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The History of Industrial Development and Toolmaking in US

  1878 - Industrial History of United States by Albert S. Bolles    


Nature has fitted the United States to become the centre of a great iron industry by the lavish endowment of her territory with all the materials required in the production and manufacture of that superiority valuable metal. Iron, coal, and limestone are found in every part of United States of our domain; and, in the region lying east of the Rocky Mountains, the country is so full of them as to present the appearance tries in rich geologically of a gigantic basin filled to the rim with mineral treasures.

It is said, by those who have examined the mineral resources of other countries, that, were the coal of the rest of the world deposited within the iron rim of this great basin, it would not occupy one-quarter of the area of our own coal-fields.

What is true of coal is true of iron, which, by the help of coal, will be utilized still more extensively in the future of the world for the purposes of man. The deposits of the ore in this country exist in such enormous quantity as fairly to stagger the imagination.

The ores are more accessible than in England, which now supplies half the iron consumed by the world; and they exist in close proximity to the coal and limestone used in extracting the metallic iron from them.  Their abundance insures to the United States the ability to supply, not only its own people, but the world at large, with all the iron that could be consumed for centuries to come, if it were necessary to do so.

There appears to be no other country so fortunately endowed with respect to iron and coal.  England, now the resource of Europe and Asia, and once of America, supplies at present half the iron and coal of the world; but her mines are deep and difficult, and costly to work, while in the United States they lie upon the top of the ground, or near it. 

Sweden, with an inexhaustible supply of the richest and best ore, has no coal. Russia, Austria, Italy, Algiers, and some of the German States, have ore, but no coal. France is deficient in coal, and only maintains her iron manufacture by importing both coal and iron.  Prussia has a sufficient supply of both materials for her own needs, but has little surplus.

Brazil has iron, but very little coal, and can only manufacture her ore by burning her forests in her furnaces, and cannot, therefore, long maintain a competition with a country whose very foundations are planted on beds of coal, if, indeed, she can ever seriously enter into one. Spain has iron and coal ; but they are widely separated, and little has been done to utilize either.

The United States, on the other hand, not only enjoys incalculable supplies of the best ores, and of coal and limestone, but in some States as in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Kentucky is able to point to all these materials so close together, that they exist within a radius of a mile and a half of the furnace, all lying on or near the surface of the ground.

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