Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  January 18, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm EST

6:00 pm
to rounds on friday, and someone comes into a clinic who's 20 plus years old who's relatively recently infected, and i put them on the combination of three drugs, the cocktail of highly active antiviral therapy, i can look them in the eye and say, we could do mathematical modelling to say, if you take your medicine regularly, you can live an additional 55 years. to go from knowing that 50% of the people will die in eight months to knowing that if you take your medicines you can live a normal lifespan, just a little bit less than a normal lifespan. that's a huge advance. ares >> tonight at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
6:01 pm
>> produce a five to seven minute documentary, for a chance at $5,000, for a list of rules go to >> located at the edge of the water in baltimore's inner harbor, the baltimore museum of industry was once the plot oyster cannery. we visit the museum that employed over 20% of the city's workers in the early 20th century. >> first of all, let me introduce myself to you. my name is ed hawkins. i am a teacher here for the last 12 years, putting up the idea of what the business was like here 100 years ago. what we have here is a typical clothing company. i'm surprised that the number of children that come here that really do not know what the word
6:02 pm
"garment" means. so first of all, we try to get them indoctrinated into that word. so this was a garment clotheump or clothing company in 1920. what we have here is a little unusual that you find in a regular clothing company, because we have sewing machines and cutting machines all on the same floor, and that would not be in a garment company. the sewing people would be upstairs or down stairs and the colors and what have you would be on the top floors. we have here an example of a table, a cutting table. in the real world, it would be about 90 feet long and would probably be about three of them to a cutting floor. and we have in here, we talk about the beginning of the
6:03 pm
cutting business and what takes place in here, and we go through the various stages of the manufacturing of it. but we really have to go back to the civil war and let you know that there were uniforms for the soldiers and sailors being made across the river, in sal's point. and they were made in small, medium, and large, and they were very sloppy, so they were called slop. sometimes, a small was too big for a big guy and too small for a little guy, and there was no such thing as sizes. during the civil war, the government in its infinite wisdom, decided to take some statistics from these folks that was needing uniforms for the navy and the army, and they found out that the average height of a soldier or sailor during the civil war was 5'
6:04 pm
7.5". a man of that size would have a certain size arm neck and chest, and that's where the beginning of the sizing business started to go up. we were making uniforms for the north, of course. but what you might not know is we were making uniforms for the confederacy. they would ship their cotton up to baltimore and made and be woven into uniforms, and because of that, we would send it by boat or by train. so yeah, we were making uniforms. it was an entrepreneurship. it was money to be made in it. but in the very beginning, the german jewish immigrants that were coming into baltimore by the thousands, were really responsible for starting the garment for the clothing
6:05 pm
business here. they would do the -- the folks would do the cutting here in a building like this and then the cloth would be sent home to their wives or daughters, and they would do some of the finishing and sewing in their basement or in their living room. and then bring it back into the shop here again to have the finishing touches put on. and that's where the original word of "sweat shop" came from, because they were working in some pretty bad conditions in the houses, and even also here in the building here. oh, to tell you one other thing i have to tell you this, and it's usually a secret i keep to myself, but when i was 16, i worked in my father's garment business as a spreader. and i did the same thing the next year during the summer vacations when i was 17. and i have to tell you this, i
6:06 pm
really hated every minute of it, because it was a tough, tough job. first of all, let me explain to you some of the things that we did here. the guy who really made the best amount of money, and since we don't really have a complete idea of the actual amount that he made, i don't quote too many facts and figures about their salary, but the man who designs the suit, would get the best pay. he would probably design a suit for a size 38 man, and then we have to -- everybody doesn't wear a size 38. so consequently, we had to have a pattern maker, a man who cuts patterns, as we have sitting up there to the right, card board patterns on the hangers there, and he was graduating by an eighth of an inch up and down. and he would be the next amount of money, the next pay.
6:07 pm
we have an idea of what the cutters were making back in about the 1900s, a really, really good color could make between 600 and $800 a year. and the ladies that were working in the sewing department, they were working by each piece. they got paid for, but they could make between $5 and $7 a week. now, in my job, i was called a spreader. my job was to take the cloth and spread it on the table so that the cutters would have something to cut. i worked eight, nine hours a day as i used to back in the early days of the cutting business. the amount of time was about 10 hours a day. so why don't we follow me around this way here, guys, and i'll get behind the table and give you an idea of what i did. this machine right here is
6:08 pm
called a spreading machine. it has a track that runs the entire length of the table, which most likely would be about 90 feet. and my job as the spreader would be i'd come in in the morning and probably start work about 7:30 and i would have a work order. and my work order says i have to go upstairs to warehouse and get some bolts or material that have to have a -- it's a blue wool that has a red square stripe in it, in this case, it would have a lot number on it like 1234, and i'd find the material in the warehouse, bring it down, and i would put it on here, and then i would pull it out so i could have are it laid here very flat
6:09 pm
and i would take a tailor's weight, which was about eight pounds, and put it right on that spot right there and then i would take my spreading machine and travel the entire length of the table. you have to use your imagination now, all the way down, 90 feet away, until i got to the end. and then i would put a brass bar across this like this. the material would then fold over, and i'd go all the way back again. oh, i did not like that job too much. now, my work order says that i'm going to use this as an exaggeration, but we did cut things this thick. but i'm going to use 80 layers. so my work order today says i've got to put 80 layers of cloth on the table. now, i didn't work very fast when i was 16, and i certainly do not work very fast now
6:10 pm
either, because if i did when i was 16, it would put me on another table, and i'd have to do it all over again. now, lots of times when i went back and forth, i would forget to count. i never told my father that. i don't know how they started out, but sometimes i don't know if i was going to wind up with 80 layers or 75 layers or 82 layers, but they did find out that i was getting a little bit mixed up there so they came up with a new machine that had the thumb wheel on it, and every time i go down and back, i would change the thumb wheel, and that way i could sort of keep track of what i was doing. to make matters worse, here i'm a kid, 16 years old, and all these people around me are much, much older than i was, and they would kid me make jokes about all kinds of things and that would really get me upset and help me forget what count i was going to do. we didn't have electricity in
6:11 pm
downtown baltimore until 1881. so these guys were doing a lot of this stuff by hand. they would take -- and this is a sample of a size 40 man's sleeve. and if i were a cutter back then, i would lay it on a piece of cloth like this. i'd take a piece of tailor's chalk and go all the way around. that's just a sleeve for a size 40. and i would take that off and take this small pair of scissors. that's a joke, guys, okay. a small pair of scissors, and i would cut it out. but this is a clothing factory and we'd have to cut out more than one sleeve or more than one back. we'd have to do many, many backs at one time. so it's after 1881 the garment
6:12 pm
business is now really taking off. actually, the clothing business in baltimore was the number 1 business from the civil war all the way up through the second world war. and it was number 5 in the entire nation, of making men's clothes. we didn't make lady's clothes in the very beginning mainly because the ladies were not going out into the workplace to work until really from the end of the first world war and mostly during the second world war. so when they did get out to the marketplace, they had to have ready-made clothes, and that's when we started into making clothes for ladies. now, talking about the cutters, let's do this, i want to show you, what we have now after 1881, of course, once we got electricity here they came up with machines called vertical sheerz. i am going to simulate cutting 80 layers of cloth. 80 layers of cloth would be
6:13 pm
something about, oh, 3 inches thick. that would be -- it's quite rare to do this using the top of the exaggeration curve. mostly, we would be cutting 35 to 40 layers but i have seen cuts with 80 layers. it represents about 80 layers of material. and the lady's clothing business, it was nylon, rayon, and things like that >> you have to be very careful of the kind of material that you're cutting, because nylon materials were slippery and would move all over the place. you might start out in the front here with a size 40 but by the time you get to the bottom, it could be a size 38 or a 42, and you'd have to have weights on everything that you're cutting. each cutter would be responsible for about three sizes. let's say 32, 34, 36.
6:14 pm
or 90 for a table there. he had to lay out all his patterns. everything has to fit so that it's not wasting material. so it's going to take him from about 2:00 in the afternoon when i'm finished, to maybe the next morning, 10:00 or 11:00, where he would have his sizes all chalked in before it's time to start cutting. along here is the same thing as having the light rail in downtown baltimore. what this does is keeps them from having to plug this into his machine every time he moves down to another part of the table. what i'm going to do is simulate cutting in here, but i'm only cutting a piece of paper. so i'm going to turn on the power here and i'm going to get this thing working here. let's show you this guy here. i'm going to raise up the footing here and i'm going to
6:15 pm
start this, and i'm going to stop it very quickly. now, when it starts to stop, that's kind of crazy eye here, but when it starts at the top, you can see how fast that's going up and down. and i have to tell all my kids watching this, you know, there's four things you don't want to have in front of that blade and, of course, they come up with the fact that you don't want to have your fingers in front of it. remember, guys, i've got cloth on here this thick not just a piece of paper. let's get this guy started here. >> they're cutting out many,
6:16 pm
many layers of material. and, of course, then we go upstairs and downstairs to the ladies, and they would go ahead and finish their job and do what they had to do. now, over here i have a sample of a straight sewer. now, in some of the shops, they could have -- oh, they could have 30 machines like this. and i need to turn this on, because osha would never allow something like this today. the noise level would just be absolutely terrible. so here we go. we're just going to simulate for one cloth here. now, you take that noise and multiply it by about -- they have about 30 straight sewers on this shop, and they can see where the noise level would be deafening. it would just be terrible.
6:17 pm
it wasn't a nice place to work in the clothing business, because for instance, let me explain to you about the ladies here. you can see the sewing machines and they wouldn't be on the same floor as the cutters. they would be working upstairs or even down stairs and being paid by each piece that they do. not necessarily like an assembly line. for instance, each piece, each lady would have a specific job such as this lady right here. she might just do nothing but a sleeve, the other one might do another sleeve but it's not uncommon to be passed back and forth like that. okay, after we do all the sewing, before it could be sold and put out on the floor, it has to be ironed. ladies, i want to tell you something. men in the beginning did all the ironing. you're laughing.
6:18 pm
but that's the truth. the men did all the ironing. in the beginning, this is about a 10-pound one here, they would heat it over the fire and have a glove on. they'd iron for a little while, and have are to heat it all over again. this little guy here had a wooden handle. this was used for sleeves and things like that. the same thing that was heated over a hot fire. then one of the first irons that we have here was a gas iron like this. the gas that we're using is manufactured gas, gas that is created by burning coal. coal gas. the gas would come in and they'd light the internal workings of it. you have fire and heat inside of here and the plate would get hot and they would iron with that. that was a really, really big change. then when we got electricity this guy is about 22 pounds.
6:19 pm
this would take the place of it. then it comes back here, be packaged up and sold retail for the various clothing outlets. we had many of them here. i have some samples here of some of the clothing companies that were in baltimore at that time. joseph a. banks started here, and they're still here. the greise company is right here. we had sholamman, shlosh brothers. most all were located in downtown in an area of about four blocks. we also were big in tie manufacturing from the schlepler tie company. and when we walk around on part of this tour, i'll show you the case that holds the ties. before we do that, there were two other things that we really manufactured in baltimore. we were the umbrella capital of the world up until 1981.
6:20 pm
and it all went overseas after that. no more umbrellas were made here. here's a typical example of the umbrella business in baltimore. if you'll notice it must be close to -- it's at least 50 or 60 ladies in that picture there. but we made all kinds of umbrellas. we made parasols umbrellas with sterling handles. the umbrella business was big in baltimore. it was hayes brothers, and the slogan was, born in baltimore, raised everywhere. that was a pretty neat slogan. let me tell you this. we also were the hat capital of the world. we made hats just like the one i have on. we made straw hats, we made hats for men, we made hats for
6:21 pm
ladies, but mostly hats for men. but what i'm telling you something happened in the world right here in america, when john f. kennedy went to his inauguration for the first time, january 20, 1961, without wearing a hat. he didn't even have a top coat on, and he set a precedent. it means that night, that very night, the entire hat business in the baltimore area folded up, because men stopped wearing hats immediately. they said if the president doesn't wear a hat to the inauguration, we're not going to wear a hat, and there were no more hat businesses left in baltimore after that time. this hat is very symbolic of the kind of hat that we made in baltimore. it's a straw hat. we were making them by the thousands before the hat business folded up, and i just wear it because it gets -- when i'm talking about the hat, it gives you a living example of what kind of hats men wore back
6:22 pm
then. and now it's very rare to see a man with a hat. it's even rarer to see women. women always wore hats to church and what have you, and that's kind of going by the way side. but i like to keep the old tradition going by wearing the hat here, and i have lots of people ask me questions about and gets me started into a good conversation with them. now, we did not have any air conditioning when i worked downtown baltimore, and i worked for a company that was the largest nurse's uniform company maker in the united states. that was morris & company. and they were the ones that were responsible for making the mini-blouse. anybody over 50 or 60 at this time would know what a midi blouse is. it's a blouse that was made for women that simulated the sailor suit that sailors wore. it took off and really sold well here. so without having any air
6:23 pm
conditioning, it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and we were not allowed to open the windows, because burning coal in downtown baltimore to make steam and gas, all that residue of the smoke going up the chimney, contains sandy-like particles of soot and all that suit is in the air and coming in all over the cloth if we had the windows open. so we had overhead fans. that helped us on the cutting floor, but it really didn't help these ladies because, as you can see, there's about 100 women in that shop right there. and it got pretty warm in the summer time, but in the winter time, it was excruciatingly hot. because right here right behind all these gals, are the radiator
6:24 pm
pipes on the hot water. sometimes it was blistering hot down there and they couldn't open the windows either. and a lot of those people worked under really bad conditions. they would faint if it got too hot, and if a lady rammed a needle through her thumb or finger, there were no nurses to go to. you had to pull it out by yourself and hope you could stop the bleeding and wrap it around something so it wouldn't get on the cloth as you're sewing. sometimes these ladies would faint and sometimes they would hit their heads on the floor and they would be out cold. while they were out cold of course, they weren't getting paid. now, if you'll notice over here, the conditions -- this is a typical toilet bathroom, if you will, that would be on the sewing floor. but women fthey left their sewing machine, they never got
6:25 pm
paid. so they got very good at holding whatever they had to hold until lunch time. oh, boy, and talking about lunch time, i've got to tell you this. i have to tell you this story. and i've seen it with my own eyes. if you brought your lunch to work in a paper bag, and you left it on the shelf of the lunchroom, chances are the by the time you got to eat lunch at 12:00 or whenever you were able to the food would be gone because the rats were prevalent. they were all over the building. you just kicked them away. i did it many times but the ladies didn't like it too much. so it was necessary that you had to bring your lunch to work in a lunch box or a pail. in 1920, the people of baltimore, they started an inspection of these clothing pieces, and they found out that
6:26 pm
some of the conditions were really, really pretty horrible. and some of the shops, some of the sweat shops downtown baltimore, these women would come in and work all night, and they would actually lock the doors to keep these ladies in there. and if you remember back way back in new york in the triangle shirt company fire, i think it was about 143 people were trapped in that building because they said all the doors were locked but one. they couldn't use the elevators and they were jumping out the windows, and from that time on most of that changed as far as locking the doors for the garment business. but it was not a nice place to work, but the interesting thing is that the garment business, especially in baltimore, worked throughout the entire great depression. whereas most of the people were out on the corners selling apples and what have you they did have jobs. and i can remember in the oh, about the 1930s, the morrison
6:27 pm
company, i guess must have been about 1935 or '36, they designed to join the union, the garment lady workers union, and that's when i can remember my father coming home and saying, i got this, it cost him a quarter a week for the dues to become part of this overall union and he explained to me how things would get better and living conditions would get better, and they really did. it became a union shop, and everybody was indoctrinated in the fact that when you go over to buy clothes, you look at the label inside that says made in the usa. if it didn't have a union label in it, we weren't supposed to look at it, and there were shops that didn't join the union and they did have their problems. during the first world war,
6:28 pm
business was booming. they could not keep up with the oilers coming in for uniforms for the soldiers and the sailors and what have you. that did not work that way during the second world war. if you had a grant from the civil war, the grant line would go up, first world war. second world war comes right down to the base line, because baltimore received no orders from the government in the second world war for uniforms for the soldiers and sailors, because of that our business dropped off terrifically tragically terrifically. the baltimore, building ships and airplanes, they didn't want to take people away from those businesss and bring them back into the garment businesses. that's why the garment business just about folded up during the
6:29 pm
second world war. and the last garment company to have left baltimore was london fog, and i guess that's about 20 or 22 years ago now that they left baltimore. we have actually no clothing company other than joseph banks and a lot of the stuff a lot of the cutting and things i understand are not being done in baltimore but outside of the country. we do between 150 and 300 children a day here on field trips, and they had no idea about dates. but they need to know where all this splitter came from, why it started, how did it start? why did it start out with making uniforms here in baltimore and making dresses and things like that to wear? they have no idea where it started from, so we try to bring them into the real world, and say, we had people working to
6:30 pm
make clothes to fit you guys so mom and dad that didn't have time to make clothes could go out and buy clothes for you. and i found out you don't really grow too old too quickly when you're working with children and i love every minute of it. >> you can watch all of the over 100 american artifacts programs online by visiting type american artifacts in the search engine and browse the topics. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> tuesday night, president obama delivers his state of the union address. live coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern, including the president's speech, the g.o.p. response delivered by newly elected iowa senator johnny ernest, and your reaction through open phones live on c-span and c-span radio. on c-span 2, watch the president's speech and congressionary reaction. the state of the union address live on c-span, c-span 2, c-span radio and


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on