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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The glove-making process

Aaron describes the glove-making process, a multiple-step operation helmed by male and female workers during its different stages. Women and girls workers sewed and cuffed the gloves; men and boys, unable to sew, turned and cut them.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
Could you tell me a little bit about what the process of making gloves is like, what the different jobs are?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
First they have to spread the material, and then it's cut with a die, and then they stack it in boxes. Well, they didn't at that time; we went up to the cutting press and got it. They cut in the palm and the thumb and the fingers. Some of it is according to what style it is. Then the sewers take it up to the machine, and they sew them together.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you would go to the cutting room and pick up …
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
It was all in one room at that time. But at that time you'd go to the cutting press, and when they'd taken it off they laid it on a big table, and you'd go over and pick it up yourself.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then you'd go sit down at your sewing machine.
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
Yes. Put it on your machine, lay it out where you could get it where it would all go together. You'd sew it, and then they had cuffers that would cuff them. At that time, I think we cuffed them as we made them, but later part of the ladies made the gloves, and they had some to cuff them. Then when we got through with them, they was put in a sack at that time, and the turners would get them and take them and turn the gloves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you turn them? Just by hand?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
No, it's a machine that they turn them on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which of those jobs were done by men?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
The turning was done by a man. They ran the cutting press. Well, boys; it was mostly boys, the biggest part of them. They had one lady turner, but she came to work after I did. But she turned for years.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why do you suppose they had boys turning?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
At that time I guess that was something the boys could do to give them a job. They couldn't sew, and that turning they could do. Of course, a girl could do it, too, but still it was more a boy's work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was it not a good job for a girl to do?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
She had to stand there all day, and it was a pedal thing she had to pedal to mash the turner down, the thing that went down in a pipe, like, and it would pull the glove up and turn it. And that's a little hard for a woman, but it was a lot of women done it in later years. They may have some now at the glove mills. But they did when I quit. They had one lady turner, but she retired, too, after I did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was cutting done by older men?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
It was always done by men or boys. It was boys doing it at that time, but they were older. That's a little more dangerous work, because they have to watch those cutting presses. They'd lay the material and spread it out so thick, and then they'd lay the die on it, and they'd have to mash the cutting press down on it to cut it. They'd have to keep their fingers out from under it; if they didn't, they'd get them cut off. Most of the time they were older boys that done that, or men.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they ever have boy or men sewers?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
No, they never did, as I know of. There was a few of them, I think, could set down and sew a little bit by watching us, but they never did have any regular sewers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
JUNIE EDNA KAYLOR AARON:
I guess they just felt like that wasn't a man's job, is all I know.