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09-08-2015, 06:32 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Pentax 6x7 and the Cotton Mill

I trust this is the proper forum since all the following photos were taken with a Pentax 6x7 and primarily the 90 f2.8 with a few being the 45 f4 lens. Film was FP-4 at ASA 100. There was very little light to take the pictures as the mill had shut down years before and taken over by a trucking company. The turned on a few lights so I could focus.

This was the cotton mill my Dad made us a living at. He worked there 35 years until it was shut down in 1969. the other two mills, several blocks away was subsequently closed several years later. Dad went to the one down the street, the Johnson Mfg. Co and worked there till they shut that one down. After 50 years in those mills he retired only to die from lung cancer 10 years later from breathing the asbestos and dyed chemicals in the form of floating cotton fibers in the air.

I worked with him in the summer months in the early and mid 60's to have gas money as pay then was minimum wage...around $1.00-1.15/hr. We worked 2nd shift and on Saturday nights after all the "mill hands" had left we'd blow down the spoolers with 90 psi air hoses and it looked like a snow storm. We had cotton from our head to our feet. There was no A/C, no ventilation and no masks back then.

Just a bit of history for these photos. I've posted a few but the album, "The Charlotte Cotton Mill", can be seen on Flickr. The scans are from photos as I couldn't immediately locate the negatives.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126745434@N03/albums/72157656048792383/with/21232412606/






Last edited by ColColt; 09-08-2015 at 06:48 PM.
09-08-2015, 10:49 PM   #2
Ole
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Nice work with the FP-4. I like the tonal range you have achieved.
09-08-2015, 10:54 PM   #3
HYS
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FP-4 is excellent. I love it. Great tonality.
09-09-2015, 07:12 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ColColt Quote
I trust this is the proper forum since all the following photos were taken with a Pentax 6x7 and primarily the 90 f2.8 with a few being the 45 f4 lens. Film was FP-4 at ASA 100. There was very little light to take the pictures as the mill had shut down years before and taken over by a trucking company. The turned on a few lights so I could focus.

This was the cotton mill my Dad made us a living at. He worked there 35 years until it was shut down in 1969. the other two mills, several blocks away was subsequently closed several years later. Dad went to the one down the street, the Johnson Mfg. Co and worked there till they shut that one down. After 50 years in those mills he retired only to die from lung cancer 10 years later from breathing the asbestos and dyed chemicals in the form of floating cotton fibers in the air.

I worked with him in the summer months in the early and mid 60's to have gas money as pay then was minimum wage...around $1.00-1.15/hr. We worked 2nd shift and on Saturday nights after all the "mill hands" had left we'd blow down the spoolers with 90 psi air hoses and it looked like a snow storm. We had cotton from our head to our feet. There was no A/C, no ventilation and no masks back then.

Just a bit of history for these photos. I've posted a few but the album, "The Charlotte Cotton Mill", can be seen on Flickr. The scans are from photos as I couldn't immediately locate the negatives.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126745434@N03/albums/72157656048792383/with/21232412606/



Nice pix. Classics for sure. I see a coffee table book in your future! I am sure you have enough pix and the story is priceless.

Back in the 80's when I lived in Boston, I remember visiting the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. Back then, multi-image shows (multi-projector slide shows synched to music and narration) were all the craze. I visited the mills many times just to see the show made about the history of the mills and their importance to the industrial revolution. The producers chose a wide format and I believe they used 21 projectors to accomplish the task. They captured the essence of the mills including the issue of child labor and what the industry meant at the time. The program was the finest of its kind and won many awards. What a treat. I wonder if they still have the show. Probably not.

09-09-2015, 12:09 PM   #5
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Back in those days the "fixers" could bring home books involving their work to aid them in better diagnosing equipment problems and failures. I have one in my possession, and don't recall why I had it, of one titled, "Automic Spooler and Super-Speed Warper Manual" by Barber-Coleman Company. I could find no date in the book but the first few pages show an excellent photo of the automatic spooler so remembered from my teenage years.


Lewis Hine was paramount in the exposure of child labor-especially in the textile industry. The link provides several photos of that proof and I know for sure, even in my time, cotton mills in NC used child labor at some point early on as I recall my Dad talking about it. After this photo you can click on the right bar to see the next couple of photos. Scroll down a bit and you can see the caption and credit given to Lewis Hine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_mill#/media/File:Interior_of_Magnolia_C...A_-_523307.jpg
09-09-2015, 03:43 PM   #6
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I know there's probably few interested in this but I had been given this picture many years ago when I left NC and had it on the wall. It's a photo of all the 'overseers"(honchos), supervisors, and workers on all three shifts in these departments. It does not include all the workers at the mill as it does not include the dye house or weave room. Most, if not all, are gone now in this picture.



This one being slightly more of a close up, shows my Dad in the second roll,5th Supervisor from the left...it's a treasure to me.

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