Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/608

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40,000 square feet, or nearly an acre of plate glass. The demand for the glass increased so rapidly that two years later, in 1885, a second plant was built at Tarentum. Meanwhile the methods of manufacture at Creighton had been so far improved that the joint output of the two factories was 280,000 feet per month, or between six and seven acres of polished plate. In another two years the same company built a third factory at Ford City, with a capacity of 200,000 feet per month. At the present time these works are being still further enlarged, and will soon have more than twice their original capacity. The growth of the enterprise has been remarkable. It is doubtful whether any other industry could show a parallel development. At the present time the annual output is in the neighborhood of a third of a square mile of polished plate. That means a great deal of sunshine for somebody.

These American plate-glass works compare very favorably in equipment and management with the more historic establishments of Saint Gobain and Ravenshead. The native product, we believe, is now quite equal to the foreign, and promises sooner or later to so far discourage importation as to be itself exported. It is pleasant, too, to record that, after so many disasters, this branch of glass-making is at the present moment the most flourishing of all departments of the industry. It is the one in which the American genius for mechanics has had the greatest scope. Few of the operations are performed by hand. These are precisely the conditions under which America can compete most successfully with the Old World, and feel the least disadvantage from her more expensive labor market. This thoroughness of organization has had its effect upon the price. Plate glass is today so cheap that, as some one has said, it may be used in farm-houses, though it should perhaps be added that in this case the farm itself must in times past have been rather profitable. It is, at any rate, no longer exclusively the window glass of the rich. This widening of the market has made possible the present success of the industry. When the price becomes so low that we can afford to use twice as many acres of plate glass as we now allow ourselves we may expect a still greater success. At the present time the tendency is decidedly toward largely increased production. There are now eight plants in full operation, and four more in course of construction, which will probably be under way during the early part of the year. The market is large enough for all, though there is naturally a considerable rivalry between the different factories. This shows itself, among other ways, in the effort to outdo one another in the size of the plate produced. The largest yet turned out is one, we believe, made by the Diamond Glass Company at Kokomo, Ind., which measures 153 by 212