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Silent Monitor

Silent Monitor

This small four-sided wooden block was known as a ‘silent monitor’ and was used by Robert Owen as a means of imposing discipline at his New Lanark Mills. The silent monitor was introduced by Owen after he and his partners took over the mills in 1800.

Robert Owen was strongly opposed to the use of corporal punishment, so in order to keep discipline at the mills, he devised a ‘silent monitor’. It was hung next to each worker, with each side displaying a different colour. ‘Bad’ behaviour was represented by the colour black; ‘indifferent’ by blue; ‘good’ by yellow; and ‘excellent’ by white. The superintendent was responsible for turning the monitors every day, according to how the worker had behaved. A daily note was then made of the conduct of the workers in the ‘books of character’ which were provided for each department in the mills.

The 3D model was created by the Scottish Maritime Museum as a part of the Scanning The Horizon project.

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