To the glacial action is also due the extensive removal of the original soil from the uplands, and the accumulation of morainic hills in many localities. The sea-coast, about 100 m. in length, has a number of bays which have been created by a depression of small valleys making several good harbours.
The climate of Connecticut, though temperate, is subject to sudden changes, yet the extremes of cold and heat are less than in the other New England states. The mean annual temperature is 49° F., the average temperature of winter being 27°, and that of summer 72°. Since the general direction of the winter winds is from the N.W. the extreme of cold (−10° or −15°) is felt in the north-western part of the state, while the prevailing summer winds, which are from the S.W., temper the heat of summer in the coast region, the extreme heat (100°) being found in the central part of the state. The annual rainfall varies from 45 to 50 in.
Agriculture.—Connecticut is not an agricultural state. Although three-fourths of the land surface is included in farms, only 7% of this three-fourths is cultivated; but agriculture is of considerable economic and historic interest. The accounts of the fertility of the Connecticut valley were among the causes leading to the English colonization, and until the middle of the nineteenth century agriculture was the principal occupation. The soils, which are composed largely of sands, except in the upland valleys where alluvial loams with the sub-soils of clay are found, were not suitable for tillage. However, a thrifty, industrious, self-reliant agricultural life developed, labour was native-born, the women of the household worked in the fields with the men, some employment was found for every season, and a system of neighbourly barter of food products took the place of other modes of exchange. But the development of manufactures in the first half of the 19th century, the competition of the new western states in farm products, and the change in the character of the population incident to the growth of cities, caused a great change in agriculture after 1860. Indeed, during every decade from 1860 to 1890 the total value of farm property and products declined; and the increase of products from 1890 to 1900 was due to the growth of dairy farms, which yielded almost one-third of the total farm product of the state. In the same decade Indian corn, potatoes and tobacco were the only staples whose acreage increased and the production of all cereals except Indian corn and buckwheat declined. Tobacco, which was first grown here between 1640 and 1660, because of a law restricting the use of tobacco to that grown in the colony, was in the decade 1890–1900 the only crop raised for consumption outside the state; its average yield per acre (1673 ℔) was exceeded in the continental United States only in Vermont (1844 ℔) and Massachusetts (1674 ℔) in 1899, and in 1907 (1510 ℔) by New Hampshire (1650 ℔), Vermont (1625 ℔) and Massachusetts (1525 ℔). The total value of Connecticut tobacco in 1907 was $2,501,000 (1906, $4,415,922; 1905, $3,911,933), and the average farm price was 11.5 cents per ℔ (in 1906, 18 cents; 1905, 17 cents). But the cultivation of tobacco is confined almost exclusively to the valleys of the Connecticut and Housatonic rivers, and these lands are constantly and expensively treated with nitrogenous fertilizers; the grades raised are the broad-leaf and the Habana seed-leaf wrappers, which, excepting the Florida growth from Sumatra seed, are the nearest domestic approach to the imported Sumatra. The manufacture of cigars was begun in South Windsor, Connecticut, in 1801. Dairying was responsible for the increased production between 1889 and 1899 of Indian corn and the large acreage in hay, which surpassed that of any other crop, but many hay and grain farms were afterwards abandoned. The production of orchard fruits and market vegetables, however, increased during the decade 1890–1900. Other evidences of the transition in agricultural life are that in Tolland and Windham counties the value of farm buildings exceeded that of farm land, that in Middlesex and Fairfield counties the acreage as well as the value of the farms declined, that native farm labour and ownership were being replaced by foreign labour and ownership; while dependent land tenure is insignificant, 87% of the farms being worked by their owners. The state board of agriculture holds annual conventions for the discussion of agricultural problems.
Minerals.—The mineral industries of Connecticut have had a fortune very similar to that of agriculture. The early settlers soon discovered metals in the soil and began to work them. About 1730 the production of iron became an important industry in the vicinity of Salisbury, and from Connecticut iron many of the American military supplies in the War of Independence were manufactured. Copper was mined in East Granby as early as 1705 and furnished material for early colonial and United States coins. Gold, silver and lead have also been produced, but the discovery of larger deposits of these metals in other states has caused the abandonment of all metal mines in Connecticut, except those of iron and tungsten. The quarries of granite near Long Island Sound, those of sandstone at Portland, and of feldspar at Branchville and South Glastonbury, however, have furnished building and paving materials for other states; the stone product of the state was valued at $1,386,540 in 1906. Limestone, for the reduction of lime, is also mined; and beryl, clays and mineral springs yield products of minor importance.
On account of the importations from Canada, Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, the mackerel, cod and menhaden fisheries declined, especially after 1860, and the oyster and lobster fisheries are not as important as formerly. In 1905, according to the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, the fisheries’ products of the state were valued at $3,173,948, market oysters being valued at $1,206,217 and seed oysters at $1,603,615.
Manufactures.—Manufacturing, however, has encountered none of the vicissitudes of other industries. Manufactures form the principal source of Connecticut’s wealth,—manufacturing gave occupation in 1900 to about one-fifth of the total population, and the products in that year ranked the state eleventh among the states of the American Union. Indeed, manufacturing in Connecticut is notable for its early beginning and its development of certain branches beyond that of the other states. Iron products were manufactured throughout the 18th century, nails were made before 1716 and were exported from the colony, and it was in Connecticut that cannon were cast for the Continental troops and the chains were made to block the channel of the Hudson river to British ships. Tinware was manufactured in Berlin, Hartford county, as early as 1770, and tin, steel and iron goods were peddled from Connecticut through the colonies. The Connecticut clock maker and clock peddler was the 18th-century embodiment of Yankee ingenuity; the most famous of the next generation of clock makers were Eli Terry (1772–1852), who made a great success of his wooden clocks; Chauncey Jerome, who first used brass wheels in 1837 and founded in 1844 the works of the New Haven Clock Co.; Gideon Roberts; and Terry’s pupil and successor, Seth Thomas (1786–1859), who built the factory at Thomaston carried on by his son Seth Thomas (1816–1888). In 1732 the London hatters complained of the competition of Connecticut hats in their trade. Before 1749 brass works were in operation at Waterbury—the great brass manufacturing business there growing out of the making of metal buttons. In 1768 paper mills were erected at Norwich, and in 1776 at East Hartford. In 1788 the first woollen mills in New England were established at Hartford, and about 1803 one hundred merino sheep were imported by David Humphreys, who in 1806 built a mill in that part of Derby which is now Seymour and which was practically the first New England factory town; in 1812 steam was first used by the Middletown Woollen Manufacturing Company. In 1804 the manufacture of cotton was begun at Vernon, Hartford county; mills at Pomfret and Jewett City were established in 1806 and 1810 respectively. Silk culture was successfully introduced about 1732; and there was a silk factory at Mansfield, Tolland county, in 1758. The period of greatest development of manufactures began after the war of 1812. The decade of greatest relative development was that of 1860–1870, during which the value of the products increased 96.6%. During the period 1850–1900, when the population increased 145%, the average number of wage-earners