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Interest is added this year by the presentation of the manufacture of boots and shoes in the State, and the accompanying article on their manufacture. Footwear is treated exhaustively from the cobbler of oriental times up to the present day, and to our own country, with our mammoth factories, from which salesmen are sent into the remotest parts of the world. It is the first presentation as a census work the Bureau has given of the manufacture of boots and shoes in Pennsylvania, and the volume of business done will be a surprise, even to the most observing, and that Pennsylvania still continues to lead in producing the material out of which these boots and shoes are made is fully exemplified by the census of the tanning industry which this report contains.
Another feature of the report of absorbing interest is the manufacture of Portland cement. Pennsylvania produces the coal and iron and steel of the world, and it will not be surprising if she should, at no very remote date, lead all of the world in the production of Portland cement. The growth of this industry in the United States since 1890 has been remarkable, and in this, as in many other industries, the United States is but a synonym for Pennsylvania.
The departure contemplated last year of not confining the rolling mill production to iron and steel rolled into finished form, but of including the billet, muck bar or any of the many less finished forms of production, has in this report been carried out with satisfactory results. The departure not only has its benefits, but its difficulties. As a census work, the presentation is of materially increased value, but, as with all more comprehensive presentations, the difficulty has been to avoid twice counting of value. The facts as presented are true as to the people employed and the wages, and they are true so far as affecting the output of the respective plants or establishments, and while the value as given is the true value of the production as it left the plant, yet to entirely avoid the twice counting of values, there must be an actual separation of the billets, slabs, blooms, muck bar, etc., sold to Pennsylvania manufacturers from that sold to manufacturers outside of the State. While every effort
has been made to get such actual separation, we have found it necessary in a number of instances to use approximated figures.
It will be observed that 1901 shows a largely increased production of black plate for tinning, and of tin and terne plate, with steady values and increased wages.
As all our comparative work contemplates a series of ten years, with this report the 1892 Comparative Series, that is the series established in 1892, ends its mission.
Some idea of the volume of business embodied in these annual publications may be had from the statement that in round numbers the industries herewith presented, after making necessary elmniations from the comparative series tables to avoid twice counting, represent 321,000 workmen, 160 millions of wages and 800 millions of value.
As the year has been one of much talk about strike prevention, conciliation, etc., and the best efforts of the strongest minds of the nation have been brought to bear upon this absorbing question, attention is called to the replies from manufacturers to the following letter, which accompanied the blanks for 1901 sent out in December, 1900:
“The labor question is so agitating the public mind, and so much thought is being given to the question of conciliation, that every successful plan of strike prevention, whether individual or organized, should, for the common good, be made available to the general public. To that end, if you have put into practice any plan that has proved successful in bringing about a better understanding, in adjusting grievances, or in preventing, or settling strikes, and will kindly tell us what that plan is, and what successes have attended it, you will confer on us a great favor, and, we believe, on the public a great good.”
It occurred to us that the injection of such matter at this time would but add to the growing interest which is being taken in the work of this Bureau, and in connection with this thought it might not be out of place to say that the Paris Exposition of 1900 awarded the Bureau a gold medal for the efficiency of its publications.