Citation
Scarcity of plenty; the role of metal resources in the growth of the United States economy, 1860-1960, by Melvin W. Harju

Material Information

Title:
Scarcity of plenty; the role of metal resources in the growth of the United States economy, 1860-1960, by Melvin W. Harju
Creator:
Harju, Melvin William, 1941-
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xi, 212 leaves. : illus. ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Commercial production ( jstor )
Ferrous minerals ( jstor )
Iron ( jstor )
Iron mining ( jstor )
Machinery ( jstor )
Minerals ( jstor )
Mining ( jstor )
Pig iron ( jstor )
Steels ( jstor )
Wealth ( jstor )
Metal trade -- United States ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 203-211.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
14179459 ( OCLC )
ocm14179459
0022918438 ( ALEPH )

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Full Text










Scarcity or Plenty; The Role of Metal Resources
in the Growth of the United States Economy, 1860-1960










By

MELVIN W. HARJU


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1972




































Copyright by

Melvin W. Harju

1972
















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the

aid and encouragement given by Dr. William Woodruff and

by my wife, Gwen, during the course of this undertaking.

Special thanks go also to Dr. R. H. Blodgett, Dr. P. E.

Koefod, Dr. T. A. Nunez, Dr. C. H. Donovan, and to the

many others who gave graciously of their time and

experience. Any errors or shortcomings are, of course,

entirely my own.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........... .... iii

LIST OF TABLES .................. vi

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS .... viii

ABSTRACT .................. .... ix

CHAPTER I: PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
AND RESOURCES . 1

The Experience of Developed Countries and the
Idea of Progress (1)
Unique Characteristics of Economic Growth (11)
The Importance of Resources to Growth and
Production (14)

CHAPTER II: THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE OF OUR
INQUIRY ..... 22

Intention (22)
Definitions (23)
Scope and Method (27)

CHAPTER III: THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED
STATES PRODUCTION AFTER 1860--AN OVERVIEW .. 29

Production in 1860 (29)
Changing Conditions and Changing Techniques
After 1860 (35)
The New Importance of Iron and Copper--Metals
in Relation to the General Economy (44)
The Changing Nature of Production after 1860 (40)

CHAPTER IV: THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, 1860-1960 .. 55

The Changing Uses of Iron and Copper (55)
Growth in National Output and Growth in Metals (69)
The Efficient Use of Metals (73)
Increased Production and Increased Metals
Demand (78)








CONTENTS--continued


CHAPTER V: THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER 1860 81

Increased Production of American Mines (81)
Changing Location and Declining Ore Yields of
American Mines After 1860 (82)
Changing Techniques in American Mines (88)
Effects on Costs of Declining Ore Yields (94)
The Move to Foreign Metals Sources (104)

CHAPTER VI: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRODUCTION,
EXTRACTION, AND GROWTH .. 110

Changing Production and Changing Resources (110)
Production and Natural Wealth (112)
Structural Materials and Economic Growth (120)
The Effects of Metals Scarcity on Growth (133)

CHAPTER VII: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ... 143

A Glance in Retrospect (143)
The Influence of Abundant Resources and
Increasing Scarcity on Growth (120)
Implications of Materials Scarcity for Rich and
Poor Nations (151)
Natural Resources and Material Progress (154)
A Balanced Perspective (160)

APPENDIX A: CHANGING PRODUCTION, 1860-1960 ... 163

Employment, 1860-1960 (163)
National Income by Source (167)
Physical Volume of Output, 1900-1960 (173)

APPENDIX B: COPPER, IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION AND
METALS IN USE, 1860-1960 176

B.1 Copper, Iron, and Steel Production,
1860-1960 (176)
B.2 Imports and Exports of Copper and Iron,
1900-1960 (182)
B.3 Copper and Iron Scrap (184)
B.4 Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper and
Iron and Copper in Use, 1900-1960 (190)

WORKS CITED . .. .. 203

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ... .212














LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1. Representative Prices of Selected Commodities,
1860 . ... 32

2. World Iron and Copper Reserves .. .107

3. Projected Requirements and Availabilities of
Selected Metals to the Year 2000 .. .149

4. Labor Force Engaged in Raw Materials and Other
Industries in the United States, Total and Percent
Distribution, 1860-1960. .164

5. Agricultural Output and Productivity, 1910-1960. 165

6. Value of Sales and Home Consumption of Farm
Products and Value per Worker, 1860-1900 165

7. Farm Machinery and Equipment, 1900-1957. ... .166

8. Farm Machinery and Farm Labor Productivity,
1910-1960. .. .167

9. National Income by Industry Divisions, 1869-1960 168

10. Gross National Product by Type of Product, 1929
and 1960 . .. 169

11. National Income by Industries, 1929 and 1960 170

12. Share of National Income by Selected Industries,
1929 and 1965. . 171

13. Private Domestic Economy: Average Annual Rates of
Change in Physical Volume of Output, by Selected
Segment and Group, 1899-1953 ... 173

14. Capital-Output Ratio, 1850-1958. ........ 175








TABLES--continued


15. Rates of Growth in Domestic Copper Ore (Mine
Recoverable Content) Production by Decade,
1860-1960 .... .178

16. Rates of Growth in Pig Iron Shipments by Decade,
1860-1960 . 179

17. Rates of Growth in Steel Ingots and Castings
Produced, 1871-1960 .. 180

18. Average Annual Rates of Growth Between Decade
Averages for Copper, Pig Iron, and Steel Ingots
and Castings, 1861-1960 ... 181

19. Average Annual Rates of Growth of Copper, Iron,
and Steel Production and Gross National Product,
1900-1960 . .182

20. Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper Relative
to Domestic Production: Selected Years 1900-
1960. . .. 183

21. Potentially Recoverable Iron Scrap, 1929 and 1960 188

22. Potential Recovery of Obsolete Copper Scrap,
1960. . .. 189

23. Copper--Apparent Consumption--Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
1900-1960 .... .. .... .193

24. Iron--Apparent Consumption--Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
1900-1960 .. .. 195

25. Total Iron and Ferroalloy Metals--Apparent
Consumption--Additions to Metals in Use and
Average Annual Addition by Decade, 1900-1960. 198

26. Copper and Iron in Use--Adjusted for 1860-1900
Production. . .. 201

27. Average Annual Rate of Growth in Iron and Copper
in Use Relative to Gross National Product,
1920-1960 and 1900-1960 ... 202


vii














LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Figure Page

1. Consumption of Purchased Scrap in the United
States, 1915-1952 and Output of Pig Iron and
Steel, 1915-1962. Data for 1953-1962 Represent
Receipts of Purchased Scrap by Consumers ... .186

2. United States Production of Refined Copper from
Primary and Secondary Source Materials and
Production from Old Scrap, 1910-1960 .. .187

3. Copper in Use, 1920-1960 .. 194

4. Apparent Consumption by Five-Year Averages of
Iron, 1900-1960 ... 196

5. Iron in Use, 1920-1960 ... .197

6. Five-Year Averages of Ferroalloys Apparent
Consumption, 1900-1960 ... .199

7. Iron and Ferroalloy Metals in Use, 1920-1960 200


viii









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

SCARCITY OR PLENTY; THE ROLE OF METAL RESOURCES
IN THE GROWTH OF THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY, 1860-1960

By

Melvin W. Harju

August, 1972

Chairman: William F. Woodruff

Major Department: Economics


According to a great deal of contemporary thinking,

the nations of the world might almost reasonably be

divided roughly into two groups, the rich and the poor,

or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly, the

developed and the developing. Much economic theory has

been generated, particularly since the Second World War,

to account for observed differences in relative material

wealth; and economic growth and development, with

industrialization as a goal, has come to be viewed as an

on-going process. With that end in mind, theorists have

attempted to generate, whenever possible, universally

applicable explanations of growth and development. While

such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations

not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different

peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories

often are divorced almost entirely from any historical

or geographical consideration.








The argument presented in this thesis is that

economic progress can be viewed only as economic change

and that economic change cannot be divorced from the

particular circumstances of people, place, and time. In

this sense, the economic experience of the United States

during the past hundred years, from which so many develop-

ment schemes have been abstracted, must be viewed as

exceptional; not least because of its initial abundance

of natural resources; much of what has come to be called

economic growth really has represented nothing more than

the rapid exploitation of natural wealth; to a large

degree, production has represented extraction.

Demands for resources encompass a wide variety of

materials; but no resources have been more important to

the current machine age than metals. Of the various metals,

iron and copper have been particularly important, not only

because of their use in many different kinds of production,

but also because they are used in great quantity. They

represent the bulk metals used for production in a

modern economy. In this study an analysis of their

supply and disposition serves to illustrate the role metals

extraction has played in the growth of the United States

economy.

In analyzing the relation between production and

the extraction of metals, overall levels of output and

changes in output by categories are compared over the past

century. With the changing nature of production estab-

lished, metals needs relative to production are then








examined with particular attention given to the demand

for new metals inputs and for ores. Factors relating to

the supply of metals are then considered, and finally,

increases in production and produced wealth are related

to the available supply of metals to United States

industries during the century.

In the course of this study, the economic growth

of the United States during the past century is considered

from a new perspective. The same basic question asked

by other studies underlies this one: Why is the United

States so rich while much of the rest of the world is so

poor? But rather than asking what parts of the American

experience might be shared with others, the purpose here

is to examine to what extent the American experience might

have been fundamentally unique. The conclusion of this

study is that while other factors have been important to

United States economic growth, resources have been parti-

cularly so. By forgetting them and assuming instead that

the economic growth of the United States resulted

primarily from cleverness, prescriptions may have been

presented to poor countries for a kind of growth they may

not be able to achieve.
















CHAPTER I

PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC
GROWTH AND RESOURCES


According to a great deal of contemporary

thinking, the nations of the world might almost reason-

ably be divided into roughly two groups, the rich and

the poor; or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly,
2
the developed and the developing. Much economic theory

has been generated, particularly since the Second World

War, to account for probable causes of observed differ-

ences in relative material wealth. Economic growth and

development, with industrialization as a goal, has come

to be viewed as an on-going process; a new genus of

human activity begun by a few to be shared eventually by

all the peoples of the world in greater or lesser degree.


Cf. Barbara Ward, Lenore N. Anjou, and J. D.
Runnalls, eds., The Widening Gap: Development in the
1970s (New York: Columbia University Press, 1971).

Lacking analytical utility, these terms have
created more problems than they have solved. Cf.
Charles Bettelheim, Planification et Crossance accelere
(Paris: Francoismaspero, 1967), chap. iii, for a most
powerful criticism of the term "underdeveloped country."

Typical of the view that the world is engaged
in a race to a Western goal of industrialization is David
S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus, Technological Change
and Industrial Develooment in Western Europe from 1750 to
the Present (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
Like the work of Marx and Rostow, Landes' book is

1 -







2

With that end in mind, theorists have attempted to generate,

whenever possible, universally applicable explanations of

growth and development; alas, general theories have had to

rely upon specific experience for their support and while

such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations

not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different

peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories often

are divorced almost entirely from any historical or geo-

graphical consideration.

Theories are indispensable in organizing thinking

so that sense can be made of an otherwise senseless

plethora of disassociated facts; they are vital to under-

standing. But theories are necessarily abstractions;

they involve ideal, disembodied concepts of complex and

real phenomena. Of necessity, they present reality in

an unreal light. The danger is that theories, meant to

describe the world in which we live, may take on the face

of reality and come to be mistaken for the reality they

only attempt to describe. As a result, the world may

come to be viewed as more ordered, rational, and

predictable than it really is.

Perhaps it is really a matter of the interminable

argument about first cause. Outside a totalitarian State,

we do not view economic development as arising primarily


essentially messianic in character. It knows the goal
which all societies should seek. Marx's "communism,"
Rostow's "self-sustained growth," and Landes' "industrial-
ization" are prophecies.








out of a theory, but theory out of economic development.

We like to think of theory not as creating experience,

but helping us to understand experience. At best, the

rationalist mind of pure theory is an imperfect medium to

solve a development problem, which is so very much based

upon unique historical experience and empirical data.

Similarly, numbers and trends should be viewed

with caution and accepted only for what they are--the

results of underlying phenomena, and not the phenomena

themselves.

one might suggest that the statistician needs
to be receptive to the results of the analytical
theorists, to the suggestions of the student of the
historical scene, and even to the claims and clamor
of the reformers. And he must beware especially of
the danger of identifying mechanically derived lines
with trends; calculated ratios with immutable and
natural laws of constitution, and correlation
coefficients with inviolable laws of causation and
association.(5)

In recent months all these fears have been re-

echoed by leading members of the profession. If economic


The contrast is most sharp in the two disci-
plines anthropology and economics. The former is still
essentially empirical; the latter has become the most
abstract and mathematical of all the social sciences. If
at the moment there is a certain disillusionment in the
economics profession, perhaps it is because we are
expecting of theory that which it cannot give.

5Simon Kuznets, Economic Change, Selected Essays
in Business Cycles, National Income, and Economic Growth
(New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1953), pp. 294-95.

Cf. Wassily Leontief, "Theoretical Assumptions
and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review, LXI
(March, 1971), 1-7; John G. Gurley, "The State of
Political Economics," American Economic Review, Papers
and Proceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the









growth could be considered in a timeless and spaceless

context with every element, including man himself, neatly

categorized and controlled, problems of economic growth

and economic change would be considerably less vexing.

But men and circumstances are not easily categorized or

controlled; history does not follow a predictable course;

nor is it inevitable. While production is a technical

process, economic change is more an historical process of

evolution than a theoretical or mechanical process of

change (indeed, how many of our problems arise because we

do think mechanistically). It may depend as much upon

strength of will and good fortune, concepts not generally

included in theoretical analyses, as anything else.7

Only in theory can mankind be viewed as "developing"

collectively along a known path to a known goal. In

reality each people is participant in and heir to its

own unique historical experience. The experience of

economic growth has been common to only a few. Perhaps

the one thing we may be sure about is not growth, not

decline, but change.


American Economic Association, LXI (May, 1971), 53-62;
F. H. Hahn, "Some Adjustment Problems," Econometrica,
XXXVIII (January, 1970), 1-11.

A technical view of man's actions in the world
follows closely in the Cartesian tradition, which works
very well when considering the properties of atoms or
the movement of stars. In part, men's actions also are
predictable, but only in given social and historical
contexts, and then not entirely. When one extends the
analysis to the predictability of changes in the contexts
themselves, the problem becomes still more difficult. It
is common prudence to look ahead, but who really can
predict the future?









Yet the extraordinary rate of what we have come

to understand as economic growth of a few wealthy nations,

particularly of the United States, probably has been more

important than any other single factor in stimulating

the idea of universal economic progress. The idea of
8
progress, Western in origin, found its greatest expression

and support in the United States as did its underlying

motive force, the belief in and the employment of applied

technology, exhibited principally in an ability to create

more and more from less and less. Technology and its

teachinghave come to be accepted almost without question

as a principal ingredient of material progress and the

key to its continuance, replacing or supplementing trade

and capital accumulation in that regard as a primum

mobile of economic growth. It hardly needs stressing

that technology--as such--can only be seen in a museum.

All these concepts, theoretical and abstract in

themselves, rest upon an equally abstract belief in


Progress may be thought of as change which is
directed or tends toward some ends or goals generally
believed to be "good." Progress and economic development
often have been considered as being synonymous, although
the recent reemergence of concern for ecology and for
the social quality of human existence have called that
view into question.

Cf. Albert O. Hirschman, The Strategy of
Economic Development (New Haven and London: Yale
University Press, 1958), chap. i. "Preliminary Explora-
tions," sec., The Search for the Primum Mobile, pp. 1-7.






6

progress; a belief that has not always characterized men's

thoughts. Greek and Roman writers thought that a cyclical

state (rather than continued progress toward a better

human condition) more closely described the affairs of

man. The passage of time was thought to yield deteriora-

tion, a descent from a golden age of simplicity that

could be reestablished only by divine intervention;

thence, again, from better to worse to better to worse--

the whole process yielding an endless series of identical

cycles. The accumulation of knowledge might allow philos-

ophers to free their thoughts and enjoy knowledge for its

own sake, but the application of that knowledge to the

betterment of mankind's condition was not generally

conceived.

While historical parallels are dangerous, it is

worth realizing that we are not the first to have held

an overwhelming belief in the power of technology to

improve and control our environment. Aeschylus also

believed "in man's unlimited capacity for controlling

nature, a confidence inspired by a spate of extraordinary

[technological: successes .. ." But the belief in the

power of technology soon waned. We find in Euripides

the doubt and pessimism of intellectuals
during the last third of the century in face
of the increasing exploitation of the new
technology by militarists and profiteers in wars
of conquest and plunder.(10)


lArthur D. Kahn, "The Greek Tragedians and
Science and Technology," Technology and Culture, XI
(April, 1970), 133.









To thinkers of the Middle Ages, life on earth was

an interlude standing between the vastness of eternity

and the final end of heaven or hell. The purpose of

this life was to prepare for the next. The end of the

world might be imminent.

A life of increasing material well-being for all

people was for the most part beyond comprehension;

although certain individuals might become wealthy and

powerful, or new wealth might be gained through fortuitous

discovery or conquest. The past revealed no process in

a material sense. The future, what little of it there

might be, looked no better. There was little reason to

believe it would be.

It was not until commerce, invention, and natural
science emancipated humanity from thralldom to the
cycle and to the Christian epic that it became
possible to think of an immense future of mortal
mankind, of the conquest of the material world in
human interest, of providing the conditions for a
good life on this planet without reference to any
possible hereafter. In due course, when conditions
were ripe, the idea of progress arose in the
Western World, (11)

As exploration in the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries revealed the existence of new lands, and as

advances in science yielded new knowledge, conditions

were laid for the acceptance of continued progress as a

possible circumstance of human existence. Belief in

progress rests heavily upon experience; it represents a


J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry
Into Its Origin and Growth, intro. by Charles A. Beard
(New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955) p. xi.








favorable view of past changes projected optimistically

into an indefinite future. The accumulation of scien-

tific knowledge implied future progress in scientific

thought and there appeared good reason to believe that

such knowledge was capable of indefinite advancement.

The application of scientific knowledge in the form of

applied technology2 to the problems of physical

existence could yield progress for the whole of mankind.

Belief in the operation of fortune and the

intervention of Providence came to be supplanted by the

belief that man might determine his own destiny, or

even that he might be acting only as a role-player in

a deterministic system that would of its very nature

yield constant progress. A rational, mechanical,

technical view of man and his surroundings appeared

and flourished even as the wonder of science laid bare

the secrets of the physical world and as its counterpart,

technology, improved the material lot of man.

It is Cthe. dynamic character of technology that
makes it so significant for the idea of progress.
The latter assumes that mankind has been slowly
advancing from a crude stage of primitive civili-
zation; the former demonstrates what can be
accomplished by exhibiting its achievements and
disclosing its working methods. What was once
Utopian becomes actuality. What appears to be
impossible may be surmounted. The ancient theory

12
12Our purposes will be served by defining
technology as the "state of the arts" as they exist at
any one time, including both ideas and methods as well
as applied inventions.








that mankind revolves in a vicious circle is
destroyed by patent facts. The mediaeval notion of
a static society bound to rule-of-thumb routine is
swept into the discard by events. (13)

Encouraging this movement was the Industrial

Revolution which in the eighteenth and nineteenth

centuries affected much of Western Europe and the Northern

parts of the United States. The role of the machine in

increasing the wealth of the Western world was too

apparent to be disbelieved.4 The belief in progress

through a machine economy became widespread. The goal

of society came to be seen as further industrialization

and the idea of progress was elevated from the status

of belief to that of fact. Yet progress was not

necessarily continuous.

It is quite easy to fancy a state of society, vastly
different from ours, existing in some unknown place
like heaven; it is much more difficult to realize
as a fact that the order of things with which we
are familiar has so little stability that our actual
descendants may be born into a world as different
from ours as ours is from that of our ancestors
of the pleistocene age.

But if we accept the reasoning on which the dogma
of Progress is based, must we not carry them to their
full conclusion? In escaping from the illusion of
finality, is it legitimate to exempt that dogma
itself? Must not it, too, submit to its own negation
of finality? Will not that process of change for which
Progress is the optimistic name, compel "Progress"
too to fall from the commanding position in which it
is now, with apparent security, enthroned?(15)


13Ibid., p. xxiii.

But notice William Woodruff and Helga Woodruff,
"Economic Growth: Myth or Reality; The Interrelatedness
of Continents and the Diffusion of Technology, 1860-1960,"
Technology and Culture, VII (Fall, 1966).

15Bury, Idea of Progress, pp. 351-52.






10

Whether or not the idea of progress may someday

be dethroned, and perhaps with it our worship of technology,

cannot be predicted; progress is not necessarily an

established fact of nature, a trend to be carried into

the indefinite future. Progress resulting from specific

circumstances of the past does not imply progress in the

future. Views of the past may rest upon fact; views of

the future must rest upon speculation. The idea of

progress might die from one or more of several causes.

It might die from neglect brought on by the embrace of

some alternative idea based upon another view of what is

good and what is not; by a deep prevading pessimism or

by the imposition of physical, social, intellectual, or

spiritual constraints. Technology, upon which belief in

indefinite progress has been based, might be capable of

indefinite expansion, but progress itself may not.

The only thing known to history is change, not

necessarily of a progressive nature, and change in itself

cannot be separated, as the French historian Taine so

long ago said, from place, time, and people. There can

be little doubt that technology and science have changed

some lives substantially from what they might have been;

their use, economically speaking, has proved immensely

profitable to some and might prove so to others. But

this still does not permit the experience of the United

States, or of a few other nations, to be used as an

example of what might be wrought elsewhere. Those who








have experienced substantial economic growth in recent

times have done so in special circumstances and conditions.

No single factor will guarantee wealth; much depends upon

providence and circumstance.16

This is particularly true of the economic history

of our own country. When the United States, or what

was to become the United States, was settled by the

immigrants and their descendants who eventually populated

it, the land included wide fertile plains, a mild climate,

ample wood, clear water in abundance, and a vast mineral

store from which to erect a mighty machine culture

formed in iron and steel and powered by falling water

and burning fuels. Not only were resources extremely

plentiful and of good quality, but they were exceptionally

handy. Never in the history of mankind has any group

of men ever obtained possession of natural resources

on this scale. The wonder is not that the nation's

economy grew; given the people (especially their mental

attitudes), the land, and the times, it would have been

a greater wonder had it not grown.



Only very recently have we come to appreciate

the unique circumstances of America's growth; only very


How else shall we explain the richness of
certain economies south of the Sahara in recent history,
if not through chance? i.e., strikes of gold, diamonds,
copper, and other valuables.






12

recently have we come to appreciate the role of natural

resources in the development of the United States economy.

Compared to the emphasis placed upon income, saving, and

trade in conventional literature, the role of natural

resources has been a neglected subject.

The poor are poor, it would seem, because they

have low incomes. They have low incomes because they are

poor. Inadequate incomes generate inadequate saving

which produces inadequate investment in both physical

and human capital. These factors together conspire to

keep the poor nations poor, and whether the way out of

this dilemma lies in the engineering of a "big push"

for the economy or in "unbalanced growth" is anybody's

guess. The important thing for us is that the problem

is seen more from the side of effective demand than

from effective supply. The implication is that sufficient

resources are to be had if only they could be employed.

Swayed by the optimism engendered by a belief in

progress, perhaps as a result of Western experience,

we have come to focus attention more upon questions of

opulence than upon the time-honored question of scarcity.

Yet, until very recent times, it was scarcity and not

plenty that was at the center of economic theory.

If we may now direct attention from the

demand to the supply side of the picture, the neglect

of natural resources is still apparent. Although

production generally is thought to depend upon the

numbers and qualities of people, the quantity and quality






13

of capital, the amount, quality, and location of resources,

and upon the state of technology, in fact most attention

has been devoted to considerations of capital and capital

formation; and, to some degree, to questions regarding

technology. Almost any text in economic history, for

example, might include sections dealing with capital and

capital markets, with technology and industry, with

transportation systems, and to some extent, with people.

It would deceive the reader to pretend that

the importance of natural resources has been overlooked.

Many historians try to deal with it. The longer accounts

make the timeworn treatments of iron, copper, coal and

petroleum, and sometimes electricity. The customary

puddling, Bessemer convertor and open hearth treatment

is given to steel. The Gogebic, Vermillion, and Mesabi

iron ranges are given occasional and brief mention. The

necessity of adequate transportation facilities and the

fortunate juxtaposition of iron, coal, lakes, and fertile

farmland sometimes are noted. The change in the United

States trade position in recent times, from that of

being a net exporter of raw materials, is fairly common

knowledge; however, the reader is usually left with the

impression that the productive might of the United States

industrial machine has simply outstripped the ability of

the raw material producing sector to meet the nation's

needs; whereas a large part of the cause of the drift

actually lies in the relative exhaustion of the richest

domestic ores.








Somehow the connection between increases in

national output and wealth and consumption of resources

has been lost. It is almost as if an abundance of natural

resources were considered to be a "given datum," there-

after to be forgotten. The fact that we have on the one

hand accepted the existence of extensive resources and

on the other forgotten the relation of resources to

economic growth weakens our efforts to help the economic

growth of others.

It is our belief that the poor are poor because

they are poor, and the rich are rich because they are

rich; and that at least part of the answer to the

question of why some are rich and some are poor may be

found in the fact that some had more to work with than

others. It is impossible to make something out of

nothing; much better to live in a verdant land, or

claim the fruits of that verdant land, than to live in

a desert (unless there are natural resources, i.e., oil,

beneath the barren wastes). Our trouble in all this

is that we live in an abstract and rational age where

man and his mind are regarded as the principal instru-

ments of change; the fruits of men's efforts are thought

to be principally the products of thought and effort,

instead of the products of thought and effort applied

to nature.

Not that it is our intention to belittle the

role of man. It really is a matter of emphasis.








Obviously, economic activity is human activity and

resources taken by themselves come to nothing. They gain

importance only in reference to the ends to which they are

put; of course, there is truth in the statement that
17
resources are not, they become; of course, an abundance

of resources will not in itself lead to an abundance of

material wealth (any more than any other important

factor, taken alone, would). But in economic growth,

having more resources is better than having less. This

is particularly true of minerals vital to this mechanical

age. As one writer puts it:

The distribution of ores and minerals has had a
profound effect on the migration of peoples and on
the settlement of particular lands. It has been a
dominant element in the growth of states in which
possession or content of such deposits has led to
the creation of vast industrial enterprises.
Exploitation of these resources has resulted in
new patterns of life in many old regions, and
their exhaustion in some places has forced adjust-
ments of a far-reaching sort that at times have had
disturbing consequences.(18)

In 1902, at the time of the Census Bureau's

report, these consequences were, for the United States at

least, far in the future. Said the report:

This rapid rise of the United States to the first
position among manufacturing nations is attributable
to certain distinct causes, natural and otherwise,


17Erich W. Zimmerman, World Resources and
Industries (New York: Harper & Bros., 1951).

18Donald H. McLaughlin, "Man's Selective Attack
on Ores and Minerals," in Man's Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth, ed. by William L. Thomas, Jr. (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1956), p. 852.








five of which may be definitely formulated as
follows:

1. Agricultural resources
2. Mineral Resources
3. Highly developed transportation facilities
4. Freedom of trade between states and
territories
5. Freedom from inherited and over-conservative
ideas.

A study of these causes affords an explanation of
the great development of manufacturing in the past,
as well as an indication of its possibilities in
the future .

In the second place, the United States produces
nearly every mineral required for manufacturing
industries. In most of these the supplies appear
to be sufficient for years to come, and are obtain-
able at prices which compare favorably with prices
in other parts of the world.(19)

But in the course of subsequent economic growth,

much of an initial abundance of natural wealth has been

consumed. The first official note of anxiety was

sounded by the President's Materials Policy Commission

to President Truman in 1952.

A hundred years ago resources seemed limitless and
the struggle upward from meager conditions of life
was the struggle to create the means and methods
of getting these materials into use. In this
struggle we have succeeded so well that today,
in thinking of expansion programs, full employ-
ment, new plants, or the design of a radical new
turbine blade, too many of us blankly forget to
look back to the mine, the land, the forest: the
resources upon which we absolutely depend. So


19U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States Reports,
Vol. VII, Pt. I, United States by Industries (Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1902), pp. LVI-LIX,
reprinted in Louis M. Hacker, Major Documents in American
Economic Histor (Princeton, New Jersey: D. Van Nostrand
Co., Inc., 1961) pp. 146-47.






17

well have we opened our lines of distribution to our
remotest consumers that our sources are weakening
under the constant strain of demand. As a Nation,
we have always been more interested in sawmills than
seedlings. We have put much more engineering thought
into the layout of factories to cut up metals than
into mining processes to produce them. We think
about materials resources last, not first.(20)

A stronger note was expressed in 1968 by Charles

F. Park, Jr., a professor of economic geology, who wrote:

People have learned to use mineral resources
extensively only during the present century; they
have used them to establish a standard of living
undreamed of prior to World War I. But minerals
are present only in finite quantities. The world
cannot continue to use them at ever and rapidly
increasing rates without creating tremendous
problems. Whereas in the past many minerals were
at times in troublesome surplus, it now appears
that the world is about to enter a period when
shortages of minerals will become increasingly
common. Critical shortages of several minerals
may well develop within the next decade.(21)

And yet, in spite of these warnings, we find in

the 1970s that our focus remains upon production, capital

accumulation, changes in technology, and sufficiency of

demand, rather than upon extracting and using the

material wealth of the earth. When we talk about resources

at all we are concerned not with their scarcity, but with

the emergence of ecological and environmental effects.

This comes as a natural result of the emphasis in thinking

that has come to be placed upon rational, abstract


20President's Materials Policy Commission,
Resources for Freedom, I (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1952), p. 1.

2Affluence in Jeopardy (San Francisco: Freeman
Cooper & Co., 1968) p. vi.








processes. During the eighteenth century, lack of

capital was a very vital concern for development, as

it still is; capital has always been scarce. The

development of Great Britain made use of capital

furnished by merchants and used resources first from

home and then from abroad. The later development of

the United States received at least some help from the

British in terms of finance capital and was facilitated

by the utilization of vast amounts of resource wealth.22

Capital was scarce, resources were abundant. Small wonder

that the gaze of theorists has remained focused upon

capital accumulation and technology, impressive as the

changes have been in those fields or that resources

have not gained much attention until relatively

recently; nobody bothers with things that are abundant.23

But of late, capital has accumulated very rapidly in

some places, at least partly as a result of the very


22Not all money transfers represent transfers
of physical capital, of course. Cf. A. K. Cairncross,
"Investment in Canada, 1900-1913," in The Export of
Capital from Britain 1870-1914, ed. by A. R. Hall,
Debates in Economic History, gen. ed. Peter Mathias
(London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1968).

230n the other hand, things which are scarce may
receive almost reverential consideration such as that
given to water by Arabs. Until they invaded areas more
plentifully supplied, life had been a struggle to find
water. When they did, they left their mark with the
fountains of Andalusia.

"This fountain is like a believer in ecstacy,
rapt in prayer; and when the fountain shifts, it is the
worshipper who stoops to genuflect and resumes his prayer."
--Unknown poet of Andalusia

"Andalusia," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1971, I, 887.







19

industrialization and productive advance it is thought to

have caused. At the same time, stores of natural wealth

have diminished until further advance may be limited at

least as much by resource scarcity as by sufficiency of

capital.

Now all that we have said about the natural

resources as a whole is doubly true when we narrow our

gaze to the mineral resources of the earth. Our machine

economy and our desire for ever greater progress have

combined to consume the mineral wealth of the earth at

a rate no longer feasible. There simply are not the

mineral resources available to allow the consumption

trends of the past exceptional century to continue.

The amount of bituminous coal taken out of the ground

in 1950 was two and a half times greater than the

amount taken out in 1900. For copper the figure was

three times more, for petroleum, thirty times more.

More metals and mineral fuels have been used since

1914 by the United States alone than the whole world

used in all of history prior to the First World War,

and that tremendous increase in materials demand has

begun to stretch the imaginations of those whose

business it is to find and take those raw materials

from the earth.

If stores of minerals were limitless there

would be no problem; nor would the question of their

employment in the productive process be one of interest









to us. But they are not limitless. A ton of iron

taken from the earth is gone from the earth. A barrel

of oil or a volume of natural gas once used is gone for

good.

The most disconcerting feature of minerals is their
exhaustibility. They are wasting assets. They are
completely consumed in use if they are fuels; they
are at least partially dissipated if they are
minerals. Therefore the questions, "How large are
the reserves? How much is left in the ground? What
will happen when it is gone?" are vital questions
of life and death. For ours is truly a mineral
civilization which stands and falls on its capacity
to produce staggering amounts of some minerals and
varying quantities of many others.(24)

The problem has not been lessened by increased

production of things other than minerals. The larger is

the amount of production undertaken for defense, manufac-

turing, and services, the greater is our dependence upon

minerals, not less. A large superstructure of activities

has been built by using minerals. It is maintained by

their production.

One significant thing about American experience

over the past century is the extraordinary extent of its

natural wealth, and the unprecedented speed with which

those resources have been (and are being) consumed. The

former helps to explain our wealth; the latter, our

growing concern with the exhaustion of natural resources.

In this respect the United States may have passed through

a unique phase of its history; so much of what it has

experienced may have been based on non-recurring phenomena.


24Zimmerman, World Resources, p. 439.






21

Certainly, the American people have passed into an era of

material progress the likes of which had never been seen

before (and might not be seen again). Material progress

of the kind known during the past century may have been

the result more of peculiar circumstance and natural

abundance than of general laws. We cannot be certain

that progress of the same kind can continue unabated;

nor is it certain that the same kind of progress can be

shared by others who find themselves less well endowed.
















CHAPTER II

THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE
OF OUR INQUIRY


It has been our argument that economic progress

can be viewed only as economic change and that economic

change cannot be divorced from the peculiar circumstances

of people, place, and time. In this sense, the economic

experience of the United States during the past hundred

years must be viewed as exceptional; not least because

of its initial abundance of natural resources.

The United States was rich in natural resources

in 1860. By the 1960s, although the United States

remained a rich land, a great deal of its natural wealth

had been consumed. Its position with regard to some

very basic minerals, such as iron, which are needed to

maintain a high level of domestic output, had changed

dramatically. In fact, increased production had been

achieved through increased extraction. Herein lies the

aspect of economic history which it has been our purpose

to study. We are concerned to examine more closely the

relationship between production in general and the

extraction of certain materials, namely iron and copper,

within the United States during the past century, and to

determine the extent to which increases in production have

22 -






23
in fact represented consumption of irreplaceable wealth.

We have already said that nothing comes from nothing.

From what then, in terms of the consumption of our metal

resources, did our wealth come? By better understanding

the relationship between these aspects of production and

consumption, we might also gain further insight into the

potential ability of others to emulate the American

experience.



Before going further, it is necessary to take a

closer look at some important terms, such as "production,"

"resources," and "abundance."

Production is usually defined as the creation

of utility, the making of goods or services for the

satisfaction of human wants; but, "production" and

"productive activities" are very ambiguous terms with

which to deal. Production involves the creation of

utility but it ultimately is concerned with the manip-

ulation of materials. As such, production deals not

only with creation but with conversion. Utility is

created. Materials are converted. Substances are

rearranged to suit men's fancy through productive effort,

but the materials from which final items are made must

exist before any production can take place. Ideas and

skills, with nothing to embody them, remain ideas and

skills and nothing more.









Man cannot create material things. In the mental
and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas;
but when he is said to produce material things, he
really only produces utilities; or in other words,
his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the
form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better to
the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in
the physical world is either to readjust a log of
wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being
made more useful, by nature, as when he puts seed
where the forces of nature will make it burst into
life. (1)

Almost all actions lead to the satisfaction of

wants, else they would not be undertaken; therefore, any

number of activities may be thought of as productive.

But some goods and services, and hence the types of

productive activities which generate them, are more

essential than others, and the most essential is the

provision of food. It has been said that man can be

neither prophet nor poet unless he has relatively

recently had something to eat.

A host of other goods and services comes to

mind as being essential to greater or lesser degree

after the provision of food. Goods that furnish shelter,

clothing, transportation, and protection from natural

disaster and from other people; and services that

provide social situations for enjoyment, education,

entertainment, and leisure are needed. But man the


1Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (8th
ed.; Toronto: Macmillan Company, 1966), p. 53.

2The importance of food apparently has been
partially forgotten by some who would place great emphasis
upon the production of manufactured goods, supposedly
because manufacturing is more "productive" in a monetary
sense.









animal must be provided for first, then man the man.

The provision of services ultimately relies upon the

"production" of goods and the production of goods

involves the application of men's energies to converting

the materials of the earth into useful forms.

Materials used in that production may be defined

for our purposes as resources. They can be divided into

three categories: those needed for food, for energy,

and for structure. Since not all materials are used in

production, not all materials are resources, and certain

materials used in production at particular points in

time may not be used as such at other points in time.3

The distinguishing characteristic of a resource, then,

is not just that it is a material, but that it is a

material used in production.

Finally, a resource is abundant or scarce

depending upon the demand for it relative to the amount

available. A given volume of material may be thought

of as abundant if the demands made for it are slight,

or scarce if the demands for it are great. Assuming

a given demand, however, a resource is scarce if it

exists only in small quantities and/or is difficult to

obtain, or abundant if it exists in relatively large

quantities easily obtainable. Without regard to ease


Examples of materials that only recently have
become resources are crude petroleum and radioactive
fuel.








of acquisition, a resource may be thought of as scarce

if the amount ultimately available relative to demands

is small.



Demands for resources encompass a wide variety

of materials including water, land, air, and the fertility

of the soil, woods and fibres and fuels, and many others.

The effects of production on each of these and their

effects on production would yield a separate story for

each; but no resource has been more important to the

current machine age than metals.

Increased dependence upon machines and other

heavy structures has resulted in an increased dependence

upon metals used in their construction. Because of this

increased dependence an examination of the relationship

between expansions in production and wealth and the

supply of raw metals taken over time is important and

may reveal the extent to which the prodigious rate of

economic growth of the United States during the past

century represented the extraction of initially abundant

but limited resources.

But not all metals are equally important, and

since we are concerned with a general relationship

between metal resources and production, our purposes

will be served by considering only the most important

metals. In terms of quantity and use some metals are

of only marginal importance, and their inclusion would








serve only as a supplement to the current undertaking.

Certain other metals, such as nickel, vital to the

production of jet engine parts, are employed in relatively

small quantities and their uses are specific enough to

be handled as particular problem areas.

Iron and copper, on the other hand, are repre-

sentative of two broad classes of metals, ferrous and
4
non-ferrous. They are important not only because of

their use in many different kinds of production, but

also because they are used in great quantities.

Iron is the material out of which most machines

and heavy structures are built. Copper has been an

important building block of our electrically oriented

technology, used in the production of electrical

circuitry and electrical parts. These metals represent

the bulk metals used for production in a modern economy

and careful analysis of their supply and disposition

will serve us well in determining the role metals have

played in the growth of the United States economy.



In analyzing the relation between production

and the extraction of metals, we shall first consider


Metals generally are divided into categories
which include the ferrous metals (those related to the
production of steel), and the non-ferrous metals. Non-
ferrous metals are further divided into the "base metals,"
copper, lead, tin, and zinc; and the "light metals,"
including aluminum and magnesium. The most important of
these in terms of volume are, of course, iron, copper, and
aluminum, with extensive use of aluminum being a relatively
recent development.








the ways in which production has changed within the

United States during the past hundred years. Overall

levels of output by categories can be compared over

that period to establish relative changes in the quantity

and types of production that occurred.

Having established the changing nature of

production over time, we shall then examine metals needs

relative to production with particular attention paid to

the demand for new metals inputs and for ores.

Next comes the problem of finding the sources

from which metals have been drawn, either domestic or

foreign.

The final problem is one of relating increases

in production and produced wealth, through the resulting

increases in the demand for metals to the available

supply of metals. A meaningful statement then can be

made concerning the role of abundant resources in

allowing the people of the United States to enjoy vast

increases in income and to accumulate great quantities

of produced wealth. That relationship and a look at

the current situation might yield a hint for the future.















CHAPTER III

THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED STATES
PRODUCTION AFTER 1860--AN OVERVIEW


It is difficult to grasp completely the amount

of economic change that has occurred within the United

States in the past hundred years or the speed at which

it has taken place. Only two adult lifetimes, put end

to end, have passed since 1860, while two thousand years

separates today's man from the birth of Christ and the

power of Rome, four thousand from the strength of the

Egyptian empire, and ten or twelve thousand from the

time when men first became husbandsmen and herdsmen.

Yet, in some respects, the lives men lived in 1860, the

sorts of things they produced, and the methods by which

they produced them were as similar to ancient modes as

to those of present day.

The economic progress of the United States since

1860 involved radically new products, machines, and

production methods as well as the production of greater

amounts of goods and services. Advances in quality, in

product types, and in production techniques complemented

increased production levels that put more of the staples

of life as well as luxuries into the hands of common

people.

29 -









The Gross National Product per capital for the

period 1869 to 1873 amounted to $165 compared to about

$4,500 currently. But problems associated with the com-

parison of GNP for any two years, especially when those

years are widely separated in time, are both great and

well-known.2 Changes in product type and quality since

1860 have alone been sufficient to reduce the validity

of such estimates considerably. A more meaningful

contrast might be accomplished by a simple sketch of

the incomes people earned in 1860 and of retail prices

they paid.

In 1860 less than four percent of the people

engaged in industry worked an eight to nine hour day.

Only ten percent labored less than ten to eleven hours,

and fully a third worked more than eleven hours.3 For

their efforts, common laborers might receive a daily

wage ranging from $ .65 to $1.50 depending upon the


1U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times
to 1 (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1960), p. 139, Series F 1-5, Kuznets estimates.

2See, for instance, George J. Stigler, Trends in
Output and Employment (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1947), for an interesting
discussion along these lines.

Joseph D. Weeks, Superintendent of the Census,
Report on the Statistics of Wages in Manufacturing
Industries; With Supplementary Reports on the Average
Retail Prices of Necessaries of Life and on Trades
Societies, and Strikes and Lockouts, Vol. XX (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), pp. xxix, xxxi.








section of the country and the industry in which they

worked. A dollar per day was most common. Carpenter's

wages ranged from $1.50 in some industries to as high as

$2.50 per day in ship carpentry. Blacksmiths could

expect to earn about $1.50 per day, and the wages of

mechanics ranged from approximately $1.10 to $2.50 per

day while the average was slightly under $2.

The money did not go far. Some idea of retail

prices of various basic commodities may be gained from

the data in Table 1.


Ibid., pp. 517-63.

Of the 10,530,000 working population in 1860,
some 6,210,000 (or 59%) were engaged directly in agri-
culture and 1,930,000 (or 18%) were engaged in manu-
facturing and hand trades and construction. Services
of various types engaged another 1,310,000 people (or
12%), and transportation, trade and finance accounted
for 780,000 (or slightly over 7%). Only 170,000 found
employment in mining. Historical Statistics, p. 74,
Series D 57-71.

In 1869, 22.2% of national income originated
in agriculture, 20.3% in manufacturing and construction;
and, transportation, communication, trade and finance
accounted for 37.6%. Services of all kinds, including
government, accounted for 18.4% of national income.
(It is interesting to note in passing the disparity
that exists between the proportion of the working pop-
ulation engaged in each field and the amount of income
arising in those fields. The distribution of workers
by industry was not radically different in 1869 from what
it had been in 1860.) U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Long Term Economic Growth, 1860-1965
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1966),
Part III, p. 79, Table 4.















TABLE 1

REPRESENTATIVE PRICES OF SELECTED
COMMODITIES, 1860a


Unit of
Item Measure Prices

Cloth
Cotton Flannel, medium quality yard $0.11-$ 0.15

Groceries
Tea pound .62- 1.00
Coffee, roasted pound .10- .30
Soap, common pound .05- .12

Flour, Meats, Provisions
Beef, roasting pound .08- .14
Beef, soup pound .03- .08
Pork, fresh pound .08- .12
Flour, wheat, super-fine barrel 7.00- 8.50b
Flour, wheat, extra-family barrel 9.25- 11.00b
Potatoes bushel .50- .75

Other
Men's Heavy Boots pair 2.00- 4.50c
Coal Oil gallon .30- 1.00
House Rent, four-room month 5.00-
House Rent, six-room month 10.O0d


aSource: Weeks, Statistics of Wages


in Manufacturing,


Flour prices ranged between $4 and $6 in the
wheat states.

cPrices of boots ranged upward to $6 in
Cincinnati.

dRents were as high as $10 to $15 in St. Louis.


passim.









A pound of tea, surely a luxury item, required

as much as a day's pay to obtain. A bushel of potatoes

might cost a half-day's wages, and a pair of boots from

two to five day's pay, an amount equal to a full month's

house rent.

In general, material life in the 1860s was

sparse by today's standards. The types of products

generally offered to consumers were plain and basic;

and if adequate in quantity, they were not available in

overwhelming abundance.

The United States of 1860 was, of course,

primarily an agricultural nation, although manufacturing

was growing rapidly and the nation had become something

of a sea power. Machines had been introduced into

several kinds of production, in the making of clothing

and shoes and in food processing, for example. Some

mechanization had taken place in agriculture, notably

with the introduction of the reaper, the thresher, the

cotton gin, and the all-steel plow. Steam had been

applied to water and land transportation. But the

products of the nation were products of the soil, in

the main. Hard manual labor and common sweat were the

principal instruments of progress, and the relatively

few machines in existence were in the hands of producers,

not consumers. Within the next century, the face of

the country and the nature of production would change

entirely.5


5Qualitative changes in the nature of production











Stirrings of change abounded in the United

States in the 1860s. If the present offered challenge

and hard work, the future offered the promise of

substantial increases in material well-being along almost

every line. Agricultural production was increasing

rapidly and innovations were making their presence felt

heavily.

It appears from the returns of the last census,
that the ratio of increase of the principal
agricultural products of the United States has
more than kept pace with the increase of population.
Indeed, there appears no reason to doubt the
continuance of an abundant supply of all the great
staple articles, equal to the necessities of any
possible increase of population or national
contingency for years to come.(7)

Agriculture also was becoming dependent upon

machines and upon the manufacturing industries. Future

increase depended upon further mechanization and the

interdependence of agriculture and manufacturing was

coming to be recognized.

are considered in the remainder of this chapter. Quan-
titative changes, which reflect the consequences of
changing conditions, are left primarily to Appendix A.

Figures showing changing agricultural
productivity and production after 1860 are included in
Appendix A.

Joseph C. G. Kennedy, Superintendent, U.S.
Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Preliminary
Report on the Eighth Census, 1860 (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1862), p. 80.








It is also gratifying to note the evidences of
improvement in some of the most important agri-
cultural operations, proving that our farmers are
fully in sympathy with the progressive spirit of
the age, and not behind their fellow citizens
engaged in other industrial occupations. .

The increasing annual products of agriculture in
our highly-favored country, and the hay and grain
crops in particular, furnish striking illustrations
of the close interdependence and connection of all
branches of the national industry. Without the
improvements in ploughs and other implements of
tillage which have been multiplied to an incredible
extent, and are now apparently to culminate in the
steam plough, the vast wheat and corn crops of those
fertile plains could not probably be raised. But
were it possible to produce wheat upon the scale
that it is now raised, much of the profit and not a
little of the produce would be lost were the farmer
compelled to wait upon the slow process of the
sickle, the cradle, and the hand-rake for securing
it when ripe. The reaping machine, the harvester,
and the machines for threshing, winnowing, and
cleaning his wheat for the market have become
quite indispensable to every grower.(8)

Manufacturing, if anything was changing even more

rapidly than was agriculture.

The returns of MANUFACTURES exhibit a most grat-
ifying increase, and present at the same time an
imposing view of the magnitude to which this
branch of the national industry has attained
within the last decennium.

The total value of domestic manufactures, (including
fisheries and the products of the mines,) according
to the Census of 1850, was $1,019,106,616. The
product of the same branches for the year ending
June 1, 1860, as already ascertained in part and
carefully estimated for the remainder, will reach
an aggregate value of nineteen hundred millions of
dollars ($1,900,000,000). This result exhibits
an increase of more than eighty-six (86) percentum
in ten years!(9)


Ibid., pp. 81-82.

9Ibid., p. 59.








According to the Preliminary Report on the

Eighth Census, based upon figures for manufacturing output

and upon population figures, a per-capita product of

manufactures amounted to some $60.61 "for every man,

woman, and child in the Union." Nor was the increase in

manufacturing to be considered a mixed blessing.

who can justly estimate the influence upon
the general happiness and prosperity--upon the
progress in civilization of the sum total of
effective labor, capital and skill represented by
such an aggregate as we have stated? What an
amount of fixed capital--of labor, enterprise,
ingenuity--of resources, material and immaterial--
involved in the creation of nearly two thousand
millions worth of manufactures in a single year! The
addition of nearly one thousand millions to the annual
product of domestic manufactures--an amount almost
equal to the total home consumption thereof in 1850--
implies also vast additions to the permanent wealth
of the Union and to the elements of a progressive
civilization. The increased support given to ag-
riculture, commerce and the mining interests by
the consumption of hundreds of millions of men,
women, and children who would have been otherwise
unemployed, or forced into competition with the
farmer and planter, instead of being consumers of
their produce, form but a part of the benefits
conferred upon the community at large.(10)

But manufacturing industries in the United

States as elsewhere continued to depend mostly upon

organic and reproducible raw materials, as they had

for thousands of years; iron and copper had not yet

gained the importance they would. Water power still

furnished the primary source of energy and materials

handled in most manufacturing processes were the

products of the forests and of the field rather than the


lOIbid., p. 60.








mine. Of the leading manufactures of 1860, the

production of flour and meal held first place with an

annual value of products of $248,580,365. Next came

cotton goods, far behind at $107,337,783, followed by

sawed lumber at $93,338,606, boots and shoes at $91,889,298,

and men's and women's clothing at a combined gross value

of $87,211,594.

Cast, forged, rolled, and wrought iron combined

to a total gross value of $73,175,332 in 1860, not as

high as sawed lumber but higher than liquors which

stood at $56,588,166. Four hundred and four iron

furnaces consumed about 1,579,309 tons of ore and

produced about 564,755 tons of pig iron, to be used

principally in the production of various kinds of rail-

road eqiupment, iron wire, nails and spikes, rivets,

boiler plate, machinery, stoves and ranges and anchors.12

Steel, used in the production of various kinds of

tools, springs for cars, carriages, and locomotives,

steel wire, nails and spikes, bolts, nuts, washers and

rivets, scales and balances, and the various products

used in blacksmithing, was produced in smaller quantities

even than iron.


11U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Manufactures of the United States in 1860;
Compiled From the Original Returns of the Eighth Census
(Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1865),
pp. 733-42.
12bid., pp. clviii-cci.
Ibid., pp. clxxviii-cxci.








The number of steel furnaces in the United States
in 1850 was 5, all in Pennsylvania. They employed
a capital of $52,300 and 40 hands, consumed
materials of the value of $133,420, and payed for
labor $23,100, yielding a product valued at $172,080.

In 1860 returns were made of 13 steel-making
establishments, of which 9 were in Pennsylvania,
2 in New York, and 2 in New Jersey. Their total
capital amounted to $1,640,000. The number of
hands was 748, and the cost of labor $308,736. The
materials used cost $805,174, and produced 11,838
tons of steel, valued at $1,778,240, an average
of $150 per ton. (13)

In 1960, by way of contrast, more than 99

million short tons of steel ingots were produced. The

steel industry had a capacity to produce 148,571,000

short tons of ingots, and steel was fashioned into a

myriad of products.14 Pig iron production for all of

1863, at the height of the Civil War, would have

occupied domestic facilities in 1954 for five days,

and total steel output would have taken less than one

hour to produce.15

Whatever else the economy of 1860 might have

been, it was not an economy based heavily upon metals

nor dependent upon the consumption of great quantities

of mineral fuels. But conditions were particularly

appropriate for the development of what has come to be

called "mass production," a process dependent upon


13Ibid., pp. cxcil-cxcvi. Emphasis added.

14U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines,
Minerals Yearbook, 1960, I (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1961), p. 598.

15Earl Morgan Richards, The Iron Ore Outlook of
the United States (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Buckness
University Press, 1954), pp. 8-9.








mineral fuels and metals. Substantial quantities of

resources of almost every description lay ready to be

converted into man-made material wealth, and advances in

transportation and communications were drawing together

a large and rapidly growing population with both the

desire and the wherewithal to insure not only a national,

but an international market for large quantities of

standardized goods. Social systems and institutions

were amenable to the requirements of large scale

production and large scale enterprises, and a spirit of

industry and advance had gripped the people. Finally,

technology was yielding methods that would allow standard-

ized parts to be produced and assembled quickly by

mechanical means.

The subsequent evolution tof mass production and
mass consumption during the 19th century was the
result of advances in two major areas of American
economic and social development. One was progress
in invention and technology which affected the
rate at which improved machinery and equipment
became available for production. The second was
the growth and characteristics of a market that
provided an outlet for an expanding volume and
variety of standardized products.(16)

Mass production depended upon precise measure-

ment so that parts could be fitted together at random

as they were made. It depended upon the availability

of machine tools, upon timely utilization of power and

upon breaking down complex tasks into simple ones, the


6Harold F. Williamson, "Mass Production for
Mass Consumption," in Technology in Western Civilization,
I, ed. by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr.
(London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 678.









repeated performance by a man or a machine of the simple

function, and, eventually, upon the movement of the work

to the worker or to his machine.17

Eli Whitney is recognized as one of the first

to have applied the principle of interchangeable parts

to manufacture in the production of firearms in 1798.18

By 1807 clocks were being made from interchangeable

parts and the application of the process subsequently

encompassed many other types of production including

boots and shoes and clothing, the sewing machine by

1850, and large agricultural machinery by 1867.19

Accuracy of measurement was advanced markedly

in 1851 with the introduction of the vernier caliper

by Joseph Brown, and by 1856 Joseph Whitworth had

produced a bench micrometer capable of measuring

accurately to within ten-thousandths of an inch.


17
Cf. Sigfried Giedion, Mechanization Takes
Command (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948), p. 49;
John W. Oliver, History of American Technology (New
York: Ronald Press Company, 1956.
18
1Some questions have been raised concerning
Whitney's contribution to interchangeable parts manu-
facture. His individual contribution to the process
may have been less than legend would indicate. Cf.
Robert S. Woodbury, The Legend of Eli Whitney and
Interchangeable Parts, Publications in the Humanities
(Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
1964).

19Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. 49.









"We have in this mode of measurement all the
accuracy we can desire; and we find in practice
in the workshop that it is easier to work to the
ten-thousandth of an inch from standards of end
measurements, than to one-hundredth of an inch
from lines on a two-foot rule. In all cases of
fitting, end measure of length should be used,
instead of lines."(20)

Improvements in accuracy continued to be made,

and by 1896 a Swede, Carl Johansson, was able to make

blocks of steel, now called "Jo" blocks, accurate to

four-millionths of an inch, to be used for the cali-

bration of other measuring devices.

The assembly line found its first application

in pig processing in the 1860s. Pigs slaughtered at

the top level of a building were conveyed on hooks

past various workmen, each of whom removed an individual

part until the carcass was completely processed.21

Interchangeable parts, precision measurement,

and the assembly line, coupled with the increased


20
20Quote from Joseph Whitworth, cited by Robert
S. Woodbury, "Machines and Tools," in Technology in
Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell,
op. cit., p. 621. Woodbury's article is an excellent
source for information concerning developments in
precision measurement and machine tools during the
nineteenth century, and their relation to mass production
by precision methods.

2Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, pp.
239-45.

Henry Ford later reversed the same process by
assembling (rather than disassembling) parts as they
moved along a conveyor. In 1913 Ford's experiment using
the production line method on the assembly of magnetos
realized a substantial savings in labor and time; he
later successfully applied the technique to automobiles.
Eventually, of course, the system became commonplace.









application of power to production and transportation,

were the technical requisites for mass production. But

in 1850 little attention was given to power and power

machinery by official sources, and not until 1870 were

questions concerning power included among those asked
22
by the Census Bureau.2 Congress finally provided for

their collection officially in 1879 for inclusion in

the 1880 Census, with good reason. The total horsepower

of all prime movers in the United States more than

tripled in the thirty years after 1850, from 8,495,000

horsepower to 26,314,000 horsepower in 1880. Inanimate

horsepower increased from 2,535,000 to 14,734,000 during

that period, and surpassed animate horsepower in about

1870.23

Machine tools round out the picture of technical

changes important to mass production in the United States

after 1860.

22
2The questions for that year were included
because of interest on the part of the Superintendent of
the Census.
23
2Historical Statistics, p. 506, Series S 3-5.

By 1955 the total power of prime movers was
estimated to be 7,272,997,430 horsepower, more than 850
times that of 1850, a sizeable increase indeed. Histor-
ical Statistics, p. 501.

Power production and consumption have come to be
accepted as one of the best indicators of economic
advancement. Levels of total output correlate highly
with power production. Demands for electric energy in
the United States are expected to double over the next
ten years.









The years 1830 to 1880 marked the maturing of the
Machine Age born during the Industrial Revolution.
One by one, older technologies gave way to new ones,
based on power-driven machinery. Machinery was
enlisted to help the housewife, the office worker,
and the factory worker. Entirely new devices, such
as the sewing machine and the typewriter, were
invented, developed, mass-produced with specialized
machine tools, and then marketed. They soon became
indispensable.(24)

The introduction of the turret lathe and the

metal planer before the Civil War and subsequent improve-

ments of them and of drilling, milling, and grinding

machines, coupled with improvements in accuracy and in

knowledge of metallurgy advanced the machine-tools

industry; and advance in the machine-tools industry

was related intimately to advances in production for

the economy as a whole.

machine-tool manufacture, in particular, .
emerged into prominence as the very foundation of
mechanization. It provided the machinery and tools
for the expanding technology of mass production,
and, indeed, the "master tools" of all industry.(25)

24
2Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., "Machines and Machine
Tools, 1830-1880," in Technology in Western Civilization,
ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell, op. cit., p. 407. See
also, H. J. Habakkuk, American and British Technology in
the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: The University Press,
1967); Nathan Rosenberg, "Technical Change in the Machine
Tool Industry, 1840-1910," Journal of Economic History,
XXIII (December, 1963), pp. 414-43.

25Samuel Rezneck, "Mass Production Since the War
Between the States," in The Growth of the American
Economy, ed. by Harold F. Williamson (New York: Prentice-
Hall, Inc., 1951), p. 502.









But mass production required more than changes

in technology; quite apart from the question of mental

attitudes, it also required new materials, especially

iron (because of its strength) and copper (because of

its electrical properties).

Until late in the eighteenth century, almost all

machinery had been made primarily of wood. Metal was

used chiefly in various steam engines and in machine

parts which were most subject to wear or which required

greater strength than could be afforded by wood. But

metal was hard to work and finished metal lacked many

desirable qualities. Cast iron, subject to breakage on

impact or twisting, was too brittle for many purposes;

and wrought iron, although tough and malleable, was

relatively soft. Steel was extremely expensive and

could be produced only in relatively small quantities.

The quality and uniformity of each of these forms of

iron was suspect as well.26

Mass production, heavily dependent upon the

interchangeability of parts, and in turn upon fine

accuracy, could not be adopted on a wide scale without

the development of a suitable material from which to

fashion slow wearing parts with precision. The material

had to be tough, yet easily worked into various shapes,

26
Cast iron, wrought iron, and steel are all forms
of iron, each having a different carbon content. Wrought
iron contains the least carbon, cast iron the most, and
the carbon content of steel lies in between.









bent, and planed. That material was steel, but a cheap

method of production and one which allowed greater

volume had to be found.

In Pennsylvania, William Kelley, an iron worker,

noticing that a piece of iron in his furnace had become

extremely hot, apparently without benefit of fuel,

concluded that steel might be made directly from iron,

using only air as fuel; oxygen in the air, when combined

with carbon in the iron, would burn away the carbon and,

hence, produce steel. An initial experiment in 1847

failed, but a similar experiment in 1850 yielded much

different results.

"We saw a middling-sized vessel," said one observer,
"that had a mouth open on one side and near the
top. The whole was shaped something like an egg,
only bigger than a barrel. We saw molten iron
poured into the vessel. Then, Kelley he turned on
a blast of cold air, blown from a rig he had
devised himself. The vessel set up a large noise,
a roaring like you don't often hear, and fire
belched furiously from its mouth, making many colors.
But only for a few minutes. The noise and fire
died down. We then saw a blacksmith take a small
part of the iron, which had cooled, and with a
merry ring of his hammer, he contrived and threw at
the feet of the amazed spectators, a perfect horse-
shoe.

next, the smith took some more of the cooled
metal, made it into nails forthwith, and shod the
horse of one in the crowd."(27)

Kelley unfortunately neglected to patent his

process until 1856, by which time the famous Englishman,

Henry Bessemer, had arrived on the scene with essentially


27Stewart H. Holbrook, Iron Brew, A Century of
American Ore and Steel (New York: Macmillan Company,
1940), p. 188.









the same process. There ensued a pitched battle over

patent rights, but, meantime, cheap steel had come to

the United States. First produced commercially on an

experimental basis in 1864, by 1867 steel was being made

into rails and being sold at $166 per ton. Ten years

later the price had dropped to $45 per ton.2

Steel had entered the scene at a most opportune

time (although probably not altogether by coincidence

since experiments in the production of iron and steel

had been vigorously conducted for many years). Vast

iron deposits in Michigan's Upper Peninsula just

recently had been discovered and even greater deposits

in Northern Minnesota would soon come to light.

Significant advancements had been made in measuring and

working materials with precision. A spirit of change

and progress had gripped the people. The wealth of great

portions of the immense new land remained to be tapped

and large expanses of land waited to be crossed by steel

rails.

Also important to the new technology, primarily

because of its electrical properties, was copper.

Although electricity was not used widely in 1860, the

properties of electricity, which was to become the

wonder of the new age, were not unknown by ary means;

experiments in the use of electricity for producing


28Ibid., p. 193.






47

heat, light, and motive power had been underway for some

time. The telegraph had been invented in 1845 and was

in general use for communications by the time of the

Civil War. The earliest electrical machinery had been

produced in the eighteenth century, and Sir Humphrey

Davy had succeeded in producing an electric light in 1809.

Experiments in electric lighting and power

continued throughout the middle of the nineteenth century,

but not until October, 1879, was a commercially success-

ful electric lamp developed, one that would burn many

hours and could be produced relatively cheaply. The

feat was accomplished, of course, by Thomas A. Edison,

who established the famous Peart Street generating

station in New York in 1882 and achieved wealth and

fame in the electrical industry.29 A description of the

subsequent expansion of the electrical industry as

anything short of phenomenal would be a serious under-

statement. In 1906 almost 50 million electric lamps

were sold in the United States; and that particular

application of electricity represented but one part of

the whole product of electrical and related industries.


29Fred A. Shannon, The Centennial Years, A
Political and Economic History of America from the Late
1870s to the Early 1890s, ed. by Robert Huhn Jones
(Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,
1967), pp. 241-43.








The telephone was invented in 1876, and by

1896, 404,000 were in service. By 1905 the figure

had increased to 4,127,000 and by 1915 to 10,524,000.30

The first experimental electric streetcar line

was built in 1879. By 1888 the first commercially

useful line was in operation in Richmond, Virginia, and

by 1902, 22,576 miles of track had been constructed.

By then only 1 percent of the streetcars in use

were still horse-drawn.31 A streetcar with two 15

horsepower motors, considered adequate in 1890, by

1900 was outmoded by 40 horsepower motors. The demands

for power by this industry alone were great.

The requirements of the industry are enormous,
and the data in hand show that in the ten years
between 1890 and 1900, the railway power plants
of the United States had installed, available
for traction purposes, about 1,000,000 horsepower
of dynamos to feed current to motor cars of a
capacity somewhat over 2,000,000 horsepower.
iot all cars were used simultaneously, hence the
larger capacity of cars relative to generating
equipmentJ (32)

By 1900 the electrical industry had developed

so rapidly and along so many avenues that the Census of

Manufactures of that year listed separately twenty-seven


30Historical Statistics, p. 480, Series R-l.

31Harold R. Sharlin, "Applications of Electricity,"
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, op. cit., p. 574.

32U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States, Manufactures,
Part IV (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1902), pp. 164-65.








major categories of electric manufactures, among them

dynamos, transformers, fan motors, telephones, phonographs,

gramaphones, and electric heating apparatus, none of which

had existed on a commercial basis forty years before.



The standardization of products and processes,

simplification, the movement of materials from one work

station to another, and the widespread application of

power helped to expand production immensely after 1860.

Steel was adopted as a major construction material of

the new age; and, with the introduction of electrical

apparatus on a commercial scale, copper became

increasingly important. Great changes in the nature of

production took place within the period of a few years

and more innovations would occur, in air and ground

travel, and particularly on the road with the intro-

duction and widespread adoption of the automobile.3


33Technology found a particularly responsive
people in Americans who prided themselves not only on the
merits of their republic, but upon their "Yankee Ingenuity"
as well, which they chose to display at the various World
Fairs beginning in 1851.

it was maintained that the exhibition of
specimens of American industry at London would give
Europe 'a juster appreciation and a more perfect know-
ledge of what this Republic is, than could be attained
in any other way.'" Journal of the Great Exhibition of
1851, I (February 1, 1851), 14, cited by Merle Curti,
Probing Our Past (New York: Harper & Bros., 1955),P. 247.

Americans grew proud of their technology and their
country, and that pride became identified with progress in
technology and material wealth. Cf. Curti, Probing Our
Past, chap. x, "America at the World Fairs, 1851-1893,"
p. 246.









Where metals had found their first use in factories and

on the railroads, metal implements soon became available

in increasing amounts to consumers. Fans, irons,

toasters, and wringers entered the catalogues of mail

order houses in 1912, vaccum cleaners in 1917, electric

ranges in 1930, and electric refrigerators in 1932.

Radios, telephones, television sets, electric heating

units, air conditioning units, electric can openers,

power mowers, and a wide assortment of other metal

implements were produced in increasing quantities by

machines that employed great quantities of power. Farm

goods could be grown and harvested in greater quantities

by using farm machines, then transported to cities,

between cities, and within cities by mechanical means.

They could be weighed, their dollar value calculated by

machines, transported to the home by machines, and

cooked there by machines using power generated by other

machines. Machines and metals entered every part of life

and became important to the provision of essentials and

luxuries alike.

While the economy of 1860 was not heavily

dependent upon the use of metals, the economy of 1960

was, and figures purporting to show changes in Gross

National Product or in Material Wealth over the inter-

vening period perform an injustice to the amount of


Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. 42.









economic change that occurred. The simple statement of

income or wealth figures, no matter how couched with

qualifications, cannot serve to reflect adequately the

scope of economic "progress."35

Nor can the increased importance of metals to

the economy be discerned easily from figures showing

increased rates of metals production and consumption.

The effects of increased metals use were pervasive; every

conceivable productive process, whether concerned with

manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, communications,

or services, was affected by the application of power

and machinery. In turn, mechanization and mass pro-

duction generated an increased dependence upon metals

and an increased metals demand, and while economic

progress in terms of quality was astonishing, changes in

quantity were astonishing as well.

Mechanization virtually revolutionized the

agricultural industry.37 Output per worker increased


35Changing volume of production as shown by
employment, income, and physical output figures is shown
in Appendix A.
36
6Figures for copper, iron, and steel production
are included in Appendix B, as are figures showing
apparent consumption of those metals.
37
7Whether the change was revolutionary or
evolutionary is a matter of definition. But agricultural
production and productivity increased very rapidly between
1860 and 1880; thereafter the rate of growth declined until
1940, after which a new revolution in the way of fertilizers,
insecticides, hybrid seeds took place. Cf. Wayne D.
Rasmussen, "The Impact of Technological Change on American
Agriculture, 1862-1962," Journal of Economic History, XXII
(December, 1962), 578-91.








substantially after 1860,38 and as it did, labor was

freed to go into manufacturing and services. In 1860,

58.9 percent of the working labor force was engaged in

agriculture; by 1900 the figure had fallen to 37.5

percent, and it continued to decrease thereafter until,

by 1960 only 6.3 percent of the labor force was so
39
engaged. More food with less people was certainly

"one of the great phenomena of economic history."40

The machine did not produce food, of course;

the producers were farmers working in the nation's rich

soil. Few regions in the world could compare with the

thick, black of earth of Indiana, Illinois, or Iowa when

it came to growing corn, for example; but machines,
41
especially the reaper, allowed farmers to make the

most of what they had.

As increasing farm production yielded food

enough for the domestic population and more, the nation

turned its energies to manufacturing.

As a nation we might of course have continued after
the turn of the century to devote our industrial
energies to agriculture in relatively the same
degree as formerly, utilize our surplus productive


8See Appendix A, Table 6.

39See Appendix A, Table 5.

40
4Clarence H. Danhof, Discussion of Rasmussen's
"Impact of Technological Change," Journal of Economic
History, XXII (December, 1962), p. 592.

41Harvesting is a critical point in farm
production. Reaping must be accomplished quickly or the
crop is lost.









powers in the feeding of other nations, and obtain
in return a variety of manufactures. This did not
happen because we found it more advantageous to
devote an increasing portion of our energies to
nonagricultural pursuits. On the one side, mech-
anized industry was making tremendous headway in
the United States. Our mineral resources were
exploited energetically, if only for the reason
that "in no other country can the mineral raw
materials as a whole be delivered to manufacturing
industry at lower prices." And as increasing progress
was made in the standardization, mechanization, and
mass production of commodities, the United States
advanced to the front rank among manufacturing
nations. On the other side, the agricultural map
of the world was changing. While the decline in
virgin lands was beginning to revise agricultural
costs in this country, certain other regions which
were experiencing the first flush of agricultural
expansion--Argentina, Australia, Canada, Russia,
and India--were offering severe competition to our
products in foreign markets.(42)

Between 1869 and 1900, while the share of national

income originating in agriculture declined from 22.2

percent to about 18.2 percent, the share of national

income originating in manufacturing increased from 14.6

percent to 18.6 percent. Between 1900 and 1960, the

share of agriculture declined further, to 4.3 percent,

while that of manufacturing increased to 30.5 percent.43

The rate of growth in metals producing-and metals-using


Arthur F. Burns, Production Trends in the
United States Since 1870 (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1934), pp. 68-69, citing
F. G. Tryon and L. Mann, "Mineral Resources for Future
Populations," chap. viii, in Population Problems in the
United States and Canada, ed. by L. I. Dublin (Pollak
Foundation for Economic Research, 1926), p. 112.

See Appendix A, Table 9. Yet never has a
people remained better fed.









industries was particularly impressive and generally

exceeded the rate of growth of the economy as a whole

and even of manufacturing in general.44

Thus, economic changes taking place in the United

States after 1860 represented nct only better, but more--

particularly more manufacturing; and "more" might almost

as easily have been figured in terms of weight or measure

45
as in terms of dollars. It is in terms of volume that

we now turn our attention more specifically to the

production of iron and copper and their products for the

century that followed 1860.

---- 44
4See Appendix A, Table 13.

45The value of services cannot be excluded from
production, of course. If that were done, some interesting
results would follow.

"According to this notion, classroom furniture
and equipment would all be part of national income, but
the instruction, through which these goods acquire
utility, would not be included." Paul Studenski, The
Income of Nations, Part II, Theory and Methodology
(Washington Square: New York University Press, 1961),
p. 22.

Nonetheless, national income figures have their
real counterpart, even if that counterpart is in terms of
man-hours of services. National income and changes in
national income measure volume as well as value,
especially when such changes are figured in real terms.















CHAPTER IV

THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, 1860-1960


Although iron, copper, and steel were mutually

important to new kinds of production after 1860, their

stories, in some respects, are more conveniently told

separately.

As we have said, in 1860 iron and steel output

was small and markets were limited chiefly to railroads.

Between 1860 and 1880 both situations changed substan-

tially. First, iron and steel production grew very

rapidly, not only absolutely but also in relation to

other industries. Pig iron production increased almost

fivefold, from 920 thousand short tons in 1860 to 4.3

million short tons, and steel production showed a

tenfold increase, from 11.8 thousand long tons to 1.2

million long tons; increases that established the

production of iron and steel and their products in third

place among all manufactures in 1880 with a gross value

of products of $659 million, exceeded by food and


1Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M 207;
p. 416, Series P 203. The excess of pig iron over steel
production for 1880 illustrates the continued importance
of iron relative to steel at that time.

55 -







56

kindred products, $1,171 million, and by textiles with a

value of $971 million.2

Second, although the railroad industry still took

the bulk of iron and steel output in 1880, other markets

were gaining in importance. In all, 1,305,000 long tons

of rails were produced (31 percent of the tonnage of

all pig iron) along with 1,405 large steam railroad

engines, 46,200 railroad freight cars and 685 passenger

cars. But a sizeable amount of iron and steel also

was being devoted to bridge and building construction

where greater engineering sophistication and larger and

longer structures required increased amounts of strong

materials; 87 thousand long tons of structural iron and

steel shapes were produced in 1879.

A record span of 1,057 feet had been achieved

by a suspension bridge system over the Ohio River at


2Twelfth Census of the United States, Part I,
p. cxlv, Table LVIII. The Twelfth Census grouped
industries according to materials used and product.
Iron and steel and their products were one of fifteen
such groups. See pp. xcliii, cxliv, cxlix.

3Steel rails, produced since 1865 by the Bessemer
process, had gained increasing acceptance by the rail-
roads, especially where heavy loads and high speeds
prevailed, but were not at once accepted wholly. Debate
continued over the merits of iron and steel rails
relative to cost, but as increasing steel output caused
steel prices to fall, the relative merits of steel
became paramount and iron soon was virtually forced out
of the rail business except for sidings where light
traffic persisted.

Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P 203-15.









Cincinnati in 1867, and the Eads Bridge, a magnificent

work crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis,

completed in 1874, was made of chromium steel. The

Brooklyn Bridge, also constructed of steel, was completed

in 1883, its main span some 1,595 feet long.5

We are the foremost of all nations in the use of
iron and steel in bridge building for railroads
and ordinary highways, and the lightness and
gracefulness of our bridges are nowhere equaled,
while their strength and adaptability to the
uses for which they are required are nowhere
surpassed.(6)

Low price and quick delivery allowed the develop-

ment of a lively business in the export of steel for

bridges as well; but new demands for iron were not

confined even to railroads and great structures. As

one might suspect, the production of agricultural

implements also required immense quantities of iron and

steel.

We are the leading agricultural nation of the
world, and hence are the largest consumers of
agricultural implements; but we are also in
advance of every other nation in the use of
agricultural machinery. Our use of iron and steel
in agriculture takes rank next to their use in the
construction and maintenance of railroads.(7)


5Carl W. Condit, "Buildings and Construction,"
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, oP. cit., pp. 387-92.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Report on the Manufactures of the United States
at the Tenth Census (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1883), p. 150.

7Ibid.






58

In addition, more iron stoves were constructed in

the United States in 1880 than in all the rest of the

world combined, and along with first place positions in

bridge building, agricultural implements, and stoves,

the United States could add fencing (the barbed wire

fence had just come into use) and telegraph wire.

The expansion in iron and steel production and

markets between 1860 and 1880 was considerable, and the

same trends continued between 1880 and 1900 as steel

production increased from 1.2 million long tons to 10.2

million long tons and pig iron production from 4.3

million short tons to 15.4 million short tons.8

By 1894 over 250,000 long tons of steel were

used in the production of nails alone, a like quantity

finding its way into the production of fencing;9 a

combined amount of more than 40 times what total steel

production had been in 1860. By 1895 steel production

had increased so substantially that it was cheaper to

let a dropped nail lie than to devote the time of a

skilled carpenter to picking it up.10 By 1900 the

production of iron and steel had attained first rank


Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M-207;
p. 416, Series P-203.

victor S. Clark, History of Manufactures in the
United States, Vol. III (New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1929), p. 122.

10Ibid., p. 126.






59
11
among the manufacturing industries, and the railroads

no longer consumed a majority of steel production.

By that date, other uses combined to take more
12
than twice as much steel as was used for rails. As

a result of the continued increase in the use of iron

and steel in large buildings and bridges, the output of

iron and steel shapes increased from 87 thousand long

tons in 1879 to 276 thousand long tons in 1889 and to

815 thousand long tons by 1900.13

The use of steel in agriculture increased rapidly

as well. During the period 1880-1900, the value of

farm implements and machinery employed in agriculture

tripled, from $406 million to $1,265 million, mostly

as a result of changes in quantity.14


11Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part I, p.
clxiii, Table LX. This grouping included only iron and
steel, the various products of iron and steel being
noted separately.

12Clark, History of Manufactures, p. 65. Steel
for rails represented only part of the total demand for
steel by railroads, of course.

13Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P-211.
14
4Farm implements had not changed greatly in
quality. That only 136,105 sulky or wheel plows were
produced in 1900 as opposed to some 819,022 walking
plows is sufficient to illustrate the state of advance-
ment in agricultural implements at that time. The Census
of 1900 listed fourteen different kinds of seeders and
planters produced, twenty different categories of
implements of cultivation, twenty-two types of harvesting
implements and ten types of seed separators. Between
1870 and 1900 the number of hand cord planters produced
per year had increased from 21.7 thousand to 129.5
thousand, the largest absolute increase among seeders
and planters, while the number of small cultivators









Steel production remained producer oriented in

the main as machinery for use in mines and factories,

and, to a lesser degree, shipbuilding were added to the

list of major users of steel by 1900. While the railroad

industry continued to take the lion's share of steel

output, accounting for 42.5 percent, and plant and equip-

ment held second place with 39.2 percent, consumer

durables accounted for only 2.8 percent and containers

for another 3.8 percent.1 But times were changing.

Between 1900 and 1929, while steel ingots and

castings produced per year increased from a little over

10 million long tons to more than 56 million long tons,

the volume being taken by railroads declined to only

16.7 percent of total steel output.16 The share of

steel going to buildings and equipment remained firm

at 35.6 percent, but the major new user of steel was

the automobile, the production of which was made possible

by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.


produced per year had increased from 88,740 to 206,982,
the largest absolute increase among cultivation
implements. Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part IV,
P. 351.

15American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel (New York: American
Iron and Steel Institute, 1963), p. 4.

6Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P-203;
Hans H. Landsberg, Leonard L. Fischman, and Joseph L.
Fisher, Resources in America's Future, A Look Ahead to
the Year 2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Inc., 1963), p. 889, Table
A16-20.









The internal combustion engine revolutionized

transportation and power production on the roads and on

the farm. Automobiles changed from 2-1/2 horsepower, 5

mile-per-hour, horseless carriages of the 1890s to

multi-cylinder vehicles of increasing size and power.

The industry grew by leaps and bounds. Automobile sales

increased from only 4,192 in 1900 to 181,000 in 1910 and

to 1,905,000 in 1920. By 1929, when automobile sales

reached 4,455,178 units, the industry was consuming

18.7 percent of all rolled steel mill products, which

at the time amounted to over 47 million tons. For the

same year, other consumer durables and containers each

accounted for 4.9 percent of steel output so that

these three categories taken together accounted for

about one-fourth of all steel production.17

After 1929 both the absolute and relative

amounts of steel products going to the railroad industry

continued to fall, from 9.8 million tons and 20.8

percent in 1929 to only 3 million tons and 4.2 percent

in 1960. In the meantime, steel destined for use in

the production of machinery and industrial equipment

showed the largest relative increase among steel consuming

groups, increasing by 1960 to almost four times what it

had been in 1929. The second largest relative increase


17Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 869, Table A16-3.






62

was shown by appliances and other domestic and commercial

equipment and the third largest by automotive uses.

These latter three categories had taken 28.9 percent

of all steel mill products in 1929; by 1960 they accounted
18
for 47.1 percent of the total. In short, the needs of

the domestic private economy increased substantially

throughout the entire period.

On the other hand, the use of steel for ordnance

usually has constituted a rather small portion of the

total iron and steel market. Even though total pro-

duction of steel ingots and castings, for example,

increased from 31.3 million long tons in 1913 to 45

million long tons in 1917, a goodly amount of the

increase went into exports. After the lull of the

depression of 1921, steel production quickly recovered,

almost regaining the 1917 output level in 1923 during

peacetime, and surpassing it in 1925 with an output of

some 45,393,524 long tons. The highest level of steel

production attained during the Second World War, 79,318,314

long tons in 1943--of which only 13.9 percent was devoted

to ordnance and another 21.4 percent to shipbuilding,19


18These categories do not include steel destined
for use in building construction. Adapted from Ibid.,
pp. 869-70, Table A16-3.

19American Iron and Steel Institute, Annual
Statistical Report (Philadelphia: American Iron and
Steel Institute, 1944), passim.









which was proceeding with great haste at the time--was

matched by peacetime production of 79,143,277 long tons

in 1948.20 Remembering that a great deal of existing

machinery and equipment was devoted to war ends during

the 1940s, one readily can understand the consequent

assumption that wars have made exceedingly heavy demands

upon metal resources. But the diversion of metals from

domestic to war industries for short periods of time

did not constitute a significant drain on metal

resources when compared to the total metal demand exhib-

ited over the past hundred years for non-military uses.

The output of the steel industry during wartime has

come to be exceeded each year by the demands of the

domestic economy; even if all the metal produced during

the war years had been lost, the amount of metal lost

due to wars would not have begun to approach the amount

of iron mined, fabricated, and put to use in the economy

over the past hundred years. Between the two great

wars, the production of steel for use in ordnance was

insignificant. During periods of peace following World

War II, it amounted to only two or three hundred

thousand tons of steel per year, and even during the

Korean conflict it reached a maximum of only three
21
million tons.2


20Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P-203.
21
2Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 870, Table A16-3.











Just as the production of steel increased remark-

ably after 1860, so too did the production of copper.

Only 112 short tons of copper were produced by domestic

mining operations in 1845 and only 8,064 short tons in

1860; but, by 1900 annual production had risen to 303,059
22
short tons. Unfortunately, the precise destination of

copper by market category cannot be readily determined.

The only certainty is that most copper was destined for

use by producers.

It would have been very interesting to know the actual
consumption of copper by the electrical industries,
but there are not data available as to the wire drawn
for that purpose, and if there were, the figures
would still be very incomplete, owing to the large
electrical use of copper rods, bars, drop forgings,
commutator segments, springs, leaf, etc.

On the other hand it may be here noted that
virtually the whole American industry of copper
refining is a branch of electrical manufacture, .

It is interesting and important to note that the
proportion of the electrical product reaching the
public directly is by no means large. (23)

After 1900 the amount of domestic copper going

directly to consumers began to take a greater share of

available supplies, like iron and steel largely because

of the introduction of the automobile. By 1921, 10

percent of domestic copper production was going to

automobiles, while 5 percent went to building construction


22Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-225.

23Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part IV, p. 154.








65
and about 11 percent to manufactures destined for export;

slightly more than 50 percent was being devoted to elec-

trical industries (such as generators, motors, electrical

locomotives, switchboards, light bulbs, telephones and

telegraphs, light and power lines--transmission and

distribution wire and bus bars, and other wire and

receiving sets). The remainder was devoted to other

manufactures including wire cloth, ammunition, castings,

clocks and watches, coinage, copper-bearing steel, fire-

fighting apparatus, radiators, railway equipment, ship

building, water heaters, refrigerators, and washing
24
machines.

The percentages of copper going to each end

use remained remarkably stable throughout the 1920s and

1930s. Electrical industries accounted for 52 percent

of domestic copper consumption in 1939, automobiles for

11 percent, buildings for 11 percent, manufactures for

export 6 percent, and other manufactures for 20 percent.25

Even during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933,

the proportions going to each domestic end use remained

almost exactly the same.26


24Harold Barger and Sam H. Schurr, The Mining
Industries, 1899-1939, A Study of Output. Employment and
Productivity (New York: National Bureau of Economic
Research, Inc., 1944), p. 359, Table A-11.

2Ibid.

26Minerals Yearbook, 1932-33, p. 45.









In addition to furnishing copper to domestic

industries, by 1900 the United States had become engaged

in a booming export trade in copper with almost half of

domestic production being sent abroad for use in the

rapidly expanding electrical industries of other
27
countries.27 During the early 1900s, the United States

continued to do a lively copper export business as

domestic production, continuing to increase at a brisk

pace, was supplemented by imports of ores and concen-

trates for refining and reshipment abroad. In 1920,

for example, net imports of copper ores and concen-

trates by copper content amounted to 150,808 short tons

and refined copper exports to 221,241 short tons, the

excess reflecting the added product of American mines.

In 1925 refined net exports of copper amounted to

434,146 short tons compared to net imports of ore and

concentrates of 263,228 short tons, but the era of the

United States as a net exporter of copper was drawing

to a close. By 1929 imports of ores and concentrates

exceeded refined net exports by only 28,281 short tons,

and imports of copper ore by copper content remained

fairly equal to refined exports from then until the

eve of the Second World War.28

27Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part I, p. Ivii.
Figures for copper production are shown in Appendix B.

28Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series 225-30.








Refined exports which had exceeded apparent

domestic consumption in 1904 did so five other times during

the period 1904-1914. But, while domestic production was

increasing, domestic consumption was expanding even more

rapidly, more than doubling between 1900 and 1910.

Refined exports exceeded apparent domestic consumption

for the last time in 1914; and, as the economy grew,

apparent domestic consumption of copper far outstripped

refined exports. By 1940, on the eve of America's entry

into the Second World War, apparent domestic consumption

was almost three times as great as refined exports,

1,008,785 short tons devoted to domestic needs compared

to 356,431 short tons of refined exports.29

Demands for copper changed radically when the

United States entered the Second World War; although

demand had increased prior to the war, domestic

supplies had been adequate to meet domestic needs. With

the war, the United States found itself squeezed for

resources; competing military and civilian demands for

the first time exceeded the amount of copper that could

be supplied.

The trend of events throughout 1940 and 1941 forced
many observers to revise their opinions regarding
the adequacy of copper supplies in the United
States. When the present World War began, few
would have believed that domestic production plus
unprecedented imports could fall so far short of


29Minerals Yearbook, 1945, p. 122.








68

satisfying all needs. The British Empire's position
as regards copper was then considered relatively
satisfactory, and when the tremendous resources of
the United States were added, no problem regarding
supplies of the metal was generally anticipated.
This opinion, of course, held before the United
States entered the war and before it was known that
this country must supply copper in fabricated forms
to virtually all the nations at war with the Axis
powers or preparing to resist them. The unbelieve-
able growth in plans for airplanes, tanks, and other
munitions made all previous ideas regarding consump-
tion requirements obsolete.(30)

As a result, copper was placed under mandatory

industry-wide control on June 1, 1941. Exports of

refined copper declined drastically as most of the former

European markets and Japan were taken out of the export

picture and imports of refined copper increased markedly

as South American copper formerly shipped to Europe was

diverted to the United States. Refined copper imports,

68 thousand short tons in 1940, peaked at 531 thousand

short tons in 1945, while refined copper exports declined

from 356 thousand short tons to 49 thousand short tons.31

Apparent domestic consumption reached peaks of 1,919

thousand short tons in 1941, and 1,948 thousand short

tons in 1943.32

With the end of the war in 1946, apparent

domestic consumption of copper temporarily declined to

30
30Minerals Yearbook, 1941, pp. 93-94.

31Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-229-30.
32
2Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 906, Table A16-38.










1,338 thousand short tons, but the decrease was tran-

sitory. By 1950, again bolstered by defense needs,

copper consumption reached 1,986 thousand short tons.33

Apparent consumption fell after 1950, and did not reach

its former high wartime levels until the early 1960s,

but apparent consumption reached 2,039 thousand tons per

year in 1965 and remained at very nearly the same level

through 1969.34

By 1960 the amount of copper going to building

construction had increased to approximately 19 percent

of total copper consumption. Communications construction

and electric power construction accounted for another 19

percent, and producer durables took approximately 32

percent. Motor vehicles maintained a share of about 9

percent and consumer durables accounted for 4 percent.35



We have looked at the changing nature of the

demands for copper and iron within the United States

during the past century. The demand for both increased

at a spectacular pace-between 1860 and 1900 as new metals-

oriented industries came into being and expanded.


33bid.

34Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 452.
35Ldsberg, Resources i Americ's Future, p. 912.
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 912.








Gross National Product, in constant prices,

increased approximately four times between 1870 and

190036 while pig iron production increased more than

eight times, and copper production thirty-eight times,7

so that increases in these were much greater than in

GNP. Since 1900 the rate of increase in copper and

iron production has been much lower, 1.4 percent for

copper and 1.8 percent for iron, while GNP has increased

at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent.8 Hence, at

first glance, GNP would appear to have increased much

more rapidly than metals since 1900, and based upon

these figures, the importance of metals to production

would appear to have decreased over time. But the

figures are misleading.

Reduction in apparent consumption of metals

relative to GNP has been noted by many writers who

have observed that progressively more has been made

from each ton of metal, which is true. But compari-

sons of levels of GNP with annual rates of apparent

consumption have understated the importance of metals

to production in general. Quite simply, the level of

of production for the whole economy in any given year

36
Historical Statistics, p. 139, Series F-3.

7Figures for iron and copper production and
consumption are included in Appendix B and are related
there to changes in GNP.

38See Appendix B.1, Table 19.








does not depend upon the amount of metal produced in

that year, but rather upon the amount of metal already

in use in machinery, buildings, and other equipment.

As such, current levels of production depend more upon

the rate at which meals production has occurred in the

past than upon the rate at which they currently are

being produced. Current levels of metals production

are more important to future levels of general pro-

duction, and hence are related to growth.

When stocks of metals in use are compared to

GNP, a different picture emerges. While real GNP in

1960 was approximately 7 times as great as it had been

in 1900, stocks of copper in use appear to have been

about 11.5 times as large and iron 11.4 times as large

as they were in 1900. Even after 1920, when metals

markets had become more diverse and metals were going

to uses for which there tended to be a larger value of

product per unit of metal, stocks of metals in use

continued to increase at a rate comparable to that of

GNP. Stocks of copper in use increased at an annual

rate of 3.4 percent and iron at a rate of 2.8 percent,

while GNP increased at an average annual rate of 3.2

percent.40


39See Appendix B.4, Table 26.

4oSee Appendix B.4, Figure 3, Figure 5, Table 27.







72

The higher rates of growth of metals in use than

of apparent consumption are to be expected. Stocks of

metals in use would increase even if annual additions to

the stocks (apparent consumption) were to remain exactly

the same for each successive year. Growth rates of

annual apparent consumption represent what is, in effect,

the first derivative of the rate of growth of stocks of

metals in use, to which growth in GNP is more directly

related. Comparing rates of growth in GNP to rates of

growth in apparent consumption of metals has caused

metals to have been viewed as less important than they

actually have been.

While rates of growth in annual production and

apparent consumption of metals can be compared only

indirectly to the rate of growth in GNP, these rates of

growth are important insofar as they reflect demands

made upon resources; the higher the rates of withdrawal,

the more rapid is the decline in the quality of metals

resources that remain, and the more difficult is their

acquisition. On the other hand, the greater is the

amount of value generated by production per ton of

metal, the greater is the value of production that can

be obtained from the use of any given metals supply.

Mining and metals resources will be considered in the

next chapter, but increased efficiency of metals can

be considered here.







73

Throughout the past century, minerals have tended

to be used with increasing efficiency. Greater efficiency

in fuel use, as is commonly known, has greatly increased

the amount of work that can be performed by burning a

ton of coal or a gallon of oil. Similar increases in

production per ton of iron and copper have occurred as

a result of improvements in the quality of the metals

themselves, and of changes in metals markets, and in the

complexity of final products.41 Greater production per

ton of new metal also has resulted from the recovery of

old scrap and from the substitution of other materials

for iron and copper in some processes. Each of these

influences will be considered in turn.

Improvements in quality have been particularly

important to iron and steel.42

As a matter of fact, it is rather misleading to
talk simply about "steel." This term may have
been justified in the early days of the industry
when plain carbon steel was its chief product,
but today there is actually a large family of
steels covering a wide variety of useful prop-
erties. Many of these steels are tailor-made
for a particular application. As one example,
silicon steels are specially designed to allow the
maker of electrical machinery to take full advantage
of their unique electrical and magnetic qualities.
Again, special alloy steels of high toughness at


Production of steel ingots per $1960 billions
of durable goods and construction fell from .93 million
tons in 1929 to .65 million tons in 1960. See Landsberg,
Resources in America's Future, p. 890, Table A16-21.
42
4This has been true in other industries as well.
Cf. William Woodruff, "Growth of the Rubber Industry of
Great Britain and the United States," Journal of Economic
History, XV (December, 1955), 376-91.









high strength levels have been developed for air-
craft landing gear. The stainless steels .
provide good corrosion resistance and are
useful in applications requiring strength at
elevated temperatures .

Today's steel line pipe, because of greater
strength and larger diameter, enables use of
greater pressure to transmit 60 percent more gas
than was possible a decade ago with the same
tonnage of pipe. The new A-36 grade of structural
carbon steel has a yield point 9 percent greater
than that of the A-7 grade which was the standard
for many years. This higher yield point allows
an increased design stress of about 10 percent in
both bridges and buildings and will result in
significant savings in the cost of fabricated and
erected structures.(43)

The effects of improved quality have been twofold.

First, because proportionately more special steels are

being used today, and because these are higher cost

steels, more value is added per ton of metal in the

production of steel itself. Second, the increased

quality of steel of all grades has decreased the amount

of steel needed per unit of final product and also has

increased the durability of the product so produced.

Increased durability has allowed machines to be operated

longer and at higher speeds, thus increasing the amount

of product produced per machine and per unit of metal

used in the machine's construction.

The trend toward increased value of production

per ton of metal also has been accentuated by the

changing nature of metals markets, and this influence


4American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel, p. 14.









has been shared by both iron and copper. For example,

the production of rails was a relatively simple operation;

steel rails made right at the plant could be installed

without further processing. When steel left the plant

destined for use in automobiles and other complex

machinery, however, a large amount of additional value

was generated as the raw steel was worked into progress-

ively more complex shapes. Consequently a much larger

value of total production per unit of steel was generated.

The case for copper was much the same. As the

proportion of copper going into simple wire decreased

relative to the amount going into items requiring sub-

sequent manufacture, the value of final products per

unit of copper increased as well.

Not only have changing markets resulted in more

value produced per unit of metal, but increasing

complexity of products within each market category has

increased value per unit of metal as well. Thus, war

equipment, automobiles, machine-tools, and aircraft, as

examples, became considerably more complex, and increased

complexity has served to make them more valuable.

The substitution of other materials for iron,

steel, and copper also has tended to decrease the amount

of metal needed to generate any given level of output.

Aluminum and plastics have been particularly important

in that regard, not only capturing some former iron,

copper, and steel markets, but also denying markets that








under other circumstances would have been of importance

to those metals. Due to its electrical properties, alumi-

num has come to replace copper in many large transmission

lines and in other uses where added bulk is not a crucial

factor. Lightness and wearability have allowed it to

replace steel in a few uses, notably in containers.

Prestressed concrete has taken some of the market

formerly reserved for structural steel, and even plastic
44
warships now are being launched. Fibreglass automobile

bodies and aluminum engine blocks and radiators already

have been used and found successful in many instances

and might find more widespread use in the future were

price and technological advances favorable to such

substitution.

Finally, metals production has been affected

by the recovery of metal contained in obsolete imple-
45
ments.45 In 1910 production of refined copper from

scrap amounted to 17.5 percent of the apparent consumption

of new copper; by 1960 that figure had grown to 37.5

percent.46


44n 1971 two small plastic warships were
launched; pending success of the experiment, future plans
call for production of plastic warships to frigate size.
The principal difficulty at this time is one of cost.

45See Appendix B for data and information relat-
ing to scrap generation, availability, and use.

46Minerals Yearbook, 1945, p. 122; Minerals
Yearbook, 1965, p. 356.








Over the same period the use of scrap steel

increased substantially as well. In 1905, for example,

5.6 million tons of steel scrap were used in the

production of 22.4 million tons of steel. By 1960,

66.5 million tons of steel scrap were used along with

66.6 million tons of pig iron in the production of new
47
steel. The importance of scrap drawn from obsolete

sources was somewhat less, however; use of obsolete

scrap in 1960 amounted to only 19.9 million tons, the

remainder being made up of scrap originating in the steel

plants themselves and in the various places in which

steel scrap was a byproduct of further fabrication.

Although approximately 81 percent of old iron
49
and steel scrap could be reclaimed, for various

reasons only about 50 percent of all new supplies of

obsolete scrap steel is brought to the furnace. For

one reason, scrap steel prices tend to be more variable

than are pig iron prices and wide variation makes


4Minerals Yearbook, 1940, p. 502; Minerals
Yearbook, 1960, p. 635.

48Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 874.

49Cf. U.S. Department of Health, Education and
Welfare, Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Comprehensive
Studies of Solid Waste Management (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970), pp. 106-08; U.S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, Automobile
Disposal, A National Problem (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1967); Institute of Scrap
Iron and Steel, Inc., Addresses and Proceedings, Annual
Convention (Washington, D.C., 1964 and 1965).









planning difficult. Second, the integration of steel

plants has made possible the immediate use of hot metal

from blast furnaces at lower cost resulting from

substantial heat (hence fuel) savings. Third, the

heterogeneous quality of steel scrap makes it difficult

to use under exacting conditions of quality steel produc-

tion. Fourth, steel in some old equipment has not been

collected because of the expense involved in transporting

it to processing centers. Finally, steel scrap is

difficult to process and much of the work must be done

by hand. Steel used in automobiles and containers is

particularly difficult to recycle, and the disposition

of these items has become a serious problem. As a con-

sequence, a stock of scrap steel has been building over

the years and would be available for processing into

new steel should the situation warrant.

Copper differs from steel and iron in that

regard since the amount of copper going into new

production shortly after its retirement is high

(although the amount potentially recoverable is lower

than steel), principally because copper retains its

pure form in many of its applications and can be reused

simply by melting and reshaping.

Each of the factors mentioned above has

contributed to an increased value of product per ton of

metal, or viewed from the other side, a decreased amount






79

of metal required to produce each dollars worth of product.

Nonetheless, demands for new metals have continued to

increase at a very rapid rate, and the amount of metals

in use relative to GNP has not changed markedly. Although

more is being made from each ton of metal, a greatly

increased volume of total production has swamped increases

in efficiency of metals use; the net effect has been a

continually increasing demand for new metals inputs.

These increases in the physical volume of

production often tend to be overlooked since changes in

production in the past century have improved product

quality so greatly. It is quite true that better

implements are being made of metal now than before; iron

used to produce a carriage wheel in 1860 might today be

converted into stainless steel used in a supersonic

aircraft. But that fact should not distort the picture

relative to increases in volume. Very few supersonic

aircraft, or anything else for that matter, could be

produced if the amount of metal available for their

construction now were the same as it was in 1860.

Improvements in quality have been the product of thought

and planning; increases in quantity have occurred

primarily as a result of increased extraction.

In the past, as projects for which metal was

destined were completed, the need for additional amounts

of the metal to satisfy those ends diminished, a

phenomenon best illustrated by the virtual






80

completion of the rail network by 1900, and the subsequent

decline in the amount of steel devoted to that end. One

might speculate about future needs for additional numbers

of automobiles, bridges, and buildings. To the extent

that production of these or other like items is increased,

the subsequent demand for steel and iron may be increased

as well. The same holds true for copper and its various

applications. In brief, the rate of metals demand for

any given year is tied to the needs of metals using

industries and modified by changes in markets, complexity

of product, and by materials substitution.

It is difficult to foretell just what the demand

for metals will be in the future but several of the

factors mentioned above tend to indicate that the ratio

of metals extraction to national product will continue to'

decline. Increased complexity of products, substitution

of other materials, and productive activity devoted to

non-metals using endeavors would lessen the rate of

increase in metals demand. But, while the rate of growth

in annual metals consumption has been less than that of

output as a whole, the annual demand for metals has not

stabilized; on the contrary, the amount of metals in use

has in fact continued to increase at an increasing rate.50


50See Appendix B.4 for information related to
rates of increase in metals consumption and metals in
use.















CHAPTER V

THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER 1860

Even though changing technology and expanding

production caused increased demands to be made for iron

and copper within the United States after 1860, domestic

mines proved more than equal to the task by increasing

their metals production apace. In 1860 United States

mines produced only 2.9 million long tons of usable

iron ore and 8.0 thousand short tons of copper. By

1900 iron ore production had increased tenfold to some

27.3 million long tons, and copper production to 303

thousand short tons. Rates of metals extraction

continued to increase rapidly, and by 1960 iron ore

production had reached 88.8 million long tons and

domestic copper production had grown to 1.08 million

short tons.


1Iron ore figures represent usable ore, the
iron content of which has varied from year to year,
generally ranging from about 40 to 60 percent.
Copper figures represent copper content of mined ores.

Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M
195-200; p. 368, Series M 225.


- 81 -









But even the vast metals deposits of the United

States were not limitless, and by the 1950s the United

States had begun to import substantial quantities of

iron and copper ores. Iron ore imports, which in 1900

had amounted to only 898 thousand long tons, reached 34.5

million long tons in 1960, an amount greater than total

domestic production had been in 1900, and whereas the

United States had been a net exporter of copper in 1900,

by 1959 apparent consumption of copper exceeded domestic

production by 258 thousand short tons,3 only 45 thousand

short tons less than total domestic copper production

had been in 1900. The metals position of the United

States had changed substantially over the years, from

one of abundance to one of scarcity. We will now deal

with that change and its implications.

In 1860 demands for metals relative to the

amounts of ore available were slight. The country was

so large, the produce so bountiful, that almost every

resource seemed inexhaustible. A typical comment of

the age is to be found in the Census of Manufactures of

1860.

This whole country C range extending from North
Carolina into Alabamaj possesses an incalculable,
inexhaustible abundance of the richest ores, while
its production of iron still remains at a minimum. (5)


3Ibid.

Figures comparing domestic production of iron
and copper to domestic consumption for 1900-1960 are pre-
sented in Appendix B.2, Table 20.

Manufactures of the U.S. in 1860, p. clxxvi.









Deposits of iron and copper were particularly

extensive in the Lake Superior region, and Michigan's

Upper Peninsula furnished the first real spurt in copper

and iron ore production. Copper's existence in the far

North country had been known by white men since as early

as the mid 1600s, but Upper Michigan was a forbidding

place, far distant from centers of civilization; and

little effort was made to investigate its resources.

Reports of extensive copper deposits continued

to filter back to the East, but it was not until 1841

that a substantive geological report of the region was

made by Douglas Houghton, one-time mayor of Detroit and

state geologist. Houghton's report led to a rush for

copper. In 1844 the first copper company was formed

and by 1845 copper production in Upper Michigan amounted

to 12 tons; by 1865 production had risen to almost

7,200 tons.7

Michigan copper was of exceptional quality,

occurring in an almost pure state as native ore. Huge

chunks of "mass" copper were taken from Michigan mines,

one a 420 ton monster some 46 feet long, 12-1/2 feet


Indians had employed a crude technology to
mine the region, and some of their shallow pits may be
found there today.

T. A. Rickard, A History of American Mining,
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932), p. 231.







8
wide and 8-1/2 feet thick. Nearly 70 percent of the

copper mined in Michigan in 1861 was mass copper, but as

time passed the copper content of Michigan ore fell; by

1890 mass copper had become quite scarce.

As ore ran thin and mines grew deeper,9 mines

were forced to close. Today most Michigan mines have

been abandoned; shaft houses that remain stand silent,

and only a small mine at White Pine remains in operation.

Rock piles are to be seen alongside almost every town,

and old company houses, now privately owned, remain; but

most of the people have gone or are leaving. The copper

country of Upper Michigan is a thing of the past; the

mines emptied of their rich ores.1 Mining has moved to

the West.

Arizona, which held third place in copper output

at the turn of the century, behind Michigan and Montana,

now is in first place by a wide margin. In 1969 Arizona

mines contributed 52 percent of domestic copper, Utah

was a distant second at 19 percent, Montana fifth at 6


8Ibid., p. 232.

9The Calumet and Hecla Quincy mine, whose shaft
house still stands atop a tall hill overlooking the
cities of Houghton and Hancock, would become more than
a mile deep by the 1930s.

10Significant deposits remain in the Upper
Peninsula and account for a substantial share of
remaining United States reserves; but because
mineralization is erratic and many of the outcrops are
concealed, exploitation of remaining deposits is
difficult.







85

percent, and Michigan operated only its one mine.11 The

richness of copper ores mined in all the states is not

nearly what it once was. The average copper content of

domestic ores fell steadily during the past century,

from an average of 3 percent in 1880 to 0.6 percent in

1969. The copper situation deteriorated so greatly that

a quota of 50,000 tons was established in 1968 on the

export of copper refined from domestic ores and a similar

quota of 60,000 tons by copper content of scrap also was

in effect.12



At about the same time as copper was first taken

from the Upper Peninsula, iron was discovered in the same

area, a little to the south and east, around what now

is the town of Marquette. The Soo Canal was completed

in 1855, and in August of that year the first ore

shipment was sent down Lake Michigan. Production

increased year by year as new mines were added, moving

always to the west along the base of the Upper Peninsula.

In 1860 the major iron ore producing states still

were in the East, however; New England states produced

51,700 tons of ore in that year and New York, Pennsylvania,

New Jersey, and Maryland combined for another 724,500


M1Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 453.

12Ibid., p. 451.









tons, of which Pennsylvania contributed 508,100 tons.

Michigan added 130,000 tons;13 Minnesota, of course,

produced none; but it was only a matter of time until

the vast deposits of Minnesota would be discovered and

mined.

The Vermillion range came into production in

1884, and the Mesabi, which was to become the most

productive source of iron in the world, came into

production in 1892.

During the period 1854-1892, while the uses of

iron expanded so rapidly in the United States, all of

the major ore deposits of the Lake Superior region were

discovered and tapped. By 1969 they had yielded 3.9

billion tons,4 almost 18 billion cubic feet of pure

iron, or approximately 80 percent of all the iron mined

in the United States, the Mesabi alone contributing

over 2.7 billion tons of that total.

The ore of the Mesabi remained rich for most

of that time, but increased demands of the wartime

economy of the 1940s, combined with domestic needs

during and prior to the war, exhausted the richest

ores. By the 1940s many of Minnesota's mines had been

closed and the mining towns abandoned, and Michigan iron

mines were growing deeper.


13Manufactures of the U.S. in 1860, p. clxxvii.

14Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 576.









During the 1950s, with the soft, rich iron

deposits of the Mesabi running low, a new method of

concentration gave the Mesabi renewed life. Some of its

very hard ore, called taconite, was magnetic, and after

the ore was finely crushed, the iron content could be

extracted magnetically and remolded into pellets suitable

for use in blast furnaces. But by 1969 still more of the

smaller mines of Minnesota and Michigan had been closed.

Mining activities, which had been called upon to

meet rapidly increasing domestic needs over the past

hundred years, reduced initially "inexhaustible" iron

and copper resources to amounts which appear not only

limited but quite capable of exhaustion within a very

short time. A definitive knowledge of the amounts of

iron and copper ore of relatively high concentration

still available in the United States is difficult to

determine, first because of difficulties associated

with exploration and proving of ore reserves, and

second because a great deal of secrecy is practiced

by mining concerns regarding exploratory operations and

their results.15 But the days of shipments of mass

copper from Michigan and high-grade copper from Arizona


15Data on copper and iron reserves are presented
in Table 2.









seem to be gone, and the end of the Mesabi's rich ore

is in sight.16

Although one can only speculate as to what the

future holds with regard to domestic ore availability,

it is rather disturbing that few discoveries of distinct

large ore bodies have been made in the United States

since shortly after the turn of the century; the major

copper and iron deposits now known were known then and

the richest ores have been taken from them. Mining

enterprises have managed to locate additional amounts

of lower grade ores around known areas of high metals

concentration on a fairly reliable basis in the recent
17
past,1 but the job of finding new domestic ores has

become progressively more difficult, and the ores have

become leaner.



Leaner ores, because they require more

processing, mean higher costs unless cost can be held

in check by technological advance, and, for most of the

period following 1860, the battle has been won by

technology.



6Domestic copper reserves are expected to be
insufficient to meet domestic needs through the present
century, and iron ore production is expected to be
supplemented greatly by foreign production for the
same period.

7Cf. C. K. Lerth, World Minerals and World
Problems (New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1931).









In 1860 almost all work in the mines was done

manually, and almost all mining was performed underground.

Men worked by light of candles or burning lamps, venti-

lation was poor and drilling necessary for the placement

of explosive charges was done by hand.18

In all, the miner's job required considerable

hard work and technical skill, both in mining and in the

selection of ores. Men labored on a piecework basis,

paid by the amount of ore brought to the surface, and

care was taken to work the richest veins of ore as

thoroughly as possible. Waste was minimized and subse-

quent refining made easier by precautions taken to insure

that the richest ores were not diluted by low-grade ore

or outright extraneous materials. To prevent the

addition of too much non-metallic substance necessitated

a minimum of blasting and a maximum of picking.

Once freed from its surroundings, ore was

broken, again by hand, into pieces of manageable size,

hand loaded and transported to the surface with the

use of animal power, usually mules, but not

infrequently by men. Iron ore at that stage generally

was of sufficient purity to be shipped directly to blast

furnaces; but with copper, the same happy situation did

not usually prevail, and as grades of copper ore became

18
Drilling required considerable skill on the
part of each member of the drilling team, since one man
held the drill in place, turning it occasionally, while
the others struck it hard with a hammer.




Full Text
64
Just as the production of steel increased remark
ably after i860, so too did the production of copper.
Only 112 short tons of copper were produced by domestic
mining operations in 1845 and only 8,064 short tons in
i860; but, by 1900 annual production had risen to 303>059
22
short tons. Unfortunately, the precise destination of
copper by market category cannot be readily determined.
The only certainty is that most copper was destined for
use by producers.
It would have been very interesting to know the actual
consumption of copper by the electrical industries,
but there are not data available as to the wire drawn
for that purpose, and if there were, the figures
would still be very incomplete, owing to the large
electrical use of copper rods, bars, drop forgings,
commutator segments, springs, leaf, etc.
On the other hand ... it may be here noted that
virtually the whole American industry of copper
refining is a branch of electrical manufacture, . .
It is interesting and important to note that the
proportion of the electrical product reaching the
public directly ... is by no means large.(23)
After 1900 the amount of domestic copper going
directly to consumers began to take a greater share of
available supplies, like iron and steel largely because
of the introduction of the automobile. By 1921, 10
percent of domestic copper production was going to
automobiles, while 5 percent went to building construction
22
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-225
2 3
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part TV, p. 154.


46
the same process. There ensued a pitched battle over
patent rights, but, meantime, cheap steel had come to
the United States. First produced commercially on an
experimental basis in 1864, by 1867 steel was being made
into rails and being sold at $166 per ton. Ten years
28
later the price had dropped to $45 per ton.
Steel had entered the scene at a most opportune
time (although probably not altogether by coincidence
since experiments in the production of iron and steel
had been vigorously conducted for many years). Vast
iron deposits in Michigan's Upper Peninsula just
recently had been discovered and even greater deposits
in Northern Minnesota would soon come to light.
Significant advancements had been made in measuring and
working materials with precision. A spirit of change
and progress had gripped the people. The wealth of great
portions of the immense new land remained to be tapped
and large expanses of land waited to be crossed by steel
rails.
Also important to the new technology, primarily
because of its electrical properties, was copper.
Although electricity was not used widely in i860, the
properties of electricity, which was to become the
wonder of the new age, were not unknown by ary means;
experiments in the use of electricity for producing
28
Ibid., p. 193.


12k
k. Production of basic metal free of impurities
(e.g., making of pig iron or "hot metal")
5. Production of alloys
6. Fabrication of implements
7. Use of final products until worn beyond
serviceability or outmoded
8. Disposal of used implements
9. Collection of scrap metals
10.Reuse of scrap metals as raw material inputs
The first five steps outlined above are concerned
with the conversion of unmined metals to metals in use.
They are most directly concerned with the provision of
new metals required for further expansion of the stock
of implements in use and for the replacement of metals
lost through waste or wear. Steps six through ten
involve metals use and reclamation.
The rate at which new metals must be acquired
ultimately depends upon the rate of expansion of the
stock of metals in use and upon the rate at which
metals in use are lost through wear or discard. Tf the
stock of metals in use is to be maintained, the rate
at which new metals are added must at least equal the
rate at which they are lost. Therefore, the need for
new metals is increased by loss of metals through wear
or discard; it is lessened to the degree that metals in
use are retained.


from agriculture allowed by increasing agricultural
productivity.
164
TABLE 4
LABOR FORCE ENGAGED IN RAW MATERIALS AND OTHER
INDUSTRIES IN THE UNITED STATES, TOTAL
AND PERCENT DISTRIBUTION, 1860-1960
Year
Raw
Materials Industries
Total
All
Other
Ind.
Labor
Force
(thsds)
Total
Agri
culture
Forestry
and
Fishing
Mineral
Ind.
i960
67,990
8.2$
6.3#
0.8#
1.156
91.856
1950
59,230
14. 5
11.7
1.1
1.7
85.5
1940
51,742
20. 6
17.4
1.1
2.1
79-4
1930
48,686
24.9
21.2
1.3
2.4
75.1
1920
42,206
31.5
27.0
1.5
3.0
68.5
1910
37,291
35.5
30.9
1.7
2.9
64.5
1900
29,030
41.8
37.5
1.7
2.6
58.2
1890
23,290
46.4
42.7
1.7
2.0
53.6
1880
17,368
52.5
49.4
1.3
1.8
47.5
1870
12,901
56.0
53.1
1.4
1.5
44.0
i860
10,533
61.5
58.9
1.0
1.6
38.5
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S. Economy:
1900-1966. p. 10, Table 1.


184
B,3 Copper and Iron Scrap
Reuse of old scrap reduces primary metals needs.
Scrap generation begins at primary metals producing mills
and continues at each successive stage of fabrication as
planing, cutting, and drilling processes shape metals
into final products. Scrap so generated is categorized
as "home" and "prompt industrial" scrap, or both
categories may be included under the heading "new" scrap.
"Old," or "obsolete," scrap is that contained in obsolete
or worn final products.
Most new scrap is of known or uniform quality,
can be easily collected and shipped, and is reprocessed
immediately. As such, it represents a working stock
of the metal goods producing industries. Old scrap,
especially iron and steel, is not so easily collected
and may not be of known or uniform quality; but the
use of old scrap reduces new materials needs. Historical
data pertaining to iron and copper scrap are presented
in Figures 1 and 2.
Historical data for iron and copper scrap are
scarce, and generally available only since 1910 for
copper and since 1935 for* iron. Data illustrated in
Figure 2 show old copper consumption with reasonable
fidelity, but the importance of old iron scrap to steel
production is somewhat overstated. Old scrap constitutes


166
The role of the machine in increasing farm
production and productivity appears to have been sub
stantial, particularly since 1900 with the application
of power to farm implements.
TABLE 7
FARM MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, 1900-1957
Year
Specified Machines on
Farms (l,000)
Tractors
Motor
trucks
Grain
Combines
Corn-
pickers
Farms with
Milking
Machines
1957
4,600
2,900
1,020
725
720
1950
3,394
2,207
714
456
636
1940
1,545
1,047
190
no
175
1930
920
900
61
50
100
1920
246
139
4
10
55
1910
1
-
1
-
12
1900

-
-
Source: Historical Statistics, pp. 284-85 Series
K 150-151, 153-155.
The relative rates of growth of output per worker
and the real value of farm implements and machinery can
be compared as shown in Table 8.
Not all of the increase in farm production and
productivity was caused by the introduction of machines.
Increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, increased
land use, improvements in transportation and farming
techniques all had their influence, but the increased
importance of machinery is evident.


193
TABLE 23
COPPER--APPARENT C ON SUMPTI ON - ADDITI ON S TO METALS IN USE
AND AVERAGE ANNUAL ADDITION BY DECADE, I9OO-I96O
(Millions of 195^ Dollars)


98
average level in the earth's crust as a whole, 10,000
tons of material would have to be handled to obtain each
ton of copper. Technology would be sorely pressed and
costs could be expected to rise substantially.
Clearly, the situation confronting the miner,
and hence the rest of the economy, is not the sudden and
complete exhaustion of ore bodies, but rather the steady
worsening of the yield of ore concentrations, and the
necessity, in underground operations particularly, to
incur greater costs as the works expand and the mines
deepen. In that case, ore must he hauled further,
ventilation and water removal problems become more
difficult, and finally a point is reached at which the
cost of extracting ore from the given mine, given
the price at which ore is selling at the time, is so
high that operations are no longer profitable. Thus,
a considerable amount of ore may be left in the ground
unexploited and the mine closed, possibly to be reopened
should ore prices increase or should new and cheaper
methods of extraction particularly favorable to the
specific mine he developed-provided the mine has not
deteriorated too greatly in the interim.
So it is also with new, unmined deposits. A
deposit not rich enough to be exploited when discovered
may later be developed as new techniques become available
or as the yields of formerly richer deposits become
poorer. Of course, the situation works in the opposite


156
not necessarily imply complete rule, and to subdue does
not necessarily mean to destroy.
Others have written ably on the subject of the
changing relationship of man to his environment, of his
development from hunter to herdsman, from gatherer to
cultivator, from a user of shaped rocks and simple tools
to a maker of computers, from a thrower of stones to
12
a dropper of giant bombs. History is replete with
examples of how man has shaped and organized nature to
his own ends. Through migration and conflict he has
filled a seemingly boundless earth and through organ
ization, effort, and strength of will, exploited it.
For a time and in a few places, production came
to represent a worthwhile and achievable end in itself;
and a second thought followed close on the heels of the
first: that increasing levels of consumption might
represent an even more desirable, and apparently just
as possible end. The twin ideas of increasing production
and consumption, reflected in modern income accounting
terms as continued increases in national product, came
and therefore will be taken, but the range of rational
alternative actions is limited by the environment.
Eskimos do not grow bananas, nor is coal mined where
there is no coal.
12
See especially a series of articles by Carl
Sauer, Clarence Glacken, Alexander Spoehr, and Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin in Mans Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth, ed. by Thomas, op. cit..


99
direction as well. The discovery of new, rich, ore
bodies can put a lower yielding one out of business, or
the development of techniques for concentrating lower
grades may reduce the final cost of processing them to
less than that of processing higher grades by other
means. Nonetheless, the highest yielding (lowest cost)
ore bodies almost always are exploited first, and
mining becomes progressively more costly as a result.
The principal factors relating to metals
acquisition, thus, are the nature of the ore body itself
(size, depth, richness, chemical and physical composition,
and location) and the techniques available for its
discovery and exploitation. But metals acquisition
consists of more than locating ores, gaining access to
them, separating the richest ores and hauling them to
the surface; once at the surface, ore must be worked
into an almost pure form. Separating the process into
mining and refining is useful mostly for definitional
purposes; the process is a continuous one from mine to
factory and any technological change reducing the cost
of acquisition, or refining, tends also to reduce the
cost of the metal delivered at point of use.
Technological change at all points, coupled with
rich and accessible ore deposits have allowed metals
costs to remain low since i860; but the existence of


During the 1950s, with the soft, rich iron
deposits of the Mesabi running low, a new method of
concentration gave the Mesabi renewed life. Some of its
very hard ore, called taconite, was magnetic, and after
the ore was finely crushed, the iron content could be
extracted magnetically and remolded into pellets suitable
for use in blast furnaces. But by 1969 still more of the
smaller mines of Minnesota and Michigan had been closed.
Mining activities, which had been called upon to
meet rapidly increasing domestic needs over the past
hundred years, reduced initially "inexhaustible" iron
and copper resources to amounts which appear not only
limited but quite capable of exhaustion within a very
short time. A definitive knowledge of the amounts of
iron and copper ore of relatively high concentration
still available in the United States is difficult to
determine, first because of difficulties associated
with exploration and proving of ore reserves, and
second because a great deal of secrecy is practiced
by mining concerns regarding exploratory operations and
15
their results. But the days of shipments of mass
copper from Michigan and high-grade copper from Arizona
15
Data on copper and iron reserves are presented
in Table 2.


135
although efforts to acquire additional resources under
conditions of constant technology might yield diminishing
returns, technology itself might not.
The view that improvements must show a diminishing
return is implicit in the thought of those who
regard more optimistic opinion as "cornucopian."
Yet a strong case can be made for the view that the
cumulation of knowledge and technological progress
is automatic and self-reproductive in modern
economies, and obeys a law of increasing returns.
Every cost-reducing innovation opens up possibilities
of application in so many new directions that the
stock of knowledge, far from being depleted by new
developments, may even expand geometrically. Tech
nological progress, instead of being the adventitious
consequence of lucky and highly improbable discoveries,
appears to obey what Myrdal has called the "principle
of circular and cumulative causation," namely, that
change tends to induce further change in the same
direction.(13)
In addition, new production processes could free
productive activities from dependence upon traditional
materials. Scientific advance might yield a new sort
of alchemy.
Yet . the analogies by which the classical law
of diminishing returns is "demonstrated" to be
approximately descriptive of today's long-term
growth potentiality, border on the archaic. The
transformation of materials into final goods has
become increasingly a matter of chemical processing.
It is more and more rare for materials to be
transformed into final products solely by mechanical
means. The natural resource building blocks are
now to a large extent atoms and molecules. Nature's
input should now be conceived as units of mass and
energy, not acres and tons. Now the problem is more
one of manipulating the available store of iron,
magnesium, aluminum, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
atoms, even electrons. This has major economic
significance. It changes radically the natural
resources factor of production for societies that
have access to modern technology and capital.(l4)
13
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 236.
14
Ibid., p. 238.


67
Refined exports which had exceeded apparent
domestic consumption in 1904 did so five other times during
the period 1904-1914. But, while domestic production was
increasing, domestic consumption was expanding even more
rapidly, more than doubling between 1900 and 1910.
Refined exports exceeded apparent domestic consumption
for the last time in 1914; and, as the economy grew,
apparent domestic consumption of copper far outstripped
refined exports. By 1940, on the eve of America1s entry
into the Second World War, apparent domestic consumption
was almost three times as great as refined exports,
1,008,785 short tons devoted to domestic needs compared
to 356,431 short tons of refined exports.
Demands for copper changed radically when the
United States entered the Second World War; although
demand had increased prior to the war, domestic
supplies had been adequate to meet domestic needs. With
the war, the United States found itself squeezed for
resources; competing military and civilian demands for
the first time exceeded the amount of copper that could
be supplied.
The trend of events throughout 1940 and I9UI forced
many observers to revise their opinions regarding
the adequacy of copper supplies in the United
States. When the present World War began, few
would have believed that domestic production plus
unprecedented imports could fall so far short of
29
^Minerals Yearbook, 1945. p. 122.


"We have in this mode of measurement all the
accuracy we can desire; and we find in practice
in the workshop that it is easier to work to the
ten-thousandth of an inch from standards of end
measurements, than to one-hundredth of an inch
from lines on a two-foot rule. Xn all cases of
fitting, end measure of length should be used,
instead of lines." (20)
Improvements in accuracy continued to be made,
and by 1896 a Swede, Carl Johansson, was able to make
blocks of steel, now called "Jo" blocks, accurate to
four-millionths of an inch, to he used for the cali
bration of other measuring devices.
The assembly line found its first application
in pig processing in the l860s. Pigs slaughtered at
the top level of a building were conveyed on hooks
past various workmen, each of whom removed an individual
21
part until the carcass was completely processed.
Interchangeable parts, precision measurement,
and the assembly line, coupled with the increased
20
Quote from Joseph Whitworth, cited by Robert
S. Woodbury, "Machines and Tools," in Technology in
Western Civilizationt ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell,
op. cit., p. 621. Woodbury's article is an excellent
source for information concerning devlopments in
precision measurement and machine tools during the
nineteenth century, and their relation to mass production
by precision methods.
21
Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, pp.
239-^5.
Henry Ford later reversed the same process by
assembling (rather than disassembling) parts as they
moved along a conveyor. In 1913 Ford's experiment using
the production line method on the assembly of magnetos
realized a substantial savings in labor and time; he
later successfully applied the technique to automobiles.
Eventually, of course, the system became commonplace.


93
Getting soft ore out of an open pit wasn't much
like blasting hard ore out of solid rock two
thousand feet down and hauling it to the surface.
One steam shovel could mine as much Mesabi ore in
an hour as five hundred miners could bring up in
a day from the old deep mines.(2l)
While the end results were the same, open pit
mining was so different from underground operations that,
in effect, the means of obtaining minerals was revolutionized.
Open pit methods, first employed extensively on
the Mesabi range, accounted for almost half the iron
ore produced domestically by 1909. In 1969 nearly 90
percent of iron ore produced domestically was being
22
mined by this method. Similarly, while less than
one-fourth of copper ore produced domestically in 1919
was produced in open pit mines, by 1969, 88 percent of
all copper ore produced in the United States was taken
23
from open pits.
As a result of the application of new technology
and the introduction of power, output per man-hour and
man-day increased rapidly in both the copper and iron
mining industries during the latter part of the
nineteenth century. By 1889 copper output per man-day
21"
Holbrook, Iron Brew, p. 108.
22
Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 463.
23ibid., p. 572.


202
TABLE 27
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE OP GROWTH IN IRON AND
COPPER IN USE RELATIVE TO GROSS NATIONAL
PRODUCT, 1920-1960 AND I9OO-I96O
Period
Jron
Copper
GNP
1960-1920
2.8
3.4
3-2
1960-1900
4.1
4.2
3.1
Source: Tables 23 and 24 and Long Term
Economic Growth, 1860-1963, p. 107


148
Now times have changed. Projections of
materials adequacy are available for periods extending
some thirty years into the future, with longer range
projections extending part way into the next century--
very short periods when compared to the several thousand
years over which human history extends, or even to the
two centuries during which the United States has
existed as a nation. And yet, even that limited
perspective reveals a worsening minerals situation for
the United States.
In a study of America's resource needs conducted
by Resources for the Future, Inc. in 1964, projections
were made of expected metals requirements through the
year 2000. Some of the results are summarized in
Table 3 According to these projections, if lower
grades of ore are used, domestic supplies of iron
will be adequate to the end of the century; the adequacy
of copper is questionable; and the domestic reserves
of most of the rest are inadequate.
The days when America could depend upon her
own supplies of minerals have ended, and the United
States must henceforth look to the rest of the world.
But other expanding world economies probably will
require great amounts cf minerals as well, and world
mineral supplies are not limitless. Under these
circumstances, the ability of the United States and
other nations to experience rapid rates of growth
indefinitely must be questioned.


five of which may be definitely formulated as
f ollows:
16
1. Agricultural resources
2. Mineral Resources
3. Highly developed transportation facilities
4. Freedom of trade between states and
territories
5. Freedom from inherited and over-conservative
ideas.
A study of these causes affords an explanation of
the great development of manufacturing in the past,
as well as an indication of its possibilities in
the future. . .
In the second place, the United States produces
nearly every mineral required for manufacturing
industries. In most of these the supplies appear
to be sufficient for years to come, and are obtain
able at prices which compare favorably with prices
in other parts of the world.(ip)
But in the course of subsequent economic growth,
much of an initial abundance of natural wealth has been
consumed. The first official note of anxiety was
sounded by the President's Materials Policy Commission
to President Truman in 1952.
A hundred years ago resources seemed limitless and
the struggle upward from meager conditions of life
was the struggle to create the means and methods
of getting these materials into use. In this
struggle we have succeeded so well that today,
in thinking of expansion programs, full employ
ment, new plants, or the design of a radical new
turbine blade, too many of us blankly forget to
look back to the mine, the land, the forest: the
resources upon which we absolutely depend. So
19
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States Reports,
Vol. VII,Pt.I,United States by Industries(Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1902), pp. LVT-LIX,
reprinted in Louis M. Hacker, Major Documents in American
Economic
Historv
(Princeton, New Jersey:
D. Van Nostrand
Co., Inc.
, 1961)
pp. 146-47*


162
hope to achieve. The people of the United States
became rich not only because they were skilful, but
because they were so very rich to begin with. Others
might prove just as clever, but cleverness is not
enough.
As to pessimism and optimism, we seem always
to be headed for one extreme or the other, often at
the same time, though we never seem to reach either
utopia or total disaster. Will present rates of growth
persist for another hundred years, and yet another?
There is no way to tell, but we cannot blankly presume
that they will. Already the whole idea of economic
growth has come to be questioned on many grounds;
its consequences have not all been good. Perhaps with
time the whole philosophy of growth will change, and the
idea of progress, if it survives, may take on a different
guise.


9
that mankind revolves in a vicious circle is
destroyed by patent facts. The mediaeval notion of
a static society bound to rule-of-thumb routine is
swept into the discard by events.(13)
Encouraging- this movement was the Industrial
Revolution which in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries affected much of Western Europe and the Northern
parts of the United States. The role of the machine in
increasing the wealth of the Western world was too
lk
apparent to be disbelieved. The belief in progress
through a machine economy became widespread. The goal
of society came to be seen as further industrialization
and the idea of progress was elevated from the status
of belief to that of fact. Yet progress was not
necessarily continuous.
It is quite easy to fancy a state of society, vastly
different from ours, existing in some unknown place
like heaven; it is much more difficult to realize
as a fact that the order of things with which we
are familiar has so little stability that our actual
descendants may be born into a world as different
from ours as ours is from that of our ancestors
of the pleistocene age.
But if we accept the reasonings on which the dogma
of Progress is based, must we not carry them to their
full conclusion? In escaping from the illusion of
finality, is it legitimate to exempt that dogma
itself? Must not it, too, submit to its own negation
of finality? Will not that process of change^ for which
Progress is the optimistic name, compel "Progress"
too to fall from the commanding position in which it
is now, with apparent security, enthroned?(15)
1 3 -T~l_ J
Ibid., p. xxiii.
Ik
But notice William Woodruff and Helga Woodruff,
"Economic Growth: Myth or Reality; The Interrelatedness
of Continents and the Diffusion of Technology, 186O-I96O,"
Technology and Culture, VII (Fall, 1966).
15
Bury, Idea of Progress, pp. 351-52.


189
TABLE 22
POTENTIAL RECOVERY OP OBSOLETE COPPER SCRAP, i960
(All Figures are in Percents)
Market Category
Potentially
Recoverable
Output
By
Category
Total
Recover.
Motor Vehicles
50
8.5
4.3
Consumer Durables
45
4.1
1.9
Producer Durables
65
32.0
20.8
Mew Bldg. Construction
70
19.5
13.7
Commun. & El. Power Cons. 100
18.3
18.3
Railroad Equipment
90
1.2
1.1
Maint. Repair & Oper.
70
11.3
7.9
Def ense
75
1.7
1.3
Percent of Total Output
96.6
69.3
Miscellaneous^
69.3
3.4
2.4
Total Output
100.0
71.7
aSource: Computed from Landsberg, Resources in
America's Future, p. 912, Table A 16-43 and p. 915* Table
A 16-45.
^Potential recoverability from miscellaneous
categories assumed to the the average of all categories.


or less, or not at all. All that can be known is what
has happened; and what happened in the United States
in terms of economic growth is no basis for calculating
what might happen. The people of the United States
converted an abundance of resources into an economic
colossus, and in the process generated a rate of
sustained economic growth the likes of which had never
been seen before. To have fallen heir to a great wealth
of natural resources was their good fortune; certainly
a better circumstance than having to depend so heavily
upon the fickleness of advancing technology as
apparently future growth for the United States and
others now must.
popular legend, his restraints on population would not
yield disaster, but rather were constantly operative.
Only on occasion could they be escaped; and then only
temporarily. Otherwise they operated to maintain a
given population, but not equally. Those living on
the margin were first and most affected by pestilence
and vice; and so it is today. It is best under these
or any circumstances not to be the marginal man if one
can avoid it. See Thomas Robert Maithus, An Essay on the
Principle of Population (London: T. Bensley for J.
Johnson, I8O3).


182
TABLE 19
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES OF GROWTH OF COPPER,
IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION AND GROSS
NATIONAL PRODUCT, I9OO-I96O
(percent)
Average
Annual Rate of Growth
Period
Copper
Iron
Steel GNP
1900-1960
i.k
1.8
2.7 3.1
Source:
Table 18
and Long
Term Economic
Growth. 1860-1965, Part V, p. 107, Chart 17.
B.2 Imports and Exports of Copper
and Iron, 1900-1960
Copper production has been particularly influenced
by imports and exports. By the turn of the century between
one-third and one-half of the output of domestic copper
mines was being sent abroad, and net exports remained
relatively large until about 19^0. Since 1pUO the United
States has been a consistent importer of copper. In
contrast, neither imports nor exports of iron ore were
large relative to total output until the 1950s, after
which iron ore and steel imports increased substantially.
Net exports of pig iron have been inconsequential through
out the past century.


195
TABLE 24
IRON--APPARENT C ON SUMPTI ON - ADDITI ON S TO METALS IN USE
AND AVERAGE ANNUAL ADDITION BY DECADE, 1900-1960a
(Millions of 1954 Dollars)
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Arm.
Add.
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
1900
190
190
1930
381
10,558
1901
207
397
1931
205
10,763
1902
274
671
1932
64
10,827
1903
267
671
1933
107
10,934
1904
184
1,122
1934
132
11,066
2,708
1,770
1905
297
1,419
1935
171
11,237
1906
332
1,751
1936
306
11,543
1907
360
2,111
1937
396
11,939
1908
243
2,354
1938
119
12,058
1909
354
2,708
1939
270
12,328
1910
394
3,102
1940
348
12,676
1911
283
3,385
1941
523
13,199
1912
347
3,732
1942
597
13,796
1913
401
4,133
1943
565
14,361
1914
268
4,401
1944
520
14,881
3,640
5,075
1915
335
4,736
1945
522
15,403
1916
429
5,165
1946
398
15,801
1917
428
5,593
1947
461
16,262
1918
401
5,994
1948
609
16,871
1919
354
6,348
1949
532
17,403
1920
400
6,748
1950
665
18,068
1921
168
6,916
1951
815
18,883
1922
304
7,220
1952
635
19,518
1923
470
7,690
1953
818
20,336
1924
358
8,048
1954
551
20,887
3,829
6,211
1925
422
8,470
1955
718
21,605
1926
455
8,925
1956
712
22,317
1927
404
9,329
1957
762
23,079
1928
388
9,717
1958
58 0
23,659
1929
460
10,177
1959
619
24,278
i960
735
25,013
aSource: Computed from Raw Materials in the U.S.
Economy: 1900-1961, p. 107. No account is made of loss,
deterioration, or idle scrap stocks. Base 1900+.


6
progress; a belief that has not always characterized men's
thoughts. Greek and Roman writers thought that a cyclical
state (rather than continued progress toward a better
human condition) more closely described the affairs of
man. The passage of time was thought to yield deteriora
tion, a descent from a golden age of simplicity that
could be reestablished only by divine intervention;
thence, again, from better to worse to better to worse
the whole process yielding an endless series of identical
cycles. The accumulation of knowledge might allow philos
ophers to free their thoughts and enjoy knowledge for its
own sake, but the application of that knowledge to the
betterment of mankind's condition was not generally
conceived.
While historical parallels are dangerous, it is
worth realizing that we are not the first to have held
an overwhelming belief in the power of technology to
improve and control our environment. Aeschylus also
believed "in man's unlimited capacity for controlling
nature, a confidence inspired by a spate of extraordinary
CtechnologicalU successes ..." But the belief in the
power of technology soon waned. We find in Euripides
. . the doubt and pessimism of intellectuals
during the last third of the century in face
of the increasing exploitation of the new
technology by militarists and profiteers in wars
of conquest and plunder.(lO)
10Arthur D. Kahn, "The Greek Tragedians and
Science and Technology," Technology and Culture. XI
(April, 1970), 133.


5
Yet the extraordinary rate of what we have come
to understand as economic growth of a few wealthy nations,
particularly of the United States, probably has been more
important than any other single factor in stimulating
the idea of universal economic progress. The idea of
8
progress, Western in origin, found its greatest expression
and support in the United States as did its underlying
motive force, the belief in and the employment of applied
technology, exhibited principally in an ability to create
more and more from less and less. Technology and its
teachinghave come to be accepted almost without question
as a principal ingredient of material progress and the
key to its continuance, replacing or supplementing trade
and capital accumulation in that regard as a primum
o
mobile of economic growth. It hardly needs stressing
that technology--as such--can only be seen in a museum.
All these concepts, theoretical and abstract in
themselves, rest upon an equally abstract belief in
Progress may be thought of as change which is
directed or tends toward some ends or goals generally
believed to be "good." Progress and economic development
often have been considered as being synonymous, although
the recent reemergence of concern for ecology and for
the social quality of human existence have called that
view into question.
9
Cf. Albert 0. Hirschman, The Strategy of
Economic Development (New Haven and London: Yale
University Press, 1958), chap. i. "Preliminary Explora
tions," sec., The Search for the Primum Mobile, pp. 1-7.


177
until the 1950s. Both iron and copper production
series reflect demands made upon domestic resources,
however, regardless of whether the final destination of
metals produced was domestic or foreign.
Steel production increased more rapidly than
pig iron production for the period 1860-1900 because
many of the final uses of iron were being taken over
by steel, e.g., rails. Rates of growth in pig iron
production after 1900 approached growth rates of pig
iron production more closely, but also reflected the
increased importance of scrap as a steel input.
Between 1900 and 1920, the Bessemer process of making
steel was replaced largely by open-hearth processes;
and while the latter process made extensive use of
scrap, the former had not. Data on scrap use are
included in Part 3 of this appendix.


169
Since 1929, manufacturing and durable goods
output have increased more rapidly than production as
a whole, and increases in machinery production have been
still greater, as the data in Tables 10, 11, and 12
indicate. The increase in national income originating
in the machine-making industry since 1929 has been
almost twice that of all industries taken together.
TABLE 10
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT BY TYPE OF
PRODUCT, 1929 and i960
(Billions of Current Dollars)
1929
i960
GNP
Percentage
GNP
Percentage
GNP
Total
Goods
GNP
Total
Goods
Goods Output
$56.1
5b%
#259.6
51.5$
Durable Goods
17.5
16
31$
99-5
19.7
38. b Services
35.6
3b
187.3
37.2
Structures
11. b
11
56.8
11.3
GNP
I103.1
#503.7
Source: Computed from U.S. Department of
Commerce, The National Income and Product Accounts of the
United States, 1929-1965 (Washington, 5"! C. : Government
Printing Office, 1966), pp. 6-7.


10
Whether or not the idea of progress may someday
he dethroned, and perhaps with it our worship of technology,
cannot he predicted; progress is not necessarily an
established fact of nature, a trend to be carried into
the indefinite future. Progress resulting from specific
circumstances of the past does not imply progress in the
future. Views of the past may rest upon fact; views of
the future must rest upon speculation. The idea of
progress might die from one or more of several causes.
Tt might die from neglect brought on by the embrace of
some alternative idea based upon another view of what is
good and what is not; by a deep prevading pessimism or
by the imposition of physical, social, intellectual, or
spiritual constraints. Technology, upon which belief in
indefinite progress has been based, might be capable of
indefinite expansion, but progress itself may not.
The only thing known to history is change, not
necessarily of a progressive nature, and change in itself
cannot he separated, as the French historian Taine so
long ago said, from place, time, and people. There can
be little doubt that technology and science have changed
some lives substantially from what they might have been;
their use, economically speaking, has proved immensely
profitable to some and might prove so to others. But
this still does not permit the experience of the United
States, or of a few other nations, to be used as an
example of what might he wrought elsewhere. Those who


119
production of the kind the United States has known has
depended upon the acquisition of new land and new
deposits, and might continue to depend upon such
acquisition in the future.
With a constant level of technology, acquisition
costs of new metal would tend to increase inexorably.
Fortunately technological advances in the fields of
geology and mining tend to offset increasing costs
resulting from decreasing yields. Changes in the
technology of ore concentration (refining) also tend to
offset increases in the cost of new metals production.
In fact, the rate of technical change may be so great
that costs of production of new metal might actually
3
decline for a time.
Temporarily declining costs of new metals
production do not negate the pressure toward increasing
materials costs, however. Increased costs caused by
the move toward more marginal deposits may be offset
for a time by technological change, especially if metal
deposits are initially abundant; but if the costs of
producing refined metals are not to increase, then
technology must continue to advance at a pace sufficient
to offset cost increases originating in the move to
marginal deposits.
3~
Strong evidence indicates that raw materials
production costs in real terms may have declined in the
United States during the past hundred years. Cf.
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth.


But mass production required more than changes
in technology; quite apart from the question of mental
attitudes, it also required new materials, especially
iron (because of its strength) and copper (because of
its electrical properties).
Until late in the eighteenth century, almost all
machinery had been made primarily of wood. Metal was
used chiefly in various steam engines and in machine
parts which were most subject to wear or which required
greater strength than could be afforded by wood. But
metal was hard to work and finished metal lacked many
desirable qualities. Cast iron, subject to breakage on
impact or twisting, was too brittle for many purposes;
and wrought iron, although tough and malleable, was
relatively soft. Steel was extremely expensive and
could be produced only in relatively small quantities.
The quality and uniformity of each of these forms of
26
iron was suspect as well.
Mass production, heavily dependent upon the
interchangeability of parts, and in turn upon fine
accuracy, could not be adopted on a wide scale without
the development of a suitable material from which to
fashion slow wearing parts with precision. The material
had to be tough, yet easily worked into various shapes,
2 6
Cast iron, wrought iron, and steel are all forms
of iron, each having a different carbon content. Wrought
iron contains the least carbon, cast iron the most, and
the carbon content of steel lies in between.


155
In many cases those philosophies reflected an
accommodation with nature, a getting along, a unity with
nature, a oneness of man with his environment. But
all have not shared like views: the philosophical
views of those who followed in the Judeo-Christian
tradition, for example, among whom are numbered some of
*
the greatest economic powers the world has ever seen,
portrayed man not as a part of nature, hardly even a
partner to nature, but rather as the master of nature,
a ruler, the object that all nature serves or must be
made to serve. The idea is strongly evident in a well-
known passage from the Bible.
So God created man in his own image, in the image
of God created he him; male and female created
he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be
fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
every living thing that moveth upon the earth.(l0)
But man can be neither total master of his fate
nor complete ruler of his surroundings. Actions taken
at any given time are limited by the environment and by
circumstance, and if they change man also must change.
He is not a ruler, but rather a partner to nature, a
part of the total environment.Yet dominion does
10Genesis 1: 27-28.
"^The nature of a people's environment may not
determine the specific nature of the actions that can


35
Xt is also gratifying to note the evidences of
improvement in some of the most important agri
cultural operations, proving that our farmers are
fully in sympathy with the progressive spirit of
the age, and not behind their fellow citizens
engaged in other industrial occupations. . .
The increasing annual products of agriculture in
our highly-favored country, and the hay and grain
crops in particular, furnish striking illustrations
of the close interdependence and connection of all
branches of the national industry. . Without the
improvements in ploughs and other implements of
tillage which have been multiplied to an incredible
extent, and are now apparently to culminate in the
steam plough, the vast wheat and corn crops of those
fertile plains could not probably be raised. But
were it possible to produce wheat upon the scale
that it is now raised, much of the profit and not a
little of the produce would be lost were the farmer
compelled to wait upon the slow process of the
sickle, the cradle, and the hand-rake for securing
it when ripe. The reaping machine, the harvester,
and the machines for threshing, winnowing, and
cleaning his wheat for the market have become
quite indispensable to every grower.(8)
Manufacturing, if anything was changing even more
rapidly than was agriculture.
The returns of MANUFACTURES exhibit a most grat
ifying increase, and present at the same time an
imposing view of the magnitude to which this
branch of the national industry has attained
within the last decennium.
The total value of domestic manufactures, (including
fisheries and the products of the mines,) according
to the Census of 1850, was $1,Olp,106,6l6. The
product of the same branches for the year ending
June 1, i860, as already ascertained in part and
carefully estimated for the remainder, will reach
an aggregate value of nineteen hundred millions of
dollars ($1, p00,000,000j~. This result exhibits
an increase of more than eighty-six (86) percentum
in ten years](9)
8Ibid., pp. 81-82.
9Ibid., p. 59-


185
only 55 percent to 65 percent of purchased steel scrap.
Old scrap contributed 9*9 percent of ferrous metallies
inputs to steel production in 1950 and only 6.7 percent
in i960.
Tables 21 and 22 show the amounts of iron and
copper scrap potentially recoverable by product category
for recent periods. Allowances are made for wear,
corrosion, inaccessibility, and exports.
The amount of scrap recovered per period of time
depends upon the physical amounts of scrap available
and upon costs of scrap collection and processing
relative to scrap prices. If real costs of new copper
and iron were to increase, the resulting increase in
demand for scrap as a substitute would tend to increase
the price of scrap and increase the percent recovered.
Although large amounts of metal scrap have been
reused, large amounts have also been discarded. Accord
ing to the data of Tables 21 and 22, almost 20 percent
of the iron and 30 percent of the copper in final goods
produced in i960 will be lost. Further, recent trends
have increased the share of metals going to uses from
which metals recovery is difficult.
In 1965, Public Law 89-272 was passed by the
89th Congress in response to the proliferation of
unsightly burial grounds for old automobiles, refrig
erators and the like. The purposes of the act were:


56
kindred products, $1,171 million, and by textiles with a
2
value of $971 million.
Second, although the railroad industry still took
the bulk of iron and steel output in 1880, other markets
were gaining in importance. In all, 1,305000 long tons
of rails'^ were produced (31 percent of the tonnage of
all pig iron) along with 1,405 large steam railroad
engines, 46,200 railroad freight cars and 685 passenger
4
cars. But a sizeable amount of iron and steel also
was being devoted to bridge and building construction
where greater engineering sophistication and larger and
longer structures required increased amounts of strong
materials; 87 thousand long tons of structural iron and
steel shapes were produced in 1879*
A record span of 1,057 feet had been achieved
by a suspension bridge system over the Ohio River at
2
Twelfth Census of the United States, Part I,
p. cxlv, Table LVTII. The Twelfth Census grouped
industries according to materials used and product.
Iron and steel and their products were one of fifteen
such groups. See pp. xcliii, cxliv, cxlix.
^Steel rails, produced since 1865 by the Bessemer
process, had gained increasing acceptance by the rail
roads, especially where heavy loads and high speeds
prevailed, but were not at once accepted wholly. Debate
continued over the merits of iron and steel rails
relative to cost, but as increasing steel output caused
steel prices to fall, the relative merits of steel
became paramount and iron soon was virtually forced out
of the rail business except for sidings where light
traffic persisted.
^Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P 203-15


108
With a substantial increase of the U.S. and World
prices it is estimated that the high range of
cumulative demand for copper during the period
1968-2000 could be met. However, meeting the
Nation's future need either from domestic production
or imports solely through cost-price shifts
exclusive of any new technology would be achieved
only at enormous costs to the consumer and the
Nation.(hi)
Extensive exploration increased known world iron
reserves substantially since 1950, perhaps as much as
1?
threefold. Efforts to find copper have been less
successful. Yet even foreign deposits are not limitless,
and the more found, the fewer remain. Improved methods
of discovery might forestall metals shortages by adding
to known reserves, but it cannot create them. One also
must wonder why so much stress has been placed upon
discovery if technology really were able to make so
much more of deposits already known to exist. The
power of technology, though magnificent, might be less
than some have made it out to be; but, then, magnificent
is a good deal different from infinite.
In all, the future of metals acquisition holds
too many unknowns to tell with certainty what the
effects of increased mining will be on mining costs,
but the problems of acquiring materials in the future
will be far greater than they were in the recent past
when hugh deposits of the richest ores were on hand, to
be used lavishly in the pursuit of growth.
^^Minerals Facts and Problems, 1970, p. 536.
^2Xbid., p. 297.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the
aid and encouragement given by Dr. William Woodruff and
by my wife, Gwen, during the course of this undertaking.
Special thanks go also to Dr. R. H. Blodgett, Dr. P. E.
Koefod, Dr. T. A. Nunez, Dr. C. H. Donovan, and to the
many others who gave graciously of their time and
experience. Any errors or shortcomings are, of course,
entirely my own.
iii


TABLE 11
NATIONAL INCOME BY INDUSTRIES, 1929 AND i960
National
income
1929
i960
Category
Millions
of Current
Dollars
% of
NX
Millions
of Current
Dollars
$ of
NI
Total, All Industries
86,795
414,522
Metal Mining
466
.54
817
.2
Manufac tuning
21,945
25.3
125,822
30.4
Durable Goods
11,303
13.0
73,614
17.8
Iron and steel and their prods. 2,959
Non-ferrous metals and prods. 759
Machinery, except electrical 1,891
Electrical machinery 1,047
Transportation equip., ex. auto 320
Auto and auto equip. 1,38U
9.6
50,235
12.1
Source: Computed from National Income
and Product
Accounts of
the
U.S., 1929-196 5, pp. 18-21.
170


70
Gross National Product, in constant prices,
increased approximately four times between 1870 and
1900^ while pig iron production increased more than
37
eight times, and copper production thirty-eight times,
so that increases in these were much greater than in
GNP. Since 1900 the rate of increase in copper and
iron production has been much lower, 1.4 percent for
copper and 1.8 percent for iron, while GNP has increased
qO
at an average annual rate of 3*1 percent. Hence, at
first glance, GNP would appear to have increased much
more rapidly than metals since 1900, and based upon
these figures, the importance of metals to production
would appear to have decreased over time. But the
figures are misleading.
Reduction in apparent consumption of metals
relative to GNP has been noted by many writers who
have observed that progressively more has been made
from each ton of metal, which is true. But compari
sons of levels of GNP with annual rates of apparent
consumption have -understated the importance of metals
to production in general. Quite simply, the level of
of production for the whole economy in any given year
36
Historical Statistics, p. 139 Series P-3
37
Figures for iron and copper production and
consumption are included in Appendix B and are related
there to changes in GNP.
^See Appendix B.l, Table 19.


91
The technology of the early nineteenth century
sufficed for gaining access to ore deposits at
considerable depths. Drilling, blasting, selective
mining of ore, rock support, pumping, hoisting,
concentration of ore minerals, their smelting, and
the refining of crude metals were all practiced
very effectively, . .(20)
Still, the ways in which these old activities
were performed in 1900 were very different from what
they had been in i860.
The greatest changes taking place at or near
the turn of the century, however, and the ones probably
having the greatest effect on levels of output were,
first, the introduction of non-selective mining, a method
that relied upon sophisticated techniques of concentra
tion and allowed lower yielding ores to be mined and
treated; and, second, the movement of mining into open
pits at the surface.
Non-selective methods permitted mining of not
only the very richest veins of metallic ores, but of
lower yielding surrounding ones as well. Once brought
to the surface, lower yielding ores could be processed
to yield higher concentrations of refined ore and
savings resulting from the elimination of extreme care
and painstaking classification in the mines more than
offset the increased costs involved in the processing
of lower grade ores at the surface. This process was
20
C. E. Julihn, "Copper: An Example of Advancing
Technology and the Utilization of Low-Grade Ores," in
Mineral Ec onomic s, ed. by F. G. Tryon and E. C. Eckel
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932), p. 123.


175
The ratio of capital to output for the period
1850-1958 is shown in Table 14.
TABLE 14
CAPITAL-OUTPUT RATIO, 1850-1958
Year
Ratio
1850
2.8
1900
4.7
1929
4.2
19^5
2.7
1958
3.8
Source: Goldsmith, "National Wealth:
Estimation," p. 57*
A rapid increase in capital relative to output
took place during the last half of the nineteenth
century. The ratio slipped slightly by 1929 and then
fell to a very low level in 19^5 as industry was
pushed to its capacity to produce large increases in
output with a limited stock. By 1958, following large
capital expenditures, the ratio had again risen to a
level just below that of 1929. The figures are
exactly what would be expected from our considerations
of changing metals demand.


207
WORKS CITED--continued
"Making Ricardo's Prophecy Come True. Business Week,
December 19, 1970, 61-62.
Maithus, Thomas Robert. An Essay on the Principle of
Population. London: T. Bensley for J. Johnson,
1803.
Manners, Gerald. The Changing World Market for Iron Ore
1950-1980, An Economic Geography. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for the Future,
Inc., 1971.
Marshall, Alfred. Principles of Economics. 8th ed.
Toronto: Macmillan Company, 1966.
Meadows, Dennis L.; Meadows, Donella H.; Randers, J/rgen;
and Behrens, William W. III. The Limits to
Growth, A Report for the Club of Rome's Project
on the Predicament of Mankind. New York:
Universe Books, 1972.
Minins Annual Review. London: The Mining Journal
Limited, 1967.
Oliver, John W. History of American Technology. New
York: Ronald Press Company, 1956.
Parks, Charles F., Jr. Affluence in Jeopardy: Minerals
and the Political Economy. San Francisco:
Freeman, Cooper and Company, 1968.
Potter, Neal and Christy, Francis T. Trends in Natural
Resource Commodities, Statistics of Prices,
Output, Consumption, Foreign Trade and Employment
in the United States, 1870-1957. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for the Future,
Inc., 1962.
President's Materials Policy Commission. Resources for
Freedom. 2 vols. Washington, D. C.: Government
Printing Office, 1952.
Pursell, Carroll W., Jr. "Machines and Machine Tools,
1830-1880." Technology in Western Civilization,
The Emergence of Modern Industrial Society
Earliest Times to 1900. Vo1. I. London: Oxford
University Press, 1967.


130
kinds of production, the production of final goods and
services may be increased (given full employment) and
with it, the demand for raw materials, the extent of
the increase in materials demand depending upon the
particular nature of the changes in technology and in
consumption patterns. More goods and services might be
produced per piece of material, but general increases
in production could impose material requirements almost
as high as before.
Xf production were to increase as a result of a
greater availability of labor or capital or a change in
technology that was not resource saving (assuming the
increased production did not consist entirely of
services) an increased level of production could generate
an increased rate of materials use. In any case, it is
almost certain that an increase in production must
result in an increased rate of extraction and that certain
kinds of productive activities depend heavily upon a
continuing supply of particular materials.
Finally, the provision of some services might
be increased with little or no corresponding increase
in materials production. Not all of what is called
production requires the direct manipulation of material
goods. The singing of a song or the delivery of fine
oratory does not rely directly upon the "production" of
physical things (although its transmission by electronic
means might). An actor is productive; policemen,


136
Further, technology could get more materials
from deposits of lower concentration.
The fact is that the technology of low concentrate
resources is in its infancy, and one may be confident
that effort to discover replacements for depleting
resources will uncover potentialities yet undreamed
Of. (15)
In support of these arguments, both costs of
extracting minerals, in terms of labor and capital, and
prices of extractive goods relative to others declined
within the United States during the past century, as
Barnett and Morse* data indicate;^ resources would
seem to have increased rather than diminished.
Some truth undoubtedly exists in the arguments
of Barnett and Morse; yet too much must not be made of
them. Economic growth of the kind known since i860 has
required increased quantities of some kind of material,
and whether that material be iron or stone, exponential
growth taken to its absurd limit could eventually
require every particle of matter in the world to be
used in production. Economic growth might be obtained
by using new materials, or old ones more efficiently,
or by producing more services; but, if economic growth
has a physical counterpart, as it does, exponential
rates of growth are at odds with the physical limits
of the earth.
15Ibid., p. 239-
1^These data were developed originally by
Potter and Christy, Trends in Natural Resource Commodities.


125
As in the case of all materials, metals used in
production have been neither created nor destroyed; but,
unlike other materials, the period of time during which
they have retained their usefulness has been very long.
Copper mined hundreds of years ago may still be in use.
But, easy access to new supplies makes the maintenance
of old supplies less pressing than it otherwise would
be; and an abundance of metal can result in an abundance
of waste, since ease of acquisition means lower cost of
new metals relative to the cost of recycling old metals.
The amount of metal lost each year could be
reduced, but, although conservation of an existing metals
stock can reduce new materials requirements, economic
growth of the kind the United States has known requires
new metal.
To illustrate the point, suppose for a moment
that all mining were to cease. The only metals then
available would be those already in use. Since new
metals would be unavailable, the price of scrap metals
would increase markedly as producers turned from raw
materials sources to scrap. With scrap made valuable,
less would be discarded and more would be saved.
Increases in scrap prices would tend to induce changes
in applied technology so as to bring about efficient
use of scrap on the one hand and a reduction in costs
of scrap collection and processing on the other.


planning difficult. Second, the integration of steel
plants has made possible the immediate use of hot metal
from blast furnaces at lower cost resulting from
substantial heat (hence fuel) savings. Third, the
heterogeneous quality of steel scrap makes it difficult
to use under exacting conditions of quality steel produc
tion. Fourth, steel in some old equipment has not been
collected because of the expense involved in transporting
it to processing centers. Finally, steel scrap is
difficult to process and much of the work must be done
by hand. Steel used in automobiles and containers is
particularly difficult to recycle, and the disposition
of these items has become a serious problem. As a con
sequence, a stock of scrap steel has been building over
the years and would be available for processing into
new steel should the situation warrant.
Copper differs from steel and iron in that
regard since the amount of copper going into new
production shortly after its retirement is high
(although the amount potentially recoverable is lower
than steel), principally because copper retains its
pure form in many of its applications and can be reused
simply by melting and reshaping.
Each of the factors mentioned above has
contributed to an increased value of product per ton of
metal, or viewed from the other side, a decreased amount


TABLE 17
RATES OF GROWTH IN STEEL INGOTS AND CASTINGS PRODUCED, 1871-1960
(Production in Thousand Long Tons)
Period
Average
Production
Percent
Increase
Over
Previous
Decade
Ho. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels of
Production
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
91,180
21.3
5
5
78,850
(1954)
104,496
(1955)
1941-1950
75,179
110.8
7
3
59,k67
(1946)
86,46l
(1950)
1931-1940
35,664
16.2
7
3
13,681
(1932)
59,806
(1940)
1921-1930
42,556
21.6
6
4
19,784
(1921)
56,433
(1929)
1911-1920
35,099
87.0
6
4
23,676
(1911)
45,061
(1917)
1901-1910
18,767
186.2
6
4
13,474
(1901)
26,095
(1910)
1891-1900
6,558
165.2
6
4
3,904
(1891)
10,640
(1899)
1881-1890
2,473
390.7
7
3
1,551
(1884)
4, 277
(1890)
1871-1880
504
n/a
10
0
73
(1871)
1,24 7
(1880)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, pp. Ul6-17, Series P-203.
180


197
Millions of 1954 Dollars
Source: Table 24.


8U
Q
wide and 8-1/2 feet thick. Nearly 70 percent of the
copper mined in Michigan in l86l was mass copper, but as
time passed the copper content of Michigan ore fell; by
I89O mass copper had become quite scarce.
9
As ore ran thin and mines grew deeper, mines
were forced to close. Today most Michigan mines have
been abandoned; shaft houses that remain stand silent,
and only a small mine at White Pine remains in operation.
Rock piles are to be seen alongside almost every town,
and old company houses, now privately owned, remain; but
most of the people have gone or are leaving. The copper
country of Upper Michigan is a thing of the past; the
mines emptied of their rich ores.^ Mining has moved to
the West.
Arizona, which held third place in copper output
at the turn of the century, behind Michigan and Montana,
now is in first place by a wide margin. In 1969 Arizona
mines contributed 52 percent of domestic copper, Utah
was a distant second at 19 percent, Montana fifth at 6
8Ibid., p. 232.
9
The Calumet and Hecla Quincy mine, whose shaft
house still stands atop a tall hill overlooking the
cities of Houghton and Hancock, would become more than
a mile deep by the 1930s.
Significant deposits remain in the Upper
Peninsula and account for a substantial share of
remaining United States reserves; but because
mineralization is erratic and many of the outcrops are
concealed, exploitation of remaining deposits is
difficult.


105
Extensive iron and copper deposits of considerably
higher grade do exist in foreign lands. A considerable
amount of the copper imported into the United States
for domestic consumption has come from these sources in
the recent past and probably will come in the future.
Imports of iron ore, which began to grow large in the
lpUOs, have expanded almost without pause since then
and by 1969 amounted to 40,758 thousand long tons of
usable iron compared to domestic production for that
qO
year of 88,260 thousand long tons. Most iron
imports came from Canada and Venezuela, where heavy
investments by United States companies in mining properties
had been made previously. These countries, together with
Liberia, furnished 35891 thousand long tons of usable
iron for use in the United States.
United States investment in overseas mining
39
ventures has been substantial both in iron and copper,
and while such sources are very much needed, they are
not entirely secure.
^Minerals Yearbook, 1969 pp. 557 559
39
^The share of total ore reserves owned either
directly or indirectly by United States firms is very
difficult to determine because of a lack of published
data. However, in 1947, three United States firms,
Anaconda, Kennecott, and Phelps-Dodge, owned 41.25
percent of known copper reserves. Cf. Walter H.
Voskuil, Minerals in World Industry ^New York: McGraw-
Hill Book Company, 1955) P^ 211.


208
WORKS CITED--continued
Rasmussen, Wayne D. "The Xmpact of Technological Change
on American Agriculture, 1862-1962." Journal
of Economic History. XXII (December, 1962),
578-91.
Rezneck, Samuel. "Mass Production Since the War Between
the States." The Growth of the American Economy.
An Introduction to the Economic History of the
United States. Edited by Harold F. Williamson.
Prentice-Hall Economics Series. General Editor
E. A. Jo Johnson. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1951
Richards, Earl Morgan. The Iron Ore Outlook of the
United States. Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Buckness
University Press, 1954.
Rickard, T. A. A History of American Mining. New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932.
Rosenberg, Nathan. "Technical Change in the Machine
Tool Industry, 1840-1910. Journal of Economic
History, XXIII (December, 1963)> 4l4-43.
Shannon, Fred A. The Centennial Years. A Political and
Economic History of America from the Late 1870s
to the Early 1890s. Edited by Robert Huhn Jones.
Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company,
Inc., 1967.
Sharlin, Harold R. "Applications in Electricity."
Technology in Western Civilization. The Emergence
of Modern Industrial Society Earliest Times to
1900. Edited by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W.
Pursell, Jr. Vol. I. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1967.
Stigler, George J. Trends in Output and Employment.
New York: National Bureau of Economic Research,
Inc., 1947.
Studenski, Paul. The Income of Nations. Part II. Theory
and Methodology. Washington Square: New York
University Press, 1961.
Survey of Current Business. XXXVII (june, 1957).


TABLE 16
RATES OF GROWTH IN PIG IRON SHIPMENTS BY DECADE, I86O-I96O
(Shipments in Thousand Short Tons)
Period
Average
Shipments
Percent
Increase
Over
Previous
Decade
No. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels
of Shipments
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
67,650
18.6
6
4
57,783
(1954)
77,301
(1955)
1941-1950
57,oa
116.0
7
3
45,076
(1946)
64,626
(1950)
1931-1940
26,402
29.2
7
3
9,541
(1932)
46,959
(1940)
1921-1930
37,274
4.6
6
4
17,963
(1921)
46,535
(1929)
1911-1920
35,640
51.0
5
5
24,935
(1914)
43,821
(1916)
1901-1910
23,598
114.5
8
2
17,784
(1901)
29,875
(1910)
1891-1900
10,999
72.6
6
4
7,456
(1894)
15,444
(1900)
1881-1890
6,373
136. 6
6
4
4,530
(1885)
10,307
(1890)
1871-1880
2,694
111.6
7
3
1,912
(1871)
4,295
(1880)
1861-1870
1,273
n/a
7
3
732
(1861)
1,917
(1869)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, pp. 36-5-66 Series M -207,
179


42
application of power to production and transportation,
were the technical requisites for mass production. But
in 1850 little attention was given to power and power
machinery by official sources, and not until I87O were
questions concerning power included among those asked
22
by the Census Bureau. Congress finally provided for
their collection officially in 1879 for inclusion in
the 1880 Census, with good reason. The total horsepower
of all prime movers in the United States more than
tripled in the thirty years after 1850, from 8,495,000
horsepower to 26,314,000 horsepower in 1880. Inanimate
horsepower increased from 2,535000 to 14,734,000 during
that period, and surpassed animate horsepower in about
1870.23
Machine tools round out the picture of technical
changes important to mass production in the United States
after i860.
22
The questions for that year were included
because of interest on the part of the Superintendent of
the Census.
23
Historical Statistics, p. 506, Series S 3-5.
By 1955 the total power of prime movers was
estimated to be 7,272,997 j^30 horsepower, more than 850
times that of 1850, a sizeable increase indeed. Histor
ical Statistics, p. 501.
Power production and consumption have come to be
accepted as one of the best indicators of economic
advancement. Levels of total output correlate highly
with power production. Demands for electric energy in
the United States are expected to double over the next
ten years.


79
of metal required to produce each dollars worth of product.
Nonetheless, demands for new metals have continued to
increase at a very rapid rate, and the amount of metals
in use relative to GNP has not changed markedly. Although
more is being made from each ton of metal, a greatly
increased volume of total production has swamped increases
in efficiency of metals use; the net effect has been a
continually increasing demand for new metals inputs.
These increases in the physical volume of
production often tend to be overlooked since changes in
production in the past century have improved product
quality so greatly. It is quite true that better
implements are being made of metal now than before; iron
used to produce a carriage wheel in i860 might today be
converted into stainless steel used in a supersonic
aircraft. But that fact should not distort the picture
relative to increases in volume. Very few supersonic
aircraft, or anything else for that matter, could be
produced if the amount of metal available for their
construction now were the same as it was in i860.
Improvements in quality have been the product of thought
and planning; increases in quantity have occurred
primarily as a result of increased extraction.
In the past, as projects for which metal was
destined were completed, the need for additional amounts
of the metal to satisfy those ends diminished, a
phenomenon best illustrated by the virtual


On the other hand in recent weeks, some author
itative voices have predicted disaster:
If the present growth trends in world population,
industrialization, pollution, food production, and
resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits
to growth on this planet will be reached sometime
within the next one hundred years. The most probable
result will he a sudden and uncontrollable decline
in both population and industrial capacity.(lO)
Five years ago, except for one or two writers in
the United States, this last gloomy prediction could well
have been interpreted as a kind of "traison des clercs,"
an unmitigated heresy.
The optimism of Barnett and Morse rests upon
theory backed by empirical evidence. In their view,
resources are not simply physical quantities, but
processes; they can grow through technological change;
as Zimmerman said long ago: they are not, they become.^
A body of material too lean or too distant to be used
as a resource at one time may be made relatively richer
through innovation or as a result of changing economic
12
conditions, including increased price. Either
occurrence could effectively increase resources even
though no change occurred in a physical sense. Further,
^Dennis L. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth
(New York: Universe Books, 1972), p. 23-
Erich W. Zimmerman has been one of the major
exponents of this view. (f. Zimmerman, World Resources.
12
Increased price makes sub-marginal deposits
worth mining.


This dissertation was submitted to the Department of
Economics in the College of Business Administration and to
the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.
August, 1972
Dean, Graduate School


26
of acquisition, a resource may be thought of as scarce
if the amount ultimately available relative to demands
is small.
Demands for resources encompass a wide variety
of materials including water, land, air, and the fertility
of the soil, woods and fibres and fuels, and many others.
The effects of production on each of these and their
effects on production would yield a separate story for
each; but no resource has been more important to the
current machine age than metals.
Increased dependence upon machines and other
heavy structures has resulted in an increased dependence
upon metals used in their construction. Because of this
increased dependence an examination of the relationship
between expansions in production and wealth and the
supply of raw metals taken over time is important and
may reveal the extent to which the prodigious rate of
economic growth of the United States during the past
century represented the extraction of initially abundant
but limited resources.
But not all metals are equally important, and
since we are concerned with a general relationship
between metal resources and production, our purposes
will be served by considering only the most important
metals. In terms of quantity and use some metals are
of only marginal importance, and their inclusion would


21
Certainly, the American people have passed into an era of
material progress the likes of which had never been seen
before (and might not be seen again). Material progress
of the kind known during the past century may have been
the result more of peculiar circumstance and natural
abundance than of general laws. We cannot be certain
that progress of the same kind can continue unabated;
nor is it certain that the same kind of progress can be
shared by others who find themselves less well endowed.


upon organic materials. Output was substantial, although
not overwhelming by present standards. But conditions
particularly favorable to rapidly expanding levels of
production had developed.
First, the character of the people facilitated
development of the new land. Both the social order and
the mentality of the people encouraged movement, change,
and material enrichment. As the Census of i860 put it,
people were "free from inherited and overconversative
ideas." Territorial expansion and social and techno
logical innovation had engendered a spirit of change and
conquest, both of new lands and of nature itself.
Second, advances in communications and trans
portation were linking regions that a few years
previously would have been considered almost hopelessly
distant.'*' The telegraph allowed rapid communications
over hundreds of miles; steam power on water and land
moved people and goods with facility. People were drawn
closer to people and to markets.
Third, the technical means of rapidly converting
materials into man-made wealth were at hand. Progress
in measurement, mechanization, and movement allowed
^In 1846, for example, almost all members of a
party of settlers perished when their wagon train became
lost in a snow storm while trying to reach California.
In 1877, just thirty years later, a train completed the
journey from New York to San Francisco via Chicago and
Salt Lake in just one minute less than eighty-four
hours, including all stops.


201
approximately the same throughout the period, rates of
growth in the stock of metals in use would not be greatly
affected.
While additions to metals in use have been greatly
influenced by economic conditions prevailing in any given
year, so that rates of consumption have varied consider
ably not only by year but also by decade, the stock of
metals in use appears to have increased at an exponential
rate during the period I92O-I96O taken as a whole. An
exponential rate of growth in gross national product
would seem to have been matched by an exponential rate
of increase in metals in use.
TABLE 26
COPPER AMD IRON IN USB--ADJUSTED FOR
1860-1900 PRODUCTION
(Millions of 1954 Dollars)
Year
Copper
Iron
i960
21,930
27,442
1920
5,706
9,177
1900
1,905
2,429
Source: Tables 23 and 24. Method of
computation explained above.


CHAPTER III
THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED STATES
PRODUCTION AFTER i860--AN OVERVIEW
It is difficult to grasp completely the amount
of economic change that has occurred within the United
States in the past hundred years or the speed at which
it has taken place. Only two adult lifetimes, put end
to end, have passed since i860, while two thousand years
separates today's man from the birth of Christ and the
power of Rome, four thousand from the strength of the
Egyptian empire, and ten or twelve thousand from the
time when men first became husbandsmen and herdsmen.
Yet, in some respects, the lives men lived in i860, the
sorts of things they produced, and the methods by which
they produced them were as similar to ancient modes as
to those of present day.
The economic progress of the United States since
i860 involved radically new products, machines, and
production methods as well as the production of greater
amounts of goods and services. Advances in quality, in
product types, and in production techniques complemented
increased production levels that put more of the staples
of life as well as luxuries into the hands of common
people.
29


25
animal must be provided for first, then man the man.
The provision of services ultimately relies upon the
"production" of goods and the production of goods
involves the application of men's energies to converting
the materials of the earth into useful forms.
Materials used in that production may be defined
for our purposes as resources. They can be divided into
three categories: those needed for food, for energy,
and for structure. Since not all materials are used in
production, not all materials are resources, and certain
materials used in production at particular points in
3
time may not be used as such at other points in time.
The distinguishing characteristic of a resource, then,
is not just that it is a material, but that it is a
material used in production.
Finally, a resource is abundant or scarce
depending upon the demand for it relative to the amount
available. A given volume of material may be thought
of as abundant if the demands made for it are slight,
or scarce if the demands for it are great. Assuming
a given demand, however, a resource is scarce if it
exists only in small quantities and/or is difficult to
obtain, or abundant if it exists in relatively large
quantities easily obtainable. Without regard to ease
3~
Examples of materials that only recently have
become resources are crude petroleum and radioactive
fuel.


114
with them; increased production still required more
materials and there are limits to the rate at which
land can be made to produce organic materials and to
the quantities of concentrated inorganic materials that
exist.
Increased production of electrical apparatus
required increased quantities of copper, just as
increased production of automobiles required more iron
ore, manganese, coal, and other raw materials used to
produce steel. In short, increased output required
increased* input of raw materials, and as the stock of
goods on hand was increased, the amount of materials
going into those goods was increased as well. The
quality of material goods could be greatly improved
by cleverness, but if more material goods were to he
produced, some kind of material had to be available
from which to make them. The initial requirement of
the productive process, by which raw materials become
finished goods, was, and is, as simple as that; and
the first step in the conversion process is extraction,
the drawing forth of materials from the earth.
Let us consider more closely the relationship
between production and the extraction of natural wealth.
Wealth may be divided broadly into two categories,
natural and man-made. Included in the first may be
everything of value that occurs in a natural state and
in the second anything to which man has lent his


69
1,338 thousand short tons, but the decrease was tran
sitory. By 1950, again bolstered by defense needs,
33
copper consumption reached 1,986 thousand short tons.
Apparent consumption fell after 1950, and did not reach
its former high wartime levels until the early 1960s,
but apparent consumption reached 2,039 thousand tons per
year in 1965 and remained at very nearly the same level
through 1969.^
By i960 the amount of copper going to building
construction had increased to approximately 19 percent
of total copper consumption. Communications construction
and electric power construction accounted for another 19
percent, and producer durables took approximately 32
percent. Motor vehicles maintained a share of about 9
35
percent and consumer durables accounted for 4 percent.
We have looked at the changing nature of the
demands for copper and iron within the United States
during the past century. The demand for both increased
at a spectacular pace between i860 and 1900 as new metals-
oriented industries came into being and expanded.
34
Minerals Yearbook, 1969. p. 452.
35
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 912.


77
Over the same period the use of scrap steel
increased substantially as well. In 1905, for example,
5.6 million tons of steel scrap were used in the
production of 22.4 million tons of steel. By i960,
66.5 million tons of steel scrap were used along with
66.6 million tons of pig iron in the production of new
47
steel. The importance of scrap drawn from obsolete
sources was somewhat less, however; use of obsolete
48
scrap in i960 amounted to only 19.9 million tons, the
remainder being made up of scrap originating in the steel
plants themselves and in the various places in which
steel scrap was a byproduct of further fabrication.
Although approximately 81 percent of old iron
49
and steel scrap could be reclaimed, for various
a
reasons only about 50 percent of all new supplies of
obsolete scrap steel is brought to the furnace. For
one reason, scrap steel prices tend to be more variable
than are pig iron prices and wide variation makes
47 .
Minerals Yearbook. 1940. p. 502; Minerals
Yearbook, i960, p. 635*
4 3
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 874.
49
Cf. U.S. Department of Health, Education and
Welfare, Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Comprehensive
Studies of Solid Waste Management (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970), pp. 106-08; U.S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, Automobile
Disposal, A National Problem (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1967) ; Institute of Scrap
Iron and Steel, Inc., Addresses and Proceedings, Annual
Convention (Washington"] D.C. 1964 and 19&5)


109
Since metals and other structural materials are
the stuff of which material possessions are made, metals
scarcity, reflected in high costs of production, could
restrict economic growth, which depends upon the
acquisition of new quantities of metals for use in new
structures, machines, and implements and to replace
metals lost through wear or dispersion. Xn this sense,
problems involving metals resources are the same as they
ever have been; but in the light of possible metals
scarcity, they have taken on new significance. Metal
that once lay undisturbed in the ground of Minnesota
and Upper Michigan already has been put to use and now
is found in rails that cross the country, in supporting
frames of giant buildings, and as wire and other
implements that serve to transport electric power and
telephone communications. These metals may be kept in
use, but if new additions to the metals stock are
required for future growth, they must be sought elsewhere,
or deeper in the same mines where ores already have
become lean.


122
plus the amount added and actually used in the productive
process is the pertinent concept regarding the contri
bution of capital equipment to the productive effort of
that year. So also is the amount of materials
incorporated in tliat equipment, less the amount of
materials lost, plus the amount added to and participating
in the productive process the proper concept regarding
the contribution of structural materials to the productive
effort of that year. The rate at which production takes
place requires the production of certain quantities of
some materials, such as fuel. The rate at which
production can take place depends not only upon the rate
of production of structural materials for that time
period, but also, and perhaps more importantly, upon the
rate at which the extraction of structural materials has
taken place in the past.
Thus, metals production is associated with the
maintenance and growth of a stock of metals in use. To
the extent that economic growth depends upon increases
in the capital stock, it also depends upon increases
in the stock of metals in use, and in turn upon metals
production. Metals production is associated not only
with rates of production, but also with rates of growth.
Although we can state unequivocally that rates
of economic growth have been associated with increased
demands for new metals, we cannot be certain that any
particular level of production or rate of growth can be


23
in fact represented consumption of irreplaceable wealth.
We have already said that nothing comes from nothing.
From what then, in terms of the consumption of our metal
resources, did our wealth come? By better understanding
the relationship between these aspects of production and
consumption, we might also gain further insight into the
potential ability of others to emulate the American
experience.
Before going further, it is necessary to take a
closer look at some important terms, such as "production,
"resources," and "abundance."
Production is usually defined as the creation
of utility, the making of goods or services for the
satisfaction of human wants; but, "production" and
"productive activities" are very ambiguous terms with
which to deal. Production involves the creation of
utility but it ultimately is concerned with the manip
ulation of materials. As such, production deals not
only with creation but with conversion. Utility is
created. Materials are converted. Substances are
rearranged to suit men's fancy through productive effort,
but the materials from which final items are made must
exist before any production can take place. Ideas and
skills, with nothing to embody them, remain ideas and
skills and nothing more.


65
and about 11 percent to manufactures destined for export;
slightly more than 50 percent was being devoted to elec
trical industries (such as generators, motors, electrical
locomotives, switchboards, light bulbs, telephones and
telegraphs, light and power lines--transmission and
distribution wire and bus bars, and other wire and
receiving sets). The remainder was devoted to other
manufactures including wire cloth, ammunition, castings,
clocks and watches, coinage, copper-bearing steel, fire
fighting apparatus, radiators, railway equipment, ship
building, water heaters, refrigerators, and washing
2b
machines.
The percentages of copper going to each end
use remained remarkably stable throughout the 1920s and
1930s, Electrical industries accounted for 52 percent
of domestic copper consumption in 1939, automobiles for
11 percent, buildings for 11 percent, manufactures for
export 6 percent, and other manufactures for 20 percent.
Even during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933
the proportions going to each domestic end use remained
26
almost exactly the same.
2?
Harold Barger and Sam H. Schurr, The Mining
Industries, 1899-1939. A Study of Output. Employment and
Productivity fNew York: National Bureau of Economic
Research, Xnc., 1944), p. 359, Table A-ll.
25
26
Minerals Yearbook. 1932-33. p. 45.


167
TABLE 8
FARM MACHINERY AND FARM LABOR
PRODUCTIVITY, lpiO-l96O
Inventory Value of
Farm Implements
and Machinery
Year
Index of Output
per Man-hour
(1940=100)
Farm Total
Millions
of
Constant
1954
Dollars
Index
(1940=
100)
i960
319
17,832
309
1950
169
13,952
242
1940
100
5,763
100
1930
79
6,475
112
1920
73
4,342
75
1910
67
2,674
46
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S. Economy.
1900-1966. p. 52, Table 20.
National Income by Source
As farm production increased, workers were freed
(or forced by necessity) to pursue other activities.
Income originating in industries other than agriculture
increased substantially and gains in manufacturing were
particularly impressive as is shown in Table 9.


90
leaner, more and more effort had to be devoted to
subsequent crushing and separating activities at the
surface.
By 1880 the situation had changed considerably.
Drilling activities, formerly done by hand, were being
19
performed by machine with the aid of compressed air.
Electricity was being introduced to the mines for
lighting and power and the men and mules who formerly
had labored in moving ores to the surface were replaced
in that capacity by machines. The introduction of
machinery brought specialization, specialization brought
more efficient organization, and the whole realm of
change tended to increase the amount of ouput that
could be produced per period of time and per man.
But mining techniques, except for the application
of power, were essentially the same as they had been at
the beginning of the nineteenth century. Increased
output resulted from changes in each type of activity
but no new kinds of mining activities actually were
introduced until early in the twentieth century.
19
The move from hand power to machine power was
not without its drawbacks as more and more miners fell
prey to lung diseases caused by the large amounts of
dust generated by powered drills.


39
mineral fuels and metals. Substantial quantities of
resources of almost every description lay ready to be
converted into man-made material wealth, and advances in
transportation and communications were drawing together
a large and rapidly growing population with both the
desire and the wherewithal to insure not only a national,
but an international market for large quantities of
standardized goods. Social systems and institutions
were amenable to the requirements of large scale
production and large scale enterprises, and a spirit of
industry and advance had gripped the people. Finally,
technology was yielding methods that would allow standard
ized parts to be produced and assembled quickly by
mechanical means.
The subsequent evolution of mass production and
mass consumptioij during the lpth century was the
result of advances in two major areas of American
economic and social development. One was progress
in invention and technology which affected the
rate at which improved machinery and equipment
became available for production. The second was
the growth and characteristics of a market that
provided an outlet for an expanding volume and
variety of standardized products.(l6)
Mass production depended upon precise measure
ment so that parts could be fitted together at random
as they were made. It depended upon the availability
of machine tools, upon timely utilization of power and
upon breaking down complex tasks into simple ones, the
Harold F. Williamson, "Mass Production for
Mass Consumption," in Technology in Western Civilization,
X, ed. by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr.
(London: Oxford University Press, lp6y), p. 678.


123
rigidly tied to a given rate of materials production in
general or to demands for any metal in particular. We
cannot be certain, either, that even the general
productive relationship that obtained in the past must
persist in the future. The rate at which new metal
must be obtained depends upon the extent to which metals
in use are retained, upon the substitutability of other
materials for metals, upon changes in technology, and
upon the nature of goods and services produced in general.
Each of these influences can be considered in turn.
The productive relationship existing between raw
metal in the ground and the implements into which it
eventually is fashioned may be divided into several
distinct stages. In order, from the most basic activity
to the latter steps of the productive process they are
as follows.-^
1. Exploration and discovery
2. Mining
3. Concentration (e.g., crushing, beneficiating,
pelletizing)
5
An important part of the production process not
included in this list is the transportation of metal
from point to point. Great distance from fabricating
centers may make relatively richer deposits non
competitive relative to poorer deposits which are
closer. Some sources of scrap metal may be disregarded
because of high costs associated with the collection
and transportation to potential users. Transportation
costs bear a heavy influence throughout the production
process, particularly upon the location of each activity.


61
The internal combustion engine revolutionized
transportation and power production on the roads and on
the farm. Automobiles changed from 2-1/2 horsepower, 5
mile-per-hour, horseless carriages of the 1890s to
multi-cylinder vehicles of increasing size and power.
The industry grew by leaps and hounds. Automobile sales
increased from only 4,192 in lpOO to 181,000 in 1910 and
to 1,905,000 in 1920. By I929t when automobile sales
reached 4,455178 units, the industry was consuming
18.7 percent of all rolled steel mill products, which
at the time amounted to over 47 million tons. For the
same year, other consumer durables and containers each
accounted for 4.9 percent of steel output so that
these three categories taken together accounted for
17
about one-fourth of all steel production.
After 1929 both the absolute and relative
amounts of steel products going to the railroad industry
continued to fall, from 9.8 million tons and 20.8
percent in 1929 to only 3 million tons and 4.2 percent
in i960. In the meantime, steel destined for use in
the production of machinery and industrial equipment
showed the largest relative increase among steel consuming
groups, increasing by i960 to almost four times what it
had been in 1929. The second largest relative increase
17
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 869, Table A16-3.


132
complete back to the resource base. Increased production
implies increased extraction, but the connection is less
than precise.
Since production ultimately involves shaping and
rearranging things so as to make them more useful, and
since that process begins with extraction, it follows
that more "value" can be produced if less effort needs
to be expended upon the acquisition of materials at the
initial stage of production, the extractive stage. If
suitable materials exist in abundance and are readily
extracted with a minimum of labor and capital, potentially
more labor and capital remain for working the materials
into a veriety of complex or desirable goods. If food
can be grown easily, men who might have been farmers
may become musicians. If iron can be readily taken from
the ground, those who might have been miners are free
to become machinists or engineers. If the land is
fertile, if energy resources are plentiful, and if
materials for building are ready at hand, if metals are
abundant in a machine age, then the way is paved so
that the other fine things of life can be produced.
A rich life begins with a rich earth, but
during the past hundred years increasing levels of output
have placed increasing demands upon the earth. A
boundless growth of plenty may sooner or later exceed
the capacity of a rich earth to support its increase.
Unlimited growth as the United States has known it does


191
for new metals. The series of this appendix are derived
from data generated by the Bureau of Mines showing
apparent consumption of iron and copper for the period
I9OO-I96O. These figures incorporate imports and exports
of metals in all forms, from ore to the metal content
2
of final products. They do not include production
from scrap, and as such represent additions to the
domestic stock of metals in use.
Basic data are in terms of constant 195^ dollars.
They can be converted to physical equivalents by using
the following values and weights:
Item
Unit of Quantity Value/
Measure (l,000) Unit
Iron content
Copper content
long ton U0,0U7.U $ 13-50
short ton 835*5 4^7* ^+0
Attention is directed to Figures 3 and 5* For
these charts, the annual additions to metals in use
were summed for the period I9OO-I96O. Increases in
the stock of metals in use are shown for the period
I92O-I96O. Comparison of the stock of metals in use
relative to GNP is facilitated by the fact that
unemployment rates for 1920 and 1960 differed by less
3
than 0.025 points per year of time span.
2~
See Raw Materials in the United States Economy:
1900-1961, pp. 85-86 for method used in computing imports
and exports of metals by content.
3
See Long Term Economic Growth, I86O-I965, p. 107*


107
TABLE 2
WORLD IRON AND COPPER RESERVES3
(Million Tons)
Region
Reserves^
Iron Ore
(long tons)
Reserves
Copper
Content
(short tons)
United States
10,494
85.5
Canada
35,727
10. d
Mexico, Puerto Rico, C. Amer.
573
South America
33,561
83-f?d
Europe
20,964
Union of Soviet Soc. Repub.
108,755
38.5
Africa
6,693
50-d
Middle East, Asia, and Far East
17,027
Australia, N. Z., New Caledonia
16,535
Other
---
4o.od
Total
250,329s
307.9
Reserves are materials that can be mined profitably
under present technologic and economic conditions.
^Source: Minerals Facts and Problems, 1970, p. 297*
Table 1.
CAdapted from Ibid., p. 5^1* Includes principal
commercial world copper reserves.
^"Reported reserves in Australia, mainland China,
Japan, the Philippines, Poland, Republic of South Africa,
and Yugoslavia range from 2 million to 10 million tons
and total about 30 million tons. Smaller but still
significant reserves--totaling about 10 million tons
are in Bolivia, Cuba, Cyprus, Finland, India, Mexico,
Norway, Sweden, Turkey, and about 10 other countries.M
Ibid.
eThese data were estimated originally by the
United Nations and may be overstated, perhaps as much as
by a factor of two. Of. Gerald Manners, The Changing
World Market for Iron Ore, 1950-1980, An Economic
Geography (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins Press for Resources
for the Future, Inc., 1971), pp. 238-39*


62
was shown by appliances and other domestic and commercial
equipment and the third largest by automotive uses.
These latter three categories had taken 28.9 percent
of all steel mill products in 1929; by i960 they accounted
18
for 47.1 percent of the total. In short, the needs of
the domestic private economy increased substantially
throughout the entire period.
On the other hand, the use of steel for ordnance
usually has constituted a rather small portion of the
total iron and steel market. Even though total pro
duction of steel ingots and castings, for example,
increased from 31*3 million long tons in 1913 to 45
million long tons in 1917, a goodly amount of the
increase went into exports. After the lull of the
depression of 1921, steel production quickly recovered,
almost regaining the 1917 output level in 1923 during
peacetime, and surpassing it in 1925 with an output of
some 45,393*524 long tons. The highest level of steel
production attained during the Second World War, 79,318,314
long tons in 1943--of which only 13*9 percent was devoted
19
to ordnance and another 21.4 percent to shipbuilding,
18
These categories do not include steel destined
for use in building construction. Adapted from Ibid.,
pp. 869-70, Table A16-3.
19
American Iron and Steel Institute, Annual
Statistical Report (Philadelphia: American Iron and
Steel Institute, 1944), passim.


APPENDIX A
CHANGING PRODUCTION, i860-1960
The data shown in this appendix supplement
material presented in chapters iii and iv.
Although the causes of changing production and
economic growth cannot be discerned from aggregate data,
the results of these changes can he readily illustrated,
by employment figures, by figures indicating the value
of production and income, and by figures showing changes
in physical volume of output.
Distribution of Workers by Industry, 1860-1960
As the data of Table 4 show, mineral industries
never have employed a large percentage of the total
work force; but increasing minerals production did
furnish necessary materials for mechanized processes on
the farm. As machines became commonplace in agriculture,
the percentage of the working population engaged in raw
materials industries fell from a majority of 6l.5 percent
in i860 to only 8,2 percent in i960, while the percentage
engaged in all other industries increased from 3^.5
percent in i860 to 91>8 percent in i960. The greatest
share of that change occurred because of the exodus
- 163 -


206
WORKS CITED--continued
Kuznets, Simon. Economic Change; Selected Essays in
Business Cycles, Nacional Income and Economic
Growth, New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
Inc., 1953.
. Secular Movements in Production and Prices.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930*
Landes, David S. The Unbound Prometheus, Technological
Change and Industrial Development in Western
Europe from 1750 to the Present. New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1969.
Landsberg, Hans H. Natural Resources for United States
Growth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Tnc., 1964.
; Fischman, Leonard L.; and Fisher, Joseph L.
Resources in America's Future, A Look Ahead to the
Year 2000. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Inc,, 1963.
Leontief, Wassily. "Theoretical Assumptions and Nonobserved
Facts." American Economic Review. LXI (March,
1971), 1-7. -
Lerth, C. K. World Minerals and World Problems. New York:
Whittlesey House, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1931.
McDivitt, James F. Minerals and Men: An Exploration of
the World of Minerals and Its Effect on the
World We Live In. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
Press for Resources for the Future, Xnc., 1965.
McLaughlin, Donald H. "Man's Selective Attack on Ores
and Minerals." International Symposium on Man's
Role in Changing the Face of the Earth. Edited by
William L. Thomas. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1956.
McMahon, Albert Daniel. Copper, A Materials Survey.
U.S. Department of the Interior. Bureau of
Mines Information Circular No. 8225. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1964.


3
out of a theory, hut theory out of economic development.
We like to think of theory not as creating experience,
but helping us to understand experience. At best, the
rationalist mind of pure theory is an imperfect medium to
solve a development problem, which is so very much based
4
upon unique historical experience and empirical data.
Similarly, numbers and trends should be viewed
with caution and accepted only for what they are--the
results of underlying phenomena, and not the phenomena
themselves.
. . one might suggest that the statistician needs
to be receptive to the results of the analytical
theorists, to the suggestions of the student of the
historical scene, and even to the claims and clamor
of the reformers. And he must beware especially of
the danger of identifying mechanically derived lines
with trends; calculated ratios with immutable and
natural laws of constitution, and correlation
coefficients with inviolable laws of causation and
association.(5)
Xn recent months all these fears have been re
echoed by leading members of the profession.^ If economic
The contrast is most sharp in the two disci
plines anthropology and economics. The former is still
essentially empirical; the latter has become the most
abstract and mathematical of all the social sciences. If
at the moment there is a certain disillusionment in the
economics profession, perhaps it is because we are
expecting of theory that which it cannot give.
5
Simon Kuznets, Economic Change, Selected Essays
in Business Cycles, National Income, and Economic Growth
(New York: W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1953)> pp. 294-95*
^Cf. Wassily Leontief, "Theoretical Assumptions
and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review. LXI
(March, 197l), 1-7; Joim G. Gurley, "The State of
Political Economics," American Economic Review, Papers
and Proceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08554 7064


145
productive processes to become smoother and progressively-
automated. Processes formerly performed inefficiently
at far distant places or by awkward methods were combined,
simplified, and performed with increased speed. The new
technology permitted higher rates of production and placed
an increased reliance on materials needed for machines
used by producer and consumer alike. In the light of
changed technology, metals and mineral fuels assumed
new importance.
Finally, an abundance of resources of almost
every kind, including vast amounts of iron and copper
from which to create the complex of machinery and
structures needed for mass production, was on hand.
Resources were but one of the essential
ingredients of progress, and metals but one of those.
Yet the combination of developments in applied technology,
in learning, in social and economic institutions, coupled
with an appropriate spirit of the times in a new and
open environment, afforded conditions that made economic
progress a feasibly and with hindsight, almost a natural
occurrence. Attitudes and religion gave direction,
changing technology and social order afforded the means,
and abundant land and resources furnished the opportunity
for substantial economic advance. A phenomenally
wealthy land had come into the hands of people with the
knowledge, skills, and will to use it.


CHAPTER VI
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRODUCTION,
EXTRACTION, AND GROWTH
We have seen that economic growth during the past
century relied heavily upon the production of metals, and
that these demands had to be met from a declining metals
stock. In order to bring out the implications of that
movement, we shall now examine more closely the relation
ship between production and materials requirements and
supplies, and how that relationship has changed.
Throughout history, productive activities
changed substantially on two occasions; first, when men
began to make implements and to farm, and second, when
men circumvented natural processes and began to use
inorganic materials.
When men lived in caves and foraged for food,
they were very directly a part of nature; much the same
as any other animal. The arrangement of materials
remained largely unaltered, and foraging activities, if
considered productive, would have to be considered in
the same light as those of any other animal, in the
same sense as those of a stalking lion or a hunting bear.
Material well-being was tied closely to the natural
bounty of the earth.
110


favorable view of past changes projected optimistically
into an indefinite future. The accumulation of scien
tific knowledge implied future progress in scientific
thought and there appeared good reason to believe that
such knowledge was capable of indefinite advancement.
The application of scientific knowledge in the form of
12
applied technology to the problems of physical
existence could yield progress for the whole of mankind.
Belief in the operation of fortune and the
intervention of Providence came to be supplanted by the
belief that man might determine his own destiny, or
even that he might be acting only as a role-player in
a deterministic system that would of its very nature
yield constant progress. A rational, mechanical,
technical view of man and his surroundings appeared
and flourished even as the wonder of science laid bare
the secrets of the physical world and as its counterpart,
technology, improved the material lot of man.
It is CtheJ dynamic character of technology that
makes it so significant for the idea of progress.
The latter assumes that mankind has been slowly
advancing from a crude stage of primitive civili
zation; the former demonstrates what can be
accomplished by exhibiting its achievements and
disclosing its working methods. What was once
Utopian becomes actuality. What appears to be
impossible may be surmounted. The ancient theory
Our purposes will be served by defining
technology as the "state of the arts" as they exist at
any one time, including both ideas and methods as well
as applied inventions.


APPENDIX B
COPPER, IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION
AND METALS IN USE, I86O-I96O
Data in this appendix supplement material
presented in chapters iv and v.
B.l Copper, Iron, and Steel
Production, 1860-1960
Increased needs for copper and iron are reflected
in production and consumption figures of those metals.
However, production figures for copper, iron, and steel
reflect not only increased needs of domestic industries,
but also the effects of changing markets and of foreign
trade in ores, finished metals, and final goods.
As a result of large exports, copper output
increased more rapidly than was needed for domestic
production during the period i860 and 1930, while after
19^0 increased copper production was less than adequate
to meet domestic needs. As such, growth rates of copper
production were higher during the initial period and
lower during the latter period than they otherwise
might have been. Since foreign trade did not exert
as strong an influence on iron, growth rates of iron
production reflect domestic needs more adequately
- 176 -


52
substantially after 1860,^^ and as it did, labor was
freed to go into manufacturing and services. In i860,
58.9 percent of the working labor force was engaged in
agriculture; by 1900 the figure had fallen to 37.5
percent, and it continued to decrease thereafter until,
by i960 only 6.3 percent of the labor force was so
39
engaged. More food with less people was certainly
"one of the great phenomena of economic history.
The machine did not produce food, of course;
the producers were farmers working in the nation's rich
soil. Few regions in the world could compare with the
thick, black of earth of Indiana, Illinois, or Iowa when
it came to growing corn, for example; but machines,
hi
especially the reaper, allowed farmers to make the
most of what they had.
As increasing farm production yielded food
enough for the domestic population and more, the nation
turned its energies to manufacturing.
As a nation we might of course have continued after
the turn of the century to devote our industrial
energies to agriculture in relatively the same
degree as formerly, utilize our surplus productive
38
39
40-
See Appendix A, Table 6.
See Appendix A, Table 5-
Clarence H. Danhof, Discussion of Rasmussen's
"Impact of Technological Change," Journal of Economic
History. XXII (December, I962), p. 592.
hi
Harvesting is a critical point in farm
production. Reaping must be accomplished quickly or the
crop is lost.


127
substitutable one for the other. Copper is useful because
It is ductile and is an excellent conductor of electricity.
Aluminum is a good electrical conductor, too, although
less well suited to the task than is copper. Xt is
lighter and stronger than copper, however, and therefore
is useful where strength and lightness are important.
Steel is still stronger and at times can be used in
place of aluminum; and plastics or ceramics may replace
copper, aluminum, or steel in some uses. Packaging
materials may be made of steel, wood, plastic, paper,
or glass. Either aluminum or iron may be used for
engine blocks. Either copper or aluminum may he used
for electrical transmission. Thus, there exists a
veriety of products and uses for which any one of
several materials might be employed.
Whether one material is used in preference to
others depends often upon which material produces the
best results for the least cost, either because of the
low relative cost of the material itself or because
of engineering advantages obtained when a particular
material is used. Scarcity of one material may raise
its cost relative to others, resulting in substitution
of a lower cost (and possibly more abundant) material
for the higher cost one. Substitutability therefore
makes the exhaustion of one or a few materials a less
critical problem than it otherwise would be.


121
such as iron and copper are produced reflect not only-
rates of current production, but also the rate at which
new capacity- for increased future production is formed.
A simple, straightforward analysis of the
relationship between production of any one year and the
demand for structural materials during that year under
states the importance of structural materials to the
total production of that period. The amounts of structural
materials "consumed" during the production of any given
year reflect only additions to the stock of materials
in use, and it is the concept of total "materials in
use" that is important.
During any given year a certain amount of material
is processed into forms from which useful implements
are fashioned. Since such items usually are useful for
a long period of time, materials included in them also
are useful for the same period. Thus, the need for
structural materials in the productive process is the
need for materials in use, those incorporated in
buildings and machinery. Comparing "apparent consumption"
of structural materials to the overall output of any
given year is as misleading conceptually as comparing
production for any given year to the amount of capital
formation that occurred during that year.
The stock of capital goods used during a
given year, less the amount lost through wear or discard,


194
1920 1930 i9ho i950 i960
Figure 3. Copper in Use, I92O-I96O.
Source: Table 23,


37
mine. Of the leading manufactures of i860, the
production of flour and meal held first place with an
annual value of products of $2b8,580,365. Next came
cotton goods, far behind at $107,337,783, followed by
sawed lumber at $93,338,606, boots and shoes at $91,889,298,
and men's and women's clothing at a combined gross value
of $87,211,59^-
Cast, forged, rolled, and wrought iron combined
to a total gross value of $73,175,332 in i860, not as
high as sawed lumber but higher than liquors which
stood at $56,588,166.11 Four hundred and four iron
furnaces consumed about 1,579,309 tons of ore and
produced about 564,755 tons of pig iron, to be used
principally in the production of various kinds of rail
road eqiupment, iron wire, nails and spikes, rivets,
12
boiler plate, machinery, stoves and ranges and anchors.
Steel, used in the production of various kinds of
tools, springs for cars, carriages, and locomotives,
steel wire, nails and spikes, bolts, nuts, washers and
rivets, scales and balances, and the various products
used in blacksmithing, was produced in smaller quantities
even than iron.
^^U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Manufactures of the United States in i860;
Conrpil_ed_From_the_Ori^inaJ^_Re_turns_of_the_Ei^hth_Censusm
(Washington, C.: Government Printing Office, 1865),
pp. 733-42.
12Ibid., pp. clxxviii-cxci.


160
Yet, the idea of fitting productive activities
into the flow of nature, of using but not destroying
nature, is the important consideration essential to
long-run survival and to long-run survival in comfort.
Xn earlier times, most men were close to the earth
and knew intimately the source of their sustenance.
Many still do. The causes of productive excesses that
occurred may be laid largely either to ignorance of the
results that would follow potentially destructive
practices such as overgrazing or to a concept of vastness
of the earth that seemed to make its bounty all but
limitless. Then, of course, there was greed.
But men must be concerned with their resources
and environment, and although few people would seem so
far removed from the earth and the direct concerns for their
sustenance than the modern urban American, a consuming
public, detached for the most part from the earth, is
nonetheless bound to the earth as greatly and dependent
upon it as strongly as ever. Survival and survival in
comfort depend upon the continued fecundity of the earth
and upon an abundant supply of the earth's resources; and
it is survival that is essential, not growth.
In the course of this study we have attempted
to examine the economic growth of the United States


187
Thousand Short Tons
Figure 2. U.S. Production of Refined Copper from Primary
and Secondary Source Materials, and Production from Old
Scrap, I9IO-I96O.
Source: McMahon, Copper, A Materials Survey, p. 189, Figure
36; Production from Old Scrap adopted from Minerals Yearbook,
19^5. p. 122, Minerals Yearbook, 1965, p. 356*


63
which was proceeding with great haste at the time--was
matched by peacetime production of 79>1^3277 long tons
20
in 1948. Remembering that a great deal of existing
machinery and equipment was devoted to war ends during
the lpUOs, one readily can understand the consequent
assumption that wars have made exceedingly heavy demands
upon metal resources. But the diversion of metals from
domestic to war industries for short periods of time
did not constitute a significant drain on metal
resources when compared to the total metal demand exhib
ited over the past hundred years for non-military uses.
The output of the steel industry during wartime has
come to be exceeded each year by the demands of the
domestic economy; even if all the metal produced during
the war years had been lost, the amount of metal lost
due to wars would not have begun to approach the amount
of iron mined, fabricated, and put to use in the economy
over the past hundred years. Between the two great
wars, the production of steel for use in ordnance was
insignificant. During periods of peace following World
War IX, it amounted to only two or three hundred
thousand tons of steel per year, and even during the
Korean conflict it reached a maximum of only three
million tons.^^
20
Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-203*
21
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 870, Table A16-3*


TABLE 15
RATES OF GROWTH IN DOMESTIC COPPER ORE (MINE RECOVERABLE
content) production by decade, 1860-1960
(Production in Short Tons)
Period
Average
Production
Percent
Increase
Over
Previous
Decade
No. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels of
Production
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
968,954
9.8
5
5
824,846
(1959)
1,104,156
(1956)
191+1-1950
882,868
69.7
5
5
608,737
(1946)
1,090,818
(1943)
1931-1940
520,220
29.6
6
4
190,643
(1933)
878,086
(1940)
1921-1930
739,154
3.0
7
3
233,095
(1921)
997,555
(1929)
1911-1920
762,207
77.3
6
4
557,382
(1911)
1,002,938
(1916)
1901-1910
429,834
97.7
7
3
301,036
(1901)
563,261
(1909)
1891-1900
217,436
165.0
9
1
142,061
(1891)
303,059
(1900)
1881-1890
82,041
280. 5
9
1
35,840
(1881)
129,882
(1890)
1871-1880
21,560
97.3
9
1
14,000
(1872)
30,240
(1880)
1861-1870
10,926
n/a
8
2
8,400
(1861)
14,112
(1870)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M 225 AND
Minerals Yearbook, 1965. p. 356*
178


CHAPTER V
THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER i860
Even though changing technology and expanding
production caused increased demands to be made for iron
and copper within the United States after i860, domestic
mines proved more than equal to the task by increasing
their metals production apace. In i860 United States
mines produced only 2.9 million long tons of usable
iron ore and 8.0 thousand short tons of copper.^ By
1900 iron ore production had increased tenfold to some
27.3 million long tons, and copper production to 303
thousand short tons. Rates of metals extraction
continued to increase rapidly, and by lp60 iron ore
production had reached 88.8 million long tons and
domestic copper production had grown to 1.08 million
short tons.^
^Iron ore figures represent usable ore, the
iron content of which has varied from year to year,
generally ranging from about 40 to 60 percent.
Copper figures represent copper content of mined ores.
2
Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66 Series M
195-200, p. 368, Series M 225.
81


152
evident that many aspiring nations are poor and will
likely remain so. Moreover, the idea that technology
works a sort of magic that can yield great benefits
to everyone simply is not true. Some improvement
might be gained, but even that may not he much; at
least insofar as increased production requires adequate
resources. Some may grow substantially, but not all.
There simply are not enough resources to go around,
and those who would develop now may have come too late.
We do not really know the limiting factor. I
think we can demonstrate, for instance, that in
all probability the presently under-developed
countries are not going to develop. There is not
enough of enormous numbers of elements which are
essential to the developed economy. Xf the whole
world developed to American standards overnight,
we would run out of everything in less than ten
years.(U)
Developed countries like the United States were
fortunate to gain access to vast stores of mineral
deposits when they did since minerals tend to move to
established markets and processing centers where capital
5
and skilled labor are found. By exploiting minerals
deposits early, developed countries established
productive centers and markets that could make best use
of those that remain. The situation is not so fortunate
Kenneth E. Boulding, ,rFun and Games with the
Gross National Product," in The Environmental Crises,
ed. by Harold W. HeIfrich (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1970), p. 166.
5
Thus, for example, oil from Alaska is brought
to the continental United States; iron from Venezuela
and Minnesota moves to Pittsburgh and thence to other
producing and consuming centers.


210
WORKS CITED--continued
. Report on the Manufactures of the
United States at the Tenth Census. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, I883.
. Twelfth Census of the United States,
Manufactures. Washington, D. C.: Government
Printing Office, 1902.
. U.S. Department of the Interior.
Bureau of Mines. Raw Materials in the United
States Economy: 1900-1966. Bureau of the Census
Working Paper No. 30* Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1969.
. "Technological Trends in the Minerals
Industries (Metals and Nonmetals Except Fuels).M
Preprint. 1969 Minerals Yearbook. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, n. d.
U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Bureau
of Solid Waste Management. Comprehensive Studies
of Solid Waste Management. Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970.
U.S. Department of the Interior. Bureau of Mines.
Automobile Disposal, A National Problem.
Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1967.
. Copper." Mineral Resources of the
United States. Part I. Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1928.
. Minerals Facts and Problems. Bureau
of Mines Bulletin No. 650. Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970.
. Minerals Yearbook. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1932-1969*
Voskuil, Walter H. Minerals in World Industry. New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1955
Ward, Barbara; Anjou, Lenore N.; and Runnalls, J. D., eds.
The Widening Gap: Development in the 1970s.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.


198
TABLE 25
TOTAL IRON AND FERROALLOY METALS--APPARENT CONSUMPTION--
ADDITIONS TO METALS IN USE AND AVERAGE ANNUAL
ADDITION BY DECADE, I9OO-I96O
(Millions of 1954 Dollars)
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
1900
260
260
1930
520
13,689
1901
300
560
1931
283
13,972
1902
324
884
1932
98
14, 070
1903
321
1,205
1933
184
14,254
1904
214
1,419
1934
224
14,478
327
352
1905
324
1,767
1935
301
14,779
1906
389
2,156
1936
515
15,294
1907
417
2,573
1937
644
15,938
1908
2 89
2,862
1938
261
16,199
1909
4 06
3,268
1939
490
16,689
1910
460
3,728
1940
707
17,396
1911
336
4,064
19U1
991
18,387
1912
411
4,475
1942
1,107
19,494
1913
488
4,963
1943
1,115
20,609
1914
332
5,295
1944
1,006
21,615
478
943
1915
419
5,714
1945
927
22,542
1916
587
6,301
1946
777
23,319
1917
620
6,921
1947
833
24,152
1918
635
7,556
1948
1,047
25,199
1919
4 95
8,051
1949
916
26,115
1920
549
8,600
1950
1,156
27,271
1921
221
8,821
1951
1,304
28,575
1922
395
9,216
1952
1,215
29,790
1923
569
9,785
1953
1,577
31,367
1924
468
10,253
1954
1,215
32,582
512
1,302
1925
568
10,821
1955
1,433
34,015
1926
607
11,428
1956
1,416
35,431
1927
548
11,976
1957
1,491
36,922
1928
536
12,512
1958
1,060
37,982
1929
657
13,169
1959
1,156
39,138
i960
1,191
40,329
Source: Computed from data in Raw Materials in
the U.S. Economy: 1900-1961, p. 107.


heat, light, and motive power had been underway for some
time. The telegraph had been invented in 1845 and was
in general use for communications by the time of the
Civil War. The earliest electrical machinery had been
produced in the eighteenth century, and Sir Humphrey
Davy had succeeded in producing an electric light in 1809
Experiments in electric lighting and power
continued throughout the middle of the nineteenth century
but not until October, 1879 > was a commercially success
ful electric lamp developed, one that would burn many
hours and could be produced relatively cheaply. The
feat was accomplished, of course, by Thomas A. Edison,
who established the famous Peart Street generating
station in New York in 1882 and achieved wealth and
20
fame in the electrical industry. A description of the
subsequent expansion of the electrical industry as
anything short of phenomenal would be a serious under
statement. Tn 1906 almost 50 million electric lamps
were sold in the United States; and that particular
application of electricity represented but one part of
the whole product of electrical and related industries.
29
Fred A. Shannon, The Centennial Years, A
Political and Economic History of America from the Late
1870s to the Early 1890s. ed. by Robert Huhn Jones
(Garden City,New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,
1967), pp. 241-43.


171
TABLE 12
SHARE OF NATIONAL INCOME BY SELECTED INDUSTRIES,
1929 AND 1965
(Money in Billions of Current Dollars)
National
Income
1965 as
Percent
of 1929
1929
1965
All Industries
86.8
559.0
644
Manufac tuning
All Goods
21.9
170.4
779
Durable Goods
11.3
104.8
927
Machinery (incl el)
2.9
32. 6
1,124
All Industries less Mach.
83.9
526.4
628
Source: Computed from National Income and Product
Accounts of the U.S., 1929-1965, pp. 18-21, Table 1.12.
Gross National Product and National Income
figures do not reflect changing production precisely.
Services have not increased rapidly as a percent of
computed GNP, for example, partly because services
performed in the creation of goods output is included in
GNP as an increase in the value of goods output.
Similarly, in increase in automobile transportation
versus purchased transportation has tended to increase
the percentage share of consumer durables at the expense
of services, as has watching television rather than going
to the movies 1
1Survey of Current Business, XXXVII (June, 1957),
pp. 4-10.


The argument presented in this thesis is that
economic progress can be viewed only as economic change
and that economic change cannot be divorced from the
particular circumstances of people, place, and time. In
this sense, the economic experience of the (Jnited States
during the past hundred years, from which so many develop
ment schemes have been abstracted, must be viewed as
exceptional; not least because of its initial abundance
of natural resources; much of what has come to be called
economic growth really has represented nothing more than
the rapid exploitation of natural wealth; to a large
degree, production has represented extraction.
Demands for resources encompass a wide variety of
materials; but no resources have been more important to
the current machine age than metals. Of the various metals,
iron and copper have been particularly important, not only
because of their use in many different kinds of production,
but also because they are used in great quantity. They
represent the bulk metals used for production in a
modern economy. In this study an analysis of their
supply and disposition serves to illustrate the role metals
extraction has played in the growth of the United States
economy.
In analyzing the relation between production and
the extraction of metals, overall levels of output and
changes in output by categories are compared over the past
century. With the changing nature of production estab
lished, metals needs relative to production are then
x


200
Source: Table 25.


89
In i860 almost all work in the mines was done
manually, and almost all mining was performed underground.
Men worked by light of candles or burning lamps, venti
lation was poor and drilling necessary for the placement
l8
of explosive charges was done by hand.
In all, the miner's job required considerable
hard work and technical skill, both in mining and in the
selection of ores. Men labored on a piecework basis,
paid by the amount of ore brought to the surface, and
care was taken to work the richest veins of ore as
thoroughly as possible. Waste was minimized and subse
quent refining made easier by precautions taken to insure
that the richest ores were not diluted by low-grade ore
or outright extraneous materials. To prevent the
addition of too much non-metallic substance necessitated
a minimum of blasting and a maximum of picking.
Once freed from its surroundings, ore was
broken, again by hand, into pieces of manageable size,
hand loaded and transported to the surface with the
use of animal power, usually mules, but not
infrequently by men. Iron ore at that stage generally
was of sufficient purity to be shipped directly to blast
furnaces; but with copper, the same happy situation did
not usually prevail, and as grades of copper ore became
l8
Drilling required considerable skill on the
part of each member of the drilling team, since one man
held the drill in place, turning it occasionally, while
the others struck it hard with a hammer.


12
recently have we come to appreciate the role of natural
resources in the development of the United States economy.
Compared to the emphasis placed upon income, saving, and
trade in conventional literature, the role of natural
resources has been a neglected subject.
The poor are poor, it would seem, because they
have low incomes. They have low incomes because they are
poor. Inadequate incomes generate inadequate saving
which produces inadequate investment in both physical
and human capital. These factors together conspire to
keep the poor nations poor, and whether the way out of
this dilemma lies in the engineering of a "big push"
for the economy or in "unbalanced growth" is anybody's
guess. The important thing for us is that the problem
is seen more from the side of effective demand than
from effective supply. The implication is that sufficient
resources are to be had if only they could be employed.
Swayed by the optimism engendered by a belief in
progress, perhaps as a result of Western experience,
we have come to focus attention more upon questions of
opulence than upon the time-honored question of scarcity.
Yet, until very recent times, it was scarcity and not
plenty that was at the center of economic theory.
If we may now direct attention from the
demand to the supply side of the picture, the neglect
of natural resources is still apparent. Although
production generally is thought to depend upon the
numbers and qualities of people, the quantity and quality


72
The higher rates of growth of metals in use than
of apparent consumption are to be expected. Stocks of
metals in use would increase even if annual additions to
the stocks (apparent consumption) were to remain exactly
the same for each successive year. Growth rates of
annual apparent consumption represent what is, in effect,
the first derivative of the rate of growth of stocks of
metals in use, to which growth in GNP is more directly
related. Comparing rates of growth in GNP to rates of
growth in apparent consumption of metals has caused
metals to have been viewed as less important than they
actually have been.
While rates of growth in annual production and
apparent consumption of metals can be compared only
indirectly to the rate of growth in GNP, these rates of
growth are important insofar as they reflect demands
made upon resources; the higher the rates of withdrawal,
the more rapid is the decline in the quality of metals
resources that remain, and the more difficult is their
acquisition. On the other hand, the greater is the
amount of value generated by production per ton of
metal, the greater is the value of production that can
be obtained from the use of any given metals supply.
Mining and metals resources will be considered in the
next chapter, but increased efficiency of metals can
be considered here.


Ill
The nature of production changed when men began
to make tools, build shelters, cultivate crops, and act
as herdsmen. Man's means of making a living was
revolutionized. Nature was rearranged, its raw elements
changed, shaped, and combined so as to better suit men's
fancy, and as knowledge progressed, so too did the
extent of rearrangment; the ways men dealt with the
world and its materials changed as well. Men became
engaged not only in acquisition but also in production;
not only in finding but also in converting materials
into useful products.
Production required three kinds of materials--
those needed for food, for energy, and for structure
and men used mostly materials easily found and worked.
Human and animal power and wind furnished energy;
stone, clay, and wood provided construction materials;
wild and domesticated plants and animals supplied
materials for food and clothing. To obtain foods and
fibres, men waited upon nature to convert minerals into
animal and vegetable substances. Except for relatively
rare and specialized uses of metals for utensils and
certain kinds of war equipment, minerals tended not to be
exploited directly but most often were processed initially
by other living things. Thus rates of production depended
upon the rate at which organic processes converted minerals
into useful forms and growth in production depended upon
the acquisition of more land.


CHAPTER IV
THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, I86O-I96O
Although iron, copper, and steel were mutually
important to new kinds of production after i860, their
stories, in some respects, are more conveniently told
separately.
As we have said, in i860 iron and steel output
was small and markets were limited chiefly to railroads.
Between i860 and 1880 both situations changed substan
tially. First, iron and steel production grew very
rapidly, not only absolutely but also in relation to
other industries. Pig iron production increased almost
fivefold, from 920 thousand short tons in i860 to 4.3
million short tons, and steel production showed a
tenfold increase, from 11.8 thousand long tons to 1.2
million long tons;1 increases that established the
production of iron and steel and their products in third
place among all manufactures in 1880 with a gross value
of products of $659 million, exceeded by food and
^Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M 207
p. 4l6, Series P 203. The excess of pig iron over steel
production for 1880 illustrates the continued importance
of iron relative to steel at that time.
- 55 -


73
Throughout the past century, minerals have tended
to be used with increasing efficiency. Greater efficiency
in fuel use, as is commonly known, has greatly increased
the amount of work that can be performed by burning a
ton of coal or a gallon of oil. Similar increases in
production per ton of iron and copper have occurred as
a result of improvements in the quality of the metals
themselves, and of changes in metals markets, and in the
4l
complexity of final products. Greater production per
ton of new metal also has resulted from the recovery of
old scrap and from the substitution of other materials
for iron and copper in some processes. Each of these
influences will be considered in turn.
Improvements in quality have been particularly
b2
important to iron and steel.
As a matter of fact, it is rather misleading to
talk simply about "steel," This term may have
been justified in the early days of the industry
when plain carbon steel was its chief product,
but today there is actually a large family of
steels covering a wide variety of useful prop
erties. Many of these steels are tailor-made
for a particular application. As one example,
silicon steels are specially designed to allow the
maker of electrical machinery to take full advantage
of their unique electrical and magnetic qualities.
Again, special alloy steels of high toughness at
41
Production of steel ingots per $1^60 billions
of durable goods and construction fell from .93 million
tons in 1929 to .65 million tons in i960. See Landsberg,
Resources in America's Future, p. 890, Table A16-21.
42
This has been true in other industries as well.
Cf. William Woodruff, "Growth of the Rubber Industry of
Great Britain and the United States," Journal of Economic
His to ry, XV (December, 1935) > 376-91*


209
WORKS CITED--continued
"The Nationalist Barriers Go Higher." Business Week.
December 19, 1970, 126-28.
The Solid Waste Disposal Act. Title XX. Public Law
89-272. 89th Congress. S. 306. 1965.
Thomas, William L., Jr., ed. International Symposium on
Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956.
Towne, Marvin W. and Rasmussen, Wayne D. "Farm Gross
Product and Gross Investment in the Nineteenth
Century." Trends in the American Economy in
the Nineteenth Century. National Bureau of Economic
Research Conference on Research in Income and Wealth.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,
I960.
U.S. Department of Commerce. The National Income and
Product Accounts of the United States. 1929-1965.
Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1966.
. Bureau of the Census. Historical Statistics
of the United States. Colonial Times to 1957.
Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
i960.
. Historical Statistics of the United States.
Colonial Times to 1957 Continuation to 1962 and
Revisions. A Statistical Abstract Supplement.
Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1965.
. Long Term Economic Growth, 1860-
1965. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1966.
. Manufactures of the United States in
i860; Compiled from the Original Returns of the
Eighth Census. Washington, D. C. : Government
Printing Office, 1865.
. Raw Materials in the United States
Economy: 1900-1961. Bureau of the Census
Working Paper No. 6. Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1964.


157
to represent, and still represent for many, both
13
desirable and attainable goals. But an unlimited
growth of production does not set well with a limited
environment.
Recently, concern for the limits of the earth
has re-emerged, on a scale in some circles and on some
lU
subjects approaching panic proportions. It has become
apparent that the wanton exploitation of the earth
might involve undesirable costs and might offer
possibilities we would not like to imagine. Growth for
growth's sake has come to be questioned, and even recog
nized by some as the philosophy of a cancer cell.
Further, growth of income for some at the exclusion, and
possibly at the expense, of others, the untoward gobbling-up
13
Some would go further, and consider growth not
just desirable, but essential. On the other hand, see
William Woodruff, Impact of Western Man (New York:
St. Martin's Press'] 1967) pi xv:
"I suspect that economic growth--like so many
other aspects of our work that have managed to claim
a disproportionate part of our time in the past--is
receiving more attention than its true importance
warrants. There is nothing fundamentally new about
economic growth (or decline) except our present
obsession with it. Despite the present high rate of
increase in material well-being of certain nations,
most men do not face self-sustained, continuous
economic growth;' they face the problem of survival."
lU
The most distressed seem to be those whose
main concern lies in population growth. Yet the
greatest polluters and the greatest users of resources
are not the many who live outside of industrialized
areas, but the few who live within them.


192
To obtain annual rates of growth in metals in use
for 1920-1960, the basic data were modified to take
increases in apparent consumption for the period 1860-1900
into account. Since no equivalent Bureau of Mines data
exist for I86O-I9OO, changes in iron and copper production
for the period were used to obtain an approximate figure
for total metals added.
Copper production for 1861-1900 was approximately
50 percent of total copper production for 1900-1920.
Therefore, the figure for copper in use in 1920 was
increased by 50 percent and the figure for i960 by the
same absolute amount. Exports for 1861-1900 and 1900-1920
were assumed to be the same percentage of total production
for both periods. Pig iron shipments for the period I86O-
1900 were approximately 36 percent of shipments for 1900-
1920. Therefore, the figure for iron in use in 1920 was
increased by 36 percent and the figure for i960 increased
by the same absolute amount. As with copper, exports
were assumed to he the same for both 1860-1900 and
1900-1920. The amounts by which 1920 and i960 copper
and iron figures were increased represents an estimate
of copper and iron in use in 1900.
Absolute quantities are overstated to the degree
that metals have been lost from the stock of metals in
use. However, if the percent lost per year were


9k
had begun to fall but the introduction of open pit,
non-selective mining methods and increased use of the
flotation process reversed the trend after 1910.
Productivity has continued to rise since. The intro
duction of open pit operations in iron mining on a
broader scale and at an earlier date probably
forestalled any general decline in productivity per man
in that industry, and the history of iron mining has
2k
shown increases in productivity throughout.
Increasing productivity in the minerals
industries and a constancy in the prices of minerals
2 5
relative to other prices have led some to believe
that the problem of materials scarcity has been over
come.
For changes in productivity in iron and
copper mining, Cf. Barger and Schurr, The Mining
Industries, 1899-1939, pp. 210-13 and pp. 225-27
for the period 1880-1939; and U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census and U.S. Department of the Interior,
Bureau of Mines, Raw Materials in the United States
Economy: 1900-1966, Bureau of the Census Working Paper
Mo. 30^Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1969), pp. 39-43.
2 5
Harold J. Barnett and Chandler Morse, Scarcity
and Growth, The Economics of Natural Resource Availabil
ity (Baltimore: JohnsHopkins~~PressforResourcesfor
the Future, 1963), PP- 203-06, 210, 212-13- Original
data for the Barnett and Morse study appear in Neal
Potter and Francis T. Christy, Jr., Trends in Natural
Resource Commodities, Statistics of Prices, Output,
Consumption, Foreign Trade and Employment in the United
States, I87O-I957 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Jnc., 1962). Summary data for
iron prices, output, and consumption appear on p. 37; the
same data for copper appear on p. 38. Copper prices appear
on p. 5^2 and those for iron on p. 33^.


i ho
Whatever the actual lifetimes of individual
reserves might be, and they could vary considerably,
the point remains; if present trends continue; if they
do and technology cannot meet the demands made on it,
the question of resource exhaustion becomes not if,
but when. But current trends may not continue, and
therein lies the principal weakness of both studies.
It is in keeping with what we have so often said
in this manuscript that both the Club of Rome and
Barnett and Morse' studies have given numbers a reality
all their own. Yet, while numbers reflect economic
activity, they are not themselves the activity; they
result from it. The activities they describe are
separate, real, physical phenomena. What factors
caused economic growth to occur in the recent past and
which were most important cannot be determined with
certainty; quite definitely they cannot be expressed
in a number. Growth results essentially from qualitative,
not quantitative change. What we do know is that the
growth that resulted, insofar as it represented an
increased volume of output of metals, represented
extraction. Neither production nor growth in production
can be viewed as a separate phenomenon from extraction.
As the different results of the two studies show,
whether future growth (in the same sense) can continue
at the same rate depends upon technology; now whether


100
those rich deposits was a fortunate happenstance, and
technology will be faced with a more difficult task in
the future.
In the first place, shortages of rich domestic
ores in the United States have occurred only recently.
Therefore, stable prices and decreasing labor and
capital costs relative to output were consistent with
deteriorating concentrations, even in the face of
increasing demand, so long as the rate of technical
advance or scale economies exercised a stronger influence
on costs and prices than did declining ore yields. The
initial minerals position of the United States was one of
super abundance, and with resources extensive enough,
costs might decline or remain constant for a long time,
but not necessarily forever.
Second, labor and capital costs are not the only
costs involved. Increased power, for example, requires
increased fuel consumption which in turn can mean
30
higher costs of production and increases in productivity
have required large increases in power. While only 5
horsepower were employed per production worker in 1902
in all metal mining, 98 horsepower were employed per
production worker in 1963. Horsepower employed per
30
Provided that fuel prices do not decrease
or that efficiency of fuel use does not increase by
enough to offset increased energy requirements.


WORKS CITED--continued
Weeks, Joseph D. Superintendent of" the Census. Report
on the Statistics of Wages in Manufacturing Indus
tries ; With Supplementary Reports on the Average
Retail Prices of Necessaries of Life and on
Trades Societies, and Strikes and Lockouts.
Vol. XX. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing
Office, 1886.
Williamson, Harold F. "Mass Production for Mass
Consumption." Technology in Western Civilization,
The Emergence of Modern Industrial Society
Earliest Times to 1900. Edited by Melvin
Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. Vol. I.
London: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Woodbury, Robert S. "Machines and Tools." Technology in
Western Civilization, The Emergence of Modern
Industrial Society Earliest Times to 1900.
Edited by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell,
Jr. Vol. I. London: Oxford University Press,
1967.
. The Legend of Eli Whitney and Interchangeable
Parts. Publications in the Humanities.
Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
196b.
Woodruff, William. "Growth of the Rubber Industry of
Great Britain and the United States." Journal
of Economic History, XV (December, 1955T~>
376-91.
. Impact of Western Man, A Study of Europe1s
Role in the World Economy 1750-1960. New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1967.
, and Woodruff, Helga. "Economic Growth: Myth
or Reality; The Interrelatedness of Continents
and the Diffusion of Technology, I86O-I96O."
Technology and Culture, VII (Fall, 1966).
Zimmermann, Erich W. World Resources and Industries.
New York: Harper & Bros., 1951


113
undertaken, and the speed with which minerals could be
put to use. Reliance shifted from the slow acquisition
of plentiful or renewable resources to the rapid
exploitation of non-renewable resources.^ Where once
productive activity had consisted of harvesting or
simple manufacture based on natural processes, it changed
to rely upon mining activities, upon true extraction.
Wood in houses came to be replaced by iron in skyscrapers.
Horsepower developed by fuel burning metal engines
replaced animal power. Even organic processes were
wrung for more and more produce as land was made to
yield two bushels of grain where it had yielded one.
Increases in production could occur at a much more rapid
pace and new materials could be drawn not only from the
land's surface, but from beneath the surface as well; it
was almost as if a whole new world had been discovered
and its resources made available for man's use.
But while the new kinds of production changed
the nature of materials problems, it did not do away
Labeling some resources as renewable and others
as not renewable is somewhat arbitrary and misleading. In
fact, a resource material may be thought of as being
renewable so long as the rate at which it becomes avail
able in usable form equals or exceeds its rate of
exhaustion. Until recently, for example, the rate at
which our forests were cut exceeded the rate at which they
were replanted. On the other hand, salt is deposited at a
rate that makes its exhaustion unlikely. It is therefore
a renewable resource. Most mineral concentrations are
renewed very slowly, however, at a rate figured in terms
of geological time insofar as iron, copper, and most
other metals are concerned.


75
has been shared by both iron and copper. For example,
the production of rails was a relatively simple operation;
steel rails made right at the plant could be installed
without further processing. When steel left the plant
destined for use in automobiles and other complex
machinery, however, a large amount of additional value
was generated as the raw steel was worked into progress
ively more complex shapes. Consequently a much larger
value of total production per unit of steel was generated.
The case for copper was much the same. As the
proportion of copper going into simple wire decreased
relative to the amount going into items requiring sub
sequent manufacture, the value of final products per
unit of copper increased as well.
Not only have changing markets resulted in more
value produced per unit of metal, but increasing
complexity of products within each market category has
increased value per unit of metal as well. Thus, war
equipment, automobiles, machine-tools, and aircraft, as
examples, became considerably more complex, and increased
complexity has served to make them more valuable.
The substitution of other materials for iron,
steel, and copper also has tended to decrease the amount
of metal needed to generate any given level of output.
Aluminum and plastics have been particularly important
in that regard, not only capturing some former iron,
copper, and steel markets, but also denying markets that


13
of capital, the amount, quality, and location of resources,
and upon the state of technology, in fact most attention
has been devoted to considerations of capital and capital
formation; and, to some degree, to questions regarding
technology. Almost any text in economic history, for
example, might include sections dealing with capital and
capital markets, with technology and industry, with
transportation systems, and to some extent, with people.
It would deceive the reader to pretend that
the importance of natural resources has been overlooked.
Many historians try to deal with it. The longer accounts
make the timeworn treatments of iron, copper, coal and
petroleum, and sometimes electricity. The customary-
puddling, Bessemer convertor and open hearth treatment
is given to steel. The Gogebic, Vermillion, and Mesabi
iron ranges are given occasional and brief mention. The
necessity of adequate transportation facilities and the
fortunate juxtaposition of iron, coal, lakes, and fertile
farmland sometimes are noted. The change in the United
States trade position in recent times, from that of
being a net exporter of raw materials, is fairly common
knowledge; however, the reader is usually left with the
impression that the productive might of the United States
industrial machine has simply outstripped the ability of
the raw material producing sector to meet the nation's
needs; whereas a large part of the cause of the drift
actually lies in the relative exhaustion of the richest
domestic ores.


128
Substitution does not obviate the problem of
scarcity, however; although it does make the problem
less severe and shifts the burden from one material to
several. While materials often are interchangeable over
broad ranges, there exist many uses in which certain
materials enjoy overwhelming advantages. Copper instead
of the more bulky aluminum is much better adapted to
electric circuitry miniaturization, for example; and
steel has no close substitute where great strength on
a large scale is essential.^ Substantial increases in
cost might be required to bring about the substitution
of one material for another in many uses, and for
7
other materials there may be no comparable substitute.
Although real cost increases result in substitution
and sometimes have been viewed as a partial solution
to materials problems, the nature of the problem itself
is one of higher costs; the problem cannot be viewed as
its own solution; it usually is better to have more than
less, and lower costs than higher.
Growth also would be possible even if material
production in general were not to increase as rapidly
^Note that the reinforcing material used in the
headquarters buildings of the major aluminum companies
is steel.
7
Steel costs would have to rise substantially
before other materials would be substituted for it in
heavy structures such as buildings and bridges, for
example; and manganese has no close substitute in the
production of quality steel.


Millions of 1954 Dollars
Figure 6. Five-Year Averages of Ferroalloys Apparent Consumption,
1900-1960.
Source: Table 25.
199


86
tons, of which Pennsylvania contributed 508,100 tons.
18
Michigan added 130,000 tons; ^ Minnesota, of course,
produced none; but it was only a matter of time until
the vast deposits of Minnesota would be discovered and
mined.
The Vermillion range came into production in
1884, and the Mesabi, which was to become the most
productive source of iron in the world, came into
production in 1892.
During the period 185^-1892, while the uses of
iron expanded so rapidly in the United States, all of
the major ore deposits of the Lake Superior region were
discovered and tapped. By 1969 they had yielded 3.9
lU
billion tons, almost 18 billion cubic feet of pure
iron, or approximately 80 percent of all the iron mined
in the United States, the Mesabi alone contributing
over 2.7 billion tons of that total.
The ore of the Mesabi remained rich for most
of that time, but increased demands of the wartime
economy of the lpUOs, combined with domestic needs
during and prior to the war, exhausted the richest
ores. By the lpUOs many of Minnesotas mines had been
closed and the mining towns abandoned, and Michigan iron
mines were growing deeper.
13
Manufactures of the U.S. in i860, p. clxxvii.
lU
Minerals Yearbook, 1969. p. 576.


2
With that end in mind, theorists have attempted to generate,
whenever possible, universally applicable explanations of
growth and development; alas, general theories have had to
rely upon specific experience for their support and while
such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations
not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different
peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories often
are divorced almost entirely from any historical or geo
graphical consideration.
Theories are indispensable in organizing thinking
so that sense can be made of an otherwise senseless
plethora of disassociated facts; they are vital to under
standing. But theories are necessarily abstractions;
they involve ideal, disembodied concepts of complex and
real phenomena. Of necessity, they present reality in
an unreal light. The danger is that theories, meant to
describe the world in which we live, may take on the face
of reality and come to be mistaken for the reality they
only attempt to describe. As a result, the world may
come to be viewed as more ordered, rational, and
predictable than it really is.
Perhaps it is really a matter of the interminable
argument about first cause. Outside a totalitarian State,
we do not view economic development as arising primarily
essentially messianic in character. Tt knows the goal
which all societies should seek. Marx's "communism,"
Rostow's "self-sustained growth," and Landes' "industrial
ization" are prophecies.


7
To thinkers of the Middle Ages, life on earth was
an interlude standing between the vastness of eternity
and the final end of heaven or hell. The purpose of
this life was to prepare for the next. The end of the
world might be imminent.
A life of increasing material well-being for all
people was for the most part beyond comprehension;
although certain individuals might become wealthy and
powerful, or new wealth might be gained through fortuitous
discovery or conquest. The past revealed no progess in
a material sense. The future, what little of it there
might be, looked no better. There was little reason to
believe it would be.
It was not until commerce, invention, and natural
science emancipated humanity from thralldom to the
cycle and to the Christian epic that it became
possible to think of an immense future of mortal
mankind, of the conquest of the material world in
human interest, of providing the conditions for a
good life on this planet without reference to any
possible hereafter. In due course, when conditions
were ripe, the idea of progress arose in the
Western World, . (ll)
As exploration in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries revealed the existence of new lands, and as
advances in science yielded new knowledge, conditions
were laid for the acceptance of continued progress as a
possible circumstance of human existence. Belief in
progress rests heavily upon experience; it represents a
J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry
Into Its Origin and Growth, intro, by Charles A. Beard
(New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955) p. xi.


159
The recent record may have been considerably
worse than that, especially in the United States where
excesses in production, coupled with outright waste,
have brought not only the reduction of mineral deposits,
but the disappearance of large tracts of forestland,
the loss of vast amounts of fertile top soil through
erosion, and the virtual extinction or threatened
extinction of entire species. Frugal practices might
have lessened the strains of production on the land,
but the process by which the natural resources of the
United States were exploited was not characterized by
a great concern for frugality. Tn many cases to subdue
was to destroy.^
17
Rapid exploitation of resources in a "wasteful"
manner may have represented the least-cost method of
production at the time during which wasteful methods
were practiced most widely. Their very abundance served
to reduce the cost of acquisition to a level below that
of their maintenance. Therefore, seemingly wasteful
practices, it sometimes is said, may have served to
increase production over what it might have been other
wise, thereby increasing saving, the amount invested,
and subsequent levels of income. Under those conditions,
waste in a physical sense would not necessarily constitute
waste in an economic sense, but rather a most rational
approach given conditions of plenty. The idea might
hold true so long as what was wasted was not irrevocably
lost to future use, as in the case of soil permanently
ruined or washed into the sea, or mines permanently
closed with what would have constituted valuable resources
still inside, and if such losses (properly discounted)
did not offer a greater barrier to subsequent production
than the initial gain afforded. But, still left un
accounted in this formulation is the ravaging of the
aesthetic qualities of our environment. The same sort
of argument might make abandonment of inner cities, in
favor of building anew in some other location, a desirable
and rational alternative.


11
have experienced substantial economic growth in recent
times have done so in special circumstances and conditions.
No single factor will guarantee wealth; much depends upon
providence and circumstance.^^
This is particularly true of the economic history
of our own country. When the United States, or what
was to become the United States, was settled by the
immigrants and their descendants who eventually populated
it, the land included wide fertile plains, a mild climate,
ample wood, clear water in abundance, and a vast mineral
store from which to erect a mighty machine culture
formed in iron and steel and powered by falling water
and burning fuels. Not only were resources extremely
plentiful and of good quality, but they were exceptionally
handy. Never in the history of mankind has any group
of men ever obtained possession of natural resources
on this scale. The wonder is not that the nation's
economy grew; given the people (especially their mental
attitudes), the land, and the times, it would have been
a greater wonder had it not grown.
Only very recently have we come to appreciate
the unique circumstances of America's growth; only very
How else shall we explain the richness of
certain economies south of the Sahara in recent history,
if not through chance? i.e., strikes of gold, diamonds,
copper, and other valuables.


158
of resources by a fortunate and wealthy fe^ has
generated concern.
Marie Antoinette earned a niche in history's hall
of fame by proposing to feed the starving people of
France on cake since they had no bread. At the
present moment in history, we, the incredibly
fortunate six percent, have pre-empted much of the
earth's industrial bread, . seem to be able to
offer our less fortunate neighbors little more than
a pious hope that they will be able to eat granite
some fine day a century or so hence. This offer
of stone for bread out-Antoinettes Marie with a
vengeance.(l5)
Tn a limited environment nothing can grow
without limit, not even production. More and more
might be made from less and less, but as we have seen,
such has not been the case for growth of production of
the United States thus far.
In a sense, man's economic approach to the earth
and its resources of late has been one of exploitation
and destruction rather than usufruct.
Mankind has a bad record with mining, especially
since the runaway industrial revolution, and with the
destructive grazing of goats around the Mediterranean
and in the Near East. But except for this, most of
our ancestors lived with dikes, sustained-yield
forests, restricted grazing, terraces, fertilizers,
land and water use regulation and soil conservation
practices, geared to the flow of nature, not to its
sudden exhaustion.(l6)
15
^Robert C. Cook, "Maithus' Main Thesis Still
Holds," in Perspectives on Conservation, ed. by Henry
Jarrett (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources
for the Future, Inc., 1961), pp. 77-78.
^Luther Gulick, "The City's Challenge in Resource
Use," in Perspectives on Conservation, Ibid., p. 132.


l6l
during the past century from a new perspective. The same
basic question asked by other studies has underlain this
one: Why is the United States so rich while much of
the rest of the world is so poor? But rather than
asking what parts of the American experience might
be shared with others, it has been our purpose to
examine to what extent the American experience might
have been fundamentally unique. By studying the role
of metals in United States economic growth, we have
attempted to pierce the veil of numbers that has
surrounded growth and deal with it not as an entity
distinct in its own right, but as a reflection of real
activities occurring in the physical world.
Many who have dealt with economic growth have
not considered resources at all, and some even have
gone so far as to discount the importance of resources
almost entirely. Others who have considered problems
of resources have reached conflicting conclusions. Our
purpose has been to gain a sense of proportion.
Many other factors have been important to United
States economic growth, but so, too, have been resources.
By forgetting them and assuming instead that the
economic growth of the United States resulted primarily
from cleverness, we have become presumptuous about
development; and our egotism may have been our undoing
in prescribing for others what they probably cannot


117
But men do not Initiate the productive process,
even with extraction; by the time minerals are extracted,
a good deal of production already has occurred. Minerals
spread evenly throughout the earth's crust would be of
little use since most become of value only in concentrated
form, and some, like iron and copper, are used only in
an almost pure state. Fortunately, through various
geological processes, quantities of minerals in a few
places were concentrated sufficiently to allow men to
mine and further concentrate them with relative ease.
Unfortunately, such natural occurrences were limited in
number and extent of concentration. Of late, because
of increasing production, men have moved quickly to
exploit those limited concentrations--at a rate greatly
exceeding the rate of concentration--and therein lies
the rub.
Higher levels of output, which require corre
spondingly higher rates of mining, must lead to eventual
exhaustion of the source, provided the source is not
renewed at a pace at least equal to the rate of withdrawal.
If the source were to become exhausted all at once, then
production that depended upon the steady supply of the
exhausted material also would cease. If, as is more
probable, the source were to become gradually exhausted,
such that the acquisition of each given amount of material
required more and more effort, then real costs figured
in terms of other products forgone would increase and


54
industries was particularly impressive and generally
exceeded the rate of growth of the economy as a whole
44
and even of manufacturing in general.
Thus, economic changes taking place in the United
States after i860 represented net only better, but more--
particularly more manufacturing; and "more" might almost
as easily have been figured in terms of weight or measure
45
as m terms of dollars. It is in terms of volume that
we now turn our attention more specifically to the
production of iron and copper and their products for the
century that followed i860.
44
See Appendix A, Table 13.
4 5
The value of services cannot be excluded from
production, of course. If that were done, some interesting
results would follow.
"According to this notion, classroom furniture
and equipment would all be part of national income, but
the instruction, through which these goods acquire
utility, would not be included." Paul Studenski, The
Income of Nations, Part II, Theory and Methodology
(Washington Square: New York University Press, 1961),
p. 22.
Nonetheless, national income figures have their
real counterpart, even if that counterpart is in terms of
man-hours of services. National income and changes in
national income measure volume as well as value,
especially when such changes are figured in real terms.


20
to us. But they are not limitless. A ton of iron
taken from the earth is gone from the earth. A barrel
of oil or a volume of natural gas once used is gone for
good.
The most disconcerting feature of minerals is their
exhaustibility. They are wasting assets. They are
completely consumed in use if they are fuels; they
are at least partially dissipated if they are
minerals. Therefore the questions, "How large are
the reserves? How much is left in the ground? What
will happen when it is gone?" are vital questions
of life and death. For ours is truly a mineral
civilization which stands and falls on its capacity
to produce staggering amounts of some minerals and
varying quantities of many others.(24)
The problem has not been lessened by increased
production of things other than minerals. The larger is
the amount of production undertaken for defense, manufac
turing, and services, the greater is our dependence upon
minerals, not less. A large superstructure of activities
has been built by using minerals. It is maintained by
their production.
One significant thing about American experience
over the past century is the extraordinary extent of its
natural wealth, and the unprecedented speed with which
those resources have been (and are being) consumed. The
former helps to explain our wealth; the latter, our
growing concern with the exhaustion of natural resources.
In this respect the United States may have passed through
a unique phase of its history; so much of what it has
experienced may have been based on non-recurring phenomena.
24 i
Zimmerman, World Resources, p. 439


146
The effects of changing conditions were pervasive.
Agricultural and manufacturing output increased sub
stantially as new techniques and new machines were
employed to convert rich and abundant resources into
man-made wealth with unprecedented speed. Metals in the
ground were converted into metals in use in machines and
structures. First the railroad, then buildings and
machines, and finally consumer goods absorbed iron and
copper at a progressively more rapid rate; and the mining
sector was responsive to the new demands.
For the most part, enough metals were available
to meet increased demands from domestic sources. Vast
quantities of iron and copper were found shortly before
and after i860, and during the century that followed,
new methods of mining and refining insured a supply of
new metal adequate to the needs of a burgeoning economy;
but no large new domestic deposits were located after
1920, certainly none to compare with the iron deposits
of the Mesabi or the copper deposits of Michigan,
Montana, or Arizona. By the 1950s, large quantities of
iron and copper were being imported into the United
States, and still demands for new metal products grew
larger, and the need for new metal supplies increased
unabated. Phenomenal expansions of material wealth had
come to be expected--even demanded. An abundance of
wealth seemed not enough.


43
The years 1830 to 1880 marked the maturing of the
Machine Age born during the Industrial Revolution.
One by one, older technologies gave way to new ones,
based on power-driven machinery. Machinery was
enlisted to help the housewife, the office worker,
and the factory worker. Entirely new devices, such
as the sewing machine and the typewriter, were
invented, developed, mass-produced with specialized
machine tools, and then marketed. They soon became
indispensable.(24)
The introduction of the turret lathe and the
metal planer before the Civil War and subsequent improve
ments of them and of drilling, milling, and grinding
machines, coupled with improvements in accuracy and in
knowledge of metallurgy advanced the machine-tools
industry; and advance in the machine-tools industry
was related intimately to advances in production for
the economy as a whole.
. . machine-tool manufacture, in particular, . .
emerged into prominence as the very foundation of
mechanization. It provided the machinery and tools
for the expanding technology of mass production,
and, indeed, the "master tools" of all industry.(25)
24
Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., "Machines and Machine
Tools, 1830-1880," in Technology in Western Civilization,
ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell, ojd. cit. p. 407. See
also, H. J. Habakkuk, American and British Technology in
the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: The University Press,
1967); Nathan Rosenberg, "Technical Change in the Machine
Tool Industry, 1840-1910," Journal of Economic History,
XXIII (December, 1963), pp. UlU-Uj.
25
Samuel Rezneck, "Mass Production Since the War
Between the States," in The Growth of the American
Economy, ed. by Harold f7 Williamson (New York: Prentice
Hall, Inc., 1951), p. 502.


17
well have we opened our lines of distribution to our
remotest consumers that our sources are weakening
under the constant strain of demand. As a Nation,
we have always been more interested in sawmills than
seedlings. We have put much more engineering thought
into the layout of factories to cut up metals than
into mining processes to produce them. We think
about materials resources last, not first.(20)
A stronger note was expressed in 1968 by Charles
F. Park, Jr., a professor of economic geology, who wrote:
People have learned to use mineral resources
extensively only during the present century; they
have used them to establish a standard of living
undreamed of prior to World War I. But minerals
are present only in finite quantities. The world
cannot continue to use them at ever and rapidly
increasing rates without creating tremendous
problems. Whereas in the past many minerals were
at times in troublesome surplus, it now appears
that the world is about to enter a period when
shortages of minerals will become increasingly
common. Critical shortages of several minerals
may well develop within the next decade.(2l)
And yet, in spite of these warnings, we find in
the 1970s that our focus remains upon production, capital
accumulation, changes in technology, and sufficiency of
demand, rather than upon extracting and using the
material wealth of the earth. When we talk about resources
at all we are concerned not with their scarcity, but with
the emergence of ecological and environmental effects.
This comes as a natural result of the emphasis in thinking
that has come to be placed upon rational, abstract
20
President's Materials Policy Commission,
Resources for Freedom, I (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1952), p. 1.
21
Affluence in Jeopardy (San Francisco: Freeman
Cooper & Co., 1968) p^
vi.


Copyright by
Melvin V. Harju
1972


53
powers in the feeding of other nations, and obtain
in return a variety of manufactures. This did not
happen because we found it more advantageous to
devote an increasing portion of our energies to
nonagricultural pursuits. On the one side, mech
anized industry was making tremendous headway in
the United States. Our mineral resources were
exploited energetically, if only for the reason
that "in no other country can the mineral raw
materials as a whole be delivered to manufacturing
industry at lower prices." And as increasing progress
was made in the standardization, mechanization, and
mass production of commodities, the United States
advanced to the front rank among manufacturing
nations. On the other side, the agricultural map
of the world was changing. While the decline in
virgin lands was beginning to revise agricultural
costs in this country, certain other regions which
were experiencing the first flush of agricultural
expansion--Argentina, Australia, Canada, Russia,
and Indiawere offering severe competition to our
products in foreign markets.(42)
Between I869 and 1900, while the share of national
income originating in agriculture declined from 22.2
percent to about 18.2 percent, the share of national
income originating in manufacturing increased from 14.6
percent to 18.6 percent. Between 1900 and i960, the
share of agriculture declined further, to 4.3 percent,
43
while that of manufacturing increased to 30.5 percent.
The rate of growth in metals producing^-and metals-using
42
Arthur F. Burns, Production Trends in the
United States Since 1870 (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1934), pp. 68-69, citing
F. G. Tryon and L. Mann, "Mineral Resources for Future
Populations," chap, viii, in Population Problems in the
United States and Canada, ed. by L. l! Dublin (Poliak
Foundation for Economic Research, 1926), p. 112.
43
See Appendix A, Table 9* Yet never has a
people remained better fed.


The United States scarcely could have embarked
on its industrial journey at a more appropriate time,
and hardly could have been in a better materials position
to begin with. The land and its resources seemed
inexhaustible at the start, and to have had vast amounts
of metals become available at just the appropriate
time was a case of extreme good fortune. Certainly, a
machine and metals-based technology hardly could have
found a more hospitable environment, given the nature
of the people, the country, and the times. Vastly
increasing demands for metals could easily be met from an
immense store of metals; and metals were not the only
resources available in abundance. There existed
enormous amounts of resources of many kinds from which
to make enormous quantities of goods. So large a
bounty could be obtained because there was so much
available from which to make it. "Man cannot create
2
material things"; and so it was during the past
century; many new and wonderful products and production
methods were created but insofar as growth represented
not "better" but "more," increases in material wealth
on this scale could occur only because there was so
much wealth to begin with.
2
Marshall, Principles, p. 53


38
The number of steel furnaces in the United States
in 1850 was 5> all in Pennsylvania. They employed
a capital of $52,300 and 40 hands, consumed
materials of the value of $133>^20, and payed for
labor $23100, yielding a product valued at $172,080.
In i860 returns were made of 13 steel-making
establishments, of which 9 were in Pennsylvania,
2 in New York, end 2 in New Jersey. Tlieir total
capital amounted to $1,640,000. The number of
hands was 7^8, and the cost of labor $308,736. The
materials used cost $809,17b, and produced 11,838
tons of steel, valued at $1,778,240, an average
of $150 per ton.(13)
In i960, by way of contrast, more than 99
million short tons of steel ingots were produced. The
steel industry had a capacity to produce lb8,571,000
short tons of ingots, and steel was fashioned into a
lb
myriad of products. Pig iron production for all of
I863, at the height of the Civil War, would have
occupied domestic facilities in 195b for five days,
and total steel output would have taken less than one
hour to produce.^
Whatever else the economy of i860 might have
been, it was not an economy based heavily upon metals
nor dependent upon the consumption of great quantities
of mineral fuels. But conditions were particularly
appropriate for the development of what has come to be
called "mass production," a process dependent upon
13
Ibid., pp. cxcil-cxcvi. Emphasis added.
lb
U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines,
Minerals Yearbook, 1960, I (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1961), p. 598.
15
Earl Morgan Richards, The Iron Ore Outlook of
the United States (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Buckness
University Press, 195b), pp. 8-9


examined with particular attention given to the demand
for new metals inputs and for ores. Factors relating to
the supply of metals are then considered, and finally,
increases in production and produced wealth are related
to the available supply of metals to United States
industries during the century.
In the course of this study, the economic growth
of the United States during the past century is considered
from a new perspective. The same basic question asked
by other studies underlies this one: Why is the United
States so rich while much of the rest of the world is so
poor? But rather than asking what parts of the American
experience might be shared with others, the purpose here
is to examine to what extent the American experience might
have been fundamentally unique. The conclusion of this
study is that while other factors have been important to
United States economic growth, resources have been parti
cularly so. By forgetting them and assuming instead that
the economic growth of the United States resulted
primarily from cleverness, prescriptions may have been
presented to poor countries for a kind of growth they may
not be able to achieve.
xi


TABLE 18
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES OF GROWTH BETWEEN DECADE AVERAGES FOR COPPER,
PIG IRON, AND STEEL INGOTS AND CASTINGS, I86I-I96O
Average Annual Rate of Growth Between Decade Averages (percent)
Copper Pig Iron Steel Ingots and
Period Production Shipments Castings Productiona
181


18
processes. During the eighteenth century, lack of
capital was a very vital concern for development, as
it still is; capital has always been scarce. The
development of Great Britain made use of capital
furnished by merchants and used resources first from
home and then from abroad. The later development of
the United States received at least some help from the
British in terms of finance capital and was facilitated
22
by the utilization of vast amounts of resource wealth.
Capital was scarce, resources were abundant. Small wonder
that the gaze of theorists has remained focused upon
capital accumulation and technology, impressive as the
changes have been in those fields^ or that resources
have not gained much attention until relatively
recently; nobody bothers with things that are abundant.
But of late, capital has accumulated very rapidly in
some places, at least partly as a result of the very
23
22
Not all money transfers represent transfers
of physical capital, of course. Cf. A. K. Cairncross,
"Investment in Canada, 1900-1913," in The Export of
Capital from Britain 1870-1914, ed. by A. R. Hall,
Debates in Economic History, gen. ed. Peter Mathias
(London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1968).
23
On the other hand, things which are scarce may
receive almost reverential consideration such as that
given to water by Arabs. Until they invaded areas more
plentifully supplied, life had been a struggle to find
water. When they did, they left their mark with the
fountains of Andalusia.
"This fountain is like a believer in ecstacy,
rapt in prayer; and when the fountain shifts, it is the
worshipper who stoops to genuflect and resumes his prayer."
--Unknown poet of Andalusia
"Andalusia," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1971, 1, 887.


31
section of the country and the industry in which they
worked. A dollar per day was most common. Carpenter's
wages ranged from $1.50 in some industries to as high as
$2.50 per day in ship carpentry. Blacksmiths could
expect to earn about $1.50 per day, and the -wages of
mechanics ranged from approximately $1.10 to $2.50 per
4
day while the average was slightly under $2.
The money did not go far. Some idea of retail
prices of various basic commodities may be gained from
the data in Table 1.
4Ibid., pp. 517-63.
Of the 10,530,000 working population in i860,
some 6,210,000 (or 59%) were engaged directly in agri
culture and 1,930,000 (or 18%) were engaged in manu
facturing and hand trades and construction. Services
of various types engaged another 1,310,000 people (or
12%), and transportation, trade and finance accounted
for 780,000 (or slightly over 7%). Only 170,000 found
employment in mining. Historical Statistics, p. 74,
Series D 57-71.
Xn I869, 22.2% of national income originated
in agriculture, 20.3% in manufacturing and construction;
and, transportation, communication, trade and finance
accounted for 37*6%. Services of all kinds, including
government, accounted for 18.4% of national income.
(it is interesting to note in passing the disparity
that exists between the proportion of the working pop
ulation engaged in each field and the amount of income
arising in those fields. The distribution of workers
by industry was not radically different in 1869 from what
it had been in i860.) U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Long Term Economic Growth, 1860-1965
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,1966),
Part XXX, p. 79, Table 4.


15
Obviously, economic activity is human activity and
resources taken by themselves come to nothing. They gain
importance only in reference to the ends to which they are
put; of course, there is truth in the statement that
17
resources are not, they become; of course, an abundance
of resources will not in itself lead to an abundance of
material wealth (any more than any other important
factor, taken alone, would). But in economic growth,
having more resources is better than having less. This
is particularly true of minerals vital to this mechanical
age. As one writer puts it:
The distribution of ores and minerals has had a
profound effect on the migration of peoples and on
the settlement of particular lands. It has been a
dominant element in the growth of states in which
possession or content of such deposits has led to
the creation of vast industrial enterprises.
Exploitation of these resources has resulted in
new patterns of life in many old regions, and
their exhaustion in some places has forced adjust
ments of a far-reaching sort that at times have had
disturbing consequences.(l8)
In 1902, at the time of the Census Bureaus
report, these consequences were, for the United States at
least, far in the future. Said the report:
This rapid rise of the United States to the first
position among manufacturing nations is attributable
to certain distinct causes, natural and otherwise,
17
Erich W. Zimmerman, World Resources and
Industries (New York: Harper & Bros., 1951)
18
Donald H. McLaughlin, "Mans Selective Attack
on Ores and Minerals," in Mans Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth, ed. by William L. Thomas', Jr. (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1956), p. 852.


PROJECTED REQUIREMENTS AND AVAILABILITIES
OF SELECTED METALS TO THE YEAR 2000
(in Million Short Tons)
Cumulative
Demand
Metal 1960-2000
United
States
a
Reserves
United
States b
Resources
World k
Reserves
Iron
4,700
3,400
25,800
144,500
Copper
112
50
100
270
Aluminum
255
13
100
900
Lead
38
4.5
-
80
Zinc
69
25
-
140
Manganese
73
0.9
78
4 50
Nickel
11.7
0.5
-
16
Tungsten
.46
0.071
1.4
Source: Hans Landsberg, Natural Resources for
United States Growth (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press
for Resources for the Future, Inc., 1964) p. 204.
Reserves shown for the United States represent
known, measured reserves that can be exploited economically
by current techniques.
^Resources for the United States and World
Reserves represent amounts of metals that are known,
but are of too low grade to currently be exploited
economically. They also include inferred reserves,
those not actually known or measured, but for which
geological characteristics indicate that they might
exist. As such, the figures shown, especially for
World Reserves, should be considered as speculative.
Reserve figures vary by author and by agency.


131
doctors, teachers, secretaries, stenographers, presidents
of the United States, and military men are all productive;
and, although all such producers of services eat and are
clothed and housed, none of them produces food, clothing,
or housing directly. Yet so long as singers, orators,
and presidents must eat and be clothed, the production
of their services must ultimately depend upon the
production of physical goods. Life within a society is
made better by the presence of clowns and philosophers,
but the members of the society do not survive because
of them. The same cannot be said of farmers. But aside
from that, the quality of life might be improved by
increasing services with little additional need for
materials. Increased production need not mean more
material goods, more food and housing; if physical goods
Q
are adequately supplied, it may mean better material
goods and more services, either of which could reduce
material needs relative to value of output.
In the final analysis, all production begins
with the drawing of materials from the earth. The
production of services requires the production of final
goods and the production of final goods requires the
extraction of minerals. The productive chain is
g
Adequate is a relative term, of course, but
it seems fair to assume that a man who is hungry or cold
would prefer food and shelter to a song.


32
TABLE 1
REPRESENTATIVE PRICES OF SELECTED
COMMODITIES, 1860a
Unit of
Item
Measure
Prices
Cloth
Cotton Flannel, medium quality
yard
$0.11-
$ 0.15
Groceries
Tea
pound
.62-
1.00
Coffee, roasted
pound
. 10-
.30
Soap, common
pound
.05-
. 12
Flour, Meats, Provisions
Beef, roasting
pound
.08-
. 1U
Beef, soup
pound
.03-
.08
Pork, fresh
pound
. 08-
. 12
Flour, wheat, super-fine
barrel
7.00-
8.50b
Flour, wheat, extra-family
barrel
9.25-
11.00^
Potatoes
bushel
50-
.75
Other
Men's Heavy Boots
pair
2.00-
4.50
Coal Oil
gallon
30-
1.00
House Rent, four-room
month
5. oo-
House Rent, six-room
month
10.00d
aSource: Weeks, Statistics of Wages in Manufacturing,
passim.
^Flour prices ranged between $4 and $6 in the
wheat states.
cPrices of boots ranged upward to $6 in
Cincinnati.
dRents were as high as $10 to $15 in St. Louis.


LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1. Representative Prices of Selected Commodities,
I860 32
2. World Iron and Copper Reserves 107
3. Projected Requirements and Availabilities of
Selected Metals to the Year 2000 1U9
U. Labor Force Engaged in Raw Materials and Other
Industries in the United States, Total and Percent
Distribution, I86O-I96O 164
5. Agricultural Output and Productivity, 1910-1960. 165
6. Value of Sales and Home Consumption of Farm
Products and Value per Worker, 1860-1900 165
7. Farm Machinery and Equipment, 1900-1957 166
8. Farm Machinery and Farm Labor Productivity,
1910-1960 I67
9. National Income by Industry Divisions, I869-I96O 168
10. Gross National Product by Type of Product, 1929
and i960 I69
11. National Income by Industries, 1929 and i960 . 170
12. Share of National Income by Selected Industries,
1929 and 1965 171
13. Private Domestic Economy: Average Annual Rates of
Change in Physical Volume of Output, by Selected
Segment and Group, 1899-1953 173
14. Capital-Output Ratio, 1850-1958 275
vi


92
especially important to copper mining where new methods
of concentration such as the flotation process, intro
duced in the United States in earnest after 1910,
permitted the working of very low-grade copper ores.
In this process, ores were finely ground and put into
an oily liquid bath. Air was then let into the bottom
of the container, and oily bubbles collected the metal,
which had an affinity for the oil, and brought it to
the surface in the form of a froth; non-metallic material
remained behind as sediment.
The second major advance, open pit mining,
eliminated the need for underground lighting and
ventilation, for expensive timbering, and the other
high cost operations and paraphenalia required in
underground mining.
The introduction of open pit, non-selective
mining techniques, coupled with the introduction of the
flotation process, permitted extensive but low-grade
copper deposits to be mined at reasonably low cost;
changing techniques in mining and refining were
complementary.
In iron mining, too, open pit operations greatly
increased productivity. The unique feature of Mesabi
ore in particular was its softness and proximity to the
surface where it could be "mined" with steam shovels.
Thus, it was not only the great extent of the rich ore
deposits that made the Mesabi so valuable; their closeness
to the surface made them more valuable still.


3b
Stirrings of change abounded in the United
States in the 1860s. If the present offered challenge
and hard work, the future offered the promise of
substantial increases in material well-being along almost
every line. Agricultural production was increasing
rapidly and innovations were making their presence felt
heavily.^
It appears from the returns of the last census,
that the ratio of increase of the principal
agricultural products of the United States has
more than kept pace with the increase of population.
Indeed, there appears no reason to doubt the
continuance of an abundant supply of all the great
staple articles, equal to the necessities of any
possible increase of population or national
contingency for years to come.(7)
Agriculture also was becoming dependent upon
machines and upon the manufacturing industries. Future
increase depended upon further mechanization and the
interdependence of agriculture and manufacturing was
coming to be recognized.
are considered in the remainder of this chapter. Quan
titative changes, which reflect the consequences of
changing conditions, are left primarily to Appendix A.
^Figures showing changing agricultural
productivity and production after i860 are included in
Appendix A.
7
Joseph C. G. Kennedy, Superintendent, U.S.
Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Preliminary
Report on the Eighth Census, i860 (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1862), p. 80.


CHAPTER XI
THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE
OF OUR INQUIRY
It has been our argument that economic progress
can be viewed only as economic change and that economic
change cannot be divorced from the peculiar circumstances
of people, place, and time. In this sense, the economic
experience of the United States during the past hundred
years must be viewed as exceptional; not least because
of its initial abundance of natural resources.
The United States was rich in natural resources
in i860. By the 1960s, although the United States
remained a rich land, a great deal of its natural wealth
had been consumed. Its position with regard to some
very basic minerals, such as iron, which are needed to
maintain a high level of domestic output, had changed
dramatically. In fact, increased production had been
achieved through increased extraction. Herein lies the
aspect of economic history which it has been our purpose
to study. We are concerned to examine more closely the
relationship between production in general and the
extraction of certain materials, namely iron and copper,
within the United States during the past century, and to
determine the extent to which increases in production have
22


C ONTENTScontinued
CHAPTER V: THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER i860 81
Increased Production of American Mines (8l)
Changing Location and Declining Ore Yields of
American Mines After I860 (82)
Changing Techniques in American Mines (88)
Effects on Costs of Declining Ore Yields (94)
The Move to Foreign Metals Sources (104)
CHAPTER VI: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRODUCTION,
EXTRACTION, AND GROWTH 110
Changing Production and Changing Resources (llO)
Production and Natural Wealth (112)
Structural Materials and Economic Growth (120)
The Effects of Metals Scarcity on Growth (133)
CHAPTER VII: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 143
A Glance in Retrospect (l43)
The Influence of Abundant Resources and
Increasing Scarcity on Growth (120)
Implications of Materials Scarcity for Rich and
Poor Nations (151)
Natural Resources and Material Progress (154)
A Balanced Perspective (l6o)
APPENDIX A: CHANGING PRODUCTION, I86O-I96O 163
Employment, I86O-I96O (l63)
National Income by Source (167)
Physical Volume of Output, I9OO-I96O (173)
APPENDIX B: COPPER, IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION AND
METALS IN USE, I86O-I96O 176
B.l Copper, Iron, and Steel Production,
1860-1960 (176)
B.2 Imports and Exports of Copper and Iron,
1900-1960 (182)
B.3 Copper and Iron Scrap (184)
B.4 Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper and
Iron and Copper in Use, I9OO-I960 (l90)
WORKS CITED 203
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 212
v


97
At present the argument remains mostly theoretical
and speculative, but if the quantities of ore available
do not increase rapidly at each lower grade, real costs
can be expected to increase markedly in the future as
more and more extraneous material must he removed to
obtain each additional ton of metal. A ton of ore must
be processed in order to obtain just twelve pounds of
29
copper under current conditions, for example. Xf the
grade of ore processed were to fall to 0.5 percent,
2,bOO pounds of ore would have to be handled to obtain
the same twelve pounds of metal, and at a grade of 0.4
percent, the amount of ore handled would rise to 3,000
pounds. Under conditions of constant technology, one
would expect costs to rise as a result. But, if
substantially greater amounts of ore were available
at each lower grade, resort to still lower grades could
proceed at a reduced pace, thereby allowing advancing
technology the time to combat potential cost increases
more readily. If the grade of ore fell rapidly to the
29
This does not include non-mineral material
that must be handled to get to the ore. In 1969, 622
million short tons of waste material were handled to
obtain 226 million short tons of crude copper ore.
For iron ore, 171 million short tons of waste material
were handled to obtain 229 million tons of crude iron
ore. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines,
"Technological Trends in the Minerals Industries (Metals
and Nonmetals Except Fuels)," in Preprint from the 1969
Bureau of Mines Minerals Yearbook (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, n.d.), p. 5, Table 1.


27
serve only as a supplement to the current undertaking.
Certain other metals, such as nickel, vital to the
production of jet engine parts, are employed in relatively
small quantities and their uses are specific enough to
be handled as particular problem areas.
Iron and copper, on the other hand, are repre
sentative of two broad classes of metals, ferrous and
4
non-ferrous. They are important not only because of
their use in many different kinds of production, but
also because they are used in great quantities.
Iron is the material out of which most machines
and heavy structures are built. Copper has been an
important building block of our electrically oriented
technology, used in the production of electrical
circuitry and electrical parts. These metals represent
the bulk metals used for production in a modern economy
and careful analysis of their supply and disposition
will serve us well in determining the role metals have
played in the growth of the United States economy.
In analyzing the relation between production
and the extraction of metals, we shall first consider
Metals generally are divided into categories
which include the ferrous metals (those related to the
production of steel), and the non-ferrous metals. Non-
ferrous metals are further divided into the "base metals,"
copper, lead, tin, and zinc; and the "light metals,"
including aluminum and magnesium. The most important of
these in terms of volume are, of course, iron, copper, and
aluminum, with extensive use of aluminum being a relatively
recent development.


115
energies in order to create additional value. The
first category includes all resources such as iron ore,
water, and the nutrient content of fertile soil, and
the second almost everything man-made including, for
example, machinery, buildings, shovels, automobiles,
and shoes. Ore in the ground would be included in the
first category while machinery used to mine the ore,
the mined ore itself, and the products into which the
ore might be fashioned would be included in the second.
Production adds to the second category and takes
place in a time context. Rapid rates of production can
add to the stock of capital, and changes in technology
can reduce the amount of time required to produce each
unit of output. Both occurrences allow the rate of
production to be increased still further. This has
typified production of the past century and has been
viewed with great approval; but more product generated
by the use of a larger number of more efficient mining
and fabricating machines does not lead to increased
wealth in every sense. If production proceeds at a
greater pace, mining must proceed at a greater pace
as well; the mine is emptied and the store of natural
wealth reduced. On the one hand, higher levels of
production mean more wealth; on the other, they mean
less. Production, then, reflects the flow of material
from a stock of natural wealth to a stock of produced
wealth; additions to the latter stock must he reflected
in reductions in the first.


165
TABLE 5
AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT AND PRODUCTIVITY,
1910-1960
Year
Agriclt.
Prdtion.
(mills
of cnst
1954
dollars)
No. of
Persons
Engaged
(1,000)
Production/
Persons Engaged
Index of
Output/
Man-Hour
(1940=100)
Farm Total
Cnst.
1954
Dollars
Index
(1940=
100)
i960
29,640
7,057
4,200
236
319
1950
23,499
9,926
2,367
133
169
19^0
19,573
10,979
1,783
100
100
1930
17,497
12,497
1,400
79
79
1920
16,121
13,432
1,200
67
73
1910
13,900
13,555
1,025
57
67
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S.
Economy:
1900-1966. d. 52. Table 20.
TABLE 6
VALUE OF SALES AND HOME CONSUMPTION
PRODUCTS AND VALUE PER WORKER, i860
OF FARM
-I9OO
Sales and Home
Consumption of
Farm Products
(millions of
dollars, 1910-
1914 dollars)
Persons
Engaged in
Agriculture
Value per
Year
(thousands)
Worker
1900
5,903
10,912
533
1890
4,604
9,938
463
1880
3,784
8,585
441
1870
2,43 6
6,850
353
i860
1,985
6,208
320
Source: Based on statistics in Marvin W. Towne
and Wayne D. Rasmussen, "Farm Gross Product and Gross
Investment in the Nineteenth Century," in Trends in the
American Economy in the Nineteenth Century, NBER
(Princeton, ewJerseyl Princeton University Press,
i960), p. 265, 269.


150
We do not know whether technology and good
fortune will allow costs to remain low under the
pressure of exponential rates of increase in demand.
If we look only to the recent past, the outlook does
not appear to be too bad, but it has been our purpose
to show that the past century is not a very good base
from which to project future developments. All years
are exceptional; in this matter of resources in
America, the past century has been especially so.
Resources probably must run low eventually if
increased production of the kind developed during the
past century continues; but whether the same kinds of
production will continue is not so certain. So many
links exist in the productive process that there may
be no way to establish a hard and fast relationship
between "output" and materials needs.
In addition, new materials may be found and
applied to new uses. Vast new ore deposits may be
discovered or radical changes in technology may make
old methods of mining and concentration obsolete. New
kinds of goods and services may be developed. Any
number of things might occur to change the materials
picture in the future. But to speculate about such
developments is one thing and to count on them is
quite another. An assumption that technology, like the
hero of many novels, will forever be able to meet all
materials crises is unwarranted. Moreover, we must


Scarcity or Plenty; The Role of Metal Resources
in the Growth of the United States Economy, I86O-I96O
By
MELVIN W. HARJU
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1972


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1. Consumption of Purchased Scrap in the United
States, 1915-1952 and Output of Pig Iron and
Steel, 1915-1962. Data for 1953-1962 Represent
Receipts of Purchased Scrap by Consumers 186
2. United States Production of Refined Copper from
Primary and Secondary Source Materials and
Production from Old Scrap, I9IO-I96O 187
3. Copper in Use, Ip20-ip60 lpU
U. Apparent Consumption by Five-Year Averages of
Iron, I9OO-I96O 196
5. Iron in Use, 1920-1960 197
6. Five-Year Averages of Ferroalloys Apparent
Consumption, I9OO-I96O I99
7. Iron and Ferroalloy Metals in Use, 1920-1960 . 200
viii


71
does not depend upon the amount of metal produced in
that year, but rather upon the amount of metal already
in use in machinery, buildings, and other equipment.
As such, current levels of production depend more upon
the rate at which metals production has occurred in the
past than upon the rate at which they currently are
being produced. Current levels of metals production
are more important to future levels of general pro
duction, and hence are related to growth.
When stocks of metals in use are compared to
GNP, a different picture emerges. While real GNP in
i960 was approximately 7 times as great as it had been
in 1900, stocks of copper in use appear to have been
about 11.5 times as large and iron 11.4 times as large
39
as they were in 1900. Even after 1920, when metals
markets had become more diverse and metals were going
to uses for which there tended to be a larger value of
product per unit of metal, stocks of metals in use
continued to increase at a rate comparable to that of
GNP. Stocks of copper in use increased at an annual
rate of 3.4 percent and iron at a rate of 2.8 percent,
while GNP increased at an average annual rate of 3-2
percent.^
"^See Appendix B.4, Table 26.
^See Appendix B.4, Figure 3, Figure 5. Table 27.


106
Political problems cannot be ignored. Heavy
investments have been made by United States companies
in foreign ore deposits. Some of these are in
strategically sensitive areas. Even if not involving
U.S. capital, traditional foreign sources of iron
ore, or newer and better sources, must be available
in large measure to supply domestic needs until
such time as technology permits the competitive
processing of domestic low-grade deposits.
Many large domestic copper producers, through
subsidiaries or stock holdings, operate foreign
copper-producing properties in Canada, Mexico,
Chile, Peru, the Republic of South Africa, and
Zambia. . .
Nationalization of U.S. interests in Chile was begun
in April 1967 . .
In August 1969 the Zambian government announced that
it would assume 51 percent control of the Zambian
copper industry.(4o)
As the data of Table 2 indicate, the United
States still owns within its borders a substantial share
of total world reserves of iron and copper ores. But
demand for ores within the United States and the rest
of the world have made those deposits look small, and
even with the use of foreign ores, costs are expected
to rise in the future, more so for copper than for
iron.
40
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of
Mines, Mineral Facts and Problems, 1970. Bureau of
Mines Bulletin No.65O(Washington,iT.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1970), p. 313; p. 537.


14
Somehow the connection between increases in
national output and wealth and consumption of resources
has been lost. It is almost as if an abundance of natural
resources were considered to be a "given datum," there
after to be forgotten. The fact that we have on the one
hand accepted the existence of extensive resources and
on the other forgotten the relation of resources to
economic growth weakens our efforts to help the economic
growth of others.
It is our belief that the poor are poor because
they are poor, and the rich are rich because they are
rich; and that at least part of the answer to the
question of why some are rich and some are poor may be
found in the fact that some had more to work with than
others. Xt is impossible to make something out of
nothing; much better to live in a verdant land, or
claim the fruits of that verdant land, than to live in
a desert (unless there are natural resources, i.e., oil,
beneath the barren wastes). Our trouble in all this
is that we live in an abstract and rational age where
man and his mind are regarded as the principal instru
ments of change; the fruits of men's efforts are thought
to be principally the products of thought and effort,
instead of the products of thought and effort applied
to nature.
Not that it is our intention to belittle the
role of man. It really is a matter of emphasis.


19
industrialization and productive advance it is thought to
have caused. At the same time, stores of natural wealth
have diminished until further advance may be limited at
least as much by resource scarcity as by sufficiency of
capital.
Now all that we have said about the natural
resources as a whole is doubly true when we narrow our
gaze to the mineral resources of the earth. Our machine
economy and our desire for ever greater progress have
combined to consume the mineral wealth of the earth at
a rate no longer feasible. There simply are not the
mineral resources available to allow the consumption
trends of the past exceptional century to continue.
The amount of bituminous coal taken out of the ground
in 1950 was two and a half times greater than the
amount taken out in 1900. For copper the figure was
three times more, for petroleum, thirty times more.
More metals and mineral fuels have been used since
I91U by the United States alone than the whole world
used in all of history prior to the First World War,
and that tremendous increase in materials demand has
begun to stretch the imaginations of those whose
business it is to find and take those raw materials
from the earth.
If stores of minerals were limitless there
would be no problem; nor would the question of their
employment in the productive process be one of interest


118
production as a whole could not proceed at a rate that
otherwise might have been possible.
The central problem involved in the provision of
metals is a tendency toward increasing difficulties
confronted in exploration and mining activities. Those
deposits which exhibit surface outcroppings that make
them easily discoverable and which lie closest to the
points of metals use tend to be found and exploited
first. Exhaustion of deposits which are most easily
found requires additional exploration to find new
deposits, and as the process continues, the task of
exploration, an arduous and financially risky venture
2
in any case, becomes more difficult and costly.
Of those deposits with known locations, the
best are exploited first; but mining operations become
increasingly more expensive as the richness of the ore
becomes less and as mines grow deeper. When costs of
exploiting the richest deposits increase sufficiently,
lower yielding and/or more distant deposits are exploited.
Thus, lower yields of the richest deposits and the move
toward deposits of lower concentration cause mining
costs to increase and necessitate a search for new
deposits. It is in the latter sense that increased
2
An excellent description of exploration costs
and problems is found in Peter T. Flawn, Mineral
Resources (Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1966),
pp. 22-36.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
SCARCITY OR PLENTY; THE ROLE OF METAL RESOURCES
IN THE GROWTH OF THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY, I86O-I96O
By
Melvin W. Harju
August, 1972
Chairman: William F. Woodruff
Major Department: Economics
According to a great deal of contemporary thinking,
the nations of the world might almost reasonably be
divided roughly into two groups, the rich and the poor,
or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly, the
developed and the developing. Much economic theory has
been generated, particularly since the Second World War,
to account for observed differences in relative material
wealth; and economic growth and development, with
industrialization as a goal, has come to be viewed as an
on-going process. With that end in mind, theorists have
attempted to generate, whenever possible, universally
applicable explanations of growth and development. While
such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations
not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different
peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories
often are divorced almost entirely from any historical
or geographical consideration.
ax


45
bent, and planed. That material was steel, but a cheap
method of production and one which allowed greater
volume had to be found.
Jn Pennsylvania, William Kelley, an iron worker,
noticing that a piece of iron in his furnace had become
extremely hot, apparently without benefit of fuel,
concluded that steel might be made directly from iron,
using only air as fuel; oxygen in the air, when combined
with carbon in the iron, would burn away the carbon and,
hence, produce steel. An initial experiment in 1847
failed, but a similar experiment in 1850 yielded much
different results.
"We saw a middling-sized vessel," said one observer,
"that had a mouth open on one side and near the
top. The whole was shaped something like an egg,
only bigger than a barrel. We saw molten iron
poured into the vessel. Then, Kelley he turned on
a blast of cold air, blown from a rig he had
devised himself. The vessel set up a large noise,
a roaring like you dont often hear, and fire
belched furiously from its mouth, making many colors.
But only for a few minutes. The noise and fire
died down. We then saw a blacksmith take a small
part of the iron, which had cooled, and with a
merry ring of his hammer, he contrived and threw at
the feet of the amazed spectators, a perfect horse
shoe.
. . next, the smith took some more of the cooled
metal, made it into nails forthwith, and shod the
horse of one in the crowd."(27)
Kelley unfortunately neglected to patent his
process until 1856, by which time the famous Englishman,
Henry Bessemer, had arrived on the scene with essentially
27
Stewart H. Holbrook, Iron Brew, A Century of
American Ore and Steel (New York: Macmillan Company,
19Uo) p. 188.


133
not set well with a limited environment. Vastly-
increasing levels of production of the recent past may-
have represented a temporary phenomenon, experienced
by a few for a limited period of time.
But because the kinds of growth that occurred
during the past hundred years may not continue indefi
nitely, a pessimistic view of the future need not arise;
the relationship between production and extraction is
not precise. Technological changes may alter the
relationship considerably and increased reliance upon
services may reduce materials needs as well. However,
speculation should not be carried too far. Appropriate
changes in production may occur, or they may not; there
is no way to tell with certainty.
This is borne out by the way in which present
debate on resource scarcity is divided into two extreme
camps. On the one hand, there are those who believe that
resource scarcity poses no real problem.
So long as the peoples of the world continue to move
closer together and to approach the most efficient
path of resource use, mineral shortages are one of
the tiniest clouds on the world's horizon.
The problem is not one of increasing natural resource
scarcity and consequent diminishing returns, but of
ability to achieve and maintain a desired rate of
economic growth.(9)
o
James F. McDivitt, Minerals and Men: An Explor
ation of the World of Minerals and Its Effect on the
World We Live In (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Jnc., 19^5)> p. 156; Barnett
and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 20.


129
as the general rate of growth, or even if materials
production declined. A given rate of extraction of a
given materials mix can accommodate various levels of
production given appropriate technological changes.
A piece of material may be made to serve more complex
and useful ends, or a smaller amount of material might
be used to produce a given product. A piece of iron
might be made into a simple nail or into a part for an
intricate instrument. Copper might be used to form a
cuspidor or a computer component. In essence, more
value might be added per unit of material, or changes
in technology might lower materials needs per unit of
output.
Either event would make increases in output
compatible with a fixed rate of materials extraction,
or constant levels of output compatible with reduced
extraction. However, technological changes which
lower resource needs relative to the value of final
products also free human and capital resources for
other kinds of productive activities. Those activities
might, in turn, make new demands upon resources at a
rate consistent with the new state of technology.
Hence, technology that encourages the more efficient use
of materials and more processing per unit of material
need not reduce overall materials requirements greatly.
As freed labor and capital become available for other


59
among the manufacturing industries, and the railroads
no longer consumed a majority of steel production.
By that date, other uses combined to take more
12
than twice as much steel as was used for rails. As
a result of the continued increase in the use of iron
and steel in large buildings and bridges, the output of
iron and steel shapes increased from 87 thousand long
tons in 1879 to 276 thousand long tons in 1889 and to
13
815 thousand long tons by 1900.
The use of steel in agriculture increased rapidly
as well. During the period 1880-1900, the value of
farm implements and machinery employed in agriculture
tripled, from $b06 million to $1,265 million, mostly
Ib
as a result of changes in quantity.
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part X, p.
clxiii, Table LX. This grouping included only iron and
steel, the various products of iron and steel being
noted separately.
12
Clark, History of Manufactures, p. 65. Steel
for rails represented only part of the total demand for
steel by railroads, of course.
^Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-211.
lb
Farm implements had not changed greatly in
quality. That only 136,105 sulky or wheel plows were
produced in 1900 as opposed to some 819,022 walking
plows is sufficient to illustrate the state of advance
ment in agricultural implements at that time. The Census
of 1900 listed fourteen different kinds of seeders and
planters produced, twenty different categories of
implements of cultivation, twenty-two types of harvesting
implements and ten types of seed separators. Between
187O and 1900 the number of hand cord planters produced
per year had increased from 21.7 thousand to 129-5
thousand, the largest absolute increase among seeders
and planters, while the number of small cultivators


Some people outside of the steel industry have said
we could meet all our future ore needs entirely with
. . magnetic and non-magnetic taconites, but many
of us in the steel industry who have the responsi
bility of operating the properties think otherwise.
. . the talk of America's inexhaustible resources
is over. At one time we had enough raw materials
to take care of many of our needs and to supply
other parts of the world; but that is no more.(36)
Markets for metals have become more international
as shipping capacities have risen and transportation
37
costs fallen, especially during the past twenty years.
Since higher grade foreign ores may be substituted for
domestic ores until their acquisition costs become equal
at the margin, one would expect tendencies toward
increasing costs of domestic mining to be mitigated by
and reflected in increased ore imports. That, in fact,
is what has happened. The burden of increasing costs
has not been as apparent as it might have been because
the United States has begun to tap not only its own
resources, but those of the rest of the world as well.
Richards, Iron Ore Outlook, p. 12; p. 22. Mr.
Richards was vice president of Republic Steel Corporation
at the time this address was presented.
37
Reductions in shipping costs helped to increase
the average length of voyage of sea-borne ore from
1,900 miles in 1950 to more than 3,000 miles in 1967.
Of. Mining Annual Review (London: The Mining Journal
Limited, 1967), p. 39*


76
under other circumstances would have been of importance
to those metals. Due to its electrical properties, alumi
num has come to replace copper in many large transmission
lines and in other uses where added bulk is not a crucial
factor. Lightness and wearability have allowed it to
replace steel in a few uses, notably in containers.
Prestressed concrete has taken some of the market
formerly reserved for structural steel, and even plastic
44
warships now are being launched. Fibreglass automobile
bodies and aluminum engine blocks and radiators already
have been used and found successful in many instances
and might find more widespread use in the future were
price and technological advances favorable to such
substitution.
Finally, metals production has been affected
by the recovery of metal contained in obsolete imple-
45
ments. In lplO production of refined copper from
scrap amounted to 17.5 percent of the apparent consumption
of new copper; by i960 that figure had grown to 37.5
percent.^
44
In 1971 two small plastic warships were
launched; pending success of the experiment, future plans
call for production of plastic warships to frigate size.
The principal difficulty at this time is one of cost.
45
See Appendix B for data and information relat
ing to scrap generation, availability, and use.
^Minerals Yearbook, 19^5 p. 122; Minerals
Yearbook, 1965. p. 356.


48
The telephone was Invented in 1876, and by
1896, 404,000 were in service. By 1905 the figure
had increased to 4,127,000 and by 1915 to 10,524,000.^
The first experimental electric streetcar line
was built in I879. By 1888 the first commercially
useful line was in operation in Richmond, Virginia, and
by 1902, 22,576 miles of track had been constructed.
By then only 1 percent of the streetcars in use
31
were still horse-drawn. A streetcar with two 15
horsepower motors, considered adequate in 1890, by
1900 was outmoded by 40 horsepower motors. The demands
for power by this industry alone were great.
The requirements of the industry are . enormous,
and the data in hand show that in the ten years
between I89O and 1900, the railway power plants
of the United States had installed, available
for traction purposes, about 1,000,000 horsepower
of dynamos to feed current to motor cars of a
capacity somewhat over 2,000,000 horsepower.
£iot all cars were used simultaneously, hence the
larger capacity of cars relative to generating
equipment^ (32)
By 1900 the electrical industry had developed
so rapidly and along so many avenues that the Census of
Manufactures of that year listed separately twenty-seven
^Historical Statistics, p. 480, Series R-l.
31
Harold R. Sharlin, "Applications of Electricity
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, op. cit., p. 574.
32
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States, Manufactures
Part XV (Washington, d! C. : Gnvernment^rintingOffice^
1902), pp. 164-65.


49
major categories of electric manufactures, among them
dynamos, transformers, fan motors, telephones, phonographs,
graraaphones, and electric heating apparatus, none of which
had existed on a commercial basis forty years before.
The standardization of products and processes,
simplification, the movement of materials from one work
station to another, and the widespread application of
power helped to expand production immensely after i860.
Steel was adopted as a major construction material of
the new age; and, with the introduction of electrical
apparatus on a commercial scale, copper became
increasingly important. Great changes in the nature of
production took place within the period of a few years
and more innovations would occur, in air and ground
travel, and particularly on the road with the intro-
33
duction and widespread adoption of the automobile.
33
Technology found a particularly responsive
people in Americans who prided themselves not only on the
merits of their republic, but upon their "Yankee Ingenuity"
as well, which they chose to display at the various World
Fairs beginning in 1851.
". . it was maintained that the exhibition of
specimens of American industry at London would give
Europe a juster appreciation and a more perfect know
ledge of what this Republic is, than could be attained
in any other way.'" Journal of the Great Exhibition of
1851 > T (February 1, 1851) 14, cTted~rby~~MerT^~CiIrti~,
Probing Our Past (New York: Harper & Bros., 1955), P* 247.
Americans grew proud of their technology and their
country, and that pride became identified with progress in
technology and material wealth. Cf. Curti, Probing Our
Past. chap, x, "America at the World Fairs, 1851-1893*
p. 246.


TABLE 20
183
APPARENT CONSUMPTION OF IRON AND COPPER RELATIVE
TO DOMESTIC PRODUCTION: SELECTED YEARS, I9OO-I96O
(percent)
Year
Iron
Copper
1900
95
61
1902
107
68
190k
94
54
190S
98
75
1908
96
54
1910
99
66
1912
91
71
1914
95
46
1916
84
83
1918
84
91
1920
85
88
1922
94
79
1924
96
78
1926
97
89
1928
91
81
1930
95
75
1932
96
53
1934
78
53
1936
90
87
1938
62
60
1940
68
92
1942
81
152
1944
80
153
1946
81
141
1948
90
132
1950
100
152
1952
95
150
1954
102
13 9
1956
104
130
1958
120
104
i960
115
116
Source: Computed from U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Raw Materials in the United States
Economy, 1900-1961, Bureau of the Census Working Paper
No. 6(Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1964), pp. 107, no.


151
appreciate that when we are talking of metals, we are
not only talking about monetary values, but physical
quantities. The relationship between production and
extraction is clouded by the use of abstract numbers
and aggregates.
One speaks of the rate of growth of GNP. I haven't
the faintest idea what this means when I try to
translate it into coal, and oil, and iron, and the
other physical quantities which are required to run
an industry. So far as I have been able to find
out, the quantity GNP is a monetary bookkeeping
entity. It obeys the laws of money. It can be
expanded or diminished, created or destroyed, but
it does not obey the laws of physics.(3)
We must relearn that production is a physical
activity; it is not distinct in its own right as would
be artistic or religious or scientific development.
When a telephone call is placed, speech passes over
wire made of copper mined in Arizona, refined, made
into bars, then converted into cable in Cicero, Tllinois,
and transported to its destination over rails made of
Mesabi iron. It is the physical nature of production
that leaves growth susceptible to limitation.
The implications of natural resources for
developing countries will have become apparent from
what we have said. Taken from this view alone it is
-iVT. K. Hubbard (geologist) Discussion in
Future Environments of North America. Ed. by F. Fraser
Darling and John P.Milton(Garden City, New York:
Natural History Press, 1966) p. 2$?1.


190
(1) to initate and accelerate a national research
and development program for new and improved methods
of proper and economic solid-waste disposal,
including studies directed toward the conservation of
natural resources by reducing the amount of waste and
unsalvageable materials and by recovery and utilization
of potential resources in solid wastes; and
(2) to provide technical and financial assistance to
State and local governments and interstate agencies
in the planning, development, and conduct of solid-
waste disposal programs.(l)
In 1966 the Office of Solid Wastes, later changed
to The Bureau of Solid Waste Management, and finally to
the Solid Waste Management Office, was founded by the
Federal government to deal with solid waste disposal
problems.
The need for a government agency to deal with
the problem of solid waste disposal points to the effects
of abundance. Waste is waste only so long as it is cheap.
In the past, metals supplies have been ample and metals
costs low. Should metals costs increase in the future,
problems associated with solid waste disposal probably
will be greatly reduced.
B.U Apparent Consumption of Iron and Coppert
and Iron and Copper in Use, 1900-1960
While production figures for iron and copper
reflect demands made on domestic resources, apparent
consumption figures reflect the needs of the economy
^The Solid Waste Disposal Act, Title II of
Public Law 89-272, 89th Congress, S. 306 (l9&5)


68
satisfying all needs. The British Empire's position
as regards copper was then considered relatively
satisfactory, and when the tremendous resources of
the United States were added, no problem regarding
supplies of the metal was generally anticipated.
This opinion, of course, held before the United
States entered the war and before it was known that
this country must supply copper in fabricated forms
to virtually all the nations at war with the Axis
powers or preparing to resist them. The unbelieve-
able growth in plans for airplanes, tanks, and other
munitions made all previous ideas regarding consump
tion requirements obsolete.(30)
As a result, copper was placed under mandatory
industry-wide control on June 1, 1941. Exports of
refined copper declined drastically as most of the former
European markets and Japan were taken out of the export
picture and imports of refined copper increased markedly
as South American copper formerly shipped to Europe was
diverted to the United States. Refined copper imports,
68 thousand short tons in 1940, peaked at 531 thousand
short tons in 1945, while refined copper exports declined
31
from 35^ thousand short tons to 49 thousand short tons.
Apparent domestic consumption reached peaks of 1,919
thousand short tons in 1941, and 1,948 thousant short
tons in 1943*^
With the end of the war in 1946, apparent
domestic consumption of copper temporarily declined to
30
Minerals Yearbook, 1941, pp. 93-94.
31
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-229-30.
32
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 906, Table A16-38.


85
percent, and Michigan operated only its one mine.'*''*' The
richness of copper ores mined in all the states is not
nearly what it once was. The average copper content of
domestic ores fell steadily during the past century,
from an average of 3 percent in 1880 to 0.6 percent in
1969. The copper situation deteriorated so greatly that
a quota of 50,000 tons was established in 1968 on the
export of copper refined from domestic ores and a similar
quota of 60,000 tons by copper content of scrap also was
. 12
m effect.
At about the same time as copper was first taken
from the Upper Peninsula, iron was discovered in the same
area, a little to the south and east, around what now
is the town of Marquette. The Soo Canal was completed
in 1855 and in August of that year the first ore
shipment was sent down Lake Michigan. Production
increased year by year as new mines were added, moving
always to the west along the base of the Upper Peninsula.
In i860 the major iron ore producirg states still
were in the East, however; New England states produced
51,700 tons of ore in that year and New York, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, and Maryland combined for another 724,500
^Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 453*
12Xbid., p. 451.


172
Physical Volume of Output, 1900-1960
Although national income figures do not reflect
changing production precisely, the same trend of
production toward manufacturing and machinery can be
discerned from data in Table 13 showing rates of growth
in physical volume of output. The rate of growth in
metals-using industries has been greater than that of
non-metals industries, excepting chemical, petroleum,
and rubber products, all important to transportation
and power machinery, and excepting paper products.
Larger amounts of machinery have helped to
produce larger amounts of output, but the relationship
between total output and the amount of capital needed
to produce it cannot be figured with precision.
. . the interpretation of . movements in the
capital-output ratio "since I850J is not easy and
requires more detailed figures than are now avail
able. The variations in the ratio reflect in part
the shift toward capital-intensive sectors
(railroads and public utilities) and then the
opposite shift toward sectors that require
relatively little capital (services). The movements
also reflect changes in production functions within
sectors or industries, particularly the relative
importance of capital-saving technology and
changes in the degree of utilization of plant and
equipment.(2)
2
Raymond W. Goldsmith, "National Wealth: Estimation,
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1968,
XI, 57.


95
Scientific advance, so rapid over the past century
and a half, has increasingly become the strategic
deteriminant of the influence of natural resources
on the trend of social welfare over time. In
advanced countries, it has freed man of the need
to be concerned about diminishing returns . (26)
But an escape from diminishing returns, one of
the principal "laws" of political economy, is far from
certain. Although during the past century in the United
States labor and capital costs decreased per unit of
minerals output and minerals prices have remained
relatively firm, the same situation need not hold true
in the future. In fact, metals prices have begun to
rise of late, although it is too early to determine
whether or not such price increases represent a trend.
One should remember that metals can be obtained
under current conditions at relatively low cost only
because they are found in relatively high concentrations.
While on the average the earth's crust contains only
about 0.01 percent copper and about 5 percent iron, these
metals currently are mined at concentrations considerably
higher, about 0.6 percent in the case of copper and 50
percent in the case of iron. Since concentrations of
metals or other minerals in certain locations represent
anomolous situations, one might suspect large concen
trations of high-grade ore to be very rare,
concentrations of lower grade ores less rare and so on,
26
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 261.


57
Cincinnati in 1867, and the Eads Bridge, a magnificant
work crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis,
completed in 1874, was made of chromium steel. The
Brooklyn Bridge, also constructed of steel, was completed
in I883, its main span some 1,595 feet long.
We are the formost of all nations in the use of
iron and steel in bridge building for railroads
and ordinary highways, and the lightness and
gracefulness of our bridges are nowhere equaled,
while their strength and adaptability to the
uses for which they are required are nowhere
surpassed.(6)
Low price and quick delivery allowed the develop
ment of a lively business in the export of steel for
bridges as well; but new demands for iron were not
confined even to railroads and great structures. As
one might suspect, the production of agricultural
implements also required immense quantities of iron and
steel.
We are the leading agricultural nation of the
world, and hence are the largest consumers of
agricultural implements; but we are also in
advance of every other nation in the use of
agricultural machinery. Our use of iron and steel
in agriculture takes rank next to their use in the
construction and maintenance of railroads.(7)
5
Carl W. Condit, "Buildings and Construction,"
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, op. cit., pp. 387-92.
^U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Report on the Manufactures of the United States
at the Tenth Census (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, I883), p. 150.
7Ibid.


120
The rate at which the movement to marginal
deposits progresses depends in turn upon the rate at
which metal in the form of ore is extracted and upon
the extent and richness of the best ore deposits. The
rate at which ore must be extracted depends upon the
rate of goods production and upon the rate at which
scrap metals are reused. An exponential rate of increase
in production (which may require an exponential rate of
increase in new matals demand of the kind experienced
in the past) must certainly press technology even harder,
given finite quantities of available ore concentrations.
It is by no means certain that technology will forever
4
be equal to the task.
Although increased production requires more
material, the relationship between production and mate
rials needs is not precise, nor is it the same for all
materials. In particular, metals do not bear the same
relationship to levels of output as do other materials.
The rates at which fuels are produced and consumed,
for example, reflect rates of current production.
Greater production requires more fuel, and fuel production
is in turn counted as part of total current production.
In contrast, the rates at which structural materials
Interestingly, those who seem to be the most
confident are economists; the least optimistic seem to be
those whose business it is to provide new supplies of
minerals and those who must generate technological
change.


4
growth could be considered in a timeless and spaceless
context with every element, including man himself, neatly
categorized, and controlled, problems of economic growth
and economic change would be considerably less vexing.
But men and circumstances are not easily categorized or
controlled; history does not follow a predictable course;
nor is it inevitable. While production is a technical
process, economic change is more an historical process of
evolution than a theoretical or mechanical process of
change (indeed, how many of our problems arise because we
do think mechanistically). Xt may depend as much upon
strength of will and good fortune, concepts not generally
7
included in theoretical analyses, as anything else.
Only in theory can mankind be viewed as "developing"
collectively along a known path to a known goal. In
reality each people is participant in and heir to its
own unique historical experience. The experience of
economic growth has been common to only a few. Perhaps
the one thing we may be sure about is not growth, not
decline, but change.
American Economic Association, LXI (May, 1971)> 53-62;
F. H. Hahn, "Some Adjustment Problems," Econometrica,
XXXVIII (January, 1970), 1-11.
7
A technical view of mans actions in the world
follows closely in the Cartesian tradition, which works
very well when considering the properties of atoms or
the movement of stars. In part, men's actions also are
predictable, but only in given social and historical
contexts, and then not entirely. When one extends the
analysis to the predictability of changes in the contexts
themselves, the problem becomes still more difficult. It
is common prudence to look ahead, but who really can
predict the future?


102
Repeatedly in the past, a critical stage in the
copper industry has been reached at which there
was, in fact, some likelihood of a dearth of copper
due to more rapid increase in consumption than in
production. . For example, it is now generally
recognized that such an acute situation was averted
by the technologic developments in mining, milling,
and smelting related to the opening of the so-called
porphyry £extensive low-yieldj coppers. Without
the contribution of metal from these low-grade mines
the world could not have had for some years past
anything like the tonnage of copper it has actually
consumed, even at much higher prices for the metal
than those that have prevailed.
However, there is indubitably a law of diminishing
returns applying to further technologic advances
in copper production, because the aggregate losses
in the treatment have become relatively slight, and
maximum benefits of large tonnage production are
probably already generally realized in mining,
milling, and smelting practice.(32)
While output per man-hour has continued to
33
increase, no great new technological break-throughs
of the kind experienced shortly after the turn of the
century have occurred in the mining industry.
32
U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines,
"Copper," in Mineral Resources of the United States,
Part X (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1928), pp. 713-14; p. 713-
33
^Output per man-hour in copper mining increased
by 29.7 percent between 1911 and 1921, 96.9 percent
between 1921 and 1931, 34.9 percent between 1931 and
1941, 34.5 percent between I9UI and 1951, and 32.5
percent between 1951 and i960. Computed from Albert
Daniel McMahon, Copper: A Materials Survey, U. S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Information
Circular No. 8225 (Washington, D. C.: Government
Printing Office, 1964), p. 301 Table 83.


13 8
isolated; which is perhaps another way of saying that
we can never interpret technical change in purely
teclinical terras.
Yet, if our technology (whatever causes it) does
not improve at an increasing rate, we are--according to
the Club of Rome--headed for disaster. For them, the
disaster will come about through a deteriorating
relation between five principal growth related factors
(population, industrial production, pollution, food
production, and resource depletion).
Continued rates of growth in population, they
say, could exhaust the remaining supplies of arable land.
Increasing production might generate enough pollutants
to kill-off a large part of the world's human, population,
due to delayed and persistent effects on the environment;
or resource depletion might bring about industrial
collapse. Any of these influences taken singly or
together could spell the doom of mankind. The basis of
the problem, as formulated, lay in exponentially
expanding population and industrial growth.
It is our belief that the Club of Rome predictions
are gloomier than they need be. Obviously, we are in
danger in economics of swinging from extensive optimism
to extensive pessimism. The basic weakness of the Rome
study on The Limits of Growth is that it is based on the
belief that present trends will continue. Once we
project exponential rates of growth into the future


60
Steel production remained producer oriented in
the main as machinery for use in mines and factories,
and, to a lesser degree, shipbuilding were added to the
list of major users of steel by 1900. While the railroad
industry continued to take the lion's share of steel
output, accounting for 42.5 percent, and plant and equip
ment held second place with 39*2 percent, consumer
durables accounted for only 2.8 percent and containers
15
for another 3-8 percent. But times were changing.
Between 1900 and 1929 while steel ingots and
castings produced per year increased from a little over
10 million long tons to more than 56 million long tons,
the volume being taken by railroads declined to only
16.7 percent of total steel output. The share of
steel going to buildings and equipment ramained firm
at 35*6 percent, but the major new user of steel was
the automobile, the production of which was made possible
by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.
produced per year had increased from 88,740 to 206,982,
the largest absolute increase among cultivation
implements. Twelfth Census, Manufactures. Part XV,
p. 351.
15
American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel (New York: American
Iron and Steel Institute, 1963), p. 4.
"^Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-203;
Hans H. Landsberg, Leonard L. Fischman, and Joseph L.
Fisher, Resources in America's Future, A Look Ahead to
the Year 2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Inc., 1963), p. 889, Table
A16-20.


I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
William F. Woodruff, Chairman
Graduate Research Professor of
Economic History
I certify that X have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,
Ralph H. Blodgett H 1
Professor of Economics '*
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Paul E. Koefod
Professor of Economics
I certify that X have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully acceptable, in scope and quality
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Theron A. $unez, Jf*/ /
Associate Professor of l- /
Anthropology and Assistant Dean
of the Graduate School '
<


80
completion of the rail network by 1900, and the subsequent
decline in the amount of steel devoted to that end. One
might speculate about future needs for additional numbers
of automobiles, bridges, and buildings. To the extent
that production of these or other like items is increased,
the subsequent demand for steel and iron may be increased
as well. The same holds true for copper and its various
applications. In brief, the rate of metals demand for
any given year is tied to the needs of metals using
industries and modified by changes in markets, complexity
of product, and by materials substitution.
It is difficult to foretell just what the demand
for metals will be in the future but several of the
factors mentioned above tend to indicate that the ratio
of metals extraction to national product will continue to-
decline. Increased complexity of products, substitution
of other materials, and productive activity devoted to
non-metals using endeavors would lessen the rate of
increase in metals demand. But, while the rate of growth
in annual metals consumption has been less than that of
output as a whole, the annual demand for metals has not
stabilized; on the contrary, the amount of metals in use
50
has in fact continued to increase at an increasing rate.
^See Appendix B.4 for information related to
rates of increase in metals consumption and metals in
use.


139
(as they have done), the results of the study are
obvious--they are determined by conditions assumed at
the start and follow as surely as those of any equation
must. Yet, given finite limits, exponential rates of
growth cannot continue.
The results of the Club of Rome and the Barnett
and Morse studies (however they differ) essentially
arise out of the role assigned to technology. If
exponential growth in production yielded exponential
rates of growth in the demand for resources, benefits
of technology would have to accrue at a rate greater
than or equal to the rate of increase in resource
demand; either that or a limit to further growth
eventually must be reached. For example, chromium, a
metal with one of the longest lifetimes in terms of
resource adequacy, could be expected to last another
95 years, given current rates of increase in demand
and currently known reserves. With a fivefold increase
in reserves, resulting from new discovery and technical
change, demands could be met for 154 years. The same
projections for iron are 93 years for currently known
reserves and 173 years if reserves are increased
fivefold. The projections for copper are 21 years
18
and 48 years, respectively.
18
Meadows et al., Limits to Growth, pp. 56 62.


40
repeated performance by a man or a machine of the simple
function, and, eventually, upon the movement of the work
17
to the worker or to his machine.
Eli Whitney is recognized as one of the first
to have applied the principle of interchangeable parts
18
to manufacture in the production of firearms in 179^.
By 1807 clocks were being made from interchangeable
parts and the application of the process subsequently
encompassed many other types of production including
boots and shoes and clothing, the sewing machine by
1850, and large agricultural machinery by 1867."*"^
Accuracy of measurement was advanced markedly
in 1851 with the introduction of the vernier caliper
by Joseph Brown, and by 1856 Joseph Whitworth had
produced a bench micrometer capable of measuring
accurately to within ten-thousandths of an inch.
17
Cf. Sigfried Giedion, Mechanization Takes
Command (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948), p. 49;
John W. Oliver, History of American Technology (New
York.: Ronald Press Company, 1956.
18
Some questions have been raised concerning
Whitney's contribution to interchangeable parts manu
facture. His individual contribution to the process
may have been less than legend would indicate. Cf.
Robert S. Woodbury, The Legend of Eli Whitney and
Interchangeable Parts, Publications in the Humanities
(Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
1964) .
19
7Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. 49.


103
. . increases in production and productivity, and
the decreases in the number of men and man-hours
required are due principally to the greater use of
large-scale mining methods--open pit and block-caving--
and the high degree of mechanization of most all
operations.(3b)
A reduced rate of technological change in the
minerals industry should possibly be expected; the same
situation has been common to most industries.
. . it will generally be found that the rate of
technical progress has abated definitely in the
period subsequent to the date when the fundamental
transforming "invention" took place.
Every technical improvement by lowering costs and
by perfecting the utilization of raw materials and
of power bars the way to further progress. There
is less left to improve, and this narrowing of
possibilities results in a slackening or complete
cessation of technical development in a number of
fields.(35)
Similar comments concerning the possible effects
of technology relative to iron ore production have been
expressed.
34
McMahon, Copper, p. 301.
35
Burns, Production Trends, p. 142; Julium Wolf,
Die Volkswirtschaft der Gegenwart u. Zukunft (Leipzig,
191277 pp. 236-37 cited in Kuznets, Economic Change, pp.
259-60. See also Simon Kuznets, Secular Movements in
Production and Prices (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930) ,
chap, i, for an analysis of abating technological
changes in selected industries.


173
TABLE 13
PRIVATE DOMESTIC ECONOMY: AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES
OF CHANGE IN PHYSICAL VOLUME OF OUTPUT, BY
SELECTED SEGMENT AND BY GROUP, 1899-1953
(percent)
1899-
1909
1909-
1919
1919-
1929
1929-
1937
1937-
1948
1948-
1953
1899-
1953
Manu facturing
-4.7
3.5
5.1
0.4
5.4
5.7
4.1
Foods
4.0
3.8
4.4
0.5
3.6
2.0
3.3
Beverages
3.9
-9.6
-4.5
27.2
6.3
0.7
2.9
Tobacco
3.8
5.0
3-7
2.0
4.3
1.8
3.6
Textiles
4.1
1.6
3-5
1.0
3.7
0.8
2.7
Apparel
5-3
2.4
4.5
0.5
3.6
2.1
3.3
Lumber prods.
2.5
-2.7
1.3
-3.6
3.0
2.0
0.4
Furniture
2.9
0.3
7.0
-3.3
6.9
2.8
3.0
Paper
7.2
3.7
6.6
2.5
4.5
4.8
5.0
Printing, pub.
7.6
4.3
6.4
0.2
3.4
2.8
4.3
Chemicals
5-4
5.1
6.9
2.7
8.7
8.7
6.2
Pet., coal prod6.4
9-3
9-9
1.6
5-3
4.8
6.5
Rubber prods.
6. 0
21.4
6.4
-1.2
5.9
4.6
7.5
Leather prods.
2.6
0.8
1.0
1.0
0.9
-0.1
1.1
Stone,clay,gl.
6.5
-0.1
6.0
-0.1
5.4
3-9
3.7
Primary metals 7*2
3-6
4.9
-1.4
5.5
3.8
4.1
Fab. metals
7.2
3.8
5.2
-0.8
6.2
11.5
5.2
Mach., non-el.
4.7
5.2
3.1
0.1
7.3
5.6
4.4
El. mach.
9.2
9-4
8.0
-0.8
9.4
12.7
7.9
Trans, equip.
3.9
19.0
5.1
-1.2
5-5
13.7
7.2
Miscellaneous
6.4
2.4
3.7
0.8
7.1
5.9
4.4
Commun. and
public util.
12.9
7.3
8.1
1.8
7.3
6.1
7.5
Telephone
18.2
4.9
7.5
-0.9
7.2
2. 6
7.1
El. util.
17.1
14.0
10.8
4.1
7.8
9.3
10.7
Private dom.
economy
4. 2
3.0
3.7
0.1
4.5
4.4
3.3
Source: John Kendrick, Productivity Trends in
the United States, National Bureau of Economic Research
Study No. 71 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, lp6l), pp. 204-05, Table 58.


126
Those industries best suited to recycling would
enjoy a competitive advantage over others not so well
suited. Industries unable to use scrap efficiently, or
making products not lending themselves to reclamation,
and therefore having a low salvage value, would find
themselves in a relativerly poorer competitive position.
A new level of output, changed in composition, would
emerge, but increases in output would be restricted by
the limited availability of metals to that which could
be achieved by their more efficient use. Physical waste
would diminish greatly but so would growth. Thus,
conservation of a materials stock might reduce materials
problems, but growth as the United States has known it
must depend upon additions to the metals stock.
While growth depends upon the provision of more
materials, it does not necessarily depend on any one
metal; any of several materials might do. Neither are
given levels of output or rates of growth necessarily
tied precisely to given rates of materials production
taken collectively. One material may be substituted
for another depending upon the nature of final products,
production methods, the kinds of resources available,
and the relative degree of difficulty involved in their
acquisition.
Materials are useful because of their physical
qualities, and materials sharing like qualities are


83
Deposits of iron and copper were particularly
extensive in the Lake Superior region, and Michigan1s
Upper Peninsula furnished the first real spurt in copper
and iron ore production. Copper's existence in the far
North country had been known by white men since as early
as the mid lOOs, ^ but Upper Michigan was a forbidding
place, far distant from centers of civilization; and
little effort was made to investigate its resources.
Reports of extensive copper deposits continued
to filter back to the East, but it was not until 1841
that a substantive geological report of the region was
made by Douglas Houghton, one-time mayor of Detroit and
state geologist. Houghton1s report led to a rush for
copper. In 1844 the first copper company was formed
and by 1845 copper production in Upper Michigan amounted
to 12 tons; by 1865 production had risen to almost
7
7,200 tons.
Michigan copper was of exceptional quality,
occurring in an almost pure state as native ore. Huge
chunks of "mass" copper were taken from Michigan mines,
one a 420 ton monster some 46 feet long, 12-1/2 feet
Indians had employed a crude technology to
mine the region, and some of their shallow pits may be
found there today.
7
T. A. Rickard, A History of American Mining,
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932), p! 231.


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74
high strength levels have been developed for air
craft landing gear. The stainless steels . .
provide good corrosion resistance . and are
useful in applications requiring strength at
elevated temperatures. . .
. . Today's steel line pipe, because of greater
strength and larger diameter, enables use of
greater pressure to transmit 60 percent more gas
than was possible a decade ago with the same
tonnage of pipe. The new A-36 grade of structural
carbon steel has a yield point 9 percent greater
than that of the A-7 grade which was the standard
for many years. This higher yield point allows
an increased design stress of about 10 percent in
both bridges and buildings and will result in
significant savings in the cost of fabricated and
erected structures.(43)
The effects of improved quality have been twofold.
First, because proportionately more special steels are
being used today, and because these are higher cost
steels, more value is added per ton of metal in the
production of steel itself. Second, the increased
quality of steel of all grades has decreased the amount
of steel needed per unit of final product and also has
increased the durability of the product so produced.
Increased durability has allowed machines to be operated
longer and at higher speeds, thus increasing the amount
of product produced per machine and per unit of metal
used in the machine's construction.
The trend toward increased value of production
per ton of metal also has been accentuated by the
changing nature of metals markets, and this influence
43
American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel, p. 14.


204
WORKS CITED--continued
Cook, Robert C. "Malthus' Main Thesis Still Holds,"
Perspectives on Conservation, Essays on America's
Natural Resources. Edited by Henry Jarrett.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for
the Future, Inc., lp6l,
Curti, Merle. Probing Our Past. New York: Harper &
Bros., 1955.
Dahhof, Clarence H. Discussion of Wayne D, Rasmussen.
"The Impact of Technological Change on American
Agriculture, 1862-192," Journal of Economic
History. XXXI (December, 1962), 592-94.
Flawn, Peter T. Mineral Resources, Geology, Engineering,
Economics, Law. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company,
1966.
Giedion, Sigfried. Mechanization Takes Command, New York
Oxford University Press, 1948.
Goldsmith, Raymond V. "National Wealth: Estimation."
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,
1968, XI, 57.
. The National Wealth of the United States in
the Postwar Period. Princeton, New Jersey:
Princeton University Press for National Bureau
of Economic Research, New York, 1962.
Graton, L. C. "Seventy-five Years of Progress in Mining
Geology," Seventy-five Years of Progress in the
Mineral Industry, 1871-1946. Edited by A. B.
Parsons. New York: American Institute of Mining
and Metallurgical Engineers, 1947.
Gulick, Luther. "The City's Challenge in Resource Use."
Perspectives on Conservation, Essays on America's
Natural Resources, Edited by Henry Jarrett,
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for
the Future, Inc., 1961.
Gurley, John G. "The State of Political Economics,"
American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings
of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the American
Economic Association. LXI (May, lpyi), 53-62.


TABLE 9
NATIONAL INCOME BY INDUSTRY DIVISIONS, I869-I96Oa
Industry Divisions
Year or
Period
Total
National
Income
(Mills.
Current
Dollars)
-p
-p o
H
bo
0
UQ
O
c
-P
0
*H
P 0

u
CJ
c c
bo
& -H
0
bo
H
0 0
P -P
fa
<;
s
0 0
s
(i D
E-t
Percent Distribution
(0
0
o
H
>
0
CO
O
0
ft
1957-1960
386,032
4.3
1.5
5.1
30.5
8.4
15.7
10.9
10.4
12.4
.6
1948-1953
258,476
7.2
2.0
5.0
31.6
8.5
16.7
9.0
8.8
10. 7
5
1937-1944
108,684
8.4
2.0
3-5
30.6
9.2
15.8
8.6
8.4
13. 2
3
1926-1929
82,818
9.0
2.2
4.9
21.4
9-7
12.9
17.0
12.8
10.2
_
1918-1920
62,820
18.9
3.4
2.6
23.3
10.7
14.4
10.9
7.2
8.5
-
1907-1910
25,400
19.4
3.4
4.1
18.3
10.9
16.4
13.O
9.1
5.4
1899-1903
17,313
18.2
2.9
4.3
18.6
10.3
16.6
12.7
10. 3
6.0
_
1879
7,227
19.0
2.1
5.0
13.3
12.9
16.1
12.0
15.2
4.5
-
1869
6,827
22.2
1.5
5.7
14.6
10.9
15.2
11.5
14. 2
4. 2
-
aSource: Long Term Economic Growth, 1860-1965, Part III, p. 79 Table 4.
^Includes transportation, communications and public utilities
cIncludes finance, insurance and real estate
os
00 ,
World


153
when viewed from the vantage point of the "emerging"
country which finds itself in competition for remaining
resources with full-growth industrial giants.
As for the United States, which now finds itself
in much the same position as other industrial nations
that were forced at a much earlier date to go beyond
their borders for materials,^ ownership by United States
firms of much of the world's resources has become all
7
the more significant. But "ownership" implies a kind of
control that may be difficult to maintain; people of
other nations seem to have become increasingly concerned
This is not meant to imply that no early foreign
investment occurred in minerals, but rather that under
current circumstances they have become more important.
7
That the increased reliance placed by the
United States on foreign mineral sources has gone
unrecognized in many circles is illustrated by the
following.
"The motivation traditionally cited by both
classic economists and Marxists--that companies go
abroad to get cheaper sources of raw materials--is
clearly on the wane. Mining and petroleum account
for a steadily declining slice of new investment,
from more than 50 percent a decade ago to less than
25 percent now, and there has been a steady erosion of
the share of private capital going to less-developed
countries." "Making Ricardo's Prophecy Come True,"
Business Week, December 19, 1970, p. 6l.


88
seem to be gone, and the end of the Mesabirs rich ore
1,4- 16
is in sight.
Although one can only speculate as to what the
future holds with regard to domestic ore availability,
it is rather disturbing that few discoveries of distinct
large ore bodies have been made in the United States
since shortly after the turn of the century; the major
copper and iron deposits now known were known then and
the richest ores have been taken from them. Mining
enterprises have managed to locate additional amounts
of lower grade ores around known areas of high metals
concentration on a fairly reliable basis in the recent
17
past, but the job of finding new domestic ores has
become progressively more difficult, and the ores have
become leaner.
Leaner ores, because they require more
processing, mean higher costs unless cost can be held
in check by technological advance, and, for most of the
period following i860, the battle has been won by
technology.
Domestic copper reserves are expected to be
insufficient to meet domestic needs through the present
century, and iron ore production is expected to be
supplemented greatly by foreign production for the
same period.
17
Cf. C. K. Lerth, World Minerals and World
Problems (hew York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1931)


101
worker in iron and ferroalloys production increased from
29 in 1939 to 135 in 1963. Thus between 1939 and 19^3
while production per man-hour increased by a little
over 70 percent, horsepower per man increased almost
fivefold, a much larger increase than in manufacturing.
In 1963 the mineral industries used 75 horsepower
per production worker, excluding high-way type
equipment, as compared to 12 for all manufacturing
industries. Horsepower per thousand dollars value
added in mineral industries in 1963# excluding
high-way type equipment, amounted to 2.3 as
compared to 0.8 for all manufacturing industries.
Moreover, horsepower per production worker increased
between 1939 and 195^ by 250 percent in the mineral
industries, and by another 75 percent between 195^
and 1963, but by only about 40 and 20 percent
respectively in the manufacturing industries.(3l)
Unlimited amounts of power applied to constant
or worsening grades of ores would obviate the need for
concern over adequate amounts of resources; but neither
unlimited amounts of power nor the means to apply it
in timely fashion are or probably will become available.
Rapid increases in the rate of power application
relative to output in mining holds little brightness
for the future ability of applied technology to wring
ever increasing amounts of metal from ever leaner ores.
Certainly, the faith in technology exhibited by some
economists seems not to be so heartily shared by men
in the metals industries.
^Raw Materials in the U. S. Economy, 1900-1966.
pp. 39-^0*


174
Similarly, the amount of metal needed to produce
each type of equipment is not precise. However, the
general magnitude of the shift from agriculture to
manufacturing and toward metals manufacture can be
readily seen from the data presented above.
We have noted in chapter iv that the rate of
metals consumption is not as directly related to overall
levels of production for any given year as it is to the
rate at which the ultimate uses of the metals are
expanding. The net effect of increased metals production
is to increase the amount of reproducible tangible
assets available for use during subsequent periods of
time.
During the period 1830-1880, the stock of
producer durables showed a tenfold increase and stocks
of consumer durables increased sevenfold. Prom
1880-1900 stocks of producer durables more than
tripled again while stocks of consumer durables increased
3
by 150 percent. We may recall the speed with which
metals consumption increased over the same period of
time. In 1900 reproducible tangible wealth stood at
$221.9 billion in terms of 19^7-19^-9 prices. By 1958
reproducible tangible wealth had increased to $1,022.3
4
billion in terms of the same prices.
^Historical Statistics, p. 152, Series P 232-233-
4
Raymond W. Goldsmith, The National Wealth of
the United States in the Postwar Period (New York:
National Bureau of Economic Research and Princeton
University Press, 1962), p. 114, Table A-2.


116
In the productive process, materials are col
lected, changed Into useful forms, then dispersed
through use. They are neither created nor destroyed.
With crops, for example, various minerals are extracted
by plants and fashioned into useful products by the
plants themselves. A ton of harvested plantlife
represents a ton of material taken from the earth and
air, in this instance mined by the process of plant
growth; the plants, in effect, perform the function of
mining machine as well as processor. Through use, the
minerals incorporated in the plant and product are
changed chemically and dispersed.
In manufacturing, as in agriculture, minerals
are taken from the earth, concentrated, and molded into
useful objects. Through use the concentrated minerals
are then dispersed again, almost completely in the
case of mineral fuels, not so completely in the case
of most metals.
Mining thus is but the first step in the total
productive process, a step not exceeded in importance
by any other. The act of freeing copper from the
soil, for example, is as much a part of production as
is concentrating the ore, smelting and refining it,
shaping, molding, and installing it in the form of a
finished product. Thus, if a given level of production
requires a given level of copper use, it also requires
copper mining, a steady withdrawal of metal from a
limited store.


36
According to the Preliminary Report on the
Eighth Census, based upon figures for manufacturing output
and upon population figures, a per-capita product of
manufactures amounted to some $60.61 "for every man,
woman, and child in the Union." Nor was the increase in
manufacturing to be considered a mixed blessing.
. . who can justly estimate the influence upon
the general happiness and prosperity--upon the
progress in civilization of the sum total of
effective labor, capital and skill represented by
such an aggregate as we have stated? What an
amount of fixed capital--of labor, enterprise,
ingenuityof resources, material and immaterial
involved in the creation of nearly two thousand
millions worth of manufactures in a single year.' The
addition of nearly one thousand millions to the annual
product of domestic manufactures--an amount almost
equal to the total home consumption thereof in 1850--
implies also vast additions to the permanent wealth
of the Union and to the elements of a progressive
civilization. The increased support given to ag
riculture, commerce and the mining interests by
the consumption of hundreds of millions of men,
women, and children who would have been otherwise
unemployed, or forced into competition with the
farmer and planter, instead of being consumers of
their produce, form but a part of the benefits
conferred upon the community at large.(lO)
But manufacturing industries in the United
States as elsewhere continued to depend mostly upon
organic and reproducible raw materials, as they had
for thousands of years; iron and copper had not yet
gained the importance they would. Water power still
furnished the primary source of energy and materials
handled in most manufacturing processes were the
products of the forests and of the field rather than the
10Tbid.. p. 60.


Millions of 195b Dollars
Source: Table 2k
vo
On


33
A pound of tea, surely a luxury item, required
as much as a day's pay to obtain. A bushel of potatoes
might cost a half-day's wages, and a pair of boots from
two to five days pay, an amount equal to a full month's
house rent.
In general, material life in the 1860s was
sparse by today's standards. The types of products
generally offered to consumers were plain and basic;
and if adequate in quantity, they were not available in
overwhelming abundance.
The United States of i860 was, of course,
primarily an agricultural nation, although manufacturing
was growing rapidly and the nation had become something
of a sea power. Machines had been introduced into
several kinds of production, in the making of clothing
and shoes and in food processing, for example. Some
mechanization had taken place in agriculture, notably
with the introduction of the reaper, the thresher, the
cotton gin, and the all-steel plow. Steam had been
applied to water and land transportation. But the
products of the nation were products of the soil, in
the main. Hard manual labor and common sweat were the
principal instruments of progress, and the relatively
few machines in existence were in the hands of producers,
not consumers. Within the next century, the face of
the country and the nature of production would change
entirely. ^
Qualitative changes in the nature of production


24
Man cannot create material things. In the mental
and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas;
but when he is said to produce material things, he
really only produces utilities; or in other words,
his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the
form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better to
the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in
the physical world is either to readjust a log of
wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being
made more useful, by nature, as when he puts seed
where the forces of nature will make it burst into
life. (1)
Almost all actions lead to the satisfaction of
wants, else they would not be undertaken; therefore, any
number of activities may be thought of as productive.
But some goods and services, and hence the types of
productive activities which generate them, are more
essential than others, and the most essential is the
provision of food. It has been said that man can be
neither prophet nor poet unless he has relatively
2
recently had something to eat.
A host of other goods and services comes to
mind as being essential to greater or lesser degree
after the provision of food. Goods that furnish shelter,
clothing, transportation, and protection from natural
disaster and from other people; and services that
provide social situations for enjoyment, education,
entertainment, and leisure are needed. But man the
^Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (8th
ed.; Toronto: Macmillan Company,1966), p^ 53
2
The importance of food apparently has been
partially forgotten by some who would place great emphasis
upon the production of manufactured goods, supposedly
because manufacturing is more "productive" in a monetary
sense.


30
The Gross National Product per capita for the
period 1869 to 1873 amounted to $165^ compared to about
$4,500 currently. But problems associated with the com
parison of GNP for any two years, especially when those
years are widely separated in time, are both great and
2
well-known. Changes in product type and quality since
i860 have alone been sufficient to reduce the validity
of such estimates considerably. A more meaningful
contrast might be accomplished by a simple sketch of
the incomes people earned in i860 and of retail prices
they paid.
Jn i860 less than four percent of the people
engaged in industry worked an eight to nine hour day.
Only ten percent labored less than ten to eleven hours,
3
and fully a third worked more than eleven hours. For
their efforts, common laborers might receive a daily
wage ranging from $ .65 to $1.50 depending upon the
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times
to IQ57 (Washington, 5"! C. : Government Printing Office,
i960), p. 139, Series F 1-5 Kuznets estimates.
2
See, for instance, George J. Stigler, Trends in
Output and Employment (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1947), for an interesting
discussion along these lines.
3
Joseph D. Weeks, Superintendent of the Census,
Report on the Statistics of Wages in Manufactuning
Industries; With Supplementary Reports on the Average
Retail Prices of Necessaries of Life and on Trades
Societies, and Strikes and Lockouts, Vol. XX (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), pp. xxix, xxxi.


51
economic change that occurred. The simple statement of
income or wealth figures, no matter how couched with
qualifications, cannot serve to reflect adequately the
35
scope of economic "progress."
Nor can the increased importance of metals to
the economy be discerned easily from figures showing
qzT
increased rates of metals production and consumption.
The effects of increased metals use were pervasive; every
conceivable productive process, whether concerned with
manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, communications,
or services, was affected by the application of power
and machinery. Xn turn, mechanization and mass pro
duction generated an increased dependence upon metals
and an increased metals demand, and while economic
progress in terms of quality was astonishing, changes in
quantity were astonishing as well.
Mechanization virtually revolutionized the
37
agricultural industry. Output per worker increased
35
Changing volume of production as shown by
employment, income, and physical output figures is shown
in Appendix A.
o/T
Figures for copper, iron, and steel production
are included in Appendix B, as are figures showing
apparent consumption of those metals.
37
Whether the change was revolutionary or
evolutionary is a matter of definition. But agricultural
production and productivity increased very rapidly between
i860 and 1880; thereafter the rate of growth declined until
lpUO, after which a new revolution in the way of fertilizers,
insecticides, hybrid seeds took place. C_f. Wayne D.
Rasmussen, "The Impact of Technological Change on American
Agriculture, 1862-1962," Journal of Economic History, XXII
(December, 1962), 578-91-


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ABSTRACT
CHAPTER I: PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
AND RESOURCES
iii
vi
viii
ix
1
The Experience of Developed Countries and the
Idea of Progress (l)
Unique Characteristics of Economic Growth (ll)
The Importance of Resources to Growth and
Production (l4)
CHAPTER II: THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE OF OUR
INQUIRY 22
Intention (22)
Definitions (23)
Scope and Method (27)
CHAPTER III: THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED
STATES PRODUCTION AFTER i860--AN OVERVIEW 29
Production in i860 (29)
Changing Conditions and Changing Techniques
After i860 (35)
The New Importance of Iron and Copper--Metals
in Relation to the General Economy (44)
The Changing Nature of Production after i860 (40)
CHAPTER IV: THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, I86O-I96O 55
The Changing Uses of Iron and Copper (55)
Growth in National Output and Growth in Metals (69)
The Efficient Use of Metals (73)
Increased Production and Increased Metals
Demand (78)
iv


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Melvin Harju was born December 2, lpUl, at Wya.net,
Illinois. He attended schools in Illinois and the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan and was graduated from Hall
Township High School in Spring Valley, Illinois, in June,
1959 Thereafter, he attended Knox College in Galesburg,
and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major
in Sociology in 1963. After spending two years as an
Army Artillery officer, he worked for Illinois Bell
Telephone Company in the Chicago Surburban area. In 1967
he enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of
Florida and received the degree of Master of Arts with a
major in Economics in 1968. From September, 1968, until
the present time he has pursued his work toward the degree
Doctor of Philosophy, and since September, 1971, has been
assistant professor of economics at Hope College, Holland,
Michigan.
Melvin Harju is married to the former Gwen Hughes,
and is the father of one child. He is a member of the
American Economic Association.
212


CHAPTER VII
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
In the preceding pages we have attempted to
analyze the changing relationship between increased levels
of production and increased needs for copper and iron
within the United States during the past hundred years.
During that time, both the volume and the nature of
production changed so as to place increased reliance
upon these metals, and while the nature of the relation
ship was not direct, the consequences of the changes,
both in terms of general production and the exhaustion
of domestic metal deposits was definite. Acquisition
of large quantities of iron and copper was essential to
new products and production methods after I860, and
economic growth since i860 generated an increased need
for iron and copper for use in machines and structures.
Adequate supplies of these metals could be taken from
an initially large domestic stock, but as the stock of
metals in use increased, the known stock of metals in
the ground diminished.
In the United States of i860, both goods
produced and the means of production relied primarily
- 143 -


TABLES--continued
15. Rates of Growth in Domestic Copper Ore (Mine
Recoverable Content) Production by Decade,
1860-1960 178
16. Rates of Growth in Pig Iron Shipments by Decade,
1860-1960 179
17. Rates of Growth in Steel Ingots and Castings
Produced, I87I-I96O 180
18. Average Annual Rates of Growth Between Decade
Averages for Copper, Pig Iron, and Steel Ingots
and Castings, I86I-I96O 181
19. Average Annual Rates of Growth of Copper, Iron,
and Steel Production and Gross National Product,
1900-1960 . . 182
20. Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper Relative
to Domestic Production: Selected Years 1900-
1960 183
21. Potentially Recoverable Iron Scrap, 1929 and i960 188
22. Potential Recovery of Obsolete Copper Scrap,
I960 189
23. Copper--Apparent Consumption--Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
I9OO-I96O I93
24. Iron--Apparent Consumption-Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
1900-1960 I95
25.Total Iron and Ferroalloy Metais--Apparent
Consumption-Additions to Metals in Use and
Average Annual Addition by Decade, I9OO-I96O. . I98
26. Copper and Iron in UseAdjusted for 1860-1900
Production 201
27. Average Annual Rate of Growth in Iron and Copper
in Use Relative to Gross National Product,
1920-1960 and 1900-1960 202
vii


82
But even the vast metals deposits of the United
States were not limitless, and by the 1950s the United
States had begun to import substantial quantities of
iron and copper ores. Iron ore imports, which in 1900
had amounted to only 898 thousand long tons, reached 34.5
million long tons in i960, an amount greater than total
domestic production had been in 1900, and whereas the
United States had been a net exporter of copper in 1900,
by 1959 apparent consumption of copper exceeded domestic
production by 258 thousand short tons, only 45 thousand
short tons less than total domestic copper production
U
had been in 1900. The metals position of the United
States had changed substantially over the years, from
one of abundance to one of scarcity. We will now deal
with that change and its implications.
Tn i860 demands for metals relative to the
amounts of ore available were slight. The country was
so large, the produce so bountiful, that almost every
resource seemed inexhaustible. A typical comment of
the age is to be found in the Census of Manufactures of
i860.
This whole country range extending from North
Carolina into AlabamaJ possesses an incalculable,
inexhaustible abundance of the richest ores, while
its production of iron still remains at a minimum.(5)
3Ibid.
4
Figures comparing domestic production of iron
and copper to domestic consumption for I9OO-I96O are pre
sented in Appendix B.2, Table 20.
5
Manufactures of the U.S. in i860, p. clxxvi.


154
about the use of their resources lately. Even traditionally
g
friendly Canada has become somewhat restive.
Although the response of material supplying nations
to United States demands might be called xenophobic,
countries which see their irreplaceable resources taken
by foreign industries to be used in foreign lands can
be understandably disturbed. One need only remember
the plight of regions within the United States from which
minerals once came, the famous "boom towns," now silent
and dead. If and when other conditions prove right
for development, from where will materials be taken to
allow it if the best are gone?
The time may have come for a revaluation of our
ideas and philosophies regarding production and growth.
In efforts to make a living, men through the ages
found it necessary to come to grips with their
environments and to establish working relationships
between themselves and the physical world. Their
o
philosophies reflected the ways in which they did so.
"Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau has recently
set up a commission to study the problem of foreign
ownership and its influence on Canada. . While still
unclear, it probably would come down hardest on natural
resource industries with low local employment." "The
Nationalist Barriers Go Higher," Business Week, Dec. 19, 1970,
p. 126.
9
It is granted that philosophies may both
reflect and affect the ways in which individual groups
of people come to grips with their environments.


Scarcity or Plenty; The Role of Metal Resources
in the Growth of the United States Economy, I86O-I96O
By
MELVIN W. HARJU
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1972

Copyright by
Melvin V. Harju
1972

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the
aid and encouragement given by Dr. William Woodruff and
by my wife, Gwen, during the course of this undertaking.
Special thanks go also to Dr. R. H. Blodgett, Dr. P. E.
Koefod, Dr. T. A. Nunez, Dr. C. H. Donovan, and to the
many others who gave graciously of their time and
experience. Any errors or shortcomings are, of course,
entirely my own.
iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ABSTRACT
CHAPTER I: PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH
AND RESOURCES
iii
vi
viii
ix
1
The Experience of Developed Countries and the
Idea of Progress (l)
Unique Characteristics of Economic Growth (ll)
The Importance of Resources to Growth and
Production (l4)
CHAPTER II: THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE OF OUR
INQUIRY 22
Intention (22)
Definitions (23)
Scope and Method (27)
CHAPTER III: THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED
STATES PRODUCTION AFTER i860--AN OVERVIEW 29
Production in i860 (29)
Changing Conditions and Changing Techniques
After i860 (35)
The New Importance of Iron and Copper--Metals
in Relation to the General Economy (44)
The Changing Nature of Production after i860 (40)
CHAPTER IV: THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, I86O-I96O 55
The Changing Uses of Iron and Copper (55)
Growth in National Output and Growth in Metals (69)
The Efficient Use of Metals (73)
Increased Production and Increased Metals
Demand (78)
iv

C ONTENTS—continued
CHAPTER V: THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER i860 . 81
Increased Production of American Mines (8l)
Changing Location and Declining Ore Yields of
American Mines After I860 (82)
Changing Techniques in American Mines (88)
Effects on Costs of Declining Ore Yields (&U)
The Move to Foreign Metals Sources (104)
CHAPTER VI: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRODUCTION,
EXTRACTION, AND GROWTH 110
Changing Production and Changing Resources (llO)
Production and Natural Wealth (112)
Structural Materials and Economic Growth (120)
The Effects of Metals Scarcity on Growth (133)
CHAPTER VII: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 143
A Glance in Retrospect (l43)
The Influence of Abundant Resources and
Increasing Scarcity on Growth (120)
Implications of Materials Scarcity for Rich and
Poor Nations (151)
Natural Resources and Material Progress (154)
A Balanced Perspective (l6o)
APPENDIX A: CHANGING PRODUCTION, I86O-I96O 163
Employment, I86O-I96O (l63)
National Income by Source (167)
Physical Volume of Output, I9OO-I96O (173)
APPENDIX B: COPPER, IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION AND
METALS IN USE, I86O-I96O 176
B.l Copper, Iron, and Steel Production,
1860-1960 (176)
B.2 Imports and Exports of Copper and Iron,
1900-1960 (182)
B.3 Copper and Iron Scrap (184)
B.4 Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper and
Iron and Copper in Use, I9OO-I96O (l90)
WORKS CITED 203
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 212
v

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1. Representative Prices of Selected Commodities,
I860 32
2. World Iron and Copper Reserves 107
3. Projected Requirements and Availabilities of
Selected Metals to the Year 2000 1U9
U. Labor Force Engaged in Raw Materials and Other
Industries in the United States, Total and Percent
Distribution, I86O-I96O 16U
5. Agricultural Output and Productivity, 1910-1960. . 165
6. Value of Sales and Home Consumption of Farm
Products and Value per Worker, 1860-1900 165
7. Farm Machinery and Equipment, 1900-1957 166
8. Farm Machinery and Farm Labor Productivity,
1910-1960 I67
9. National Income by Industry Divisions, I869-I96O . 168
10. Gross National Product by Type of Product, 1929
and i960 I69
11. National Income by Industries, 1929 and i960 . . . 170
12. Share of National Income by Selected Industries,
1929 and 1965 171
13. Private Domestic Economy: Average Annual Rates of
Change in Physical Volume of Output, by Selected
Segment and Group, 1899-1953 173
14. Capital-Output Ratio, 1850-1958 275
vi

TABLES--continued
15. Rates of Growth in Domestic Copper Ore (Mine
Recoverable Content) Production by Decade,
1860-1960 178
16. Rates of Growth in Pig Iron Shipments by Decade,
1860-1960 179
17. Rates of Growth in Steel Ingots and Castings
Produced, l8yi-1^60 180
18. Average Annual Rates of Growth Between Decade
Averages for Copper, Pig Iron, and Steel Ingots
and Castings, I86I-I96O 181
19. Average Annual Rates of Growth of Copper, Iron,
and Steel Production and Gross National Product,
1900-1960 . . . . . 182
20. Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper Relative
to Domestic Production: Selected Years 1900-
1960 183
21. Potentially Recoverable Iron Scrap, 1929 and i960 188
22. Potential Recovery of Obsolete Copper Scrap,
I960 189
23. Copper--Apparent Consumption--Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
I9OO-I96O I93
24. Iron--Apparent Consumption-Additions to Metals
in Use and Average Annual Addition by Decade,
1900-1960 I95
25.Total Iron and Ferroalloy Metais--Apparent
Consumption-Additions to Metals in Use and
Average Annual Addition by Decade, I9OO-I96O. . . I98
26. Copper and Iron in Use—Adjusted for 1860-1900
Production 201
27. Average Annual Rate of Growth in Iron and Copper
in Use Relative to Gross National Product,
1920-1960 and 1900-1960 202
vii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure Page
1. Consumption of Purchased Scrap in the United
States, 1915-1952 and Output of Pig Iron and
Steel, 1915-1962. Data for 1953-1962 Represent
Receipts of Purchased Scrap by Consumers 186
2. United States Production of Refined Copper from
Primary and Secondary Source Materials and
Production from Old Scrap, I9IO-I96O 187
3. Copper in Use, I92O-I96O 19¿+
4. Apparent Consumption by Five-Year Averages of
Iron, I9OO-I96O 196
5. Iron in Use, 1920-1960 197
6. Five-Year Averages of Ferroalloys Apparent
Consumption, I9OO-I96O I99
7. Iron and Ferroalloy Metals in Use, I92O-I96O . . . 200
viii

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
SCARCITY OR PLENTY; THE ROLE OF METAL RESOURCES
IN THE GROWTH OF THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY, 186O-I96O
By
Melvin W. Harju
August, 1972
Chairman: William F. Woodruff
Major Department: Economics
According to a great deal of contemporary thinking,
the nations of the world might almost reasonably be
divided roughly into two groups, the rich and the poor,
or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly, the
developed and the developing. Much economic theory has
been generated, particularly since the Second World War,
to account for observed differences in relative material
wealth; and economic growth and development, with
industrialization as a goal, has come to he viewed as an
on-going process. With that end in mind, theorists have
attempted to generate, whenever possible, universally
applicable explanations of growth and development. While
such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations
not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different
peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories
often are divorced almost entirely from any historical
or geographical consideration.
ax

The argument presented in this thesis is that
economic progress can be viewed only as economic change
and that economic change cannot be divorced from the
particular circumstances of people, place, and time. In
this sense, the economic experience of the United States
during the past hundred years, from which so many develop¬
ment schemes have been abstracted, must be viewed as
exceptional; not least because of its initial abundance
of natural resources; much of what has come to be called
economic growth really has represented nothing more than
the rapid exploitation of natural wealth; to a large
degree, production has represented extraction.
Demands for resources encompass a wide variety of
materials; but no resources have been more important to
the current machine age than metals. Of the various metals,
iron and copper have been particularly important, not only
because of their use in many different kinds of production,
but also because they are used in great quantity. They
represent the bulk metals used for production in a
modern economy. In this study an analysis of their
supply and disposition serves to illustrate the role metals
extraction has played in the growth of the United States
economy.
In analyzing the relation between production and
the extraction of metals, overall levels of output and
changes in output by categories are compared over the past
century. With the changing nature of production estab¬
lished, metals needs relative to production are then
x

examined with particular attention given to the demand
for new metals inputs and for ores. Factors relating to
the supply of metals are then considered, and finally,
increases in production and produced wealth are related
to the available supply of metals to United States
industries during the century.
In the course of this study, the economic growth
of the United States during the past century is considered
from a new perspective. The same basic question asked
by other studies underlies this one: Why is the United
States so rich while much of the rest of the world is so
poor? But rather than asking what parts of the American
experience might be shared with others, the purpose here
is to examine to what extent the American experience might
have been fundamentally unique. The conclusion of this
study is that while other factors have been important to
United States economic growth, resources have been parti¬
cularly so. By forgetting them and assuming instead that
the economic growth of the United States resulted
primarily from cleverness, prescriptions may have been
presented to poor countries for a kind of growth they may
not be able to achieve.
xi

CHAPTER I
PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC
GROWTH AND RESOURCES
According to a great deal of contemporary-
thinking, the nations of the world might almost reason¬
ably be divided into roughly two groups, the rich and
the poor;^ or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly,
2
the developed and the developing. Much economic theory
has been generated, particularly since the Second World
War, to account for probable causes of observed differ¬
ences in relative material wealth. Economic growth and
development, with industrialization as a goal, has come
to be viewed as an on-going process; a new genus of
human activity begun by a few to be shared eventually by
3
all the peoples of the world in greater or lesser degree.
Cf. Barbara Ward, Lenore N. Anjou, and J. D.
Runnalls, eds., The Widening Gap: Development in the
1970s (New York: Columbia University Press, 197l)•
2
Lacking analytical utility, these terms have
created more problems than they have solved. Cf. /
Charles Bettelheim, Planification et Crossance accelere
(Paris: Francoismaspero,1967),chap.iii,for a most
powerful criticism of the term "underdeveloped country."
3
Typical of the view that the world is engaged
in a race to a Western goal of industrialization is David
S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus, Technological Change
and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to
the Present (New York:Cambridge University Press, lp6p).
Like the work of Marx and Rostow, Landes' book is
1

2
With that end in mind, theorists have attempted to generate,
whenever possible, universally applicable explanations of
growth and development; alas, general theories have had to
rely upon specific experience for their support and while
such theories are valuable, they suffer from limitations
not always made explicit. The peculiarities of different
peoples and regions rarely are considered and theories often
are divorced almost entirely from any historical or geo¬
graphical consideration.
Theories are indispensable in organizing thinking
so that sense can be made of an otherwise senseless
plethora of disassociated facts; they are vital to under¬
standing. But theories are necessarily abstractions;
they involve ideal, disembodied concepts of complex and
real phenomena. Of necessity, they present reality in
an unreal light. The danger is that theories, meant to
describe the world in which we live, may take on the face
of reality and come to be mistaken for the reality they
only attempt to describe. As a result, the world may
come to be viewed as more ordered, rational, and
predictable than it really is.
Perhaps it is really a matter of the interminable
argument about first cause. Outside a totalitarian State,
we do not view economic development as arising primarily
essentially messianic in character. Tt knows the goal
which all societies should seek. Marx's "communism,"
Rostow's "self-sustained growth," and Landes' "industrial¬
ization" are prophecies.

3
out of a theory, but theory out of economic development.
We like to think of theory not as creating experience,
but helping us to understand experience. At best, the
rationalist mind of pure theory is an imperfect medium to
solve a development problem, which is so very much based
4
upon unique historical experience and empirical data.
Similarly, numbers and trends should be viewed
with caution and accepted only for what they are--the
results of underlying phenomena, and not the phenomena
themselves.
. . . one might suggest that the statistician needs
to be receptive to the results of the analytical
theorists, to the suggestions of the student of the
historical scene, and even to the claims and clamor
of the reformers. And he must beware especially of
the danger of identifying mechanically derived lines
with trends; calculated ratios with immutable and
natural laws of constitution, and correlation
coefficients with inviolable laws of causation and
association.(5)
Xn recent months all these fears have been re¬
echoed by leading members of the profession.^ If economic
The contrast is most sharp in the two disci¬
plines anthropology and economics. The former is still
essentially empirical; the latter has become the most
abstract and mathematical of all the social sciences. If
at the moment there is a certain disillusionment in the
economics profession, perhaps it is because we are
expecting of theory that which it cannot give.
5
Simon Kuznets, Economic Change, Selected Essays
in Business Cycles, National Income, and Economic Growth
(New York: W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1953)> pp. 294-95*
^Cf. Wassily Leontief, "Theoretical Assumptions
and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review. LXI
(March, 197l), 1-7; Joim G. Gurley, "The State of
Political Economics," American Economic Review, Papers
and Proceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the

4
growth could be considered in a timeless and spaceless
context with every element, including man himself, neatly
categorized and controlled, problems of economic growth
and economic change would be considerably less vexing.
But men and circumstances are not easily categorized or
controlled; history does not follow a predictable course;
nor is it inevitable. While production is a technical
process, economic change is more an historical process of
evolution than a theoretical or mechanical process of
change (indeed, how many of our problems arise because we
do think mechanistically). It may depend as much upon
strength of will and good fortune, concepts not generally
7
included in theoretical analyses, as anything else.
Only in theory can mankind be viewed as "developing"
collectively along a known path to a known goal. In
reality each people is participant in and heir to its
own unique historical experience. The experience of
economic growth has been common to only a few. Perhaps
the one thing we may be sure about is not growth, not
decline, but change.
American Economic Association, LXI (May, 197l)> 53-62;
F. H. Hahn, "Some Adjustment Problems," Econometrica,
XXXVIII (January, 1970), 1-11. "
7
A technical view of man’s actions in the world
follows closely in the Cartesian tradition, which works
very well when considering the properties of atoms or
the movement of stars. In part, men's actions also are
predictable, but only in given social and historical
contexts, and then not entirely. When one extends the
analysis to the predictability of changes in the contexts
themselves, the problem becomes still more difficult. It
is common prudence to look ahead, but who really can
predict the future?

5
Yet the extraordinary rate of what we have come
to understand as economic growth of a few wealthy nations,
particularly of the United States, probably has been more
important than any other single factor in stimulating
the idea of universal economic progress. The idea of
8
progress, Western in origin, found its greatest expression
and support in the United States as did its underlying
motive force, the belief in and the employment of applied
technology, exhibited principally in an ability to create
more and more from less and less. Technology and its
teachinghave come to be accepted almost without question
as a principal ingredient of material progress and the
key to its continuance, replacing or supplementing trade
and capital accumulation in that regard as a primum
o
mobile of economic growth. It hardly needs stressing
that technology--as such--can only be seen in a museum.
All these concepts, theoretical and abstract in
themselves, rest upon an equally abstract belief in
Progress may be thought of as change which is
directed or tends toward some ends or goals generally
believed to be "good." Progress and economic development
often have been considered as being synonymous, although
the recent reemergence of concern for ecology and for
the social quality of human existence have called that
view into question.
9
Cf. Albert 0. Hirschman, The Strategy of
Economic Development (New Haven and London: Yale
University Press, 1958), chap. i. "Preliminary Explora¬
tions," sec., The Search for the Primum Mobile, pp. 1-7.

6
progress; a belief that has not always characterized men's
thoughts. Greek and Roman writers thought that a cyclical
state (rather than continued progress toward a better
human condition) more closely described the affairs of
man. The passage of time was thought to yield deteriora¬
tion, a descent from a golden age of simplicity that
could be reestablished only by divine intervention;
thence, again, from better to worse to better to worse—
the whole process yielding an endless series of identical
cycles. The accumulation of knowledge might allow philos¬
ophers to free their thoughts and enjoy knowledge for its
own sake, but the application of that knowledge to the
betterment of mankind's condition was not generally
conceived.
While historical parallels are dangerous, it is
worth realizing that we are not the first to have held
an overwhelming belief in the power of technology to
improve and control our environment. Aeschylus also
believed "in man's unlimited capacity for controlling
nature, a confidence inspired by a spate of extraordinary
CtechnologicalU successes ..." But the belief in the
power of technology soon waned. We find in Euripides
. . . the doubt and pessimism of intellectuals
during the last third of the century in face
of the increasing exploitation of the new
technology by militarists and profiteers in wars
of conquest and plunder.(lO)
"^Arthur D. Kahn, "The Greek Tragedians and
Science and Technology," Technology and Culture. XI
(April, 1970), 133.

7
To thinkers of the Middle Ages, life on earth was
an interlude standing between the vastness of eternity
and the final end of heaven or hell. The purpose of
this life was to prepare for the next. The end of the
world might be imminent.
A life of increasing material well-being for all
people was for the most part beyond comprehension;
although certain individuals might become wealthy and
powerful, or new wealth might be gained through fortuitous
discovery or conquest. The past revealed no progess in
a material sense. The future, what little of it there
might be, looked no better. There was little reason to
believe it would be.
It was not until commerce, invention, and natural
science emancipated humanity from thralldom to the
cycle and to the Christian epic that it became
possible to think of an immense future of mortal
mankind, of the conquest of the material world in
human interest, of providing the conditions for a
good life on this planet without reference to any
possible hereafter. In due course, when conditions
were ripe, the idea of progress arose in the
Western World, . . . (ll)
As exploration in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries revealed the existence of new lands, and as
advances in science yielded new knowledge, conditions
were laid for the acceptance of continued progress as a
possible circumstance of human existence. Belief in
progress rests heavily upon experience; it represents a
J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry
Into Its Origin and Growth, intro, by Charles A. Beard
(New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955) p. xi.

favorable view of past changes projected optimistically
into an indefinite future. The accumulation of scien¬
tific knowledge implied future progress in scientific
thought and there appeared good reason to believe that
such knowledge was capable of indefinite advancement.
The application of scientific knowledge in the form of
12
applied technology to the problems of physical
existence could yield progress for the whole of mankind.
Belief in the operation of fortune and the
intervention of Providence came to be supplanted by the
belief that man might determine his own destiny, or
even that he might be acting only as a role-player in
a deterministic system that would of its very nature
yield constant progress. A rational, mechanical,
technical view of man and his surroundings appeared
and flourished even as the wonder of science laid bare
the secrets of the physical world and as its counterpart,
technology, improved the material lot of man.
It is CtheJ dynamic character of technology that
makes it so significant for the idea of progress.
The latter assumes that mankind has been slowly
advancing from a crude stage of primitive civili¬
zation; the former demonstrates what can be
accomplished by exhibiting its achievements and
disclosing its working methods. What was once
Utopian becomes actuality. What appears to be
impossible may be surmounted. The ancient theory
Our purposes will be served by defining
technology as the "state of the arts" as they exist at
any one time, including both ideas and methods as well
as applied inventions.

9
that mankind revolves in a vicious circle is
destroyed by patent facts. The mediaeval notion of
a static society bound to rule-of-thumb routine is
swept into the discard by events.(l3)
Encouraging- this movement was the Industrial
Revolution which in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries affected much of Western Europe and the Northern
parts of the United States. The role of the machine in
increasing the wealth of the Western world was too
14
apparent to be disbelieved. The belief in progress
through a machine economy became widespread. The goal
of society came to be seen as further industrialization
and the idea of progress was elevated from the status
of belief to that of fact. Yet progress was not
necessarily continuous.
It is quite easy to fancy a state of society, vastly
different from ours, existing in some unknown place
like heaven; it is much more difficult to realize
as a fact that the order of things with which we
are familiar has so little stability that our actual
descendants may be born into a world as different
from ours as ours is from that of our ancestors
of the pleistocene age.
But if we accept the reasonings on which the dogma
of Progress is based, must we not carry them to their
full conclusion? In escaping from the illusion of
finality, is it legitimate to exempt that dogma
itself? Must not it, too, submit to its own negation
of finality? Will not that process of change^ for which
Progress is the optimistic name, compel "Progress”
too to fall from the commanding position in which it
is now, with apparent security, enthroned?(15)
1 3 -T~l_ • J
Ibid., p. xxiii.
lU
But notice William Woodruff and Helga Woodruff,
"Economic Growth: Myth or Reality; The Interrelatedness
of Continents and the Diffusion of Technology, I86O-I96O,"
Technology and Culture, VII (Fall, 1966).
15
Bury, Idea of Progress, pp. 351-52.

10
Whether or not the idea of progress may someday
be dethroned, and perhaps with it our worship of technology,
cannot be predicted; progress is not necessarily an
established fact of nature, a trend to be carried into
the indefinite future. Progress resulting from specific
circumstances of the past does not imply progress in the
future. Views of the past may rest upon fact; views of
the future must rest upon speculation. The idea of
progress might die from one or more of several causes.
It might die from neglect brought on by the embrace of
some alternative idea based upon another view of what is
good and what is not; by a deep prevading pessimism or
by the imposition of physical, social, intellectual, or
spiritual constraints. Technology, upon which belief in
indefinite progress has been based, might be capable of
indefinite expansion, but progress itself may not.
The only thing known to history is change, not
necessarily of a progressive nature, and change in itself
cannot be separated, as the French historian Taine so
long ago said, from place, time, and people. There can
be little doubt that technology and science have changed
some lives substantially from what they might have been;
their use, economically speaking, has proved immensely
profitable to some and might prove so to others. But
this still does not permit the experience of the United
States, or of a few other nations, to be used as an
example of what might be wrought elsewhere. Those who

11
have experienced substantial economic growth in recent
times have done so in special circumstances and conditions.
No single factor will guarantee wealth; much depends upon
providence and circumstance.^^
This is particularly true of the economic history
of our own country. When the United States, or what
was to become the United States, was settled by the
immigrants and their descendants who eventually populated
it, the land included wide fertile plains, a mild climate,
ample wood, clear water in abundance, and a vast mineral
store from which to erect a mighty machine culture
formed in iron and steel and powered by falling water
and burning fuels. Not only were resources extremely
plentiful and of good quality, but they were exceptionally
handy. Never in the history of mankind has any group
of men ever obtained possession of natural resources
on this scale. The wonder is not that the nation's
economy grew; given the people (especially their mental
attitudes), the land, and the times, it would have been
a greater wonder had it not grown.
Only very recently have we come to appreciate
the unique circumstances of America's growth; only very
How else shall we explain the richness of
certain economies south of the Sahara in recent history,
if not through chance? i.e., strikes of gold, diamonds,
copper, and other valuables.

12
recently have we come to appreciate the role of natural
resources in the development of the United States economy.
Compared to the emphasis placed upon income, saving, and
trade in conventional literature, the role of natural
resources has been a neglected subject.
The poor are poor, it would seem, because they
have low incomes. They have low incomes because they are
poor. Inadequate incomes generate inadequate saving
which produces inadequate investment in both physical
and human capital. These factors together conspire to
keep the poor nations poor, and whether the way out of
this dilemma lies in the engineering of a "big push"
for the economy or in "unbalanced growth" is anybody's
guess. The important thing for us is that the problem
is seen more from the side of effective demand than
from effective supply. The implication is that sufficient
resources are to be had if only they could be employed.
Swayed by the optimism engendered by a belief in
progress, perhaps as a result of Western experience,
we have come to focus attention more upon questions of
opulence than upon the time-honored question of scarcity.
Yet, until very recent times, it was scarcity and not
plenty that was at the center of economic theory.
If we may now direct attention from the
demand to the supply side of the picture, the neglect
of natural resources is still apparent. Although
production generally is thought to depend upon the
numbers and qualities of people, the quantity and quality

13
of capital, the amount, quality, and location of resources,
and upon the state of technology, in fact most attention
has been devoted to considerations of capital and capital
formation; and, to some degree, to questions regarding
technology. Almost any text in economic history, for
example, might include sections dealing with capital and
capital markets, with technology and industry, with
transportation systems, and to some extent, with people.
It would deceive the reader to pretend that
the importance of natural resources has been overlooked.
Many historians try to deal with it. The longer accounts
make the timeworn treatments of iron, copper, coal and
petroleum, and sometimes electricity. The customary
puddling, Bessemer convertor and open hearth treatment
is given to steel. The Gogebic, Vermillion, and Mesabi
iron ranges are given occasional and brief mention. The
necessity of adequate transportation facilities and the
fortunate juxtaposition of iron, coal, lakes, and fertile
farmland sometimes are noted. The change in the United
States trade position in recent times, from that of
being a net exporter of raw materials, is fairly common
knowledge; however, the reader is usually left with the
impression that the productive might of the United States
industrial machine has simply outstripped the ability of
the raw material producing sector to meet the nation's
needs; whereas a large part of the cause of the drift
actually lies in the relative exhaustion of the richest
domestic ores.

14
Somehow the connection between increases in
national output and wealth and consumption of resources
has been lost. It is almost as if an abundance of natural
resources were considered to be a "given datum," there¬
after to be forgotten. The fact that we have on the one
hand accepted the existence of extensive resources and
on the other forgotten the relation of resources to
economic growth weakens our efforts to help the economic
growth of others.
It is our belief that the poor are poor because
they are poor, and the rich are rich because they are
rich; and that at least part of the answer to the
question of why some are rich and some are poor may be
found in the fact that some had more to work with than
others. Xt is impossible to make something out of
nothing; much better to live in a verdant land, or
claim the fruits of that verdant land, than to live in
a desert (unless there are natural resources, i.e., oil,
beneath the barren wastes). Our trouble in all this
is that we live in an abstract and rational age where
man and his mind are regarded as the principal instru¬
ments of change; the fruits of men's efforts are thought
to be principally the products of thought and effort,
instead of the products of thought and effort applied
to nature.
Not that it is our intention to belittle the
role of man. Xt really is a matter of emphasis.

15
Obviously, economic activity is human activity and
resources taken by themselves come to nothing. They gain
importance only in reference to the ends to which they are
put; of course, there is truth in the statement that
17
resources are not, they become; of course, an abundance
of resources will not in itself lead to an abundance of
material wealth (any more than any other important
factor, taken alone, would). But in economic growth,
having more resources is better than having less. This
is particularly true of minerals vital to this mechanical
age. As one writer puts it:
The distribution of ores and minerals has had a
profound effect on the migration of peoples and on
the settlement of particular lands. It has been a
dominant element in the growth of states in which
possession or content of such deposits has led to
the creation of vast industrial enterprises.
Exploitation of these resources has resulted in
new patterns of life in many old regions, and
their exhaustion in some places has forced adjust¬
ments of a far-reaching sort that at times have had
disturbing consequences.(l8)
In 1902, at the time of the Census Bureau’s
report, these consequences were, for the United States at
least, far in the future. Said the report:
This rapid rise of the United States to the first
position among manufacturing nations is attributable
to certain distinct causes, natural and otherwise,
17
Erich W. Zimmerman, World Resources and
Industries (New York: Harper & Bros., 1951)•
18
Donald H. McLaughlin, "Man’s Selective Attack
on Ores and Minerals," in Man’s Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth, ed. by William L. Thomas', Jr. (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1956), p. 852.

16
five of which may be definitely formulated as
f ollows:
1. Agricultural resources
2. Mineral Resources
3. Highly developed transportation facilities
4. Freedom of trade between states and
territories
5. Freedom from inherited and over-conservative
ideas.
A study of these causes affords an explanation of
the great development of manufacturing in the past,
as well as an indication of its possibilities in
the future. . . .
In the second place, the United States produces
nearly every mineral required for manufacturing
industries. In most of these the supplies appear
to be sufficient for years to come, and are obtain¬
able at prices which compare favorably with prices
in other parts of the world.(ip)
But in the course of subsequent economic growth,
much of an initial abundance of natural wealth has been
consumed. The first official note of anxiety was
sounded by the President's Materials Policy Commission
to President Truman in 1952.
A hundred years ago resources seemed limitless and
the struggle upward from meager conditions of life
was the struggle to create the means and methods
of getting these materials into use. In this
struggle we have succeeded so well that today,
in thinking of expansion programs, full employ¬
ment, new plants, or the design of a radical new
turbine blade, too many of us blankly forget to
look back to the mine, the land, the forest: the
resources upon which we absolutely depend. So
19
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States Reports,
Vol. VII,Pt.I,United States by Industries(Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1902), pp. LVT-LIX,
reprinted in Louis M. Hacker, Major Documents in American
Economic
History
(Princeton, New Jersey:
D. Van Nostrand
Co., Inc.
, 1961)
pp. 146-47*

17
well have we opened our lines of distribution to our
remotest consumers that our sources are weakening
under the constant strain of demand. As a Nation,
we have always been more interested in sawmills than
seedlings. We have put much more engineering thought
into the layout of factories to cut up metals than
into mining processes to produce them. We think
about materials resources last, not first.(20)
A stronger note was expressed in 1968 by Charles
F. Park, Jr., a professor of economic geology, who wrote:
People have learned to use mineral resources
extensively only during the present century; they
have used them to establish a standard of living
undreamed of prior to World War I. But minerals
are present only in finite quantities. The world
cannot continue to use them at ever and rapidly
increasing rates without creating tremendous
problems. Whereas in the past many minerals were
at times in troublesome surplus, it now appears
that the world is about to enter a period when
shortages of minerals will become increasingly
common. Critical shortages of several minerals
may well develop within the next decade.(2l)
And yet, in spite of these warnings, we find in
the 1970s that our focus remains upon production, capital
accumulation, changes in technology, and sufficiency of
demand, rather than upon extracting and using the
material wealth of the earth. When we talk about resources
at all we are concerned not with their scarcity, but with
the emergence of ecological and environmental effects.
This comes as a natural result of the emphasis in thinking
that has come to be placed upon rational, abstract
20
President's Materials Policy Commission,
Resources for Freedom, I (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1952), p. 1.
21
Affluence in Jeopardy (San Francisco: Freeman
Cooper & Co., 1968) p^
vi.

18
processes. During the eighteenth century, lack of
capital was a very vital concern for development, as
it still is; capital has always been scarce. The
development of Great Britain made use of capital
furnished by merchants and used resources first from
home and then from abroad. The later development of
the United States received at least some help from the
British in terms of finance capital and was facilitated
22
by the utilization of vast amounts of resource wealth.
Capital was scarce, resources were abundant. Small wonder
that the gaze of theorists has remained focused upon
capital accumulation and technology, impressive as the
changes have been in those fields^ or that resources
have not gained much attention until relatively
recently; nobody bothers with things that are abundant.
But of late, capital has accumulated very rapidly in
some places, at least partly as a result of the very
2 3
22
Not all money transfers represent transfers
of physical capital, of course. Cf. A. K. Cairncross,
"Investment in Canada, 1900-1913," in The Export of
Capital from Britain 1870-1914, ed. by A. R. Hall,
Debates in Economic History, gen. ed. Peter Mathias
(London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1968).
23
On the other hand, things which are scarce may
receive almost reverential consideration such as that
given to water by Arabs. Until they invaded areas more
plentifully supplied, life had been a struggle to find
water. When they did, they left their mark with the
fountains of Andalusia.
"This fountain is like a believer in ecstacy,
rapt in prayer; and when the fountain shifts, it is the
worshipper who stoops to genuflect and resumes his prayer."
--Unknown poet of Andalusia
"Andalusia," Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1971, 1, 887.

19
industrialization and productive advance it is thought to
have caused. At the same time, stores of natural wealth
have diminished until further advance may be limited at
least as much by resource scarcity as by sufficiency of
capital.
Now all that we have said about the natural
resources as a whole is doubly true when we narrow our
gaze to the mineral resources of the earth. Our machine
economy and our desire for ever greater progress have
combined to consume the mineral wealth of the earth at
a rate no longer feasible. There simply are not the
mineral resources available to allow the consumption
trends of the past exceptional century to continue.
The amount of bituminous coal taken out of the ground
in 1950 was two and a half times greater than the
amount taken out in 1900. For copper the figure was
three times more, for petroleum, thirty times more.
More metals and mineral fuels have been used since
19lb by the United States alone than the whole world
used in all of history prior to the First World War,
and that tremendous increase in materials demand has
begun to stretch the imaginations of those whose
business it is to find and take those raw materials
from the earth.
If stores of minerals were limitless there
would be no problem; nor would the question of their
employment in the productive process be one of interest

20
to us. But they are not limitless. A ton of iron
taken from the earth is gone from the earth. A barrel
of oil or a volume of natural gas once used is gone for
good.
The most disconcerting feature of minerals is their
exhaustibility. They are wasting assets. They are
completely consumed in use if they are fuels; they
are at least partially dissipated if they are
minerals. Therefore the questions, "How large are
the reserves? How much is left in the ground? What
will happen when it is gone?" are vital questions
of life and death. For ours is truly a mineral
civilization which stands and falls on its capacity
to produce staggering amounts of some minerals and
varying quantities of many others.(24)
The problem has not been lessened by increased
production of things other than minerals. The larger is
the amount of production undertaken for defense, manufac¬
turing, and services, the greater is our dependence upon
minerals, not less. A large superstructure of activities
has been built by using minerals. It is maintained by
their production.
One significant thing about American experience
over the past century is the extraordinary extent of its
natural wealth, and the unprecedented speed with which
those resources have been (and are being) consumed. The
former helps to explain our wealth; the latter, our
growing concern with the exhaustion of natural resources.
In this respect the United States may have passed through
a unique phase of its history; so much of what it has
experienced may have been based on non-recurring phenomena.
24 i
Zimmerman, World Resources, p. 439»

21
Certainly, the American people have passed into an era of
material progress the likes of which had never been seen
before (and might not be seen again). Material progress
of the kind known during the past century may have been
the result more of peculiar circumstance and natural
abundance than of general laws. We cannot be certain
that progress of the same kind can continue unabated;
nor is it certain that the same kind of progress can be
shared by others who find themselves less well endowed.

CHAPTER XI
THE PROBLEM EXPRESSED: THE NATURE
OF OUR INQUIRY
It has been our argument that economic progress
can be viewed only as economic change and that economic
change cannot be divorced from the peculiar circumstances
of people, place, and time. In this sense, the economic
experience of the United States during the past hundred
years must be viewed as exceptional; not least because
of its initial abundance of natural resources.
The United States was rich in natural resources
in i860. By the 1960s, although the United States
remained a rich land, a great deal of its natural wealth
had been consumed. Its position with regard to some
very basic minerals, such as iron, which are needed to
maintain a high level of domestic output, had changed
dramatically. In fact, increased production had been
achieved through increased extraction. Herein lies the
aspect of economic history which it has been our purpose
to study. We are concerned to examine more closely the
relationship between production in general and the
extraction of certain materials, namely iron and copper,
within the United States during the past century, and to
determine the extent to which increases in production have
22

23
in fact represented consumption of irreplaceable wealth.
We have already said that nothing comes from nothing.
From what then, in terms of the consumption of our metal
resources, did our wealth come? By better understanding
the relationship between these aspects of production and
consumption, we might also gain further insight into the
potential ability of others to emulate the American
experience.
Before going further, it is necessary to take a
closer look at some important terms, such as "production,
"resources," and "abundance."
Production is usually defined as the creation
of utility, the making of goods or services for the
satisfaction of human wants; but, "production" and
"productive activities" are very ambiguous terms with
which to deal. Production involves the creation of
utility but it ultimately is concerned with the manip¬
ulation of materials. As such, production deals not
only with creation but with conversion. Utility is
created. Materials are converted. Substances are
rearranged to suit men's fancy through productive effort,
but the materials from which final items are made must
exist before any production can take place. Ideas and
skills, with nothing to embody them, remain ideas and
skills and nothing more.

24
Man cannot create material things. In the mental
and moral world indeed he may produce new ideas;
but when he is said to produce material things, he
really only produces utilities; or in other words,
his efforts and sacrifices result in changing the
form or arrangement of matter to adapt it better to
the satisfaction of wants. All that he can do in
the physical world is either to readjust a log of
wood into a table; or to put it in the way of being
made more useful, by nature, as when he puts seed
where the forces of nature will make it burst into
life. (1)
Almost all actions lead to the satisfaction of
wants, else they would not be undertaken; therefore, any
number of activities may be thought of as productive.
But some goods and services, and hence the types of
productive activities which generate them, are more
essential than others, and the most essential is the
provision of food. It has been said that man can be
neither prophet nor poet unless he has relatively
2
recently had something to eat.
A host of other goods and services comes to
mind as being essential to greater or lesser degree
after the provision of food. Goods that furnish shelter,
clothing, transportation, and protection from natural
disaster and from other people; and services that
provide social situations for enjoyment, education,
entertainment, and leisure are needed. But man the
^Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (8th
ed.; Toronto: Macmillan Company,1966), p^ 53»
2
The importance of food apparently has been
partially forgotten by some who would place great emphasis
upon the production of manufactured goods, supposedly
because manufacturing is more "productive" in a monetary
sense.

25
animal must be provided for first, then man the man.
The provision of services ultimately relies upon the
"production" of goods and the production of goods
involves the application of men's energies to converting
the materials of the earth into useful forms.
Materials used in that production may be defined
for our purposes as resources. They can be divided into
three categories: those needed for food, for energy,
and for structure. Since not all materials are used in
production, not all materials are resources, and certain
materials used in production at particular points in
3
time may not be used as such at other points in time.
The distinguishing characteristic of a resource, then,
is not just that it is a material, but that it is a
material used in production.
Finally, a resource is abundant or scarce
depending upon the demand for it relative to the amount
available. A given volume of material may be thought
of as abundant if the demands made for it are slight,
or scarce if the demands for it are great. Assuming
a given demand, however, a resource is scarce if it
exists only in small quantities and/or is difficult to
obtain, or abundant if it exists in relatively large
quantities easily obtainable. Without regard to ease
3~
Examples of materials that only recently have
become resources are crude petroleum and radioactive
fuel.

26
of acquisition, a resource may be thought of as scarce
if the amount ultimately available relative to demands
is small.
Demands for resources encompass a wide variety
of materials including water, land, air, and the fertility
of the soil, woods and fibres and fuels, and many others.
The effects of production on each of these and their
effects on production would yield a separate story for
each; but no resource has been more important to the
current machine age than metals.
Increased dependence upon machines and other
heavy structures has resulted in an increased dependence
upon metals used in their construction. Because of this
increased dependence an examination of the relationship
between expansions in production and wealth and the
supply of raw metals taken over time is important and
may reveal the extent to which the prodigious rate of
economic growth of the United States during the past
century represented the extraction of initially abundant
but limited resources.
But not all metals are equally important, and
since we are concerned with a general relationship
between metal resources and production, our purposes
will be served by considering only the most important
metals. In terms of quantity and use some metals are
of only marginal importance, and their inclusion would

27
serve only as a supplement to the current undertaking.
Certain other metals, such as nickel, vital to the
production of jet engine parts, are employed in relatively
small quantities and their uses are specific enough to
be handled as particular problem areas.
Iron and copper, on the other hand, are repre¬
sentative of two broad classes of metals, ferrous and
4
non-ferrous. They are important not only because of
their use in many different kinds of production, but
also because they are used in great quantities.
Iron is the material out of which most machines
and heavy structures are built. Copper has been an
important building block of our electrically oriented
technology, used in the production of electrical
circuitry and electrical parts. These metals represent
the bulk metals used for production in a modern economy
and careful analysis of their supply and disposition
will serve us well in determining the role metals have
played in the growth of the United States economy.
In analyzing the relation between production
and the extraction of metals, we shall first consider
Metals generally are divided into categories
which include the ferrous metals (those related to the
production of steel), and the non-ferrous metals. Non-
ferrous metals are further divided into the "base metals,"
copper, lead, tin, and zinc; and the "light metals,"
including aluminum and magnesium. The most important of
these in terms of volume are, of course, iron, copper, and
aluminum, with extensive use of aluminum being a relatively
recent development.

28
the ways in which production has changed within the
United States during the past hundred years. Overall
levels of output by categories can be compared over
that period to establish relative changes in the quantity
and types of production that occurred.
Having established the changing nature of
production over time, we shall then examine metals needs
relative to production with particular attention paid to
the demand for new metals inputs and for ores.
Next comes the problem of finding the sources
from which metals have been drawn, either domestic or
foreign.
The final problem is one of relating increases
in production and produced wealth, through the resulting
increases in the demand for metals to the available
supply of metals. A meaningful statement then can be
made concerning the role of abundant resources in
allowing the people of the United States to enjoy vast
increases in income and to accumulate great quantities
of produced wealth. That relationship and a look at
the current situation might yield a hint for the future.

CHAPTER III
THE COURSE AND CHANGING NATURE OF UNITED STATES
PRODUCTION AFTER i860--AN OVERVIEW
It is difficult to grasp completely the amount
of economic change that has occurred within the United
States in the past hundred years or the speed at which
it has taken place. Only two adult lifetimes, put end
to end, have passed since i860, while two thousand years
separates today's man from the birth of Christ and the
power of Rome, four thousand from the strength of the
Egyptian empire, and ten or twelve thousand from the
time when men first became husbandsmen and herdsmen.
Yet, in some respects, the lives men lived in i860, the
sorts of things they produced, and the methods by which
they produced them were as similar to ancient modes as
to those of present day.
The economic progress of the United States since
i860 involved radically new products, machines, and
production methods as well as the production of greater
amounts of goods and services. Advances in quality, in
product types, and in production techniques complemented
increased production levels that put more of the staples
of life as well as luxuries into the hands of common
people.
29

30
The Gross National Product per capita for the
period 1869 to 1873 amounted to $l65~^ compared to about
$4,500 currently. But problems associated with the com¬
parison of GNP for any two years, especially when those
years are widely separated in time, are both great and
2
well-known. Changes in product type and quality since
i860 have alone been sufficient to reduce the validity
of such estimates considerably. A more meaningful
contrast might be accomplished by a simple sketch of
the incomes people earned in i860 and of retail prices
they paid.
Jn i860 less than four percent of the people
engaged in industry worked an eight to nine hour day.
Only ten percent labored less than ten to eleven hours,
3
and fully a third worked more than eleven hours. For
their efforts, common laborers might receive a daily
wage ranging from $ .65 to $1.50 depending upon the
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times
to IQ57 (Washington, 5"! C. : Government Printing Office,
i960), p. 139, Series F 1-5» Kuznets estimates.
2
See, for instance, George J. Stigler, Trends in
Output and Employment (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1947), for an interesting
discussion along these lines.
3
Joseph D. Weeks, Superintendent of the Census,
Report on the Statistics of Wages in Manufactuning
Industries; With Supplementary Reports on the Average
Retail Prices of Necessaries of Life and on Trades
Societies, and Strikes and Lockouts, Vol. XX (Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), pp. xxix, xxxi.

31
section of the country and the industry in which they
worked. A dollar per day was most common. Carpenter's
wages ranged from $1.50 in some industries to as high as
$2.50 per day in ship carpentry. Blacksmiths could
expect to earn about $1.50 per day, and the -wages of
mechanics ranged from approximately $1.10 to $2.50 per
4
day while the average was slightly under $2.
The money did not go far. Some idea of retail
prices of various basic commodities may be gained from
the data in Table 1.
4Ibid., pp. 517-63.
Of the 10,530,000 working population in i860,
some 6,210,000 (or 59%) were engaged directly in agri¬
culture and 1,930,000 (or 18%) were engaged in manu¬
facturing and hand trades and construction. Services
of various types engaged another 1,310,000 people (or
12%), and transportation, trade and finance accounted
for 780,000 (or slightly over 7%). Only 170,000 found
employment in mining. Historical Statistics t p. 74,
Series D 57-71.
Xn I869, 22.2% of national income originated
in agriculture, 20.3% in manufacturing and construction;
and, transportation, communication, trade and finance
accounted for 37-6%. Services of all kinds, including
government, accounted for 18.4% of national income.
(it is interesting to note in passing the disparity
that exists between the proportion of the working pop¬
ulation engaged in each field and the amount of income
arising in those fields. The distribution of workers
by industry was not radically different in 1869 from what
it had been in i860.) U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Long Term Economic Growth, 1860-1965
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,1966),
Part XXX, p. 79, Table 4.

32
TABLE 1
REPRESENTATIVE PRICES OF SELECTED
COMMODITIES, 1860a
Unit of
Item
Measure
Prices
Cloth
Cotton Flannel, medium quality
yard
$0.11-
$ 0.15
Groceries
Tea
pound
.62-
1.00
Coffee, roasted
pound
. 10-
â–  30
Soap, common
pound
.05-
. 12
Flour, Meats, Provisions
Beef, roasting
pound
.08-
. 1U
Beef, soup
pound
.03-
.08
Pork, fresh
pound
. 08-
. 12
Flour, wheat, super-fine
barrel
7.00-
8.50b
Flour, wheat, extra-family
barrel
9.25-
11.00^
Potatoes
bushel
• 50-
.75
Other
Men’s Heavy Boots
pair
2.00-
4.50°
Coal Oil
gallon
• 30-
1.00
House Rent, four-room
month
5. oo-
House Rent, six-room
month
10.00d
aSource: Weeks, Statistics of Wages In Manufacturing,
passim.
^Flour prices ranged between $4 and $6 in the
wheat states.
cPrices of boots ranged upward to $6 in
Cincinnati.
dRents were as high as $10 to $15 in St. Louis.

33
A pound of tea, surely a luxury item, required
as much as a day's pay to obtain. A bushel of potatoes
might cost a half-day's wages, and a pair of boots from
two to five day's pay, an amount equal to a full month's
house rent.
In general, material life in the 1860s was
sparse by today's standards. The types of products
generally offered to consumers were plain and basic;
and if adequate in quantity, they were not available in
overwhelming abundance.
The United States of i860 was, of course,
primarily an agricultural nation, although manufacturing
was growing rapidly and the nation had become something
of a sea power. Machines had been introduced into
several kinds of production, in the making of clothing
and shoes and in food processing, for example. Some
mechanization had taken place in agriculture, notably
with the introduction of the reaper, the thresher, the
cotton gin, and the all-steel plow. Steam had been
applied to water and land transportation. But the
products of the nation were products of the soil, in
the main. Hard manual labor and common sweat were the
principal instruments of progress, and the relatively
few machines in existence were in the hands of producers,
not consumers. Within the next century, the face of
the country and the nature of production would change
entirely.^
Qualitative changes in the nature of production

3b
Stirrings of change abounded in the United
States in the 1860s. If the present offered challenge
and hard work, the future offered the promise of
substantial increases in material well-being along almost
every line. Agricultural production was increasing
rapidly and innovations were making their presence felt
heavily.^
It appears from the returns of the last census,
that the ratio of increase of the principal
agricultural products of the United States has
more than kept pace with the increase of population.
Indeed, there appears no reason to doubt the
continuance of an abundant supply of all the great
staple articles, equal to the necessities of any
possible increase of population or national
contingency for years to come.(7)
Agriculture also was becoming dependent upon
machines and upon the manufacturing industries. Future
increase depended upon further mechanization and the
interdependence of agriculture and manufacturing was
coming to be recognized.
are considered in the remainder of this chapter. Quan¬
titative changes, which reflect the consequences of
changing conditions, are left primarily to Appendix A.
^Figures showing changing agricultural
productivity and production after i860 are included in
Appendix A.
7
Joseph C. G. Kennedy, Superintendent, U.S.
Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Preliminary
Report on the Eighth Census, i860 (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, 1862), p. 80.

35
Xt is also gratifying to note the evidences of
improvement in some of the most important agri¬
cultural operations, proving that our farmers are
fully in sympathy with the progressive spirit of
the age, and not behind their fellow citizens
engaged in other industrial occupations. . . .
The increasing annual products of agriculture in
our highly-favored country, and the hay and grain
crops in particular, furnish striking illustrations
of the close interdependence and connection of all
branches of the national industry. . . . Without the
improvements in ploughs and other implements of
tillage which have been multiplied to an incredible
extent, and are now apparently to culminate in the
steam plough, the vast wheat and corn crops of those
fertile plains could not probably be raised. But
were it possible to produce wheat upon the scale
that it is now raised, much of the profit and not a
little of the produce would be lost were the farmer
compelled to wait upon the slow process of the
sickle, the cradle, and the hand-rake for securing
it when ripe. The reaping machine, the harvester,
and the machines for threshing, winnowing, and
cleaning his wheat for the market have become
quite indispensable to every grower.(8)
Manufacturing, if anything was changing even more
rapidly than was agriculture.
The returns of MANUFACTURES exhibit a most grat¬
ifying increase, and present at the same time an
imposing view of the magnitude to which this
branch of the national industry has attained
within the last decennium.
The total value of domestic manufactures, (including
fisheries and the products of the mines,) according
to the Census of 1850, was $1,Olp,106,6l6. The
product of the same branches for the year ending
June 1, i860, as already ascertained in part and
carefully estimated for the remainder, will reach
an aggregate value of nineteen hundred millions of
dollars ($1,900,000,OOO). This result exhibits
an increase of more than eighty-six (86) percentum
in ten years](9)
8Ibid., pp. 81-82.
9Ibid., p. 59-

36
According to the Preliminary Report on the
Eighth Census, based upon figures for manufacturing output
and upon population figures, a per-capita product of
manufactures amounted to some $60.61 "for every man,
woman, and child in the Union.M Nor was the increase in
manufacturing to be considered a mixed blessing.
. . . who can justly estimate the influence upon
the general happiness and prosperity--upon the
progress in civilization of the sum total of
effective labor, capital and skill represented by
such an aggregate as we have stated? What an
amount of fixed capital--of labor, enterprise,
ingenuity—of resources, material and immaterial—
involved in the creation of nearly two thousand
millions worth of manufactures in a single year.' The
addition of nearly one thousand millions to the annual
product of domestic manufactures--an amount almost
equal to the total home consumption thereof in 1850--
implies also vast additions to the permanent wealth
of the Union and to the elements of a progressive
civilization. The increased support given to ag¬
riculture, commerce and the mining interests by
the consumption of hundreds of millions of men,
women, and children who would have been otherwise
unemployed, or forced into competition with the
farmer and planter, instead of being consumers of
their produce, form but a part of the benefits
conferred upon the community at large.(lO)
But manufacturing industries in the United
States as elsewhere continued to depend mostly upon
organic and reproducible raw materials, as they had
for thousands of years; iron and copper had not yet
gained the importance they would. Water power still
furnished the primary source of energy and materials
handled in most manufacturing processes were the
products of the forests and of the field rather than the
10Tbid.. p. 60.

37
mine. Of the leading manufactures of i860, the
production of flour and meal held first place with an
annual value of products of $248,580,365. Next came
cotton goods, far behind at $107,337,783, followed by-
sawed lumber at $93,338,606, boots and shoes at $91,889,298,
and men's and women's clothing at a combined gross value
of $87,211,59b.
Cast, forged, rolled, and wrought iron combined
to a total gross value of $73,175,332 in I860, not as
high as sawed lumber but higher than liquors which
stood at $56,588,166.11 Four hundred and four iron
furnaces consumed about 1,579,309 tons of ore and
produced about 564,755 tons of pig iron, to be used
principally- in the production of various kinds of rail¬
road eqiupment, iron wire, nails and spikes, rivets,
12
boiler plate, machinery, stoves and ranges and anchors.
Steel, used in the production of various kinds of
tools, springs for cars, carriages, and locomotives,
steel wire, nails and spikes, bolts, nuts, washers and
rivets, scales and balances, and the various products
used in blacksmithing, was produced in smaller quantities
even than iron.
1;LU. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Manufactures of. the United States in I860;
Compiled From the Original Returns of the Eighth Census
(Washington, DÍC.: Government Printing Office, 1865),
PP- 733-42.
^Ibid., pp. clxxviii-cxci.

38
The number of steel furnaces in the United States
in 1850 was 5» all in Pennsylvania. They employed
a capital of $52,300 and 40 hands, consumed
materials of the value of $133,420, and payed for
labor $23»100, yielding a product valued at $172,080.
In i860 returns were made of 13 steel-making
establishments, of which 9 were in Pennsylvania,
2 in New York, and 2 in New Jersey. Tlieir total
capital amounted to $1,640,000. The number of
hands was 748, and the cost of labor $308,736. The
materials used cost $805,174, and produced 11,838
tons of steel, valued at $1,778,240, an average
of $150 per ton.(13)
In i960, by way of contrast, more than 99
million short tons of steel ingots were produced. The
steel industry had a capacity to produce 148,571,000
short tons of ingots, and steel was fashioned into a
l4
myriad of products. Pig iron production for all of
I863, at the height of the Civil War, would have
occupied domestic facilities in 1954 for five days,
and total steel output would have taken less than one
hour to produce.^
Whatever else the economy of i860 might have
been, it was not an economy based heavily upon metals
nor dependent upon the consumption of great quantities
of mineral fuels. But conditions were particularly
appropriate for the development of what has come to be
called "mass production," a process dependent upon
13
Ibid., pp. cxcil-cxcvi. Emphasis added.
14
U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines,
Minerals Yearbook, 1960, I (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, Í96Í), p. 598.
15
Earl Morgan Richards, The Iron Ore Outlook of
the United States (Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: Buckness
University Press, 1954), pp. 8-9»

39
mineral fuels and metals. Substantial quantities of
resources of almost every description lay ready to be
converted into man-made material wealth, and advances in
transportation and communications were drawing together
a large and rapidly growing population with both the
desire and the wherewithal to insure not only a national,
but an international market for large quantities of
standardized goods. Social systems and institutions
were amenable to the requirements of large scale
production and large scale enterprises, and a spirit of
industry and advance had gripped the people. Finally,
technology was yielding methods that would allow standard¬
ized parts to be produced and assembled quickly by
mechanical means.
The subsequent evolution ¿of mass production and
mass consumptiori^ during the lpth century was the
result of advances in two major areas of American
economic and social development. One was progress
in invention and technology which affected the
rate at which improved machinery and equipment
became available for production. The second was
the growth and characteristics of a market that
provided an outlet for an expanding volume and
variety of standardized products.(l6)
Mass production depended upon precise measure¬
ment so that parts could be fitted together at random
as they were made. It depended upon the availability
of machine tools, upon timely utilization of power and
upon breaking down complex tasks into simple ones, the
Harold F. Williamson, "Mass Production for
Mass Consumption," in Technology in Western Civilization,
X, ed. by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr.
(London: Oxford University Press, lp6y), p. 678.

UO
repeated performance by a man or a machine of the simple
function, and, eventually, upon the movement of the work
17
to the worker or to his machine.
Eli Whitney is recognized as one of the first
to have applied the principle of interchangeable parts
18
to manufacture in the production of firearms in 179^.
By 1807 clocks were being made from interchangeable
parts and the application of the process subsequently
encompassed many other types of production including
boots and shoes and clothing, the sewing machine by
1850, and large agricultural machinery by 1867.^
Accuracy of measurement was advanced markedly
in 1851 with the introduction of the vernier caliper
by Joseph Brown, and by 1856 Joseph Whitworth had
produced a bench micrometer capable of measuring
accurately to within ten-thousandths of an inch.
17
Cf. Sigfried Giedion, Mechanization Takes
Command (New York: Oxford University Press, lpU8), p. 49;
John W. Oliver, History of American Technology (New
York.: Ronald Press Company, 1956.
18
Some questions have been raised concerning
Whitney's contribution to interchangeable parts manu¬
facture. His individual contribution to the process
may have been less than legend would indicate. Cf.
Robert S. Woodbury, The Legend of Eli Whitney and
Interchangeable Parts, Publications in the Humanities
(Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
196b) .
19
^Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. Up.

"We have in this mode of measurement all the
accuracy we can desire; and we find in practice
in the workshop that it is easier to work to the
ten-thousandth of an inch from standards of end
measurements, than to one-hundredth of an inch
from lines on a two-foot rule. In all cases of
fitting, end measure of length should be used,
instead of lines." (20)
Improvements in accuracy continued to be made,
and by 1896 a Swede, Carl Johansson, was able to make
blocks of steel, now called "Jo" blocks, accurate to
four-millionths of an inch, to be used for the cali¬
bration of other measuring devices.
The assembly line found its first application
in pig processing in the l860s. Pigs slaughtered at
the top level of a building were conveyed on hooks
past various workmen, each of whom removed an individual
21
part until the carcass was completely processed.
Interchangeable parts, precision measurement,
and the assembly line, coupled with the increased
20
Quote from Joseph Whitworth, cited by Robert
S. Woodbury, "Machines and Tools,” in Technology in
Western Civilization. ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell,
op. cit., p. 621. Woodbury's article is an excellent
source for information concerning devlopments in
precision measurement and machine tools during the
nineteenth century, and their relation to mass production
by precision methods.
21
Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, pp.
239-^5.
Henry Ford later reversed the same process by
assembling (rather than disassembling) parts as they
moved along a conveyor. In 1913 Ford's experiment using
the production line method on the assembly of magnetos
realized a substantial savings in labor and time; he
later successfully applied the technique to automobiles.
Eventually, of course, the system became commonplace.

42
application of power to production and transportation,
were the technical requisites for mass production. But
in 1850 little attention was given to power and power
machinery by official sources, and not until I87O were
questions concerning power included among those asked
22
by the Census Bureau. Congress finally provided for
their collection officially in 1879 for inclusion in
the 1880 Census, with good reason. The total horsepower
of all prime movers in the United States more than
tripled in the thirty years after 1850, from 8,495,000
horsepower to 26,314,000 horsepower in 1880. Inanimate
horsepower increased from 2,535»000 to 14,734,000 during
that period, and surpassed animate horsepower in about
1870.23
Machine tools round out the picture of technical
changes important to mass production in the United States
after i860.
22
The questions for that year were included
because of interest on the part of the Superintendent of
the Census.
23
Historical Statistics, p. 506, Series S 3-5.
By 1955 the total power of prime movers was
estimated to be 7»272,997»430 horsepower, more than 850
times that of 1850, a sizeable increase indeed. Histor¬
ical Statistics, p. 501.
Power production and consumption have come to be
accepted as one of the best indicators of economic
advancement. Levels of total output correlate highly
with power production. Demands for electric energy in
the United States are expected to double over the next
ten years.

43
The years 1830 to 1880 marked the maturing of the
Machine Age born during the Industrial Revolution.
One by one, older technologies gave way to new ones,
based on power-driven machinery. Machinery was
enlisted to help the housewife, the office worker,
and the factory worker. Entirely new devices, such
as the sewing machine and the typewriter, were
invented, developed, mass-produced with specialized
machine tools, and then marketed. They soon became
indispensable.(24)
The introduction of the turret lathe and the
metal planer before the Civil War and subsequent improve
ments of them and of drilling, milling, and grinding
machines, coupled with improvements in accuracy and in
knowledge of metallurgy advanced the machine-tools
industry; and advance in the machine-tools industry
was related intimately to advances in production for
the economy as a whole.
. . . machine-tool manufacture, in particular, . . .
emerged into prominence as the very foundation of
mechanization. It provided the machinery and tools
for the expanding technology of mass production,
and, indeed, the "master tools" of all industry.(25)
24
Carroll W. Pursell, Jr., "Machines and Machine
Tools, 1830-1880," in Technology in Western Civilization,
ed. by Kranzberg and Pursell, ojd. cit. , p. 407. See
also, H. J. Habakkuk, American and British Technology in
the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: The University Press,
T967JI Nathan Rosenberg, "Technical Change in the Machine
Tool Industry, 1840-1910," Journal of Economic History,
XXIII (December, 1963), pp. klh-kj.
25
Samuel Rezneck, "Mass Production Since the War
Between the States," in The Growth of the American
Economy, ed. by Harold fT Williamson (New York: Prentice
Hall, Inc., 1951), p. 502.

But mass production required more than changes
in technology; quite apart from the question of mental
attitudes, it also required new materials, especially
iron (because of its strength) and copper (because of
its electrical properties).
Until late in the eighteenth century, almost all
machinery had been made primarily of wood. Metal was
used chiefly in various steam engines and in machine
parts which were most subject to wear or which required
greater strength than could be afforded by wood. But
metal was hard to work and finished metal lacked many
desirable qualities. Cast iron, subject to breakage on
impact or twisting, was too brittle for many purposes;
and wrought iron, although tough and malleable, was
relatively soft. Steel was extremely expensive and
could be produced only in relatively small quantities.
The quality and uniformity of each of these forms of
26
iron was suspect as well.
Mass production, heavily dependent upon the
interchangeability of parts, and in turn upon fine
accuracy, could not be adopted on a wide scale without
the development of a suitable material from which to
fashion slow wearing parts with precision. The material
had to be tough, yet easily worked into various shapes,
2 6
Cast iron, wrought iron, and steel are all forms
of iron, each having a different carbon content. Wrought
iron contains the least carbon, cast iron the most, and
the carbon content of steel lies in between.

45
bent, and planed. That material was steel, but a cheap
method of production and one which allowed greater
volume had to be found.
In Pennsylvania, William Kelley, an iron worker,
noticing that a piece of iron in his furnace had become
extremely hot, apparently without benefit of fuel,
concluded that steel might be made directly from iron,
using only air as fuel; oxygen in the air, when combined
with carbon in the iron, would burn away the carbon and,
hence, produce steel. An initial experiment in 1847
failed, but a similar experiment in 1850 yielded much
different results.
"We saw a middling-sized vessel," said one observer,
"that had a mouth open on one side and near the
top. The whole was shaped something like an egg,
only bigger than a barrel. We saw molten iron
poured into the vessel. Then, Kelley he turned on
a blast of cold air, blown from a rig he had
devised himself. The vessel set up a large noise,
a roaring like you don’t often hear, and fire
belched furiously from its mouth, making many colors.
But only for a few minutes. The noise and fire
died down. We then saw a blacksmith take a small
part of the iron, which had cooled, and with a
merry ring of his hammer, he contrived and threw at
the feet of the amazed spectators, a perfect horse¬
shoe.
. . . next, the smith took, some more of the cooled
metal, made it into nails forthwith, and shod the
horse of one in the crowd."(27)
Kelley unfortunately neglected to patent his
process until 1856, by which time the famous Englishman,
Henry Bessemer, had arrived on the scene with essentially
27
Stewart H. Holbrook, Iron Brew, A Century of
American Ore and Steel (New York: Macmillan Company,
19^0), p. 188.

46
the same process. There ensued a pitched battle over
patent rights, but, meantime, cheap steel had come to
the United States. First produced commercially on an
experimental basis in 1864, by 1867 steel was being made
into rails and being sold at $166 per ton. Ten years
28
later the price had dropped to $45 per ton.
Steel had entered the scene at a most opportune
time (although probably not altogether by coincidence
since experiments in the production of iron and steel
had been vigorously conducted for many years). Vast
iron deposits in Michigan's Upper Peninsula just
recently had been discovered and even greater deposits
in Northern Minnesota would soon come to light.
Significant advancements had been made in measuring and
working materials with precision. A spirit of change
and progress had gripped the people. The wealth of great
portions of the immense new land remained to be tapped
and large expanses of land waited to be crossed by steel
rails.
Also important to the new technology, primarily
because of its electrical properties, was copper.
Although electricity was not used widely in i860, the
properties of electricity, which was to become the
wonder of the new age, were not unknown by ary means;
experiments in the use of electricity for producing
28
Ibid., p. 193.

heat, light, and motive power had been underway for some
time. The telegraph had been invented in 1845 and was
in general use for communications by the time of the
Civil War. The earliest electrical machinery had been
produced in the eighteenth century, and Sir Humphrey
Davy had succeeded in producing an electric light in 1809
Experiments in electric lighting and power
continued throughout the middle of the nineteenth century
but not until October, 1879 > was a commercially success¬
ful electric lamp developed, one that would burn many
hours and could be produced relatively cheaply. The
feat was accomplished, of course, by Thomas A. Edison,
who established the famous Peart Street generating
station in New York in 1882 and achieved wealth and
20
fame in the electrical industry. A description of the
subsequent expansion of the electrical industry as
anything short of phenomenal would be a serious under¬
statement. Tn 1906 almost 50 million electric lamps
were sold in the United States; and that particular
application of electricity represented but one part of
the whole product of electrical and related industries.
29
Fred A. Shannon, The Centennial Years, A
Political and Economic History of America from the Late
1870s to the Early 1890s. ed. by Robert Huhn Jones
(Garden City,New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,
1967), pp. 241-43.

48
The telephone was invented in 1876, and by
1896, 404,000 were in service. By 1905 the figure
had increased to 4,127,000 and by 1915 to 10,524,000.^
The first experimental electric streetcar line
was built in I879. By 1888 the first commercially
useful line was in operation in Richmond, Virginia, and
by 1902, 22,576 miles of track had been constructed.
By then only 1 percent of the streetcars in use
31
were still horse-drawn. A streetcar with two 15
horsepower motors, considered adequate in 1890, by
1900 was outmoded by 40 horsepower motors. The demands
for power by this industry alone were great.
The requirements of the industry are . . . enormous,
and the data in hand show that in the ten years
between I89O and 1900, the railway power plants
of the United States had installed, available
for traction purposes, about 1,000,000 horsepower
of dynamos to feed current to motor cars of a
capacity somewhat over 2,000,000 horsepower.
£iot all cars were used simultaneously, hence the
larger capacity of cars relative to generating
equipment^ (32)
By 1900 the electrical industry had developed
so rapidly and along so many avenues that the Census of
Manufactures of that year listed separately twenty-seven
Historical Statistics, p. 480, Series R-l.
31
Harold R. Sharlin, "Applications of Electricity
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, ojd. cit., p. 574.
32
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Twelfth Census of the United States, Manufactures
Part XV (Washington, d! C. : Government”^rinting—Office^
1902), pp. 164-65.

49
major categories of electric manufactures, among them
dynamos, transformers, fan motors, telephones, phonographs,
graraaphones, and electric heating apparatus, none of which
had existed on a commercial basis forty years before.
The standardization of products and processes,
simplification, the movement of materials from one work
station to another, and the widespread application of
power helped to expand production immensely after i860.
Steel was adopted as a major construction material of
the new age; and, with the introduction of electrical
apparatus on a commercial scale, copper became
increasingly important. Great changes in the nature of
production took place within the period of a few years
and more innovations would occur, in air and ground
travel, and particularly on the road with the intro-
33
duction and widespread adoption of the automobile.
33
Technology found a particularly responsive
people in Americans who prided themselves not only on the
merits of their republic, but upon their "Yankee Ingenuity"
as well, which they chose to display at the various World
Fairs beginning in 1851.
". . . it was maintained that the exhibition of
specimens of American industry at London would give
Europe ’a juster appreciation and a more perfect know¬
ledge of what this Republic is, than could be attained
in any other way.’" Journal of the Great Exhibition of
1851> T (February 1, 1851J, 14, cited by Merle Curti,
Probing Our Past (New York: Harper & Bros., 1955), P* 247.
Americans grew proud of their technology and their
country, and that pride became identified with progress in
technology and material wealth. Cf. Curti, Probing Our
Past. chap, x, "America at the World Fairs, 1851-1893*”
p. 246.

50
Where metals had found their first use in factories and
on the railroads, metal implements soon became available
in increasing amounts to consumers. Fans, irons,
toasters, and wringers entered the catalogues of mail
order houses in lpl2, vaccum cleaners in 1917, electric
3b
ranges in 1930, and electric refrigerators in 1932.
Radios, telephones, television sets, electric heating
units, air conditioning units, electric can openers,
power mowers, and a wide assortment of other metal
implements were produced in increasing quantities by-
machines that employed great quantities of power. Farm
goods could be grown and harvested in greater quantities
by using farm machines, then transported to cities,
between cities, and within cities by mechanical means.
They could be weighed, their dollar value calculated by
machines, transported to the home by machines, and
cooked there by machines using power generated by other
machines. Machines and metals entered every part of life
and became important to the provision of essentials and
luxuries alike.
While the economy of i860 was not heavily
dependent upon the use of metals, the economy of i960
was, and figures purporting to show changes in Gross
National Product or in Material Wealth over the inter¬
vening period perform an injustice to the amount of
34
Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. 42.

51
economic change that occurred. The simple statement of
income or wealth figures, no matter how couched with
qualifications, cannot serve to reflect adequately the
35
scope of economic "progress."
Nor can the increased importance of metals to
the economy be discerned easily from figures showing
increased rates of metals production and consumption.
The effects of increased metals use were pervasive; every
conceivable productive process, whether concerned with
manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, communications,
or services, was affected by the application of power
and machinery. Xn turn, mechanization and mass pro¬
duction generated an increased dependence upon metals
and an increased metals demand, and while economic
progress in terms of quality was astonishing, changes in
quantity were astonishing as well.
Mechanization virtually revolutionized the
37
agricultural industry. Output per worker increased
35
Changing volume of production as shown by
employment, income, and physical output figures is shown
in Appendix A.
o/T
Figures for copper, iron, and steel production
are included in Appendix B, as are figures showing
apparent consumption of those metals.
37
Whether the change was revolutionary or
evolutionary is a matter of definition. But agricultural
production and productivity increased very rapidly between
i860 and 1880; thereafter the rate of growth declined until
19bO, after which a new revolution in the way of fertilizers,
insecticides, hybrid seeds took place. C_f. Wayne D.
Rasmussen, "The Impact of Technological Change on American
Agriculture, 1862-1962," Journal of Economic History, XXII
(December, 1962), 578-91-

52
substantially after 1860,^^ and as it did, labor was
freed to go into manufacturing and services. In i860,
58.9 percent of the working labor force was engaged in
agriculture; by 1900 the figure had fallen to 37.5
percent, and it continued to decrease thereafter until,
by i960 only 6.3 percent of the labor force was so
39
engaged. More food with less people was certainly
"one of the great phenomena of economic history.
The machine did not produce food, of course;
the producers were farmers working in the nation's rich
soil. Few regions in the world could compare with the
thick, black of earth of Indiana, Illinois, or Iowa when
it came to growing corn, for example; but machines,
hi
especially the reaper, allowed farmers to make the
most of what they had.
As increasing farm production yielded food
enough for the domestic population and more, the nation
turned its energies to manufacturing.
As a nation we might of course have continued after
the turn of the century to devote our industrial
energies to agriculture in relatively the same
degree as formerly, utilize our surplus productive
38
39
40-
See Appendix A, Table 6.
See Appendix A, Table 5-
Clarence H. Danhof, Discussion of Rasmussen's
"Impact of Technological Change," Journal of Economic
History. XXII (December, 1962), p. 592.
hi
Harvesting is a critical point in farm
production. Reaping must be accomplished quickly or the
crop is lost.

53
powers in the feeding of other nations, and obtain
in return a variety of manufactures. This did not
happen because we found it more advantageous to
devote an increasing portion of our energies to
nonagricultural pursuits. On the one side, mech¬
anized industry was making tremendous headway in
the United States. Our mineral resources were
exploited energetically, if only for the reason
that "in no other country can the mineral raw
materials as a whole be delivered to manufacturing
industry at lower prices." And as increasing progress
was made in the standardization, mechanization, and
mass production of commodities, the United States
advanced to the front rank among manufacturing
nations. On the other side, the agricultural map
of the world was changing. While the decline in
virgin lands was beginning to revise agricultural
costs in this country, certain other regions which
were experiencing the first flush of agricultural
expansion--Argentina, Australia, Canada, Russia,
and India—were offering severe competition to our
products in foreign markets.(42)
Between I869 and 1900, while the share of national
income originating in agriculture declined from 22.2
percent to about 18.2 percent, the share of national
income originating in manufacturing increased from 14.6
percent to 18.6 percent. Between 1900 and i960, the
share of agriculture declined further, to 4.3 percent,
43
while that of manufacturing increased to 30.5 percent.
The rate of growth in metals producing^-and metals-using
42
Arthur F. Burns, Production Trends in the
United States Since 1870 (New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Xnc., 1934), pp. 68-69, citing
F. G. Tryon and L. Mann, "Mineral Resources for Future
Populations," chap, viii, in Population Problems in the
United States and Canada, ed. by L. x! Dublin (Poliak
Foundation for Economic Research, 1926), p. 112.
43
See Appendix A, Table 9* Yet never has a
people remained better fed.

54
industries was particularly impressive and generally
exceeded the rate of growth of the economy as a whole
44
and even of manufacturing in general.
Thus, economic changes taking place in the United
States after i860 represented net only better, but more--
particularly more manufacturing; and "more" might almost
as easily have been figured in terms of weight or measure
45
as m terms of dollars. It is in terms of volume that
we now turn our attention more specifically to the
production of iron and copper and their products for the
century that followed i860.
44
See Appendix A, Table 13.
4 5
The value of services cannot be excluded from
production, of course. If that were done, some interesting
results would follow.
"According to this notion, classroom furniture
and equipment would all be part of national income, but
the instruction, through which these goods acquire
utility, would not be included." Paul Studenski, The
Income of Nations, Part II, Theory and Methodology
(Washington Square: New York University Press, 1961),
p. 22.
Nonetheless, national income figures have their
real counterpart, even if that counterpart is in terms of
man-hours of services. National income and changes in
national income measure volume as well as value,
especially when such changes are figured in real terms.

CHAPTER IV
THE DEMAND FOR IRON AND COPPER IN THE
UNITED STATES, I86O-I96O
Although iron, copper, and steel were mutually
important to new kinds of production after i860, their
stories, in some respects, are more conveniently told
separately.
As we have said, in i860 iron and steel output
was small and markets were limited chiefly to railroads.
Between i860 and 1880 both situations changed substan¬
tially. First, iron and steel production grew very
rapidly, not only absolutely but also in relation to
other industries. Pig iron production increased almost
fivefold, from 920 thousand short tons in i860 to 4.3
million short tons, and steel production showed a
tenfold increase, from 11.8 thousand long tons to 1.2
million long tons;1 increases that established the
production of iron and steel and their products in third
place among all manufactures in 1880 with a gross value
of products of $659 million, exceeded by food and
^Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M 207
p. 4l6, Series P 203. The excess of pig iron over steel
production for 1880 illustrates the continued importance
of iron relative to steel at that time.
- 55 -

56
kindred products, $1,171 million, and by textiles with a
2
value of $971 million.
Second, although the railroad industry still took
the bulk of iron and steel output in 1880, other markets
were gaining in importance. In all, 1,305»000 long tons
of rails'^ were produced (31 percent of the tonnage of
all pig iron) along with 1,405 large steam railroad
engines, 46,200 railroad freight cars and 685 passenger
4
cars. But a sizeable amount of iron and steel also
was being devoted to bridge and building construction
where greater engineering sophistication and larger and
longer structures required increased amounts of strong
materials; 87 thousand long tons of structural iron and
steel shapes were produced in 1879*
A record span of 1,057 feet had been achieved
by a suspension bridge system over the Ohio River at
2
Twelfth Census of the United States, Part I,
p. cxlv, Table LVTII. The Twelfth Census grouped
industries according to materials used and product.
Iron and steel and their products were one of fifteen
such groups. See pp. xcliii, cxliv, cxlix.
â– ^Steel rails, produced since 1865 by the Bessemer
process, had gained increasing acceptance by the rail¬
roads, especially where heavy loads and high speeds
prevailed, but were not at once accepted wholly. Debate
continued over the merits of iron and steel rails
relative to cost, but as increasing steel output caused
steel prices to fall, the relative merits of steel
became paramount and iron soon was virtually forced out
of the rail business except for sidings where light
traffic persisted.
^Historical Statistics, p. 416, Series P 203-15•

57
Cincinnati in 1867, and the Eads Bridge, a magnificant
work crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis,
completed in 1874, was made of chromium steel. The
Brooklyn Bridge, also constructed of steel, was completed
in 1883, its main span some 1,595 feet long.
We are the formost of all nations in the use of
iron and steel in bridge building for railroads
and ordinary highways, and the lightness and
gracefulness of our bridges are nowhere equaled,
while their strength and adaptability to the
uses for which they are required are nowhere
surpassed.(6)
Low price and quick delivery allowed the develop¬
ment of a lively business in the export of steel for
bridges as well; but new demands for iron were not
confined even to railroads and great structures. As
one might suspect, the production of agricultural
implements also required immense quantities of iron and
steel.
We are the leading agricultural nation of the
world, and hence are the largest consumers of
agricultural implements; but we are also in
advance of every other nation in the use of
agricultural machinery. Our use of iron and steel
in agriculture takes rank next to their use in the
construction and maintenance of railroads.(7)
5
Carl W. Condit, "Buildings and Construction,"
in Technology in Western Civilization, ed. by Kranzberg
and Pursell, op. cit., pp. 387-92.
^U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census, Report on the Manufactures of the United States
at the Tenth Census (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, I883), p. 150.
7Ibid.

58
In addition, more iron stoves were constructed in
the United States in 1880 than in all the rest of the
world combined, and along with first place positions in
bridge building, agricultural implements, and stoves,
the United States could add fencing (the barbed wire
fence had just come into use) and telegraph wire.
The expansion in iron and steel production and
markets between i860 and 1880 was considerable, and the
same trends continued between 1880 and 1900 as steel
production increased from 1.2 million long tons to 10.2
million long tons and pig iron production from 4.3
g
million short tons to 15-4 million short tons.
By 1894 over 250,000 long tons of steel were
used in the production of nails alone, a like quantity
9
finding its way into the production of fencing; a
combined amount of more than 40 times what total steel
production had been in i860. By 1895 steel production
had increased so substantially that it was cheaper to
let a dropped nail lie than to devote the time of a
skilled carpenter to picking it up.10 By 1900 the
production of iron and steel had attained first rank
8
Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M-207;
p. 4l6, Series P-203.
o
Victor S. Clark, History of Manufactures in the
United States, Vol. Ill (New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1929)> p. 122.
10Ibid.. p. 126.

59
among the manufacturing industries, and the railroads
no longer consumed a majority of steel production.
By that date, other uses combined to take more
12
than twice as much steel as was used for rails. As
a result of the continued increase in the use of iron
and steel in large buildings and bridges, the output of
iron and steel shapes increased from 87 thousand long
tons in 1879 to 276 thousand long tons in 1889 and to
13
815 thousand long tons by 1900.
The use of steel in agriculture increased rapidly
as well. During the period 1880-1900, the value of
farm implements and machinery employed in agriculture
tripled, from $b06 million to $1,265 million, mostly
lb
as a result of changes in quantity.
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part X, p.
clxiii, Table LX. This grouping included only iron and
steel, the various products of iron and steel being
noted separately.
12
Clark, History of Manufactures, p. 65. Steel
for rails represented only part of the total demand for
steel by railroads, of course.
^Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-211.
lb
Farm implements had not changed greatly in
quality. That only 136,105 sulky or wheel plows were
produced in 1900 as opposed to some 819,022 walking
plows is sufficient to illustrate the state of advance¬
ment in agricultural implements at that time. The Census
of 1900 listed fourteen different kinds of seeders and
planters produced, twenty different categories of
implements of cultivation, twenty-two types of harvesting
implements and ten types of seed separators. Between
187O and 1900 the number of hand cord planters produced
per year had increased from 21.7 thousand to 129-5
thousand, the largest absolute increase among seeders
and planters, while the number of small cultivators

60
Steel production remained producer oriented in
the main as machinery for use in mines and factories,
and, to a lesser degree, shipbuilding were added to the
list of major users of steel by 1900. While the railroad
industry continued to take the lion's share of steel
output, accounting for 42.5 percent, and plant and equip¬
ment held second place with 39*2 percent, consumer
durables accounted for only 2.8 percent and containers
15
for another 3-8 percent. But times were changing.
Between 1900 and 1929» while steel ingots and
castings produced per year increased from a little over
10 million long tons to more than 56 million long tons,
the volume being taken by railroads declined to only
16.7 percent of total steel output. The share of
steel going to buildings and equipment ramained firm
at 35*8 percent, but the major new user of steel was
the automobile, the production of which was made possible
by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.
produced per year had increased from 88,740 to 206,982,
the largest absolute increase among cultivation
implements. Twelfth Census, Manufactures. Part IV,
p. 351.
15
American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel (New York: American
Iron and Steel Institute, 1963), p. 4.
"^Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-203;
Hans H. Landsherg, Leonard L. Fischman, and Joseph L.
Fisher, Resources in America’s Future, A Look Ahead to
the Year 2000 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Inc., 1963), p. 889, Table
A16-20.

61
The internal combustion engine revolutionized
transportation and power production on the roads and on
the farm. Automobiles changed from 2-1/2 horsepower, 5
mile-per-hour, horseless carriages of the 1890s to
multi-cylinder vehicles of increasing size and power.
The industry grew by leaps and hounds. Automobile sales
increased from only 4,192 in 1900 to 181,000 in 1910 and
to 1,903,000 in 1920. By 1929, when automobile sales
reached 4,455,178 units, the industry was consuming
18.7 percent of all rolled steel mill products, which
at the time amounted to over 47 million tons. For the
same year, other consumer durables and containers each
accounted for 4.9 percent of steel output so that
these three categories taken together accounted for
17
about one-fourth of all steel production.
After 1929 both the absolute and relative
amounts of steel products going to the railroad industry
continued to fall, from 9.8 million tons and 20.8
percent in 1929 to only 3 million tons and 4.2 percent
in i960. In the meantime, steel destined for use in
the production of machinery and industrial equipment
showed the largest relative increase among steel consuming
groups, increasing by i960 to almost four times what it
had been in 1929. The second largest relative increase
17
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 869, Table A16-3.

62
was shown by appliances and other domestic and commercial
equipment and the third largest by automotive uses.
These latter three categories had taken 28.9 percent
of all steel mill products in 1929; by i960 they accounted
18
for 47.1 percent of the total. In short, the needs of
the domestic private economy increased substantially
throughout the entire period.
On the other hand, the use of steel for ordnance
usually has constituted a rather small portion of the
total iron and steel market. Even though total pro¬
duction of steel ingots and castings, for example,
increased from 31*3 million long tons in 1913 to 45
million long tons in 1917, a goodly amount of the
increase went into exports. After the lull of the
depression of 1921, steel production quickly recovered,
almost regaining the 1917 output level in 1923 during
peacetime, and surpassing it in 1925 with an output of
some 45,393*524 long tons. The highest level of steel
production attained during the Second World War, 79,318,314
long tons in 1943--of which only 13*9 percent was devoted
19
to ordnance and another 21.4 percent to shipbuilding,
18
These categories do not include steel destined
for use in building construction. Adapted from Ibid.,
pp. 869-70, Table A16-3.
19
American Iron and Steel Institute, Annual
Statistical Report (Philadelphia: American Iron and
Steel Institute, 1944), passim.

63
which was proceeding with great haste at the time--was
matched by peacetime production of 79>1^3»277 long tons
20
in 1948. Remembering that a great deal of existing
machinery and equipment was devoted to war ends during
the 194Os, one readily can understand the consequent
assumption that wars have made exceedingly heavy demands
upon metal resources. But the diversion of metals from
domestic to war industries for short periods of time
did not constitute a significant drain on metal
resources when compared to the total metal demand exhib¬
ited over the past hundred years for non-military uses.
The output of the steel industry during wartime has
come to be exceeded each year by the demands of the
domestic economy; even if all the metal produced during
the war years had been lost, the amount of metal lost
due to wars would not have begun to approach the amount
of iron mined, fabricated, and put to use in the economy-
over the past hundred years. Between the two great
wars, the production of steel for use in ordnance was
insignificant. During periods of peace following World
War IX, it amounted to only two or three hundred
thousand tons of steel per year, and even during the
Korean conflict it reached a maximum of only three
million tons.^^
20
Historical Statistics, p. 4l6, Series P-203*
21
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 870, Table A16-3*

64
Just as the production of steel increased remark¬
ably after i860, so too did the production of copper.
Only 112 short tons of copper were produced by domestic
mining operations in 1845 and only 8,064 short tons in
i860; but, by 1900 annual production had risen to 303>059
22
short tons. Unfortunately, the precise destination of
copper by market category cannot be readily determined.
The only certainty is that most copper was destined for
use by producers.
It would have been very interesting to know the actual
consumption of copper by the electrical industries,
but there are not data available as to the wire drawn
for that purpose, and if there were, the figures
would still be very incomplete, owing to the large
electrical use of copper rods, bars, drop forgings,
commutator segments, springs, leaf, etc.
On the other hand ... it may be here noted that
virtually the whole American industry of copper
refining is a branch of electrical manufacture, . . .
It is interesting and important to note that the
proportion of the electrical product reaching the
public directly ... is by no means large.(23)
After 1900 the amount of domestic copper going
directly to consumers began to take a greater share of
available supplies, like iron and steel largely because
of the introduction of the automobile. By 1921, 10
percent of domestic copper production was going to
automobiles, while 5 percent went to building construction
22
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-225»
2 3
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part TV, p. 154.

65
and about 11 percent to manufactures destined for export;
slightly more than 50 percent was being devoted to elec¬
trical industries (such as generators, motors, electrical
locomotives, switchboards, light bulbs, telephones and
telegraphs, light and power lines--transmission and
distribution wire and bus bars, and other wire and
receiving sets). The remainder was devoted to other
manufactures including wire cloth, ammunition, castings,
clocks and watches, coinage, copper-bearing steel, fire¬
fighting apparatus, radiators, rail-way equipment, ship
building, water heaters, refrigerators, and washing
2b
machines.
The percentages of copper going to each end
use remained remarkably stable throughout the 1920s and
1930s, Electrical industries accounted for 52 percent
of domestic copper consumption in 1939, automobiles for
11 percent, buildings for 11 percent, manufactures for
export 6 percent, and other manufactures for 20 percent.
Even during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933»
the proportions going to each domestic end use remained
26
almost exactly the same.
2?
Harold Barger and Sam H. Schurr, The Mining
Industries, 1899-1939. A Study of Output. Employment and
Productivity fWew York: National Bureau of Economic
Research, Xnc., 1944), p. 359, Table A-ll.
25
26
Minerals Yearbook. 1932-33. p. 45.

66
In addition to furnishing copper to domestic
industries, by 1900 the United States had become engaged
in a booming export trade in copper with almost half of
domestic production being sent abroad for use in the
rapidly expanding electrical industries of other
27
countries. During the early lpOOs, the United States
continued to do a lively copper export business as
domestic production, continuing to increase at a brisk
pace, was supplemented by imports of ores and concen¬
trates for refining and reshipment abroad. In 1920,
for example, net imports of copper ores and concen¬
trates by copper content amounted to 150,808 short tons
and refined copper exports to 221,241 short tons, the
excess reflecting the added product of American mines.
In 1925 refined net exports of copper amounted to
434,146 short tons compared to net imports of ore and
concentrates of 263,228 short tons, but the era of the
United States as a net exporter of copper was drawing
to a close. By 1929 imports of ores and concentrates
exceeded refined net exports by only 28,281 short tons,
and imports of copper ore by copper content remained
fairly equal to refined exports from then until the
28
eve of the Second World War.
27"
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part I, p. lvii.
Figures for copper production are shown in Appendix B.
pO
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series 225-30.

67
Refined exports which had exceeded apparent
domestic consumption in 1904 did so five other times during
the period 1904-1914. But, while domestic production was
increasing, domestic consumption was expanding even more
rapidly, more than doubling between 1900 and 1910.
Refined exports exceeded apparent domestic consumption
for the last time in 1914; and, as the economy grew,
apparent domestic consumption of copper far outstripped
refined exports. By 1940, on the eve of America1s entry
into the Second World War, apparent domestic consumption
was almost three times as great as refined exports,
1f 008,785 short tons devoted to domestic needs compared
to 356,431 short tons of refined exports.
Demands for copper changed radically when the
United States entered the Second World War; although
demand had increased prior to the war, domestic
supplies had been adequate to meet domestic needs. With
the war, the United States found itself squeezed for
resources; competing military and civilian demands for
the first time exceeded the amount of copper that could
be supplied.
The trend of events throughout 1940 and 1941 forced
many observers to revise their opinions regarding
the adequacy of copper supplies in the United
States. When the present World War began, few
would have believed that domestic production plus
unprecedented imports could fall so far short of
29
^Minerals Yearbook, 1945. p. 122.

68
satisfying all needs. The British Empire's position
as regards copper was then considered relatively
satisfactory, and when the tremendous resources of
the United States were added, no problem regarding
supplies of the metal was generally anticipated.
This opinion, of course, held before the United
States entered the war and before it was known that
this country must supply copper in fabricated forms
to virtually all the nations at war with the Axis
powers or preparing to resist them. The unbelieve-
able growth in plans for airplanes, tanks, and other
munitions made all previous ideas regarding consump¬
tion requirements obsolete.(30)
As a result, copper was placed under mandatory
industry-wide control on June 1, 1941. Exports of
refined copper declined drastically as most of the former
European markets and Japan were taken out of the export
picture and imports of refined copper increased markedly
as South American copper formerly shipped to Europe was
diverted to the United States. Refined copper imports,
68 thousand short tons in I9U0, peaked at 531 thousand
short tons in 1945, while refined copper exports declined
31
from 356 thousand short tons to U9 thousand short tons.
Apparent domestic consumption reached peaks of 1,919
thousand short tons in I9UI, and 1,9U8 thousant short
tons in 19U3.32
With the end of the war in I9U6, apparent
domestic consumption of copper temporarily declined to
30
Minerals Yearbook, 19Ul, pp. 93-94.
31
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M-229-30.
32
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,
p. 906, Table A16-38.

69
1,338 thousand short tons, but the decrease was tran¬
sitory. By 1950, again bolstered by defense needs,
33
copper consumption reached 1,986 thousand short tons.
Apparent consumption fell after 1950, and did not reach
its former high wartime levels until the early 1960s,
but apparent consumption reached 2,039 thousand tons per
year in 1965 and remained at very nearly the same level
through 1969.^
By i960 the amount of copper going to building
construction had increased to approximately 19 percent
of total copper consumption. Communications construction
and electric power construction accounted for another 19
percent, and producer durables took approximately 32
percent. Motor vehicles maintained a share of about 9
35
percent and consumer durables accounted for 4 percent.
We have looked at the changing nature of the
demands for copper and iron within the United States
during the past century. The demand for both increased
at a spectacular pace between i860 and 1900 as new metals-
oriented industries came into being and expanded.
34
Minerals Yearbook, 1969. p. 452.
35
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 912.

70
Gross National Product, in constant prices,
increased approximately four times between 1870 and
1900^ while pig iron production increased more than
37
eight times, and copper production thirty-eight times,
so that increases in these were much greater than in
GNP. Since 1900 the rate of increase in copper and
iron production has been much lower, 1.4 percent for
copper and 1.8 percent for iron, while GNP has increased
qO
at an average annual rate of 3*1 percent. Hence, at
first glance, GNP would appear to have increased much
more rapidly than metals since 1900, and based upon
these figures, the importance of metals to production
would appear to have decreased over time. But the
figures are misleading.
Reduction in apparent consumption of metals
relative to GNP has been noted by many writers who
have observed that progressively more has been made
from each ton of metal, which is true. But compari¬
sons of levels of GNP with annual rates of apparent
consumption have -understated the importance of metals
to production in general. Quite simply, the level of
of production for the whole economy in any given year
36
Historical Statistics, p. 139» Series P-3«
37
Figures for iron and copper production and
consumption are included in Appendix B and are related
there to changes in GNP.
^See Appendix B.l, Table 19.

71
does not depend upon the amount of metal produced in
that year, but rather upon the amount of metal already
in use in machinery, buildings, and other equipment.
As such, current levels of production depend more upon
the rate at which metals production has occurred in the
past than upon the rate at which they currently are
being produced. Current levels of metals production
are more important to future levels of general pro¬
duction, and hence are related to growth.
When stocks of metals in use are compared to
GNP, a different picture emerges. While real GNP in
i960 was approximately 7 times as great as it had been
in 1900, stocks of copper in use appear to have been
about 11.5 times as large and iron 11.4 times as large
39
as they were in 1900. Even after 1920, when metals
markets had become more diverse and metals were going
to uses for which there tended to be a larger value of
product per unit of metal, stocks of metals in use
continued to increase at a rate comparable to that of
GNP. Stocks of copper in use increased at an annual
rate of 3.4 percent and iron at a rate of 2.8 percent,
while GNP increased at an average annual rate of 3-2
percent.^
"^See Appendix B.4, Table 26.
i>0See Appendix B.4, Figure 3, Figure 5. Table 27.

72
The higher rates of growth of metals in use than
of apparent consumption are to be expected. Stocks of
metals in use would increase even if annual additions to
the stocks (apparent consumption) were to remain exactly
the same for each successive year. Growth rates of
annual apparent consumption represent what is, in effect,
the first derivative of the rate of growth of stocks of
metals in use, to which growth in GNP is more directly
related. Comparing rates of growth in GNP to rates of
growth in apparent consumption of metals has caused
metals to have been viewed as less important than they
actually have been.
While rates of growth in annual production and
apparent consumption of metals can be compared only
indirectly to the rate of growth in GNP, these rates of
growth are important insofar as they reflect demands
made upon resources; the higher the rates of withdrawal,
the more rapid is the decline in the quality of metals
resources that remain, and the more difficult is their
acquisition. On the other hand, the greater is the
amount of value generated by production per ton of
metal, the greater is the value of production that can
be obtained from the use of any given metals supply.
Mining and metals resources will be considered in the
next chapter, but increased efficiency of metals can
be considered here.

73
Throughout the past century, minerals have tended
to be used with increasing efficiency. Greater efficiency
in fuel use, as is commonly known, has greatly increased
the amount of work that can be performed by burning a
ton of coal or a gallon of oil. Similar increases in
production per ton of iron and copper have occurred as
a result of improvements in the quality of the metals
themselves, and of changes in metals markets, and in the
4l
complexity of final products. Greater production per
ton of new metal also has resulted from the recovery of
old scrap and from the substitution of other materials
for iron and copper in some processes. Each of these
influences will be considered in turn.
Improvements in quality have been particularly
b2
important to iron and steel.
As a matter of fact, it is rather misleading to
talk simply about "steel," This term may have
been justified in the early days of the industry
when plain carbon steel was its chief product,
but today there is actually a large family of
steels covering a wide variety of useful prop¬
erties. Many of these steels are tailor-made
for a particular application. As one example,
silicon steels are specially designed to allow the
maker of electrical machinery to take full advantage
of their unique electrical and magnetic qualities.
Again, special alloy steels of high toughness at
41
Production of steel ingots per $lp60 billions
of durable goods and construction fell from .93 million
tons in 1929 to .65 million tons in i960. See Landsberg,
Resources in America's Future, p. 890, Table A16-21.
k2
This has been true in other industries as well.
Cf. William Woodruff, "Growth of the Rubber Industry of
Great Britain and the United States," Journal of Economic
History, XV (December, 1935) > 376-91*

74
high strength levels have been developed for air¬
craft landing gear. The stainless steels . . .
provide good corrosion resistance . . . and are
useful in applications requiring strength at
elevated temperatures. . . .
. . . Today's steel line pipe, because of greater
strength and larger diameter, enables use of
greater pressure to transmit 60 percent more gas
than was possible a decade ago with the same
tonnage of pipe. The new A-36 grade of structural
carbon steel has a yield point 9 percent greater
than that of the A-7 grade which was the standard
for many years. This higher yield point allows
an increased design stress of about 10 percent in
both bridges and buildings and will result in
significant savings in the cost of fabricated and
erected structures.(43)
The effects of improved quality have been twofold.
First, because proportionately more special steels are
being used today, and because these are higher cost
steels, more value is added per ton of metal in the
production of steel itself. Second, the increased
quality of steel of all grades has decreased the amount
of steel needed per unit of final product and also has
increased the durability of the product so produced.
Increased durability has allowed machines to be operated
longer and at higher speeds, thus increasing the amount
of product produced per machine and per unit of metal
used in the machine's construction.
The trend toward increased value of production
per ton of metal also has been accentuated by the
changing nature of metals markets, and this influence
43
American Iron and Steel Institute, The
Competitive Challenge to Steel, p. 14.

75
has been shared by both iron and copper. For example,
the production of rails was a relatively simple operation;
steel rails made right at the plant could be installed
without further processing. When steel left the plant
destined for use in automobiles and other complex
machinery, however, a large amount of additional value
was generated as the raw steel was worked into progress¬
ively more complex shapes. Consequently a much larger
value of total production per unit of steel was generated.
The case for copper was much the same. As the
proportion of copper going into simple wire decreased
relative to the amount going into items requiring sub¬
sequent manufacture, the value of final products per
unit of copper increased as well.
Not only have changing markets resulted in more
value produced per unit of metal, but increasing
complexity of products within each market category has
increased value per unit of metal as well. Thus, war
equipment, automobiles, machine-tools, and aircraft, as
examples, became considerably more complex, and increased
complexity has served to make them more valuable.
The substitution of other materials for iron,
steel, and copper also has tended to decrease the amount
of metal needed to generate any given level of output.
Aluminum and plastics have been particularly important
in that regard, not only capturing some former iron,
copper, and steel markets, but also denying markets that

76
under other circumstances would have been of importance
to those metals. Due to its electrical properties, alumi¬
num has come to replace copper in many large transmission
lines and in other uses where added bulk is not a crucial
factor. Lightness and wearability have allowed it to
replace steel in a few uses, notably in containers.
Prestressed concrete has taken some of the market
formerly reserved for structural steel, and even plastic
44
warships now are being launched. Fibreglass automobile
bodies and aluminum engine blocks and radiators already
have been used and found successful in many instances
and might find more widespread use in the future were
price and technological advances favorable to such
substitution.
Finally, metals production has been affected
by the recovery of metal contained in obsolete imple-
45
ments. In lplO production of refined copper from
scrap amounted to 17.5 percent of the apparent consumption
of new copper; by i960 that figure had grown to 37.5
percent.^
44
In 1971 two small plastic warships were
launched; pending success of the experiment, future plans
call for production of plastic warships to frigate size.
The principal difficulty at this time is one of cost.
45
See Appendix B for data and information relat¬
ing to scrap generation, availability, and use.
^Minerals Yearbook, 19^5» p. 122; Minerals
Yearbook, 1965. p. 356.

77
Over the same period the use of scrap steel
increased substantially as well. In 1905, for example,
5.6 million tons of steel scrap were used in the
production of 22.A million tons of steel. By i960,
66.5 million tons of steel scrap were used along with
66.6 million tons of pig iron in the production of new
47
steel. The importance of scrap drawn from obsolete
sources was somewhat less, however; use of obsolete
48
scrap in i960 amounted to only 19.9 million tons, the
remainder being made up of scrap originating in the steel
plants themselves and in the various places in which
steel scrap was a byproduct of further fabrication.
Although approximately 81 percent of old iron
49
and steel scrap could be reclaimed, for various
a
reasons only about 50 percent of all new supplies of
obsolete scrap steel is brought to the furnace. For
one reason, scrap steel prices tend to be more variable
than are pig iron prices and wide variation makes
47 .
Minerals Yearbook. 1940. p. 502; Minerals
Yearbook, i960, p. 635*
4 3
Landsberg, Resources in America's Future, p. 874.
49
Cf. U.S. Department of Health, Education and
Welfare, Bureau of Solid Waste Management, Comprehensive
Studies of Solid Waste Management (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1970), pp. 106-08; U.S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, Automobile
Disposal, A National Problem (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1967) ; Institute of Scrap
Iron and Steel, Inc., Addresses and Proceedings, Annual
Convention (Washington"] D.C. , 1964 and 19&5) •

planning difficult. Second, the integration of steel
plants has made possible the immediate use of hot metal
from blast furnaces at lower cost resulting from
substantial heat (hence fuel) savings. Third, the
heterogeneous quality of steel scrap makes it difficult
to use under exacting conditions of quality steel produc¬
tion. Fourth, steel in some old equipment has not been
collected because of the expense involved in transporting
it to processing centers. Finally, steel scrap is
difficult to process and much of the work must be done
by hand. Steel used in automobiles and containers is
particularly difficult to recycle, and the disposition
of these items has become a serious problem. As a con¬
sequence, a stock of scrap steel has been building over
the years and would be available for processing into
new steel should the situation warrant.
Copper differs from steel and iron in that
regard since the amount of copper going into new
production shortly after its retirement is high
(although the amount potentially recoverable is lower
than steel), principally because copper retains its
pure form in many of its applications and can be reused
simply by melting and reshaping.
Each of the factors mentioned above has
contributed to an increased value of product per ton of
metal, or viewed from the other side, a decreased amount

79
of metal required to produce each dollars worth of product.
Nonetheless, demands for new metals have continued to
increase at a very rapid rate, and the amount of metals
in use relative to GNP has not changed markedly. Although
more is being made from each ton of metal, a greatly
increased volume of total production has swamped increases
in efficiency of metals use; the net effect has been a
continually increasing demand for new metals inputs.
These increases in the physical volume of
production often tend to be overlooked since changes in
production in the past century have improved product
quality so greatly. It is quite true that better
implements are being made of metal now than before; iron
used to produce a carriage wheel in i860 might today be
converted into stainless steel used in a supersonic
aircraft. But that fact should not distort the picture
relative to increases in volume. Very few supersonic
aircraft, or anything else for that matter, could be
produced if the amount of metal available for their
construction now were the same as it was in i860.
Improvements in quality have been the product of thought
and planning; increases in quantity have occurred
primarily as a result of increased extraction.
In the past, as projects for which metal was
destined were completed, the need for additional amounts
of the metal to satisfy those ends diminished, a
phenomenon best illustrated by the virtual

80
completion of the rail network by 1900, and the subsequent
decline in the amount of steel devoted to that end. One
might speculate about future needs for additional numbers
of automobiles, bridges, and buildings. To the extent
that production of these or other like items is increased,
the subsequent demand for steel and iron may be increased
as well. The same holds true for copper and its various
applications. In brief, the rate of metals demand for
any given year is tied to the needs of metals using
industries and modified by changes in markets, complexity
of product, and by materials substitution.
It is difficult to foretell just what the demand
for metals will be in the future but several of the
factors mentioned above tend to indicate that the ratio
of metals extraction to national product will continue to-
decline. Increased complexity of products, substitution
of other materials, and productive activity devoted to
non-metals using endeavors would lessen the rate of
increase in metals demand. But, while the rate of growth
in annual metals consumption has been less than that of
output as a whole, the annual demand for metals has not
stabilized; on the contrary, the amount of metals in use
50
has in fact continued to increase at an increasing rate.
^See Appendix B.4 for information related to
rates of increase in metals consumption and metals in
use.

CHAPTER V
THE SUPPLY OF IRON AND COPPER AFTER i860
Even though changing technology and expanding
production caused increased demands to be made for iron
and copper within the United States after i860, domestic
mines proved more than equal to the task by increasing
their metals production apace. In i860 United States
mines produced only 2.9 million long tons of usable
iron ore and 8.0 thousand short tons of copper.^ By
1900 iron ore production had increased tenfold to some
27.3 million long tons, and copper production to 303
thousand short tons. Rates of metals extraction
continued to increase rapidly, and by i960 iron ore
production had reached 88.8 million long tons and
domestic copper production had grown to 1.08 million
short tons.^
^Iron ore figures represent usable ore, the
iron content of which has varied from year to year,
generally ranging from about 40 to 60 percent.
Copper figures represent copper content of mined ores.
2
Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66» Series M
195-200,• p. 368, Series M 225.
81

82
But even the vast metals deposits of the United
States were not limitless, and by the 1950s the United
States had begun to import substantial quantities of
iron and copper ores. Iron ore imports, which in 1900
had amounted to only 898 thousand long tons, reached 34.5
million long tons in i960, an amount greater than total
domestic production had been in 1900, and whereas the
United States had been a net exporter of copper in 1900,
by 1959 apparent consumption of copper exceeded domestic
production by 258 thousand short tons, only 45 thousand
short tons less than total domestic copper production
U
had been in 1900. The metals position of the United
States had changed substantially over the years, from
one of abundance to one of scarcity. We will now deal
with that change and its implications.
In i860 demands for metals relative to the
amounts of ore available were slight. The country was
so large, the produce so bountiful, that almost every
resource seemed inexhaustible. A typical comment of
the age is to be found in the Census of Manufactures of
i860.
This whole country range extending from North
Carolina into AlabamaJ possesses an incalculable,
inexhaustible abundance of the richest ores, while
its production of iron still remains at a minimum.(5)
3Ibid.
4
Figures comparing domestic production of iron
and copper to domestic consumption for I9OO-I96O are pre¬
sented in Appendix B.2, Table 20.
5
Manufactures of the U.S. in i860, p. clxxvi.

83
Deposits of iron and copper were particularly
extensive in the Lake Superior region, and Michigan's
Upper Peninsula furnished the first real spurt in copper
and iron ore production. Copper's existence in the far
North country had been known by white men since as early
as the mid lóOOs, ^ but Upper Michigan was a forbidding
place, far distant from centers of civilization; and
little effort was made to investigate its resources.
Reports of extensive copper deposits continued
to filter back to the East, but it was not until 1841
that a substantive geological report of the region was
made by Douglas Houghton, one-time mayor of Detroit and
state geologist. Houghton's report led to a rush for
copper. In 1844 the first copper company was formed
and by 1845 copper production in Upper Michigan amounted
to 12 tons; by 1863 production had risen to almost
7
7,200 tons.
Michigan copper was of exceptional quality,
occurring in an almost pure state as native ore. Huge
chunks of "mass" copper were taken from Michigan mines,
one a 420 ton monster some 46 feet long, 12-1/2 feet
°Indians had employed a crude technology to
mine the region, and some of their shallow pits may be
found there today.
7
T. A. Rickard, A History of American Mining,
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932), p! 231.

8U
g
wide and 8-1/2 feet thick. Nearly 70 percent of the
copper mined in Michigan in l86l was mass copper, but as
time passed the copper content of Michigan ore fell; by
I89O mass copper had become quite scarce.
9
As ore ran thin and mines grew deeper, mines
were forced to close. Today most Michigan mines have
been abandoned; shaft houses that remain stand silent,
and only a small mine at White Pine remains in operation.
Rock piles are to be seen alongside almost every town,
and old company houses, now privately owned, remain; but
most of the people have gone or are leaving. The copper
country of Upper Michigan is a thing of the past; the
mines emptied of their rich ores.^ Mining has moved to
the West.
Arizona, which held third place in copper output
at the turn of the century, behind Michigan and Montana,
now is in first place by a wide margin. In 19^9 Arizona
mines contributed 52 percent of domestic copper, Utah
was a distant second at 19 percent, Montana fifth at 6
8Ibid., p. 232.
9
The Calumet and Hecla Quincy mine, whose shaft
house still stands atop a tall hill overlooking the
cities of Houghton and Hancock, would become more than
a mile deep by the 1930s.
Significant deposits remain in the Upper
Peninsula and account for a substantial share of
remaining United States reserves; but because
mineralization is erratic and many of the outcrops are
concealed, exploitation of remaining deposits is
difficult.

85
percent, and Michigan operated only its one mine.'*''*' The
richness of copper ores mined in all the states is not
nearly what it once was. The average copper content of
domestic ores fell steadily during the past century,
from an average of 3 percent in 1880 to 0.6 percent in
1969. The copper situation deteriorated so greatly that
a quota of 50,000 tons was established in 1968 on the
export of copper refined from domestic ores and a similar
quota of 60,000 tons by copper content of scrap also was
_ . 12
m effect.
At about the same time as copper was first taken
from the Upper Peninsula, iron was discovered in the same
area, a little to the south and east, around what now
is the town of Marquette. The Soo Canal was completed
in 1855» and in August of that year the first ore
shipment was sent down Lake Michigan. Production
increased year by year as new mines were added, moving
always to the west along the base of the Upper Peninsula.
In i860 the major iron ore producirg states still
were in the East, however; New England states produced
51,700 tons of ore in that year and New York, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, and Maryland combined for another 724,500
~*~~*~Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 453*
12Xbid., p. 451.

86
tons, of which Pennsylvania contributed 508,100 tons.
18
Michigan added 130,000 tons; ^ Minnesota, of course,
produced none; but it was only a matter of time until
the vast deposits of Minnesota would be discovered and
mined.
The Vermillion range came into production in
1884, and the Mesabi, which was to become the most
productive source of iron in the world, came into
production in 18p2.
During the period 185^-1892, while the uses of
iron expanded so rapidly in the United States, all of
the major ore deposits of the Lake Superior region were
discovered and tapped. By 1969 they had yielded 3.9
lh
billion tons, almost 18 billion cubic feet of pure
iron, or approximately 80 percent of all the iron mined
in the United States, the Mesabi alone contributing
over 2.7 billion tons of that total.
The ore of the Mesabi remained rich for most
of that time, but increased demands of the wartime
economy of the lpUOs, combined with domestic needs
during and prior to the war, exhausted the richest
ores. By the lpUOs many of Minnesota's mines had been
closed and the mining towns abandoned, and Michigan iron
mines were growing deeper.
13
Manufactures of the U.S. in i860, p. clxxvii.
lU
Minerals Yearbook, 1969. p. 576.

During the 1950s, with the soft, rich iron
deposits of the Mesabi running low, a new method of
concentration gave the Mesabi renewed life. Some of its
very hard ore, called taconite, was magnetic, and after
the ore was finely crushed, the iron content could be
extracted magnetically and remolded into pellets suitable
for use in blast furnaces. But by 1969 still more of the
smaller mines of Minnesota and Michigan had been closed.
Mining activities, which had been called upon to
meet rapidly increasing domestic needs over the past
hundred years, reduced initially "inexhaustible" iron
and copper resources to amounts which appear not only
limited but quite capable of exhaustion within a very
short time. A definitive knowledge of the amounts of
iron and copper ore of relatively high concentration
still available in the United States is difficult to
determine, first because of difficulties associated
with exploration and proving of ore reserves, and
second because a great deal of secrecy is practiced
by mining concerns regarding exploratory operations and
15
their results. But the days of shipments of mass
copper from Michigan and high-grade copper from Arizona
15
Data on copper and iron reserves are presented
in Table 2.

88
seem to be gone, and the end of the Mesabirs rich ore
• 1,4- 16
is in sight.
Although one can only speculate as to what the
future holds with regard to domestic ore availability,
it is rather disturbing that few discoveries of distinct
large ore bodies have been made in the United States
since shortly after the turn of the century; the major
copper and iron deposits now known were known then and
the richest ores have been taken from them. Mining
enterprises have managed to locate additional amounts
of lower grade ores around known areas of high metals
concentration on a fairly reliable basis in the recent
17
past, but the job of finding new domestic ores has
become progressively more difficult, and the ores have
become leaner.
Leaner ores, because they require more
processing, mean higher costs unless cost can be held
in check by technological advance, and, for most of the
period following i860, the battle has been won by
technology.
Domestic copper reserves are expected to be
insufficient to meet domestic needs through the present
century, and iron ore production is expected to be
supplemented greatly by foreign production for the
same period.
17
Cf. C. K. Lerth, World Minerals and World
Problems (hew York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1931)•

89
In i860 almost all work in the mines was done
manually, and almost all mining was performed underground.
Men worked by light of candles or burning lamps, venti¬
lation was poor and drilling necessary for the placement
l8
of explosive charges was done by hand.
In all, the miner's job required considerable
hard work and technical skill, both in mining and in the
selection of ores. Men labored on a piecework basis,
paid by the amount of ore brought to the surface, and
care was taken to work the richest veins of ore as
thoroughly as possible. Waste was minimized and subse¬
quent refining made easier by precautions taken to insure
that the richest ores were not diluted by low-grade ore
or outright extraneous materials. To prevent the
addition of too much non-metallic substance necessitated
a minimum of blasting and a maximum of picking.
Once freed from its surroundings, ore was
broken, again by hand, into pieces of manageable size,
hand loaded and transported to the surface with the
use of animal power, usually mules, but not
infrequently by men. Iron ore at that stage generally
was of sufficient purity to be shipped directly to blast
furnaces; but with copper, the same happy situation did
not usually prevail, and as grades of copper ore became
l8
Drilling required considerable skill on the
part of each member of the drilling team, since one man
held the drill in place, turning it occasionally, while
the others struck it hard with a hammer.

90
leaner, more and more effort had to he devoted to
subsequent crushing and separating activities at the
surface.
By 1880 the situation had changed considerably.
Drilling activities, formerly done by hand, were being
19
performed by machine with the aid of compressed air.
Electricity was being introduced to the mines for
lighting and power and the men and mules who formerly
had labored in moving ores to the surface were replaced
in that capacity by machines. The introduction of
machinery brought specialization, specialization brought
more efficient organization, and the whole realm of
change tended to increase the amount of ouput that
could be produced per period of time and per man.
But mining techniques, except for the application
of power, were essentially the same as they had been at
the beginning of the nineteenth century. Increased
output resulted from changes in each type of activity
but no new kinds of mining activities actually were
introduced until early in the twentieth century.
19
The move from hand power to machine power was
not without its drawbacks as more and more miners fell
prey to lung diseases caused by the large amounts of
dust generated by powered drills.

91
The technology of the early nineteenth century-
sufficed for gaining access to ore deposits at
considerable depths. Drilling, blasting, selective
mining of ore, rock support, pumping, hoisting,
concentration of ore minerals, their smelting, and
the refining of crude metals were all practiced
very effectively, . . . (20)
Still, theâ–  ways in which these old activities
were performed in 1900 were very different from what
they had been in i860.
The greatest changes taking place at or near
the turn of the century, however, and the ones probably
having the greatest effect on levels of output were,
first, the introduction of non-selective mining, a method
that relied upon sophisticated techniques of concentra¬
tion and allowed lower yielding ores to be mined and
treated; and, second, the movement of mining into open
pits at the surface.
Non-selective methods permitted mining of not
only the very richest veins of metallic ores, but of
lower yielding surrounding ones as well. Once brought
to the surface, lower yielding ores could be processed
to yield higher concentrations of refined ore and
savings resulting from the elimination of extreme care
and painstaking classification in the mines more than
offset the increased costs involved in the processing
of lower grade ores at the surface. This process was
20
C. E. Julihn, "Copper: An Example of Advancing
Technology and the Utilization of Low-Grade Ores," in
Mineral Ec onomic s, ed. by F. G. Tryon and E. C. Eckel
(New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1932), p. 123.

92
especially important to copper mining where new methods
of concentration such as the flotation process, intro¬
duced in the United States in earnest after 1910,
permitted the working of very low-grade copper ores.
In this process, ores were finely ground and put into
an oily liquid bath. Air was then let into the bottom
of the container, and oily bubbles collected the metal,
which had an affinity for the oil, and brought it to
the surface in the form of a froth; non-metallic material
remained behind as sediment.
The second major advance, open pit mining,
eliminated the need for underground lighting and
ventilation, for expensive timbering, and the other
high cost operations and paraphenalia required in
underground mining.
The introduction of open pit, non-selective
mining techniques, coupled with the introduction of the
flotation process, permitted extensive but low-grade
copper deposits to be mined at reasonably low cost;
changing techniques in mining and refining were
complementary.
In iron mining, too, open pit operations greatly-
increased productivity. The unique feature of Mesabi
ore in particular was its softness and proximity to the
surface where it could be "mined" with steam shovels.
Thus, it was not only the great extent of the rich ore
deposits that made the Mesabi so valuable; their closeness
to the surface made them more valuable still.

93
Getting soft ore out of an open pit wasn't much
like blasting hard ore out of solid rock two
thousand feet down and hauling it to the surface.
One steam shovel could mine as much Mesabi ore in
an hour as five hundred miners could bring up in
a day from the old deep mines.(2l)
While the end results were the same, open pit
mining was so different from underground operations that,
in effect, the means of obtaining minerals was revolutionized.
Open pit methods, first employed extensively on
the Mesabi range, accounted for almost half the iron
ore produced domestically by 1909. In 1969 nearly 90
percent of iron ore produced domestically was being
22
mined by this method. Similarly, while less than
one-fourth of copper ore produced domestically in 1919
was produced in open pit mines, by 1969, 88 percent of
all copper ore produced in the United States was taken
23
from open pits.
As a result of the application of new technology
and the introduction of power, output per man-hour and
man-day increased rapidly in both the copper and iron
mining industries during the latter part of the
nineteenth century. By 1889 copper output per man-day
21
Holbrook, Iron Brew, p. 108.
22
Minerals Yearbook, 1969, p. 463.
23ibid., p. 572.

9k
had begun to fall but the introduction of open pit,
non-selective mining methods and increased use of the
flotation process reversed the trend after 1910.
Productivity has continued to rise since. The intro¬
duction of open pit operations in iron mining on a
broader scale and at an earlier date probably
forestalled any general decline in productivity per man
in that industry, and the history of iron mining has
2k
shown increases in productivity throughout.
Increasing productivity in the minerals
industries and a constancy in the prices of minerals
2 5
relative to other prices have led some to believe
that the problem of materials scarcity has been over¬
come.
For changes in productivity in iron and
copper mining, Cf. Barger and Schurr, The Mining
Industries, 1899-1939, pp. 210-13 and pp. 225-27
for the period 1880-1939; and U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census and U.S. Department of the Interior,
Bureau of Mines, Raw Materials in the United States
Economy: 1900-1966, Bureau of the Census Working Paper
Mo. 30^Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1969), pp. 39-43.
2 5
Harold J. Barnett and Chandler Morse, Scarcity
and Growth, The Economics of Natural Resource Availabil¬
ity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources for
the Future, lp6j), pp. 205-06, 210, 212-13» Original
data for the Barnett and Morse study appear in Neal
Potter and Francis T. Christy, Jr., Trends in Natural
Resource Commodities, Statistics of Prices, Output,
Consumption, Foreign Trade and Employment in the United
States, I87O-I957 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Jnc., 1962). Summary data for
iron prices, output, and consumption appear on p. 37; the
same data for copper appear on p. 38» Copper prices appear
on p. 5^2 and those for iron on p. 33^.

95
Scientific advance, so rapid over the past century
and a half, has increasingly become the strategic
deteriminant of the influence of natural resources
on the trend of social welfare over time. In
advanced countries, it has freed man of the need
to be concerned about diminishing returns . . . (26)
But an escape from diminishing returns, one of
the principal "laws" of political economy, is far from
certain. Although during the past century in the United
States labor and capital costs decreased per unit of
minerals output and minerals prices have remained
relatively firm, the same situation need not hold true
in the future. In fact, metals prices have begun to
rise of late, although it is too early to determine
whether or not such price increases represent a trend.
One should remember that metals can be obtained
under current conditions at relatively low cost only
because they are found in relatively high concentrations.
While on the average the earth's crust contains only
about 0.01 percent copper and about 5 percent iron, these
metals currently are mined at concentrations considerably
higher, about 0.6 percent in the case of copper and 50
percent in the case of iron. Since concentrations of
metals or other minerals in certain locations represent
anomolous situations, one might suspect large concen¬
trations of high-grade ore to be very rare,
concentrations of lower grade ores less rare and so on,
26
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 261.

96
so that more numerous deposits of lower grade concen¬
trations might yield absolutely greater amounts of
metals than fewer, but richer, deposits. Some
authorities even have suggested that the amount of metal
available at each lower level of concentration might
27
exceed all of that available at higher levels. The
opinions of others differ.
Because, at a few places where all conditions are
especially favorable, ore in places averaging 0.5
percent copper or 0.0002 percent gold has been
mined profitably, reference is often made to the
vast low-grade deposits available to prolong metal
supplies for a period beyond present anxiety. The
thought has even been seriously proposed that for
each reduction of one decimal place in grade accepted
as ore, say from 3 to 0.3 percent, from 0.3 to 0.03
percent, etc., a new tonnage more than one decimal
place greater is thereby made available. Those
familiar with ore occurrence know that this simply
is not true. For most metals, the abnormal local
concentration that constitutes an ore deposit has
real geometrical limits, beyond which the tenor
more or less abruptly drops off to values far below
anything entertainable as economic. (28)
Some support can be given for both sides of the
argument; while each individual ore body does have
rather sharp geometrical limits, ore bodies with main
concentrations of lower grade might be more plentiful.
27
A sharply rising total tonnage of copper ore
relative to decreases in grade is shown, for example,
in the report of the President's Materials Policy
Commission, Resources for Freedom, II, p. lUU.
28
L. C. Graton, "Seventy-five Years of Progress
in Mining Geology," in Seventy-five Years of Progress in
the Mineral Industry, 1871-19^6, ed. by A. B. Parsons
(New York: The American Institute of Mining and
Metallurgical Engineers, 19^7) > p. 3^»

97
At present the argument remains mostly theoretical
and speculative, but if the quantities of ore available
do not increase rapidly at each lower grade, real costs
can be expected to increase markedly in the future as
more and more extraneous material must be removed to
obtain each additional ton of metal. A ton of ore must
be processed in order to obtain just twelve pounds of
pa
copper under current conditions, for example. ^ Xf the
grade of ore processed were to fall to 0.5 percent,
2,bOO pounds of ore would have to be handled to obtain
the same twelve pounds of metal, and at a grade of 0.4
percent, the amount of ore handled would rise to 3,000
pounds. Under conditions of constant technology, one
would expect costs to rise as a result. But, if
substantially greater amounts of ore were available
at each lower grade, resort to still lower grades could
proceed at a reduced pace, thereby allowing advancing
technology the time to combat potential cost increases
more readily. If the grade of ore fell rapidly to the
29
This does not include non-mineral material
that must be handled to get to the ore. In 1969, 622
million short tons of waste material were handled to
obtain 226 million short tons of crude copper ore.
For iron ore, 171 million short tons of waste material
were handled to obtain 229 million tons of crude iron
ore. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines,
"Technological Trends in the Minerals Industries (Metals
and Nonmetals Except Fuels)," in Preprint from the 1969
Bureau of Mines Minerals Yearbook (Washington, D. C.:
Government Printing Office, n.d.), p. 5, Table 1.

98
average level in the earth's crust as a whole, 10,000
tons of material would have to be handled to obtain each
ton of copper. Technology would be sorely pressed and
costs could be expected to rise substantially.
Clearly, the situation confronting the miner,
and hence the rest of the economy, is not the sudden and
complete exhaustion of ore bodies, but rather the steady
worsening of the yield of ore concentrations, and the
necessity, in underground operations particularly, to
incur greater costs as the works expand and the mines
deepen. In that case, ore must be hauled further,
ventilation and water removal problems become more
difficult, and finally a point is reached at which the
cost of extracting ore from the given mine, given
the price at which ore is selling at the time, is so
high that operations are no longer profitable. Thus,
a considerable amount of ore may be left in the ground
unexploited and the mine closed, possibly to be reopened
should ore prices increase or should new and cheaper
methods of extraction particularly favorable to the
specific mine be developed-provided the mine has not
deteriorated too greatly in the interim.
So it is also with new, unmined deposits. A
deposit not rich enough to be exploited when discovered
may later be developed as new techniques become available
or as the yields of formerly richer deposits become
poorer. Of course, the situation works in the opposite

99
direction as well. The discovery of new, rich, ore
bodies can put a lower yielding one out of business, or
the development of techniques for concentrating lower
grades may reduce the final cost of processing them to
less than that of processing higher grades by other
means. Nonetheless, the highest yielding (lowest cost)
ore bodies almost always are exploited first, and
mining becomes progressively more costly as a result.
The principal factors relating to metals
acquisition, thus, are the nature of the ore body itself
(size, depth, richness, chemical and physical composition,
and location) and the techniques available for its
discovery and exploitation. But metals acquisition
consists of more than locating ores, gaining access to
them, separating the richest ores and hauling them to
the surface; once at the surface, ore must be worked
into an almost pure form. Separating the process into
mining and refining is useful mostly for definitional
purposes; the process is a continuous one from mine to
factory and any technological change reducing the cost
of acquisition, or refining, tends also to reduce the
cost of the metal delivered at point of use.
Technological change at all points, coupled with
rich and accessible ore deposits have allowed metals
costs to remain low since i860; but the existence of

100
those rich deposits was a fortunate happenstance, and
technology will he faced with a more difficult task in
the future.
In the first place, shortages of rich domestic
ores in the United States have occurred only recently.
Therefore, stable prices and decreasing labor and
capital costs relative to output were consistent with
deteriorating concentrations, even in the face of
increasing demand, so long as the rate of technical
advance or scale economies exercised a stronger influence
on costs and prices than did declining ore yields. The
initial minerals position of the United States was one of
super abundance, and with resources extensive enough,
costs might decline or remain constant for a long time,
but not necessarily forever.
Second, labor and capital costs are not the only
costs involved. Increased power, for example, requires
increased fuel consumption which in turn can mean
30
higher costs of production and increases in productivity
have required large increases in power. While only 5
horsepower were employed per production worker in 1902
in all metal mining, 98 horsepower were employed per
production worker in 1963. Horsepower employed per
30
Provided that fuel prices do not decrease
or that efficiency of fuel use does not increase by
enough to offset increased energy requirements.

101
worker in iron and ferroalloys production increased from
29 in 1939 to 135 in 1963. Thus between 1939 and 1963»
while production per man-hour increased by a little
over 70 percent, horsepower per man increased almost
fivefold, a much larger increase than in manufacturing.
In 1963> the mineral industries used 75 horsepower
per production worker, excluding high-way type
equipment, as compared to 12 for all manufacturing
industries. Horsepower per thousand dollars value
added in mineral industries in 1963» excluding
high-way type equipment, amounted to 2.3 as
compared to 0.8 for all manufacturing industries.
Moreover, horsepower per production worker increased
between 1939 and 195^ by 250 percent in the mineral
industries, and by another 75 percent between 195^
and 1963, but by only about 40 and 20 percent
respectively in the manufacturing industries.(3l)
Unlimited amounts of power applied to constant
or worsening grades of ores would obviate the need for
concern over adequate amounts of resources; but neither
unlimited amounts of power nor the means to apply it
in timely fashion are or probably will become available.
Rapid increases in the rate of power application
relative to output in mining holds little brightness
for the future ability of applied technology to wring
ever increasing amounts of metal from ever leaner ores.
Certainly, the faith in technology exhibited by some
economists seems not to be so heartily shared by men
in the metals industries.
^Raw Materials in the U. S. Economy, 1900-1966,
pp. 39-^0»

102
Repeatedly in the past, a critical stage in the
copper industry has been reached at which there
was, in fact, some likelihood of a dearth of copper
due to more rapid increase in consumption than in
production. . . . For example, it is now generally
recognized that such an acute situation was averted
by the technologic developments in mining, milling,
and smelting related to the opening of the so-called
porphyry £extensive low-yield^7 coppers. Without
the contribution of metal from these low-grade mines
the world could not have had for some years past
anything like the tonnage of copper it has actually
consumed, even at much higher prices for the metal
than those that have prevailed.
However, there is indubitably a law of diminishing
returns applying to further technologic advances
in copper production, because the aggregate losses
in the treatment have become relatively slight, and
maximum benefits of large tonnage production are
probably already generally realized in mining,
milling, and smelting practice.(32)
While output per man-hour has continued to
33
increase, no great new technological break-throughs
of the kind experienced shortly after the turn of the
century have occurred in the mining industry.
32
U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines,
"Copper," in Mineral Resources of the United States,
Part X (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1928), pp. 713-14; p. 713-
33
^Output per man-hour in copper mining increased
by 29»7 percent between 1911 and 1921, 96.9 percent
between 1921 and 1931, 34.9 percent between 1931 and
1941, 34.5 percent between I9UI and 1951, and 32.5
percent between 1951 and i960. Computed from Albert
Daniel McMahon, Copper: A Materials Survey, U. S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Information
Circular No. 8225 (Washington, D. C.: Government
Printing Office, 1964), p. 301» Table 83.

103
. . . Increases in production and productivity, and
the decreases in the number of men and man-hours
required are due principally to the greater use of
large-scale mining methods--open pit and block-caving--
and the high degree of mechanization of most all
operations. (34)
A reduced rate of technological change in the
minerals industry should possibly be expected; the same
situation has been common to most industries.
. . . it will generally be found that the rate of
technical progress has abated definitely in the
period subsequent to the date when the fundamental
transforming "invention" took place.
Every technical improvement by lowering costs and
by perfecting the utilization of raw materials and
of power bars the way to further progress. There
is less left to improve, and this narrowing of
possibilities results in a slackening or complete
cessation of technical development in a number of
fields.(35)
Similar comments concerning the possible effects
of technology relative to iron ore production have been
expressed.
34
McMahon, Copper, p. 301.
35
Burns, Production Trends, p. 142; Julium Wolf,
Die Volkswirtschaft der Gegenwart u. Zukunft (Leipzig,
191277 pp. 236-37 cited in Kuznets, Economic Change, pp.
259-60. See also Simon Kuznets, Secular Movements in
Production and Prices (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930) ,
chap, i, for an analysis of abating technological
changes in selected industries.

Some people outside of the steel industry have said
we could meet all our future ore needs entirely with
. . . magnetic and non-magnetic taconites, but many
of us in the steel industry who have the responsi¬
bility of operating the properties think otherwise.
. . . the talk of America's inexhaustible resources
is over. At one time we had enough raw materials
to take care of many of our needs and to supply
other parts of the world; but that is no more.(36)
Markets for metals have become more international
as shipping capacities have risen and transportation
37
costs fallen, especially during the past twenty years.
Since higher grade foreign ores may be substituted for
domestic ores until their acquisition costs become equal
at the margin, one would expect tendencies toward
increasing costs of domestic mining to be mitigated by
and reflected in increased ore imports. That, in fact,
is what has happened. The burden of increasing costs
has not been as apparent as it might have been because
the United States has begun to tap not only its own
resources, but those of the rest of the world as well.
Richards, Iron Ore Outlook, p. 12; p. 22. Mr.
Richards was vice president of Republic Steel Corporation
at the time this address was presented.
37
Reductions in shipping costs helped to increase
the average length of voyage of sea-borne ore from
1,900 miles in 1950 to more than 3,000 miles in 1967.
Of. Mining Annual Review (London: The Mining Journal
Limited, 1967), p. 39*

105
Extensive iron and copper deposits of considerably
higher grade do exist in foreign lands. A considerable
amount of the copper imported into the United States
for domestic consumption has come from these sources in
the recent past and probably will come in the future.
Imports of iron ore, which began to grow large in the
1940s, have expanded almost without pause since then
and by 19&9 amounted to 40,758 thousand long tons of
usable iron compared to domestic production for that
qO
year of 88,260 thousand long tons. Most iron
imports came from Canada and Venezuela, where heavy
investments by United States companies in mining properties
had been made previously. These countries, together with
Liberia, furnished 35»891 thousand long tons of usable
iron for use in the United States.
United States investment in overseas mining
39
ventures has been substantial both in iron and copper,
and while such sources are very much needed, they are
not entirely secure.
^Minerals Yearbook, 1969» pp. 557» 559»
39
yThe share of total ore reserves owned either
directly or indirectly by United States firms is very
difficult to determine because of a lack of published
data. However, in 1947, three United States firms,
Anaconda, Kennecott, and Phelps-Dodge, owned 41.25
percent of known copper reserves. Cf. Walter H.
Voskuil, Minerals in World Industry ^New York: McGraw-
Hill Book Company, 1955)» P^ 211.

106
Political problems cannot be ignored. Heavy-
investments have been made by United States companies
in foreign ore deposits. Some of these are in
strategically sensitive areas. Even if not involving
U.S. capital, traditional foreign sources of iron
ore, or newer and better sources, must be available
in large measure to supply domestic needs until
such time as technology permits the competitive
processing of domestic low-grade deposits.
Many large domestic copper producers, through
subsidiaries or stock holdings, operate foreign
copper-producing properties in Canada, Mexico,
Chile, Peru, the Republic of South Africa, and
Zambia. . . .
Nationalization of U.S. interests in Chile was begun
in April 1967 . . .
In August 196b the Zambian government announced that
it would assume 51 percent control of the Zambian
copper industry.(4o)
As the data of Table 2 indicate, the United
States still owns within its borders a substantial share
of total world reserves of iron and copper ores. But
demand for ores within the United States and the rest
of the world have made those deposits look small, and
even with the use of foreign ores, costs are expected
to rise in the future, more so for copper than for
iron.
40
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of
Mines, Mineral Facts and Problems, 1970, Bureau of
Mines Bulletin No.65O(Washington,D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1970), p. 313; p. 537.

107
TABLE 2
WORLD IRON AND COPPER RESERVES3
(Million Tons)
Region
Reserves^
Iron Ore
(long tons)
Reserves
Copper
Content
(short tons)
United States
10,494
85.5
Canada
35,727
10. °d
Mexico, Puerto Rico, C. Amer.
573
South America
33,561
83-f?d
Europe
20,964
Union of Soviet Soc. Repub.
108,755
38.5
Africa
6,693
50-°d
Middle East, Asia, and Far East
17,027
Australia, N. Z., New Caledonia
16,535
Other
—
4o.od
Total
250,329s
307.9
Reserves are materials that can be mined profitably
under present technologic and economic conditions.
^Source: Minerals Facts and Problems, 1970, p. 297*
Table 1.
CAdapted from Ibid., p. 5^1* Includes principal
commercial world copper reserves.
^"Reported reserves in Australia, mainland China,
Japan, the Philippines, Poland, Republic of South Africa,
and Yugoslavia range from 2 million to 10 million tons
and total about 30 million tons. Smaller but still
significant reserves--totaling about 10 million tons—
are in Bolivia, Cuba, Cyprus, Finland, India, Mexico,
Norway, Sweden, Turkey, and about 10 other countries.M
Ibid.
eThese data were estimated originally by the
United Nations and may be overstated, perhaps as much as
by a factor of two. Of. Gerald Manners, The Changing
World Market for Iron Ore, 1950-1980, An Economic
Geography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources
for the Future, Inc., 1971), pp. 238-39*

108
With a substantial increase of the U.S. and World
prices it is estimated that the high range of
cumulative demand for copper during the period
1968-2000 could be met. However, meeting the
Nation's future need either from domestic production
or imports solely through cost-price shifts
exclusive of any new technology would be achieved
only at enormous costs to the consumer and the
Nation.(hi)
Extensive exploration increased known world iron
reserves substantially since 1950, perhaps as much as
l±2
threefold. Efforts to find copper have been less
successful. Yet even foreign deposits are not limitless,
and the more found, the fewer remain. Improved methods
of discovery might forestall metals shortages by adding
to known reserves, but it cannot create them. One also
must wonder why so much stress has been placed upon
discovery if technology really were able to make so
much more of deposits already known to exist. The
power of technology, though magnificent, might be less
than some have made it out to be; but, then, magnificent
is a good deal different from infinite.
In all, the future of metals acquisition holds
too many unknowns to tell with certainty what the
effects of increased mining will be on mining costs,
but the problems of acquiring materials in the future
will be far greater than they were in the recent past
when hugh deposits of the richest ores were on hand, to
be used lavishly in the pursuit of growth.
^^Minerals Facts and Problems, 1970, p. 536.
^2Xbid., p. 297.

109
Since metals and other structural materials are
the stuff of which material possessions are made, metals
scarcity, reflected in high costs of production, could
restrict economic growth, which depends upon the
acquisition of new quantities of metals for use in new
structures, machines, and implements and to replace
metals lost through wear or dispersion. Xn this sense,
problems involving metals resources are the same as they
ever have been; but in the light of possible metals
scarcity, they have taken on new significance. Metal
that once lay undisturbed in the ground of Minnesota
and Upper Michigan already has been put to use and now
is found in rails that cross the country, in supporting
frames of giant buildings, and as wire and other
implements that serve to transport electric power and
telephone communications. These metals may be kept in
use, but if new additions to the metals stock are
required for future growth, they must be sought elsewhere,
or deeper in the same mines where ores already have
become lean.

CHAPTER VI
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRODUCTION,
EXTRACTION, AND GROWTH
We have seen that economic growth during the past
century relied heavily upon the production of metals, and
that these demands had to be met from a declining metals
stock. In order to bring out the implications of that
movement, we shall now examine more closely the relation¬
ship between production and materials requirements and
supplies, and how that relationship has changed.
Throughout history, productive activities
changed substantially on two occasions; first, when men
began to make implements and to farm, and second, when
men circumvented natural processes and began to use
inorganic materials.
When men lived in caves and foraged for food,
they were very directly a part of nature; much the same
as any other animal. The arrangement of materials
remained largely unaltered, and foraging activities, if
considered productive, would have to be considered in
the same light as those of any other animal, in the
same sense as those of a stalking lion or a hunting bear.
Material well-being was tied closely to the natural
bounty of the earth.
110

Ill
The nature of production changed when men began
to make tools, build shelters, cultivate crops, and act
as herdsmen. Man's means of making a living was
revolutionized. Nature was rearranged, its raw elements
changed, shaped, and combined so as to better suit men's
fancy, and as knowledge progressed, so too did the
extent of rearrangment; the ways men dealt with the
world and its materials changed as well. Men became
engaged not only in acquisition but also in production;
not only in finding but also in converting materials
into useful products.
Production required three kinds of materials--
those needed for food, for energy, and for structure--
and men used mostly materials easily found and worked.
Human and animal power and wind furnished energy;
stone, clay, and wood provided construction materials;
wild and domesticated plants and animals supplied
materials for food and clothing. To obtain foods and
fibres, men waited upon nature to convert minerals into
animal and vegetable substances. Except for relatively
rare and specialized uses of metals for utensils and
certain kinds of war equipment, minerals tended not to be
exploited directly but most often were processed initially
by other living things. Thus rates of production depended
upon the rate at which organic processes converted minerals
into useful forms and growth in production depended upon
the acquisition of more land.

112
Technological changes which accompanied the
increased pace of production of the recent past,
particularly of the last hundred years, again revolu¬
tionized production by allowing some of these natural
processes to be bypassed. Where once other living
things performed an intermediate kind of processing,
they could be replaced in many instances and resort made
more directly to minerals themselves. Men learned to
use fertilizer to enrich the soil rather than wait
for natural processes to accomplish the act. Still
later, animals, too, were bypassed and fertilizers
were produced by artificial means. In the case of
energy, wood, wind, and water came to be supplanted by
coal and other fossil fuels. Men availed themselves of
the stored energy of ages at a rapid pace. Productive
processes were accelerated, changed, and made more
complex as structural materials such as iron were
obtained at a rate greatly exceeding nature's slow,
painstaking production of wood.
Increased knowledge of the physical world
allowed men to address themselves more directly to
nature, to bypass some natural bottlenecks and to
exploit virgin stores of minerals. Thus, the nature
of things that could be thought of as resources
changed as did the types of final products that could
be made, the ways in which production could be

113
undertaken, and the speed with which minerals could be
put to use. Reliance shifted from the slow acquisition
of plentiful or renewable resources to the rapid
exploitation of non-renewable resources.^ Where once
productive activity had consisted of harvesting or
simple manufacture based on natural processes, it changed
to rely upon mining activities, upon true extraction.
Wood in houses came to be replaced by iron in skyscrapers.
Horsepower developed by fuel burning metal engines
replaced animal power. Even organic processes were
wrung for more and more produce as land was made to
yield two bushels of grain where it had yielded one.
Increases in production could occur at a much more rapid
pace and new materials could be drawn not only from the
land’s surface, but from beneath the surface as well; it
was almost as if a whole new world had been discovered
and its resources made available for man's use.
But while the new kinds of production changed
the nature of materials problems, it did not do away
Labeling some resources as renewable and others
as not renewable is somewhat arbitrary and misleading. In
fact, a resource material may be thought of as being
renewable so long as the rate at which it becomes avail¬
able in usable form equals or exceeds its rate of
exhaustion. Until recently, for example, the rate at
which our forests were cut exceeded the rate at which they
were replanted. On the other hand, salt is deposited at a
rate that makes its exhaustion unlikely. It is therefore
a renewable resource. Most mineral concentrations are
renewed very slowly, however, at a rate figured in terms
of geological time insofar as iron, copper, and most
other metals are concerned.

114
with them; increased production still required more
materials and there are limits to the rate at which
land can be made to produce organic materials and to
the quantities of concentrated inorganic materials that
exist.
Increased production of electrical apparatus
required increased quantities of copper, just as
increased production of automobiles required more iron
ore, manganese, coal, and other raw materials used to
produce steel. In short, increased output required
increased* input of raw materials, and as the stock of
goods on hand was increased, the amount of materials
going into those goods was increased as well. The
quality of material goods could be greatly improved
by cleverness, but if more material goods were to be
produced, some kind of material had to be available
from which to make them. The initial requirement of
the productive process, by which raw materials become
finished goods, was, and is, as simple as that; and
the first step in the conversion process is extraction,
the drawing forth of materials from the earth.
Let us consider more closely the relationship
between production and the extraction of natural wealth.
Wealth may be divided broadly into two categories,
natural and man-made. Included in the first may be
everything of value that occurs in a natural state and
in the second anything to which man has lent his

115
energies in order to create additional value. The
first category includes all resources such as iron ore,
water, and the nutrient content of fertile soil, and
the second almost everything man-made including, for
example, machinery, buildings, shovels, automobiles,
and shoes. Ore in the ground would be included in the
first category while machinery used to mine the ore,
the mined ore itself, and the products into which the
ore might be fashioned would be included in the second.
Production adds to the second category and takes
place in a time context. Rapid rates of production can
add to the stock of capital, and changes in technology
can reduce the amount of time required to produce each
unit of output. Both occurrences allow the rate of
production to be increased still further. This has
typified production of the past century and has been
viewed with great approval; but more product generated
by the use of a larger number of more efficient mining
and fabricating machines does not lead to increased
wealth in every sense. If production proceeds at a
greater pace, mining must proceed at a greater pace
as well; the mine is emptied and the store of natural
wealth reduced. On the one hand, higher levels of
production mean more wealth; on the other, they mean
less. Production, then, reflects the flow of material
from a stock of natural wealth to a stock of produced
wealth; additions to the latter stock must be reflected
in reductions in the first.

116
In the productive process, materials are col¬
lected, changed Into useful forms, then dispersed
through use. They are neither created nor destroyed.
With crops, for example, various minerals are extracted
by plants and fashioned into useful products by the
plants themselves. A ton of harvested plantlife
represents a ton of material taken from the earth and
air, in this instance mined by the process of plant
growth; the plants, in effect, perform the function of
mining machine as well as processor. Through use, the
minerals incorporated in the plant and product are
changed chemically and dispersed.
In manufacturing, as in agriculture, minerals
are taken from the earth, concentrated, and molded into
useful objects. Through use the concentrated minerals
are then dispersed again, almost completely in the
case of mineral fuels, not so completely in the case
of most metals.
Mining thus is but the first step in the total
productive process, a step not exceeded in importance
by any other. The act of freeing copper from the
soil, for example, is as much a part of production as
is concentrating the ore, smelting and refining it,
shaping, molding, and installing it in the form of a
finished product. Thus, if a given level of production
requires a given level of copper use, it also requires
copper mining, a steady withdrawal of metal from a
limited store.

117
But men do not initiate the productive process,
even with extraction; by the time minerals are extracted,
a good deal of production already has occurred. Minerals
spread evenly throughout the earth's crust would be of
little use since most become of value only in concentrated
form, and some, like iron and copper, are used only in
an almost pure state. Fortunately, through various
geological processes, quantities of minerals in a few
places were concentrated sufficiently to allow men to
mine and further concentrate them with relative ease.
Unfortunately, such natural occurrences were limited in
number and extent of concentration. Of late, because
of increasing production, men have moved quickly to
exploit those limited concentrations--at a rate greatly
exceeding the rate of concentration--and therein lies
the rub.
Higher levels of output, which require corre¬
spondingly higher rates of mining, must lead to eventual
exhaustion of the source, provided the source is not
renewed at a pace at least equal to the rate of withdrawal.
If the source were to become exhausted all at once, then
production that depended upon the steady supply of the
exhausted material also would cease. If, as is more
probable, the source were to become gradually exhausted,
such that the acquisition of each given amount of material
required more and more effort, then real costs figured
in terms of other products forgone would increase and

118
production as a whole could not proceed at a rate that
otherwise might have been possible.
The central problem involved in the provision of
metals is a tendency toward increasing difficulties
confronted in exploration and mining activities. Those
deposits which exhibit surface outcroppings that make
them easily discoverable and which lie closest to the
points of metals use tend to be found and exploited
first. Exhaustion of deposits which are most easily
found requires additional exploration to find new
deposits, and as the process continues, the task of
exploration, an arduous and financially risky venture
2
in any case, becomes more difficult and costly.
Of those deposits with known locations, the
best are exploited first; but mining operations become
increasingly more expensive as the richness of the ore
becomes less and as mines grow deeper. When costs of
exploiting the richest deposits increase sufficiently,
lower yielding and/or more distant deposits are exploited.
Thus, lower yields of the richest deposits and the move
toward deposits of lower concentration cause mining
costs to increase and necessitate a search for new
deposits. It is in the latter sense that increased
2
An excellent description of exploration costs
and problems is found in Peter T. Flawn, Mineral
Resources (Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1966),
pp. 22-36.

119
production of the kind the United States has known has
depended upon the acquisition of new land and new
deposits, and might continue to depend upon such
acquisition in the future.
With a constant level of technology, acquisition
costs of new metal would tend to increase inexorably.
Fortunately technological advances in the fields of
geology and mining tend to offset increasing costs
resulting from decreasing yields. Changes in the
technology of ore concentration (refining) also tend to
offset increases in the cost of new metals production.
In fact, the rate of technical change may be so great
that costs of production of new metal might actually
3
decline for a time.
Temporarily declining costs of new metals
production do not negate the pressure toward increasing
materials costs, however. Increased costs caused by
the move toward more marginal deposits may he offset
for a time by technological change, especially if metal
deposits are initially abundant; but if the costs of
producing refined metals are not to increase, then
technology must continue to advance at a pace sufficient
to offset cost increases originating in the move to
marginal deposits.
3~
Strong evidence indicates that raw materials
production costs in real terms may have declined in the
United States during the past hundred years. Cf.
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth.

120
The rate at which the movement to marginal
deposits progresses depends in turn upon the rate at
which metal in the form of ore is extracted and upon
the extent and richness of the best ore deposits. The
rate at which ore must be extracted depends upon the
rate of goods production and upon the rate at which
scrap metals are reused. An exponential rate of increase
in production (which may require an exponential rate of
increase in new matals demand of the kind experienced
in the past) must certainly press technology even harder,
given finite quantities of available ore concentrations.
It is by no means certain that technology will forever
4
be equal to the task.
Although increased production requires more
material, the relationship between production and mate¬
rials needs is not precise, nor is it the same for all
materials. In particular, metals do not bear the same
relationship to levels of output as do other materials.
The rates at which fuels are produced and consumed,
for example, reflect rates of current production.
Greater production requires more fuel, and fuel production
is in turn counted as part of total current production.
In contrast, the rates at which structural materials
Z|-~
Interestingly, those who seem to be the most
confident are economists; the least optimistic seem to be
those whose business it is to provide new supplies of
minerals and those who must generate technological
change.

121
such as iron and copper are produced reflect not only-
rates of current production, but also the rate at which
new capacity- for increased future production is formed.
A simple, straightforward analysis of the
relationship between production of any one year and the
demand for structural materials during that year under¬
states the importance of structural materials to the
total production of that period. The amounts of structural
materials "consumed" during the production of any given
year reflect only additions to the stock of materials
in use, and it is the concept of total "materials in
use" that is important.
During any given year a certain amount of material
is processed into forms from which useful implements
are fashioned. Since such items usually are useful for
a long period of time, materials included in them also
are useful for the same period. Thus, the need for
structural materials in the productive process is the
need for materials in use, those incorporated in
buildings and machinery. Comparing "apparent consumption"
of structural materials to the overall output of any
given year is as misleading conceptually as comparing
production for any given year to the amount of capital
formation that occurred during that year.
The stock of capital goods used during a
given year, less the amount lost through wear or discard,

122
plus the amount added and actually used in the productive
process is the pertinent concept regarding the contri¬
bution of capital equipment to the productive effort of
that year. So also is the amount of materials
incorporated in tliat equipment, less the amount of
materials lost, plus the amount added to and participating
in the productive process the proper concept regarding
the contribution of structural materials to the productive
effort of that year. The rate at which production takes
place requires the production of certain quantities of
some materials, such as fuel. The rate at which
production can take place depends not only upon the rate
of production of structural materials for that time
period, but also, and perhaps more importantly, upon the
rate at which the extraction of structural materials has
taken place in the past.
Thus, metals production is associated with the
maintenance and growth of a stock of metals in use. To
the extent that economic growth depends upon increases
in the capital stock, it also depends upon increases
in the stock of metals in use, and in turn upon metals
production. Metals production is associated not only
with rates of production, but also with rates of growth.
Although we can state unequivocally that rates
of economic growth have been associated with increased
demands for new metals, we cannot be certain that any
particular level of production or rate of growth can be

123
rigidly tied to a given rate of materials production in
general or to demands for any metal in particular. We
cannot be certain, either, that even the general
productive relationship that obtained in the past must
persist in the future. The rate at which new metal
must be obtained depends upon the extent to which metals
in use are retained, upon the substitutability of other
materials for metals, upon changes in technology, and
upon the nature of goods and services produced in general.
Each of these influences can be considered in turn.
The productive relationship existing between raw
metal in the ground and the implements into which it
eventually is fashioned may be divided into several
distinct stages. In order, from the most basic activity
to the latter steps of the productive process they are
as follows.-^
1. Exploration and discovery
2. Mining
3. Concentration (e.g., crushing, beneficiating,
pelletizing)
5
An important part of the production process not
included in this list is the transportation of metal
from point to point. Great distance from fabricating
centers may make relatively richer deposits non¬
competitive relative to poorer deposits which are
closer. Some sources of scrap metal may be disregarded
because of high costs associated with the collection
and transportation to potential users. Transportation
costs bear a heavy influence throughout the production
process, particularly upon the location of each activity.

12k
k. Production of basic metal free of impurities
(e.g., making of pig iron or "hot metal")
5. Production of alloys
6. Fabrication of implements
7. Use of final products until worn beyond
serviceability or outmoded
8. Disposal of used implements
9. Collection of scrap metals
10.Reuse of scrap metals as raw material inputs
The first five steps outlined above are concerned
with the conversion of unmined metals to metals in use.
They are most directly concerned with the provision of
new metals required for further expansion of the stock
of implements in use and for the replacement of metals
lost through waste or wear. Steps six through ten
involve metals use and reclamation.
The rate at which new metals must be acquired
ultimately depends upon the rate of expansion of the
stock of metals in use and upon the rate at which
metals in use are lost through wear or discard. Tf the
stock of metals in use is to be maintained, the rate
at which new metals are added must at least equal the
rate at which they are lost. Therefore, the need for
new metals is increased by loss of metals through wear
or discard; it is lessened to the degree that metals in
use are retained.

125
As in the case of all materials, metals used in
production have been neither created nor destroyed; but,
unlike other materials, the period of time during which
they have retained their usefulness has been very long.
Copper mined hundreds of years ago may still be in use.
But, easy access to new supplies makes the maintenance
of old supplies less pressing than it otherwise would
be; and an abundance of metal can result in an abundance
of waste, since ease of acquisition means lower cost of
new metals relative to the cost of recycling old metals.
The amount of metal lost each year could be
reduced, but, although conservation of an existing metals
stock can reduce new materials requirements, economic
growth of the kind the United States has known requires
new metal.
To illustrate the point, suppose for a moment
that all mining were to cease. The only metals then
available would be those already in use. Since new
metals would be unavailable, the price of scrap metals
would increase markedly as producers turned from raw
materials sources to scrap. With scrap made valuable,
less would be discarded and more would be saved.
Increases in scrap prices would tend to induce changes
in applied technology so as to bring about efficient
use of scrap on the one hand and a reduction in costs
of scrap collection and processing on the other.

126
Those industries best suited to recycling would
enjoy a competitive advantage over others not so well
suited. Industries unable to use scrap efficiently, or
making products not lending themselves to reclamation,
and therefore having a low salvage value, would find
themselves in a relativerly poorer competitive position.
A new level of output, changed in composition, would
emerge, but increases in output would be restricted by
the limited availability of metals to that which could
be achieved by their more efficient use. Physical waste
would diminish greatly but so would growth. Thus,
conservation of a materials stock might reduce materials
problems, but growth as the United States has known it
must depend upon additions to the metals stock.
While growth depends upon the provision of more
materials, it does not necessarily depend on any one
metal; any of several materials might do. Neither are
given levels of output or rates of growth necessarily
tied precisely to given rates of materials production
taken collectively. One material may be substituted
for another depending upon the nature of final products,
production methods, the kinds of resources available,
and the relative degree of difficulty involved in their
acquisition.
Materials are useful because of their physical
qualities, and materials sharing like qualities are

127
substitutable one for the other. Copper is useful because
it is ductile and is an excellent conductor of electricity.
Aluminum is a good electrical conductor, too, although
less well suited to the task than is copper. Xt is
lighter and stronger than copper, however, and therefore
is useful where strength and lightness are important.
Steel is still stronger and at times can be used in
place of aluminum; and plastics or ceramics may replace
copper, aluminum, or steel in some uses. Packaging
materials may be made of steel, wood, plastic, paper,
or glass. Either aluminum or iron may be used for
engine blocks. Either copper or aluminum may he used
for electrical transmission. Thus, there exists a
veriety of products and uses for which any one of
several materials might be employed.
Whether one material is used in preference to
others depends often upon which material produces the
best results for the least cost, either because of the
low relative cost of the material itself or because
of engineering advantages obtained when a particular
material is used. Scarcity of one material may raise
its cost relative to others, resulting in substitution
of a lower cost (and possibly more abundant) material
for the higher cost one. Substitutability therefore
makes the exhaustion of one or a few materials a less
critical problem than it otherwise would be.

128
Substitution does not obviate the problem of
scarcity, however; although it does make the problem
less severe and shifts the burden from one material to
several. While materials often are interchangeable over
broad ranges, there exist many uses in which certain
materials enjoy overwhelming advantages. Copper instead
of the more bulky aluminum is much better adapted to
electric circuitry miniaturization, for example; and
steel has no close substitute where great strength on
a large scale is essential.^ Substantial increases in
cost might be required to bring about the substitution
of one material for another in many uses, and for
7
other materials there may be no comparable substitute.
Although real cost increases result in substitution
and sometimes have been viewed as a partial solution
to materials problems, the nature of the problem itself
is one of higher costs; the problem cannot be viewed as
its own solution; it usually is better to have more than
less, and lower costs than higher.
Growth also would be possible even if material
production in general were not to increase as rapidly
^Note that the reinforcing material used in the
headquarters buildings of the major aluminum companies
is steel.
7
Steel costs would have to rise substantially
before other materials would be substituted for it in
heavy structures such as buildings and bridges, for
example; and manganese has no close substitute in the
production of quality steel.

129
as the general rate of growth, or even if materials
production declined. A given rate of extraction of a
given materials mix can accommodate various levels of
production given appropriate technological changes.
A piece of material may be made to serve more complex
and useful ends, or a smaller amount of material might
be used to produce a given product. A piece of iron
might be made into a simple nail or into a part for an
intricate instrument. Copper might be used to form a
cuspidor or a computer component. In essence, more
value might be added per unit of material, or changes
in technology might lower materials needs per unit of
output.
Either event would make increases in output
compatible with a fixed rate of materials extraction,
or constant levels of output compatible with reduced
extraction. However, technological changes which
lower resource needs relative to the value of final
products also free human and capital resources for
other kinds of productive activities. Those activities
might, in turn, make new demands upon resources at a
rate consistent with the new state of technology.
Hence, technology that encourages the more efficient use
of materials and more processing per unit of material
need not reduce overall materials requirements greatly.
As freed labor and capital become available for other

130
kinds of production, the production of final goods and
services may be increased (given full employment) and
with it, the demand for raw materials, the extent of
the increase in materials demand depending upon the
particular nature of the changes in technology and in
consumption patterns. More goods and services might be
produced per piece of material, but general increases
in production could impose material requirements almost
as high as before.
Xf production were to increase as a result of a
greater availability of labor or capital or a change in
technology that was not resource saving (assuming the
increased production did not consist entirely of
services) , an increased level of production could generate
an increased rate of materials use. In any case, it is
almost certain that an increase in production must
result in an increased rate of extraction and that certain
kinds of productive activities depend heavily upon a
continuing supply of particular materials.
Finally, the provision of some services might
be increased with little or no corresponding increase
in materials production. Not all of what is called
production requires the direct manipulation of material
goods. The singing of a song or the delivery of fine
oratory does not rely directly upon the "production" of
physical things (although its transmission by electronic
means might). An actor is productive; policemen,

131
doctors, teachers, secretaries, stenographers, presidents
of the United States, and military men are all productive;
and, although all such producers of services eat and are
clothed and housed, none of them produces food, clothing,
or housing directly. Yet so long as singers, orators,
and presidents must eat and be clothed, the production
of their services must ultimately depend upon the
production of physical goods. Life within a society is
made better by the presence of clowns and philosophers,
but the members of the society do not survive because
of them. The same cannot be said of farmers. But aside
from that, the quality of life might be improved by
increasing services with little additional need for
materials. Increased production need not mean more
material goods, more food and housing; if physical goods
Q
are adequately supplied, it may mean better material
goods and more services, either of which could reduce
material needs relative to value of output.
In the final analysis, all production begins
with the drawing of materials from the earth. The
production of services requires the production of final
goods and the production of final goods requires the
extraction of minerals. The productive chain is
g
Adequate is a relative term, of course, but
it seems fair to assume that a man who is hungry or cold
would prefer food and shelter to a song.

132
complete back to the resource base. Increased production
implies increased extraction, but the connection is less
than precise.
Since production ultimately involves shaping and
rearranging things so as to make them more useful, and
since that process begins with extraction, it follows
that more "value" can be produced if less effort needs
to be expended upon the acquisition of materials at the
initial stage of production, the extractive stage. If
suitable materials exist in abundance and are readily
extracted with a minimum of labor and capital, potentially
more labor and capital remain for working the materials
into a veriety of complex or desirable goods. If food
can be grown easily, men who might have been farmers
may become musicians. If iron can be readily taken from
the ground, those who might have been miners are free
to become machinists or engineers. If the land is
fertile, if energy resources are plentiful, and if
materials for building are ready at hand, if metals are
abundant in a machine age, then the way is paved so
that the other fine things of life can be produced.
A rich life begins with a rich earth, but
during the past hundred years increasing levels of output
have placed increasing demands upon the earth. A
boundless growth of plenty may sooner or later exceed
the capacity of a rich earth to support its increase.
Unlimited growth as the United States has known it does

133
not set well with a limited environment. Vastly-
increasing levels of production of the recent past may-
have represented a temporary phenomenon, experienced
by a few for a limited period of time.
But because the kinds of growth that occurred
during the past hundred years may not continue indefi¬
nitely, a pessimistic view of the future need not arise;
the relationship between production and extraction is
not precise. Technological changes may alter the
relationship considerably and increased reliance upon
services may reduce materials needs as well. However,
speculation should not be carried too far. Appropriate
changes in production may occur, or they may not; there
is no way to tell with certainty.
This is borne out by the way in which present
debate on resource scarcity is divided into two extreme
camps. On the one hand, there are those who believe that
resource scarcity poses no real problem.
So long as the peoples of the world continue to move
closer together and to approach the most efficient
path of resource use, mineral shortages are one of
the tiniest clouds on the world's horizon.
The problem is not one of increasing natural resource
scarcity and consequent diminishing returns, but of
ability to achieve and maintain a desired rate of
economic growth.(9)
o
James F. McDivitt, Minerals and Men: An Explor¬
ation of the World of Minerals and Its Effect on the
World We Live In (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins Press for
Resources for the Future, Jnc., 19^5)> p. 156; Barnett
and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 260.

On the other hand in recent weeks, some author¬
itative voices have predicted disaster:
If the present growth trends in world population,
industrialization, pollution, food production, and
resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits
to growth on this planet will be reached sometime
within the next one hundred years. The most probable
result will he a sudden and uncontrollable decline
in both population and industrial capacity.(lO)
Five years ago, except for one or two writers in
the United States, this last gloomy prediction could well
have been interpreted as a kind of "traison des clercs,"
an unmitigated heresy.
The optimism of Barnett and Morse rests upon
theory backed by empirical evidence. In their view,
resources are not simply physical quantities, but
processes; they can grow through technological change;
as Zimmerman said long ago: they are not, they become.^
A body of material too lean or too distant to be used
as a resource at one time may be made relatively richer
through innovation or as a result of changing economic
12
conditions, including increased price. Either
occurrence could effectively increase resources even
though no change occurred in a physical sense. Further,
^Dennis L. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth
(New York: Universe Books, 1972), p. 23-
Erich W. Zimmerman has been one of the major
exponents of this view. C_f. Zimmerman, World Resources.
12
Increased price makes sub-marginal deposits
worth mining.

135
although efforts to acquire additional resources under
conditions of constant technology might yield diminishing
returns, technology itself might not.
The view that improvements must show a diminishing
return is implicit in the thought of those who
regard more optimistic opinion as "cornucopian."
Yet a strong case can be made for the view that the
cumulation of knowledge and technological progress
is automatic and self-reproductive in modern
economies, and obeys a law of increasing returns.
Every cost-reducing innovation opens up possibilities
of application in so many new directions that the
stock of knowledge, far from being depleted by new
developments, may even expand geometrically. Tech¬
nological progress, instead of being the adventitious
consequence of lucky and highly improbable discoveries,
appears to obey what Myrdal has called the "principle
of circular and cumulative causation," namely, that
change tends to induce further change in the same
direction.(13)
In addition, new production processes could free
productive activities from dependence upon traditional
materials. Scientific advance might yield a new sort
of alchemy.
Yet . . . the analogies by which the classical law
of diminishing returns is "demonstrated" to be
approximately descriptive of today's long-term
growth potentiality, border on the archaic. The
transformation of materials into final goods has
become increasingly a matter of chemical processing.
It is more and more rare for materials to be
transformed into final products solely by mechanical
means. The natural resource building blocks are
now to a large extent atoms and molecules. Nature's
input should now be conceived as units of mass and
energy, not acres and tons. Now the problem is more
one of manipulating the available store of iron,
magnesium, aluminum, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
atoms, even electrons. This has major economic
significance. It changes radically the natural
resources factor of production for societies that
have access to modern technology and capital.(l4)
13
Barnett and Morse, Scarcity and Growth, p. 236.
14
Ibid., p. 238.

136
Further, technology could get more materials
from deposits of lower concentration.
The fact is that the technology of low concentrate
resources is in its infancy, and one may be confident
that effort to discover replacements for depleting
resources will uncover potentialities yet undreamed
Of. (15)
In support of these arguments, both costs of
extracting minerals, in terms of labor and capital, and
prices of extractive goods relative to others declined
within the United States during the past century, as
Barnett and Morse' data indicate;^ resources would
seem to have increased rather than diminished.
Some truth undoubtedly exists in the arguments
of Barnett and Morse; yet too much must not be made of
them. Economic growth of the kind known since i860 has
required increased quantities of some kind of material,
and whether that material be iron or stone, exponential
growth taken to its absurd limit could eventually
require every particle of matter in the world to be
used in production. Economic growth might be obtained
by using new materials, or old ones more efficiently,
or by producing more services; but, if economic growth
has a physical counterpart, as it does, exponential
rates of growth are at odds with the physical limits
of the earth.
15Ibid., p. 239-
l^These data were developed originally by
Potter and Christy, Trends in Natural Resource Commodities.

137
Moreover, data concerning minerals production
within the United States during the past century-
reflected an initial abundance of rich resources. As
we have said, minerals production costs could remain
stable or even decline if resources were initially
abundant or if their quality did not decline too
rapidly. Changes in technology were able to offset
worsening ore yields in the past, but that is the past.
It is one of our weaknesses to believe that technology
is uni-directional and its progress accelerating.
Further, an exponential increase in demand for materials
would necessitate an increasing rate of change in
technology, which, based upon available data, does not
17
appear likely. Hindsight always gives to past
occurrences an aura of certainty and inevitability; but
future events cannot be foreseen. Changes in techniques
and the application of power to mining processes increased
productivity after i860; but could such changes be
expected to occur with increasing frequency in the future?
We do not know, and that is all that can be said about
it. Knowledge of the past is based upon fact; hope for
the future is based largely upon speculation.
Compounding our difficulties, as we said earlier, is the
fact that technology (except in a museum) cannot be
17*
Cf. Kuznets, Secular Movements; Burns,
Production Trends; and material in chapter v.

13 8
isolated; which is perhaps another way of saying that
we can never interpret technical change in purely
teclinical terras.
Yet, if our technology (whatever causes it) does
not improve at an increasing rate, we are--according to
the Club of Rome--headed for disaster. For them, the
disaster will come about through a deteriorating
relation between five principal growth related factors
(population, industrial production, pollution, food
production, and resource depletion).
Continued rates of growth in population, they
say, could exhaust the remaining supplies of arable land.
Increasing production might generate enough pollutants
to kill-off a large part of the world's human population,
due to delayed and persistent effects on the environment;
or resource depletion might bring about industrial
collapse. Any of these influences taken singly or
together could spell the doom of mankind. The basis of
the problem, as formulated, lay in exponentially
expanding population and industrial growth.
It is our belief that the Club of Rome predictions
are gloomier than they need be. Obviously, we are in
danger in economics of swinging from extensive optimism
to extensive pessimism. The basic weakness of the Rome
study on The Limits of Growth is that it is based on the
belief that present trends will continue. Once we
project exponential rates of growth into the future

139
(as they have done), the results of the study are
obvious--they are determined by conditions assumed at
the start and follow as surely as those of any equation
must. Yet, given finite limits, exponential rates of
growth cannot continue.
The results of the Club of Rome and the Barnett
and Morse studies (however they differ) essentially
arise out of the role assigned to technology. If
exponential growth in production yielded exponential
rates of growth in the demand for resources, benefits
of technology would have to accrue at a rate greater
than or equal to the rate of increase in resource
demand; either that or a limit to further growth
eventually must be reached. For example, chromium, a
metal with one of the longest lifetimes in terms of
resource adequacy, could be expected to last another
95 years, given current rates of increase in demand
and currently known reserves. With a fivefold increase
in reserves, resulting from new discovery and technical
change, demands could be met for 154 years. The same
projections for iron are 93 years for currently known
reserves and 173 years if reserves are increased
fivefold. The projections for copper are 21 years
18
and 48 years, respectively.
18
Meadows et al., Limits to Growth, pp. 56» 62.

i ho
Whatever the actual lifetimes of individual
reserves might be, and they could vary considerably,
the point remains; if present trends continue; if they
do and technology cannot meet the demands made on it,
the question of resource exhaustion becomes not if,
but when. But current trends may not continue, and
therein lies the principal weakness of both studies.
It is in keeping with what we have so often said
in this manuscript that both the Club of Rome and
Barnett and Morse' studies have given numbers a reality
all their own. Yet, while numbers reflect economic
activity, they are not themselves the activity; they
result from it. The activities they describe are
separate, real, physical phenomena. What factors
caused economic growth to occur in the recent past and
which were most important cannot be determined with
certainty; quite definitely they cannot be expressed
in a number. Growth results essentially from qualitative,
not quantitative change. What we do know is that the
growth that resulted, insofar as it represented an
increased volume of output of metals, represented
extraction. Neither production nor growth in production
can be viewed as a separate phenomenon from extraction.
As the different results of the two studies show,
whether future growth (in the same sense) can continue
at the same rate depends upon technology; now whether

Ikl
a person believes it can depends not upon technology
but upon faith. In these days, it has to be a very
strong faith. By our lights, growth may diminish,
cease, or actually decline; but need such a decline be
heralded disaster?
We are more conscious than most of resource
exhaustion, but need that bring collapse, at least
insofar as structural materials are concerned? If metals
production were to cease immediately, those already
mined and in use would remain available. It is our
view that metals are more likely to run out gradually,
thereby exerting a gradually increasing pressure on
rates of growth.
Whether the same would hold true for mineral
fuels is uncertain. If they were to run out, production
could be severely restricted, but new energy sources
such as nuclear fuels or sunlight might forestall
disaster, especially if growth were already restricted
by metals scarcity. Metals scarcity is a problem but
it is a challenging problem whose solution we cannot
19
foresee. Growth may proceed more rapidly for a time,
19
Another consideration, needing mention but
beyond the scope of this thesis, is population growth.
In the light of possible restrictions of output,
population pressures could become more pressing--re-enter
Maithus. But population might also decline for reasons
entirely separate from economic considerations. The
passing of thirty years could produce a re-emergence of
concern for declining populations.
Many misconceptions have arisen concerning what
people think Malthus did or did not say. Contrary to

or less, or not at all. All that can be known is what
has happened; and what happened in the United States
in terms of economic growth is no basis for calculating
what might happen. The people of the United States
converted an abundance of resources into an economic
colossus, and in the process generated a rate of
sustained economic growth the likes of which had never
been seen before. To have fallen heir to a great wealth
of natural resources was their good fortune; certainly
a better circumstance than having to depend so heavily
upon the fickleness of advancing technology as
apparently future growth for the United States and
others now must.
popular legend, his restraints on population would not
yield disaster, but rather were constantly operative.
Only on occasion could they be escaped; and then only
temporarily. Otherwise they operated to maintain a
given population, but not equally. Those living on
the margin were first and most affected by pestilence
and vice; and so it is today. It is best under these
or any circumstances not to be the marginal man if one
can avoid it. See Thomas Robert Maithus, An Essay on the
Principle of Population (London: T. Bensley for J.
Johnson, I8O3).

CHAPTER VII
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
In the preceding pages we have attempted to
analyze the changing relationship between increased levels
of production and increased needs for copper and iron
within the United States during the past hundred years.
During that time, both the volume and the nature of
production changed so as to place increased reliance
upon these metals, and while the nature of the relation¬
ship was not direct, the consequences of the changes,
both in terms of general production and the exhaustion
of domestic metal deposits was definite. Acquisition
of large quantities of iron and copper was essential to
new products and production methods after I860, and
economic growth since i860 generated an increased need
for iron and copper for use in machines and structures.
Adequate supplies of these metals could be taken from
an initially large domestic stock, but as the stock of
metals in use increased, the known stock of metals in
the ground diminished.
In the United States of i860, both goods
produced and the means of production relied primarily
- 143 -

upon organic materials. Output was substantial, although
not overwhelming by present standards. But conditions
particularly favorable to rapidly expanding levels of
production had developed.
First, the character of the people facilitated
development of the new land. Both the social order and
the mentality of the people encouraged movement, change,
and material enrichment. As the Census of i860 put it,
people were "free from inherited and overconversative
ideas." Territorial expansion and social and techno¬
logical innovation had engendered a spirit of change and
conquest, both of new lands and of nature itself.
Second, advances in communications and trans¬
portation were linking regions that a few years
previously would have been considered almost hopelessly
distant.^ The telegraph allowed rapid communications
over hundreds of miles; steam power on water and land
moved people and goods with facility. People were drawn
closer to people and to markets.
Third, the technical means of rapidly converting
materials into man-made wealth were at hand. Progress
in measurement, mechanization, and movement allowed
^In 1846, for example, almost all members of a
party of settlers perished when their wagon train became
lost in a snow storm while trying to reach California.
In 1877, just thirty years later, a train completed the
journey from New York to San Francisco via Chicago and
Salt Lake in just one minute less than eighty-four
hours, including all stops.

145
productive processes to become smoother and progressively-
automated. Processes formerly performed inefficiently
at far distant places or by awkward methods were combined,
simplified, and performed with increased speed. The new
technology permitted higher rates of production and placed
an increased reliance on materials needed for machines
used by producer and consumer alike. In the light of
changed technology, metals and mineral fuels assumed
new importance.
Finally, an abundance of resources of almost
every kind, including vast amounts of iron and copper
from which to create the complex of machinery and
structures needed for mass production, was on hand.
Resources were but one of the essential
ingredients of progress, and metals but one of those.
Yet the combination of developments in applied technology,
in learning, in social and economic institutions, coupled
with an appropriate spirit of the times in a new and
open environment, afforded conditions that made economic
progress a feasibly and with hindsight, almost a natural
occurrence. Attitudes and religion gave direction,
changing technology and social order afforded the means,
and abundant land and resources furnished the opportunity
for substantial economic advance. A phenomenally
wealthy land had come into the hands of people with the
knowledge, skills, and will to use it.

146
The effects of changing conditions were pervasive.
Agricultural and manufacturing output increased sub¬
stantially as new techniques and new machines were
employed to convert rich and abundant resources into
man-made wealth with unprecedented speed. Metals in the
ground were converted into metals in use in machines and
structures. First the railroad, then buildings and
machines, and finally consumer goods absorbed iron and
copper at a progressively more rapid rate; and the mining
sector was responsive to the new demands.
For the most part, enough metals were available
to meet increased demands from domestic sources. Vast
quantities of iron and copper were found shortly before
and after i860, and during the century that followed,
new methods of mining and refining insured a supply of
new metal adequate to the needs of a burgeoning economy;
but no large new domestic deposits were located after
1920, certainly none to compare with the iron deposits
of the Mesabi or the copper deposits of Michigan,
Montana, or Arizona. By the 1950s, large quantities of
iron and copper were being imported into the United
States, and still demands for new metal products grew
larger, and the need for new metal supplies increased
unabated. Phenomenal expansions of material wealth had
come to be expected--even demanded. An abundance of
wealth seemed not enough.

The United States scarcely could have embarked
on its industrial journey at a more appropriate time,
and hardly could have been in a better materials position
to begin with. The land and its resources seemed
inexhaustible at the start, and to have had vast amounts
of metals become available at just the appropriate
time was a case of extreme good fortune. Certainly, a
machine and metals-based technology hardly could have
found a more hospitable environment, given the nature
of the people, the country, and the times. Vastly
increasing demands for metals could easily be met from an
immense store of metals; and metals were not the only
resources available in abundance. There existed
enormous amounts of resources of many kinds from which
to make enormous quantities of goods. So large a
bounty could be obtained because there was so much
available from which to make it. "Man cannot create
2
material things"; and so it was during the past
century; many new and wonderful products and production
methods were created but insofar as growth represented
not "better" but "more," increases in material wealth
on this scale could occur only because there was so
much wealth to begin with.
2
Marshall, Principles, p. 53»

148
Now times have changed. Projections of
materials adequacy are available for periods extending
some thirty years into the future, with longer range
projections extending part way into the next century--
very short periods when compared to the several thousand
years over which human history extends, or even to the
two centuries during which the United States has
existed as a nation. And yet, even that limited
perspective reveals a worsening minerals situation for
the United States.
In a study of America's resource needs conducted
by Resources for the Future, Inc. in 1964, projections
were made of expected metals requirements through the
year 2000. Some of the results are summarized in
Table 3» According to these projections, if lower
grades of ore are used, domestic supplies of iron
will be adequate to the end of the century; the adequacy
of copper is questionable; and the domestic reserves
of most of the rest are inadequate.
The days when America could depend upon her
own supplies of minerals have ended, and the United
States must henceforth look to the rest of the world.
But other expanding world economies probably will
require great amounts cf minerals as well, and world
mineral supplies are not limitless. Under these
circumstances, the ability of the United States and
other nations to experience rapid rates of growth
indefinitely must be questioned.

PROJECTED REQUIREMENTS AND AVAILABILITIES
OF SELECTED METALS TO THE YEAR 2000
(in Million Short Tons)
Cumulative
Demand
Metal 1960-2000
United
States
„ a
Reserves
United
States b
Resources
World k
Reserves
Iron
4,700
3,400
25,800
144,500
Copper
112
50
100
270
Aluminum
255
13
100
900
Lead
38
4.5
-
80
Zinc
69
25
-
140
Manganese
73
0.9
78
4 50
Nickel
11.7
0.5
-
16
Tungsten
.46
0.071
1.4
Source: Hans Landsberg, Natural Resources for
United States Growth (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press
for Resources for the Future, Tnc., 19&b)» p. 204.
Reserves shown for the United States represent
known, measured reserves that can be exploited economically
by current techniques.
^Resources for the United States and World
Reserves represent amounts of metals that are known,
but are of too low grade to currently be exploited
economically. They also include inferred reserves,
those not actually known or measured, but for which
geological characteristics indicate that they might
exist. As such, the figures shown, especially for
World Reserves, should be considered as speculative.
Reserve figures vary by author and by agency.

150
We do not know whether technology and good
fortune will allow costs to remain low under the
pressure of exponential rates of increase in demand.
If we look only to the recent past, the outlook does
not appear to be too bad, but it has been our purpose
to show that the past century is not a very good base
from which to project future developments. All years
are exceptional; in this matter of resources in
America, the past century has been especially so.
Resources probably must run low eventually if
increased production of the kind developed during the
past century continues; but whether the same kinds of
production will continue is not so certain. So many
links exist in the productive process that there may
be no way to establish a hard and fast relationship
between "output" and materials needs.
In addition, new materials may be found and
applied to new uses. Vast new ore deposits may be
discovered or radical changes in technology may make
old methods of mining and concentration obsolete. New
kinds of goods and services may be developed. Any
number of things might occur to change the materials
picture in the future. But to speculate about such
developments is one thing and to count on them is
quite another. An assumption that technology, like the
hero of many novels, will forever be able to meet all
materials crises is unwarranted. Moreover, we must

151
appreciate that when we are talking of metals, we are
not only talking about monetary values, but physical
quantities. The relationship between production and
extraction is clouded by the use of abstract numbers
and aggregates.
One speaks of the rate of growth of GNP. I haven't
the faintest idea what this means when I try to
translate it into coal, and oil, and iron, and the
other physical quantities which are required to run
an industry. So far as I have been able to find
out, the quantity GNP is a monetary bookkeeping
entity. It obeys the laws of money. It can be
expanded or diminished, created or destroyed, but
it does not obey the laws of physics.(3)
We must relearn that production is a physical
activity; it is not distinct in its own right as would
be artistic or religious or scientific development.
When a telephone call is placed, speech passes over
wire made of copper mined in Arizona, refined, made
into bars, then converted into cable in Cicero, Illinois,
and transported to its destination over rails made of
Mesabi iron. It is the physical nature of production
that leaves growth susceptible to limitation.
The implications of natural resources for
developing countries will have become apparent from
what we have said. Taken from this view alone it is
*iVÍ. K. Hubbard (geologist) , Discussion in
Future Environments of North America. Ed. by F. Fraser
Darling and John P.Milton(Garden City, New York:
Natural History Press, 1966), p. 2$1.

152
evident that many aspiring nations are poor and will
likely remain so. Moreover, the idea that technology
works a sort of magic that can yield great benefits
to everyone simply is not true. Some improvement
might be gained, but even that may not he much; at
least insofar as increased production requires adequate
resources. Some may grow substantially, but not all.
There simply are not enough resources to go around,
and those who would develop now may have come too late.
We do not really know the limiting factor. I
think we can demonstrate, for instance, that in
all probability the presently under-developed
countries are not going to develop. There is not
enough of enormous numbers of elements which are
essential to the developed economy. Xf the whole
world developed to American standards overnight,
we would run out of everything in less than ten
years.(U)
Developed countries like the United States were
fortunate to gain access to vast stores of mineral
deposits when they did since minerals tend to move to
established markets and processing centers where capital
5
and skilled labor are found. By exploiting minerals
deposits early, developed countries established
productive centers and markets that could make best use
of those that remain. The situation is not so fortunate
Kenneth E. Boulding, ,rFun and Games with the
Gross National Product," in The Environmental Crises,
ed. by Harold W. HeIfrich (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1970), p. 166.
5
Thus, for example, oil from Alaska is brought
to the continental United States; iron from Venezuela
and Minnesota moves to Pittsburgh and thence to other
producing and consuming centers.

153
when viewed from the vantage point of the "emerging"
country which finds itself in competition for remaining
resources with full-growth industrial giants.
As for the United States, which now finds itself
in much the same position as other industrial nations
that were forced at a much earlier date to go beyond
their borders for materials,^ ownership by United States
firms of much of the world's resources has become all
7
the more significant. But "ownership" implies a kind of
control that may be difficult to maintain; people of
other nations seem to have become increasingly concerned
This is not meant to imply that no early foreign
investment occurred in minerals, but rather that under
current circumstances they have become more important.
7
That the increased reliance placed by the
United States on foreign mineral sources has gone
unrecognized in many circles is illustrated by the
following.
"The motivation traditionally cited by both
classic economists and Marxists--that companies go
abroad to get cheaper sources of raw materials--is
clearly on the wane. Mining and petroleum account
for a steadily declining slice of new investment,
from more than 50 percent a decade ago to less than
25 percent now, and there has been a steady erosion of
the share of private capital going to less-developed
countries." "Making Ricardo's Prophecy Come True,"
Business Week, December 19, 1970, p. 6l.

154
about the use of their resources lately. Even traditionally
g
friendly Canada has become somewhat restive.
Although the response of material supplying nations
to United States demands might be called xenophobic,
countries which see their irreplaceable resources taken
by foreign industries to be used in foreign lands can
be understandably disturbed. One need only remember
the plight of regions within the United States from which
minerals once came, the famous "boom towns," now silent
and dead. If and when other conditions prove right
for development, from where will materials be taken to
allow it if the best are gone?
The time may have come for a revaluation of our
ideas and philosophies regarding production and growth.
In efforts to make a living, men through the ages
found it necessary to come to grips with their
environments and to establish working relationships
between themselves and the physical world. Their
o
philosophies reflected the ways in which they did so.
"Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau has recently
set up a commission to study the problem of foreign
ownership and its influence on Canada. . . . While still
unclear, it probably would come down hardest on natural
resource industries with low local employment." "The
Nationalist Barriers Go Higher," Business Week, Dec. 19, 1970,
p. 126.
9
It is granted that philosophies may both
reflect and affect the ways in which individual groups
of people come to grips with their environments.

155
In many cases those philosophies reflected an
accommodation with nature, a getting along, a unity with
nature, a oneness of man with his environment. But
all have not shared like views: the philosophical
views of those who followed in the Judeo-Christian
tradition, for example, among whom are numbered some of
the greatest economic powers the world has ever seen,
portrayed man not as a part of nature, hardly even a
partner to nature, but rather as the master of nature,
a ruler, the object that all nature serves or must be
made to serve. The idea is strongly evident in a well-
known passage from the Bible.
So God created man in his own image, in the image
of God created he him; male and female created
he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be
fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over
every living thing that moveth upon the earth.(l0)
But man can be neither total master of his fate
nor complete ruler of his surroundings. Actions taken
at any given time are limited by the environment and by
circumstance, and if they change man also must change.
He is not a ruler, but rather a partner to nature, a
part of the total environment.Yet dominion does
10Genesis 1: 27-28.
"^The nature of a people's environment may not
determine the specific nature of the actions that can

156
not necessarily imply complete rule, and to subdue does
not necessarily mean to destroy.
Others have written ably on the subject of the
changing relationship of man to his environment, of his
development from hunter to herdsman, from gatherer to
cultivator, from a user of shaped rocks and simple tools
to a maker of computers, from a thrower of stones to
12
a dropper of giant bombs. History is replete with
examples of how man has shaped and organized nature to
his own ends. Through migration and conflict he has
filled a seemingly boundless earth and through organ¬
ization, effort, and strength of will, exploited it.
For a time and in a few places, production came
to represent a worthwhile and achievable end in itself;
and a second thought followed close on the heels of the
first: that increasing levels of consumption might
represent an even more desirable, and apparently just
as possible end. The twin ideas of increasing production
and consumption, reflected in modern income accounting
terms as continued increases in national product, came
and therefore will be taken, but the range of rational
alternative actions is limited by the environment.
Eskimos do not grow bananas, nor is coal mined where
there is no coal.
12
See especially a series of articles by Carl
Sauer, Clarence Glacken, Alexander Spoehr, and Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin in Man's Role in Changing the
Face of the Earth, ed. by Thomas, op. cit..

157
to represent, and still represent for many, both
13
desirable and attainable goals. But an unlimited
growth of production does not set well with a limited
environment.
Recently, concern for the limits of the earth
has re-emerged, on a scale in some circles and on some
lU
subjects approaching panic proportions. It has become
apparent that the wanton exploitation of the earth
might involve undesirable costs and might offer
possibilities we would not like to imagine. Growth for
growth's sake has come to be questioned, and even recog¬
nized by some as the philosophy of a cancer cell.
Further, growth of income for some at the exclusion, and
possibly at the expense, of others, the untoward gobbling-up
13
Some would go further, and consider growth not
just desirable, but essential. On the other hand, see
William Woodruff, Impact of Western Man (New York:
St. Martin's Press'] 1967) , pi xv:
"I suspect that economic growth--like so many
other aspects of our work that have managed to claim
a disproportionate part of our time in the past--is
receiving more attention than its true importance
warrants. There is nothing fundamentally new about
economic growth (or decline) except our present
obsession with it. Despite the present high rate of
increase in material well-being of certain nations,
most men do not face 'self-sustained, continuous
economic growth;' they face the problem of survival."
Ik
The most distressed seem to be those whose
main concern lies in population growth. Yet the
greatest polluters and the greatest users of resources
are not the many who live outside of industrialized
areas, but the few who live within them.

158
of resources by a fortunate and wealthy fev$ has
generated concern.
Marie Antoinette earned a niche in history's hall
of fame by proposing to feed the starving people of
France on cake since they had no bread. At the
present moment in history, we, the incredibly
fortunate six percent, have pre-empted much of the
earth's industrial bread, . . . seem to be able to
offer our less fortunate neighbors little more than
a pious hope that they will be able to eat granite
some fine day a century or so hence. This offer
of stone for bread out-Antoinettes Marie with a
vengeance.(15)
Tn a limited environment nothing can grow
without limit, not even production. More and more
might be made from less and less, but as we have seen,
such has not been the case for growth of production of
the United States thus far.
In a sense, man's economic approach to the earth
and its resources of late has been one of exploitation
and destruction rather than usufruct.
Mankind has a bad record with mining, especially
since the runaway industrial revolution, and with the
destructive grazing of goats around the Mediterranean
and in the Near East. But except for this, most of
our ancestors lived with dikes, sustained-yield
forests, restricted grazing, terraces, fertilizers,
land and water use regulation and soil conservation
practices, geared to the flow of nature, not to its
sudden exhaustion.(l6)
15
•^Robert C. Cook, "Maithus' Main Thesis Still
Holds," in Perspectives on Conservation, ed. by Henry
Jarrett (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press for Resources
for the Future, Inc., 1961), pp. 77-78.
^Luther Gulick, "The City's Challenge in Resource
Use," in Perspectives on Conservation, Ibid., p. 132.

159
The recent record may have been considerably
worse than that, especially in the United States where
excesses in production, coupled with outright waste,
have brought not only the reduction of mineral deposits,
but the disappearance of large tracts of forestland,
the loss of vast amounts of fertile top soil through
erosion, and the virtual extinction or threatened
extinction of entire species. Frugal practices might
have lessened the strains of production on the land,
but the process by which the natural resources of the
United States were exploited was not characterized by
a great concern for frugality. Tn many cases to subdue
was to destroy.^
17
Rapid exploitation of resources in a "wasteful"
manner may have represented the least-cost method of
production at the time during which wasteful methods
were practiced most widely. Their very abundance served
to reduce the cost of acquisition to a level below that
of their maintenance. Therefore, seemingly wasteful
practices, it sometimes is said, may have served to
increase production over what it might have been other¬
wise, thereby increasing saving, the amount invested,
and subsequent levels of income. Under those conditions,
waste in a physical sense would not necessarily constitute
waste in an economic sense, but rather a most rational
approach given conditions of plenty. The idea might
hold true so long as what was wasted was not irrevocably
lost to future use, as in the case of soil permanently
ruined or washed into the sea, or mines permanently
closed with what would have constituted valuable resources
still inside, and if such losses (properly discounted)
did not offer a greater barrier to subsequent production
than the initial gain afforded. But, still left un¬
accounted in this formulation is the ravaging of the
aesthetic qualities of our environment. The same sort
of argument might make abandonment of inner cities, in
favor of building anew in some other location, a desirable
and rational alternative.

160
Yet, the idea of fitting productive activities
into the flow of nature, of using but not destroying
nature, is the important consideration essential to
long-run survival and to long-run survival in comfort.
Xn earlier times, most men were close to the earth
and knew intimately the source of their sustenance.
Many still do. The causes of productive excesses that
occurred may be laid largely either to ignorance of the
results that would follow potentially destructive
practices such as overgrazing or to a concept of vastness
of the earth that seemed to make its bounty all but
limitless. Then, of course, there was greed.
But men must be concerned with their resources
and environment, and although few people would seem so
far removed from the earth and the direct concerns for their
sustenance than the modern urban American, a consuming
public, detached for the most part from the earth, is
nonetheless bound to the earth as greatly and dependent
upon it as strongly as ever. Survival and survival in
comfort depend upon the continued fecundity of the earth
and upon an abundant supply of the earth's resources; and
it is survival that is essential, not growth.
In the course of this study we have attempted
to examine the economic growth of the United States

l6l
during the past century from a new perspective. The same
basic question asked by other studies has underlain this
one: Why is the United States so rich while much of
the rest of the world is so poor? But rather than
asking what parts of the American experience might
be shared with others, it has been our purpose to
examine to what extent the American experience might
have been fundamentally unique. By studying the role
of metals in United States economic growth, we have
attempted to pierce the veil of numbers that has
surrounded growth and deal with it not as an entity
distinct in its own right, but as a reflection of real
activities occurring in the physical world.
Many who have dealt with economic growth have
not considered resources at all, and some even have
gone so far as to discount the importance of resources
almost entirely. Others who have considered problems
of resources have reached conflicting conclusions. Our
purpose has been to gain a sense of proportion.
Many other factors have been important to United
States economic growth, but so, too, have been resources.
By forgetting them and assuming instead that the
economic growth of the United States resulted primarily
from cleverness, we have become presumptuous about
development; and our egotism may have been our undoing
in prescribing for others what they probably cannot

162
hope to achieve. The people of the United States
became rich not only because they were skilful, but
because they were so very rich to begin with. Others
might prove just as clever, but cleverness is not
enough.
As to pessimism and optimism, we seem always
to be headed for one extreme or the other, often at
the same time, though we never seem to reach either
utopia or total disaster. Will present rates of growth
persist for another hundred years, and yet another?
There is no way to tell, but we cannot blankly presume
that they will. Already the whole idea of economic
growth has come to be questioned on many grounds;
its consequences have not all been good. Perhaps with
time the whole philosophy of growth will change, and the
idea of progress, if it survives, may take on a different
guise.

APPENDIX A
CHANGING PRODUCTION, i860-1960
The data shown in this appendix supplement
material presented in chapters iii and iv.
Although the causes of changing production and
economic growth cannot be discerned from aggregate data,
the results of these changes can he readily illustrated,
by employment figures, by figures indicating the value
of production and income, and by figures showing changes
in physical volume of output.
Distribution of Workers by Industry, 1860-1960
As the data of Table 4 show, mineral industries
never have employed a large percentage of the total
work force; but increasing minerals production did
furnish necessary materials for mechanized processes on
the farm. As machines became commonplace in agriculture,
the percentage of the working population engaged in raw
materials industries fell from a majority of 6l.5 percent
in i860 to only 8,2 percent in i960, while the percentage
engaged in all other industries increased from 3^.5
percent in i860 to 91>8 percent in i960. The greatest
share of that change occurred because of the exodus
- 163 -

from agriculture allowed by increasing agricultural
productivity.
TABLE 4
LABOR FORCE ENGAGED IN RAW MATERIALS AND OTHER
INDUSTRIES IN THE UNITED STATES, TOTAL
AND PERCENT DISTRIBUTION, I86O-I96O
Year
Raw
Materials Industries
Total
All
Other
Ind.
Labor
Force
(thsds)
Total
Agri¬
culture
Forestry
and
Fishing
Mineral
Ind.
i960
67,990
8.2$
6.3#
0.8#
1.156
91.856
1950
59,230
14. 5
11.7
1.1
1.7
85.5
19U0
51,742
20. 6
17.4
1.1
2.1
79-4
1930
48,686
24.9
21.2
1.3
2.4
75.1
1920
42,206
31.5
27.0
1.5
3.0
68.5
1910
37,291
35.5
30.9
1.7
2.9
64.5
1900
29,030
41.8
37.5
1.7
2.6
58.2
1890
23,290
46.4
42.7
1.7
2.0
53.6
1880
17,368
52.5
49.4
1.3
1.8
47.5
1870
12,901
56.0
53.1
1.4
1.5
44.0
i860
10,533
61.5
58.9
1.0
1.6
38.5
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S. Economy:
1900-1966. p. 10, Table 1.

165
TABLE 5
AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT AND PRODUCTIVITY,
1910-1960
Year
Agriclt.
Prdtion.
(mills
of cnst
1954
dollars)
No. of
Persons
Engaged
(1,000)
Production/
Persons Engaged
Index of
Output/
Man-Hour
(1940=100)
Farm Total
Cnst.
1954
Dollars
Index
(1940=
100)
i960
29,640
7,057
4,200
236
319
1950
23,499
9,926
2,367
133
169
19^0
19,573
10,979
1,783
100
100
1930
17,497
12,497
1,400
79
79
1920
16,121
13,432
1,200
67
73
1910
13,900
13,555
1,025
57
67
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S.
Economy:
1900-1966. o. 52. Table 20.
TABLE 6
VALUE OF SALES AND HOME CONSUMPTION
PRODUCTS AND VALUE PER WORKER, i860
OF FARM
-I9OO
Sales and Home
Consumption of
Farm Products
(millions of
dollars, 1910-
191b dollars)
Persons
Engaged in
Agriculture
Value per
Year
(thousands)
Worker
1900
5,903
10,912
533
1890
4,604
9,938
463
1880
3,784
8,585
441
1870
2,436
6,850
353
i860
1,985
6,208
320
Source: Based on statistics in Marvin W. Towne
and Wayne D. Rasmussen, "Farm Gross Product and Gross
Investment in the Nineteenth Century," in Trends in the
American Economy in the Nineteenth Century, NBER
(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,
i960), p. 265, 269.

166
The role of the machine in increasing farm
production and productivity appears to have been sub¬
stantial, particularly since 1900 with the application
of power to farm implements.
TABLE 7
FARM MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, 1900-1957
Year
Specified Machines on
Farms (l,000)
Tractors
Motor¬
trucks
Grain
Combines
Corn-
pickers
Farms with
Milking
Machines
1957
4,600
2,900
1,020
725
720
1950
3,394
2,207
714
456
636
1940
1,545
1,047
190
no
175
1930
920
900
61
50
100
1920
246
139
4
10
55
1910
1
-
1
-
12
1900
”
-
-
Source: Historical Statistics, pp. 284-85» Series
K 150-151, 153-155.
The relative rates of growth of output per worker
and the real value of farm implements and machinery can
be compared as shown in Table 8.
Not all of the increase in farm production and
productivity was caused by the introduction of machines.
Increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, increased
land use, improvements in transportation and farming
techniques all had their influence, but the increased
importance of machinery is evident.

167
TABLE 8
FARM MACHINERY AND FARM LABOR
PRODUCTIVITY, lpiO-l96O
Inventory Value of
Farm Implements
and Machinery
Year
Index of Output
per Man-hour
(1940=100)
Farm Total
Millions
of
Constant
1954
Dollars
Index
(194 0=
100)
i960
319
17,832
309
1950
169
13,952
242
1940
100
5,763
100
1930
79
6,475
112
1920
73
4,342
75
1910
67
2,674
46
Source: Raw Materials in the U.S. Economy.
1900-1966. p. 52, Table 20.
National Income by Source
As farm production increased, workers were freed
(or forced by necessity) to pursue other activities.
Income originating in industries other than agriculture
increased substantially and gains in manufacturing were
particularly impressive as is shown in Table 9.

TABLE 9
NATIONAL INCOME BY INDUSTRY DIVISIONS, I869-I96Oa
Industry Divisions
Year or
Period
Total
National
Income
(Mills.
Current
Dollars)
• -p
-p o
«H
bo
0 •
UQ
O
c
-P
0
•rl
P 0
•
V
c
c c
bo
fQ -H
0
bo
•H
0 0
P -P
P
<;
s
0 0
s
(i D
E-t
Percent Distribution
(0
0
o
•H
>
0
CO
O
0
0
ft
1957-1960
386,032
4.3
1.5
5.1
30.5
8.4
15.7
10.9
10.4
12.4
.6
1948-1953
258,476
7.2
2.0
5.0
31.6
8.5
16.7
9.0
8.8
10. 7
â–  5
1937-1944
108,684
8.4
2.0
3-5
30.6
9.2
15.8
8.6
8.4
13. 2
• 3
1926-1929
82,818
9.0
2.2
4.9
21.4
9-7
12.9
17.0
12.8
10.2
_
1918-1920
62,820
18.9
3.4
2.6
23.3
10.7
14.4
10.9
7.2
8.5
-
1907-1910
25,400
19.4
3.4
4.1
18.3
10.9
16.4
13.O
9.1
5.4
1899-1903
17,313
18.2
2.9
4.3
18.6
10.3
16.6
12.7
10. 3
6.0
_
1879
7,227
19.0
2.1
5.0
13.3
12.9
16.1
12.0
15.2
4.5
-
1869
6,827
22.2
1.5
5.7
14.6
10.9
15.2
11.5
14. 2
4. 2
-
aSource: Long- Term Economic Growth, 1860-1965, Part III, p. 79» Table 4.
^Includes transportation, communications and public utilities
cIncludes finance, insurance and real estate
os
00 ,
World

169
Since 1929, manufacturing and durable goods
output have increased more rapidly than production as
a whole, and increases in machinery production have been
still greater, as the data in Tables 10, 11, and 12
indicate. The increase in national income originating
in the machine-making industry since 1929 has been
almost twice that of all industries taken together.
TABLE 10
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT BY TYPE OF
PRODUCT, 1929 and i960
(Billions of Current Dollars)
1929
i960
GNP
Percentage
GNP
Percentage
GNP
Total
Goods
GNP
Total
Goods
Goods Output
$56.1
5b%
#259.6
51.5$
Durable Goods
17.5
16
31%
99-5
19.7
38.4$
Services
35.6
3b
187.3
37.2
Structures
11. b
11
56.8
11.3
GNP
I103.1
#503.7
Source: Computed from U.S. Department of
Commerce, The National Income and Product Accounts of the
United States, 1929-1965 (Washington, 5"! C. : Government
Printing Office, 1966), pp. 6-7.

TABLE 11
NATIONAL INCOME BY INDUSTRIES, 1929 AND i960
National
Income
1929
i960
Category
Millions
of Current
Dollars
of
NX
Millions
of Current
Dollars
56 of
NI
Total, All Industries
86,795
414,522
Metal Mining
466
.54
817
.2
Manufac tuning
21,945
25.3
125,822
30.4
Durable Goods
11,303
13.0
73,614
17.8
Iron and steel and their prods. 2,959
Non-ferrous metals and prods. 759
Machinery, except electrical 1,891
Electrical machinery 1,047
Transportation equip., ex. auto 320
Auto and auto equip. 1,384
9.6
50,235
12.1
Source: Computed from National Income
and Product
Accounts of
the
U.S., 1929-1965, pp. 18-21.
170

171
TABLE 12
SHARE OF NATIONAL INCOME BY SELECTED INDUSTRIES,
1929 AND 1965
(Money in Billions of Current Dollars)
National
Income
1965 as
Percent
of 1929
1929
1965
All Industries
86.8
559.0
644
Manufac turing
All Goods
21.9
170.4
779
Durable Goods
11.3
104.8
927
Machinery (incl el)
2.9
32. 6
1,124
All Industries less Mach.
83.9
526.4
628
Source: Computed from National Income and Product
Accounts of the U.S., 1929-1965, pp. 18-21, Table 1.12.
Gross National Product and National Income
figures do not reflect changing production precisely.
Services have not increased rapidly as a percent of
computed GNP, for example, partly because services
performed in the creation of goods output is included in
GNP as an increase in the value of goods output.
Similarly, in increase in automobile transportation
versus purchased transportation has tended to increase
the percentage share of consumer durables at the expense
of services, as has watching television rather than going
to the movies.^
1Survey of Current Business, XXXVII (June, 1957),
pp. 4-10.

172
Physical Volume of Output, 1900-1960
Although national income figures do not reflect
changing production precisely, the same trend of
production toward manufacturing and machinery can be
discerned from data in Table 13 showing rates of growth
in physical volume of output. The rate of growth in
metals-using industries has been greater than that of
non-metals industries, excepting chemical, petroleum,
and rubber products, all important to transportation
and power machinery, and excepting paper products.
Larger amounts of machinery have helped to
produce larger amounts of output, but the relationship
between total output and the amount of capital needed
to produce it cannot be figured with precision.
. . . the interpretation of . . . movements in the
capital-output ratio ¿"since I850J is not easy and
requires more detailed figures than are now avail¬
able. The variations in the ratio reflect in part
the shift toward capital-intensive sectors
(railroads and public utilities) and then the
opposite shift toward sectors that require
relatively little capital (services). The movements
also reflect changes in production functions within
sectors or industries, particularly the relative
importance of capital-saving technology and
changes in the degree of utilization of plant and
equipment.(2)
2
Raymond W. Goldsmith, "National Wealth: Estimation,
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1968,
XI, 57.

173
TABLE 13
PRIVATE DOMESTIC ECONOMY: AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES
OF CHANGE IN PHYSICAL VOLUME OF OUTPUT, BY
SELECTED SEGMENT AND BY GROUP, 1899-1953
(percent)
1899-
1909
1909-
1919
1919-
1929
1929-
1937
1937-
1948
1948-
1953
1899-
1953
Manu facturing
-4.7
3.5
5.1
0.4
5.4
5.7
4.1
Foods
4.0
3.8
4.4
0.5
3.6
2.0
3.3
Beverages
3.9
-9.6
-4.5
27.2
6.3
0.7
2.9
Tobacco
3.8
5.0
3-7
2.0
4.3
1.8
3.6
Textiles
4.1
1.6
3-5
1.0
3.7
0.8
2.7
Apparel
5-3
2.4
4.5
0.5
3.6
2.1
3.3
Lumber prods.
2.5
-2.7
1.3
-3.6
3.0
2.0
0.4
Furniture
2.9
0.3
7.0
-3.3
6.9
2.8
3.0
Paper
7.2
3.7
6.6
2.5
4.5
4.8
5.0
Printing, pub.
7.6
4.3
6.4
0.2
3.4
2.8
4.3
Chemicals
5-4
5.1
6.9
2.7
8.7
8.7
6.2
Pet., coal prod6.4
9-3
9-9
1.6
5-3
4.8
6.5
Rubber prods.
6. 0
21.4
6.4
-1.2
5.9
4.6
7.5
Leather prods.
2.6
0.8
1.0
1.0
0.9
-0.1
1.1
Stone,clay,gl.
6.5
-0.1
6.0
-0.1
5.4
3-9
3.7
Primary metals 7*2
3-6
4.9
-1.4
5.5
3.8
4.1
Fab. metals
7.2
3.8
5.2
-0.8
6.2
11.5
5.2
Mach., non-el.
4.7
5.2
3.1
0.1
7.3
5.6
4.4
El. mach.
9.2
9-4
8.0
-0.8
9.4
12.7
7.9
Trans, equip.
3.9
19.0
5.1
-1.2
5-5
13.7
7.2
Miscellaneous
6.4
2.4
3.7
0.8
7.1
5.9
4.4
Commun. and
public util.
12.9
7.3
8.1
1.8
7.3
6.1
7.5
Telephone
18.2
4.9
7.5
-0.9
7.2
2. 6
7.1
El. util.
17.1
14.0
10.8
4.1
7.8
9.3
10.7
Private dom.
economy
4. 2
3.0
3.7
0.1
4.5
4.4
3.3
Source: John Kendrick, Productivity Trends in
the United States, National Bureau of Economic Research
Study No. 71 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, lp6l), pp. 204-05, Table 58.

174
Similarly, the amount of metal needed to produce
each type of equipment is not precise. However, the
general magnitude of the shift from agriculture to
manufacturing and toward metals manufacture can be
readily seen from the data presented above.
We have noted in chapter iv that the rate of
metals consumption is not as directly related to overall
levels of production for any given year as it is to the
rate at which the ultimate uses of the metals are
expanding. The net effect of increased metals production
is to increase the amount of reproducible tangible
assets available for use during subsequent periods of
time.
During the period 1830-1880, the stock of
producer durables showed a tenfold increase and stocks
of consumer durables increased sevenfold. Prom
1880-1900 stocks of producer durables more than
tripled again while stocks of consumer durables increased
3
by 150 percent. We may recall the speed with which
metals consumption increased over the same period of
time. In 1900 reproducible tangible wealth stood at
$221.9 billion in terms of 19^7-19^-9 prices. By 1958
reproducible tangible wealth had increased to $1,022.3
4
billion in terms of the same prices.
^Historical Statistics, p. 152, Series P 232-233-
4
Raymond W. Goldsmith, The National Wealth of
the United States in the Postwar Period (New York:
National Bureau of Economic Research and Princeton
University Press, 1962), p. 114, Table A-2.

175
The ratio of capital to output for the period
1850-1958 is shown in Table 14.
TABLE 14
CAPITAL-OUTPUT RATIO, 1850-1958
Year
Ratio
1850
2.8
1900
4.7
1929
4. 2
19^5
2.7
1958
3.8
Source: Goldsmith, "National Wealth:
Estimation," p. 57•
A rapid increase in capital relative to output
took place during the last half of the nineteenth
century. The ratio slipped slightly by 1929 and then
fell to a very low level in 1945 as industry was
pushed to its capacity to produce large increases in
output with a limited stock. By 1958, following large
capital expenditures, the ratio had again risen to a
level just below that of 1929* The figures are
exactly what would be expected from our considerations
of changing metals demand.

APPENDIX B
COPPER, IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION
AND METALS IN USE, I86O-I96O
Data in this appendix supplement material
presented in chapters iv and v.
B.l Copper, Iron, and Steel
Production, 1860-1960
Increased needs for copper and iron are reflected
in production and consumption figures of those metals.
However, production figures for copper, iron, and steel
reflect not only increased needs of domestic industries,
but also the effects of changing markets and of foreign
trade in ores, finished metals, and final goods.
As a result of large exports, copper output
increased more rapidly than was needed for domestic
production during the period i860 and 1930, while after
I9U0 increased copper production was less than adequate
to meet domestic needs. As such, growth rates of copper
production were higher during the initial period and
lower during the latter period than they otherwise
might have been. Since foreign trade did not exert
as strong an influence on iron, growth rates of iron
production reflect domestic needs more adequately
- 176 -

177
until the 1950s. Both iron and copper production
series reflect demands made upon domestic resources,
however, regardless of whether the final destination of
metals produced was domestic or foreign.
Steel production increased more rapidly than
pig iron production for the period 1860-1900 because
many of the final uses of iron were being taken over
by steel, e.g., rails. Rates of growth in pig iron
production after 1900 approached growth rates of pig
iron production more closely, but also reflected the
increased importance of scrap as a steel input.
Between 1900 and 1920, the Bessemer process of making
steel was replaced largely by open-hearth processes;
and while the latter process made extensive use of
scrap, the former had not. Data on scrap use are
included in Part 3 of this appendix.

TABLE 15
RATES OF GROWTH IN DOMESTIC COPPER ORE (MINE RECOVERABLE
content) production by decade, 1860-1960
(Production in Short Tons)
Period
Average
Production
Percent
increase
Over
Previous
Decade
No. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels of
Production
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
968,954
9.8
5
5
824,846
(1959)
1,104,156
(1956)
191+1-1950
882,868
69.7
5
5
608,737
(191+6)
1,090,818
(1943)
1931-1940
520,220
29.6
6
4
190,643
(1933)
878,086
(1940)
1921-1930
739,154
3.0
7
3
233,095
(1921)
997,555
(1929)
1911-1920
762,207
77.3
6
4
557,382
(1911)
1,002,938
(1916)
1901-1910
429,834
97.7
7
3
301,036
(1901)
563,261
(1909)
1891-1900
217,436
165.0
9
1
142,061
(1891)
303,059
(1900)
1881-1890
82,041
280. 5
9
1
35,840
(1881)
129,882
(1890)
1871-1880
21,560
97.3
9
1
14,000
(1872)
30,240
(1880)
1861-1870
10,926
n/a
8
2
8,400
(1861)
14,112
(1870)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series M 225 AND
Minerals Yearbook, 1965. p. 35^«
178

TABLE 16
RATES OF GROWTH IN PIG IRON SHIPMENTS BY DECADE, I86O-I96O
(Shipments in Thousand Short Tons)
Period
Average
Shipments
Percent
Increase
Over
Previous
Decade
Ho. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels
of Shipments
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
67,650
18.6
6
4
57,783
(1954)
77,301
(1955)
1941-1950
57,oía
116.0
7
3
45,076
(1946)
64,626
(1950)
1931-1940
26,402
29.2
7
3
9,541
(1932)
46,959
(1940)
1921-1930
37,274
4.6
6
4
17,963
(1921)
46,535
(1929)
1911-1920
35,640
51.0
5
5
24,935
(1914)
43,821
(1916)
1901-1910
23,598
114.5
8
2
17,784
(1901)
29,875
(1910)
1891-1900
10,999
72.6
6
4
7,456
(1894)
15,444
(1900)
1881-1890
6,373
136. 6
6
4
4,530
(1885)
10,307
(1890)
1871-1880
2,694
111.6
7
3
1,912
(1871)
4,295
(1880)
1861-1870
1,273
n/a
7
3
732
(1861)
1,917
(1869)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, pp. 36-5-66» Series M-207.
179

TABLE 17
RATES OF GROWTH IN STEEL INGOTS AND CASTINGS PRODUCED, I87I-I96O
(Production in Thousand Long Tons)
Period
Average
Production
Percent
Increase
Over
Previous
Decade
No. Yrs.
Output
Advanced,
Declined
Over
Previous
Year's
Levels of
Production
Adv.
Dec.
Lowest
Highest
1951-1960
91,180
21.3
5
5
78,850
(1954)
104,496
(1955)
1941-1950
75,179
110.8
7
3
59,467
(1946)
86,46l
(1950)
1931-1940
35,664
16.2
7
3
13,681
(1932)
59,806
(1940)
1921-1930
42,556
21.6
6
4
19,784
(1921)
56,433
(1929)
1911-1920
35,099
87.0
6
4
23,676
(1911)
45,061
(1917)
1901-1910
18,767
186. 2
6
4
13,474
(1901)
26,095
(1910)
1891-1900
6,558
165.2
6
4
3,904
(1891)
10,640
(1899)
1881-1890
2,473
390.7
7
3
1,551
(1884)
4, 277
(1890)
1871-1880
504
n/a
10
0
73
(1871)
1,24 7
(1880)
Source: Computed on data in Historical Statistics, pp. Ul6-17, Series P-203.
180

TABLE 18
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES OF GROWTH BETWEEN DECADE AVERAGES FOR COPPER,
PIG IRON, AND STEEL INGOTS AND CASTINGS, I86I-I96O
Average Annual Rate of Growth Between Decade Averages (percent)
Copper Pig Iron Steel Ingots and
Period Production Shipments Castings Productiona
181

182
TABLE 19
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES OF GROWTH OF COPPER,
IRON, AND STEEL PRODUCTION AND GROSS
NATIONAL PRODUCT, I9OO-I96O
(percent)
Average
Annual Rate of Growth
Period
Copper
Iron
Steel GNP
1900-1960
1.4
1.8
2.7 3.1
Source:
Table 18
and Long
Term Economic
Growth. 1860-1965, Part V, p. 107, Chart 17.
B.2 Imports and Exports of Copper
and Iron, 1900-1960
Copper production has been particularly influenced
by imports and exports. By the turn of the century between
one-third and one-half of the output of domestic copper
mines was being sent abroad, and net exports remained
relatively large until about 19^0. Since I9U0 the United
States has been a consistent importer of copper. In
contrast, neither imports nor exports of iron ore were
large relative to total output until the 1950s, after
which iron ore and steel imports increased substantially.
Net exports of pig iron have been inconsequential through¬
out the past century.

TABLE 20
183
APPARENT CONSUMPTION OF IRON AND COPPER RELATIVE
TO DOMESTIC PRODUCTION: SELECTED YEARS, I9OO-I96O
(percent)
Year
Iron
Copper
1900
95
61
1902
107
68
190k
94
54
1906
98
75
1908
96
54
1910
99
66
1912
91
71
1914
95
46
1916
84
83
1918
84
91
1920
85
88
1922
94
79
1924
96
78
1926
97
89
1928
91
81
1930
95
75
1932
96
53
1934
78
53
1936
90
87
1938
62
60
1940
68
92
1942
81
152
1944
80
153
1946
81
141
1948
90
132
1950
100
152
1952
95
150
1954
102
13 9
1956
104
130
1958
120
104
i960
115
116
Source: Computed from U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Raw Materials in the United States
Economy, 1900-1961, Bureau of the Census Working Paper
No. 6(Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office,
1964), pp. 107, no.

184
B,3 Copper and Iron Scrap
Reuse of old scrap reduces primary metals needs.
Scrap generation begins at primary metals producing mills
and continues at each successive stage of fabrication as
planing, cutting, and drilling processes shape metals
into final products. Scrap so generated is categorized
as "home" and "prompt industrial" scrap, or both
categories may be included under the heading "new" scrap.
"Old," or "obsolete," scrap is that contained in obsolete
or worn final products.
Most new scrap is of known or uniform quality,
can be easily collected and shipped, and is reprocessed
immediately. As such, it represents a working stock
of the metal goods producing industries. Old scrap,
especially iron and steel, is not so easily collected
and may not be of known or uniform quality; but the
use of old scrap reduces new materials needs. Historical
data pertaining to iron and copper scrap are presented
in Figures 1 and 2.
Historical data for iron and copper scrap are
scarce, and generally available only since 1910 for
copper and since 1935 for* iron. Data illustrated in
Figure 2 show old copper consumption with reasonable
fidelity, but the importance of old iron scrap to steel
production is somewhat overstated. Old scrap constitutes

185
only 55 percent to 65 percent of purchased steel scrap.
Old scrap contributed 9*9 percent of ferrous metallics
Inputs to steel production in 1950 and only 6.7 percent
in i960.
Tables 21 and 22 show the amounts of iron and
copper scrap potentially recoverable by product category
for recent periods. Allowances are made for wear,
corrosion, inaccessibility, and exports.
The amount of scrap recovered per period of time
depends upon the physical amounts of scrap available
and upon costs of scrap collection and processing
relative to scrap prices. If real costs of new copper
and iron were to increase, the resulting increase in
demand for scrap as a substitute would tend to increase
the price of scrap and increase the percent recovered.
Although large amounts of metal scrap have been
reused, large amounts have also been discarded. Accord¬
ing to the data of Tables 21 and 22, almost 20 percent
of the iron and 30 percent of the copper in final goods
produced in i960 will be lost. Further, recent trends
have increased the share of metals going to uses from
which metals recovery is difficult.
In 1965, Public Law 89-272 was passed by the
89th Congress in response to the proliferation of
unsightly burial grounds for old automobiles, refrig¬
erators and the like. The purposes of the act were:

186
Million Short Tons
Figure 1. Consumption of Purchased Scrap
in the United States, 1915-1952, and Output
of Pig Iron and Steel, 1915-1962. Data for
1953-1962 represent receipts of purchased
scrap by consumers.
Source: Minerals Yearbook, 1962. p. 721,
Figure 1.

187
Thousand Short Tons
Figure 2. U.S. Production of Refined Copper from Primary
and Secondary Source Materials, and Production from Old
Scrap, I9IO-I96O.
Source: McMahon, Copper, A Materials Survey, p. I89, Figure
36; Production from Old Scrap adopted from Minerals Yearbook,
19^5. p. 122, Minerals Yearbook, 1965, p. 356*

TABLE 21
POTENTIALLY RECOVERABLE IRON SCRAP, 1929 AND 1960a
(All Figures are in Percents)
Steel Mill Products
Potentially
Recoverable
1929
i960
Amount
Used Per
Category
Total
Recover.
Amount
Used Per
Category
Total
Recover.
All Construction
88
26.8
23. 6
31.2
27.5
Automotive
95
11.2
10. 6
18.4
17.5
Rail Transport
86
16.7
14. 4
3-9
3.4
Water and Air Transport
95
.5
.5
.8
.8
Other Producer Durables
90
8.8
7.9
11.8
10. 6
Consumer Durables
65
3.7
2. 4
6.0
3-9
Containers
13
3.7
. 1
10.3
. 1
Ordnance
36
negligible
-
.3
. 1
Ferrous Castings
100
28.6
28.6
17.6
17.6
Percent of Total Output
h
H
00
00
81.5b
aSource: Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,p. 884 Table A 16-20
and p. 889, Table A 16-15 served as basis of computation.
^Decrease in recoverable potential i960 as compared to 1929 is due to
decreased percentage going to railroads and ferrous castings, both of which have high
recovery rates, and to increases in percentage of steel and iron going to consumer
durables, containers, and ordnance, all of which have relatively low recovery rates.
188

189
TABLE 22
POTENTIAL RECOVERY OP OBSOLETE COPPER SCRAP, i960
(All Figures are in Percents)
Market Category
Potentially
Recoverable
Output
By
Category
Total
Recover.
Motor Vehicles
50
8.5
4.3
Consumer Durables
45
4.1
1-9
Producer Durables
65
32.0
20.8
Mew Bldg. Construction
70
19.5
13.7
Commun. & El. Power Cons. 100
18.3
18.3
Railroad Equipment
90
1.2
1.1
Maint. Repair & Oper.
70
11.3
7.9
Def ense
75
1.7
1.3
Percent of Total Output
96.6
69.3
Miscellaneous^
69-3
3.4
2.4
Total Output
100.0
71.7
aSource: Computed from Landsberg, Resources in
America's Future, p. 912, Table A 16-43 and p. 915* Table
A 16-45.
^Potential recoverability from miscellaneous
categories assumed to the the average of all categories.

190
(1) to initate and accelerate a national research
and development program for new and improved methods
of proper and economic solid-waste disposal,
including studies directed toward the conservation of
natural resources by reducing the amount of waste and
unsalvageable materials and by recovery and utilization
of potential resources in solid wastes; and
(2) to provide technical and financial assistance to
State and local governments and interstate agencies
in the planning, development, and conduct of solid-
waste disposal programs.(l)
In 1966 the Office of Solid Wastes, later changed
to The Bureau of Solid Waste Management, and finally to
the Solid Waste Management Office, was founded by the
Federal government to deal with solid waste disposal
problems.
The need for a government agency to deal with
the problem of solid waste disposal points to the effects
of abundance. Waste is waste only so long as it is cheap.
In the past, metals supplies have been ample and metals
costs low. Should metals costs increase in the future,
problems associated with solid waste disposal probably
will be greatly reduced.
B.U Apparent Consumption of Iron and Copper,
and Iron and Copper in Use, 1900-1960
While production figures for iron and copper
reflect demands made on domestic resources, apparent
consumption figures reflect the needs of the economy
^The Solid Waste Disposal Act, Title II of
Public Law 89-272, 89th Congress, S. 306 (l9&5)•

191
for new metals. The series of this appendix are derived
from data generated by the Bureau of Mines showing
apparent consumption of iron and copper for the period
I9OO-I96O. These figures incorporate imports and exports
of metals in all forms, from ore to the metal content
2
of final products. They do not include production
from scrap, and as such represent additions to the
domestic stock of metals in use.
Basic data are in terms of constant 195^ dollars.
They can be converted to physical equivalents by using
the following values and weights:
Item
Unit of Quantity Value/
Measure (l,000) Unit
Iron content
Copper content
long ton b0,0k7.b $ 13-50
short ton 835*5 4^7* ^+0
Attention is directed to Figures 3 and 5* For
these charts, the annual additions to metals in use
were summed for the period I9OO-I96O. Increases in
the stock of metals in use are shown for the period
I92O-I96O. Comparison of the stock of metals in use
relative to GNP is facilitated by the fact that
unemployment rates for 1920 and 1960 differed by less
3
than 0.025 points per year of time span.
2~
See Raw Materials in the United States Economy:
1900-1961, pp. 85-86 for method used in computing imports
and exports of metals by content.
3
See Long Term Economic Growth, I86O-I965, p. 107*

192
To obtain annual rates of growth in metals in use
for 1920-1960, the basic data were modified to take
increases in apparent consumption for the period 1860-1900
into account. Since no equivalent Bureau of Mines data
exist for I86O-I9OO, changes in iron and copper production
for the period were used to obtain an approximate figure
for total metals added.
Copper production for 1861-1900 was approximately
50 percent of total copper production for 1900-1920.
Therefore, the figure for copper in use in 1920 was
increased by 50 percent and the figure for i960 by the
same absolute amount. Exports for 1861-1900 and 1900-1920
were assumed to be the same percentage of total production
for both periods. Pig iron shipments for the period I86O-
1900 were approximately 36 percent of shipments for 1900-
1920. Therefore, the figure for iron in use in 1920 was
increased by 36 percent and the figure for i960 increased
by the same absolute amount. As with copper, exports
were assumed to he the same for both 1860-1900 and
1900-1920. The amounts by which 1920 and i960 copper
and iron figures were increased represents an estimate
of copper and iron in use in 1900.
Absolute quantities are overstated to the degree
that metals have been lost from the stock of metals in
use. However, if the percent lost per year were

193
TABLE 23
COPPER--APPARENT C ON SUMPTI ON - - ADDITI ON S TO METALS IN USE
AND AVERAGE ANNUAL ADDITION BY DECADE, I9OO-I96O
(Millions of 195^ Dollars)

194
1920 1930 i9ho i950 i960
Figure 3. Copper in Use, I92O-I96O.
Source: Table 23,

195
TABLE 24
IRON--APPARENT C ON SUMPTI ON - - ADDITI ON S TO METALS IN USE
AND AVERAGE ANNUAL ADDITION BY DECADE, 1900-1960a
(Millions of 195b Dollars)
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Arm.
Add.
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
1900
190
190
1930
381
10,558
1901
207
397
1931
205
10,763
1902
274
671
1932
64
10,827
1903
267
671
1933
107
10,934
1904
184
1,122
1934
132
11,066
2,708
1,770
1905
297
1,419
1935
171
11,237
1906
332
1,751
1936
306
11,543
1907
360
2,111
1937
396
11,939
1908
243
2,354
1938
119
12,058
1909
354
2,708
1939
270
12,328
1910
394
3,102
1940
348
12,676
1911
283
3,385
1941
523
13,199
1912
347
3,732
1942
597
13,796
1913
401
4,133
1943
565
14,361
1914
268
4,401
1944
520
14,881
3,640
5,075
1915
335
4,73 6
1945
522
15,403
1916
429
5,165
1946
398
15,801
1917
428
5,593
1947
461
16,262
1918
401
5,99^
1948
609
16,871
1919
354
6,348
1949
532
17,403
1920
400
6,748
1950
665
18,068
1921
168
6,916
1951
815
18,883
1922
304
7,220
1952
635
19,518
1923
470
7,690
1953
818
20,336
1924
358
8,048
1954
551
20,887
3,829
6,211
1925
422
8,470
1955
718
21,605
1926
455
8,925
1956
712
22,317
1927
404
9,329
1957
762
23,079
1928
388
9,717
1958
58 0
23,659
1929
460
10,177
1959
619
24,278
i960
735
25,013
aSource: Computed from Raw Materials in the U.S.
Economy: 1900-1961, p. 107. Mo account is made of loss,
deterioration, or idle scrap stocks. Base 1900+.

Millions of 195b Dollars
Source: Table 2b
vo
On

197
Millions of 1954 Dollars
Source: Table 24.

198
TABLE 25
TOTAL IRON AND FERROALLOY METALS--APPARENT CONSUMPTION--
ADDITIONS TO METALS IN USE AND AVERAGE ANNUAL
ADDITION BY DECADE, I9OO-I96O
(Millions of 1954 Dollars)
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
Year
Add.
Total
Avg.
Ann.
Add.
1900
260
260
1930
520
13,689
1901
300
560
1931
283
13,972
1902
324
884
1932
98
14, 070
1903
321
1,205
1933
184
14,254
190U
214
1,419
1934
224
14,478
327
352
1905
324
1,767
1935
301
14,779
1906
389
2,156
1936
515
15,294
1907
417
2,573
1937
644
15,938
1908
2 89
2,862
1938
261
16,199
1909
4 06
3,268
1939
490
16,689
1910
460
3,728
1940
707
17,396
1911
336
4,064
19U1
991
18,387
1912
411
4,475
1942
1,107
19,494
1913
488
4,963
1943
1,115
20,609
1914
332
5,295
1944
1,006
21,615
478
943
1915
419
5,714
1945
927
22,542
1916
587
6,301
1946
777
23,319
1917
620
6,921
1947
833
24,152
1918
635
7,556
1948
1,047
25,199
1919
495
8,051
1949
916
26,115
1920
54 9
8,600
1950
1,156
27,271
1921
221
8,821
1951
1,304
28,575
1922
395
9,216
1952
1,215
29,790
1923
569
9,785
1953
1,577
31,367
192k
468
10,253
1954
1,215
32,582
512
1,302
1925
568
10,821
1955
1,433
34,015
1926
607
11,428
1956
1,416
35,431
1927
548
11,976
1957
1,491
36,922
1928
536
12,512
1958
1,060
37,982
1929
657
13,169
1959
1,156
39,138
i960
1,191
40,329
Source: Computed from data in Raw Materials in
the U.S. Economy: 1900-1961, p. 107.

Millions of 1954 Dollars
Figure 6. Five-Year Averages of Ferroalloys Apparent Consumption,
1900-1960.
Source: Table 25.
199

200
Source: Table 25.

201
approximately the same throughout the period, rates of
growth in the stock of metals in use would not be greatly
affected.
While additions to metals in use have been greatly
influenced by economic conditions prevailing in any given
year, so that rates of consumption have varied consider¬
ably not only by year but also by decade, the stock of
metals in use appears to have increased at an exponential
rate during the period 1920-1960 taken as a whole. An
exponential rate of growth in gross national product
would seem to have been matched by an exponential rate
of increase in metals in use.
TABLE 26
COPPER AMD IRON IN USE--ADJUSTED FOR
1860-1900 PRODUCTION
(Millions of 1954 Dollars)
Year
Copper
Iron
i960
21,930
27,442
1920
5,706
9,177
1900
1,905
2,429
Source: Tables 23 and 24. Method of
computation explained above.

202
TABLE 27
AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE OP GROWTH IN IRON AND
COPPER IN USE RELATIVE TO GROSS NATIONAL
PRODUCT, 1920-1960 AND I9OO-I96O
Period
Iron
Copper
GNP
1960-1920
2.8
3.4
3-2
1960-1900
4.1
4.2
3.1
Source: Tables 23 and 24 and Long Term
Economic Growth, 1860-1963, p. 107â– 

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New York: Harper & Bros., 1951*

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Melvin Harju was born December 2, lpUl, at Wya.net,
Illinois. He attended schools in Illinois and the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan and was graduated from Hall
Township High School in Spring Valley, Illinois, in June,
1959• Thereafter, he attended Knox College in Galesburg,
and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts with a major
in Sociology in 1963. After spending two years as an
Army Artillery officer, he worked for Illinois Bell
Telephone Company in the Chicago Surburban area. In 1967
he enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of
Florida and received the degree of Master of Arts with a
major in Economics in 1968. From September, 1968, until
the present time he has pursued his work toward the degree
Doctor of Philosophy, and since September, 1971, has been
assistant professor of economics at Hope College, Holland,
Michigan.
Melvin Harju is married to the former Gwen Hughes,
and is the father of one child. He is a member of the
American Economic Association.
212

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
William F. Woodruff, Chairman
Graduate Research Professor of
Economic History
I certify that X have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,
Ralph H. Blodgett H 1
Professor of Economics '*
I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality,
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Paul E. Koefod
Professor of Economics
I certify that X have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully acceptable, in scope and quality
as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Theron A. $unez, Jf1/ /
Associate Professor of /
Anthropology and Assistant Dean
of the Graduate School '
< —

This dissertation was submitted to the Department of
Economics in the College of Business Administration and to
the Graduate Council, and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor
of Philosophy.
August, 1972
Dean, Graduate School

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08554 7064



28
the ways in which production has changed within the
United States during the past hundred years. Overall
levels of output by categories can be compared over
that period to establish relative changes in the quantity
and types of production that occurred.
Having established the changing nature of
production over time, we shall then examine metals needs
relative to production with particular attention paid to
the demand for new metals inputs and for ores.
Next comes the problem of finding the sources
from which metals have been drawn, either domestic or
foreign.
The final problem is one of relating increases
in production and produced wealth, through the resulting
increases in the demand for metals to the available
supply of metals. A meaningful statement then can be
made concerning the role of abundant resources in
allowing the people of the United States to enjoy vast
increases in income and to accumulate great quantities
of produced wealth. That relationship and a look at
the current situation might yield a hint for the future.


96
so that more numerous deposits of lower grade concen
trations might yield absolutely greater amounts of
metals than fewer, but richer, deposits. Some
authorities even have suggested that the amount of metal
available at each lower level of concentration might
27
exceed all of that available at higher levels. The
opinions of others differ.
Because, at a few places where all conditions are
especially favorable, ore in places averaging 0.5
percent copper or 0.0002 percent gold has been
mined profitably, reference is often made to the
vast low-grade deposits available to prolong metal
supplies for a period beyond present anxiety. The
thought has even been seriously proposed that for
each reduction of one decimal place in grade accepted
as ore, say from 3 to 0.3 percent, from 0.3 to 0.03
percent, etc., a new tonnage more than one decimal
place greater is thereby made available. Those
familiar with ore occurrence know that this simply
is not true. For most metals, the abnormal local
concentration that constitutes an ore deposit has
real geometrical limits, beyond which the tenor
more or less abruptly drops off to values far below
anything entertainable as economic.(28)
Some support can be given for both sides of the
argument; while each individual ore body does have
rather sharp geometrical limits, ore bodies with main
concentrations of lower grade might be more plentiful.
27
A sharply rising total tonnage of copper ore
relative to decreases in grade is shown, for example,
in the report of the President's Materials Policy-
Commission, Resources for Freedom, IX, p. lUU.
28
L. C. Graton, "Seventy-five Years of Progress
in Mining Geology," in Seventy-five Years of Progress in
the Mineral Industry, 1871-19^-6, ed. by A. B. Parsons
(New York: The American Institute of Mining and
Metallurgical Engineers, 19^7), p. 3^


CHAPTER I
PROSPECT: SOME ASPECTS OF ECONOMIC
GROWTH AND RESOURCES
According to a great deal of contemporary
thinking, the nations of the world might almost reason
ably be divided into roughly two groups, the rich and
the poor;'*' or, more euphemistically, and more abstractly,
2
the developed and the developing. Much economic theory
has been generated, particularly since the Second World
War, to account for probable causes of observed differ
ences in relative material wealth. Economic growth and
development, with industrialization as a goal, has come
to be viewed as an on-going process; a new genus of
human activity begun by a few to be shared eventually by
3
all the peoples of the world in greater or lesser degree.
Cf. Barbara Ward, Lenore N. Anjou, and J. D.
Runnalls, eds., The Widening Gap: Development in the
1970s (New York: Columbia University Press, 197l)
2
Lacking analytical utility, these terms have
created more problems than they have solved. Cjf.
Charles Bettelheim, Planification et Crossance accelere
(Paris: Francoismaspero,1967),chap.iii,for a most
powerful criticism of the term "underdeveloped country."
3
Typical of the view that the world is engaged
in a race to a Western goal of industrialization is David
S. Landes, The Unbound Prometheus, Technological Change
and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to
the Present (New York:Cambridge University Press, 1969)
Like the work of Marx and Rostow, Landes' book is
1


205
WORKS CITED--continued
Habakkuk, H. J. American and British Technology in the
Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: The University
Press, 1967.
Hacker, Louis M. Major Documents in American Economic
History. Princeton, New Jersey: D. Van Nostrand
Co., Inc., 1961.
Hahn, F. H. "Some Adjustment Problems." Econometrica,
XXXVIII (January, 1970), 1-11.
Hirschman, Albert 0. The Strategy of Economic Development.
New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1958.
Holbrook, Stewart H. Iron Brew, A Century of American
Ore and Steel. New York: Macmillan Company,
19^0.
Hubbard, M. K. Discussion. Future Environments of North
America. Edited by F. Fraser Darling and John
P. Milton. Garden City, New York: Natural
History Press, 1966.
Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel, Inc. Addresses and
Proceedings. Annual Convention. Washington,
D. C., 1964 and I965.
Julihn, C. E. "Copper; An Example of Advancing Technology
and the Utilization of Low-Grade Ores." Chap. vi.
Mineral Economics. Edited by F. G. Tryon and
E. C. Eckel. New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1932.
Kahn, Arthur D. "The Greek Tragedians and Science and
Technology." Technology and Culture. XI (April,
1970), 133-162.
Kendrick, John W. Productivity Trends in the United States.
National Bureau of Economic Research Study No. 71*
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press,
1961.
Kennedy, Joseph C. G. Superintendent U, S. Department
of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Preliminary
Report on the Eighth Census, i860. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1862.


137
Moreover, data concerning minerals production
within the United States during the past century-
reflected an initial abundance of rich resources. As
we have said, minerals production costs could remain
stable or even decline if resources were initially
abundant or if their quality did not decline too
rapidly. Changes in technology were able to offset
worsening ore yields in the past, but that is the past.
Jt is one of our weaknesses to believe that technology
is uni-directional and its progress accelerating.
Further, an exponential increase in demand for materials
would necessitate an increasing rate of change in
technology, which, based upon available data, does not
17
appear likely. Hindsight always gives to past
occurrences an aura of certainty and inevitability; but
future events cannot be foreseen. Changes in techniques
and the application of power to mining processes increased
productivity after i860; but could such changes be
expected to occur with increasing frequency in the future?
We do not know, and that is all that can. be said about
it. Knowledge of the past is based upon fact; hope for
the future is based largely upon speculation.
Compounding our difficulties, as we said earlier, is the
fact that technology (except in a museum) cannot be
17*
Cf. Kuznets, Secular Movements; Burns,
Production Trends; and material in chapter v.


50
Where metals had found their first use in factories and
on the railroads, metal implements soon became available
in increasing amounts to consumers. Fans, irons,
toasters, and wringers entered the catalogues of mail
order houses in 1912, vaccum cleaners in 1917, electric
3b
ranges in 1930, and electric refrigerators in 1932.
Radios, telephones, television sets, electric heating
units, air conditioning units, electric can openers,
power mowers, and a wide assortment of other metal
implements were produced in increasing quantities by-
machines that employed great quantities of power. Farm
goods could be grown and harvested in greater quantities
by using farm machines, then transported to cities,
between cities, and within cities by mechanical means.
They could be weighed, their dollar value calculated by
machines, transported to the home by machines, and
cooked there by machines using power generated by other
machines. Machines and metals entered every part of life
and became important to the provision of essentials and
luxuries alike.
While the economy of i860 was not heavily
dependent upon the use of metals, the economy of i960
was, and figures purporting to show changes in Gross
National Product or in Material Wealth over the inter
vening period perform an injustice to the amount of
34
Giedion, Mechanization Takes Command, p. 42.


TABLE 21
POTENTIALLY RECOVERABLE IRON SCRAP, 1929 AND 1960a
(All Figures are in Percents)
Steel Mill Products
Potentially
Recoverable
1929
i960
Amount
Used Per
Category
Total
Recover.
Amount
Used Per
Category
Total
Recover.
All Construction
88
26.8
23. 6
31.2
27.5
Automotive
95
11.2
10. 6
18.4
17.5
Rail Transport
86
16.7
14. 4
3-9
3.4
Water and Air Transport
95
.5
.5
.8
.8
Other Producer Durables
90
8.8
7.9
11.8
10. 6
Consumer Durables
65
3.7
2. 4
6.0
3-9
Containers
13
3.7
. 1
10.3
. 1
Ordnance
36
negligible
-
.3
. 1
Ferrous Castings
100
28.6
28.6
17.6
17.6
Percent of Total Output
h
H
00
00
81.5b
aSource: Landsberg, Resources in America's Future,p. 884 Table A 16-20
and p. 889, Table A 16-15 served as basis of computation.
^Decrease in recoverable potential i960 as compared to 1929 is due to
decreased percentage going to railroads and ferrous castings, both of which have high
recovery rates, and to increases in percentage of steel and iron going to consumer
durables, containers, and ordnance, all of which have relatively low recovery rates.
188


Ikl
a person believes it can depends not upon technology
but upon faith. In these days, it has to be a very
strong faith. By our lights, growth may diminish,
cease, or actually decline; but need such a decline be
heralded disaster?
We are more conscious than most of resource
exhaustion, but need that bring collapse, at least
insofar as structural materials are concerned? If metals
production were to cease immediately, those already
mined and in use would remain available. It is our
view that metals are more likely to run out gradually,
thereby exerting a gradually increasing pressure on
rates of growth.
Whether the same would hold true for mineral
fuels is uncertain. If they were to run out, production
could be severely restricted, but new energy sources
such as nuclear fuels or sunlight might forestall
disaster, especially if growth were already restricted
by metals scarcity. Metals scarcity is a problem but
it is a challenging problem whose solution we cannot
19
foresee. Growth may proceed more rapidly for a time,
19
Another consideration, needing mention but
beyond the scope of this thesis, is population growth.
In the light of possible restrictions of output,
population pressures could become more pressing--re-enter
Maithus. But population might also decline for reasons
entirely separate from economic considerations. The
passing of thirty years could produce a re-emergence of
concern for declining populations.
Many misconceptions have arisen concerning what
people think Malthus did or did not say. Contrary to


58
In addition, more iron stoves were constructed in
the United States in 1880 than in all the rest of the
world combined, and along with first place positions in
bridge building, agricultural implements, and stoves,
the United States could add fencing (the barbed wire
fence had just come into use) and telegraph wire.
The expansion in iron and steel production and
markets between i860 and 1880 was considerable, and the
same trends continued between 1880 and 1900 as steel
production increased from 1.2 million long tons to 10.2
million long tons and pig iron production from 4.3
g
million short tons to 15-4 million short tons.
By 1894 over 250,000 long tons of steel were
used in the production of nails alone, a like quantity
9
finding its way into the production of fencing; a
combined amount of more than 40 times what total steel
production had been in i860. By 1895 steel production
had increased so substantially that it was cheaper to
let a dropped nail lie than to devote the time of a
skilled carpenter to picking it up.10 By 1900 the
production of iron and steel had attained first rank
8
Historical Statistics, pp. 365-66, Series M-207;
p. 4l6, Series P-203.
o
Victor S. Clark, History of Manufactures in the
United States, Vol. Ill (New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1929)> p. 122.
10Xbid.. p. 126.


112
Technological changes which accompanied the
increased pace of production of the recent past,
particularly of the last hundred years, again revolu
tionized production by allowing some of these natural
processes to be bypassed. Where once other living
things performed an intermediate kind of processing,
they could be replaced in many instances and resort made
more directly to minerals themselves. Men learned to
use fertilizer to enrich the soil rather than wait
for natural processes to accomplish the act. Still
later, animals, too, were bypassed and fertilizers
were produced by artificial means. In the case of
energy, wood, wind, and water came to be supplanted by
coal and other fossil fuels. Men availed themselves of
the stored energy of ages at a rapid pace. Productive
processes were accelerated, changed, and made more
complex as structural materials such as iron were
obtained at a rate greatly exceeding nature's slow,
painstaking production of wood.
Increased knowledge of the physical world
allowed men to address themselves more directly to
nature, to bypass some natural bottlenecks and to
exploit virgin stores of minerals. Thus, the nature
of things that could be thought of as resources
changed as did the types of final products that could
be made, the ways in which production could be


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Since 187O. New York: National Bureau of
Economic Research, Inc., 1934.
Bury, J. B. The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry into Its
Origin and Growth. Introduction by Charles A.
Beard. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.,
1955.
Cairncross, A. K. "Investment in Canada, I9OO-I3.w
The Export of Capital from Britain 1870-1914.
Edited by A. R. Hall. Debates in Economic
History. General Editor Peter Mathias. London:
Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1968.
Clark, Victor S. History of Manufactures in the United
States. Vol. III. New York: McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1929.
Condit, Carl W. "Buildings and Construction." Technology
in Western Civilization, The Emergence of Modern
Industrial Society Earliest Times to 1900. Edited
by Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr.
Vol. I. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.
203


186
Million Short Tons
Figure 1. Consumption of Purchased Scrap
in the United States, 1915-1952, and Output
of Pig Iron and Steel, 1915-1962. Data for
1953-1962 represent receipts of purchased
scrap by consumers.
Source: Minerals Yearbook, 1962. p. 721,
Figure 1.


66
In addition to furnishing copper to domestic
industries, by 1900 the United States had become engaged
in a booming export trade in copper with almost half of
domestic production being sent abroad for use in the
rapidly expanding electrical industries of other
27
countries. During the early lpOOs, the United States
continued to do a lively copper export business as
domestic production, continuing to increase at a brisk
pace, was supplemented by imports of ores and concen
trates for refining and reshipment abroad. In 1920,
for example, net imports of copper ores and concen
trates by copper content amounted to 150,808 short tons
and refined copper exports to 221,241 short tons, the
excess reflecting the added product of American mines.
In 1925 refined net exports of copper amounted to
434,146 short tons compared to net imports of ore and
concentrates of 263,228 short tons, but the era of the
United States as a net exporter of copper was drawing
to a close. By 1929 imports of ores and concentrates
exceeded refined net exports by only 28,281 short tons,
and imports of copper ore by copper content remained
fairly equal to refined exports from then until the
28
eve of the Second World War.
27"
Twelfth Census, Manufactures, Part I, p. lvii.
Figures for copper production are shown in Appendix B.
pO
Historical Statistics, p. 368, Series 225-30.