer; but since the practice of working double, or in shops of three, has been introduced, this cannot be done so easily, as others are dependent on him, and any slackness on his part, interferes with those whom he is working with, retarding, and in some cases compelling a suspension of work by all others. So it happens that when from any cause a workman is not equal to his partner's skill or speed, the result is an unequally yoked team.
The occupation of blowing requires great dexterity and nimbleness of the fingers to manipulate the glass; and while not laborious in the sense of requiring great muscular power, every limb and muscle is brought into use in moulding a bottle, whether a large or small one. The blower in a shop is constantly on his feet, moving in a circle, and usually takes from six to seven steps to each bottle he moulds. When it is considered that in making some sizes, he moulds from. 175 to 200 dozen in a day, we have some idea of the endurance required. There is scarcely an infliction that man is liable to that does not interfere with his work. The least sore on any of his fingers, hands, or feet, sore lips, sore throat, or toothache, or any of these, and he is obliged to lay off.
The gaffer sits while at his work and is not liable to be laid up by so many ailments as the blower. Although subjected to heat, dust and the gases that arise from the use of coal, or oil, in heating the glory hole, his workmanship is not impaired by most of the afflictions that disqualify a blower. Hence, gaffers are usually superanuated blowers. Green glass blowers do not learn to gaff as a distinct branch of the trade, but adapt themselves to it in the course of their active working period. In some cases all three of the workmen in a shop are young men, able to blow in turns, changing off, each taking one third of the time in the gaffer's chair but where one of the number is physically unable to work as fast as the others, he is compelled to gaff or quit the trade altogether. As there is only one place to gaff where there are two to blow, or one chance for an old man where there are three for a young one, after a workmen is disqualified to blow he only has one chance in three to obtain work at all. The detailed returns show that of the total 514 journeymen employed, I 39 are gaffers,278 blow in shops, 51 blow and gaff, and 46 work either singly or double, on footbench.
A selection from the statements of glassblowers respecting the sanitary condition of their workshops, is here appended :
Millville.—“The factories here are no! well arranged There is plenty of air but it does not always come in the proper direction to suit all engaged. A factory should be so arranged that no matter from what quarter the wind comes, all the workinen will get a share. As it is at present, it frequently happens that those working on one side of the furnace get more than they can endure, while those opposite receive none at all, but suffer from the heated air coming through the furnace from the opposite side." "Some of the factories need more ventilation at the top.” “Usually when the wind comes from the south, in warm weather the blowers working on the north side of the furnace suffer greatly from the heat." “There seems to be plenty of air near the floors; the factories should be so improved as to have more ventilation at the top.” “ The outbuildings, in many cases, are too close to the factories and shut out the air.” “A cupalo on the top of factory to carry off the dust and gases would be a great improvement.” “The sanitary conditions would be improved by a higher roof, which would aid to improve the ventilation."
CLAYTON.—“ The sanitary condition of the factories at Clayton are conceded to be good. They were all constructed to afford the best possible ventilation, and are kept clean and well dusted out. Excepting some improved plan of building, or a different arrangement of the furnaces, no improvement in the present factories can be suggested.”
SALEM.-" At a meeting of the blowers where the sanitary condition of the factories was considered, it was the general opinion