Spool of thread, 1990s


Workers in the El Monte sweatshop used this spool of black thread with the Juki industrial sewing machine seen in object 1996.0292.29a. The spool was seized during a well-publicized 1995 sweatshop raid and is part of a larger Smithsonian collection of artifacts documenting apparel industry sweatshops, focusing on the El Monte operation.

On August 2, 1995, police officers raided a fenced seven-unit apartment complex in El Monte, California. They arrested eight operators of a clandestine garment sweatshop and freed 72 workers who were being forced to sew garments in virtual captivity. Smuggled from Thailand into the United States, the laborers’ plight brought a national spotlight to domestic sweatshop production and resulted in increased enforcement by federal and state labor agencies. The publicity of the El Monte raid also put added pressure on the apparel industry to reform its labor and business practices domestically and internationally.

Date Made: Late 20th Century1990s

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Exhibition: Many Voices, One Nation

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: State of California. Department of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1996.0292.03Accession Number: 1996.0292Catalog Number: 1996.0292.03

Object Name: spool

Physical Description: plastic (overall material)thread (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 3/4 in x 1 1/2 in; 12.065 cm x 3.81 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746b4-43ad-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1919661

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