The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Industrial & Progressive Steel
1870 to 1915  

By 1880, almost 5 million Americans worked in manufacturing, construction, and transportation, and most of them faced low wages and unsafe working conditions. 12-hour or more workdays were common and low wages led to poor housing and inadequate food, clothing, and medical care. 

The Progressive Era began in the 1890s. This was an age of urban socialism when reformers, journalists, businessmen, and politicians worked to improve working and living conditions. In the steel industry, new laws raised the cost of workplace accidents to employers, so corporations began to focus more 
on creating safer workplaces.

Illustration: "In the Name of Labor;' 1912 — Library of Congress