is one of the most extensive and thrifty of the manufactures of Cincinnati, and I believe the labor employed therein is quite as well rewarded as Labor generally. It is entirely paid by the piece, according to an established scale of prices, so that each workman, in whatever department of the business, is paid according to his individual skill and industry, not a rough average of what is supposed to be earned by himself and others, as is the case where work is paid for at so much per day, week or month. I know no reason why the Iron-Molders of Cincinnati should not have been as well satisfied with the old ways as anybody else. Yet the system did not “work well,” even for them. Beyond the general unsteadiness of demand for Labor and the ever-increasing pressure of competition, there was a pretty steadily recurring “dull season,” commencing about the first of January, when the Winter's call for stoves, &c., had been supplied, and holding on for two or three months, or until the Spring business opened. In this hiatus, the prior savings of the Molder were generally consumed—sometimes less, but perhaps oftener more—so that, taking one with another, they did not lay up ten dollars per annum. By-and-by came a collision respecting wages and a “strike,” wherein the Journeymen tried the experiment of running their heads against a stone wall for months. How they came out of it, no matter whether victors or vanquished, the intelligent reader will readily guess. I never heard of any evils so serious and complicated as those which eat out the heart of Labor being cured by doing nothing. At length—but I believe after the strike had somehow terminated—some of the Journeymen Molders said to each other: “Standing idle is not the true cure for our grievances: why not employ ourselves?” They finally concluded to try it, and, in the dead of the Winter of 1847-8, when a great many of their trade were out of employment, the business being unusually depressed, they formed an association under the General Manufacturing Law of Ohio ;which is very similar to that of New York), and undertook to establish the Journeymen Molders' Union Foundry. There were about twenty of them who put their hands to the work, and the whole amount of capital they could scrape together was two thousand one hundred dollars, held in shares of twenty-five dollars each. With this they purchased an eligible piece of ground, directly on the bank of the Ohio, eight miles below Cincinnati, with which “ the Whitewater Canal” also affords the means of ready and cheap communication, With their capital they bought some patterns, flasks, an engine and tools, paid for their ground, and five hundred dollars on their first building, which was erected for them partly on long credit by a firm in Cincinnati, who knew that the property was a perfect security for so much of its cost, and decline taking credit for any benevolence in the matter Their iron, coal, &c., to commence upon were entirely and necessarily bought on credit. Having elected Directors, a Foreman, and a Business Agent (the last to
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.