American and British Steel Workers magic lantern slides


Britain was the birthplace of the industrial revolution but, in the early decades of the twentieth century, America was becoming the world’s leading manufacturing nation. Its factories were far more efficient than ours due to investment in new machinery, so its products were cheaper, enabling it to export to markets around the world that previously were ‘ours’. Sounds familiar doesn’t it! Globalisation is, of course, not new and for hundred of years capital and investment have moved to where production costs are lowest.

Today’s photographs from my collection of magic lantern slides show steel workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Workington, England. To me, there is confidence and prosperity in the faces of the Americans that you don’t see in British workers from the same period. I’ll let you decide which photo is which.


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