HSNY The Horlogical Society of New York Announces The Grace Fryer Scholarship For Female Watchmaking Students
HSNY Shines A Light on America’s Dark, Yet Radioactive Past
The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) announces today a new financial aid initiative to further its mission of advancing the art and science of horology — the Grace Fryer Scholarship for Female Watchmaking Students.
The horological industry is currently experiencing an essential ‘women in watches movement’, where female voices are being amplified and strengthened, but HSNY would be remiss if it didn’t mention women from America’s dark, yet radioactive past.
The Grace Fryer Scholarship is dedicated to the Radium Girls — the women of the 1920s who worked as dial painters in Illinois and New Jersey and succumbed to the often deadly side effects of working with radium, a material that was then instrumental in making watch dials glow. To encourage precision, these women were instructed to point the radium-lined brushes using their lips. The Radium Girls suffered horrific side effects from radium poisoning and many lost their lives.
Fryer (1899 - 1933), a dial painter in New Jersey who was poisoned by the element, spearheaded a long, arduous fight against their employer to acknowledge the deadly repercussions of using radium and demanded compensation for the women who often unknowingly fell prey. Fryer spent years fighting for the Radium Girls and their case would go on to gain national media attention and establish legal precedents, having tremendous labor rights impacts and ushering scientific advances.
Grace Fryer © HSNY
“I believe Aunt Grace would view this scholarship, which the Horological Society of New York has graciously named after her, as a symbol of progress for women,” adds Art Fryer, Grace 1 Fryer’s nephew. “I feel Grace would be honored to be associated with HSNY in helping to welcome women into the horological craft.”