This book concludes by describing the lives of ordinary Piedmont textile workers throughout the late nineteenth century and much of the first half of the twentieth century as riddled with poverty, hunger, hardship, disease, and, in some cases, despair. Before the passage of the New Deal's National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, these workers, disparagingly called “lintheads” or “factory trash” by townspeople and farmers alike, operated clattering weaving looms and spinning frames for ten or eleven hours a day, five days a week, plus a half day on Saturdays, for some of the lowest industrial wages in the United States. They worked in hot, humid conditions. Fine strands of lint and dust choked the air amid the deafening roar of the machinery, and these made eventual hearing loss and brown lung disease strong probabilities.
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