Factories- In the early 1900s, children as young as six worked at the factories. Factories, which is a type of sweatshop, were cramped, dirty, and dark. The children typically worked for over 70 hours a week while being paid very little. Factory workers, called spinners, were on their feet all day brushing lint from the machines and tying ends of the cotton thread together. Doffers, also factory workers, would remove the the spinning bobbins, which consisted of a cylinder cone holding thread, and replaced them with empty bobbins. A lot of the young boys who worked as doffers were barefoot so they could climb up the machines to reach the high bobbins.
Two young doffers remove bobbins from the top of a machine in a sweatshop.
Coal mines- Typically younger boys worked as the breaker boys. The breaker boys sat on wooden boards that were placed next to chutes in the mine, that had come out of the ground. When the coal came pouring through the chutes, they would bend over, and pick out the pieces of stone and slate. The boys had to be very cautious. If they fell into the chutes they could easily be crushed. They then could be suffocated, and killed.
Breaker boys lean over the coal chutes to pick out the stone and sleet.
Canning- Children also worked in canning sheds where it was cold, dark, and damp. Most of the children who worked in the shed were ages 6-8 years old. Parents had usually wanted their children working at their side, so that they were able to keep a close eye on them. They had no place to leave their children, even the youngest and newborn babies were taken to the cannery sheds every day. Many dangers were associated with this job. Workers used large knives in cutting and chopping motions. There were many floors, and benches that are very slippery and, there was a lot of careless bumping that happened which led to a very large chance of an accident happening.
Young women working in a canning shed.
Land work (Farms)- In farm work, there were very little family owned farms with their kids working on them. Typically, families with children travelled from farm-to-farm working under demanding labor that harmed all of the family’s bodies harshly. The child labor laws at the time didn’t apply to farms so, the family had no protection. Also, this meant that any child of any age could work at the farm in any conditions for however many hours the owner liked.