Lewis Hine often showed the impact of American Industry on it's workforce. He is most commonly known for his photography showing American poverty through children in factories or men and women constructing or working around large machines. Some of his more powerful photos were taken in industrial areas of children lining up for food, or with hardened expressions showing their frustration or damaged lifestyle created by America's thirst for Industry and it's job hungry citizens. This made Lewis Hine unique to photography, although socially controversial photos weren't undiscovered, his approach through industry and children were bold and one of a kind.
Powerhouse mechanic was a powerful photograph. It showed the intense labor the common man must go through to make an honest living, and helps unveil how small we are compared to the things we depend on. It could also be interpreted as a distinction between the lower and upper class. The lower class is often shown in Hine's photography as hard working from assembly line kids to the middle aged man suspended over hundreds of feet hanging on nothing but a cable. I believe he could have been trying to send a message to the upper class or government about proper wage distribution or labor