Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/12

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

where the product of the worker is never more than a fraction of any finished "whole" and where no greater demand is made upon the brain than that it shall see that the muscles of the arm, the hand, or the finger execute movements at specific times and continuously in connection with machinery, there are few such compensations or alleviations; and the general result to the individual working under such conditions can not, to say the least, be in the line of either healthy mental or physical development. Happily, however, the number of industries, in which division of labor and its subordination to machinery has been productive of such extreme results, is not very large; the manufacture of boots and shoes by modern machine methods, in which every finished shoe is said to represent sixty-two distinct mechanical employments or products, being perhaps the most notable. And yet even here there is not a little in way of compensating benefit to be credited to such a system. Thus, for example, it is stated that "the use of machinery has compelled employes to apply themselves more closely to their work; and, being paid by the piece, has enabled them to make better wages." When shoemaking was a handicraft, "the hours of labor were very irregular; the workmen, who decided their own hours of labor, working some days only a few hours, and then working far into the night for a few days to make up for lost time. It was once customary for shoemakers (in New England) to work on an average fifteen hours a day;" now the hours of labor in the shoe-factories are not in excess of ten hours. It is also claimed that the introduction of the sewing-machine into the manufacture of boots and shoes has greatly increased the opportunities for the employment of women, at better rates of wages. In the manufacture of clothing, which, in routine and monotony, is analogous to the manufacture of boots and shoes, it is generally conceded that the influence of the sewing-machine has been to increase wages, and that "notwithstanding the constantly growing use of these machines, the number of employes is greater than formerly, owing to the enlargement of the business."[1] Furthermore, the "collective work which admits of being carried on by the factory principle of great subdivision of labor and by the bringing together of large numbers of people under one roof and one control" does not at present, in the United States, give occupation to more than one in ten of all who follow gainful occupations in the whole country; while for the other nine the essential elements of industrial success continue, as of old, to be found in individual independence and personal mental capacity; and this experience of the United States will probably find a parallel in all other manufacturing countries.

  1. "Report on the Statistics of Wages," J. D. Weeks, U.S. Census, vol. xx.