A Worker Stresses Seasonal Unemployment, 1871

. . . Since the old system of working in little shops was abandoned for that of large manufactories, there has been a steady diminution in the length of the working season per year. Before the time of factories, there would be a steady run of employment for from seven to ten years, only interrupted by commercial depressions or revulsion. The working hours would be from twelve to fifteen. The season for lighting up was from September 20 to May 20. Since that time, there has never been a year of steady work. At first a month only would be lost; now it has got so that we lose over four months' time every year. The system is worse here than elsewhere because machinery has been thoroughly introduced.