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2.  The Successful Prevention of Silicosis among China Biscuit Workers in the North Staffordshire Potteries* 
The pottery industry in North Staffordshire was established towards the close of the seventeenth century. At first the wares which were made from local clays were rather crude but manufacturers unremittingly sought to improve the quality of their productions by the addition of other ingredients to the clays. In 1720 calcined powdered flint was introduced into the clay body. Six years later Benson described the serious effects of the dust on the lungs of millmen engaged in dry flint crushing. Later the disease became very prevalent not only among millmen but among workmen, males and females, in a wide range of pottery occupations and processes. Popularly the disease was known as potters' asthma or potters' rot, which was later identified scientifically as silicosis.
Among the workmen most seriously affected were men engaged in china biscuit bedding and placing and women in the china biscuit warehouse. The risk arose from bedding the ware in flint for the first or so-called biscuit firing. In the course of firing some flint adhered to the surface of pieces and this had to be scoured or brushed off to ensure a clean surface for glazing.
The manufacturers experimented to discover a suitable substitute for bedding flint. In due course it was proved that calcined alumina fulfilled all the practical requirements. This success immediately raised the question as to whether or not alumina was free from any risk to the health of workmen. The problem was investigated by a survey of furnacemen who had been seriously exposed for many years to the inhalation of alumina in the manufacture of aluminium. The research team concluded that alumina was safe. Thereafter manufacturers progressively substituted alumina for flint. At first this action was voluntary but it was made statutory in 1947.
Vigilant supervision of alumina workers in potteries and aluminium works was maintained between 1936 and 1962; the original findings as to the safety of alumina were confirmed.
During this period the firm of Doultons, where alumina was first introduced, experimented with firing china biscuit ware in tunnel ovens by a method in which the alumina is dispensed with. The method, profile placing, is now established and should in due course extend to all china manufactories.
PMCID: PMC1038375  PMID: 14072615
3.  The Successful Prevention of Lead Poisoning in the Glazing of Earthenware in the North Staffordshire Potteries* 
In 1572 an extensive epidemic of disease characterized by severe abdominal colic, later identified as lead poisoning, occurred in France in the province of Poitou. Citois named the disease colica Pictonum, that is the colic of the Pictones, the ancient Celtic tribe who inhabited the area. There-after the term was used generically for lead poisoning, otherwise plumbism or saturnism. The origin of the poisoning was traced to the practice of vintners who sophisticated sour acid wines with lead oxide. This adulteration restored the sweetness of the wine by the formation of sugar of lead, lead acetate. Similar outbreaks of poisoning were traced to the same fraudulent practice in the wine-growing districts of Germany and Spain. The preparation and storage of food and drink in containers of pewter and lead glazed earthenware resulted in accidental contamination of the substances, the consumption of which caused acute and chronic plumbism. Among the most frequently lead-contaminated liquors was Devonshire cyder, hence Devonshire colic. Occupational lead poisoning was described among lead miners and smelters in the mid-sixteenth century. Thereafter the disease was observed in a wide variety of trades and processes. The subject was comprehensively reviewed by Tanquerel des Planches in 1839.
Among the workmen frequently affected were dippers in the pottery industry where lead oxide and lead carbonate were constituents of the glaze. The disease appeared as a serious problem among dippers and their assistants in North Staffordshire, the centre of the manufacture of earthenware and china in Great Britain. The manifestations of the disease included colic, convulsions, paralysis of limbs, blindness, and general emaciation. Female lead workers suffered excessively from abortions and miscarriages and many of their infants died of fits. The situation became so serious that the Government were compelled to enquire into the problem through a succession of Commissions. Meantime the manufacturers experimented to discover methods of glazing their products without lead or with lead in the relatively harmless fritted state of low solubility lead glazes. The progress of the investigations and remedial measures are followed in detail leading to the final conquest of lead poisoning among dippers and their assistants.
PMCID: PMC1039197  PMID: 14046153
5.  The Origin of the Term “Pneumonokoniosis” 
Throughout the literature on the dust diseases of the lungs, reference is frequently made to the fact that Professor F. A. Zenker of Erlangen introduced the term “pneumonokoniosis”. As few authors have been able to study the original German article, this opportunity has been taken to present a translation in English prefaced by a short biographical note.
Images
PMCID: PMC1038042
6.  The Origin of the Term Anthracosis 
Dust diseases of the lungs are classified generically as the pneumoconioses. There are several varieties, of which anthracosis was the first to be named specifically. The original article, in which the name anthracosis was coined, is reprinted prefaced by a biographical note on its author.
PMCID: PMC1037972
8.  Industrial Health—Meeting the Challenge* 
The modern industrial system had its origin in England just over 200 years ago. This period historically is referred to as the Industrial Revolution. It was marked by mechanical inventions in textile machinery, by advances in the manufacture of iron, and by the introduction of steam power. These, in turn, were the foundations of the factory system.
In 1784 at a cotton mill at Radcliffe, near Manchester, an epidemic of malignant fever affected the operatives and spread to the surrounding population. The situation became serious and the local justices invited Dr. Thomas Percival, a leading local physician, to investigate the nature and circumstances of the outbreak. With his colleagues and leading citizens he formed the Manchester Board of Health. The Board, through authoritative reports, made recommendations for the control of such epidemics by the establishment of isolation hospitals. They also urged the need for the improvement of environmental conditions in mills and factories and for the diminution of working hours, especially for children and women. In pursuance of these objects the Government in 1802 passed the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act. This was the first Factory Act. Since then factory legislation has been greatly extended and is the basis of statutory supervision of factories and factory workers under the inspector of factories. The development of this supervision is traced with special reference to the work of the certifying surgeons, now the appointed factory doctors, and the medical inspectors. Concurrently, public health education and workmen's compensation were advanced through legislation. Since 1935 voluntary medical services have been developed in industry. These services have not been restricted to the observance of the minimum standards prescribed by statute and so have been able to pioneer advances directed to the promotion of safety, health, and welfare in factories and other places of employment.
Radcliffe, Percival, and steam power are recognized as the growing points of the challenge to health by the Industrial Revolution. The means whereby the challenge was met are discussed.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century scientists increasingly concentrated their studies on the elements. This culminated in the isolation of the atom. During the last 10 years atomic power has become a reality and the foundation of the second Industrial Revolution. While the potential hazards of ionizing radiations had long been known and proved at Hiroshima, the inherent dangers for the general population only became impressed on the public mind by a breakdown at the Windscale No. 1 plutonium pile on October 10, 1957. Radio-active iodine escaped, contaminating the atmosphere as far afield as western Europe. A committee under the chairmanship of Sir Alexander Fleck was appointed to investigate the cause of the accident and its consequences and to make recommendations. The report, which laid special emphasis on safety and health, was published early in 1958. So by analogy, Windscale, Fleck, and atomic power are identified as the growing points of the challenge of the Second Industrial Revolution. How this challenge is to be met by doctors is discussed. It is submitted that the urgent need is to formulate now a basic philosophy for future development of industrial medicine. Continuation of the old order will not suffice: ideas must again become revolutionary. The responsibility for leadership rests on the Industrial Health Advisory Committee established in 1955 under the chairmanship of the Minister of Labour and National Service.
PMCID: PMC1037855  PMID: 13618514
12.  Hubert Wyers 
Images
PMCID: PMC1037742  PMID: 13396155
14.  Doctor and Workman* 
“It would afford me much gratification if any means could be devised as regards either prevention or remedy, whereby might be lessened the evils of a disease, the ravages of which, upon the most robust constitutions, I have every day cause to deplore.” “On Black Expectoration and Black Matter in the Lungs.”
PMCID: PMC1036318  PMID: 15434246
15.  Silicosis in Sandstone Workers 
PMCID: PMC1036241  PMID: 15392118
16.  Silicosis in the Potteries 
PMCID: PMC1036240  PMID: 15390511

Results 1-16 (16)