Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
duty than to go ahead and attempt to
place behind prison bars those build
ing contractors who are violating
Section 7A of the structural iron act.
The hoisting engineers' local union
to a man is back, of Nelson. As he
stands at his throttle in his day's
work, the hoisting engineer all day
long listens to bells and obeys bells.
Qne ring means, "Go ahead." Two
rings means, "Slack up." If the der
rick is in motion, one ring means,
The bell that signals him is con
nected with a rope. This rope runs
to the ground below. The bellman
holds this rope below. Watching the
work on the building, the bellman
pulls the rope. He jerks it once or
twice, as many as needed.
Between the hoisting engineer and
the bellman sometimes are ten, fif
teen or twenty stories of the build
ing going up.
The slim "clothes line rope" that
runs up from the bellman to the
hoisting engineer, the law says, must
have a pipe or a boarded structure
around it so that nothing can touch
it from outside. Without this kind
of a pipe or safeguard, a tile or a
plank or workman's wheelbarrow
may hit the rope and give a wrong
signal to the hoisting engineer.
Then the load in the sling "goes
wrong. The ironworker on the sling
may have his body rammed between
iron girders. Failure on the part of
a contractor to. guard the signal bell
cord of the signal system has re
sulted in the killing, mangling and
crippling of workmen.
Nels Nelson was riding a load
among the girders of what was to
be the 17th floor of the Consumers'
building, at State and Quincy streets.
The load came loose from the sling.
Nelson fell three floors. He was un
der the load of iron beam? when
they picked him up: The very bones
of his skull were crushed under the
A plank had caught the faelf cord.
The bellman left his. post to' fix tie
fault. And so it killed Nels Nelson.
This case and others will be cited
by the state factory inspector before
the grand jury. Among all ' the
"safety first" laws, that have been en
acted, it will be claimed there Is none
more reasonable or just than the one
The evidence in the case was
broughtto the state's attorney's of
fice andi)y that office referred to. the
municipal courts, who have refused
to take the case on the ground that it
Involves -longer prison terms than the
municipal Court can impose.
"The buck has been passed for the
last time and our only recourse is the
grand jury, and" every effort will.be
made to get the case before the pres
ent jury," said the chief factory in
spector. "John Griffiths, president of
the company complained against, has
been repeatedly told by letter and. iii
personal interviews that his com
pany Is violating the law in not
guarding bell cords. So we- are -going
through In this. He knows that
his own hoisting engineers and signal
men want this safeguard. But he re
fuses, arguing that the pipe would
freeze in the winter, and making
"We are told that the grand jury
will not be able to act in this case
because the law as written on the
statute books does not specify what
particular penitentiary those con
victed shall be imprisoned in.
Whether the law Is defective can not
be learned until our office attempts
to get a conviction under the law.
And such an attempt will be carried
through, to the limit."
"To buy pipe and enclose the sig
nal cord so that the workmen on the
building and the public on the street
are protected from accident, costs
between $500 and $700. What good
reason is there why we should not
prosecute "and, if necessary, give a
prison sentence to the contractor
who refuges to f ollow.this. law? The
law is known as tlje structural iron
act and. was passed in 1907 through.