chapter  6
22 Pages

The Limits of Gender, Class, and Age

Why were the messengers constructed almost exclusively as boys? As detailed in chapter 4, ADT's innovative technologies of labor were one answer. ADT was the first telegraph company to put its messengers in crisp military-style uniforms and to put them through regular military drills. ADT also expanded the messenger's duties beyond simply handling messages. Besides handling packages and door-to-door advertising flyers, messengers could also be procured on an hourly basis. In this way, businesses might call for temporary messenger boys when they ran out of regular "office boys," putting them to work at any number of tasks. Some brokerage offices would call for eight to ten boys first thing in the morning and keep them all day long.