Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: A Steelworkers Grave

Tombstone of Florian J. Ruffing

Florian was born in Pennsylvania the grandson of German immigrants and the son of a steelworker. He followed in his father's footsteps working at Carnegie Steel Company. I can not even fathom the back breaking, dangerous work he had to endure day in and out for only 15 cents an hour on average. My father remembers Florian settling down at home with his favorite drink The Boilermaker. It seems whiskey was the favorite drink of many a steel worker. 

" In the mill, clouds of ore dust or rolling mill scale or other grit coated workers' lungs. Many a workman justifies his daily glass of whiskey on the ground that it ‘takes the dust out of my throat." 
 Labor Investigator John Fitch in 1907

For more information on the Pennsylvanian Steel Industry check out these links:

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