A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 25, 2004
Sweatshop (Sweat Shop, or Sweating Shop)
A "sweatshop" or "sweat shop" or "sweating shop" is a place where people work for very little pay ("sweat" wages). In New York and Chicago and Boston, the term usually referred to garment shops that employed women and children. There is now a minimum wage, but the term "sweatshop" has not disappeared.


15 October 1884, Galveston Daily News, "The Wages of Women and Children" from the Chicago Herald, pg. 5, col. 5:
A custom tailor working as journeyman earns from $3 to $4 per day; a girl in a tailor-shop known as a sweat shop, earns little more than that per week.

29 July 1889, Weekly Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), pg. 1, col. 6:
SWEAT SHOP SLAVES.
The Terrible Dens In Which Ready
Made Clothing Is Manufactured.

New York, July 26. -- A committee sent here by the Tailors' Union of Boston has been investigating the condition of the "sweating" shops, where ready-made clothing is manufactured, on the East side of this city.

26 July 1890, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, pg. 529:
A SWEATING SHOP.
(East Side of New York -- ed.)

24 December 1890. Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 5
IN DARKEST NEW YORK:
Dreadful Places and Dreadful Things in the American Metroplis:
The Churchman: (...)
We must pass over his description of Jewtown and its sweat-shops, in which miserable Jews spend eighteen hours a day at slop-work for the clothing manufacturers, and from which clothing is often sent out leaded with the infection of small-pox and typhus.

4 February 1891. Indiana (PA) Messenger, pg. 1, col. 4 headline:
SWEAT SHOP EVILS.
Interesting Report of N.Y. Factory Inspectors.

5 July 1891, New York Times, pg. 9:
...east side sweating shops...

25 September 1891, New York Times, pg. 9:
...subrented to the storekeepers and to the operators of the "sweatshops."
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Sunday, July 25, 2004 • Permalink