Header Graphic
Facts About Dayton
Dayton As An Industrial City




Dayton an Industrial Leader

Dayton's per capita industrial production Is about 50 above what is normal in Ohio. The total value of Dayton's industrial products in 1923 was 7 greater than in 1919. In the latter year Dayton was the fifth industrial city in the state, based on number of wage earners; and the seventh, based on value of products. Four years later, or in 1923, Dayton stood fifth in the number of establishments, number of wage earners, and total of wages paid; and sixth in value of products.


Not a One-Industry City

Dayton has never been a "one big Industry city." Famous as it is for The National Cash Register, it has become equally celebrated in more recent years for the Delco, Delco-Light, and many other products. It is the leading manufacturer in the United States of more than 50 industrial products. It is known throughout the world as the birthplace of the airplane and the home of the Wright Brothers, who Invented the first heavier-than-air flying machine. Here is located the Experimental and Research Division of the Army Air Service. Beyond and besides all these distinctions it has, and always has had, many and substantial industries.


Precision Industries In Dayton

As compared with 12 other cities in Ohio and other commonwealths, many of which are larger in point of population than Dayton, it is disclosed that Dayton has a large percentage of wage earners. The cities of Akron and Rochester, New York, are the only ones in the list examined which are more strongly industrial in character than is Dayton, as measured by the percentage of wage earners to total population. When measured by value of industrial products, per capita, the relative Industrial importance of Dayton is not so impressive; but it is higher in Dayton than in five of the twelve cities Included in the immediate comparison. The low annual value of products per wage earner must be regarded as the primarily-significant factor in and about Dayton. It is due to the type of products made. Dayton, like other cities with which it has been compared, is a. center of precision Industries. There is a specialization in precision work here, and this utilizes labor more largely than it does materials. What has been said should not lead to the conclusion that the annual earnings; of wage earners in Dayton are low. As a matter of tact, they are high-Dayton's industries as a whole show the highest percentage of net margin. and the highest gross capital returns of any city in the group that has; been compared. Dayton's taxes on industry are normal. Its capital turn-over is about median, and above median when compared with the entire United States. Its horsepower rate (primary horsepower per wage earner) is low.


Products Widely Distributed

Dayton's products of an industrial character are most widely distributed, and an analysis of total distribution of these products, which amount in value to about $250,000,000 annually, discloses the following approximate figures:

10½ % distributed locally;

25½ % to points within 200 miles;

   77 %   distributed east of the Mississippi river;

95½ % disposed of within the United States;

  4½ %  exported.


Dayton a World Leader

Dayton is asserted to be the leading manufacturer in the United States of more than fifty particular commodities.  In several of these, Dayton's position is really important: in some of them, outstanding: in three or tour even spectacular. Examples are, cash registers, government stamped envelopes, automobile lighting, starting and ignition systems; electric lighting and water plants for home use; electric refrigeration equipment; tan belts; golf clubs; ice cream cones; shoemakers' lasts; water softeners; tare registers; and computing scales.  In close proximity to            Dayton will be found the enormous paper industry of the Miami Valley, where is turned out one-half of the state's production of paper.  This includes all kinds with the exception of news print.


Growth Has Been Uninterrupted

For many years Dayton has had a steady growth. During the last 45 years this growth has been rapid. Dayton's relative position today among the cities of the United States is established. The passing years have maintained and improved its position. In 1880 it was the forty-fifth city in the country; in 1920 it was the forty-third. Montgomery County, of which Dayton is the county seat, is enjoying a healthy growth. The rural portion of the county, although already densely populated, is increasing its population at a high rate. Dayton is a city of buoyancy and responsiveness. Its present population is estimated about 175.000. A forecast of future growth, based upon carefully worked out methods which are believe to be generally reliable, indicates that by the year 1970 Dayton's population should approach 400,000.

Dayton is a strongly individual city. It does big things in a big way, and in a way that is characteristic of its people. It has done many things which make it stand out. One or two examples may serve to illustrate this point. The devastating flood waters of 1913 inundated most of Dayton's business and residential districts; in some parts of the city to a depth of 20 feet.  As showing the spirit of the people, not only of Dayton but of the whole Miami Valley, the prompt construction of a $30,000,000 flood control system has removed the danger of future floods for all time. Having given to the world the first successfully-flown heavier-than-air machine, the citizenship of Dayton has perpetuated its name as an aviation center by contributing to the United States Government 5,000 acres of land which are now in state of preparation as the permanent home of aeronautical research and engineering work for the Government. The Wright Field, as this tract will be known, will be the largest aviation research plant in the world.


Dayton's Greatest Assets

Dayton's greatest assets are its men and women. No man in Dayton is too big for service. The busiest of citizens personally participate in community activities. One who might with reason claim to be a "first citizen" put on rubber boots and drove a truck in the memorable flood of 1913. This same man spent in excess of $1,000,000 from his own pocket for flood rescue and relief work.  Dayton is fortunate in its possession of great leaders.

The Dayton Engineers' Club is an asset to the community. It has 700 members, and its activities are housed in a beautiful building, admirably located, the whole being the gift of two Dayton citizens to those of their own profession. A city with 700 engineers in active dally association can scarcely help being a great Industrial city.


Other Features

Dayton has eleven hotels which are listed in the Red Book as "leading." It has three daily newspapers with large circulation. Some of the most modern office buildings to be found in the middle west are to be found in this city. It has many miles of wide, well-paved streets. Dayton is a city of optimism and progressive thought. It has been designated as "the city with a smile," which indicates the character of its citizenship.


The Spirit of Cooperation

Dayton merchants have a cooperative delivery system which has reduced delivery costs to a very low point. The spirit of cooperation among merchants is manifest.  It is interesting in this connection to observe that during the conduct of this present survey the percentage of returned questionnaires was very high (90.3%) and no really Important concern tailed to make a return. This was due, in a large measure, to a vigorous follow-up system Inaugurated by those who were acting for and cooperated with the Chamber of Commerce, but still it is characteristic of Dayton's response to matters having a civic appeal.


Center of Raw Material Supplies

The watershed of the Mississippi River, on which Dayton is located, la an Immense, fertile, and highly productive area, surrounded by deposits of the most valuable minerals in the United States. Toward the north are iron, copper, and timber. Lead and zinc are found toward the west. The South yields iron, copper, and timber, sulphur, and coal. Coal and gas come from the east and southeast.  In tact, coal, gas, and oil are found in every direction from Dayton, although nearby supplies of oil and gas are declining. It is perfectly natural that this region should include the center of manufacturing of the United States. Mineral supplies are the basis of almost all industry, and the mineral supplies are here.


Mineral Production

Ohio is the fourth state in rank with respect to value of mineral products; the chief item among these, constituting more than half the total, is coal. Ohio's mineral production is five times that of Indiana. Other Ohio products include clay, which makes the state the center of the ceramic industries; stone, including building stone, limestone for many uses; sandstone, which yields grindstones; sand, including glass sand and foundry sand; gravel; salt, found in the eastern part of the state and constituting the basis of many chemical industries; and gypsum. Near Dayton are the only cement mills in this part of Ohio, two large concerns operating plants.


Lumber Supply

Three of the great forests tributary to Dayton have been badly depleted. Yet there is some misconception of the situation. More than one-third the total stand of timber in the country is still in the east. The Pacific Coast at the present time is a large producer.  However, it is erroneous to consider that eastern lumber is dying out while coast lumber will last indefinitely. Nearly all of the hard wood of the country is in the east, and this is far more important than most people realize. The consumption of oak, for example, is about one-halt that of Douglas fir. The east has produced most of the lumber so far, and even in recent years the production of yellow pine has been twice that of Douglas fir. New supplies of yellow pine are being brought to the market. The approaching completion of Ohio River improvement undoubtedly will bring lumber, including Douglas fir, as a chief product, directly to the heart of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.


Natural Gas Supply

In this entire region production of natural gas has passed its peak, except in Kentucky. In that state it is not of large significance. Ohio now imports more than one-halt of its enormous consumption of natural gas. West Virginia is the one remaining large source for the eastern states, but production there is no longer at the maximum rate. The company supplying Dayton has access to the West Virginia fields, and it is estimated that natural gas will be available here for at least twenty years.



Oil is found on all sides of Dayton and generally is distributed along the Ohio River and its tributaries, but the production has long since passed Its prime in the Dayton region. Kentucky oil is just at the moment important, but a large proportion of the total petroleum requirements of this area must be brought in from the outside. Most of the refining is done in Cleveland.


Coal Supply Dependable

Coal is the one great remaining resource which will hold out indefinitely. There is coal on every side of Dayton, but the choice varieties are found toward the east and southeast, in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky. The coal reserves there are almost without limit. Coal quality decreases toward the north and west, so that Ohio will always look eastward and southward for its supply of this product. In this direction, also, are exceedingly valuable products of semi-bituminous coal.


Use of Concentrates or Intermediates

While mineral resources more or less surround Dayton, a large proportion of the most Important are to be found a considerable distance away. This, however, is just as true of many larger cities, whose development has not been interfered with because of the remoteness of these resources. More and more the tendency naturally will be to reduce transportation costs by concentrating the basic materials, so to speak, near the point of origin. This operation will not be carried beyond the point of concentration, be-cause with the passage of time particular sources of supply would tend to become exhausted. The plant investment at the point of origin, there-tore, must be kept low. A remarkably small number of the industrial materials used in Dayton come from ultimate points of origin, and many materials are not even obtained from first hands. Some materials come long distances and pay high transportation costs, demonstrating the tact that industries using such materials generally may succeed in Dayton.


Water Resources

Water is abundantly distributed throughout the region about Dayton, although where large supplies are desired, advice should be sought. The city supply comes from driven wells 8 inches to 38 inches in diameter, and from 50 feet to 100 feet deep. The wells are located in the bed of Mad River, and the area, including that for several miles above the wells, is under city ownership, and thoroughly safeguarded. As a further precaution, the city supply is regularly chlorinated. The present supply is sufficient to meet requirements, but additional facilities are now being provided, which will take care of demands for many years to come.

There are more than 100 private deep wells in Dayton. The cost of one of these, say, of 8-inch size, including a pump, is approximately $1,590. Such a well, in most parts of the city, could be depended upon to give at least 200,000 gallons of water daily.  The state laws prohibit the installation of water supply facilities for human consumption except in connection with a private residence.

On account of the limestone structure the water in the region of Dayton is hard. Water softening is general, even for domestic service. It is generally considered that the hardness of water, however objectionable from an industrial standpoint, has no relation to the health of those who drink the water. (It may have some relation to goiter). There are chalybeate mineral springs not far east of Dayton.


Building Conditions

The soil within the city of Dayton down to depths explored in foundation work is free from bed rock and contains very few boulders and no quick-sands. It is subjected regularly to foundation loads of five to six tons, and piles are practically never used.  In other words, building projects are not hampered by special foundation problems.

An adequate supply of sand and gravel always is available, sometimes from the excavation itself, otherwise from nearby commercial gravel plants. Portland cement is manufactured locally.

Prices of building materials in Dayton follow no clear comparative law. Dayton's prices of 1924 seem to be rather high on brick and even on cement, and slightly high on wood and on iron and steel. On other items Dayton's prices range from low to very low, the average weighted price, except, perhaps, in a few instances, would not be far from a median figure. Local building contractors seem to be thoroughly organized, but bidding from outside is common on large undertakings. On all important construction, Dayton's practice with respect to the selection of materials seems to be advanced and modern.

Return to "Facts About Dayton" Home Page