Final Inspection
Hathaway Shirt Factory
Waterville, Maine 

Dedicated to Rita Côté, Hathaway Shirt Co. 1950s & 1960s off and on

An expert seamstress, couseuse

 she was hired on
 for final inspection
at the shirt factory
 on Water St.

She came home
 told us
"this job was different
 from the one who sewed dozens."
Or that's what the bosses 
 told her.

"Don't expect to do a hundred dozen a day here."

 Your quotas
 will be
 loose threads
Hard. Exacting work.

"I already have scissors" she said
"You'll need final inspection scissors"
 they replied.

"And You Buy Them."

She bought the scissors
 practiced holding them
 working them in her hand for speed

Final Inspection Scissors
 became a part
of her sewing life.

She, the seamstress, couseuse
 looked at 
loose threads lost in seams
crooked seams

inspecting finally
 the work.

Deciding which shirts to return to the woman-maker who sews
 returns on a punched in clock
 losing time
 breaking quotas
 cursing threads
 final inspectors
 timed piecework
 crooked seams

Tension mounts for the seamstress final inspector
Shirts pile
silk and cotton
colors and whites
angry, women at returned shirts
clocked quotas
short scissors
hot weather place
100° or better
timed piecework
Bosses complain
final inspection
not final 

Faster, Faster, Faster.

to her
who left
with her scissors.

Rhea Côté Robbins


many thanks to Sue Côté in telling me of this book:

Author Congdon-Martin, Douglas 
Title: Hathaway shirts : their history, design, and advertising / Douglas Congdon-Martin. 
Publisher: Atglen, PA : Schiffer Publishing Ltd., c1998.
Phys descr: 159 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm.
Series: Schiffer book for collectors and designers 
Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Subject: C.F. Hathaway and Company -- History. 
Hathaway Shirt Company. 
Men's shirt industry -- Unitd States -- History 

Title: The one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the C.F. Hathaway Company 
Publisher: NY C.F. Hathaway
Phys descr: 16 p. : ill.
Subject: C.F. Hathaway Company -- Waterville (ME) 
Alt title: Celebrating a legacy of quality



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