chapter  5
15 Pages

The Development of Industry

The Civil War, therefore, was the forcing ground-as it has been called-of American industrial development, and after it was over business men settled down to exploiting the now tolerably well-known American domain. The increase in manufactured output was phenomenal. The value of manufactured products increased from about $2,000 million in 1859 to about $13,000 million in 1899 and then to $68,000 million in 1929; the latter figure is much

inflated by the 20th century price rise and requires to be almost halved for the purposes of comparison, but the first two are comparable as they stand. This stupendous increase has many significances; most notably, from the international viewpoint, America by the 1890's had become the premier manufacturing nation of the world. Great internal changes had been involved. Between 1900 and 1910 her population at last ceased to be predominantly rural, or at least very small town, in character. Her industrial leadership changed from fine work to mass production, and with this change went a movement of industry westward and southward, apparently towards its raw material suppliesthe coal and iron ores of the middle west, the cotton and timber of the south, the petroleum of the middle west and of California. Above all, industrial emphasis passed from wood and cotton to iron and steel. Yet what to the British observer is probably most remarkable (apart from the scale of things) is the prevailing importance of the processing of food; flour milling came first in value of product in 1860, meat packing came first in 1914, and second in 1929.