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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78


page 10


Working from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. a widow woman informed the collector that she could earn, in good weeks, nearly 10s. a week at making the above. She declared that the Government work the worst paid. When the collector was there the widow was disentangling seventy-two small brass rings which had to be stitched on to a strap with linen thread, for which she was allowed 1d. in every 3s. 8d. earned, whereas the actual cost to her of thread was 2½d. in every 5s. 6d. earned. After sewing on the rings, a strip of leather had to be neatly stitched inside the whole length of the strap, and a buckle and tab attached, for this the worker must supply her own strong black cotton, and of course needles, which are frequently broken. The payment was ¾d. for each "helmet-chain."

Particulars could not be obtained for the actual specimen sent. Some chains are paid for at the rate of 11d. per dozen; 1d. in four dozen allowed for thread, also 1d. for wax.

Firemen say that for the purpose of protection the metal on the straps is worse than useless, as it is a good conductor of heat; but the brass helmets "look nice on parade." Birmingham firemen wear polished black-leather helmets on service.