St. Gallen Embroidery - Working Conditions

Working Conditions

Initially, embroidery was primarily or even almost exclusively women's work, this changed abruptly with the introduction of embroidery machines. The work on the machine was exclusively men's work, the woman was, however, still required as a helper-she took care of the replacement of broken needles and the threading, if a thread had ended.

In traditional historiography, the above-mentioned advantages of home work were accentuated-in 1877 Dr. Wagner from the Schweizerische Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft wrote about factory work that "The greatest misery of our time is the dissolution of the family"-so it is now generally judged more critically. First, the earnings of homeworkers were at times very low, and secondly, many children and even grandparents had to work at the embroidery machines, in order to earn enough to survive.

While the majority of the home-workers lived in a reasonable housing with a comfortable quality of life, the workrooms were often bad, because these were in damp, poorly heated and poorly ventilated rooms (which was, for the quality of the produced textile, an advantage). The traditional historiography always emphasized the interaction between the textile industry and agriculture. The farmers, ideally would use their free time productively, have job variation, and a supplement to their poor income. Undeniably, this was actually true for a few farms. However, the competition was fierce and the loan for the machine would have to be paid back, so that often little time was left for agriculture. Also, the rough work of a farmer was not conducive for the fine embroidery work, so that many of these agricultural enterprises could only perform coarser embroidery works. Excluded from this was the pure hand embroidery by women, as it was predominantly done in Appenzell-Innerrhoden until well into the 20th century.

The earnings of the embroiderers were generally quite good, especially for the self-employed homeworkers. It was worse for the auxiliaries, who often lived from hand to mouth. The working days, notably in times of great demand, were very long. The workday lasted 10–14 hours, which caused health damage because of straining of the muscles-most embroidery machines were still operated by hand-and anemia or pulmonary tuberculosis. Moreover, the position of the embroiderers in front of the pantographs was, from an ergonomic point of view, extremely bad-the chest was severely compressed in its development and the spine was crooked. A full 25% of all embroiderers were already classified "unfit for service" at their mustering.

Also, the infant mortality in the northern, industrialized districts of the canton of St. Gallen was extraordinarily high. Various doctors tried to counteract this problem with studies and public education in the areas of health, nutrition counseling, and child care-with measurable success. Through the awareness especially of the teachers for hygiene and in the hiring of specific medics for schools, the hygiene awareness of the population improved considerably. Since 1895, the soldiers in the barracks were also supposed to shower regularly . In addition to external cleanliness the attention of the doctors also came to the "hygiene of the stomach"-the diet. Dairy and meat products were advertised as healthy and tobacco and carbohydrates came into disrepute. This benefitted the agricultural sector, which also increasingly focused on the livestock industry. Even the hitherto totally normal consumption of large amounts of alcohol was discouraged.

Read more about this topic:  St. Gallen Embroidery

Other articles related to "condition, working condition, working conditions, working":

Sweating System - Positions On Sweatshops - Pro-sweatshop Arguments
... The theory holds that developing countries improve their condition by doing something that they do "better" than industrialized nations (in this case, they charge less ... When asked about the working condition in sweatshops, proponents say that although wages and working conditions may appear inferior by the standards of developed ... Although the working conditions and wages in these factories were very poor, the agricultural nature of the economy shifted into a manufacturing one because of this industrialization ...
History Of The British Labour Party - Wartime Coalition (1940–1945)
... which did much to improve the living standards and working conditions of working-class Britons ... National Service, Ernest Bevin did much to improve working conditions, raising the wages of the lowest paid male workers, such as miners, railwaymen, and agricultural labourers, while also persuading ... This was important both for improving working conditions and for cementing worker consent to the war effort, and as a result of Bevin’s efforts, doctors, nurses, and welfare officers ...
Sweating System - Positions On Sweatshops - Anti-sweatshop Movement
... Some advocates focused on working conditions and found common cause with trade unions and Marxists and socialist political groups, or progressive movement and the muckrakers ... the status of sweatshops, the abolitionists working with the League of Nations and the United Nations ultimately backed away from efforts to define slavery, and ... Those focused on working conditions included Friedrich Engels, whose book The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 would inspire the Marxist movement named ...
Santa María School Massacre - Historical Background
... as the "social question"—namely, "the problem of worsening living and working conditions in the country's mining centers and major cities" The nitrate miners' strike of December 1907 was the last of a series of ... The enterprises exercised a severe control over the life and working conditions inside the mines, which rendered the workers extremely vulnerable to ... bring about improvements in their dreadful living and working conditions ...
Third Mate - National Details - United States - Working Conditions
... Mates employed on Great Lakes ships work 60 days and have 30 days off, but do not work in the winter when the lakes are frozen ... Workers on rivers, on canals, and in harbors are more likely to have year-round work ...

Famous quotes containing the words conditions and/or working:

    Brutus had rather be a villager
    Than to repute himself a son of Rome
    Under these hard conditions as this time
    Is like to lay upon us.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    Many working mothers feel guilty about not being at home. And when they are there, they wish it could be perfect.... This pressure to make every minute happy puts working parents in a bind when it comes to setting limits and modifying behavior.
    Cathy Rindner Tempelsman (20th century)