The day laborer perhaps lives most poorly . . . has the least house room and the most illy-ventilated rooms. . . . Then comes the coal miner, who receives more wages, but who generally lives in a little two-room house. These houses are built in long rows, not painted, with no grounds and no fences about the houses, and the men deal in the companiesí stores, who tax them about all they can earn for their goods. . . . The kitchen furniture consists generally of a stove and some dishes, a few chairs and a table. They have no carpets on the floors so far as I have seen. . . . In many instances there are no cellars under the houses. If there were cellars the miners would be enabled to lay in a stock of supplies."
                                                                . . .

When you leave the miner and go to the iron-worker, the man who works in the iron-mills, you find the social conditions and surroundings somewhat improved – more home comforts, more of the little things that go to make a home comfortable and pleasant. The iron-worker has usually more room and better furniture, carpets, and so on, and his children are better clothed, in garments neater and of better quality. The iron-workers have the advantages of the markets in the large centers of industry, the cities, so that they can get a better variety of food and are not confined, like the miners in isolated situations, to perhaps a visit from the butcher one or twice a week. They eat more fresh beef as a general thing . . . .

But if you go among the laborers employed in the iron-mills you will find them huddled together in tenement houses and no more comfortable than the miners. . . .

The laborer there performs the heavy work, the unskilled work, and waits upon the skilled worker, the iron-worker. . . .

When you get above the laborer the men are designated by the character of the particular work in which they are engaged; they are called “rollers,” “finishers,” etc., and are the skilled laborers. [nb, unskilled earn from $1 to $1.25 or as high as $1.75/day] . . . .

If there is any grass on the south side of Pittsburgh attached to a tenement house it is in a little box sitting on the windowsill. . . .[Children too small to go to work, under age 10] have to play right on the street. . . . For outdoor exercise they take the pavement in the middle of the street. . . . There are occasional accidents [from carriages, wagons, and drays]. Usually, though, the little shavers are on the look-out for anything of that kind and contrive to avoid it.
Robert D. Layton's Testimony before the Education and Labor Committee of the U. S. Senate, 1883

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