Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/526

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in a particular case where the same company had two factories, one in Britain and one in the United States, seven hundred employees in the former turned out fewer matches than four hundred employees in the latter. The trades unions object to a man looking after more than one machine, where it might be possible for him to look after two or three, or possibly half a dozen. The trades unionists go on the assumption that there is only so much work to be done and if one man does the work of two he throws some one out of a job, forgetting that a small output at a large cost to the capitalist precludes him from competing with outside employers in the same department, and lessens the amount of work he can give to his men.

Tenders were asked for a bridge in an English colony. Several English firms and one American tendered. The lowest English tender was by a firm employing six hundred men for whom there was barely sufficient work. The English tender allowed for only five per cent, margin for profit and contingencies, but the tender was not sufficiently low, and the contract went to an American company. Within a month the English firm was obliged to dismiss one hundred men. If the employees had realized the state of the case and had been willing to work to their full capacity the contract might have been secured by the English firm, the hundred men might have still been employed and possibly others added.

Though American boots and shoes are invading Britain, two hundred riveters and finishers lately went out on strike against shoe-lasting machines. In America a hundred machines are used in the making of one boot. In England labor-saving machines have been invented, but very few have been suggested by operatives, and they are grudgingly used.

America has the advantage that the factories turn out large numbers of articles all upon the same pattern. For instance, the locomotive makers build a particular style of locomotive, and will not make any other style, except at a very great advance in cost. In England specifications are drawn up by some engineer, and these specifications must be followed. It is complained that there is a colony of consulting engineers in Westminster that have supervision of the contracts for bridges, permanent way and railway stock. It is contended that these engineers put restrictions upon English firms tendering for contracts to which American firms are not subjected. It is said, for instance, that when the Midland Railway ordered American locomotives these would not comply with the restrictions to which home made engines would be subject. When an American firm is asked to tender according to specification, the usual reply is that such a locomotive can be made, but it will cost a half more than one of the regular style that will be quite as