Joseph Lochner's Bakery is "one of the oldest and most reliable Bakeries in Central New York. We pride ourselves on Uniformity, Purity, Cleanliness."
The Fuller Court (1906-1909). Seated, from left to right: Justices Henry Billings Brown, John Marshall Harlan, and Chief Justice Melville Fuller, and Justices David J. Brewer and Edward Douglas White. Standing, from left to right: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Rufus Peckham, Joseph McKenna, and William R. Day.
In 1895, the New York state assembly passed the Bakeshop Act, which established a detailed code of sanitation standards. At the behest of the bakeshop union, a clause limiting the working hours of bakeshop employees--though not their proprietor owners--to 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week was also added to the Act.
Holmes’ reference to Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics is sometimes misunderstood. It was not a reference to “Social Darwinism.” In fact, Holmes was himself a Social Darwinist. It was instead a rejection of Herbert Spencer’s “law of equal freedom” which claimed that “each has freedom to do all that he wills provided that he infringes not the equal freedom of any other, which Holmes paraphrases in the previous sentence.
Lochner v. New York first became famous in 1912, when it was attacked by Progressive Party presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt, who attacked the Supreme Court’s decision, and praised the approach of Justice Holmes. As President, Roosevelt had named homes to the Supreme Court.
In the late nineteenth century, most bakeries in New York City operated in tenement house basements. The rent in these homes were low, and the cellar floors were sturdy enough to support the weight of an oven. These cramped spaces, however, had serious sanitation issues. They were never designed for commercial uses. In 1895, New York enacted the Bakeshop Act to address these problems. The law established a detailed code of sanitation standards for bakeries. One provision was added at the behest of the bakeshop union: Employees could not work more than ten hours per day and sixty hours per week. (The owners of the bakeshops were not subject to this limit.)
At the time, small bakeshops were largely owned and operated by Jewish, German, and other immigrants, who served their own communities. The owners of these businesses fiercely resisted unionization and the maximum hour laws. Their operations required a few employees to operate the ovens over a 24-hour period. The workers could then sleep on the premises while the bread was rising or baking. In contrast, large commercial bakeries could employ shift workers to comply with the maximum-hours law. As a result, the Bakeshop Act had the effect of, and was possibly intended to privilege corporate-owned, unionized bakeries over their small immigrant competitors.
Joseph Lochner, a German immigrant, operated a bakery in Utica, New York.
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