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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Trouble at Factory: Remington Typewriters, 75 years ago

Don’t touch those late 1930s Remingtons! They were made by strikebreakers! Scab labour, no less. Well, at least that’s the claim of the November 1937 issue of Consumers Union Reports, a magazine published in Philadelphia by the New York City-headquartered Consumers Union of the United States. The issue covered “Test results on six brands of Portable Typewriters”, which I will scan in later. In the meantime, an adjoining article, “Labor in the Typewriter Industry”, looked at pay and conditions at three major international manufacturing plants - but in the main Remington, where "veteran mechanics ... quit their jobs in May 1936", threequarters of a century ago next month.

A summary: Hermes - good pay, good conditions, everybody so happy they don't need a union; Remington – bad, bad Leroy Brown (or should I say the "callous ... medieval ... shocking" James H.Rand); Underwood – everything seemingly hunky-dory.

So here it is:

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