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A bobbin boy was a boy who worked in a textile mill in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He would bring bobbins to the women at the looms when they called for them, and collected the full bobbins of spun cotton or wool thread. They also would be expected to fix minor problems with the machines. Average pay was about $1.00 a week (or around $30 in 2017 dollars), with days often beginning at 5:30 am and ending around 7:30 pm six days a week. One example of rising from this job to great heights in America was young Andrew Carnegie, who at age 13 worked as a bobbin boy in 1848. The job as a bobbin boy was extremely dangerous, and there was always an extreme risk of death.
Notable bobbin boys
The following persons once worked as a bobbin boy:
- Andrew Carnegie, the great steel tycoon
- Nathaniel Prentice Banks, Governor of Massachusetts and Union general
- Robert Frost, poet
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