Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
TEN-HOUR LAW. In the early years of the textile manufactures in this country, the working day was protracted to twelve, thirteen and sometimes fourteen hours. The progressive diminution of the hours of daily labor in the manufactories of Great Britain to eleven hours was followed by a demand for a similar reform in the manufactories of the United States. After the enactment of the English ten-hour law in 1847, this demand became more and more articulate. In 1853 the managers of all the manufacturing companies in Lowell, Lawrence and Fall River, voluntarily reduced the hours of labor of their operatives to eleven per day. No further reduction having been made during the twenty succeeding years, in 1874 Massachusetts enacted a law making ten hours the limit of the day's labor for all females and for all males under the age of eighteen years, employed in the textile industries. (Public Statutes of Massachusetts, chap. 74, secs. 4, 5) In Commonwealth vs. Hamilton Manufacturing Company, 120 Mass. Rep., 383, the supreme court held this act to be constitutional.
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