Joseph Ripka's Mills, Manayunk 21st Ward, Philadelphia, PA, 1856.
flipFlip to Workers at the Springfield Iron Furnace, Blair County, PA, circa 1870.
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Exterior view of mills and grounds.

Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia

By the 1830s, the town of Manayunk, just north of Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River fall line, was a booming textile center. When this image was printed in 1856, the Joseph Ripka mills was one of the largest textile enterprises in the United States. Ripka and other mill operators employed hundreds of women and children, who worked for lower wages than men.

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