The term Plant on this factory entrance sign is an abbreviation, shorthand if you will, for the term Plantation. Insofar as labor is concerned, little has changed aside from the name.
The term Plantation implies plants or crops of various sorts, subsistence or cash, corn or cotton or hemp, etc.. But owing to the impact of the Industrial Revolution the term Plant segued in meaning to indicate a place of manufacture or Factory.
As I’ve said elsewhere, in general usage, euphemisms are used to ameliorate harsh or embarrassing terms. At other times however, euphemisms are used to obfuscate or hide the truth.
My father worked for Henry Harnischfeger, manufacturer of P&H cranes and hoists, excavators (electric mining shovels) at his plant but mainly out of doors, outside his factory. Now known as Joy Global.
The P&H property is quite large but segmented and the portion along Orchard Street has been re-named several times. Recently what used to be called the (P&H) Orchard Street Plant became the (P&H) Orchard Street Campus but when acquired by Joy Global no descriptive adjective was used – they all just disappeared.
Did you freely choose to work on that man’s plantation or were you just lucky to get a job and chosen from the surplus of labor?
You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and you can’t change reality just by re-naming it
Welcome to the Plantation