Cast-Iron Pipe Industry in the United States.
The census office has issued a bulletin, prepared by Dr. William M. Sweet, regarding this branch of the iron manufacture. What gives impoitance and special interest to this report is the fact that it is the very first of its kind, the statistics about cast-iron pipe having always hitherto been incorporated with those of foundries; but, “on account of the distinctive character of the industry, it has been possible to separate the statistics of the pipe works from the operations of foundries engaged in the production of miscellaneous castings. A comparatively small amount of iron pipe is made by foundries devoted to general work, but, as the pipe thus produced is chiefly for local trade or for specific purposes, no account has been taken of the output in this bulletin. The character of the demand for standard sizes of cast iron pipe necessitates its manufactuie, on a large scale, in plants especially equipped for this work, although many of them also produce hydrants, fittings, and connections. A few of the pipe manufacturers make hydraulic and gas machinery and general foundry and machine shop products, but this work forms only a small part of the aggregate business of these establishments. During the census year 1S90, there were thirty-six establishments in the United States reported as engaged principally in the manufacture of cast-iron pipe, and of this number thirty-four w ere in operation in that year.” Although it was found impracticable to obtain statistics of the production of the industry in census year 1S80, for comparison with the production in census year 1890, the rapid grow th of the manufacture is made manifest in the fact that, pf the thirty-six . establishments now reported, twenty came into existence since 18S0. By far the larger number of the works built during the past decade are located in the southern and western sections of the country, and the majority of them arc establishments of large capacity. Of the works located in the Southern States, two are in Virginia, two in Kentucky, two in Tennessee, one in Alabama, and one in Texas, five of the eight having been built since 1880. Of the works located in the Western States, four are in Ohio, two in Missouri, and one in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Oregon, respectively, six of the seven having been built since 1880. The total capital invested in the ihirty-six works, in 1890, was $14,300,933, which includes $68,500 reported by two establishments not in operation, though in existence, during the census year. Hands employed including officers and clerks, numbered 7788, to whom the aggregate of $3,794,407 was paid in wages and salaries. Among the employes wxre thirty three children, who earned a total of $6318. ‘l’lie figuies for the State of Texas include convict laborers at the penitentiary, receiving an average of fifty cents each per day. Out of the 7492 males above sixteen years, exclusive of those employed at piecework, 990 earned less than $7 per week, 3902 from $7 to $10 per week, 2525 from $10 to $20 per week, 157 from $20 to $25 per week, and only 118 over $25 per week.
The total cost of materials consumed was $9,483,389, and the value of the products was $15,168,682. The principal materials consumed by the pipe foundries was pig iron, the quantity used amounting to 591,258 net tons, costing $7 860 -408, while cast-iron pipe formed the principal product, whose output was 513,030 tons of 2000 pounds, valued at $12.556.315. The value of other castings, made up chiefly of pipe fittings and specials, together with some general foundry articles, was $1,802,679. Other products, embracing valves, gates, hydrants, gas and water machinery, and miscellaneous machine work, amounted to a value of $8(09 688. “ Tne gates, valves
and hydrants made by the pipe foundries constitute only a small portion of the aggregate production of these fittings, as the manufacture ot this class of articles forms in itself an important industry.”
Says the report: “ The oldest seat of the cast-iron pipe industry is in eastern Pennsylvania and the adjoining sections of New Jersey, the largest works being located in the immediate vicinity of Philadelphia, Pa. One establishment, situated at Millville, N. J., has been in operation since 1803, and has been conduc ed by the same interests since its organization, but it did not begin the manufacture of pi|>e until some years later. Two other works in this section were established prior to 1850, and five works were built and put in operation between 1850 and 1880. During the last ciccade five cast-iron pipe foundries have been built in this territory’. The older establishments in this section are all of large size, while those recently built are of comparatively small capacity. During the census year 1890, the pipe foundries in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey produced forty-three per cent of the total output. Until within recent years, these works supplied the d« mand of almost the entire country, but the advance in municipal improvement in the West and Southwest, and the growth of the pig iron industry in those sections have resulted in the establishment of large plants nearer to the new markets and at points whcie pig iron and fuel can be cheaply obtained. The cost of transportation is a very important factor in the cast-iron pipe industry, and tends with the wider distribution of the industry and the increasing competition to restrict the trade of each establishment to a limited territory.”
“No account has been taken in this statement of a number of works that were in course of erection during the census year 1890, but w hich were not completed and pat in operation during that year. Since the close of the census year six new pipe foundries have been completed and put in operation, all in the Southern States, one being in Virginia, four in Alabama and one in Texas.”