Saturday, 11 October 2014

Body-Belts by Machine

From The Observer, October 11, 1914


An instance is given of the success with which the Central Committee on Women’s Employment (Queen's Work for Women Fund) is finding work for women and girls by securing orders for failing firms.

At a West End dressmaking business, where normally 150 girls are employed, the number has been reduced by two-thirds.  When the Queen’s gift of belts and socks to the troops was announced, the young proprietress asked the committee to secure an order for her.  She was given 10,000 belts to make.

The workroom has been turned with amazing speed into a knitting factory.  The proprietress went up to Leicester and procured a guarantee for the wool; she interviewed a forewoman in one of the largest knitting factories and found out how long each belt would take to make; then she went to Manchester and bought the machines.  The sewing machines and dress stands have all been pushed into a corner of the workroom, and seven knitting machines have taken their place.  Seven more are coming, and a power machine for winding wool.  The first seven learners were already at the machines, under the guidance of a skilled instructress.  Three more were finishing off the belts.  By Monday 40 or 50 girls will be at work.

[The owner was clearly a very enterprising woman - and very persuasive.  She seems to have been given a large order for body belts before she actually had the knitting machines to make them on.] 

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