These were the Breaker Boys.
The boys didn’t wear gloves, masks or other safety equipment, despite facing many dangers. This was common—safety was often an afterthought to productivity in the late 1800s. Breaker boys often cut their hands on the slate or had fingers amputated. Some would become caught in the conveyor belt and be flung into the grinding gears of the machinery. Those who fell into the flow of coal were crushed or smothered by the mass. Many lost their feet, legs, hands, or arms. Wet coal leached sulfuric acid, which burned their unprotected hands. Dry coal kicked up dust, which can cause asthma and black lung disease.By the 1920s, several factors help bring the boys out of the mines. New laws made school attendance mandatory, machinery could do the work faster, and public outrage ended the era of breaker boys.
Oh my that was horrible - and the kids these days complain...ReplyDelete
Child labour was frequently very, very dangerous. I am so glad that it is less common (but not gone) now.ReplyDelete
Much labor in mines and factories was horrible and dangerous and even more so for the children forced to work there. Every child deserves a childhood.ReplyDelete
I did not know this, although I have heard of "Breaker Boys", just never looked then up. Life back then was hard for children.ReplyDelete
An interesting slice of history...ReplyDelete