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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


what is a "doffer" boy? I am not able to find a definition.


"A boy working in a cotton mill had less of a chance of reaching twenty years of age than one who worked outside of a mill.

"The job that many young boys had in these textile mills was doffer. A doffer’s duties often provided them with more time to play than to work, with many of the children playing games on company time. A doffer may be seven years old or younger, and had the potential to be promoted to spinner, a higher paying job that was often reserved for girls right away. Hindman explains:

"Boys generally started as doffers and sweepers, but many progressed to spinning after gaining experience. Girls were more likely to start out as spinners. Doffing involved replacing full bobbins, filled by the spinners, with empty ones. It was intermittent work involving relatively short bursts of high activity with extended rest(or play) pauses in between.

Doffers sometimes also doubled as sweepers, a job that included sweeping up the cotton lint in between the doffing runs, but in larger factories, these were two separate jobs."

More about doffers and other child laborers in the cotton mills.

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