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Working in a Mill in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s

Mill Working Conditions in late 1800's

What was it like to work in a Mill say from 1880 through 1910? We have, as yet, failed to find a firsthand account. We have found the notice below belonging to the Hobbs, Wall & Co. Mill rules which give a little insight to working conditions. We believe that the Mills along the Redwood Coast had much the same rules. Hobbs, Wall & Co. owned the Elk Valley Mill in Del Norte County from 1893 to at least 1919.

The quality is poor so we have reproduced below what it says. See if you want to sign on ….

Rules and Regulations, Mill Department

  1. Employees are required to be in attendance for work from six o’clock A.M. until six o’clock P.M.
  2. Meals will be served as follows:
    1. Breakfast at 6 o’clock A.M., thirty minutes.
    2. Dinner at 12 o’clock M., 30 minutes.
    3. Supper at 6 o’clock P.M.
      Exceptions to these hours will be made in favor of such employees as may be designated by the foreman. At all other times the Cook and Eating house will be closed; and no eating will be permitted there. Employees wishing or requiring luncheon between these hours will provide themselves with such at regular meal hours.
  3. Vulgar or indecent language will positively be prohibited in the Eating house.
  4. Willful or malicious waste or destruction of provisions at the dining table or otherwise will not be permitted.
  5. Board will charged at the rate of fifty cents per day for meals taken by employees at the Company’s Eating house, on such days as they are at work.
  6. Employees will attend strictly to the work given them to do, and hold no conversation on subjects not relating to their work during working hours.
  7. Employees being placed in charge of machinery or tools of any kind will be held accountable for such as may become destroyed, lost, or stolen through negligence, carelessness, or willful maliciousness, while in their charge and will be required to pay for such., unless satisfactory reasons are produced that such loss or damage was unavoidable.
  8. Smoking upon the premises is strictly prohibited, and any violation of this rule will be considered sufficient cause for dishonorable discharge.
  9. Bringing or using spiritous or malt liquors upon the premises by anyone is strictly prohibited.
  10. Visitors are requested to not talk with employees without the permission of the foreman.