The testimony of a machinist before the Senate Committee
on Labor and Capital, 1883
Question: Is there any difference between the conditions under which machinery is made now and those which existed ten years ago?
Answer: A great deal of difference.
Question: State the differences as well as you can.
Answer: Well, the trade has been subdivided and those subdivisions have been again subdivided, so that a man never learns the machinist's trade now. Ten years ago he learned, not the whole of the trade, but a fair portion of it. In the case of making the sewing-machine, for instance, you find that the trade is so subdivided that a man is not considered a machinist at all. In that way machinery is produced a great deal cheaper than it used to be formerly, and in fact, through this system of work, 100 men are able to do now what it took 300 or 400 men to do fifteen years ago.