Pittsburgh from the Salt Works at Saw Mill, by William T. Russell, 1843.
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Pittsburgh from the Salt Works at Saw Mill.

Credit: Courtesy of the Library and Archives Division, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pa.

By the early 1800s Pittsburgh had emerged as one of the nation’s major industrial centers. The smoke pouring from its smokestacks was celebrated as a sign of its economic promise and prosperity. In 1845, two years after this painting was completed, female workers in five cotton factories would stage an angry and well-publicized strike for the ten-hour day at the Allegheny Cotton Mills.

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