The tools, rules, and relationships of the workplace illustrate some of the enduring collaborations and conflicts in the everyday life of the nation. The Museum has more than 5,000 traditional American tools, chests, and simple machines for working wood, stone, metal, and leather. Materials on welding, riveting, and iron and steel construction tell a more industrial version of the story. Computers, industrial robots, and other artifacts represent work in the Information Age.
But work is more than just tools. The collections include a factory gate, the motion-study photographs of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and more than 3,000 work incentive posters. The rise of the factory system is measured, in part, by time clocks in the collections. More than 9,000 items bring in the story of labor unions, strikes, and demonstrations over trade and economic issues.
"Work - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This model represents the type of small boat used for gill-netting salmon on the lower Columbia River around 1876. Known as sailing gillnetters, these vessels were well suited to the tasks of fishermen working drift nets, which were walls of netting set across the path of salmon swimming upstream. The round-bottom hull is sharp on both ends, a feature that allowed the boat to ride more easily while the net was adrift. Its sprit rig was used for sailing to and from the fishing grounds and was easily stowed while fishing. The boats ranged between 23 and 28 feet in length. This model represents a vessel of 25 feet 6 inches in length, 6 feet 3 inches abeam, and 2 feet 3 inches in depth.
- The sailing gillnetter type was introduced to the Columbia River region between 1869 and 1872 and quickly replaced the smaller skiffs then in use. The early gillnetters were shipped north from boat builders in San Francisco, but by 1875 the type was being built locally. While a few fishermen purchased their own boats, the vast majority were owned by salmon canneries, which rented the vessels to local fishermen. When this model was made in 1876, there were about 500 sailing gillnetters on the river. By 1905 there were some 2,700.
- This model was donated by Livingston Stone, an early advocate of fish hatcheries, who served as Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries for the Pacific coast from 1872 to 1898, and senior fish culturist of the U.S. Fish Commission from 1898 to 1903.
- Date made
- before 1876
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center