1977.102 | Conveyor for selecting raw ore, about 1919

Conveyor for selecting raw ore, about 1919
About 1919, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
16.3 x 20.4 cm
Gift of M. René Bureau
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
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Keys to History

During the First World War, while some of the men of Thetford Mines, Black Lake and Asbestos were toiling in the mines, others were enlisting in the army. The asbestos industry got along without them by hiring very young workers once again. In 1915, an inspector reported that at Thetford Mines, children under fourteen were leaving school to start working in the sheds. Is that surprising? It's not much good forbidding the hiring of children if they do not have to go to school. But compulsory education wasn't introduced in Quebec until 1942!

  • What

    The children are picking out the raw fibre as it goes by on a conveyor.

  • Where

    The shed was probably at Thetford Mines or Black Lake.

  • When

    This photo could not have been taken later than 1919, because it was included in a book published that year in New York titled Asbestos: From Mine to Finished Product.

  • Who

    They could be sons of Ukrainian immigrants, but they are most likely young French Canadians. They might have had a chance to go to school before starting to work, after all, because there was no shortage of schools in Thetford Mines. For example, there were La Salle College, run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction, St. Alphonse Convent, and St. Maurice, the model school for boys and girls, run by the Sisters of Charity of Quebec, not to mention a number of small schools run by mistresses (lay teachers).