Monday, April 12, 2010

Platts in the 1871 Census (Part II: John & Sarah)

.John and Sarah's family is the third family listed on this census. My best transcription:

Civil Parish of Ashover, Village of Holloway
Family number: 8
Where lived: Gregory Tunnel

Name/Relationship/Condition/Age and Sex/Occupation/Place of Birth
= John Platts, Head of Household, Married, 32 male, Hosiery Power Frame Fitter, Derbyshire Holloway
= Sarah Platts, Wife, Married, 23 female, occupation lined through, Derbyshire Matlock Riber
= Samuel Platts, Son, Unmarried, 3 male, Scholar, Derbyshire Ashover Holloway
= Anne E. Platts, Daughter, Unmarried, 2 female, Scholar, Derbyshire Ashover Holloway
= William H. Platts, Son, Unmarried, 10mo. male, Scholar, Derbyshire Ashover Holloway

(1) The ages of John and Sarah match the ones on their marriage certificate. In addition, I now have the birthplace of Sarah so I can hopefully find out more about her and her family.
(2) Note that in roughly 3-1/2 years that Sarah has had three children, all close to one year apart.
(3) In the manufacture of hosiery, a power frame was basically the machine that made the fabric or hosiery. Often there would be more than 100 of these machines running at one time, tended by someone in charge of 6 to 24 of them. In Lowell, MA there is a textile mill/factory as part of the National Park. They have a floor of these machines to give you a feel for what it was like. Even though there are about 100 on the floor, only a third of them are working at any time (in the exhibit, in real life there was little down time for any machine and all of them would have been running). Even so, with only a third of the machines, the noise was horrendous. Many factory workers had their hearing damaged at young ages from working in the factories.
     Also, the vibration from these machines shuttling back and forth was terrific. In Lowell, the factory actually moved the machines from the third floor to the first less than a year after opening. Having the machines on the third floor was actually shaking their new brick building apart!
     If John also repaired the machinery, he had a dangerous, complicated dance to perform. First, unless the machine had actually died, he had to coordinate with the foreman and person in charge of the loom when to take down the machine for repairs. This was to maximize the efficiency and production of the machine. Second, repairs were often made while the machine was running, which is obviously dangerous. Again, this was for maximum production. Lastly, the machines themselves were dangerous and the mill floor was not a safe place. Spindles or other bits of machinery would break and go flying off (remember, they were run 24/7), often into a person or into another machine which would then send its own shrapnel flying. Pulley and belts were not enclosed and one could easily catch hair or a piece of clothing in them -- losing a limb or even your life.

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