Byline: Nell Nelson; 1888-08-01; Chicago Times; pages 1-2
One of the chance acquaintances I made at the never-rip jersey factory worked three days for Julius Stein & Co., 122 Market street, received 63 cents for her labors about ten days after leaving. One-third of 63 cents is 21 2/5 cents. That is the way Stein & CO solve the problem; but the question is one that capital, Christianity, and civilization are invited to analyze. "Don't never go to Stein's" the little girl said, "It's an awful place." On Saturday I tumbled out of bed at 6 AM and donned my factory clothes. On the way down-town the street-car met with an eight-minute obstruction in the shape of a load of bricks, and when I reached the manufacturing establishment of Julius Stein & Co. it was 8:32 o'clock. The elevator took me up one story and I was told to "get out." I told the boy at the rope that I wished to go up to the work room. "You're too late," he said. "Have to take the freight elevator down at the back of the store." Down I walked as directed past long tables that towered with long cloaks, dolmans, ulsters, jackets, and short wraps; past two or three busy, unobserving clerks, past a pair of forbidding looking men who glared at me from under their black hats and blacker brows; past an earthen-grey stringy crash towel that waved at hast mast above a dirty wash-basin; past a tier of closets that emitted a stifling odor, and on down to the packing room. I waited for a big, lusty packer to finish pummelling the mischevous little Swede who ran the elevator and was carried up to the top floor with a box of cloth. When the car landed I found myself at the extreme end of a room 50 X 180 feet, in an inclosure of wire-fence, packing-boxes, and cutting-boards, beyong and between which I could see perhaps two-hundred persons, mostly women, bent over machines, and working only as slaves ever work. The thundering [two unreadable words] of the machinery deadened every other [two undreadable words] even that made by the cutters as they ran their heavy shears through the [undreadable] and muslin trimmings.
Description:The third article in Nell Nelson's series on women and girls who work in Chicago's factories. Nelson went undercover and worked in the factories as research for the piece.
Rights: Public Domain