1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/United States, The/Industries and Commerce
VI.—Industries and Commerce
Manufactures.—In the colonial period there were beginnings in some lines of manufacturing, but the policy of the British government was generally hostile and the increase was insignificant. In the first decades after the establishment of independence the resources and energies of the nation were absorbed in the task of occupying the vacant spaces of a continent, and subduing it to agriculture; and so long as land was so abundant that the spreading population easily sustained itself upon the fruits of the soil, and satisfied the tastes of a simple society with the products of neighbourhood handicrafts, there was no incentive to any real development of a factory economy. This has been, for the most part, a development since the Civil War.
No attempt was made in the census enumerations of 1790 and 1800 to obtain statistics of manufactures. In 1810 Congress provided for such a report, but the results were so imperfect that there was never published any summary for the country, nor for any state. Nor were the data secured in 1820 and 1840 of much value. Since 1850, however, provision has been made on an ample scale for their collection, although the constant modifications of the schedules under which the statistics were arranged makes very difficult comparisons of the latest with the earlier censuses.
From 1850 to 1900 fairly full industrial statistics were gathered as a part of each decennial census. In 1905 was taken the first of a new series of special decennial censuses of manufactures, in which only true factories—that is, establishments producing standardized products intended for the general market—were included, and mere “neighbourhood” (local) establishments of the hand trades were excluded. Without corrections, therefore, the figures of earlier censuses are not comparable with those of the census of 1905. Thus of 512,254 establishments included in the reports of 1900, six-tenths, employing 11.2% of the total number of wage-earners and producing 12.3% of the total value of all manufactures, must be omitted as “neighbourhood” establishments in order to make the following comparison of the results of the two enumerations of 1900 and 1905. The magnitude in 1905 of each of the leading items, and its increase since 1900, then appear as follows: number of factories, 216,262, increase 4.2%; capital invested, $12,686,265,673, increase 41.3%; salaries, £574,761,231, increase 50.9%; total wages, $2,009,735,799, increase 29.9%; miscellaneous expenses, $1,455,019,473, increase 60.7%; cost of materials, $8,503,949,756, increase 29.3%; value of products, including custom work and repairing (in such factories), $14,802,147,087, being an increase of 29.7%. Of the last item $3,269,757,067 represented the value of the products of rural factories (that is, those in cities of under 8000 inhabitants). The increase of the different items during the five years was greater in every case in the rural than in the urban factories. There was a very slight decline in the number of child labourers both in city and country, their total number in 1905 being 159,899 and in 1900 161,276. The total wages paid to children under 16 years, however, which was in 1905 $27,988,207, increased both in the city and, especially, in the country, and was 13.9% greater in 1905 than five years earlier. In the same period there was an increase of 16.0% in the number and of 27.5% in the wages of women workers of 16 years (and upwards) of age.
Deducting from the total value of manufactured products in 1905 the cost of partially manufactured materials, including mill supplies, a net or true value of $9,821,205,387 remains. Partially manufactured articles imported for use in manufactures are not included. Deducting from this the cost of raw materials and adding the cost of mill supplies, the result-$6,743,399,718—is the value added to materials by manufacturing processes.
The extent to which manufactures are controlled by large factories is shown by the fact that although in 1905 only 11.2% of the total number reported products valued at $100,000 or over, these establishments controlled 81.5% of the capital, employed 71.6% of the wage earners, and produced 79.3% of the value of the products, of all establishments reported. 52.3% of the total number, employing 66.3% of all wage-earners, and producing 69.7% of the total product-value, were in urban centres.
Only six establishments in a thousand employed as many as 500 workers, and only two in a thousand employed as many as 1000 workers. Cotton mills are most numerous in the last class of establishments. The manufacture of lumber and timber gave employment to the largest total number of workers; and this industry, together with those of foundry and machine shops (including locomotives, stoves and furnaces), cotton goods (including small wares), railway car and repair shops, and iron and steel, were (in order) the five greatest employers of labour.
Measured by the gross value of products, wholesale slaughtering and meat packing was the most important industry in 1905. The products were valued at $801,757,137. In each of four other industries the products exceeded in value five hundred millions of dollars, namely, those of foundry and machine shops, flour and grist mills, iron and steel, and lumber and timber. In one other, cotton goods, the value was little less. These six industries contributed 27/2% of the value of all manufactured products. Both in 1905 and in 1900 the group of industries classed as of food and kindred products ranked first in the cost of materials used and the value of products; the group of iron and steel ranking first in capital and in wages paid; and textiles in the number of wage-earners employed.
The close relation of manufactures to agriculture is reflected in the fact that, of the raw materials used, 79.4% came from the farm. The remainder came from mines and quarries, 15.0%; forests, 5.2%; the sea, 0.4%.
Four states—New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Massachusetts—each manufactured in 1900 products valued at over $1,000,000,000; New York exceeding and Pennsylvania attaining almost twice that sum. The manufacture of some products is highly localized. Thus, of silk goods, worsteds, the products of blast furnaces, of rolling mills and steel works, glass, boots and shoes, hosiery and knit goods, slaughtering and meat products, agricultural implements, woollens, leather goods, cotton goods and paper and wood pulp, four leading states produced in each case from 88.5%, in the case of silk goods, to 58.6% in the case of pulp.
M. G. Mulhall (Industry and Wea
tlh of Nations, 1896) assigned
fourth place to the United States in 1880 and first place in 1894 in
the value of manufactured products, as compared with other
countries. Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (Les États-Unis au xxème Siècle, Paris,
1904) would assign primacy to the United States as far back as 1885.
Since the English board of trade estimated the exports of British
manufactured goods at from 17 to 20% of the industrial output
of the United Kingdom in 1902, this would indicate a manufactured
product hardly two-thirds as great as that of the true factory establishments
of the United States in 1900. But exact data for comparison
do not exist for other countries than the United States. In
the production of pig iron, the share of the United States seems to
have been in 1850 about one-eighth and that of Great Britain one half
of the world's product; while in 1903 the respective shares were
38.8 and 19.3%; and Germany's also slightly exceeded the British
output. In the manufacture of textiles the United States holds
the second place, after Great Britain; decidedly second in cottons,
a close competitor with Great Britain and France in woollens, and
with France in silks. In the manufacture of food products the
United States holds a lead that is the natural result of immense
advantages in the production of raw materials. No other country
produces half so much of leather. In the dependent industry of
boots and shoes her position is commanding. These facts give an
idea of the rank of the country among the manufacturing countries
of the world. The basis of this position is generally considered to
be, partly, immense natural resources available as materials, and,
partly, an immense home market.
Minerals.—In 1619 the erection of “works” for smelting the ores of iron was begun at Falling Creek, near Jamestown, Va., and iron appears to have been made in 1620; but the enterprise was stopped by a general massacre of the settlers in that region. In 1643 the business of smelting and manufacturing iron was begun at Lynn, Mass., where it was successfully carried on, at least up to 1671, furnishing most of the iron used in the colony. From the middle of the 17th century the smelting of this metal began to be of importance in Massachusetts Bay and vicinity, and by the close of the century there had been a large number of ironworks established in that colony, which, for a century after its settlement, was the chief seat of the iron manufacture in America, bog ores, taken from the bottom of the ponds, being chiefly used. Early in the 18th century the industry began to extend over New England and into New Jersey, the German bloomery forge being employed for reducing the ore directly to bar iron, and by the middle of that century it had taken a pretty firm hold in the Atlantic colonies. About 1789 there were fourteen furnaces and thirty-four forges in operation in Pennsylvania. Before the separation of the colonies from the mother country, the manufacture of iron had been extended through all of them, with the possible exception of Georgia. As early as 1718 iron (both pig and bar) began to be sent to Great Britain, the only country to which the export was permitted, the annual amount between 1730 and 1775 varying ordinarily between 2000 and 3000 tons, but in one year (1771) rising to between 7000 and 8000 tons.
The first metal other than iron mined by whites within the territory of the United States was lead, the discovery of which on the American continent was recorded in 1621. The first English settlers on the Atlantic bartered lead of domestic origin with the Indians in the 17th century, and so did the French in the upper Mississippi Valley. The ore of the metal occurring in the Mississippi basin—galena—is scattered widely and in large quantities, and being easily smelted by the roughest possible methods was much used at an early date. In the second half of the 18th century, during the period of French and Spanish domination in the valley, lead was a common medium of exchange, but no real mining development took place. Copper was the next metal to be mined, so far as is known. The first company began work about 1709, at Simsbury, Conn. The ore obtained there and in New Jersey seems to have been mostly shipped to England. A few years later attempts were made to work mines of lead and cobalt in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The first mining excitement of the United States dates back to the discovery of gold by the whites in the Southern states, along the eastern border of the Appalachian range, in Virginia, and in North and South Carolina. The existence of gold in that region had been long known to the aboriginal inhabitants, but no attention was paid to this by the whites, until about the beginning of the 19th century, when nuggets were found, one of which weighed 28 ℔. From 1824 the search for gold continued, and by 1829 the business had become important, and was attended with no little excitement. In 1833 and 1834 the amount annually obtained had risen to fully a million of dollars. A rapid development of the lead mines of the West, both in Missouri and on the Upper Mississippi in the region where Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois adjoin one another, took place during the first quarter of the 19th century, and as early as 1826 or 1827 the amount of this metal obtained had risen to nearly 10,000 tons a year. By this time the making of iron had also become important, the production for 1828 being estimated at 130,000 tons.
In 1820 the first cargo of anthracite coal was shipped to Philadelphia. From 1830 the increase in the production was very rapid, and in 1841 the annual shipments from the Pennsylvania anthracite region had nearly reached 1,000,000 tons, the output of iron at that time being estimated at about 300,000 tons. The development of the coal and iron interests, and the increasing importance of the gold product of the Appalachian auriferous belt, and also of the lead product of the Mississippi Valley, led to a more general and decided interest in geology and mining; and about 1830 geological surveys of several of the Atlantic states were begun, and more systematic explorations for the ores of the metals, as well as for coal, were carried on over all parts of the country then open to settlement. An important step was taken in 1844, when a cession of the region on the south shore of Lake Superior was obtained from the Chippewa Indians. Here explorations for copper immediately began, and for the first time in the United States the business of mining for the metals began to be developed on an extensive scale, with suitable appliances, and with financial success. An event of still greater importance took place almost immediately after the value of the copper region in question had been fully ascertained. This was the demonstration of the fact that gold existed in large quantities along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada of California. In five years from the discovery of gold at Coloma on the American river, the yield from the auriferous belt of the Sierra Nevada had risen to an amount estimated at between sixty-five and seventy millions of dollars a year, or live times as much as the total production of this metal throughout the world at the beginning of the century.
The following details show the development of the mineral resources of the country at the middle of the 19th century. In 1850 Mining Industries about 1850. the shipments of anthracite amounted to nearly 3,500,000 tons; those of Cumberland or semi-bituminous coal were about 200,000 tons. The yearly production of pig iron had risen to between 500,000 and 600,000 tons. The annual yield of gold in the Appalachian belt had fallen off to about $500,000 in value, that of California had risen to $36,000,000, and was rapidly approaching the epoch of its culmination (1851-1853). No silver was obtained in the country, except what was separated from the native gold, that mined in California containing usually from 8 to 10% of the less valuable metal. The ore of mercury had been discovered in California before the epoch of the gold excitement, and was being extensively worked, the yield in the year 1850-1851 being nearly 2,000,000 ℔. At this time the copper mines of Lake Superior were being successfully developed, and nearly 600 tons of metallic copper were produced in 1850. At many points in the Appalachian belt attempts had been made to work mines of copper and lead, but with no considerable success, About the middle of the century extensive works were erected at Newark, New Jersey, for the manufacture of the oxide of zinc for paint; about 1100 tons were produced in 1852. The extent and value of the deposits of zinc ore in the Saucon Valley, Pennsylvania, had also just become known in 1850. The lead production of the Missouri mines had for some years been nearly stationary, or had declined slightly from its former importance; while that of the upper Mississippi region, which in the years just previous to 1850 had risen to from 20,000 to 25,000 tons a year, was declining, having in 1850 sunk to less than 18,000 tons.
At the end of the century, in only fifty years, the United States had secured an easy first lace among the mineral-producing countries Present Position of Mining Industries. of the world. It held primacy, with a large margin, in the yield of coal, iron, lead and copper, the minerals most important in manufactures; in gold its output was second only to that of South Africa (though practically equalled by that of Australia); and in silver to that of Mexico. Although the data are in general incomplete upon which might be based a comparison of the relative standing of different countries in the production of minerals of lesser importance than those just mentioned, it was estimated by M. G. Mulhall (Industries and Wealth of Nations, edition of 1896, pp. 34-35) that Great Britain then produced approximately one-third, the United States one-third, and all other countries collectively one-third of the minerals of the world in weight.
The leading products, as reported by the Geological Survey for 1907, were as follows: coal, $614,798,898 (85,604,312 tons of anthracite coal, 394,759,112 of bituminous); petroleum, $120,106,749; natural gas, $54,222,399; iron ore, $131,996,147 (pig iron, $529,958,000); copper, refined, $173,799,300; gold, coinage value, $90,435,700; building-stone, $71,105,805; silver, commercial value, $37,299,700; lead, refined, $38,707,596; and zinc, refined, $26,401,910. The North Atlantic and the North Central census groups of states (that is, the territory east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio rivers, and north of Maryland) produced two-thirds of the total output. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, California, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, New York and Missouri were the ten states of greatest absolute production in 1907. The rank relative to area or population is of course different. hose which, according to the bureau of the census, produced $1000 or over per sq. m. in 1902 were Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia; $500 to $1000, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Vermont and Massachusetts. Seventeen states produced from $100 to $500 per sq. m.
The total mineral output for the decade 1899-1908 according to the United States Geological Survey was as follows:—
The vastly greater part of mineral products are used in manufactures within the United States, and only an insignificant part (for example, 2.47% in 1902) is exported in the crude form.
Coal exists in the United States in large quantity in each of its important varieties: anthracite, or hard coal; bituminous, or soft Coal. coal; and lignite; and in various intermediate and special grades. Geologically the anthracite and bituminous coals mainly belong to the same formation, the Carboniferous, and this is especially true of the better qualities; though it is stated by the United States Geological Survey that the geologic age of the coal beds ranges from Carboniferous in the Appalachian and Mississippi Valley provinces to Miocene (Tertiary) on the Pacific coast, and that the quality of the coal varies only to a very uncertain degree with the geologic age. The following estimates rest upon the same authority: (1) total area underlaid by coal measures, 496,776 sq. m., of which 250,531 are credited to anthracite and bituminous, 97,636 to sub-bituminous and 148,609 to lignite; (2) total original coal supply of the country, 3,076,204,000,000 short tons, including 21,000,000,000 tons of anthracite in Pennsylvania, and small amounts elsewhere (semi-anthracite and semi-bituminous), 650,157,000,000 tons of sub-bituminous and 743,590,000,000 tons of lignite; (3) easily accessible coal still available, 1,992,979,000,000 tons; (4) available coal accessible with difficulty, 1,153,225,000,000 tons.
The total production of coal from 1814 (the year in which anthracite was first mined in Pennsylvania) to 1908 amounted to 7,280,940,265 tons, which represented an exhaustion—adding 50% for waste in mining and preparation—of 11,870,049,900, or four-tenths of 1% of the supposed original supply.
In 1820 the total production was only 3450 tons. In 1850 it was already more than 7,000,000. And since then, while the population increased 230% from 1850 to 1900, the production of coal increased 4,084%. At the same time that the per capita consumption thus rose in 1907 to 5.6 tons, the waste was estimated by the National Conservation Commission at 3.0 tons per capita. This waste, however, is decreasing, the coal abandoned in the mine having averaged, in the beginning of mining, two or three times the amount taken out; and the chief part of the remaining waste is in imperfect combustion in furnaces and fire-boxes. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that the supposed supply still available at the close of 1908 was 7369 times the production of that year, and 4913 times the exhaustion such production represented, so extraordinary has been the increased consumption of the country that, in the opinion of the Geological Survey (1907), “if the rate of increase that has held for the last fifty years is maintained, the supply of easily available coal will be exhausted before the middle of the next century” (A.D. 2050).
In 1870 both Great Britain and Germany exceeded the United States in the production of coal. Germany was passed in 1871 (definitively in 1877); Great Britain in 1899. Since 1901 the United States has produced more than one-third of the world's output.
Coal was produced in 1908 in 30 states out of the 46 of the Union; and occurs also in enormous quantities in Alaska; 690,438 men were employed in this year in the coal mines. Pennsylvania (117,179,527 tons of bituminous and 83,268,754 of anthracite), Illinois (47,659,690), West Virginia (41,897,843), Ohio (26,270,639), Indiana (12,314,890) and Alabama (11,604,593) were the states of greatest production. The production of each was greater still in 1907.
The total output amounted to 415,842,692 short tons, valued at $532,314,117 in 1908; and to 480,363,424 tons, valued at $614,798,898 in 1909. Pennsylvania produced three-fourths of the total output of the country in 1860, and since 1900 slightly less than one-half. Up to 1870 there was more anthracite mined in Pennsylvania than bituminous in the whole country, but since that year the production of the latter has become vastly the greater, the totals in 1907, in which year each stood at its maximum, being 83,268,754 and 332,573,944 tons respectively.
Inasmuch as the present production is not considered locally—and with more or less justice—as at all indicative of the wealth in coal of the respective states, it may be said that according to estimates of the Geological Survey the following states are credited with the deposits indicated of true bituminous coal, including local admixtures of anthracite, the figures being millions of short tons: Colorado, 296,272; Illinois, 240,000; West Virginia, 231,000; Utah, 196,408; Pennsylvania, 112,574; Kentucky, 104,028; Ohio, 86,028; Alabama, 68,903; Indiana, 44,169; Missouri, 40,000; New Mexico, 30,805; Tennessee, 25,665; Virginia, 21,600; Michigan, 12,000; Maryland, 8,044; Texas, 8,000; Kansas, 7,022; and Montana, 5,000; with lesser deposits in other states. At the same time there are estimated deposits of sub-bituminous coal, isolated or mixed with bituminous, amounting to 75,498 millions of tons in Colorado (which is probably the richest coal area of the country); and in other states as follows: Wyoming, 423,952 millions of tons; New Mexico, 132,975; Washington, 20,000; Montana, 18,560; California and Oregon, 1,000 each; and lesser amounts elsewhere. Finally, of true lignite beds, or of lignite mixed with sub-bituminous qualities, the states of North Dakota, Montana, Texas and South Dakota are credited with deposits of 500,000; 279,500; 23,000; and 10,000 millions of tons respectively. But it is to be remembered that the amount and the fuel value of both the lignite and, to a lesser degree, the sub-bituminous coals, is uncertain to a high degree.
Petroleum, according to the report of the National Conservation Commission in 1908, was then the sixth largest contributor to the Petroleum. nation's mineral wealth, furnishing about one-sixteenth of the total. Oil was produce in 1908 in sixteen states. This productive area is divided by the United States Geological Survey into six “fields” (in addition to some scattering states) with reference to the quality of oil that they produce, such quality determining their uses. The Appalachian field (Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee) produces oil rich in paraffin, practically free from sulphur and asphalt, and yielding the largest percentage of gasoline and illuminating oils. This is the highest grade crude oil produced in the world. The California field produces oil characterized by much asphalt and little or no paraffin, and low in volatile constituents. The Lima (Ohio)-Indiana, the Illinois, the Mid-Continent (Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas) and the Gulf (Texas and Louisiana) fields produce oils containing more or less of sulphur and asphalt between the extremes of the two other fields just mentioned. The geological conditions of the different fields, and the details of the composition of the oils yielded, are exceedingly varied, and their study has been little more than begun.
In 1859, when the total output of the country is supposed to have been only 2000 barrels of oil, production was confined to Pennsylvania and New York. Ohio, West Virginia and California appeared as producers in 1876, Kentucky and Tennessee in 1883, Colorado in 1887, Indiana in 1889, along with Illinois, Kansas, Texas and Missouri, Oklahoma in 1891, Wyoming in 1894, and, lastly, Louisiana in 1902. From 1859 to 1876 the Appalachian field yielded 100% of the total output of the country; in 1908 its share had fallen to 13.9%. In the same period of 50 years the yearly output rose from 2000 to 179,572,479 barrels (134,717,580 in 1905) and to a grand total of 1,986,180,942 barrels, worth $1,784,583,943, or more than half the value of all the gold, and more than the commercial value of all the silver produced in the country since 1792. The production in 1908 exceeded in value the output of both metals. Deducing from the figures of production since 1859 an equation of increase, one finds that in each nine years as much oil has been produced as in all preceding years together, and in recent years the factor of increase as been higher. So rapid has been the extension of the yielding areas, so diverse the fate of many fields, so shifting their relative rank in output, that the outlook from year to year as regards all these elements is too uncertain to admit of definite statements respecting the relative importance of the five fields already mentioned. The total output of these, it may be stated, from 1901 to 1908—uniting the yield of the Illinois to the Lima-Indiana field (since their statistics were long so united, until their industrial differences became apparent), and adding a sixth division for the production of scattered areas of production—was as follows: Appalachian, 235,999,859; Lima-Indiana-Illinois, 219,609,347; Mid-Continent, 136,148,892; Gulf, 159,520,306; California, 27,931,687; and others, 3,367,666; the leading producers in 1907-1908 being the Mid-Continent and the California areas.
The world's output of oil was trebled between 1885 and 1895, and quadrupled between 1885 and 1900. In this increase the United States had the largest share. So recently as 1902 the output of the United States was little greater than that of Russia (the two yielding 91.4% of the world's product), but this advantage has since then been greatly increased, so that the one has produced 63.1 and the other 21.8% of the total output of the world. In 1908 the Geological Survey issued a preliminary map of the then known areas productive of oil and natural gas in the United States, estimating the extent of the former at 8850 and of the latter at 9365 sq. m. The supply of oil in this area was estimated at from 15,000,000,000 to 20,000,000,000 barrels; and the National Conservation Commission of 1908 expressed the opinion that in view of the rapid increase of production and the enormous loss through misuse the supply cannot be expected to last beyond the middle of this century.
Natural gas, as a source of light and for metallurgical purposes, became important in the mid-eighties. In recent years its use for Natural Gas. industrial purposes has lessened, and for domestic purposes increased. The existence of outflows or springs of gas in the region west of the Alleghanies had long been known, and much gas was used for illuminating purposes in Fredonia, New York, as early as 1821. Such gas is a more or less general concomitant of oil all through the petroleum-bearing areas of the country. The total output of the country rose from a value of $215,000 in 1882 to one of $54,640,374 in 1908, with several fluctuations up and down in that interval. Pennsylvania, with a product valued at $155,620,395 from 1899 to 1908, West Virginia with $84,955,496, Ohio with $48,172,450 and Indiana with $46,141,553 were the greatest producers of the Union.
The National Conservation Commission in 1908 estimated the area of the known gas fields of the country at 9000 sq. m.; the portion of their yield in 1907 that was utilized at 400,000,000,000 cub. ft.; and the waste at an equal amount—more than 1,000,000,000 of cub. ft. daily, or enough to supply all the cities in the United States of above 100,000 population.
Of other non-metallic mineral substances, apart from coal, petroleum and natural gas, little need be said in detail. Stone is of the greatest actual importance, the value of the quarry output, including some prepared or manufactured product, such as dressed and crushed stone, averaging $65,152,312 annually in 1904-1908. Limestone is by far the largest element, and with granite makes up two-thirds of the total value. Vermont, Pennsylvania and New York are the leading producers. In this, as in other cases, actual product may indicate little regarding potential resources, and still less regarding the distribution of these throughout the Union. Glass and other sands and gravel ($13,270,032), lime ($11,091,l86), phosphate rock ($10,653,558), salt ($7,553,632), natural mineral waters ($7,287,269), sulphur ($6,668,215, almost wholly from Louisiana), slate ($6,316,817), gypsum ($4,138,560), clay ($2,599,986), asphalt ($1,888,881), tale and soapstone ($1,401,222), borax ($975,000, all from California), and pyrite ($857,113) were the next most important products in 1908. It may be noted that the output in almost every item of mineral production was considerably greater in 1907 than in 1908, and the isolated figures of the latter year are of little interest apart from showing in a general way the relative commercial importance of the products named. In the yield of gypsum, phosphate rock and salt the United States leads the world. In sulphur it is a close second to Sicily. Phosphate rock is heavily exported, and in the opinion of the National Conservation Commission of 1908 the supply cannot long satisfy the increasing demand for export, which constitutes a waste of a precious natural resource. Other minerals whose production may be found stated in detail in the annual volume on Mineral Resources of the United States Geological Survey are: natural pigments, felspar, white mica, graphite, fluorspar, arsenic, quartz, barytes, bromine. Some dozens of varieties of precious stones occur widely. Of building-stone, clay, cement, lime, sand and salt, the country's supply was estimated by the National Conservation Commission of 1908 to be “ample.”
In 1907 iron ore was mined for blast-furnace use in twenty-nine states only, but the ore occurs in almost every state of the Union. Iron. As nearly as can be estimated from imperfect statistics, the total ore production of the country rose steadily from 2,873,400 long tons in 1860 to 51,720,619 tons in 1907. The United States became practically independent of foreign ore imports during the decade 1870 to 1879. The iron-producing area of the country may be divided, with regard to natural geographic, historic and trade considerations, into four districts: (1) the Lake Superior district, embracing the states of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin; (2) the southern district, embracing the triangle tipped by Texas, Maryland and Georgia; (3) the northern district, embracing the triangle tipped by Ohio, New Jersey and Massachusetts, plus the states of Iowa and Missouri; (4) the western district, which includes the states of the Rocky Mountain region and Pacific coast. Of these districts the Lake Superior region—which embraces the Marquette range (opened in 1854), the Menominee (1872), the Gogebic (1884), the Vermilion (1884) and the Mesabi (1892)—first attracted exploration about 1844, when the copper deposits of the same region were opened, and produced from 1854 to 1908 a total of 410,239,551 long tons, of which 341,036,883 were mined in the period 1889-1908. From the Mesabi range alone, opened in 1892, no less than 168,143,661 long tons were taken up to 1908. The share of the whole district for some years past has been practically four-fifths of the total output of the country; and together with the yield of the southern district, more than 90%. Minnesota alone produces more than half of the same total, having multiplied her product since 1889 by more than 33 times. Michigan held first place in output until 1901. Alabama is the third great producer of the Union, and with the other two made up in 1907 more than four-fifths of the country's total. In 1907 the product of Minnesota (28,969,658 long tons) was greater than that of Germany (with Luxemburg), and nearly twice the production of Great Britain.
Of the two classes of iron minerals used as ores of that metal, namely, oxides and carbonates, the latter furnish to-day an insignificant proportion of the country's product, although such ores were the basis of a considerable part of the early iron industry, and even so late as 1889 represented one-thirteenth of the total. Of the oxides, various forms of the brown ores in locations near to the Atlantic coast were the chief basis of the early iron industries. Magnetites were also early employed, at first in Catalan forges, in which by means of a direct process the metal was secured from the ores and forged into blooms without being cast; later they were smelted in blast furnaces. But in the recent and great development of the iron industry the red haematite ores have been overwhelmingly predominant. From 1889 to 1907 the average yearly percentages of the red haematite, brown ores, magnetite and carbonate in the total ore production were respectively 82.4, 10.1, 7.1 and 0.4. In the census of 1870 the share of the three varieties appeared almost equal; in 1899 that of the red ores had risen to near two-thirds of the total. The red and brown ores are widely distributed, every state in the Union in 1907, save Ohio and North Carolina, producing one or both. Magnetite production was confined to mountain regions in the east and west, and only in Ohio were carbonates mined.
An investigation was made in 1908 for the National Conservation Commission of the ore reserves of the country. This report was made by Dr. C. W. Hayes of the Geological Survey. With the reservations that only in the case of certain red haematite bedded deposits can any estimate be made of relative accuracy, say within 10%; that the concentration deposits of brown ore can be estimated only with an accuracy represented by a factor varying between 0.7 and 3; and that the great Lake Superior and the less known Adirondack deposits can be estimated within 15 to 20%, the total supply of the country was estimated at 79,594,220,000 long tons—73,210,415,000 of which were credited to haematite ores and 5,054,675,000 to magnetite. Almost 95% is believed to lie about Lake Superior.
The output of pig iron and steel in 1907 was 25,781,361 and 23,362,594 long tons respectively. It is believed that the first steel made in the United States was made in Connecticut in 1728. Crucible steel was first successfully produced in 1832, Bessemer and open-hearth in 1864. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Alabama and New York are the leading states in production.
The washing of the high or Tertiary gravels by the hydraulic process and the working of mines in the solid rock did not, on the Gold and Silver. whole, compensate for the diminished yield of the ordinary placer and river diggings, so that the product of gold in California continued to fall off, and by 1860 had decreased to about half what it had been ten years before. Discoveries in other Cordilleran territories, notably in Montana and Idaho, made up, however, in part for the deficiency of California, so that in 1860 the total amount of gold produced in the United States was estimated at not less than $45,000,000. In the latter part of the decade 1850-1859 the territories adjacent to California on the east, north and south were overrun by thousands of miners from the Sierra Nevada goldfields, and within a few years an extraordinary number of discoveries were made, some of which proved to be of great importance. The most powerful impulse to mining operations, and the immediate cause of a somewhat lengthy period of wild excitement and speculation, was the discovery and successful opening of the Comstock lode in 1859, in the western part of what is now Nevada, but was then part of Utah. About this lode grew up Virginia City. From 1859 to 1902 the total yield of this lode was $204,653,040 in silver and $148,145,385 in gold; the average annual yield from 1862 to 1868 was above eleven millions; the maximum yield $36,301,537 in 1877; and the total product to July 1880 was variously estimated at from $304,752,171.54 to $306,181,251.25. The lode was an ore channel of great dimensions included within volcanic rocks of Tertiary age, themselves broken through pre-existing strata of Triassic age, and exhibited some of the features of a fissure vein, combined in part with those of a contact deposit and in part with those of a segregated vein. The gangue was quartz, very irregularly distributed in bodies often of great sizes, for the most part nearly or quite barren of ore. The metalliferous portion of the lode was similarly distributed in great masses, known as “bonanzas.” The next most famous lode is that of Leadville, Colorado, which from 1879 to 1889 yielded $147,834,186, chiefly in silver and lead. In later years the Cripple Creek district of Colorado became specially prominent.
The total output of gold and silver in the United States according go the tables published by the Director of the Mint has been as follows:—
Colorado ($22,871,000), Alaska ($19,858,800), California ($19,329,700), Nevada ($11,689,400), South Dakota ($7,742,200), Utah ($3,946,700), Montana ($3,160,000) and Arizona ($2,500,000) were the leading producers in 1908, in which year the totals for the two metals were $94,560,000 for gold and $28,050,600 for silver.
The grade of precious ores handled has generally and greatly decreased in recent years—according to the census data of 1880 and 1902, disregarding all base metallic contents—from an average commerical value of $29.07 to one of $8.29; nevertheless the product of gold and silver has greatly increased. This is due to improvements in mining methods and reduction processes, which have made profitable low-grade ores that were not commercially available in 1880.
Copper was produced in 1908 in twenty-four states of the Union. Their output was almost seventeenfold the quantity reported by Copper. the census of 1860. The quantity produced from 1845—the year in which the Lake Superior district became a producer, and in which the total product was only 224,000 ℔—up to 1908 was 13,106,205,634 ℔. The increases from 1845 to 1850, in each decennial period thereafter, and from 1901 to 1908, were as follows, in percentages: 50.0, 27.0, 6.1, 7.2, 14.8, 9.1 and 5.8. The total product passed 10,000,000 ℔ in 1857, 20,000,000 ℔ in 1867, 30,000,000 ℔ in 1873, 40,000,000 ℔ in 1875, 50,000,000 ℔ in 1879 and 100,000,000 ℔ in 1883. Comparing the product of the United States with that of the world, the figures for the two respectively were 23,350 and 151,936 long tons in 1879, when the United States was second to both Spain (and Portugal) and Chile as a producer; 51,570 and 199,406 long tons in 1883, when the Unites States first took leading rank; 172,300 and 334,565 long tons in 1895, when the yield of the United States first exceeded that of all other parts of the world combined; and 942,570,000 and 1,667,098,000 ℔ in 1908.
The three leading producing states or Territories of the Union are, and since the early 'eighties have been, Arizona, Montana and Michigan. With Utah and California their yield in 1908 was 93% of the total. During the decade ending with that year the average yearly output of the three first-named was 197,706,968 ℔, 267,172,951 ℔ and 12,187,488 ℔ respectively.
The production of lead was for many years limited, as already mentioned, to two districts near the Mississippi: one the so-called Lead. Upper Mines of Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois; the other the Lower Mines of south-eastern Missouri. The national government, after reserving the mineral lands (1807) and attempting to lease them, concluded in 1847 to sell them, owing to the difficulty of preventing illegal entry and collecting royalties. The yield of the Upper Mines culminated about 1845, and long ago became insignificant. The greatest lead district is in south-western Missouri and south-eastern Kansas, known as the Joplin-Galena district after the names of the two cities that are its centre. The United States is the greatest lead producer and consumer in the world, its percentage of the total output and consumption averaging 30.4% and 32.5% respectively in the years 1904-1908. Since 1825 the total product of lead refined from domestic ores and domestic base bullion was, up to the close of 1908, 7,091,548 short tons. An annual yield of 100,000 tons was first passed in 1881; of 200,000, in 1891; of 300,000, in 1898. The total refined domestic product in'1907 was 337,340, and the total domestic lead smelted was 365,166 tons. Of the smelter domestic product 235,559 tons were of desilverized lead and 129,607 of soft lead. Considerable quantities of foreign ores and base bullion are also refined in the United States. The average percentage of metallic recovery from lead ores was about 68%, in 1880, and again in 1902, according to the national censuses of these years. According to the bureau of the census the value in 1902 of the lead yielded by copper, by non-argentiferous lead and zinc, and by gold and silver ores respectively was $19,053, $5,850,721 and $12,311,239. This reflects the revolutionary change in the history of lead mining since the first discovery of argentiferous lead ores in the Rocky Mountain states in 1864, which became available only after the building of railways. Until the completion of the Union Pacific in 1869 there was no smelting of such ores except for their silver contents. The deposits in the Joplin-Galena district were discovered in 1848, but attracted little attention for three decades. Of the soft lead smelted in 1907 no less than 94.8 % came from Missouri. Idaho, Utah and Colorado produce together almost as great a proportion of the desilverized lead, half of which has come in recent years from Idaho.
Spelter production began in the United States in 1858 in an experimental way, and regular production in 1860. The census of the latter year reported an output of product valued at $72,600. According to the census data for 1889 and 1902 there was an Zinc. increase in value of product of 184.1% in the interval, and of 109.5% in the quantity of ore produced. The value of products in 1902 were reported as $340,686 from gold and silver ores, and $8,665,675 from non-argentiferous lead and zinc ores. The total product of zinc from domestic ore for the entire country was 7343 short tons in 1873, passed 100,000 tons in 1898, and 200,000 in 1907, when it amounted to 223,745 tons. From 1904 to 1908 the share of the United States in the world's output averaged 28.2%, and in the world's consumption (disregarding stocks) 27.5%. Of the product of 1907 above stated no less than 63.4% came from Missouri alone; Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and New Jersey yielding together 30.8% more.
Most of the quicksilver produced in the United States comes from California (86% of the total in 1908), but a considerable quantity Mercury. comes from Texas, and small amounts are produced in Utah, Arizona and Oregon. Veins of cinnabar are known elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada regions but not in workable quantities. The mercurial ores of the Pacific Coast ranges occur in very irregular deposits in the form of strings and bunches, disseminated through a highly metamorphosed siliceous rock. The first locality where the metal was successfully mined was at New Almaden, about 100 m. south of San Francisco. These mines have been productive since 1824. Another old mine, discovered in 1853, is the New Idria located another 100 m. farther south. These two are still among the foremost producers.
From 1850 to 1908 California produced a total of 2,052,000 flasks of metal, of 76.5 ℔ (since June 1, 1904, 75.0 ℔ net) each. The year of greatest yield was 1877, with 79,395 flasks. The production had steadily fallen to 16,984 flasks in 1908, but in the opinion of the United States Geological Survey this reduction is mainly attributable, in recent years at least, to market conditions, and does not truly indicate the exhaustion of the mines, although the ores now available are of low grades, those of New Almaden having shown a decrease in yield from 36.7% in 1850-1851 to 0.74% in 1895-1896, so that only the greatest metallurgical skill and business economy can sustain the mines against a weak market.
Bauxite was produced on a commercial scale in four states in 1908: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee; Arkansas Other Metals. producing—as for years past—more than six-tenths of the total product of the country. This rose from an insignificant amount in 1889 to 97,776 long tons (valued at $480,330) in 1907. The consumption of the United States is, however, much larger than its product, and is rapidly growing. The production of aluminium rose from 83 ℔ in 1883 to 7,500,000 ℔ in 1903, and a consumption (the Geological Survey not reporting the production) of 17,211,000 ℔ in 1907. Antimony, bismuth, selenium, tellurium, chromic iron ore, tin, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, titanium, molybdenum, uranium and tantalum are produced in the United States in small amounts, but such “production” in several cases has amounted to only slight discoveries, and in general they are of little importance in the market. Of tungsten the United States was in 1907 the greatest producer in the world (1640 tons in a total of 6062). Tin ores have been widely discovered, but though much has been hoped for from them, particularly from the deposits in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, there has been no more than a relatively insignificant commercial production.
Commerce, Foreign and Domestic.—The English colonies that became the United States carried on during the colonial period a commerce with the mother country, and also, both so far as the legislative trammels of the British colonial system permitted it and illicitly, a fairly active commerce with the West Indies. This latter became of increasing moment in the successive periods of European colonial wars of the 18th century. With the achievement of independence by the United States the same interest became of still greater importance to the new nation, so as to constitute a leading element in its early diplomacy. Although relatively unsuccessful in securing access to the British islands, the importance of the United States as a supplier of the other West Indies continually grew, and when the communication of the French and Spanish islands with their metropolises was practically cut off by the British during the Napoleonic wars, the dependence of these colonies upon the American carrying trade became absolute. It was the profits of this neutral trade, notwithstanding the losses to which it was exposed by the high-handed measures of the British and the French governments, that caused these insults to be more or less patiently endured by the trading interests. When President Jefferson, and after him President Madison, attempted to secure redress for these injuries by the imposition of an embargo on American vessels, the West Indian trade was temporarily ruined, the war of 1812-15 with Great Britain contributing to the same end. The East Indian trade had been opened from New England ports late in the 18th century. The whaling and cod and mackerel fisheries were of earlier colonial origin. As general carriers American ships gained no importance until the Napoleonic wars; and this interest was greater in the West Indies than in Europe. Such were the main branches of national commerce up to the time of the second war with England. After the war of 1812 new outlets were found in all directions, and the commerce of the country grew apace, until in the years immediately preceding the Civil War the United States was a close second to Great Britain among the trading countries of the world. The Civil War caused enormous losses to the merchant marine, and the worldwide substitution about this time of iron steamers for wooden steamers and sailing vessels contributed to prevent a recovery; because, although ship-building was one of the earliest arts developed in the colonies, and one that was prosecuted with the highest success so long as wooden ships were the dominant type, the United States has never achieved marked success with the iron steamer, and the law has precluded the registry as American of vessels built abroad. The American “clipper” ships that were constructed at Baltimore and elsewhere during the last three decades before the Civil War were doubtless the swiftest sailers that have ever been built.
The total trade of the country by land and sea, the movement inward and outward, is shown in the following table for various years since 1861:—
Land and Sea.
Land and Sea.
The excess of exports over imports in the decade 1899-1908 totalled $5,728,214,844; and in the same period there was an excess of exports of gold and silver, above imports, of $444,908,963. Of the total exports of 1909 $1,700,743,638 represent domestic merchandise. The remainder, or element of foreign exports, has been of similarly small relative magnitude since about 1880, but was of course much larger while the carrying trade was of importance. From 1820 up to 1880 agricultural products made up with remarkable steadiness almost exactly four-fifths of all exports of domestic merchandise. Since then the increase of manufactures, and to a slight degree that of minerals, has lessened much the share of agricultural products, which in 1906 was 56.43%, that of manufactures being 35.11% and of minerals 3.09%. The following table indicates in a general way the increased value, in round millions of dollars, of the leading agricultural exports since 1860:—
Classifying imports and domestic exports as of six groups: (1) crude foodstuffs and good animals; (2) foodstuffs partly or wholly prepared; (3) raw materials for use in manufacturing; (4) manufactured articles destined to serve as materials in further processes of manufacture; (5) finished manufactures; (6) miscellaneous products—the table on p. 645 shows the distribution of imports and exports among these six classes since 1820.
It will be seen from the table that the share of the first two classes in both imports and exports has been relatively constant. On the other hand the great increase of imports of class III., and the great decrease of class V.; and of exports the great increase of those of class IV., and decrease of those of classes III. and V., all reflect the great development of manufactures in modern times. The table also shows the great rapidity of this change in recent years.
Europe takes, of course, a large share of the exports of finished
manufactures—a little more than a third of the total in the quinquennial
period 1903-1908; but North America takes but very
slightly less. On the other hand, above 70% of manufactures
destined to serve as material in further processes of manufacture
went, in the same years, to Europe, and from eight- to nine-tenths
of the first three classes of exports. After Europe the largest shares
of exports are taken by North America, Asia and Oceania, South
America and Africa in order. The share of the five continental
divisions in 1909 was as follows, respectively: $1,169,672,326;
$344,767,613; $113,129,907; $83,509,047 and $17,124,298. The
respective shares of the same divisions in the imports of the
country were as follows: $763,704,486; $277,863,210; $223,254,724;
$193,202,131 and $17,558,029. It will be seen that the commercial Years.
Percentages by Classes. Exports of Domestic Merchandise.
Percentages by Classes.
I. II. III. IV. V. VI. I. II. III. IV. V. VI.
1820 11.15 19.85 3.64 7.48 56.86 1.02 4.79 19.51 60.46 9.42 5.66 0.16 1830 11.17 15.39 6.72 8.22 56.97 0.93 4.65 16.32 62.34 7.04 9.34 0.31 1840 15.54 15.46 11.71 11.56 45.09 0.64 4.09 14.27 67.61 4.34 9.47 0.22 1850 10.38 12.37 6.75 15.08 54.93 0.49 5.59 14.84 62.26 4.49 12.72 0.10 1860 10.11 15.26 10.48 6.67 56.52 1.00 3.85 12.21 68.31 3.99 11.33 0.31 1870 12.38 22.08 12.18 12.51 39.69 1.16 11.12 13.53 56.64 3.66 14.96 0.09 1880 15.01 17.69 19.74 l6.59 29.43 1.54 32.30 23.47 28.98 3.52 11.26 0.47 1890 16.28 16.89 21.62 14.81 29.23 1.17 15.62 26.59 36.03 5.50 15.68 0.58 1900 11.52 15.65 32.50 15.79 23.90 0.64 16.59 23.21 23.75 11.15 24.22 1.08 1908 12.19 12.31 30.43 16.43 27.77 0.87 10.30 18.10 30.34 14.23 26.68 0.35 1909 11.67 10.99 35.89 17.48 23.24 0.73 6.75 16.76 33.62 14.89 27.52 0.46
interests in South America are relatively small. The shares of the ten nations having the largest part in the trade of the country were as follows in 1909:—
Imports from Exports to
Great Britain 247,474,104 521,281,999 Germany 161,951,673 247,310,084 Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador 88,321,706 191,438,400 France 132,069,748 126,361,959 Cuba 107,334,716 48,217,689 Brazil 117,062,725 10,765,836 Holland 30,905,712 89,121,124 Mexico 52,578,454 53,512,947 Japan 68,116,665 23,471,837 Belgium 36,236,568 44,477,380
The leading imports in 1909 were as follows, indicating in each case, when not evidently unnecessary, the value of finished manufactures and of unmanufactured materials: Silk (manufactured, $32,963,162; unmanufactured, $75,512,401); hides and skins, other than fur skins ($103,758,277); sugar and molasses ($91,535,466); fibres, vegetables and textile grasses (manufactured, $33,511,696; unmanufactured, $54,860,698); coffee ($86,524,006); chemicals ($86,401,432); cotton (manufactured, $68,380,780; raw and waste, $15,421,854); rubber (manufactured, $1,462,541, unmanufactured, $83,682,013); wool (manufactured, $22,058,712; unmanufactured, $55,530,366); and wood (manufactured, $43,620,591; unmanufactured, $13,584,172). Precious stones ($43,620,591); fruits and nuts; copper, iron and steel; tobacco (leaf $25,897,650; manufactured, $4,138,521); tin; spirits, wines and liquors; oils, paper, works of art, tea and leather ($16,270,406), being the remaining items in excess of $15,000,000 each. The leading exports of domestic merchandise in excess of the same value were the following: cotton ($496,334,448); iron and steel, excluding ores ($157,680,331); meat and dairy products ($151,964,037); petroleum, vegetable and animal oils $126,350,916); wheat and wheat flour ($100,529,381); copper, excluding ores ($92,584,640); wood ($72,312,880); leather ($47,146,415); tobacco ($41,554,058); coal ($38,441,518); agricultural implements ($27,327,428); corn and corn meal ($27,062,128); animals ($21,007,122); chemicals ($20,330,335); oil-cake ($20,245,818); fruits and nuts ($18,707,670); vehicles ($16,774,036); naval stores ($16,103,076); and paper ($15,280,541).
New York, New Orleans, Boston, Galveston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco and Puget Sound are, in order, the leading customs districts of the country in the value of their imports and exports. Almost one-half of the country's foreign trade is done through the single port of New York. In 1909 more than eight-tenths of all imports of the country entered by, and more than seven-tenths of all exports went out through, the eight customs districts just named. Savannah and Charleston are other great ports and southern outlets, particularly for cotton.
Of the imports and exports of 1861 two-thirds (in value) were carried in American vessels. By 1864 the proportion had fallen to 27.5%, and except for a temporary slight recovery after the close of the war there has been a steady progress downward since that time, until in 1908 only 9.8% of the commerce of the country was carried on under its own flag. More than half the shipping entering and leaving the ports of time United States in 1908 was British; Germany, the Scandinavian countries, France, Holland and Italy ranking next in order; the United States, although ranking after Great Britain, contributed less than a seventh of the total. The total tonnage entered was 38,539,195 net tons (of 100 cub. ft. each), as compared with 18,010,649 tons in 1880.
Of the total of tonnage entered in 1909, 30,443,695 tons represented seaport entries, the remainder entering across the land frontiers.
The merchant marine of the United States in 1900 totalled 5,164,839 net tons, which was less than that of 1860 (5,353,808), in which year American shipping attained an amount which only in recent years has been again reached. In the decline that followed the Civil War an apparent minimum was reached of 4,068,034 tons in 1880; but this does not adequately indicate the depression of the shipping intererst, inasmuch as the aggregate was kept up by the tonnage of vessels engaged in the coasting trade and commerce of the inland waters, from which foreign shipping is by law excluded. The decline of tonnage engaged in ocean traffic was from 2,546,237 net tons in 1860 to 1,352,810 in 1880; and this decline continued in later years. On the other hand the aggregate tonnage of the country has again begun to rise, and in 1908 the total was 7,365,445 net tons, a third of this being on the Great Lakes, and somewhat under one-half on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Of the same total 6,371,865 tons represented the coasting trade, only 930,413 tons being engaged in the foreign trade of the country. New England still supplies a quarter of the shipping annually built along the entire seaboard of the country; but more is yearly built upon the Great Lakes than upon the seaboard.
Internal Commerce: Railways and Canals.—Large as has become the foreign commerce of the country, it is small beside the aggregate interior commerce between the states of the Union. The basis of this is necessarily facilities for transportation. At the end of 1908 the railway lines of the country totalled 232,046 m.—more than those of all Europe. The traffic on these, measured in units moved one mile, was 28,797,781,231 passenger-miles, and 214,340,129,523 freight miles. Various systems, with joint or separate outlets from the Pacific coast to the Mississippi Valley, provide for the handling of transcontinental freight. Rivers and canals are relatively much less important to-day than in the middle decades of the 19th century, before the growth of the railway traffic made small by comparison the movement on the interior watercourses. According to a special report of the department of commerce and labour of 1906, 290 streams are used to a “substantial degree” for navigation, affording together an aggregate of 2600 m. of 10 ft. navigation, or 5800 m. of 6 ft. navigation at ordinary water. Of the last almost half belongs to the Mississippi river. More than $250,000,000 has been spent by the national government for the improvement of waterways, yet no general system exists, and a large part of this enormous sum has been wasted on unimportant or impossible projects, especially in recent decades, since the river navigation has been a declining interest. 1360 m. of state-owned canals and 632 m. of private canals of “some importance” were also reported as in operation in 1909. More than an equal length of canal ways (2444 m., costing $80,000,000) was reported as having been abandoned after construction. Of recent years there has been a great revival of interest in the improvement of inland waterways upon systematic plans, which promises better than an earlier period of “internal improvements” in the first half of the 19th century, the results of which were more or less disastrous for the state and local governments that undertook them, and only less so for the national government. The Erie Canal in New York, the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, and the Sault Ste Marie Canal are the most important in the country.
Coal, iron ore, building materials, lumber, livestock, cotton, fruits, vegetables, tobacco and grain are the great items in the domestic commerce of the country, upon its railways, inland waterways, and in the coasting trade. The magnitude of these items is so great as to defy exact determination; data for the formation of some idea of them can be found in the account of the mineral, forest and agricultural resources of the country. It was estimated by the Bureau of the Census that in 1906 the tonnage of freight moved by American vessels within American waters, excluding harbour traffic, was 177,519,758 short tons (as compared with 1,514,906,985 long tons handled by the railways of the country). Of this total 42.6% was moved on the Great Lakes, and 36.8% on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and waterways.
The Great Lakes are connected by canals with the Atlantic, the St Lawrence river and the Mississippi; the connexion with the first being through the Erie Canal, a 7-ft. waterway, and that with the St Lawrence through Canadian canals that afford a 14-ft. navigation. The connexion with the Mississippi is through the drainage-canal of Chicago, and thence into branches of the Mississippi affording as yet even less water than the Atlantic outlet. The commerce on the lakes is largely in grain, coal, iron a11d lumber. The tonnage of vessels cleared between American ports on the lakes in 1908 was 103,27I,8S5 net tons; the freight they carried came to 80,974,605 long tons. Vessels aggregating 46,751,717 net tons, carrying 57,895,149 tons of freight, valued at $470, I4I,3I8, passed through the Sault Ste Marie Canal and 47,621,078 tons of freight were moved through the Detroit river in the same year. In these figures no account is taken of the trade of the Canadian ports on the lakes. Compared with this volume of traffic the movement through the Suez Canal is small.
It has been estimated by O. P. Austin, chief of the national bureau of statistics, using data of 1903, that the internal commerce of the United States exceeds in magnitude the total international commerce of the world.
- (F. S. P.)
- Barrels of 42 gallons.
- The official statistics are kept current since 1820. For the years 1789-1818 consult Adam Seybert's Statistical Annals (Philadelphia, 1818), which are based upon official documents, a large part of which are no longer in existence.
- See further Railway.