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The water cascades over rugged cliffs, fall 77 feet, and rushes through the Passaic river Gorge. Paterson, new Jersey was developed in the 1790s to use the strength of these falls. Massive brick mill structures lined the canals that transformed the strength of the drops into energy to drive machines. These mills manufactured numerous things during the long background of this industrial city--cotton textiles, steam locomotives, Colt revolvers, and aircraft engines. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they developed silk fabrics in such amounts that Paterson was known as "Silk City." In 1913, however, the mills stood silent for five months as workers joined in a bitterness strike that lugged the city national attention.

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The suburban home where leaders of the radical commercial Workers the the human being rallied hundreds of workers on Sunday afternoons still stands. The elaborate home of one of the mill owner still looks down over the city native its influential position ~ above the side of Garret Mountain. Many of the mill buildings also survive, mute witnesses to a unstable history.


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What kind of job-related do friend think is being performed in this photo?
Setting the Stage

The beforehand 20th century was a time of increased conflict between labor and also management throughout the united States. Indigenous the textile mills of the Northeast, to the stole mills and factories the the Midwest, come the mines and lumber camps that the Rocky mountain West, hundreds of workers almost everywhere the country walked picket lines. Follow to one source, there were at least 1,800 occupational stoppages a year at the turn of the century and as many as 2,000 a year in 1910.¹ among the most well known strikes arisen in Paterson, new Jersey, in 1913, when more than 20,000 silk workers joined in an industry-wide strike that lasted more than five months.Silk was a relative latecomer in Paterson"s long commercial history. The city had been developed during the good debate of the 1790s between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and their allies about industrial development. Hamilton urged the development of the culture for Establishing useful Manufactures (S.U.M.), a private corporation the selected the an excellent Falls that the Passaic together the ar for an industrial city in 1792. By 1794 the S.U.M. Had actually completed the an initial of a series of canals to harness the strength of the drops for commercial use. Once the very first "manufactory" failed in 1796, the S.U.M. Abandoned production to come to be a real estate and also energy broker, leasing water power and land to exclusive entrepreneurs, inventors, and also industrialists right into the short article World battle II era.Silk was very first manufactured in Paterson in 1840, however did not prosper until after the civil War, when high tariffs on imported silk commodities helped American producers compete with your European rivals. Silk manufacturing was a huge business prior to the job of synthetics. Silk, the "queen of fibers," dominated high fashion and also the high-end trade, however women in ~ all economic levels wanted their "best dresses" to it is in silk. Paterson had many benefits for the silk trade. It had actually abundant water gives for power and processing and good transportation facilities. It likewise was nearby to new York City, the facility of the fashion industry. Many importantly, Paterson had a supply of employees who interpreted the peculiar features of the fragile silk fiber. By the 1880s, the city was developing almost half of the silk produced in the joined States and also had deserve a nationwide reputation together "Silk City."¹Bernard Bailyn, Robert Dallek, et al. The good Republic (D.C. Heath and also Company, 1981), 611.


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Questions for Map 1

1. Determine the Passaic River. Paterson is located at the an excellent Falls that the Passaic, wherein the river cuts with the edge of the Wachung Mountains and drops nearly 80 feet. Why would this location have appealed to men searching for an industrial site at the finish of the 18th century?

2. Keep in mind the street between new York City and also Paterson. New York to be the center of the fashion industry, the harbor of entry for imported raw silk, the nation"s leading funding market, and the embarkation suggest for countless immigrants. How do friend think Paterson"s proximity to brand-new York influenced its success together a silk production center?


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(Published v permission of room of ar Development, Paterson, NJ)Key come Map 2:1. Barbour Flax Spinning company Complex, 1860-1881. Among the largest linen works in the U.S. In the late 19th century.2. Dolphin Mill Complex, 1844, 1869. Originally spun hemp right into rope, later produced jute carpeting.3. Rogers Locomotive firm Complex, 1871-1881. The largest of three locomotive tree in Paterson in the late 19th century. Continued in operation until 1926.4. S.U.M. Upper Raceway, 1827-1846.5. Casper Silk Mill, 1900-1915.6. S.U.M. Center Raceway, 1792-1802.7. Cooke Locomotive firm Complex, 1830s, 1881.8. Hamilton Mill, includes remains of an initial S.U.M. Noodle mill. Offered for silk weaving and also throwing in the 1910s. Damaged by fire.9. Franklin Mill, ca. 1870, ca. 1920. Built as a noodle mill, later used to develop machinery, steam fire engines, locomotives. Housed a foundry and silk weaving in the 1910s.10. Essex Mill, 1850s, 1870s. Incorporates portion of 1803 Old Yellow Mill provided for experiment in manufacturing file in constant sheets. Later produced silk mosquito netting. Provided for silk weaving in the 1910s.11. Allied Textile Printers Complex, 1836 with numerous later additions. The an initial Colt revolver was made in the 1836 total Mill building. Experiments in producing silk were begun here in 1838. Man Ryle, the first to to produce silk successfully, activate a silk functions in the building from 1840 to his fatality in 1887. In the 1910s, many of the facility housed one of Paterson"s largest silk dye works. Other buildings were offered for silk weaving. The complex was serious damaged by fire in the 1980s.12. Congdon Mill, ca. 1915. Offered by various silk manufacturers.13. Phoenix Mill, ca. 1813, 1826-27, 1880. Initially a cotton mill, was offered for silk start in the 1860s. Also manufactured silk-processing equipment. Provided for silk weaving in 1910s.14. Harmony and also Industry Mills, 1876, 1878-79. Harmony Mill initially used because that cotton. Both mills own by william Adams and also Co., silk manufacturers. Offered for silk dyeing and also weaving in 1910s.15. S.U.M. Lower Raceway, 1807.Questions because that Map 21. Using the key, research Map 2 carefully. Locate the upper, middle, and also lower raceways. These canals lugged water indigenous the falls to the mills. Turbines and also gears convert it into power to run machinery. The S.U.M. Expanded the raceways together the demands of manufacturers because that land and also water rights grew. The mills follow me the raceways continued to usage water power till the beforehand 20th century. Why could they have used water power after steam, electricity, and other resources of power came to be available? Why would certainly this have been a financially rewarding operation for the S.U.M.?2. How numerous different markets were located in the mills in the historic district? How many of the mills were provided for silk?3. Locate the area significant "Dublin." countless of the homes in this area date from the at an early stage 19th century. Both owners and also workers resided in Dublin throughout that period. Why execute you think that was the case? by the beforehand 20th century, those who can afford to had moved the end to the suburbs, which might now be got to by streetcar. Why carry out you think civilization would have wanted to relocate out of the city if they had the opportunity?


Determining the FactsReading 1: functioning "In the Silk"

Silk is a herbal fiber taken native the cocoons that the silk worm. The silk fibers space so fine that a solitary pound can measure 1,000 come 1,500 miles or also more. All raw silk provided in Paterson to be imported, principally native China, Japan, and Italy. The process of producing silk structure was split into 4 stages: cram (twisting the silk fibers right into threads solid enough come be offered in the looms), dyeing, weaving, and also finishing. In 1913, Paterson dominated the weaving that high quality vast silk and ribbon.¹Paterson"s re-publishing in the silk dyeing sector was expanding. In the dye houses, workers dipped skeins (length of subject wound in a loosened long coil) that silk thread and also pieces of towel into large vats of warm chemicals. Almost every one of the employees were men. Grasp dyers, numerous from classic silk centers like Lyons, France, or Como, Italy, were highly skilled craftsmen. Dyers" helpers were generally unskilled and also low paid. Italian dye residence workers had actually a call for gift political radicals.In Paterson"s ribbon and large silk weaving factories, the delicacy and also high cost of the fiber and also the worth of the finish product characterized the work, the functioning conditions, and the relations in between the workers and also the owners. Weavers were professional workers. Many were immigrants, frequently from traditional silk textile locations in England, Germany, and also Italy. Nearly half were women, but men dominated the finest paying jobs. Children began work at around age 14 and might spend the rest of their working stays "in the silk." They might expect to move up to professional jobs favor weaver or loom fixer or even, in rarely cases, live independence manufacturer. Workers that wanted to set up in service for themselves did no need lot money come rent room in the old mills follow me the S.U.M. Raceways. Many of expert labor to be available, and also the brand-new owners us could provide the necessary experience and also expertise.The working day to be 10 hrs long by 1913, v a fifty percent day on Saturday. Earnings were well listed below the typical for market as a whole. Countless workers preferred working in the silk mills to various other employment, however. Since the assets were for this reason valuable, the mills were normally clean. The silk threads had actually to be watched carefully to detect and also correct problems, so great lighting to be critical. Brand-new mills, located almost everywhere Paterson through the early on 20th century, were closely designed to administer the necessary natural light. Your machinery was well protected and spaced to permit the employees to move roughly in safety.In despite the of the owners" efforts to alleviate silk weaving come a collection of straightforward tasks that could be perform by unskilled workers, many operations affiliated a high relationship of hand work that depended on the skill of the separation, personal, instance worker. In testimony it is registered to a congressional committee, a silk manufacturer native Connecticut reported:

The hand of the silk worker are among his most necessary assets. . . . Machine does not do away through the use of hand in silk manufacture. The hands still remain, and will always remain, in my opinion, a an extremely important variable in the operation. A male with clumsy, aer hands taking care of silk warp is a an extremely different factor from the guy whose grandfather prior to him handled the silk fabric.²

Conflict in between labor and management was usual in Paterson"s silk industry. Between 1881 and 1900 over there were virtually 140 strikes. Numerous silk workers came from nations with long legacies of commitment come the functioning class and willingness to confront management to enhance working conditions. Return they go not form permanent unions, lock organized successfully at the factory level to defend themselves versus changes in traditional work practices, to withstand wage to reduce in tough times, and also to demand raises when sales to be up. In most at an early stage strikes the workers took pleasure in support transparent the community. It was the employees who chosen the city officials and who to be friends or relatives of the police, customers of the merchants, and also members the the churches.By the first decade of the 20th century, virtually every broad-silk and ribbon-silk mill had one or more labor organizations. A 1911 government survey that the silk industry credited organized labor in Paterson with achieving the 55-hour week and also delaying the advent of the four-loom system that was currently common in brand-new mills elsewhere in the country.Beginning in the 1880s, Paterson"s owners began moving few of their operations to Pennsylvania, in component to stop labor disputes. Reaction to raised competition, lock tried to readjust work rule that had actually been embraced for a generation. Lock used distinctions of gender, ethnicity, skill, and also ideology to save workers divided. One enlarged and also strengthened police force started to check out labor protest as a risk to created society. Violence, discrimination against Italians and other current immigrants, and also repression the radicals increased. By 1913, the old ways of stable disputes between the workers and the owners were no longer working.

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Questions for analysis 11. What were the significant steps in silk production? Why would certainly the mill owners want to rest the process down right into so countless separate steps? How could that have impacted the workers?2. Exactly how would you define working conditions in the silk industry? In what ways was functioning in a silk mill much better than working in various other industries?3. What did the workers hope to obtain from their regular strikes?

Reading 1 was adapted from john A. Herbst and also Catherine Keene, Life and Times in Silk City (Haledon, NJ: The American job Museum, 1984); Philip Scranton, ed., Silk City, studies on the Paterson Silk Industry, 1860-1940 (Newark: new Jersey historical Society, 1985); U.S. Senate, Report on problem of Woman and Child Wage-Earners in the united States, Vol. IV: The Silk sector (Washington, government Printing Office, 1911); National commercial Conference Board, hours of job-related as concerned Output and Health the Workers: Silk Manufacturing, research Report No. 16 (Boston, Mass.: 1919); and James Sheire, "Pietro Botto House" (Passaic County, NJ) National historical Landmark Documentation, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Room of the Interior, national Park Service, 1982.¹ structure 12" or an ext in broad were classified as large silk, used primarily for clothing and home decoration. Fabrics under 12" wide were classed as ribbon goods and also were offered for trim in hats, clothing, and decorating.² National commercial Conference Board, hrs of job-related as concerned Output and Health in Workers: Silk Manufacturing, study Report No. 16 (Boston, MA: 1919), 20.