facility where goods are industrially made, or processed

A factory is a building where workers use machines to make things for sale. It usually means a building where companies use mass production to make different things. Many of the same thing are made in a short amount of time.

Brick factory in the Netherlands

People who work in factories are losing their jobs because machines can do their work more easily. (Automation) Now some factories are lights-out, which means they can run without any workers.[1] Factories during the Industrial Revolution had horrible working conditions.[2]

Before the factory, things were made one by one by an individual and took a lot of manual labor and time. Handicraft items were usually produced at small workshops or homes. They cost a lot of money, and could be customized to each individual. When the Industrial Revolution occurred, the world changed. With factories, people have made things more quickly, cheaply, and better. Mass production brought consumers more products including machines. Labor-saving machines from factories included the spinning jenny, home appliances and refrigerators driven by electricity, and motor vehicles driven by fossil fuels.

The Assembly line change

One monumental event in history was the creation of the assembly line within factories This was created by Henry Ford at his Highland Park plant on December 1st, 1913. This creation revolutionized the automobile industry and the concept of manufacturing worldwide. This was a manufacturing process in which machines, equipment, and workers were positioned in a logical order so that work passed from one person/operation to the next in a direct line until the final product(the Model-T) was made. There was also the creation of interchangeable parts for the assembly line. Wikipedia quotes, “During the early 19th century, the development of machine tools such as the screw-cutting lathe, metal planer, and milling machine, and of toolpath control via jigs and fixtures, provided the prerequisites for the modern assembly line by making interchangeable parts a practical reality. The assembly line improved the process of how long a product took to make and the efficiency of the construction.

Pollution change

With so many factories spreading like wildfire, a lot of harm came to our environment. Imagine walking outside and all you see in the air is black foggy haze. These factories pumped great amounts of pollution into the air. Eventually in the 1800s due to the air pollution from burning coal, the respiratory illness and death rates skyrocketed. Therefore from burning these fossil fuels, it went into the earth's atmosphere suggesting when climate change began.  There are many other different types of pollution and events that factories cause including water pollution, soil pollution, wildlife extinction, global warming, biodiversity loss, atmospheric deposition and so much more. There have been many protests involving factory pollution and the global warming its causing.

Working conditions and pay change

However, factories have a downside. While factories were a life-changing phenomenon for millions of people in the consumer world, the people who worked for these companies had even more of a life-changing event. Millions of men, women, and children worked in these factories, sweatshops, and mines were treated unfairly and worked in dangerous conditions. Millions would die from getting caught in machines and getting limbs ripped off, electrical accidents, and diseases would spread rapidly through the humid air. Not to mention all the terrible tragedies that happened in some of these workspaces. Some include the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and numerous sweatshops. The workday hours would be extreme. You would be working from dawn to dusk with very little pay and it would definitely not be enough to support your family if you had one. Unfortunately, many Ford workers disliked the assembly line. Henryford.org quotes, “.. by 1913, labor turnover was 380 percent. The companies announcement to pay five dollars for an 8 hour day compared to the previous rate of $2.34 for a nine-hour day made many workers willing to submit to the relentless discipline of the line in return for such high wages"

Minority groups change

When it comes to factories and the way minority groups were treated, one event that changed how we think was World War l and World War 2. Before WW1(and still even afterward), women were expected to stay in the kitchen and at home doing the chores and caring for the children. World War 1 and 2 changed both the type of work women did and the volume at which they did it. During 1950-1945 over five million women entered the workforce. World War 2 led many women to take jobs in defense plans and factories. These positions offered previously unheard-of opportunities to enter fields traditionally believed to be male-only. Rosie the Riveter was a very well-known cultural icon in the United States who represented women who worked in factories and shipyards during WWI. As women took traditional male jobs in the United States, African American women were able to make their first big shift from domestic employment to work in offices and factories. This was a big monumental event for people of color coming into the workforce.

When it came to discrimination, women were discriminated against just because they were women. The Brookings website quotes, “Even when we compare men and women in the same or similar occupations who appear nearly identical in background and experience, a gap of about 10 percent typically remains. As such, we cannot rule out that gender-related impediments hold back women, including outright discrimination, attitudes that reduce women’s success in the workplace, and an absence of mentors.” It is unfortunate that a man and a woman can have the same exact resume, experience, and degree but the man would more likely get picked for the job.  Discrimination is not only relevant while women are at work but also in their payroll. Women working full time still earn about 17 less than men, on average, each week.

During the Great Migration in 1910-1920, thousands of African Americans poured into the cities to find work in the labor shortages of WW1. Not only did these individuals get discriminated against in the workforce but also in schools, public transportation, and even voting. Unfortunately at this time, discrimination of all types was common and acceptable—nothing like how it is today. Racial discrimination also existed in the factory workplace. Even before getting a job racial discrimination existed. During the hiring process, individuals who come from ethnic or racial minorities face bias that prevents them from securing a job in the factory. If they even got an opportunity in the workplace, they may be denied opportunities for promotions limiting career growth. BLS.gov states, “Unemployment rate tables available at the time showed that Blacks were twice as likely as Whites to be unemployed and that Blacks who were employed were far more likely to occupy low-skill, low-wage positions.”

References change

  1. "Lights-Out Manufacturing: Factory & Machining Automation". Redshift EN. 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  2. "Working Conditions in Factories (Issue) | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-05-20.

Other websites change

  Media related to Factories at Wikimedia Commons