Name:  __________________________________      Date:  _____________________________

H6:  Industrial Age                                                                           Ms. Butkowski, Social Studies


The Power of Electricity

The harnessing of electricity completely changed the nature of business in America.  By 1890, electric power ran numerous machines, from fans to printing presses.  This inexpensive, convenient source of energy soon became available in homes and spurred the invention of time-saving appliances.  Electric streetcars made urban travel cheap and efficient and also promoted the outward spread of cities.

More important, electricity allowed manufacturers to locate their plants wherever they wanted溶ot just near sources of power, such as rivers.  This enabled industry to grow as never before.  Huge operations, such as the Armour and Swift meatpacking plants, and the efficiency processes that they used became models for new consumer industries.

  1.  How did electricity change business?

  2. How did electricity change life at home?


Industry changes the Environment

  1. By the mid-1870s, new ideas and technology were well on the way to changing almost every aspect of American life.  The location of Cleveland Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie and the completion of the Erie Canal, gave the city access to raw materials and made it ripe for industrialization. What no one foresaw were the undesirable side effects of rapid development and technological progress.


In 1874, parts of Cleveland were still rural, with farms like the one pictured dotting the landscape.  However, the Stand Oil refinery opens in Cleveland indicating the industrialization has begun.

Refining the landscape:  Industries like the Standard Oil refinery soon become a source of prosperity for both Cleveland and the entire county.  The pollution they belched into the atmosphere, however, was the beginning of an ongoing problem:  how to balance industrial production and environmental concerns.

standard oil.jpg

river fire.jpg

A river of fire:  Industrial pollution would affect not only the air but the water.  Refineries and steel mills discharged so much oil into the Cuyahoga River that major fires broke out in the water in 1936, 1952, and 1969.  The blaze destroyed three tugboats, three buildings, and the ship-repair yards.  In the 1969 fire, changes in the way industrial plants operated, along with the construction of wastewater treatment plants, helped restore the quality of the water.

  1. What were the undesirable side effects of industrialization?
  2. What changes occurred as the result of these problems?   (when?)_______________________________



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末末末末末末末末末末末 Samuel Gompers 末末末末末末末末末末末

Samuel Gompers (18501924) was born in London and immigrated to the United States as a boy. Gompers believed that workers could most effectively organize by joining with other workers of the same craft, or occupation, and that unions should seek reforms through negotiation with owners rather than

through politics. Three years after he gave this testimony to a Senate committee investigating the relations between labor (workers) and capital (owners), he founded the American Federation of Labor.


The reduction of the hours of labor reaches the very root of society. It gives the workingman better conditions and better opportunities, and makes of him what has been too long neglected預 consumer instead of a mere producer. The general reduction of the hours of labor to eight per day would reach

further than any other reformatory measure; it would be of more lasting benefit; it would create a greater spirit in the working man; it would make him a better citizen, a better father, a better husband, a better man in general.

Strikes ought to be, and in well-organized trade unions they are, the last means which workingmen resort to protect themselves against the almost never satisfied greed of the employers. Besides this, the strike is, in many instances, the only remedy within our reach as long as legislation is entirely indifferent to the interests of labor.

Wherever trades unions have organized and are most firmly organized, there are the right[s] of the people most respected. A people may be educated, but to me it appears that the greatest amount of intelligence exists in that country or that State where the people are best able to defend their rights, and their liberties as against those who are desirous of undermining them. Trades unions are organizations that instill into men a higher motive-power and give them a higher goal to look to.


Source: Testimony before U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor by

Samuel Gompers, August 16, 1883, in Relations Between Labor and Capital,

Report and Testimony, 48th Congress.

T H I N K T H R O U G H  H I S T O R Y : Analyzing Issues


1.      How would a labor union benefit the working man?

2.     When should unions strike?

3.     Where are the rights of the people most respected?




4.      What organization did Samuel Gompers form?


Inventions change lifestyles

Edison痴 light bulb was only one of several revolutionary inventions.  Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter in 1867 and changed the world of work.  Next to the light bulb, however, perhaps the most dramatic invention was the telephone, unveiled by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson in 1876.  It opened the way for a worldwide communications network.

The typewriter and the telephone particularly affected office work and created new jobs for women.  Although women made up less than 5 percent of all office workers in 1870, by 1910 they accounted for nearly 40 percent of the clerical work force.  New inventions also had a tremendous impact on factory work, as well as on jobs that had been done traditionally at home.  For example, women had previously sewn clothing by hand for their families.  With industrialization, clothing could be mass-produced in factories, creating a new for garment workers, many of whom were women.

Industrialization freed some factory workers from backbreaking labor and helped improve workers standard of living.  By 1890, the average workweek had been reduced by about ten hours.  However, many laborers felt that the mechanization of so many tasks reduced human workers worth.  As consumers, though, workers regained some of their lost power in the marketplace.  The country痴 expanding urban population provided a vast potential market for new invent9ions and products of the late 1800s.

1.        How were women affected by new technology?


2.        How did industrialization affect factory workers?




For four years we were allowed to make $2.25 a day at the prices of 1893, which was very good wages for a girl, but which we well earned, as it was very tedious and confining, and long hours. At the time the shops closed on account of the strike, I was earning on an average eighty cents a day, at the prices of 1894. It was very hard to have to work for such small wages as that, which would afford a person a mere existence. But the tyrannical and abusive treatment we received from our forewoman made our daily cares so much harder to bear. She was a woman who had sewed and lived among us for years, one, you would think, who would have some compassion on us when she was put in a position to do so. When she was put over us by the superintendent as our forewoman, she seemed to delight in showing her power in hurting the girls in every possible way. At times her conduct was almost unbearable. She was so abusive to certain girls that she disliked, that they could not stand it, and would take their time and leave, who would otherwise have been working there today. If she could make you do a piece of work for twenty-five cents less than the regular price, she would do so every time. In fact she cut a great deal of work

down herself. I have had many a dispute with her myself about cutting down our prices just to get the work done cheaper, thinking she would stand in better with the Company. She was getting $2.25 a day and she did not care how much we girls made, whether we made enough to live on or not, just so long as she could figure to save a few dollars for the Company. When a girl was sick and asked to go home during the day, she would tell them to their face they were not sick, the cars had to be got out, and they could not go home. She also had a few favorites in the room, to whom she gave all the best work, that they could make the most money on. We would complain of her to the foreman and general foreman, but they all upheld her, and if you were not willing to take her abuse you could go. There is now lying in Mr. Wickes office in Chicago a petition signed by fifteen girls in the sewing room, requesting her removal.

There are only eighteen girls working under her. No doubt she will remain in the employ of the Pullman Company, as that is just the kind of people they want at the heads of their departments熔ne who will help grind down their laborers. My father worked for the Pullman Company for ten years. Last summer he was sick for three months, and in September he died. At the time of his death we owed the Pullman Company about sixty dollars for rent. I was working at the time and they told me I would have to pay that rent, give what I could every pay-day, until it was paid. I did not say I would not pay, but thought rather than be thrown out of work I would pay it. Many a time I have drawn nine and ten dollars for two weeks work, paid seven dollars for my board and given the Company the remaining two or three dollars on the rent, and I still owe them fifteen dollars. Sometimes when I could not possibly give them anything, I would receive slurs and insults from the clerks in the bank, because Mr. Pullman would not give me enough in return for my hard labor to pay the rent for one of his houses and live.


Give two examples of how women working for the Pullman Company were treated:



Why do you think they were treated that way?  _______________________________________________________



Labor Unions Emerge

Long hours and Danger:  One of the largest employers, the steel mills, often demanded a seven day workweek.  Seamstresses, like factory workers in most industries, worked 12 or more hours a day, six days a week.   Employees were not entitled to vacation, sick leave, unemployment compensation or reimbursement for injuries suffered on the job.

Yet injuries were common.  In dirty, poorly ventilated factories, workers had to perform repetitive, mind-dulling tasks, sometimes with dangerous or faulty equipment.  In 1882, an average of 675 laborers was killed in work-related accidents each week.  In addition, wages were so low that most families could not survive unless everyone had a job.  Between 1890 and 1910, for example, the number of women working doubled, from 4 million to more than 8 million.  Twenty percent of the boys and 10 percent of the girls under age 15耀ome as young as five years old預lso held full time jobs.   With little time or energy left for school, child laborers forfeited their futures to help their families make ends meet.

In sweatshops, or workshops in tenements rather than in factories, workers had little choice but to put up with the conditions.  Sweatshop employment, which was tedious and required few skills, was often the only avenue open to women and children.

Not surprisingly, sweatshop jobs were paid the lowest wages熔ften as little as 27 cents for a child痴 14-hour day.  In 1899, women earned an average of $267 a year, nearly half of men痴 average pay of $498.  The very next year Andrew Carnegie made $23 million謡ith no income tax.

How did working conditions contribute to the growth of the labor movement?