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of pinet our cities and the
The boll weevil, higher labor-costs, the twilight zone over America, has and the advantages of diversified agri. become well-nigh intolerable in Engculture seem likely to hold our own land. There, as here, it defaces buildproduction to moderate figures and to ings, damages furnishings, increases make in the long run for much higher humidity, and is highly deleterious to prices for this essential fibre. In that health. In Pittsburgh it is held reevent it is by no means beyond the sponsible for a very acute and fatal range of possibility that an artificial form of pneumonia. The growing realsubstitute for cotton may appear. ization that our cities must be provided Artificial silk, first shown at the Paris with smokeless fuel and the excessive Exposition of 1889, is now produced in cost of anthracite have encouraged the greater quantity than real silk, and its expenditure of much effort and great manufacture is still expanding rapidly. sums of money on processes for the lowWe are not likely to see an artificial temperature distillation of coal. These wool, because of the structural peculiar- are designed to secure greater chemical ities of the fibre and the absence of an values from the coal and to provide an appropriate raw material.
The next decade or two will see a year the Coalite Company in England great development of paper-making in appears to have measurably solved the the South, where pulpwood — now, problem and to be operating upon a elsewhere, increasingly scarce and cost- commercial basis. ly — is still abundant and relatively The use of powdered coal, which is cheap. Rosin and turpentine, now nearly as flexible and convenient as derived from standing trees, will be gas, is becoming common in great extracted from the stumps of yellow power-plants. In one notable installapine remaining on millions of acres of tion the coal, in shallow cast-iron trays, cut-over lands. Nowhere, in short, is is first floated across a bath of molten there likely to be a greater extension lead to obtain, by low-temperature of industrial activity than in the South, distillation, motor spirit, oils, tar, and nowhere in the world is there ammonia, and gas, while the porous greater opportunity for the develop- cake remaining is pulverized for use ment of chemical industry than in as powdered fuel. Louisiana, where salt, sulphur, oil, and Oil has become as essential as gungas occur in close proximity.
powder to the navies of the world, and almost as dangerous to our politicians. On land the tank-wagon is already as
familiar as the coal-truck, and the conThe rate of our economic progress venience and temporary cheapness of is primarily a function of the abun- fuel oil have caused it to replace coal dance and cost of energy. The prepara- in many thousands of plants and dwelltion and use of fuels and the generation ings. This tendency will continue for and distribution of energy are basic a time until scarcity and science put industrial activities, which, in one way new values on petroleum. Both factors or another, vitally concern us all. are beginning to be operative. The The remarkable developments now in production of oil is decreasing daily, progress in these fields assume, there and the synthesis of alcohols and whole fore, a constructive significance and a series of organic compounds is about far-reaching importance. The smoke to become a part of petroleum technuisance, which is rapidly extending nology. When petroleum is costly,
of gas ng century. Ithan during more
we shall have a great shale-oil industry blast would, for example, continuously in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. convert the coke and steam into carbon
Natural gas, which a few years ago monoxide and hydrogen. Very little constituted three quarters of all the gas carbonic acid would be formed, and sold in the country, is now, after dec- practically the entire heat-value of the ades of appalling waste, a rapidly coal would be deliverable as gas. Every waning resource. Its disappearance cubic foot of pure oxygen introduced locally will result in the migration of into a metallurgical furnace would avoid many gas-fired industries. Its general the introduction of four cubic feet of decline is, moreover, coincident with inert nitrogen, now introduced with air. the opening of a period of remarkable Practice in large steam-plants, and development in the gas industry. In especially in those of central stations, five recent years the city of Baltimore is steadily moving toward higher presconsumed more gas than during the sures. Steam pressures of 500 pounds preceding century. The industrial use to the square inch will soon be comof gas has just begun. The average mon, and already pressures of 1200 and gas company now sells 25 per cent of 1500 pounds are cautiously being tried. its output for industrial-purposes, They present new problems in the beabout 10 per cent for house heating, havior of steel at temperatures near its and the remainder for such domestic critical point and the effect upon it of purposes as cooking, water-heating, flue gases and those dissolved in water. and a little lighting. It is estimated Turbines are being built to operate at that gas companies in the future will these extremely high pressures and to do at least five times as much business, exhaust into headers supplying other and that 75 per cent of their sales will turbines with steam at 250 to 350 be for industrial use and house-heating pounds. The new turbine supercharger and 25 per cent for consumption in gas- for airplanes is rated to feed to the appliances in the home.
engine, at a height of 35,000 feet, air To meet this greatly increased de- at sea-level atmospheric pressure. It mand radical changes in practice will has operated at the incredible speed be required, and many such are now of 41,000 revolutions a minute, or 683 under consideration. They include low- turns a second for the compressor wheel temperature carbonization of coal, its - probably the highest speed ever atcomplete gasification, the installation tained in a commercial mechanism. of great gas-works at the mines with The combination of the steam turhigh-pressure distribution-systems for bine with electric drive for marine the gas, new methods of coking, and propulsion is already installed to the campaigns for the legalization of gas of extent of 550,000 horsepower in fortylower heating-power than that now five vessels, from battleships to fruiters. required by law.
The gas engine in large units is a Authoritative estimates, based on cumbersome and complicated mecharecent developments, justify the ex- nism. It is now so nearly equaled in pectation that oxygen, the supporter efficiency by the latest steam turbine of combustion, will soon be available installations that it does not seem likely at a cost comparable with that of coal to grow in favor. The gas turbine, with and permitting its extensive use in the its promise of still higher efficiencies, production of water gas and in many has been just below the horizon for metallurgical operations. A gas-pro- several years. Very recently that darducer operating with an oxygen-steam ing conception, the mercury turbine,
ha latter is beyond mand for better mu....
has passed from theory to actuality steel has proved its superiority for and, among the milestones of progress, many special uses. Greatly improved may be set as far in advance of the electric lamps are stimulating the desteam turbine as the latter is beyond mand for better illumination in homes, the reciprocating engine. It permits offices, and factories. The actor no the generation of 50 per cent more longer monopolizes the spotlight. Its power from a pound of coal than has protective glare now focuses upon the been possible heretofore.
semaphoric traffic-cop. The flood lightThe growth of the electrical indus- ing of railroad yards is becoming tries is proceeding at an extraordinary common, and there is a distinct trend rate, and the developments now under toward high-intensity lighting in many way must profoundly influence in- cities, there being in some instances dustrial and social conditions in the a fifteenfold increase in light-intensity immediate future. It is estimated that in business districts. the energy generated in central stations Whether the moving picture will will triple in the next ten years, and develop or retrograde is not for one that in the course of that decade the who has never seen Hollywood to say. people of the country will spend twenty The moving-picture van, which, to billion dollars for electric service in larboard, starboard, and astern, comhomes, farms, factories, and mines. pels attention to the virtues of toasted In the Pacific Coast states, installed chewing-gum or the lasting flavor of primary power increased 540 per cent cigarettes, has arrived and is as welfrom 1899 to 1919, and over a million come as a peripatetic billboard. We horsepower is now under development are soon to become familiar with the in California. The Southern California pallophotophone. Its symphonic name Edison Company is sending 220,000 will from most of the community convolt current over its Big Creek line, ceal the poetic fact that it is a moving and it has become possible to deliver picture whose characters talk. No power four hundred miles or more with longer is it necessary for our statesgood efficiency. While the superpower men to tour the country. Their fences zone on the Atlantic seaboard is still may be mended in the studio, and their the dream of engineers, plans have been constituents may simultaneously, in developed for a single electric super- thousands of communities, view the power system to cover the entire coun- candidate in a six-foot close-up as his try and southern Canada.
argument is projected in a voice of Voltages as high as two million above twenty horsepower. It will handicap ground are now being dealt with ex- the would-be senator who looks like a perimentally. In the laboratory, elec- third-class postmaster. tricians in overalls are usurping the It would be interesting, but quite more terrible functions of Jove, and inconclusive, to allow one's self to insulation engineers are busy with new speculate upon the reactions which our means of harnessing the lightning. civilization is ultimately to make to An X-ray tube with fifteen times the the marvels that are resulting from the X-ray energy of the average tube in discovery of the Herzian waves. The use is now available to those who are sales of radio equipment reached a endeavoring to probe the mystery of total of $150,000,000 last year and are the ultimate structure of matter. In expected to double in 1924. The earth the alloy industries the electric furnace has become a whispering gallery, and is firmly established, while electric the ocean has lost its solitude. The farm is no longer isolated, and the confronted the builders of transcontinewspapers, the theatres, and the pulpit nental railroads in the United States have a new competitor.
and Canada. The same faith and vi
sion are required to develop and operate VI
airplane lines on the large scale.
For long-distance travel overseas Man is no longer bound to the earth the airship will doubtless prove more He has achieved a three-dimensional available than the airplane. It is easily existence. Since 1920 our transconti- capable of carrying a good commercial nental mail service has covered nearly load three or four thousand miles, at two million miles a year. It has han- a speed of a mile a minute. Its safety dled in all nearly a million ton-miles of is, of course, immeasurably increased mail. In England, during the past two by inflation with nonexplosive helium, and a half years, there was only one of which, Dr. Moore claims, there is accident involving serious injury to enough available in the United States a passenger, for 5,000,000 miles flown. to fill and maintain two hundred airIn a single month 2600 passengers ships of the size of the Shenandoah. have been carried by the London-Paris He foresees ships of twice that size, route. It is now possible to fly from carrying a fuel supply adequate for the Vienna to Paris in ten hours and from trip to Europe and return. The British Strasbourg to Constantinople in thirty are turning to airships for the projected hours.
London-Australia service, and on overBut the airplane is available not only seas journeys generally it seems probfor the transport of passengers and able that a passenger rate of twenty mail. Its operating-costs are already dollars a day plus seven-cent mileage low enough to permit its use for carry- can be maintained. ing costly, perishable, or urgently The automobile, which has so proneeded goods, and there is probability foundly influenced social and economic of an early development of an aerial conditions in this country within express service in this country. Except twenty years, is approaching standardas a part of the military establishment, ization, and distinct intimations now the airplane has, in Europe, been re- appear that the period of great expangarded chiefly as an instrument of sion is drawing to a close. With more foreign policy and used to tie together than 13,000,000 cars and trucks now far-flung portions of empire and distant on our roads, there is, nevertheless, an but friendly states. French lines trend annual demand for about 3,500,000 toward Morocco, and the French aspire more. The replacement demand will to establish regular service between soon equal present production. Our Dakar, in Africa, and Brazil. The investment in motor transportation is British are working toward Egypt, approaching that in our railroads, and India, Australia. Meanwhile, the gen- it is in property subject to peculiarly eral public keeps its feet on the ground heavy depreciation. The economists and confines its aerial activities to the and financiers have looked with apreading of sky-writing. The confidence prehension upon these vast expendiof that public in the safety and tures, and the fact that seventy per regularity of aerial transport must be cent of all cars sold are being bought secured before any great commercial on the installment plan is not indicadevelopment may be expected. The tive of the highest wisdom in our situation is not unlike that which domestic economy. Nevertheless, we grow richer as a nation, and as we Still there remains the problem of have acquired cars the national income distribution, which is perhaps the has doubled and savings-bank deposits greatest problem with which our inhave greatly increased.
dustry is confronted. It seems to be Rail shipments for less than forty approaching a solution in the activities miles are said to be carried at a loss, and success of great corporations that and within this zone transportation function as distributing agencies. Sales by truck is far more expeditious. An of single mail-order houses approximate increasing volume of short-haul busi- $200,000,000 a year. One grocery comness will, therefore, be diverted to pany with 8500 stores had a turnover, trucks. Freight terminals are likely to in 1922, of $247,000,000. Last year be removed beyond congested city $193,000,000 worth of goods, in fivelimits, and delivery of package freight and ten-cent units, were sold by a single made expeditiously by motor trucks. organization, and a survey of its stock In Cincinnati motorized-freight termi- is a revelation of the accomplishment nals have in one year released 66,000 of our manufacturers in low-priced cars for main-line service, saved 300,- production. Chain drug-stores are dis000 switching cuts, and advanced tributing agencies for books, stationery, freight movement fifty-two hours. aluminum ware, confectionery, and
dolls — and will fill prescriptions, if VII
you can find the proper counter. For
radio equipment you may go to chain Our industries are entering upon a cigar-stores. In short, it is beginlong period of super-competition, the ning to be recognized that retail disduration of which will in large measure tribution is a function of organization be determined by conditions in Europe rather than of product. or our own relations to them. As foreign markets are restricted, competi- During the last fifty years science tion at home will be intensified. As the and invention have led us further and pressure increases, our manufacturers further from the world that was; deeper will be forced to rely more and more and deeper into a new environment. generally upon the scientific method The process of change has been so for the control of materials and proc- rapid that readjustment has been diffiesses and to support intensive research cult. Yet readjust ourselves we must, as the basis for industrial development and prepare for new adjustments. We may hope to see the stupendous Our dealings with Nature in the past wastes which accompany our present have been by crude and clumsy methoperations minimized, and resources, ods. The chemistry of the laboratory now neglected, utilized to great ad. is put to blush by that of the plant vantage. Such abundant metals as cell. We face the problems of the beryllium, hafnium, calcium, and mag. future with a new knowledge of the nesium will be utilized. Our wastes in ultimate structure of matter, derived cereal straw will be turned to account. from radium, atomic spectra, and the The lumberman will be brought to X-rays. What has gone before is mere realize that he is leaving behind or earnest of the future. We may confiburning up greater values than he mar. dently depend on science to provide the kets. Pure iron, bright as silver and foundation for a better social structure, little subject to corrosion, will be avail- if we can prevail upon ourselves to build able for a thousand uses.
thereon in a different frame of mind.
cult. Yet ree for new.re in the pa