|Description:||Worker in a Connecticut hat making plant shrinks and shapes hat felt into the appropriate size for a hat. He does this by dipping the felt in hot water and kneading it on the rotating rollers of the apparatus pictured. Note the steam pervading the atmosphere, lit up by the photographer’s flash. This steam would contain mercury vapor, from carroted fur felt dipped in the kettles of hot water. The plant was part of the 1937-1938 PHS industrial hygiene and engineering study of mercury exposure and its health effects in the hatmaking industry, which was published as USPHS Public Health Bulletin No. 263, Mercurialism and its Control in the Felt-Hat Industry, 1941.|
The NIOSH Historic Photo Collection began as the “picture file” of the Industrial Hygiene Division of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), c. 1930-1960. It is a unique collection of mid-20th Century images of American workers and workplaces and documents occupational safety and health research of that era. The collection consists of approximately 1,000 original photographs and schematic drawings.