Pilgrim laundry was a laundry facility located in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn and first opened its doors in 1894. The owners set out to open a laundry business founded on the belief that if employees were given fair labor standards, the business would flourish. This method proved successful for Pilgrim Laundry. While the original facility burned in 1910, a new facility opened in 1913 that featured recreation facilities for employees, as well as a vacation clubhouse. In 1921, the company allowed employees to buy stock, and by the 1950s, Pilgrim Laundry was completely employee owned. Unfortunately, however, Pilgrim Laundry was later acquired by a new firm and while under new ownership, they went out of business in the 1960s.
Early laundry businesses were one of the first industries to hire predominately women. Married women with children were attracted to this line of work because they could perform paid work, while also fulfilling responsibilities like childcare. The industry was also characterized by long hours and low pay, which makes Pilgrim Laundry’s approach to labor particularly noteworthy.
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