Juki industrial sewing machine

Juki industrial sewing machine

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This Juki industrial sewing machine was used in a suburban El Monte, California sweatshop. Law enforcement officers seized the sewing machine 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. The El Monte sweatshop, like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 earlier, took on an iconic role as government and activists used media coverage to galvanize the American public into action.
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.
Object Name
Sewing Machine Workstation
Juki straight stitch sewing machine workstation
date made
1974 - 1995
place made
United States
overall: 59 in x 48 in x 20 in; 149.86 cm x 121.92 cm x 50.8 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
State of California. Department of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Cultures & Communities
Government, Politics, and Reform
El Monte
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object