WAGES AT SLATER MILL
 
 

Wages paid to children were low.  Wages varied between 80 cents and $1.40 per week depending on age and the job.  Compared to the prevailing rate of $1.00 per day for adult male agricultural labor, children were a bargain as shown below:
 
 

 
Source:  Memoir of Samuel Slater

Roger Alexander, a contract laborer for Almy & Brown, demonstrated economy of child labor.  In 1796 four of Alexander's children were working at the Slater Mill, receiving wages between 0.24 and 0.36 cents a week.  Altogether the children brought home $2.30 each week; their father only made $2.72 in the same time.  The children's efforts almost doubled the household income, reaching $240 a year, a respectable sum compared to the earnings of most semi-skilled occupations of the time.

Minimum wages increased for children from 1796 to 1840 as follows:
 
 

1796
$0.34
1817
$0.50
1831
$0.60
1840
$1.00

Source:  Memoir of Samuel Slater
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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