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that the buildings were too low and not well ventilated, and that owing to the prevalence of dyspepsia and liver complaints among glassblowers, these diseases should be classed, with throat affections, as peculiar to the trade.” “Some way to avoid the gas that arises from the use of coal, or means to prevent it from escaping in the factory would be a very great aid to improvement in the sanitary conditions here."
GLASSBORO —"Most of the factories here might be improved by ventilation at the top of building,” “Many of the workmen have to work on wet Aloors. Any means to prevent this would be an improvement and advantage to the blower." “ The use of coal oil as a fuel to heat the glory hole causes more gas to escape in the factory than the old style of using coal; it should be abolished.” “ Where the footbench is not raised above the floor level of the factory and the brick pavements become wet, they are the cause of a great deal of rheumatism to the blowers who stand on them." "Continuous tank furnaces have been built here in a factory not constructed for their use; they are filled with escaping gas; some, method should be devised to get rid of it. I would suggest revolving fans, which would aid in clearing away the dust also.” “ Other things being equal, drunkenness and debauchery have shortened the lives of many blowers which has been charged to glass blowing. I do not see among blowers any greater mortality than in other trades; in fact I think the health of the average blower is better than in many other occupations. The free circulation of air through the factories and their warm and comfortable condition in the winter season, I believe are condusive to health, and the two months vacation in the summer season give the workmen time to recuperate what they may have lost in health during the blast.”
WILLIAMSTOWN.—“At a meeting of the Green Glass blowers, after a full discussion of all the questions contained in the blanks sent out by the Bureau, the conclusion was that dyspepsia, liver complaint and throat diseases were most cominon, and should be classed as complaints peculiar to the trade of glass-blowing, and that consumption often follows, and is the result of throat affections contracted at the trade. Where this is hereditary in the person, it develops many years earlier in life by blowing and by colds contracted from sudden changes from heat to cold, to which glassblowers are necessarily exposed, and which they cannot well avoid.” “ There are too many furnaces under one roof here; in one case there are three in a factory only adapted to one. This renders ventilation impossible. An improvement would be to have but one furnace to a building."
BRIDGETON.—“The conditions of the factories, so far as relates to their sanitary arrangement, is generally bad. Some of them when built were small for one ordinary furnace in use at the time; since then the furnaces have been enlarged, while nothing has been done to enlarge or improve the factories which are too small for even one furnace. In several of them two have been erected. The opinion generally among the workmen is that most of the factories here are unsuited for the purpose, and need to be replaced by larger and better structures.”
The method of working in the Aint prescription trade is very similar to that of the green glass, the difference being principally in the arrangement of the furnace and melting the glass in covered pots. The manner of working is the same—shop work, two blowers and one gaffer. The workmen easily go from the Aint to the green, or the reverse, with little or no inconvenience, so that all that has been said respecting the working in green glass applies equally to flint prescription blowers.
The regular fint glass industry is a comparatively new one here, Millville being the only location in this State where it is carried on. The designation“ regular Aint" is applied to the leaded glass, or glass in which an oxide of lead is used to improve its quality. The method of work in this trade differs in many respects from the other branches mentioned. The workmen work in shops of two and three, usually a gaffer, servitor and footmaker, sometimes a gatherer. The product consists principally of druggists' fittings, show glasses, graduates, etc. The hands are paid by the day or week, their earnings not depending on the quantity of work. Quality is more essential than the quantity of product. They work moderately, thus avoiding many of the risks that shortens the working life in other branches of the glass industry.
Several of the Millville fint prescription blowers complain, under replies as to the sanitary condition of factories, that, where two furnaces are under one roof they suffer from gases and want of ventilation. The factories there are ten in number and so situated that when the wind comes froin a southerly quarter, it is impossible for it to circulate through all of the factories, one building obstructing the other. At a conference of a large number of the workmen employed, who considered the matter, the decision was that the best means of improving the factories would be to raise the roofs of the building higher and to have larger opening near the top, in order to increase the circulation of air. Complaint was also made against the use of coil oil for heating the glory holes, as that allows more gas to escape from them than when coal is used.
The blowing of window glass also differs materially from that of the other branches. Each blower has an assistant or gatherer who takes the glass from the furnace in quantities ranging from 12 to 20 pounds according to the size and thickness of the sheets desired. The blower receives the glass from the hand of the gatherer and makes the cylinder, performing the whole operation without stoppage. Each has a pot of glass to work from and the number of cylinders made in a day is determined by their respective sizes, each workman making the same quantity or handling the same weight of glass per day. This consists of io hours for 5 days, or "blowings," in a week. The hours of labor vary each day of the week. The time of commencing work on Monday morning is usually one o'clock, but on Saturday it may not be until afternoon. This is because it requires a much longer time to melt and prepare the glass, than to work it, or usually from 16 to 18 hours for melting the glass, and 10 hours for the blowers to work it, thus giving five blowings in a week.
The Window Glass Workers' Union limits the product of each blower to 48 boxes of 100 square feet per week, and under the laws of their association no blower is permitted to exceed this amount. This task can be easily accomplished by a young, vigorous man within the hours of labor prescribed ; and even when a workman begins to decline, or to grow old and less active, he can still do the full amount of work required by taking the full time. For although such a bluwer may have declined in workmanship and be unable to turn out as much first quality glass, it will only reduce his earnings. The window glass blowers' scale of wages is arranged by quality of product; for instance, for a box of first quality he is paid $1.60, while for the same amount of third or fourth quality but 70 and 80 cents.
Window glass blowing is more laborious than any other branch of the glass industry, but it does not require the same activity, or quickness of motion; the work is heavier but the motion of the workmen is slower. This and the limitation of the product, for a
day's work, to an amount within the easy accomplishment of the average workman, in part accounts for the small number reported in our tables as having declined.
The window-glass factories are built very similar to the bottle and prescription. There are, however, no tempering ovens, gloryholes, or other accessories necessary to the other branches, needed in a window-glass factory, and as a consequence, the workmen are not subjected to as many sources of annoyance from gas. Coal is used for melting the glass, but during the time the blowers are engaged, the fire is kept up either by wood or coke. Nor are they required to be near to the furnace all of the time while at work ; on the contrary, they may change the location of their work while blocking the glass, to suit their comfort; and when the weather is quite warm, they may go near to the doors, away from the heat of the furnace. The workmen, after making a cylinder, may also take a slight rest or breathing spell, if needed. In no case have there been any complaints about the sanitary arrangement of the factories made.
The business of the flattener is to flatten the cylinder into sheets. This is done at what is known as the flattening oven, inside of which is a set of revolving tables, made of clay and large enough to contain the largest sheets of glass, heated to a temperature just suffi. cient to render the glass pliable.
The operation is a simple one, depending much npon the judgment of the operator, who while not allowing the oven to become overheated, must keep it sufficiently hot to smooth the sheets properly without destroying the lustre of the glass. The only tools he uses are an iron bar, by which he moves the cylinder to the exact position on the table desired, and an iron rod with a square block of wood attached to the end, by means of which he smooths the sheet of glass until it presents a perfectly flat or level surface. His work is not laborious, nor does it require very great activity, but owing to the custom of the trade there are usually but two flatteners at an oven, and each work twelve hours per day, thus continuing the work both night and day. There is nothing associated with the occupation except the long hours, to make it unhealthy, nor any reason why men should not continue at it for many years.
As will be seen by the tables the present average age of flatteners
is higher than that of glass blowers while the average number of years worked is about the same. This is accounted for, however, by the fact that the table also shows that a much larger percentage of the present generation began to work at the trade after 25 years of age than that of blowers.
The cutting of window glass requires two special qualifications. To be a first class cutter, the workman needs to be quick and active in his movements, and at the same time be able to tell at a glance how to proportion a sheet of glass so as to get the largest number of first quality window panes without wasting that portion only fit for inferior quality. The process of cutting has undergone no change within this generation of workmen. It is still done by a diamond partially sunk into metal and drawn across the sheet on a table about waist high to the cutter.
The master shearer attends to the process of melting the raw material of which glass is made. He has charge of the furnace while the melt is being inade. The skill consists in determining the proper time this should be done in, and in directing his assistant to keep the furnace at the proper heat. His position is one of great responsibility as the whole operation of making the glass depends on the melting process. His duties require him to be engaged during the whole night, occupying about fourteen hours. It is not customary to begin the trade by regular apprenticeship, but, as it requires two men to operate a furnace, he always has an assistant, called shearer, who after long experience, when a vacancy occurs, is given charge of the furnace.
The pots in which the raw material for the glass is melted are made of fine clay, which requires a great deal of care in its preparation, involving the grinding and pulverizing the dry clay, its mixture and tempering. Little attention has been paid to the improvement of the machinery in use and the buildings in which these processes are conducted, so as to keep the workmen from inhaling the dust. As a consequence from 10 to 15 years is about the length of time a man can work at the trade continuously in health. The writer has witnessed the decline of three generations of potmakers, within the past forty years.
No better description of the work done by hat makers, finishers and pouncers can be given than the following extract from an article