Posts Tagged ‘Bobbin Girls’

The Bobbin Girls

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Yundi and Nellie ran towards Coach Campbell yelling, “Hey Coach!” Coach answered, “Hey – What’s up? How is everybody?” “Good Coach, said Yundi. “Yeah,good. Visit any more mines Coach?”

“Ha, ha – no, no – I am not going back down in those mines again,” said Coach. Nellie nodded her head and said, “Yeah, that was not a place I would want to go. So dark, and dirty. Scary.”

“Sure is,” shared Coach, “Coal mining is a dangerous job.”

Nellie asked,“Hey Coach, remember you said you would tell us about what the young girls did for work?”

“Sure do,” answered Coach. “They were nicknamed Bobbin Girls, and they worked at the local textile mill. They were called Bobbin Girls because their main job was to work with the bobbins of cotton thread.

image of thread bobbins

 

 

Bobbin Girls working in textile mill

The Bobbin Girls would run back and forth with the bobbins of thread to keep the looms working. The loom machines wove the threads together to make fabric for clothing.”

“Yundi and Nellie both looked amazed, and Yundi said,  “That looks like a lot of running!

I bet those Bobbin Girls were real tired after working. How long a day did they work Coach?”

image of one of the Bobbin Girls in the textile mill.

“The Bobbin Girls put in a long-long day,” answered Coach; “10 hours or so. Plus, the big room with the big looms had the windows closed to keep the wind from messing up the threads of cotton. A little breeze could get them mixed up and stuck. That stops the loom from working.”

“The windows were closed? It must have been so hot,” said Nellie.“Oh yes, very hot and very loud. The giant looms make an awful racket,” added Coach.

Coach pulls out his phone, and says, “I have a youtube movie of a working mill room at the Boott Mills in Lowell. Let’s look at it together. This video shows several machines working at the same time.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTmYV3J5JU4

Yundi shook his head and said, “Wow Coach, sure am glad my classroom at school is air conditioned. But, my classroom can kinda get just as loud – SOMETIMES!!”

Coach laughed and shook his head in agreement and Nellie just giggled. Then Nellie added, “I’m glad that, in this country, young girls like me don’t have to work in factories like the Bobbin Girls did.”

Story by:

image of Coach Campbell, author

Ned M Campbell is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches United States history at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. He is a published writer, and a volunteer contributor to “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street program.

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Down in the Coal Mines at 9

Monday, July 24th, 2017

“Hey Coach,”said Hector, “how was your vacation? Do anything cool?”Coach Campbell answered, “Hey Hector, you bet I did! I got to go down in a coal mine and see what it was like to work in the coal mines a long, long time ago. Like 100 plus years ago. It was dark, and wet, and cold too. We went down almost 300 feet underground!”

boy driving mule wagon in coal mines

Hector looked puzzled. He asked, “What’s coal? What is a coal miner?”

Coach smiled and said, “Good questions. Let’s see. Coal is a black rock that burns at a very high temperature. Much higher than burning wood. So, that made coal important as it was the fuel to power the engines of the railroads and factories a long time ago. Today coal is burned in some places to make electricity. Now a coal miner, that is the person who goes way underground to get the coal out from under the mountains. It is a very dangerous job.”

Hector got all excited, saying, “Wow, you know coach, my grandfather sometimes tells me I am lucky I don’t have to go down in the coal mines like his dad did when he was a boy. Are these the coal mines my grandfather is talking about?”

coal

“Probably, yes, answered Coach. “Way back when young boys, as young as nine years old maybe, went to work in the coal mines. Some were messengers, others worked the air doors – nippers they called them. They would open and close doors so that air always made it into the mine. Some worked with the mules which pulled the wagons of coal out of the mines.

boys working in coal mines

The youngest were “Breaker Boys” – they had to pull pieces of slate rock out of the coal as it rushed past them down a slide. Tough work. Lots of cut fingers.”

“Oh boy, Grandpa’ is right, said Hector.“I sure am glad I don’t have to go work in the coal mines like those kids had to work. Ugh. School doesn’t sound so bad anymore. Better than the coal mines. What about the girls? Did they work the coal mines too?”

Oh no, said coach, “they did not work the coal mines, but they did work. Many of them became “Bobbin’ Girls.” I can tell you more about them next time. OK? Right now, we gotta’ get moving. It’s time for camp.”

Source:

Ned Campbell, author

Ned M Campbell is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches United States history at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. He is a published writer, and a volunteer contributor to “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in the “Can Do” Street programs.

 

 

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