Community Bulletin Board
- Phantom of The Opera 2017 Premier
- Cactus Show at NVCC ~ April 1 & 2
- New Home for 'Quilts that Care'
- Poetry Slam Competition
- Environment-Wise Symposium at Post
- Educator Appreciation Days at Barnes & Noble
- A.L. Davroe Book-signing
- Hartley on Manufacturing
- Easter Bunny Express
- Love a Lilac
- Improving Air Quality
- What's Happening in Waterbury and Beyond
The founders of Shakesperience Productions, Emily Mattina, and her husband, Jeff Lapham, have tackled the edgy and historically significant subject of Radium Girls for their latest play.
By John Murray
Shakesperience Productions is tackling a tough subject this week when they perform “Radium Girls” at their studio on Bank Street in downtown Waterbury. One hundred years ago three clock and watch factories in the United States paid young women to paint radium on watches so time would glow in the dark. Radium, a natural radioactive element, was thought to possess magic healing powers and was being prescribed by doctors all across the country for ailments ranging from impotence, to arthritis, to senility.
After Glow - 90 Years Ago Workers At The Waterbury Clock Company Began Dying After Painting Radium On Clock Dials
A dial painter suffered from radium-induced sarcoma of the chin. The workers, mostly young women, used their mouthes to form sharp points on the brush that they would dip in and out of radium paint. Image from the book "Deadly Glow - The Radium Dial Worker Tragedy."
Story by Ann Quigley
(This article was first published The Waterbury Observer in September 2002)
It was 1921 when 17-year –old Frances Splettstocher landed a job at the Waterbury Clock Company on Cherry Street. It was a glamorous job, for she and her young colleagues worked with radium – the wonder substance of the new century. The girls used their keen eyes and nimble fingers to paint tiny numbers on glow-in-the-dark watches that were all the rage at the moment. World War I soldiers had worn the futuristic devices in the trenches, and now in peacetime everyone wanted one, so Splettstocher and dozens like her were hired to help produce millions of the watches during the early 1920s.
(Editor's note - the following column was written by Observer publisher John Murray in October 2003, on the 10th anniversary of the newspaper. Eight years later the newspaper has transitioned into the digital world with new computers, digital cameras and a bustling website. The drama for survival, however, continues)
The Waterbury Observer recently celebrated it’s tenth anniversary, and although this column may appear to be the sound of one hand clapping, I’m going to stop and celebrate some of the highs and lows along the journey.
Any newspaper across America has the responsibility to reflect the community back upon itself, and somewhere along the way the Observer morphed into the chaos of the city. As Waterbury struggles and groans to transition itself from an industrial giant there has been an explosion of social problems that has permeated the community, problems that the Observer absorbed.
Illness and mayhem seeped through our door.