Re: What's a Cutter? #usa #general

Lee Jaffe

I tried to answer this question about possible fatal accidents your "cutter" ancestor might have suffered earlier but the moderator misunderstood my reference to the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and rejected my message.  But no one else has mentioned more common kinds of industrial accidents and I thought I'd try again.  

My  family had a clothing manufacturing business in Philadelphia for 70-80 years.  They had their own cutting shop where material was cut in bulk and sent out for sewing to a jobber.  They used electric saws to cut many layers of cloth at one time.  There were the occasional accidents with the saws but I never heard of a fatality.

More concerning were fires.  There was always a lot of dust in the air from cut fabric.  Scraps of fabric were everywhere, often in bins under the cutting tables.  Rolls of cloth -- weighing 100s of pounds -- were stacked on racks (maybe another accident waiting to happen).  And finished clothes hanging from racks.  All told, a lot of fuel for a fire, which could be started by any number of common sources.  The Triangle fire is the most famous but we still see reports of fatal sweatshop fires. 

If not fire, cutting shops were still industrial sites with plenty of opportunities for injury and death.

Lee Jaffe

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