The industrial revolution should have been a tremendous blessing to working men and woman but temporarily ended up being the opposite. Working conditions were not good because of the greed of the factory owners and the desire for nonstop running of machines. The average work week was six days with many workers averaging twelve and fourteen hour days. The worse part of the entire situation was that children as young as six years old were working in factories under the same conditions as the adults. The industrial revolution was a curse to the working man.
There were no safety guidelines established, no laws or agencies to provide rules to make sure workers were in a safe environment to produce the inventory, so people would become sick from the unsanitary working conditions. It’s noted that “their complexion is sallow and pallid with a peculiar flatness of feature, caused by the want of proper quantity of adipose substance to cushion out the checks. Their stature low, the average height of four hundred men, measured at different times, and different places, being five feet six inches. Their limbs slender, and playing badly and ungracefully” (Document 1).
Clearly the environment was causing physical deformities. There were few labor laws so children were forced to work and at times were treated harshly and violently. They often were beaten and whipped to continue there labors. The labor laws that did exist were rarely enforced so the employers had no restrictions as to how they would treat there workers. “Sarah Gooder, age eight says ‘I’m a trapper in a Gawber pit. It does not tire me, but I have to trap without light and I’m scared. I go at four and sometimes half past three in the morning, and come out at five and half past. I never go to sleep” (Document 4).
In the absence of unions there was no one to defend the rights of the workers, and they needed the work to take care of their families. Subsequently, they were forced into the conditions they found themselves in. “You say you would prefer moderate labor and low wages are you pretty comfortable with your present wages?’ ‘I have no wages but two days a week at present and when I am working at other jobs I made little and at others I do very poorly” (Document 2).
Because there were no shifts, there were fewer jobs available. The result was that the same workers would work excessive hour leaving no room for other workers to find jobs. The industrial revolution began as a curse to the working man because of the lack of protections and standards in the work place.
However with the introduction of trade unions labor laws were later passed to protect adult workers, and to keep children under age out of dangerous work conditions. The unions also limited the number of hours and days per week one could work. Although the early use of the machines was a curse, the actual invention of the machines in the industrial revolution was long term a blessing to the working man.