A little known fact is that long after child labor laws were passed to keep kids from toiling down at mill week in, week out, for tuppence every six months, children were still used in the construction industry. And yes, it’s common knowledge that using them en masse as foundations or structural support beams was outlawed in 1940, but they were still being used to operate heavy machinery up until 1949. Here, in this bit from Popular Mechanics in 1950, we see how construction companies did an end-run on those laws by creating a “Child-size bulldozer” which “looks and works like the real thing.” Oh, it sure did. For twelve hours a day until the loophole was finally closed in 1955. Of course, even today the iron hand of government keeps a close eye on Tonka trucks just to make sure that they don’t get too functional.
Still, it took a while for these new federal laws to become enforced properly, so even as late as 1957 you’d see ten-year-old kids wolf whistling at girls as they walked past.
This has been another edition of TRUE FACTS…THAT ARE TRUE!