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The Gimmick Girls

In 1900, High London Mechanical began hiring women to sell the Ladies' Mechanical Companion door to door in the city. The program proved quite profitable for the company, and by 1910, over 1000 women were hawking the tiny robots in the homes of Londoners.

The companions earned the nickname "gimmick" with customers, after the invoice designation GEMECH for the Gentlemens Mechanical Companion. The women, in turn, were nicknamed the "gimmick girls," and the company took the term for its own. In an age when many saw unaccompanied travel as a hazard for women, the Gimmick Girls, in their signature green and brass uniforms, roamed the streets of London on bicycles and motorbikes, in steam carriages, and on foot.

Though the program was a massive success, the Gimmick Girls were at the center of one of the company's darkest hours.

Next: The Safety of Young Women
Copyright 2010 Haley Moore