EXAMPLE FROM GASKELL 1
The mean temperature in the factories may be taken at 70° Fahrenheit. In dressing and finishing, a much higher temperature is necessary in the present mode of going through these operations. It is, however, likely that certain changes will be introduced, very shortly, which will very considerably modify this. Inquiries amongst the dressers have shown that as a body they are by no means unhealthy when their habits are moderately regular. They earn excellent wages, perspire during their work very copiously, and in place of supplying this waste by proper food, drink largely, a fact quite sufficient to account for their occasional illnesses and general emaciated appearance. Temperature in itself is in no wise injurious to health, provided it is not joined with close and imperfectly ventilated situations. The difficulty in the mills has always been the keeping up the requisite degrees of heat, with a free admission of fresh air; and some years ago the system was decidedly noxious. By means of steam-pipes traversing the rooms in various directions, and giving out certain known quantities of heat, the mischief has, in a great measure, been done away with; and in the best regulated mills, the temperature, though considerable, is in no farther degree oppressive or injurious than as its relaxing muscular tonicity. Hot climates may be, and are healthy, when cleared from vegetable undergrowth, and free from swampy soils. Humboldt, and other travellers and observers, have examined this point quite sufficiently. Heat generates miasma fatal to human life, wherever moisture, joined, as it universally is in tropical countries, with rank vegetation, exists. The littoral districts of New Spain, the cedar swamps bordering the great South American rivers, the jungles of Africa, and of the torrid zone in Asia, bear evidence how deadly an influence may be produced by vegetable decomposition, &c. &c. Beyond these, however, perfect salubrity is quite compatible with a very elevated temperature.
EXAMPLE FROM GASKELL 2
The researches of Patissier, in relation to cotton-spinners, led him to remark, “These workmen constantly inhale an atmosphere loaded with very fine cotton dust, which excites the bronchi, provokes cough, and maintains a perpetual irritation in the lungs. They are often obliged to change their employment in order to avoid phthisis.” Similar observations have been made with regard to other branches of trade, such as stone-masons, bakers, furriers, feather-dressers, knitters, flax-dressers, &c. &c. In the words of Mr. Thakrah, “The dust largely inhaled in respiration irritates the air tubes, produces at length organic disease of its membrane, or of the lungs themselves, and often excites the development of tubercles in constitutions predisposed to consumption.” These remarks refer more particularly to the filing, &c. of metals. In the production of yarn, the cotton has to go through several processes, some of which are attended by considerable quantities of dust, and minute filaments. In the scutching and blowing department, especially where coarse and inferior cotton is used, spite of every precaution, much dust is diffused through the rooms. There are many contrivances to lesson this inconvenience, such as turning a strong current of air over the blowing machine, an aperture being made to permit the escape of flue outside – covering the machines with woodwork so as to isolate them in some degree, &c. &c. These succeed to some extent. After the first process into the card rooms, and is here further cleaned, and advanced another step towards being converted into yarn. Here also, where coarse cotton is employed, there is a quantity of dust and filaments thrown off, and it is here perhaps that most inconvenience is felt. When, however, fine cotton, of the first qualities, is used, very little dust arises from it. The system of better ventilation and attention to cleanliness, which is spreading among the mills, has already freed many of them from the greater portion of the atmosphere of dust, which, not many years ago, rendered it difficult to breathe in those divisions in which the first processes were carried on. Much remains to be done, and there is no doubt, that, as far as human invention can succeed in ridding the mills from dust and flue, this will be effected; for it is advantageous to have them as clean, &c. as possible.
EXAMPLE FROM GASKELL 3
Their complexion sallow and pallid, with a peculiar flatness of feature, caused by the want of a proper quantity of adipose substance to cushion out the cheeks. Their stature low; the average height of four hundred men, measured at different times, and different places, being five feet six inches. Their limbs slender, and playing badly and ungracefully. A frequent bowing of the legs. Great numbers of girls and women walking awkwardly. Many have flat feet, accompanied with a down-tread, differing very widely from the elasticity of action in the foot and ankle attendant upon perfect formation. Hair thin and straight; many of the men having but little beard, a sprawling and wide action of the legs, and an appearance, taken as a whole, giving the world but “little assurance of a man,” or if so, “most sadly cheated of his fair proportions.” Beauty of face and form are both lost in angularity, while the flesh is soft and flabby to the touch, yielding no “living rebound” beneath the finger. The hurry of this juncture brings out very strongly all their manifold imperfections. “It is,” says Dr. Ure, “perfectly true that the Manchester people have a pallid appearance, but this, for two reasons, is certainly not attributable to factory labour; first, because those who do not work in factories are equally pallid and unhealthy-looking with those that do; and the Sick Society returns show that the physical condition of the latter is not inferior. Secondly, because the health of those engaged in country cotton-factories, which generally work more hours than town ones, are not injured even in appearance. Many a blooming, cheerful countenance may be seen in Mr. Greg’s mill at Quarry Bank, near Welinslow, are equally well-looking.”* There are several errors in this statement, one of which is that the non-factory labourers are as pale and unhealthy-looking as the factory labourers; on the contrary, the out-door artisans of Manchester and its vicinity are a fresh-looking, healthy set of men, when of sober habits.