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Indiana Industrial Home For Blind Men
The Indiana Industrial Home for Blind Men is a private enterprise, located at 1146 West 28th street, Indianapolis, Indiana. It is not a Home, as its incorporate name suggests, but only a workshop where blind men are employed at making brooms.
This institution was organized, and incorporated, in 1899. We began work with four men on March 12, 1900. From this date down to July 1, 1905, we have furnished employment to 26 different men, -- the greatest number on our roll at any one time being 16. On July 1, 1905, we had 12 on our list. Since we have been in operation we have lost three of our best men by death, five are now earning their living outside our institution, and six have left from various other causes.
The funds with which our factory is operated are secured by subscriptions, the greater part of which have been given by our Board of Managers. Since our beginning, we have received a total donation of $3,281.82. We have paid in wages $11,607.51, and have completed and sold 12,615 dozen brooms. We have erected and paid for a two-story, frame building, which 30x60 feet, and used for our workshop. The ground was donated. Some of our men earn as much as $7.00, or over, a week, while others can scarcely earn $4.00 a week. Our pay rolls show an average earning of about $5.10 for each man a week. Since beginning our factory has been closed but little, and not over a week or two at any one time.
The most of our workmen have learned a trade at the State School for the blind, during their youth, but are not competent to operate their own factory, and like the majority of men with sight, they prefer working for others. But there is another class of unfortunates, who are perhaps more needy in many instances than those whom we are now employing. I mean those who have lost their sight since becoming of age and are not admitted into our State Schools for blind children. We are constantly receiving many requests from both married and single men, ranging in age from 25 to 50, and over, who have lost their sight mostly by accident, and who are unable to maintain themselves while learning a trade. For the benefit of this class, we have twice placed a bill before our State Legislature. This bill provided for the maintenance of not to exceed 20 adult blind men, at any one time, at the rate of $4.00 per week for each, and only for a period of 2 years. In 1903, this bill passed both branches of our general assembly, by a large majority, but was vetoed by the Governor. It was introduced again in the early part of this year, but was fought desperately by the labor organizations and failed for the second time.
We are now determined more than ever, and shall go before the next meeting of our State Legislature with a stronger force than ever before, and I hope to be spared to meet with this Association in 1907, and tell of the great good we are doing in the State of Indiana for its adult blind.