Women Weeding a Field of Sugar Beets, Sweden

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Sugar is now looked upon as a necessity among peoples of the temperate zones. A large part of our sugar is made from the sap of sugar cane. But almost an equal amount of the world's supply of sugar is obtained from the sugar beet. In the early part of the nineteenth century the British fleet blockaded French ports in the wars with Napoleon. At that time almost all the sugar came from cane. Napoleon ordered his chemists to find a plant that would take the place of sugar cane. The sugar beet industry thus came about. The plants are grown from seed, and are so tender when young that they must be cultivated by hand. A great many workmen are therefore needed in the fields. Europe is thickly populated, so that field hands are plentiful. The sugar beet grows best in a climate that is cooler than is needed for corn, and it demands a great deal of moisture. France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, and Russia are well adapted to growing the beets. In the picture is shown a group of Swedish women busy weeding a large field of sugar beets. This is not a strange sight, for women in most European countries work on the farms. You will notice the little weeders each of them holds, and the careful way they work. When the beets are larger, hoes or cultivators are used. When mature, the beets are pulled, and hauled to a factory. There the juice is taken out of them, and made into sugar. The field pictured is in southern Sweden. Most of the farms of Sweden are very small. In many cases they are only little garden strips. This is partly because of a Swedish law that requires all lands to be divided equally among the children on the death of the parents. Keystone ID: 13017 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.