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The Monplaisir' factory > The Personnel > The Women of the Factory

The Women of the Factory

The Crédit Lyonnais' 1906 report provides some very interesting information that has reinforced what is known from other sources about the factory's female employees. They first entered the factory in 1885, marking an important year. But how many women were there? Five, six...? Certainly not more than ten...

In 1906, "The Monplaisir factories... run six days a week, and only during the day. The hours are fixed at ten per day, with nine hours effectively dedicated to working... The factory currently employs nine hundred employees, of which seven hundred are women." Female labour was always the majority at the Lumière factories. These workers had no qualifications upon arrival, and were trained on the job. They were required to keep their hair up and to wear work pants, which the factory provided for them. And this is how the camera immortalised them.

"Men are employed only as mechanics, drivers or movers. All the manufacturing proper is limited to women, whose daily salary varies between 2.5 and 3 francs." From the 1906 Crédit Lyonnais report.

"Mr. Auguste and Louis Lumière are technical directors who operate without inspections. They uphold advanced ideas and live in permanent contact with their workers, by whom they are loved. These are two men of vision with very enlightened minds, unanimously held in high esteem in Lyon for their intelligence, their straightforwardness and their rare capacity for work." From the 1906 Crédit Lyonnais report.

These estimations are not without interest and corroborate everything that is found written elsewhere. There were 500 employees of the Monplaisir factory in 1889, 400 in 1896 and 600 in 1899.