Before and after: Front view of a dial painter with radium-induced sarcoma on her chin

Behind the story of the clock and watch industries’ success, lies a tragic story of employee sacrifice.

For a time, little was known about the toxic working conditions of the young women in the dial painting industry.

Hundreds of young women worked in watch factories during the First World War, painting the dials of radium-based watches.

But when the girls literally glowed in the dark after the end of the shift, they saw horrible side effects, and they began to fight for their rights.

It was a race against time, the outcome of which was to change US labor law forever.

Fortunately, their story was eventually heard.

Unfortunately, many of them did not live to see that day.

Their story is one of opportunity, broken trust, and the search for truth.

Presenter Colleen Nicastro, Director of Interpretation will discuss this little know topic on October 28 at the American Clock & Watch Museum, 100 Maple St., Bristol. 

For more information click here or email to



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