employed in manufacturing establishments increased 248.3%, the number so employed constituting 13.7% of the state's total population in 1850 and 19.5% of that in 1900. The average number of wage-earners employed in establishments conducted under the factory system alone was 13.7% greater in 1905 than in 1900. In 1900 Connecticut led the United States in the manufacture of ammunition, bells, brass and copper (rolled), brass castings and finishings, brass ware and needles and pins. In the automobile industry the state in 1905 ranked second (to Michigan) in capital invested; and was sixth in value of product, but first in the average value per car, which was $2354 ($2917 for gasoline; $2343 for electric; $673 for steam cars). Connecticut has long ranked high in textile manufactures, but the product of cotton goods in 1900 ($15,489,442) and in 1905 ($18,239,155) had not materially advanced beyond that of 1890 ($15,409,476), this being due to the increase in cotton manufacturing in the South. Between 1890 and 1900 Connecticut's products in dyeing and finishing of textiles, industries which have as yet not developed in the South, increased 217.3% from $715,388 in 1890 to $2,269,967 in 1900; in 1905 their value was $2,215,314. The manufacture of woollen goods and silk also increased respectively 33% and 26.5% between 1890 and 1900; the returns for 1900, however, include the fur hat product ($7,546,882), which was not included in the returns for 1890. In 1905 the value of the woollen goods manufactured in the state was $11,166,965; of the silk goods, $15,623,693. The value of the products of all the textile industries combined increased from $46,819,399 in 1900 to $56,933,113 in 1905, when the combined textile product value was greater than that of any other manufactured product in the state. The most important single industry in 1905 was the manufacture of rolled brass and copper with a product value of $41,911,903 (in 1900, $36,325,178)—80.7% of the total for the United States; the value of the product of the other brass industries was brass ware (1905) $9,022,427,—51.6% of the total for the United States,—(1900) $8,947,451; and brass castings and brass finishing (1905) $2,982,115, (1900) $3,254,239. Hardware ranks next in importance, the output of 1905 being valued at $21,480,652,—which was 46.9% of the total product value of hardware for the entire United States,—as against $16,301,198 in 1900. Then come in rank of product value for 1905: foundry and machine shop products (1905) $20,189,384, (1900) $18,991,079; cotton goods; silk and silk goods; ammunition (1905) $15,394,485,—being 77.2% of the value of all ammunition made in the United States,—(1900) $9,823,712; and rubber boots and shoes (1905) $12,829,346, (1900) $11,999,038. In 1905 the state ranked first in the United States in the value of clocks manufactured,—$6,158,034, or 69.4% of the total product value of the industry for that year in the United States,—and also in the value of plated ware—$8,125,881, being 66.9% of the product value of the United States.
The decade of greatest absolute increase in the value of manufactures was that ending in 1900, the value of manufactured products in that year being $352,284,116, an increase of $104,487,742 over that of 1890. The general tendency was towards the centralization of industry, the number of establishments in the leading industries increasing less than 5%, while the capital and the value of the products increased respectively 33.5% and 42%. Among the new manufactories were a ship-building establishment at Groton near New London, which undertook contracts for the United States government, and a compressed-air plant near Norwich. Of the 359 manufactured products classified by the United States census, 249, or almost seven-tenths, were produced in Connecticut.
This prominence in manufactures is due to excellent transportation facilities, to good water powers, to the ease with which labour is got from large cities, to plentiful capital (furnished by the large insurance and banking concerns of the state), and to Connecticut's liberal Joint Stock Act of 1837 (copied in Great Britain and elsewhere), permitting small sums to be capitalized in manufactures; and even to a larger extent, possibly it is the result of the ingenuity of the Connecticut people. In the two decades 1880–1900 more patents were secured in Connecticut in proportion to its population than in any other state. It was in Connecticut that Elias Howe and Allen B. Wilson developed the sewing machine; that Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanising rubber; that Samuel Colt began the manufacture of the Colt fire-arms; and it was from near New Haven that Eli Whitney went to Georgia where he invented the cotton gin. The earliest form of manufacturing was that of household industries, nails, clocks, tin ware and other useful articles being made by hand, and then peddled from town to town. Hence Connecticut became known as the “Land of Yankee Notions”; and small wares are still manufactured, the patents granted to inventors in one city ranging from bottle-top handles, bread toasters and lamp holders, to head-rests for church pews and scissors-sharpeners. Then, after a long schooling in ingenuity by the system of household industries, came the division of labour, the introduction of machinery and the modern factory. Transportation of products is facilitated by water routes (chiefly coasting), for which there are ports of entry at New Haven, Hartford, Stonington, New London and Bridgeport, and by 1013 m. (on the 1st of January 1908) of steam railways. One company, the New York, New Haven & Hartford, controlled 87% of this railway mileage in 1904, and practically all the steamboat lines on Long Island Sound. Since 1895 electric railways operated by the trolley system have steadily developed, their mileage in 1909 approximating 895 m. By their influence the rural districts have been brought into close touch with the cities, and many centres of population have been so connected as to make them practically one community.
Population.—The population of Connecticut in 1880 was 622,700; in 1890, 746,258—an increase of 19.8%; in 1900, 908,420—an increase of 21.7% over that of 1890; and in 1910, 1,114,756. Of the 1900 population 98.2% were white, 26.2% were foreign born, and 31.1% of the native whites were of foreign parentage. Of the foreign-born element, 29.8% were Irish; there were also many Germans and Austrians, English, and French- and English-Canadians. In 1900 there were 24 incorporated cities or boroughs with a population of more than 5000, and on this basis almost three-fifths of the total population of the state was urban. The principal cities, having a population of more than 20,000, were New Haven (108,027), Hartford (79,850), Bridgeport (70,966), Waterbury (45,859), New Britain (25,998), and Meriden (24,296). The industrial development has affected religious conditions. In the early part of the 19th century the Congregational church had the largest number of communicants; in 1906 more than three-fifths of the church population was Roman Catholic; the Congregationalists composed about one-third of the remainder, and next ranked the Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists.
Government.—The present constitution of Connecticut is that framed and adopted in 1818 with subsequent amendments (33 up to 1909). Amendments are adopted after approval by a majority vote of the lower house of the general assembly, a two-thirds majority of both houses of the next general assembly, and ratification by the townships. The executive and legislative officials are chosen by the electors for a term of two years; the attorney general for four years; the judges of the supreme court of errors and the superior court, appointed by the general assembly on nomination by the governor, serve for eight, and the judges of the courts of common pleas (in Hartford, New London, New Haven, Litchfield and Fairfield counties) and of the district courts, chosen in like manner, serve for four years. In providing for the judicial system, the constitution says: “the powers and jurisdiction of which courts shall be defined by law.” The general assembly has interpreted this as a justification for interference in legal matters. It has at various times
granted divorces, confirmed faulty titles, annulled decisions
- The figure given above as the gross value of all manufactured products in 1900 includes that of all manufacturing and mechanical establishments. The value of the products of factories alone was $315,106,150. By 1905 this had increased to $369,082,091 or 17.1%.