Essay on Radium-Dial Factory Women: Unknowingly Engulfed in America's Biggest Scandal

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1923 Words
Date:  2022-12-29

While World War I trended across the world, several women who were young toiled from radium-dial factories in which they showed clock faces with radium which was a mysterious new substance. Having been assured about the safety of the new substance by their bosses, the women brightly shone in the dark and covered themselves with glowing dust from head to toe. While the lethal poison of the radium took control, the women found that they had been embroiled in the biggest scandal of America and worker's rights pioneering battle. The book concerning the Radium Girls further explores extraordinary women strength during impossible circumstances and the great legacy that they left behind.

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The book started with a preface that examined the revelation of radium and its hazardous consequences for the body after some time, for example, intense burn. The story further follows Katherine Schaub, a youthful young person, who had quite recently been employed at Radium Luminous Materials Corporation in New Jersey. She and numerous other youthful, poor young ladies from migrant families had been enrolled in painting watches dials using radium paint, and the employed ones secured several positions for their sisters. They were instructed to lip-point, a system that required them to point their brush tip using their mouths, which the organization favored as a result of its protection of paint. The ladies turned out to be friends, and they delighted in cooperating, particularly since they contributed using their very own endeavors to World War I by providing great painted watch faces for warriors.

After the war, numerous ladies traded their occupations for spouses and families. von Sochocky was removed from the organization and supplanted by Arthur Roeder, who renamed it as United States Radium Corporation (USRC). The individuals who proceeded with dial-painting for the USRC, in any case, started encountering physical agony. Amelia Maggia was regarded as the first to hint radium poisoning serious signs when a spoiled tooth was destroyed to uncover an open sore that could never ever heal. As time went on, her dental specialist, Dr. Knef, turned out to be increasingly confused by her condition that couldn't be dealt with. He kept on pulling teeth, yet her jawbone just debilitated until she drained and was choked by her spouting blood. In the interim, Radium Dial opened its entryways in Ottawa, Illinois, and was enlisted youthful, poor, female dial-painters.

Dental specialists Dr. Barry and Davidson in New Jersey were confused by the different dial-painters that entered their office. The dental specialists rehashed similar oversights endeavoring to treat phosphorus harming in different dial-painters before acknowledging they were not making a difference. The updates on the dial-painters' weakness were clearing through the network, and the Industrial Hygiene Division visited the USRC per Irene's medical clinic's solicitation. A paint test was sent off, and regardless of Dr. Martin Szamatolski's master feeling that the radium was causing their issues, the organization did nothing. In Ottawa, the dial-painters making the most of their new unmistakable quality and money related status in the public eye and furthermore made enduring kinships.

One of the women in Ottawa, Illinois who played an essential role in the 'Radium Girls' is Catherine Wolfe Donohue. Catherine was a "bashful, calm" lady whose occupation at Radium Dial was the first one. According to Moore (49), "And the girls did as instructed. They were "a happy, jolly lot" and they frequently practiced their painting, especially in the fields of fashion and art. It means that the job really meant a lot for the girls and they performed their tasks efficiently. She was a dedicated Catholic who went to the neighborhood church found near the studio. She was persistent and reliable, and these characteristics controlled her through nine years with the organization. She was an esteemed representative, and to keep her working for them, and they gave her the chance of taking a vacation after falling ill. Unfortunately, the holiday did not assist, and despite the fact that she stayed thankful for her job which cared for her wellbeing, the company fired her because of her limp. Radium Dial firm believed trusted that she might cause negative verbal exchange if she somehow managed to keep working for them. However, it made Catherine understand that this organization was not what she thought it was while working for it. Just like Mollie Maggia, Catherine also lost her teeth and had jawbone outside her mouth. She commenced fighting for justice in the 1930s while the country was in the Great Depression and she was shunned by the society for litigating the only firm that was left standing. Close to death in 1938, she gave evidence from the deathbed by the assistance of Leonard Grossman who was her lawyer and finally won for workers everywhere and not just herself.

In the book, Grace Fryer can be defined as a dynamic character. Although her family was not rich, there was love, and she was so close to her mother. When the call of working in dial painting came, she was already working in another company, but she left it so that she could join the great Radium Company in Orange, New Jersey. Moore (24) says, "She was an exceptionally bright and exceptionally pretty girl, with curly chestnut hair, hazel eyes, and clear-cut features." At the age of 18, she was already career minded and afterward, she excelled in dial painting and turned out to be among the fastest workers in the company. While training, Grace and the other girls including Katherine were instructed to dip the brush in their lips then in radium while painting the dials. Sooner, the ladies found out that the radium just hardened their brushes. The instructions were, "Lip... Dip... Paint" (Moore 28). In 1922, when her teeth commenced to fall and loosen for no apparent reason, she began to get concerned. Using an x-ray machine, the doctor discovered she had a serious bone decay. Moore (173), "There is no dignity in death. The doctors started with her upper jawbones, which were removed in several pieces; they had no need to do the same with her lower jaw, for it was no longer present, having been lifted out in life." After many doctors had tried to solve the mysterious ailment of Grace, similar cases started to appear in New Jersey. There was an unusual deterioration of jawbones for the local women, and all of them were employed at the same dial-painting factory. Since the US Radium, a great company, was a defense contractor having influential contacts and deep pockets, it took Grace two years before she could get a lawyer who could help her sue her former employer. Raymond Berry was willing to assist Grace with her case and soon after other radium injured dial painters joined and each of them wanted $250,000 for damages. Grace Fryer is regarded as a capable and intelligent person as she was among the five New Jersey women that filed suit against the Radium Corporation of the United States in 1927.

The other woman is Marguerite Carlough who was the initial dial painter to have a complaint against the radium companies. She made a strong move that most of the women working in the radium companies were unable to make. During the time in which she was filing a lawsuit, she was just 23 years. The dial painting job was the first and only job she ever had. The lawsuit that she filed made Waterbury Clock Company ban lip pointing that saved and even extended the lives of several women. It further showed the other employees at dial painters that one can hold companies accountable for the mistakes that they make. Marguerite Carlough's wellbeing was quickly declining, and her case created the compassion of Frederick Hoffman and other people who were eager to help. While Hoffman was helping Grace, he received a response USRC that surprised him, "Mr. Roeder is no longer connected with this corporation" (154). Mr. Roeder was the president of the organization, and the response Hoffman got is an indication that the company did not appreciate the fact that it was put in a position of settling lawsuits because the President's fingerprinters were in all the company's documents.As Frederick Flinn was procured to lead the ponders for the USRC, Dr. Harrison Martland took Chief Medical Examiner's position. He and others conducted an autopsy on Dr. Leman, who was the first male staff of USRC to pass on of radium harming, by consuming his bones into ashes and testing the bones' radioactivity. After, he took on Marguerite's and Sarah Maillefer's,her sister, cases. The doctor and von Sochocky concocted a gadget to test radioactivity in living people using an electrometer. The two were then diagnosed with radium poisoning and the autopsy that was performed on Sarah's body.

In the stories of the dial painters, the female networks act as an impetus for justice and change. Without each other, the specialists might not have made the association between their cases. When Irene Rudolph became sick, she proposed that her specialist looks at Hazel Kuser, who was intensely suffering. The symptoms they had were extraordinary and consequently were not clearly associated with medicinal experts. However, the ladies had data that the medical practitioners did not have. It ended up critical for them to talk up, and they did only that. Katherine visited the Department of Labor soon after her cousin, Irene's, passing, for instance. Catherine and Charlotte likewise talked up for their previous associates when they defied Mr. Reed. Catherine paid special mind to Charlotte when she proposed she additionally visit the blood master, Dr. Loffler, and afterward Charlotte accumulated previous dial-painters to have casual facilities with him. Therefore, the tasks these women were doing affected their health drastically.

In Ottawa, Illinois, there was Marie Becker who lived with her grandmother and in an underprivileged community. Her grandmother was called Mary Pfeiffer, and she was a determined German woman. It is from her that Marie got the I can do it attitude. Before joining dial painting, she did several jobs. Marie was a witty, charismatic, and funny woman adored by her friends. She worked in the company for about seven years and was later married and got a son. However, before leaving Radium dial, she stood up to the supervisors at the time when New Jersey cases Arrived in Ottawa. As a charismatic person, she demanded answers. It is difficult to find women like her in society who need to know what is happening. Furthermore, Marie was so instrumental in the lawful fight, and she even supported her colleagues.


Women started dying in Ottawa, Illinois while five previous dial-painters workers rook the cases they had against the company to court. This provoked the exhumation and investigation of Mollie's bones, which were at last resolved to be radioactive. The organization's legal advisor was threatening and uncooperative, and in the long run, Berry and the ladies consented to settle to get their cash before they die. The USRC and their elected board of trustees of specialists endeavored to get results that would demonstrate the ladies were not radioactive and, in this manner, stop their medicinal installments. Updates on their claims achieved Ottawa, where Radium Dial performed tests and distributed false outcomes and data to quiet their dial-painters. Before long Peg Looney became sick, biting the dust soon after, and she was confined by the organization to cover her actual reason for death. Dr. Martland found in New Jersey after the comparable passing of Ella Eckert and Quinta that sarcomas were the last phase of radium harming, and t...

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Essay on Radium-Dial Factory Women: Unknowingly Engulfed in America's Biggest Scandal. (2022, Dec 29). Retrieved from

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