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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Complaints of the Pullman Porters

The Pantagraph reprinted an article from Collier's Weekly on this date 100 years ago. It was quite common for the Pantagraph to reprint articles from other papers and in fact sometimes the same article would appear in the paper for a few days running.

The writer to Collier's facetiously complained that the Porters on the Pullman cars assumed the duties of nurses, encouraging the passengers to go to bed well before 9 pm.

In this photo you can see that the sleeping chambers were above the seats and that once the beds were lowered from the ceiling, it would be impossible to sit any longer in your seat. "Of course he does not carry off kicking commercial travellers and stuff them into their berths in real nurse fashion, but in a relentless and inexorable manner, he begins making up the beds at sunset and keeps it up until the stubborn patron is driven into the smoking car. Then, if it is winter, he will turn off the heat with a bland smile and by curfew time the last shivering passenger has been tucked in."

Here is a travelling lady being given her last glass of water before bed, just as a nurse would give a child a final drink. I hope that she slept comfortably, because the writer went on to say that after tucking in each passenger, the porter would invariably turn on the lights and increase the heat to such a level as to bake all the passengers in their beds.

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