Lowell wanted to avoid utilizing child labor, which was popular in fabric mills in England, because the plant required workers. Because the task was not rigorous, the workers did not need to be physically strong. The workers, on the other hand, had to be pretty bright in order to handle the sophisticated technology. The answer was to hire young female employees. They could be taught the skill of weaving and would become proficient at a very young age.
In addition to being smart, the girls were also seen as good investments because they would be in debt for several years while they learned how to work at the mill. If they left before finishing their indentures, they would have to pay back a large portion of what they earned. Those who stayed until the end of their contracts usually worked for the same employer for their entire lives.
The number of young women working in the mills across New England increased from about 100 in 1790 to more than 6,000 by 1820. There were so many women working at the mills that there weren't enough men to go around. This is why most mills hired apprentices instead of adults. Apprentices lived with their employers and attended school while they worked. When they reached 21 years old, they were given a job certificate and allowed to join the union if they chose. Those who didn't want to work at the mill could always find work as a servant or housekeeper.
There are still places in the United States where children work in factories.
Putting women to work in a factory was unusual to the point of being revolutionary. The work arrangement at the Lowell mills was generally acclaimed since the young women were kept in a setting that was not only safe but also culturally beneficial. They could keep housewives without breaking the law by having no husband present to sign work papers. Also, they could be paid even while pregnant or having babies.
The fact is that women were seen as moral agents who could be trusted with responsibility. This idea still finds strong support in our culture today. As far back as 1647, John Cotton wrote: "Women are created for men to help them in their labors; if this duty were not so, husbands would need to employ servants instead of wives."
In the 19th century, this belief found its way into legislation. For example, Massachusetts passed a child labor law in 1872 that prohibited girls from working over 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. In addition, the law required employers to provide free lunches during school days so children didn't have to go to school hungry.
So, why did the Lowell mill owners feel confident about hiring young women? First of all, they were legally allowed to do so. Under Massachusetts law, only men were permitted to be employed in factories until 1842 when it was amended to allow women to be hired.
The majority of mill operators in the United States are having difficulty hiring staff. The Lowell System called for the hiring of young, unmarried males from cities to work in factories. The Lowell System intended to employ young unmarried farm girls to work in the mills. However, as more and more women entered the workforce, this scheme began to fail.
Mill owners often paid less than union wages and conditions. This may have been one reason why so many people were willing to work in these places.
In addition, there was always a large number of unemployed people who would jump at any job opportunity that came their way. This is why so many people went to work in mills - they could make much less money working in other industries, but there was always a chance they might get hired.
According to research done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1825 and 1955, millions of men and women went to work in American textile mills. During that time, industrial accidents were common because employees were not given protective equipment. Many people died during this period due to illnesses caused by toxic chemicals used in mill production.
Even after laws were passed requiring employers to provide safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, and shoes with soles, many people continued to suffer injuries at work. This shows that while legal requirements are necessary, they are not sufficient to ensure employee safety.