Men at Work by Lewis Hine
Empire State Building Series, 1930
The construction of the Empire State Building began back in the 1930’s. It employed around 3,400 workers, most of them being European immigrants. Hine found the perfect setting for his photographs here because it exposed the daily dangers the workers were subjected to. It revealed the huge risks these workers were willing to go through to get the job done. The photographs showed the working conditions, that lacked any kind of security, with people in a delicate balance and acrobatic poses that trusted God or luck not to fall. The employees were who knows how many feet up in the air without any sort of safety rope to help them hold on incase of a mishap. It is quite strange that evening these terrifying conditions only five workers died in work accidents during the construction of the building. Just goes to show how dedicated these brave men were. After the Empire State Building was completed, Hine’s published his book Men at Work, emphasizing the dangers of the workplace.
Power House Mechanic Working on Steam Pump
Man working the Empire State Building, 1930
The Construction of the Empire State Building, 1930-1931
Empire State Building Series, 1930
I think these photographs by Lewis Hine of men working on the Empire State building shows what work when working in industrialisation as it shows the heights that you may have to work from and the dangers that come with working at those heights, as you can see in the photographs they don’t have any safety or support when working at the height that they are and that could possibly lead to death. This shows how tough work is in the industrial society as you’re doing a job that could potentially kill you. Working in the industrial society is portrayed very effectively in these photographs as Lewis Hine was there with the works documenting what was happening. This shows working in industrialisation exactly as it is and shows how hard work was for the workers as they had to work on such tall buildings like the Empire State Building, without safety or support of any kind.
Lewis Hine, 1910
A century ago our country was very poor, flooded with all sorts of immigrants and migrates. Such a rapid increase of population and pretty much nowhere to house them all. However, the saddest part is not the fact that there were at least eight families living in one house but that there were many children left to fend for themselves in the streets. In the New York of Riis’s day approximately 100,000 children lived on the streets, making a living for their survival by selling newspapers, blacking boots, begging, and stealing. These children lived in the slums of New York slept wherever they could.
This statement proves how tough it was around the time of industrialisation as it tells you how badly children had to live, being on the streets, surviving off of selling newspapers, blacking people’s boots, begging and even stealing. These children lived in the slums of New York and slept wherever they could. At least eight families living in one house, those that couldn’t fit in houses were living on streets and a lot of the time those people living on streets were children.
Children sleeping in Mulberry Street by Jacob Riis
New York, United States (1890)
As you can see in the picture above these three children had nowhere to sleep so decided to sleep on the street of Mulberry Street. The homeless children were either left by their drunken parents or left in search of a better future. At times the children were lucky enough to find a lodging house that would house them. They had to pay rent of course but it was better than sleeping and starving on the cold streets of New York. The children having to pay rent to stay in a lodging house shows how much those children must of had to work to be able to afford to stay living in that house, they would of had to have tried to be employed by industrial factories and worked many long hours to have the money to afford their living.
Child Carrying Two Boxes of Fruit
The demand for labour increased in the late 19th century, many children were drawn into the labour force. The factory wages their parents earned were so low that the children often had to work to help support their families. These photographs really show how bad the industrial society got and how tough work was as they had to bring in children and have children work alongside the industrial workers and from the photos you can tell how some don’t look very old at all. For young children to be working such tough jobs it must of been really hard for them to cope and that again shows the amount of work you have to put in when working in industrialisation, also a lot of the young workers are dirty and looking really tired so that shows how hard work was like back then as nowadays children of that age wouldn’t be working and probably wouldn’t until they’re around sixteen.
With the children being paid a lower wage than the adults it also shows how tough it can be in the industrial society as they’re willing to employ children under the age of 15 to do the jobs that their parents would be doing. Children were employed due to being good for work because of their small hands, which made them more suitable to handle small parts and tools, this proves how dangerous the industrial society is again as those children may not know how to handle those small parts and tools and they could cause themselves a lot of damage. As well as this, working in factories often lead to serious health problems for children, for example, most were underweight, had stunted growth and curvature of the spine.
This little boy in the picture above who worked in the coalmines also developed diseases such as tuberculosis or bronchitis from breathing in all those fumes, he also faced a higher accident rate because the children were small enough to crawl deeper into the mine and risk being crushed or drowned if the mine was flooded. All the hard work and long hours that the children put in also reduced their childhood and innocence as at such a young age they were already used to the work of an adult, putting up with the stress, tough work and long hours that they’d be putting up with.