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  •  When I Worked for a Boatbuilder, I Could Afford a (11+ / 0-)

    boat, in the 1970's which was the high water mark of the American middle class. We've slid back dramatically since then.

    But let's look at the boatbuilding workers from the Gilded Age. Specifically, the huge yachts built by the Herreshoff Yacht Co. for the super rich. This order of magnitude.

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    You must remember, however, that things were quite different then: the men went to work at seven in the morning and, excepting for the noon hour, worked right through till six at night.... There were fewer holidays then for the workers..., they were New Year's, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course they worked all day Saturday.

    The men of those days were strong and tough; sometimes after this ten-hour day they would work overtime at a slight increase in pay, and I recall one man who worked twenty-four hours straight.... They were able to work hard, and they liked it; they could saw or plane continuously for hours without stopping to rest, and that is one of the reasons they built so many yachts in 1900 with a small crew.... If fear the mold they were cast in is lost and that we will never have such accomplishments again.

    The workmen at this time were paid less than fifty cents an hour, generally, although the Herreshoff Company was known for its high rate of pay.

    Capt. Nate Herreshoff, the Wizard of Bristol, Sheridan House 1953

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 06:48:52 AM PDT

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