Posted on October 30, 2017
How Industrial Uniforms Developed and Evolved
In Great Britain during the 1800s, many manual laborers like coalmen and dustman had a specific type of clothing that they wore. These items like corduroys, donkey jackets, neckerchiefs and flat caps were essential to remaining safe while working as well as moving and hauling any tools they needed for a long day of manual work. These outfits were relatively standard if only for practical purposes but were worn for about 100 years.
When the move towards industrialization began, British steam workers started wearing collarless shirts called grandad shirts. This was to keep themselves from getting caught in the machinery as they worked. In the United States, the Industrial Revolution meant factories were sprawling, and workers had to wear appropriate clothing.
Many workers were children, and it was not unusual for an entire family to work in a factory together for up to 16 hours every day. These workers were not, at first, supplied appropriate work attire. They had to wear their clothes. The supervisors who oversaw the workers would wear industrial work uniforms. This was so that they could be distinguished from ordinary workers.
At the same period, up until the first World War, railroad workers still wore their uniforms made of seersucker material. The logic was the fabric allowed them to work freely without being overcome with perspiration. The fabric absorbed it and kept away from the skin. It also did not need to be ironed, so it was practical. As the factory workers evolved into their routines, they, too, began to wear clothing that was more logical and allowed them to perform better.
For example, many women would wear full-length dresses and corsets to work. Eventually, this was found to be very impractical and a uniform with shorter skirts and aprons. This further evolved when more women entered the workforce during World War I.
During this time, laws were starting to form regarding working conditions. Children were made to go to school during the day while their parents, or their mothers, went to work. By the 1920s, industrial clothing for both men and women were regularly becoming white shirts and grey pants or skirts. Men also often wore overalls, coveralls or boiler suits in industrial settings.
By the time the Great Depression arrived, many men were working in office settings. Those who still had jobs would wear suits to office jobs while industrial workers would wear atypical blue-collar type shirts and pants.
In the 1940s, things changed again with the start of the United States entering World War II. Still, women had to join the job force. This started a trend in the industry with women wearing jumpsuit type uniforms or pants and white shirts.
In the mid-1900s, uniforms took over more systematically. Depending on the industry, various safety precautions had to be taken. This would alter the type of outfit a worker might wear. They might need to wear reflector type clothing or hard hats. Today, uniforms are a part of industrial life and often are customized to suit the business itself with logos and color schemes. For modern days, the internet allows business owners to find a supplier that will cater to their needs easily if they want to rent uniforms in memphis. This is very vital because uniforms can represent businesses in many ways that could be very vital to their growth.