What changes occurred in the garment industry during this period?

Students will study the growing garment industry during this period, with particular attention to the industrialization and move toward large ‘sweatshops’. Students may also elect to study how industrial processes allowed for the creation of new fabrics. An interesting corollary is the growth of labor unions within the industry.


A portfolio will be created by each student, containing the following:

Research materials reflecting major developments in the United States and the world. Possible sources for research include:

  • Tirocchi objects database

  • Textbooks

  • School library

  • Public library and local resources

  • On-line searches

  • Labor organizations, such as the ILGWU


Personal stories. At least one oral history/interview should be required. These stories could take the form of someone who worked in the industry, or deal with how clothing buying and wearing patterns have changed over time.

Literacy. Students should select an appropriate, related novel or short story dealing with industrialization (see resources section for suggestions).

Timeline. This should reflect the time from 1870 to the present, and include major events that influenced the industry.

An artistic or scientific creation reflecting the differences in available fabrics. This project should allow the student a wide range of choices as far as materials. Students may elect to create a collage of fabrics, or demonstrate differences in strength and durability.

Work Plan. Students should create a physical work space for a small organization, like the Tirocchi’s, and a large, industrialized operation.

Group Activity:

At several checkpoints during this project, the teacher and group should gather to compare and share progress and discoveries. As the research and activities progress, a whole-group project should be chosen and the students begin working towards its completion. Examples might include:

  • Create a quilt of fabrics, indicating the country of origin and the types of garments it was used for.

  • Create a business plan for the Tirocchis. Which innovations did they adopt, and which did they not? Why did they remain a small operation?


The Curriculum Guide
  Constructing History
  Educational Standards
  The Curriculum Activity
  Beginning the Unit
  Exercise One
  Exercise Two
  Exercise Three

  History Standards
Arts Standards


Information about the Tirocchi's business can be found in The STORY, and The EVIDENCE. Students might also explore the business records in the Databases of the Transactions and Corrispondence .