1905 in St. Petersburg: Labor, Society, and Revolution

By Gerald D. Surh | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 2
The Petersburg Printers

The printing workers of the capital were exceptional in several respects. Their culture, organization, and strike dynamics were different from those found among the workers in the two major industries of Petersburg, metalworking and textiles, and yet they were also atypical of the group they most closely resembled, highly urbanized craft workers in small shops. "Printers" were actually a congeries of several separate trades and skill levels, including compositors (or typesetters, naborshchiki), press workers of various types and skill levels, lithographers, bookbinders, letter founders, zincographers, and stereotypers, each of these involving further gradation and types of skills. They worked predominantly in small and medium shops all over the city, although half of them were located in Kazan, Spassk, and Moscow districts. In 1900 the city census reported 15,387 printing workers in Petersburg, representing somewhat more than twice the number recorded in 1881; by 1905 one estimate put the number of printers at 16,000-17,000.1 While this made for a growth rate somewhat greater than that of the city as a whole during the quarter century before 1905, in absolute numbers of workers, printers ranked in

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1
Once again, in this study's usage, "small" means fewer than 100 workers. The Factory Inspectorate's figure of 71 for the average size of a printing establishment would in actuality be somewhat lower due to the Inspectorate's omission of shops with fewer than 16 workers. The work Istoriia Leningradskogo soiuza rabochikh poligraficheskogo proizvodstva. Kniga pervaia, 1904-1907. Kollektivnyi trud, written by some of the printers' leaders in 1905, is the source for most of the information given here. A thoroughgoing account of the culture and structure of the printing industry prior to 1905 may be found in Steinberg, "Consciousness and Conflict."

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