Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls documents the war women factory workers health battle | Life | Life
It was the miracle of the age, the secret of vibrant health, the magic formula for a brighter life. It turned darkness into light. It was liquid sunshine. Radium, discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in December, 1898. It seemed the most exciting element imaginable. It was also one of the most dangerous. It didn’t take long to become a widely available sensation.

Who would not want a watch you could see in the dark? And what young woman doing low-paid clerical work in a boring office would not want to enhance her pay packet and status with a skilled job in a company riding the crest of the luminous wave.

To work at the Radium Luminous Materials Corporation in Newark, New Jersey, was to be part of something special.

While the company’s scientist owner laboured away in his laboratory exploring new ways of exploiting radium, the women were working with maximum speed applying precious radium to the hands and faces of watches, helping feed a demand that was nighon insatiable.

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