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Memoirs of the Miami Valley - Volume Two
Manufacturing and Commercial - Cincinnati

Manufacturing and Commercial-Cincinnati


            The industrial prominence of Ohio is due in the main to its natural resources, among the most important of which are a fertile soil, extensive hardwood forests, and abundant supplies of coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Furthermore, the splendid advantages afforded for transportation by water as well as by rail cannot be overestimated. Lake Erie and the Erie canal make a direct outlet to the Atlantic seaboard, and the western Great lakes and Sault Ste. Marie canal furnish a water route to the northwest states, while the Ohio river, which forms 436 miles of the southern boundary of the state, and its tributary the Muskingum river, furnish communication with Pennsylvania and the states of the Mississippi valley.

            There are over 9,100 miles of main and branch line steam railroad within the borders of the state, exclusive of the mileage of switching and terminal companies not segregated previous to 1908, putting Ohio in seventh place among the states of the union in point of mileage. The growth of interurban electric systems has stimulated its manufactures, and has added greatly to its facilities for local trade, for with its 4,280 miles of track Ohio ranks third among the states.

            Although mining and agriculture are important, Ohio is largely a manufacturing state, and the early industrial development of Cincinnati was due in part to its excellent location, since its manufactures received an impetus from the rapid settlement of the Mississippi valley, which opened a market for manufactured products in which the eastern states were unable to compete with (page 544) success. From very small beginnings in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the city's manufactures and industries have grown abreast with the development of this region until now it maintains its full share of commercial prominence in supplying the wants of one-third of the entire population of the United States, which lives within 400 miles of it. Within this area is produced a large proportion of the agricultural products of the middle west, is mined nearly one-half of the bituminous coal of the country, and is located (practically all of the manufacturers of the country). There is, therefore, a wide range in the character of the population in the vicinity of Cincinnati, and it will be shown how the city has adapted itself industrially to meet the varied and ever increasing demands of this population.

            The value and advantages of the site of the city were first realized in 1786 by Major Benjamin Stites of Kentucky. The following year he interested John Cleves Symmes, at that time a member of Congress from Trenton, New Jersey, in the project of founding a settlement in the region of the Miami valley on a tract of land to be bought by a company similar to the Ohio company at Marietta. In 1788, the first boatload of resolute settlers floated down the Ohio to form the nucleus of the great city of Cincinnati, which now has a population of more than 600,000 in its metropolitan district and an area of 45,312 acres.

            During the first thirty years of the city's economic life, farming was the only occupation, almost no industrial communication being maintained with the surrounding territory. Eventually, however, the production of agricultural products began to exceed the demand for them in Cincinnati, and their sale in outside markets became necessary. Accordingly, transportation by flatboats began, the Cincinnatians floating their four, pork, and other products down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, the merchant's return trip usually occupying thirty days of laborious travel. In the immediate vicinity of Cincinnati there was a great lack of roads, the mud roads connecting the settlements in the Miami valley being almost impassable for freight. This condition naturally brought about ridiculously high shipping rates, and the cost of shipping a barrel of four a distance of seventy-five miles was about $5. A consequent retardation in the growth and development of the city was inevitable, and its marvelous growth as the metropolis of the Miami valley did not begin until 1817 when the steamboat was introduced, and the opportunities .of the town became apparent. That its citizens were fully awake to its possibilities is reflected in the plea for good roads and canals into the interior of the state made by Daniel Drake in his book "Picture of Cincinnati" published in 1815 in the nature of an advertisement of the Miami valley for the benefit of the rest of the country. To quote: "Lastly, the erection of manufacturing establishments will co-operate in the future augmentation of our numbers. To convert into manufacturers the hands engaged in clearing and improving a new country, would be a mistaken policy; and if adopted, must soon correct itself. In the case in which a new country is contiguous to an older, of dense population, which can exchange manufactures (page 545) for subsistence, it may even be advisable to defer manufacturing in the former to a late period.

            But where a new country must transport its surplus agriculture products to a great distance, and import the necessary manufactures from shops equally remote, it may be advisable to commence manufacturing much earlier. It must not, however, attempt to convert its farmers into tradesmen. They should be imported instead of their manufactures. The ranks of agriculture would then remain entire, the simple process of barter at home be substituted for expensive and hazardous commercial operations, and the immigrant manufacturers with their increase become an addition to the population. The situation in Ohio seems to recommend this policy, and it is already adopted. Manufactures have been commenced in various places, and are principally conducted by foreigners, or persons from the Atlantic states." What the nature and extent of these incipient manufactures were appears later in the same interesting little publication. "As this town is older than the surrounding country, it has at no time had a surplus of laboring population or of capital. The former have been required to assist in clearing and improving the wilderness; the latter "has been invested in lands, which, from their low price and certain rise, have held out to capitalists a powerful inducement. The conditions which are said to constitute the basis of manufacturing establishments, have not, therefore, existed in the same degree as if the town had been younger than the adjoining country. Notwithstanding this, some progress has been made, as will appear from the following sketch, which embraces the manufactures most worthy of notice:

            "Cincinnati has no iron foundry; but is well supplied with blacksmiths, who fabricate in a neat and substantial manner every article which those tradesmen usually make, and many others which belong to the whitesmith. Several shops are devoted to the manufacture of cut and wrought nails, which are made in sufficient quantities for the town and adjacent settlements. Stills, tea kettles and other vessels of copper, with a great variety of tinware, are made in abundance. Rifles, fowling pieces, pistols, dirks and gun locks of every kind are manufactured. It is six years since a manufactory of cotton and woolen machinery was established, in which time 23 cotton spinning mules and throstles, carrying 3,300 spindles ; 71 roving and drawing heads ; 14 cotton and 91 wool carding machines ; besides wool spinning machinery to the amount of 130 spindles ; twisting machines and cotton gins have been made. Plated saddlery and carriage mounting of all kinds, many different articles of jewelry, and silverware of every sort after the most fashionable models and handsomely enchased-are manufactured. Swords, dirks, etc., are mounted. in any form, and either plated or gilt. Clocks of every kind are made, and watches repaired. "Sills, chimney pieces, monuments, and, in short, all the varieties of stone cutting are executed with neatness and taste. Common pottery, of a good quality, is made in sufficient quantity for home consumption. A manufactory of green window glass and. hollow ware, is about to go into operation; and will be followed by another of white flint glass the ensuing summer. Clean sand, of a (page 546) beautiful white color, has been found in abundance near the mouth of the Scioto; but no clay proper for crucibles has been discovered as yet on the Ohio, and that article has to be brought from the state of Delaware.

            "The principal manufactures in wood are the following: sideboards, secretaries, bureaus, and. other articles of cabinet furniture; all of which may be had of a superior quality, made either of our beautiful cherry and walnut, or of mahogany freighted up the Mississippi. Fancy chairs and settees, elegantly gilt and varnished. Wagons, carts and drays; coaches, phaetons, gigs and other pleasure carriages, trimmed and ornamented. Plane stocks, weaver's reeds, and the different productions of the lathe, comprehending wheels, chairs, screws, etc. The various kinds of cooper's work, for the execution of which a machine has been erected and is now in full operation. The author of this invention is William Baily, of Kentucky, who in 1811 obtained a patent. The power is given by one or two horses, which with a man and a boy can dress and joint, in a superior manner, the staves necessary for 100 barrels, hogsheads or pipes, in twelve hours. It can also be employed in shaving and jointing shingles, with equal advantage. The proprietors of the establishment in this place are making arrangements for the exportation of dressed staves to New Orleans.

            "To the productions in wood may be added the steam sawmill, erected on the river bank, below but adjoining the town. The principal building is a strong frame, 70 by 56 feet, and three stories high. The engine drives four saws in separate gates, acting at the rate of 80 times in a minute, making the product of each saw about 200 feet of boards in an hour. The carriages run upon cast racks, are propelled by the improved short band, and gigged backwards by. bevel wheels, in the manner of the best mills. The logs to be sawed are chiefly brought in rafts to the beach, and drawn up the bank and into the mill by the power from the engine.' Other branches of business will be carried on in this establishment. The engine is estimated at 20 horsepower, and of Evans' patent, except the condenser, which the proprietors have abandoned, as being attended with a degree of trouble and expense altogether disproportionate to its advantage. In place of this, they pour on the waste steam a current of cold water, which becoming instantly heated, is employed to replenish the boilers. The Steam Mill company, and Cincinnati Manufacturing company, have adopted the same alteration, with great success.

            "There are four cotton spinning establishments, most of them small. The whole contain upwards of 1,200 spindles, which are moved by horses. Wool carding is performed in several places; and an extensive woolen manufactory, designed and calculated to yield 60 yards of broadcloth per day, will be in operation the ensuing winter. It is owned by the Cincinnati Manufacturing company.

            The machinery is driven by an engine of 20 horsepower. The products of the loom at this place have not been great, but several handsome pieces of carpeting, diaper, plaid, denim and other cotton fabrics, deserve to be mentioned. Cables, the various kinds of small cordage and spun yarn, are made in two extensive ropewalks.

            (page 547) The latter has for some years been an article of exportation. Wool hats are not manufactured here; but fur hats, of a good quality, are made in such quantities, as to give a surplus for exportation to the Mississippi, where they are exchanged for peltry. The tanning and currying of leather is carried on at six tan yards in this place and vicinity, and the manufacture of shoes, boots and saddlery is extensive. Skin-dressing in alum is executed with neatness. Trunks covered with deer skin and oil cloth, leather gloves, and a great variety of brushes, are made, of a good quality. Blank books, and all kinds of common and extra binding, are executed with neatness.

            "The Cincinnati Manufacturing company have embraced in their plan, manufactories of white and red lead, of such extent as will yield six or seven tons per week. The latter is not yet completed, but the former, which is the third that has been erected between the Mississippi and the mountains, is in operation, and produces white lead of an excellent quality. It must indeed be superior to that brought from the Atlantic states, as it has no mixture of whiting, with which the imported white lead is always alloyed. Arrangements for a sugar refinery were made early in the present year; the buildings have been commenced, and the establishment will be in operation in a. few weeks. Tobacco and snuff are manufactured in four different shops. Pot and pearl ash, soap of various kinds, and candles, are made in such quantities as to give a large surplus for exportation.

            "The rectification of spirit and distillation of cordials, are prosecuted to such a degree-as to give an ample supply of the latter for domestic use. But the establishments, both in extent and utility, are eclipsed by our breweries. The first was erected on the river bank, in the lower part of the town, four years ago, and uses the river water ; the other was established since, on a smaller scale, and derives its water from wells and cisterns. The two are calculated to consume annually 30,000 bushels of barley. Their products are beer, porter and ale, of a quality at least equal to that of the Atlantic states. Large quantities have been exported to the Mississippi, even as far as New Orleans, the climate of which they are found to bear very well.

            "The manufacture of flour, at the steam mill, will be carried on to a great extent. The machinery is all on the plan of Oliver Evans, and driven by an engine of 70 horsepower. Four pair of six feet burr stones will be run. Two pair have been in motion for several months, and produce about 60 barrels of four per day; the whole when in operation will, it is expected, afford 700 barrels a week. The flour is generally of a superior quality.

            "In the year 1814 a mustard manufactory was erected above the town, but has not yet got into such extensive operation as to supersede the importation of that article.

            "In the fine arts we have not anything to boast, but it is worthy of being mentioned, that all kinds of labeling, sign and ornamental painting, together with the engraving on copper of official and other seals, cards of address, and vignettes, is executed with taste and elegance."

            (page 548( At this time barges and flatboats were the principal means of, transportation of heavy articles down the Ohio, but were gradually being supplanted by the steamboats, with a consequent stimulating increase in commercial activity. The chief export of Cincinnati was flour, several thousand barrels being sent annually to New Orleans. After flour came pork, bacon, and lard ; spirits and beer, potash, cheese, soap, and candles ; finished boards and cabinet furniture.

            The imports at the time from the west and south were lead, furs, cotton, tobacco, and saltpeter. From the east were imported iron and iron castings, millstones, coal, salt, glassware, pine timber and plank.

            In 1819, Cincinnati was incorporated a city by an act of the General Assembly. The legislative power of the corporation was vested in a City Council, composed of a president, a recorder, and nine trustees. The population of the city reached 9,120 in this year, an increase of 150 per cent in six years-a truly astonishing growth and the city boasted buildings to the number of 1,890, most of which were wooden structures of one or two stories. Of this number 214 were mechanics' shops, factories, and mills, and 412 were warehouses, indicating how proportionately large were the city's manufactories and industries. The city directory of 1819 gave a rather detailed summary of the manufactures and the volume of trade. In the manufacture of iron, brass, tin, and kindred articles, the Cincinnati Bell, Brass & Iron foundry held the most important position. It was established in 1817 by William Green & Co., a partnership formed between Mr. Green, William H. Harrison, Jacob Burnet, James Findlay, and John H. Piatt. The foundry covered one of the blocks of the city, and had two air furnaces, sufficient for casting any metal machinery from one pound to three tons in weight, and was equipped with a boring mill, several lathes, and fifteen forges. Another foundry in the city was the Phoenix foundry, an establishment designed for lighter, castings such as stoves, mill irons and the like. The annual amount of work done by the blacksmiths within the corporation was estimated at about $70,000, and ten factories employed in the manufacture of tin and copper ware did a business amounting to $72,500 in that year.

            Nails in great quantity and to the value of $23,959 were manufactured by three factories, one machine, and two hand. The silversmiths in the city also did a flourishing business, and the nine shops did work to the amount of $25,000 annually. The productions of the cabinet workers, coopers' shops, coach and wagon makers, chair makers, carpenters, joiners, and of the ivory and wood clock factory almost equaled in value that of the articles of metallic manufacture, being estimated at $191,000. Other articles of manufacture in the city were shoes, saddles, leather tanned, tobacco, soap and candles, hats, distilled and rectified spirits, porter, ale, beer, cordage, bread, tailors' work, potters' ware, hewed stone, and brick, the total value of which for the year being given as $1,059,459, and the total number of men given employment as 1,238.

            The commerce of Cincinnati had been growing by leaps and bounds, and had trebled in the years between 1815 and 1818, reaching the import valuation of $1,619,030 in the year 1818. Among the (page 549) reasons for these vast imports were a sudden influx of goods from foreign countries, the consequent depression of prices, and the establishment of a branch of the United* States Bank in Cincinnati, which made numerous and liberal loans to the citizens. This condition was especially unfortunate as the exports for that year were only slightly above a half million dollars, creating an enormous balance of trade against the city. But prudence saved the situation, and the caution displayed by the people in importations, and a corresponding increase in local manufactures and exports almost reversed the table in the following year, the exports for 1819 touching $1,334,080, nearly half of which was four, and the imports for the same year being only $500,000, and it was pointed out that if the industry and enterprise of the citizens received proper direction Cincinnati would always have a balance of trade in her favor. The underlying cause for rapid growth of commerce and manufacture was the steamboat, the use of which on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers increased with gigantic strides during that and the preceding year. Seven years before not a single steamboat had been used west of the Alleghany mountains, and in the year 1819 sixty such boats ' plied to and fro on the western rivers, some being as large as 700 tons burden. Nearly one-fourth of the boats on the western waters had been built in the vicinity of Cincinnati during the two years, and with an outlet for her products and manufactures to assured markets the future prestige of the city was thenceforth certain, for no part of the United States could boast a more rapid or healthier growth of inland commerce in spite of the difficulties under which the newly settled section labored.

            But river transportation was not the only problem of the day, and canals and good roads were strenuously urged. The Jeffersonville-Ohio Canal company was chartered by the legislature of Indiana in 1818 with a million dollar capital stock, mostly taken up by citizens of Jeffersonville and Cincinnati. The work of the company was to dig a canal past the falls of the Ohio at Louisville in order that the largest boats might reach the wharves of Cincinnati and other cities above the falls. The length of the canal was to be two and three-quarters miles with an average depth of forty-five feet. This canal was of the most vital importance to the whole region about Cincinnati, and was enthusiastically hailed as the means by which the Miami valley could be more fully developed. It was hoped that the national government would give some financial assistance to the project for the canal was of interest to the country at large.

            Three or four plans were also afoot to improve the communication between Cincinnati and interior towns of the Miami valley. They were the construction of turnpike or highway between Cincinnati and Dayton to follow the state road through Franklin, and for the undertaking of which a company was already incorporated known as the Cincinnati and Hamilton Turnpike company with a capital stock of $300,000. Another plan was the improvement of the navigation of the Great and Little Miami rivers ; and a third, a canal, supplied by the waters of the Great Miami, from Hamilton or Dayton and this city.

            (page 550) Beside the trade with the Mississippi valley an interest was evinced in a more far reaching commerce, and in an open letter of the time trade with Havana was spoken of in the most glowing terms, and citizens were urged to enter into competition with Atlantic seaboard cities for business with the West Indies. Cincinnati was expanding, her citizens had visions of unlimited trade, canals were being dug, good roads and bridges built.

            Such was the indomitable enterprise which characterized the city in those early days that the manufacturers thrived and expanded, the exports increased rapidly, and the thrift of the population attracted many other settlers to it, and all of an industrious sober sort whose energetic natures found here the opportunity for developing their ambitions. The trade and manufactories exceeded those of any other city in the west, and so great and keen was the competition within the borders of the city, and so greatly improved the transportation, that imported articles were sold almost as cheaply as they were in the eastern cities. The number of arrivals and departures of steamboats during the five summer months of 1824 were 480, but so great was the -volume of trade that the largest proportion of it had to be conveyed to and from the city in flatboats. The following year eight steamboats were built in the vicinity of Cincinnati to relieve this lack of carriers, and the manufactories in general improved so much that many of them doubled and trebled their output between 1820 and 1825. The only type foundry west of the Alleghany mountains was installed, and supplied the major portion of the western states with type. In all, there were more than fifty mechanical trades carried on, and as labor was in constant demand the growth of the city was rapid, reaching 24,030 in 1825, and 28,014 in 1831 exclusive of the transient population of which there was about 1,500. The demands for buildings of all kinds were so great that nearly 500 a year was the rate at which they were being constructed.

            A hasty glance at the manufactories in the city in 1831 shows the existence of eight foundries, nine large and many smaller factories, five breweries, five insurance companies, two flour mills, five saw mills, and a great number of other smaller enterprises, The pork packing industry was rapidly coming to the fore and in 1831 headed the list of exports by far, 150,000 hogs having been slaughtered in that year having a value of nearly a million and a half of dollars. The chief class of imports was dry goods of which two and one-half million dollars worth were imported in 1830 along with extensive amounts of castings of all kinds, hardware, spices and salt fish. A large number of books and periodicals were printed at this time, the number of each being respectively 86,000 and 243,200. A commerce of ever increasing magnitude had sprung up with the towns along the Wabash, and some idea of the volume of this trade may be gleaned from the fact that in a period of six weeks in 1830, fifty-four steamboats arrived and departed from Vincennes, and it was estimated that 1,000 flatboats entered the Ohio from the Wabash in this period of time. An analysis of voters appearing in the 1831 directory amounts practically to an analysis of the trades and industries, and it is interesting to note that the list is headed by the (page 551) carpenters, of whom these number 565, exclusive of those special workers in woods such as the cabinet makers, coopers, chair makers, coach makers and similar occupations. This information indicates to what an extent building was going on in the city and how rapid the growth of the industries was. Cincinnati flourished and was growing wealthy as is indicated by the presence, in 1835, of seven banks ranging in capital from $600,000 to $2,000,000. The receipts of the city treasury for the same year were $106,437.15, and the expenditures for improvements and public administration left a sum in the treasury of $23,324.50, all of which was temporarily loaned to the School Building Funds, towards the erection of the nine new common school buildings. Foundries, the present backbone of Cincinnati's commercial and industrial prosperity, were flourishing in the number of eleven in the same year, the largest of which was the Hamilton Foundry, on the northeast corner of Front and Lawrence, owned by Harkness, Voorhees & Co., was driven by steam power and employed about 120 hands. The Franklin Foundry, on the southwest corner of 5th and Broadway, and owned by Yeatman, Wilson & Shield, was the second in point of size, employing about sixty men. In addition to the foundries, there were nineteen factories employed in the manufacturing of machines of various kinds, including the Steam & Fire Engine factory, conducted by William Paddock for the producing of fire engines of exceptional worth and equal to any manufactured in the United States. There were three boiler yards, two type foundries, four steam engine factories, the largest of which was the Phoenix with William Taft as agent, a cotton gin manufactory, the Cincinnati Rolling Mill, three four mills, an establishment for the manufacturing of all kinds of cotton and woolen machinery, and the Patent Lever Lock Manufactory. There were four steam saw mills to furnish the boards for building the required houses and buildings, the capacity of the largest of these mills being 3,000 feet of boards a day or 20,000 laths. But stone was also in demand for building and there was a stone saw mill for the sawing of marble, lime and freestone. The brewing industry had always maintained a prominent, place in Cincinnati due to the demand from the Mississippi valley* trade even as far as New Orleans, and in 1836 these demands had made it possible for Cincinnati to have ten breweries. Other manufacturing houses of less importance were a brass clock manufactory, a bell and brass foundry, a spade and shovel factory, a saddle-tree manufactory, printing and seal press manufactory, a burr mill-stone establishment, the Cincinnati Button factory, a bark and leather rolling mill, the Cincinnati Stocking, and two white-lead manufactories. Besides the manufacturing interests of the city, the agricultural commerce was enormous, the trade in pork alone in the season of 1838 and 1839 amounting to $3,100,000. The volume of commerce and the extent of her manufactories is all the more astonishing when one considers the difficulties under which Cincinnati had grown; difficulties of transportation, sparsity of population, and her comparative isolation from the Atlantic only 42,500 inhabitants, it was the largest city of the western states.        

            (page 552) Some idea of the size of the city in the year 1841 may be gained from the fact that there were some 6,800 buildings in all, public and private, and the city was composed of seven wards. The foundries and factories had prospered mightily and had increased in recent years in size and number, and a varied lot of smaller undertakings were then afloat on the city's sea of business. The persons engaged in commerce and navigation were estimated to be 2,226, and those employed by the factories and foundries numbered 10,866, about 1,500 persons being engaged in miscellaneous pursuits. Thus it may readily be seen what a preponderating influence over the destinies of Cincinnati was exercised throughout its development by the manufacturing population, and it is only natural that it is now primarily a manufacturing city.

            The commerce of Cincinnati was its second stronghold, and was co-extensive with the river trade to the westward, the greatest volume of business being conducted with the districts immediately adjoining the Miami valley to the west and south, these regions being almost exclusively supplied with domestic and foreign goods through Cincinnati. The only other city that supplied these districts was New Orleans, and that only to the extent of a few groceries unobtainable elsewhere. By the census of 1840, it appears that the capital invested at Cincinnati, in commercial houses in foreign   trade and in commission business, is $5,200,000. The capital in retail dry goods, hardware, groceries and other stores, amounted to $12,877,000. Lumber business, twenty-three yards, seventy-three hands employed, capital $133,000, sales $342,500. With this quantity of business being transacted with outside interests by Cincinnatians, it is not surprising that a Chamber of Commerce had been organized to meet every month in the rooms of the Young Men's Mercantile Library. Of this Lewis Whiteman was president; Henry Rockey, secretary, and B. W. Hewson, treasurer.

            Investments at this time in manufactories. totaled $17,432,670 and employment was given to 10,647 men. Ninety-nine per cent of all these products were made and sold in Cincinnati itself. There were 1,125 miles of railroads, canals and highways concentrated on this city, and communication with the interior, as it was then called, was comparatively easy, assuring perpetual prosperity for the whole district. These various lines of communication had been established at the cost of $12,000,000, a greater amount than benefited any other city in the United States. It is gratifying to note with what determination the manufacturers of this western city set about to make their products better than those of the easterners, and to supplant their rivals in the western field of commercial competition. In some census sketches of 1840 this determination is expressed : "At the very threshold of my statistical enquiries and observations, I was met by the assertion of an intelligent mechanic, a saddler, that in most articles made in Cincinnati, and in everything manufactured in his line of business, better work and materials were turned out, than could be got, generally speaking, at other places. I was startled at the assumption thus made. It would be sufficient, was my remark, for you to assert an equality with the eastern manufacturers, it seems to me, without claiming to make (page 553) a better article. He insisted on his point, and explained himself thus: In the first place, the whole mechanic interest here has long since discovered that if they meant to supply this market with what formerly came from the eastern cities it would not do simply to make as good work; for the weight of prejudice and fashion was against them, and unless they could show an article which was manifestly of better materials, more neatly, or more strongly put together, and finished in a higher degree, they felt it was impossible for them to overcome the force of the current. We then made it a settled principle, at all hazards and sacrifices, to drive out the eastern article. We knew that we had as good or better materials, that the right kind of workmen could be got, and sc long as we met our expenses, we must, for so desirable and necessary an object, wait for our profits until we could carry our point. The best of workmen were, accordingly, engaged, and brought out at high wages, and every effort made to instruct our apprentices on the latest and most approved patterns and models, and in the course of a few years, by the time our boys became journeymen, or went into business themselves, we accomplished our purpose, and there is now not $5 worth of work brought out here, where $1,000 worth was imported ten years ago. Indeed, excepting carriages and pianos, I do not know any eastern articles brought here now, and these will not long continue to come."' It is not strange, therefore, that with their keen ambition to make the best goods, and not merely to put out the cheapest, the manufacturers succeeded in early establishing Cincinnati's reputation as a manufacturing city of high prestige-the Queen City. In fact, so great was the enthusiasm of her citizens, that it was then predicted that in the year. 1840 Cincinnati would be the greatest city in the United States, and by the year 2000, the greatest in the entire world. The grounds for these suppositions being Cincinnati's favorable location with respect to the Mississippi valley, and the excellent trade communications through the means of rivers, roads and canals, and inasmuch as the volume of the canal commerce alone was then great and increasing with startling rapidity, these suppositions were not altogether without foundation.

            Since Cincinnati has always been primarily a city of prominence, the manufactures, which were, and are, the very life of its prosperity, should be given careful attention, even at the risk of causing the casual reader to think that almost too much space has been devoted to them. But as the manufactories are so intimately incorporated with the growth of the city, and are in fact so preponderating a part of its history, it is doubtful whether error will here be made on the side of garrulity. It would be difficult to find anywhere a better or more concise analysis of the manufacturing interests for the period of which we are speaking than Mr. Charles Cist's "Cincinnati in 1851," in which the various industries of the city are divided into classes-182 in all-and a careful valuation placed upon the products of each class of business. Among these classes appear thirteen whose annual outputs were valued at $1,000,000 or more, and to these will be given special consideration in order that the reader may be enabled to gain concrete knowledge of the Cincinnati of 1851.

            (page 554) The boot and 'shoe industry at this time was coming into its own. Previously much of the leather tanned in Cincinnati had been shipped to the eastern cities whence it was returned in shoes to the profit of eastern manufacturers and the consequent loss to the citizens of this city. However, there had been steps taken to improve the quality of the product manufactured here, and the efforts of the manufacturers, and of Filley & Chapin, especially, were crowned with success to the extent that two-thirds at least of all the boots and shoes sold in Cincinnati were of local manufacture. The business was immense, 374 boot and shoe makers employing 760 hands annually made about 300,000 pairs of a value $1,182,650.          

            The butchers did so large and important a business that it is deemed advisable to treat of them separately from the packers. In Cincinnati there were 121 men engaged in this industry occupying five spacious market houses. This number was entirely exclusive of a great many engaged in slaughtering and selling by quarters outside of the markets, and exclusive. also of the 600 employees.

            Pork, beef, mutton and their products were sold in and about the city to the value of $2,850,000 annually.

            As is usual in the case of rapidly growing cities, and more particularly is it true of the times of which we speak, there were a vast number of buildings constructed, mostly of wood, and consequently the carpenters and builders, exclusive of the many employed in the manufacture of wood products such as cabinet work, carriages, wagons, clocks and barrels, were present in Cincinnati in great number. There were 284 shops employing 2,320 men which, in meeting the demand for their labor, earned annually $2,116,000, of which amount only five per cent was expended for the raw materials. Cincinnati was practically the only city in the west engaged in the manufacture of ready to wear clothing, and supplied almost the entire west and south with this article. This business was largely carried on by the progressive and enterprising Jews, and the city boasted 108 stores and shops. The work shops gave employment to 950 hands, while more than 9,000 women did work in their homes for these establishments. Six firms produced about a half million dollars' worth of clothes, the others of the 108 uniting in a total production of nearly $2,000,000. The prestige thus early acquired has remained to the present day.

            From the earliest days of the city, from the very time when commercial intercourse with other cities had its beginning, four had been one of the principal articles of trade, having been one of the articles on the first flatboat to float down the two rivers to New Orleans. There was never any question of their being an over supply, the only consideration that regulated the growth of the business being the supply and the transportation. Consequently, with the ever-improving transportation facilities and the influx of farmers to the Miami valley from the east and from foreign countries, especially from the British Isles and Germany, the four trade was a dominating factor in the prosperity of the city. There were, in 1851, fourteen mills, which afforded employment to sixty-five hands. Of course, most of the mills manufactured white wheat f lour and steam dried corn meal for local consumption and for the (page 555) foreign markets, but there were also mills for the manufacture of oil cake meal and horse feed. C. W. West & Co. and C. S. Bradbury were the proprietors of the two largest businesses, the former own   ing two mills here together capable of manufacturing 350 barrels of f lour a day; and the latter's mill at the corer of Eighth and Broadway having a capacity of 150 barrels of superfine flour, 140 barrels of steam dried corn meal, and 500 pounds best quality farina for use in preparing puddings, custards, etc., per day, the valuation placed upon the output of the fourteen mills for the year was $1,690,000. Yet another branch of industry which had kept pace with Cincinnati from the time its manufactories were embryonic, and had contributed in large measure to the successful development of the whole valley, and more particularly to that of Cincinnati, was the business of engine manufacturing and foundries. The forerunners of this giant industry were the blacksmiths of the pioneer settlement days, who were present in considerable number doing much work of the best and neatest kind. Gradually foundries for the casting of machine parts, bells, etc., made their appearance, their growth assured by the fact that the coke used in the vicinity of Cincinnati imparted to castings a lightness and degree of malleability impossible of reproduction in the eastern states owing to the bituminous coal used by them. In 1851, foundry casting was one of the city's heaviest branches of manufacture, every conceivable kind of casting being made from a "butt hinge to a burial case." There were forty-four foundries, one-third of which were engaged in the casting of hollowware and stoves, as many as 1,000 stoves having been put out in one day by them. Myriad other castings, some rough, others finished, found their way from Cincinnati to the markets of the

            world, and this industry alone brought into the city $3,676,500 and furnished employment to 4,695 men. In close association with the foundry casting business was the manufacture of steam engines of all sorts, high and low pressure, stationary, locomotive, and marine, and the manufacture of machinists' tools, lathes, gauges, screws, rates, portable mills and other articles too varied and numerous to be here enumerated.

            Aside from the carpenters and other persons engaged in woodworking, there were the furniture makers, whose long years of skill and industry had created for them an enviable reputation throughout the country. The furniture manufactured was noted everywhere for its beauty of design and finish, and for its exceptional durability and enduring style. The beautiful black walnut and cherry furniture manufactured in those days now ,commands the highest prices, and is, indeed, almost completely off of the market, its possessors accounting themselves so fortunate that they refuse to part with it. In addition to the native woods employed in the manufacture of the furniture, mahogany was used to a large extent, many artistic products in that wood being sold throughout the country. Up to a date slightly preceding 1851 the manufacture of furniture had been conducted altogether by hand, hundreds of the most artistic and skillful men being employed in the city to meet. the demands of the population of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, but with the introduction of steam machinery and its application to this (page 556) branch of industry the production was materially augmented, and the entire character of the business changed. At first, some popular prejudice existed against the machine made article as not being so durable, handsome, or exact in ft as the hand made variety, but when it was finally admitted that the opposite was the case in reality, the sale of Cincinnati furniture tended to increase. Several shops devoted their entire effort to the supplying of furniture for auction sales, but by far the greatest per cent, aside from that which was used to supply the local demand, found an active market throughout the entire south and southwest. The combined product of all kinds of furniture amounted to $1,660,000 in the year 1851, of which 75 per cent was manufacturing expense and profit, and 1,158 hands were necessary for the proper conduct of the business. Closely connected with the other industries engaged in metallic work were the rolling mills, which were five in number, producing iron goods of many descriptions and uses, such as bar, boiler plate, and sheet iron, hoops, round, square, wire, and nails, etc. The largest rolling mill was that owned by Morrell, Jordan & Phillips, and known as the Licking Rolling Mill. This mill was in steady operation day and night, consumed every year 175,000 bushels of coal, and required the labor of 120 men. The yearly output of this one mill was enormous, and the establishment consumed over 3,000 tons of pig iron and 1,000 tons of Tennessee clear blooms. The works covered a space of six acres, and the actual cost of construction about $80,000. The output of this mill combined with that of the other four mills in Cincinnati aggregated $1,050,000, and 550 hands were employed.

            The meteoric growth of the lard and stearine factories at this time is almost unbelievable. In the ten years between 1841 and 1851, the output of these products at Cincinnati increased a hundred fold, and instead of the one factory employing four hands, and having an annual product valuation of $31,000 in 1841, there were, ten years later, thirty-four such factories, employing 124 men, and manufacturing in a single year a product valued at $3,015,900. Of this product, sixty-five per cent was oil (lard) and thirty-five per cent stearine. Mitchener & Co. were the largest operators in this industry in the world, and his annual manufacture of lard oil reached 115,175 gallons, this immense business being conducted in a small two story building by six men.

            The growth of the lard and stearine factories is, however, partly accounted for by the vast packing business done by Cincinnati. Pork and beef packing, sugar-cured hams, etc., were carried on on a great scale. To quote a statement of the day : "Pork is our great staple, and hogs to the number of 498,160, have been cut up in the market in a single year. The yearly average of hogs put up here, during the last four years, will not, however, exceed 375,000. * * *

            The beef business is of increasingly great extent. There are as many as thirty-three pork and beef packers and ham and beef curers on a large scale, besides numerous other ones who do business on a smaller one. The number of hands, of course, varies with the various stages in the process of cutting up, pickling and curing. They may be averaged at 2,450 for the various departments. The value of (page 557) these products of beef and pork packed and cured here, is $5,760,000." The largest pork and beef packing house in the world was that owned by Milward & Oldershaw, situated across the Ohio river at Covington. This establishment covered nearly two acres of ground space, and was equipped with such deep and well ventilated cellars that the spoiling of meats was almost an unknown occurrence. For the preservation of the meat in hot weather nine watertight brick cisterns, each one- with a capacity of 400 barrels, were used. Into these the pieces of pork were immediately packed upon being cut, and covered with pickle, and in this way the possibility of any inspector in any one of the markets pronouncing meat tainted or spoiled was obviated. The firm did a large business on their own account, but the majority was done on commission. Another branch of manufacturing which passed the million dollar mark in Cincinnati as early as the middle of the last century, was the one of publishing. There were three large printing houses in the city, mainly engaged in the publication of periodicals. These were the "Gazette," on Main street, which was equipped with five power and cylinder presses ; Morgan & Overend, on the Miami canal, with a capacity of 45,000 impressions daily from its presses; and the Methodist Book Concern. There were twelve regular publishing houses, who had their printing done on the presses of the foregoing three, but chiefly by Morgan & Overend. All this was exclusive of several newspaper publishers who did their printing at their offices. The value of the books, periodicals, and newspapers published that year in the city was $1,246,540, and 656 printers and binders were employed. As is usually the case, wherever are located large packing interests will be found large soap and candle factories, and Cincinnati was no exception to this rule. The statement of Mr. Cist in 1851 was as follows : "There are thirty-eight of .these factories, some making soap principally, some making tallow candles and soap, and others star candles, either alone or in addition to what they produce in soap and tallow candles, or in the last article merely. These employ 710 hands ; value of product, $1,475,000; raw material, 75 per cent."

            Cincinnati was at that time the greatest whiskey market in the world, the liquor being distilled for miles on every side of the city to the amount of 1,145 barrels a day. The value of this product for the year was $2,857,900.

            During the next ten years the entire character of Cincinnati was changed, not only in a commercial and industrial sense, but also in its physical appearance, being immensely improved in its architectural features, the natural outward indication of the giant prosperity which enfolded the city. Transportation was vastly improved, and the rates were lower. River navigation- was at its height, and the hundreds of steamboats and barges which plied the rivers of the west had for the center of their traffic the Queen City. The farmers of the Miami valley had never before experienced such crops, and the fertile soil brought them returns for their labor hitherto undreamed of. All branches of business in the city were thriving in 1860, and the city directory for that year showed between three and four hundred different classes of business in a population of (page 558) about 200,000 citizens, who were surcharged with the spirit of commercial enterprise and the confidence that Cincinnati was and would continue to be the greatest manufacturing city of the United States.

            Then followed the dark years of the Civil war, which hung like a cloud over the nation for four years, leaving disaster and depression in its wake. But while it endured, the manufacturing interests of Cincinnati prospered in an unparalleled manner, the exports of the city far exceeding any like period previous. The requirements of the army were great, and the manufacturers rose to the occasion in splendid fashion. The needs of the quartermaster department as regards clothing were supplied by Cincinnatians, large contracts being filled for the government. The boot and shoe manufacturers also met with unequalled prosperity, and, as is always the case in war, the producers of luxuries profited greatly owing to the propensity of the soldiers to spend their money for their personal pleasure. The manufacture of lead shot was extremely large during the war, as was that of many engine parts and machines. It was feared that at the end of the war there would be a decrease in all branches of trade correspondingly as great as the wartime increase had been, and-this was in reality the case. However, this slump came so slowly, and high prices endured for so long a time after the cessation of hostilities, that people deceived themselves into believing that their prosperity was due not merely to the inflation of prices and trade during the war, but that a definite basis had been reached for their commercial prosperity, and one upon which they could estimate the expenses and profits of their respective businesses. Almost imperceptibly the retro gradation of prosperity closed in on the country, and what with the large decline in the price of gold, and the correspondingly high prices, the flooding of the market with cotton that 'had been stored in the regions of the south not reached by the armies, all the manufacturers and business men eventually came to the realization that they were spending money faster than it was coming in, and a consequent morbid state of affairs existed over all.

            Then, as the south gradually reared itself from the wreckage which had been brought upon it by the desolation of war, and the stunning poverty that at first vitiated the life of its trade and commerce slowly gave way before the quickening spirit of industry, the need of a railroad south from Cincinnati began to be felt. The city was almost at a standstill, and the people realized that unless the states to the south, which were beginning to demand northern products, were opened to the manufacturers of the city, the opportunity of Cincinnati, its prosperity in future years, and the present life of its great industries, would be lost through all time. It was at this time that the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce began to make itself felt as an influence in shaping the destinies of the city. It had been incorporated into a self-perpetuating and governing body by the general assembly on March 23, 1850, and had been gaining in strength for fifteen years. Now at this critical time in the city's life, this body began making strenuous appeals to the citizens to save the city from decay and inject new energy into the (page 559) veins of its commercial life. The chamber knew that the only salvation was for a railroad to be built to the south of Cincinnati to tap the southern system already in operation. The river trade had fallen of materially, and unless new fields were opened up in which to market the products of the city, its mighty works .and establishments would crumble, and the efforts of two generations of hardy business men would go for nought. But inasmuch as no private concerns engaged in the building of railroads could be interested in the construction of such a one as was needed, the citizens of Cincinnati, realizing that it was a commercial necessity of the first magnitude, voted almost unanimously at a special election held June 26, 1869, to employ the funds raised by a city bond issue for the building of such a road, permission having first been obtained from the state legislature. This road, the Cincinnati Southern railway, was not completed until 1880. The road has proved of immense value to the city, not only on account of the outlet for the products of the manufacturing establishments and the consequent stimulus to them it afforded, but also from the large revenue brought by it into the city coffers.

            Just how large a part was played in the construction of this railroad by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce it is difficult to estimate, but there is no doubt that it was the ever-present spur to quicken public sentiment in its favor, and in the annual report of the chamber in 1866 it was stated that, "If the construction of any public work has been considered as likely to have a more important influence than another in promoting the growth of Cincinnati, it is that of a railroad directly in her interest to the interior south, connecting it with regions of country, the products of which may so readily be exchanged at this point. Particularly impressed with a sense of the necessity of having such a line of road constructed at an early day, your board deemed it a matter of imperative duty to endeavor to quicken the enterprise of our citizens in regard to it. * * * Committees of prominent influential citizens of Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Charleston and other places, have visited the city, generally accredited to the Chamber, during the year past, each presenting in a nearly unanswerable way, the great desirableness of direct railroad lines to their respective places. * * * With these incentives, various efforts were made to arouse such an interest in regard to the matter, as might result in practical measures which would insure the undertaking and completion of the work." But the Chamber did not confine its efforts for the bettering of Cincinnati solely to the project of a railroad to the south. In the same year a committee of the Chamber was appointed to investigate, on account of the importance of the river commerce, the condition of the work undertaken to enlarge the canal around the falls in the Ohio river at Louisville. It was reported that a shortage of money had resulted in the suspension of the work, and it was recommended by the committee that Congress should be petitioned for a loan of the government credit to obtain the necessary funds.

            The combined value of both imports and exports in 1865 fell below that of the preceding year, although the quantity of exports (page 560) in the last year of the war exceeded those of 1864. The valuation placed upon. imports in that year was $389,790,537, and upon the exports, $239,079,825; and for the next year the imports were valued at $307,552,397, while the exports were given as $293,730,317.

            But these figures do not show to what extent business had dropped off, and if one considers the fact that the average premium on gold in 1865 was 87 per cent, and using this figure as a working basis to make the proper deductions, it will be seen that the imports for 1865 are reduced in actual value to $181,452,915. While this amount was much lower than that of the preceding year, it was nevertheless over $78,000,000 greater than the valuation of the aggregate imports of any pre-war year. Another reason for the shrinkage was that the river trade declined so excessively immediately after the war when it became unnecessary to supply the Union army in the south, and there was a corresponding lack of demand for railroad transportation throughout the entire middle west.

            Toward the end of the next year, the stringency in the money market became less acute, and the general fear entertained by merchants and manufacturers that a financial revulsion might at any time occur became gradually dissipated. Indeed, there had been the very strongest grounds for such a fear, and had it not been that the profits of the war years had been so great, they could never have weathered so long and severe a financial storm without certain ruin.

            Laborers were employed at a higher wage rate than ever before, and since the manufacturing establishments of the city were doing a sufficient business to keep them fully employed, signs of prosperity again showed themselves, and the exports of manufactured goods from the city for the year showed beyond doubt that Cincinnati was holding her own with other cities of the country, and was maintaining her position as the foremost manufacturing center in the Mississippi valley-that she was, indeed, surpassing even the most sanguine expectations of those who were engaged in that important department of industry. The most encouraging aspect of this new prosperity was that it was not of the character attendant on the hectic days of war, but was based on the firm foundation of settled economic conditions. There were, it is true, evidences of the reaction following the great struggle. This was inevitable, but the extent and importance of this reaction was known to all, and merchants and manufacturers alike were fully cognizant of the changed business methods they must employ. Most of the money which had been paid to the army had been disposed of in one way or another, those who had been enabled to live a life of ease owing to some successful venture entirely dependent on the war, had discovered that they must once more enter the field of commerce to maintain themselves, and those who had left the farms for the army or for the city had most of them returned to the plow. Thus it was that Cincinnati, sobered by the momentous years through which it had just passed, and realizing its opportunities, duties, and necessities, put forth into a new era of industrial prosperity.

            The questions of transportation still held a prominent place in the public eye, and especially did the Chamber of Commerce exert every effort to dispel any apathy on the part of the citizens (page 561) in regard to the advantages and benefits to be obtained by public expenditures, and it was mainly through the efforts of this body that the "citizens have been, to a great extent, educated out of their old dogma, that penury in the public expenditures of the corporation was economy and prosperity." What success met the efforts of the Chamber may be surmised from the fact that it was in the first year after  the Civil war that the suspension bridge, then the finest in existence, and a highly utilitarian structure, was completed. It spanned the Ohio, connecting Cincinnati with the cities of Newport and Covington, making them to all intents and purposes, except government and geography, corporate parts of the city. To improve river navigation and lower the freight rates and shipping facilities, in order that manufacturers of the river towns might be aided and their businesses augmented, a meeting was held in St. Louis of delegates from several cities along the Ohio and Mississippi, the purpose of which was to bring to the attention of the national government the necessity of improving the inland waterways, and especially to urge the completion of the enlargement of the canal at Louisville and to remove the prominent obstacles from the Mississippi river. So urgent was this meeting in its requests to the government that, in pursuance to an act of Congress, engineers and surveyors were appointed to make estimates on the work, and soon much was done to improve navigation conditions.

            There were at this time, unfortunately for the city, a great number of "calamity howlers" in Cincinnati, who made repeated statements through the press and elsewhere that the city had reached its highest point in the development of manufacturing and commerce and could do nothing now but decline in prosperity. So much of this brand of talk was made that many citizens were impelled to believe the statements, no doubt pursuing the logic that where there was so much smoke there must be some fire. However, nothing could have been more false than these willful misstatements of fact, for not only did the statistics show to what an extent there had been progress in a commercial way, but the great increase in the value of the city's imports showed most conclusively that all lines of business. Their recovering from the shock of the depression caused by the war, and the profits of the manufacturers were rapidly gaining. The total imports for 1869 when reduced to a valuation in gold standard amounted to nearly $215,000,000, and in comparison with the largest year before the war, 1859-60, was an increase of over 100 per cent. The greatest improvement was to be noted in the wood and iron manufacturing departments, which constituted so vital a part of the prosperity and life of Cincinnati. In addition, this was the year of the passage of the railroad bill for the Cincinnati Southern, and the assurance of unlimited prosperity steadied the nerves of the manufacturers, who, through a committee of the Chamber of Commerce, collected statistics of the manufacturing interests located here. However, only partial reports were obtainable, many persons refusing to give the necessary data, but the figures published showed that by the employing of over 10,000 men, and on a capital investment of more than eleven and a half million dollars, a product to the value of nearly $20,000,000 was sold. The (page 562) pork packing industry continued to be one of the principal sources of the city's income, Cincinnati ranking second in the United States among packing cities, Chicago heading the list. The number of hogs packed was upward of 350,000, or more than sixty per cent of all hogs packed in the entire state of Ohio in the year 1869. In the last year of the Civil war decade it was no longer doubtful that Cincinnati had weathered the storm, and had set sail in a new era of prosperity, and that the citizens of the enterprising type were pushing the interests of the city and were sanely contemplating a number of projects related to its interests. Among these projects were : The proposition that Congress should, establish ports of entry for foreign goods in the interior of the country, and better provide for the transportation of such goods in bond from one port to another. The Louisville and Portland canal was still the object of much inquiry, not only as to the completion of its improvements, but the levying of exorbitant tolls upon boats passing through it. The undertaking to build a railroad to some point of the Ohio and Mississippi railroad from Rockport was also much discussed, being desirable on account of the wealthy portion of Indiana through which it would pass. Much was also done through the Chamber of Commerce to get a charter for the Cincinnati Southern railroad through the state of Kentucky to which there was some opposition on account of freight rates and bridge tolls. Another project which was of considerable importance was the construction of a railroad which would connect Cincinnati with the western terminus of the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. This and the proposed Cumberland & Ohio and the Southern Pacific roads received the heartiest endorsement of the city.

            Great interest and pleasure was manifested in the Industrial Exposition which was held in Cincinnati commencing September 21, 1870. it was arranged so that manufacturers from all over the country could display the best examples of their skill, and there was so vast a number of exhibitors that the addition of three wings to the already large exposition building became necessary, making it larger than that used for the World's Fair in New York eighteen years before. To further this exposition the Chamber of Commerce lavishly subscribed $1,000,000 in the form of a loan or guarantee fund.

            No complete figures on the manufacturing industry of Cincinnati are obtainable for this period for the reason that "the selfishness of many, and the jealousy of a much greater number," rendered it simply impossible to get the necessary information. However, enough material was at the disposal of those compiling the statistics to enable them to publish a fairly comprehensive list of manufactories, and the approximate value of the product of each class, and from this list can well be estimated the total output of Cincinnati's manufacturing industry. The value of manufactured goods for the year 1869 as approximated from the available information, was above $119,000,000, of which over $11,000,000 came from clothing, the highest single article manufactured. Then followed candles, soaps and oils, valued at nearly $8,000,000. Tobacco and cigars at nearly $7,000,000, furniture at nearly $6,000,000, distilled spirits at (page 563) nearly $5,000,000, machinery at over $4,000,000, iron manufactured goods at $4,000,000, and many others of less value.

            Throughout the decade commencing with the outbreak of the Civil war the commercial and manufacturing interests of Cincinnati were in a turmoil attendant on the political unrest and the commercial and financial insecurity of those trying times. Unprecedented profits during the war were counterbalanced by even a greater depression afterward, and where the business men of the city once held prosperity firmly within their grasp they were next confronted by the imminent possibility of complete failure and ruin. Hope alternated with fear in the hearts of these men. The markets fluctuated without apparent cause and kept prices going from bad to worse so that no one knew whether or not, when he retired at night able to hold his head above the current of destruction, he would not be engulfed in the waters of financial ruin when he awoke.

            But by the beginning of 1872 so much had been done to alleviate the distress of the country that business was once more on a solid foundation, and men were able to compute in advance the scale of their prices and profits without fear that losses. would attend their enterprises. The money market was comparatively stable, and the shortage had long been overcome, although for some time after this condition was bettered the banks had refused to lend money to the many needy borrowers on the ground that there was insufficient currency. This was not exactly true, but the banks were actuated only by their principles of ordinary business caution. Therefore, from this year on, an attempt will be made to treat the manufacturing and commercial history of Cincinnati by periods of approximately ten years in the belief that by taking up the various lines of development in such periods a more consecutive idea of this most important phase of the city's history may be given. The vital subject of transportation was a matter of continued interest to the manufacturers of Cincinnati, and they, predominating in the Chamber of Commerce, made constant effort through that body toward the betterment of the communication facilities to and from Cincinnati, both in regard to river and railroads ; the reduction of freight rates; encouragement of all railroad projects; and also made efforts in behalf of the direct importation of foreign goods to this port, and other equally important questions related to the subject.

            The year 1872 saw many things of interest in connection with water and railroad transportation. The event which gave the manufacturers of this city the greatest cause for rejoicing was the beginning of the new work on the Louisville and Portland canal. For many years this had been a subject fraught with the most vital importance to Cincinnatians, for it was the narrowness and shallowness of this canal that had so long hindered river navigation between Cincinnati and points below Louisville. For several years nothing could be done to remedy the defects of the canal, owing to lack of funds. The work has been commenced, but on this account had been abandoned before completion. Petitions had been sent to- the national government for assistance, which was granted, and although the work was still partially incomplete, sufficient had been done to (page 564) allow the passage of the Mollie Ebert through the canal on February 26, 1872, and river commerce of the city commenced a new life for even the largest boats now found no obstacle at Louisville.

            Availing themselves of the facilities afforded them by the government under the act of July 14, 1870, the merchants began doing a large direct importation business with foreign countries, the aggregate value for 1873 showing an increase of 142 per cent over the preceding year, reaching over a half million dollars in value. In the same year, a new and increasing branch of the river trade was opened up by the running of boats to Huntington in connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad. However, the barge and railroad competition with the steamboats was a check to their importance as a means of transportation. The rates on barges and railroads were exceedingly low, and although the volume of business carried on on the river boats was good it did not show the increase it should have with Cincinnati's improving prosperity, and- the new canal at Louisville in operation. A congressional committee. was in the city in 1874 to investigate these questions and was put in possession of much valuable information in connection with their inquiries by the Chamber of Commerce. To meet the low rates on freight charged by the railroads it became necessary for the river navigators to lower their rates, and one of the most beneficial results of this competition was the reduction in tolls at the Louisville and Portland canal from 50 cents to 10 cents per ton, and the appearance of many heavy boats began to change the aspect of Cincinnati's river trade. The river transportation business was an old and important one in Cincinnati, and while for some years the volume of the trade, especially in iron, continued good, it was transacted at such increasingly low freight rates on account of the constant keen competition on the part of the railroads that it was evident that the life of river navigation as a commercial affair of, magnitude was to be short! The arrivals of steamboats in Cincinnati for the year 1880 were 3,163, a number only slightly in excess of that for 1870, and less than the arrivals for the last two years of the war, and taking   to consideration the increase in manufactures and commerce during the decade it can be seen that the steamboat was not holding its own.

            In the railroad field, matters were on the upward trend for this period, as can be seen from the consequent reduction in the amount of business done by the steamboats. New lines were being built to tap the resources of the country, and so low was the freight rate possible by this new method of transportation that new schemes were constantly afoot for the construction of railroads. How far the enterprise of railroad engineers and promoters had furthered the development of railroads by 1872, may be seen by this statement appearing in the report of the Chamber of Commerce for that year : "A part of the objectionable features of the charter of the Southern railroad, granted by the legislature of the commonwealth of Kentucky, has been removed, and there is reasonable hope that the remaining legislative obstacles will be taken away in due season. In the meantime, the surveys contemplated by the act of the legislature of that state have been prosecuted, rights of way have been (page 565) procured, and preparatory work pushed forward with commendable energy.

            “The Cincinnati & Springfield railway, better known as the Dayton Short Line, has been completed after a brief building campaign of singular activity and vigor. The road enters the city over the Cincinnati & Baltimore railway, through Mill Creek valley, and has the joint use of the passenger depot of the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette and Marietta & Cincinnati railroads. Besides giving an additional road to Dayton, it opens a direct route to New York City over the New York Central, by way of Dayton, Springfield, the Delaware cut-of and Cleveland.

            "The great Newport & Cincinnati railroad and wagon bridge over the Ohio has been completed, enabling the roads approaching the river from the south, and the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis railway and the roads connecting therewith to make the closest connections, thus furnishing enlarged facilities for through business, both in passengers and freight.

            "The Cincinnati & Baltimore railway from Marietta junction through Mill Creek valley to the city has been completed. More attention has been given of late to the lines of railway running northward from Cincinnati, with a view to the establishment of intimate relations with the system of railroads in Michigan, which during a few years has been making rapid progress in that state."   Other railroads were completed that year, including the Cincinnati, Lafayette & Chicago railroad which made another through line from Cincinnati to Chicago; the Peoria & Rock Island railroad, which connected with the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western railroad to make another through line of rail communication from Cincinnati to the Mississippi river. The Cincinnati & Terre Haute railroad was in process of construction, the purpose of which was to connect this city with the rich coal fields of the Terre Haute region. Still other roads were contemplated or in the process of construction, and the whole country was being covered with a network of railroads which were to open the vast agricultural resources of the inlying districts, and make the transportation of manufactured products, and the products of the mines easy and inexpensive. Remote regions of the country were to be reached and developed which never would have been by river transportation, and the very fact that such a large part of the country was to be touched by the railroads alone made the doom of the steamboats certain, for the volume of the railroad freight was so much greater than that of the rivers that the latter could never hope to stand the competition.

            The pet project of the Cincinnatians was the construction of the Cincinnati & Southern railroad between this city and Chattanooga.

            As has been noted, this road was seen in the light of all its advantages for many years before it was finally started. Then when a beginning was finally made of this city owned road the state of Kentucky, fearing that Louisville would suffer, placed so many hindrances in the way of its construction, that the patience of the merchants of the city was well nigh exhausted and their diplomacy at an end. Finally, however, much was done to remedy the defects in the charter, and work was commenced in earnest. Two years later (page 566) the contracts for three-quarters of the construction were awarded at advantageous prices, and the first train made a journey from Cincinnati to Chattanooga over the road in the year 1880. The construction of railroads was considerably checked in 1874 and 1875 by the financial panic and suspension of the banks in the first mentioned year, and the consequent retrenchment in the next commercial year caused a rather undue caution in expenditures, and for a short time dampened the ardor of railroad promoters. This retardation was short-lived, however, and soon new roads were in process of construction with all the ardor and speed which had at first characterized the business. It was necessary to the interests of these budding enterprises that the maximum amount of freight

possible should be carried by them, but it was at the same time vital that the freight rates should be high enough to insure the profits that were- at first so important to the business. Therefore, while some leading railway men may have thought it was to the interest of the railroads to lower the freight rates sufficiently to crowd out river transportation, they could not at this early date force the issue with the steamboats in a rate war. First, the railroads must gather strength for a long and sustained siege of almost no profit which would come with the attempt to cripple river trade. This resulted about 1880 in almost a complete lack of rate competition, and created a good deal of discontent among shippers, who were of the opinion that instead of competition becoming neutralized, the water and rail transportation should hold mutual checks upon each other.

            Advanced railroad men now admit that the destruction of river traffic by rate cutting was an economic blunder.

            During this decade great interest was manifested on the part of the manufacturers of the city in the various industrial expositions held here. Through the Chamber of Commerce they combined with the Mechanics' Institute in helping to make the annual exposition a success, contributing annually in a very generous manner. The first of these expositions was held in 1870, and "made discoveries, in relation to our varied industries, that gave our own manufacturers more enlarged views of their capabilities. The second effort revealed the manufacturing forces laboring with new aspirations and fresh hopes. These efforts accelerated the circulation of the whole business body." These expositions were held annually and each succeeding one took on a greater degree of variety and richness. It was very fitting that Cincinnati should hold such expositions for the benefit of her own citizens and those of others, for it was a city of exceptional character in regard to the number of manufacturing interest centered in it. These expositions were of untold value to the business men as they were visited by about a half a million people, most of whom came from adjacent states, but many from all parts of the country.

            Perhaps the quickest way to estimate the progress made in Cincinnati, in the decade between 1870 and 1880, in its commercial and manufacturing life is to give in tabular form the exports from Cincinnati in both years as regards a few of the most important commodities. The following table, compiled from available data, may serve this end: (page 567)



Exports from Cincinnati





Boots and Shoes (cases) ...




Beef (bbls.)




Coal (bushels)





Corn (bushels) ...





Cotton (bales)





Flour (bbls.)





Furniture (packages)





Hogs (head) ...




Hogs (products)





Iron, pig (tons)




Iron and Steel (pieces) ...





Iron and Steel (bundles)




Wheat (bushels)





Whiskey (bbls.) ...



* Pounds.


            The next decade opened with Cincinnati looking forward on great commercial possibilities. Up to this time the city had been comparatively neglected by the builders of long through line railroads, and its growth had been naturally retarded to a large extent.

            Now, however, that there were railroads being built to connect the north with the south, Cincinnati received a powerful stimulus to its development. She was the pivotal point of all the through north and south lines, then three in number, and the conditions which had been so unsatisfactory in regard to transportation, were now completely changed to the inestimable benefit of the manufacturing interests of the city.

            Manufacturing was going on with singular activity, the return to specie payment and the consequent relief from inflated values, which had so abnormally unsettled conditions and unstabilized values, enabling business men to proceed with their work with the greatest security. A desire for fair prices and wages seemed to actuate all alike, and a spirit of economical management was apparent where before careless extravagance had been the rule. Unfortunately, the following year, 1882, was overshadowed by a partial crop failure in the north and south. The result was that many jobbers were forced to carry their customers over until the following year, and the subsequent careful investigation of all customers caused sales to be diminished, especially in the clothing, dry goods, and boot and shoe interests. Aside from these three departments, the manufacturers of the city were nearly all busy during the year, and taken as a whole the industrial forces accomplished a greater amount than in the preceding year.

            Toward the end of the next year the lowest prices that had prevailed in many commodities in a long time occurred. No reason could be given for this, and a feeling of apprehension on the part of the manufacturers became manifest during the last half of the year and a spirit of waiting to find out what the development of events would bring forth. There was not a single exception in the decline of the price of commodities, and yet the movement was not (page 568) accompanied by a panic. It was more in the nature of a careful retrenchment on the part of capital. Keen competition with other cities was complained of by several business men, and this also helped to reduce profits, and cause them to take precautions. The year closed with an almost unprecedented depression in business circles, but Cincinnati. felt this less than other cities, due mainly to the solidity of its manufacturing establishments, and particularly to the unusual activity at the beginning of the year, the profits of which carried them over the period of weakness in the markets. The pig iron business of the city continued to show an increase in spite of the almost universal decrease in other branches, accounted for by the unusual demand by outside markets for that product. Although the aggregate manufactures reached a total value of slightly more than the preceding year, the year 1883 did not show that improvement which it should, and in the following year there was a decided shrinkage in almost all departments of business. Capitalists did not care to increase their investments in manufactures, and there was a large amount of building in the city during the year. A decline in the prices of raw materials, "accumulations of manufactured articles, growing doubt ,as to the future, economical tendencies on the part of people generally, and extraordinary competition, the general disposition of producers was to retard operations," and a considerable trouble experienced early in the year with the laboring classes, especially with those employed by the manufacturers of stoves, cigars, and boots and shoes, were the causes of the decline in profits and value of production for the year. This general depression lasted throughout the year .1884, and the same conditions of doubt, careful management, caution, poor demand, and a general shrinkage in prices resulted in materially affecting aggregate results. Added to these other causes, the presidential campaign came in this year, and as the outcome was uncertain, and the results feared by many manufacturers, it was still another cause for depression. Toward the close of the year, however, the dawn of better conditions made itself apparent in a disposition to view the coming year with expectations for a materially improved business. The labor troubles which had endured for a long time were at last brought to an end, and the enforced period of inactivity for workers and manufacturers alike made them all the more eager to find what was to be in store for them with the improved conditions which they felt were upon them.

            Although some were slow to recognize the new era that was upon the country, it was undeniable that, whether the return to the plane of former prosperity should be fast or slow, the city had entered upon better times. And these better times came in spite of a general decline in prices for the year, but this decline was accompanied by an abundance of money, renewed faith in the markets on the part of the manufacturers, satisfactory understandings between capital and labor, and a general impression that since production was being carried on at the lowest possible prices to insure to the workers a living wage, a period of unequalled prosperity would come over the country. The profits were still slender, owing to the competition and the good demand on the part of customers, but on the (page 569) whole the year may be counted as successful to a great extent, and was marked by very few business failures.

            The upward trend of business interest continued during the next year, and Cincinnati began to feel the benefits that accrued from its central location, and the unusually good transportation facilities with which its manufacturing interests were favored. During the year there was an unusually large amount of freight business on all roads, at times fear being expressed that the capacity of the roads was not sufficient to meet the demands of commerce. There was a plenty of money, and as a low rate of interest prevailed, the customers were enabled to pay their bills promptly. This in turn encouraged the jobbers to buy freely of new stocks, and the manufacturing establishments showed a good legitimate growth in almost all lines, only a few reporting a diminution, and the great majority showing a substantial increase. Prices in some departments were slightly better, but it was generally conceded that with the low rates on importing raw materials and for the exportation of the finished products, as low taxes as could with consistency prevail, and all reasonable facilities for the cheap production of manufactures, low prices must endure. This induced a stability of economic conditions that was unequalled in any other city in the Union, and the profits of the producers came from a low profit on a large amount rather than from any "wildcat" scheme which was bound to breed discontent both among consumers and among the laborers.

            Prices ruled higher during the next year, due to the partial shortage in crops all over the country, brought on by the long protracted dry season. This shortage was felt in all branches of business, and the volume of trade for the year fell short of that done the preceding year, although the advanced prices made up for this deficit. The production of the country was now on so vast a scale that there was much more difficulty to find a market than in years gone by, and it was the general feeling that only in foreign markets could the surplus of this country be properly disposed of. Supply and demand had a direct bearing upon each other, having a regulating effect on prices, the high prices and feverish conditions of the old speculative days apparently gone forever. The territory covered in the sale of manufactured products was increasing every year, and the foundations were being laid for the development of trade with foreign countries, and especially was it urged that great opportunities for the future of Cincinnati lay in opening up trade relations with Central and South America.. In 1888, feeling that a settled character had been given business and industry by the events of the past few years, the Industrial exposition was revived, and was opened on the Fourth of July "by a great daylight procession, much of it illustrative of the early history of the country and its wonderful progress." The exposition was a great success, and people from all over the country thronged Cincinnati, and the city undoubtedly derived much benefit from it.

            Toward the end of the decade it became apparent that Cincinnati had been slow to make inducements to manufacturers to come to this city. In other localities many were the offers made to such enterprises of free land, exemption from taxation, and an (page 570) unparalleled demand for their particular products. This resulted in an outward flow of manufacturing industries from Cincinnati ands the loss of many millions of dollars annually in capital and production.

            This was met by an increase in the remaining industries and the aggregate was still larger than it had been in years before, but it was nevertheless true that opportunities for the betterment of the city had been overlooked. The fact that railways were the most important factor of the time in aiding the development of a city's industry did not seem to be fully appreciated by Cincinnatians, and, although the city was constructing the Cincinnati Southern railroad for the very special purpose of giving the manufactured products an outlet to the south, it was certain that no sufficient encouragement had been given to the various railroad builders of the country to construct roads through Cincinnati. It was apparent that something had to be done, and the best indicator that we have that the city was not progressing as could be desired was the population reports, which in 1880 gave to the city a population of 255,139, as compared to 296,908 in 1890, a smaller per cent of increase than was noted in many other cities during the same period of time. But what progress had been made can best be estimated from the industrial figures of the city, because the manufacturing interests were so essentially connected with the life of Cincinnati that they reflected all the phases of its progress. In the following table, taken from the report of the Chamber of Commerce, is shown the difference between the year 1880 and 1890 in Cincinnati, as regards the number of manufacturing establishments, cash capital invested, value of real estate occupied, number of hands employed, and the value of production.


            See Chamber of Commerce Report here


            As has been seen, Cincinnati did not do much during these ten years of its history to further the building of railroads to Cincinnati. The only railroad which seemed to interest the city was the Cincinnati Southern, and in the first year of the decade this road was in remunerative operation. New railroads were being constantly built to give an outlet to all parts of the south, these roads concentrated in Knoxville, and Cincinnati was the logical point for transportation to touch on the way north from that point. But this one railroad so completely held the attention of the city that practically no effort was made on the part of business men to induce through lines to come to Cincinnati, with the inevitable result that in ten years' time they began to feel themselves in a backwater of commercial life in which there was danger of an ultimate stagnation of industrial enterprise.
            (page 571) There was, early in the decade, a through freight rate war on the big lines that reduced rates to a very low point, but this war did not affect conditions locally except only as they were directly connected with through business. The river business, however, suffered much from this rate war, and, combined with a number of bad years for navigation, low water and much ice, the importance of
the river became increasingly less as a means of transportation, practically the only class of trade done by the steamboats being coal, pig iron, and some other heavy freight In the next year the rate war between the trunk lines became so violent that a state of utmost demoralization was precipitated. Tariffs were entirely ignored and shippers were absolutely in control of the rate situation, but so little confidence could be placed in the tariffs that ultimate harm followed in the wake of the war for the merchants and manufacturers, and the policy was seen to be little better than suicide for the railroads. Meat was carried from Cincinnati to New York for as low as 10 cents per hundred pounds.

            Much was done during the next years to strengthen the position of Cincinnati as the center of through north and south transportation, while little material improvement was made as far as the building of railroads from east to west. At this time arrangements were made for the rapid carrying of perishable goods and fruit especially landing at New Orleans from that city to Cincinnati and other cities in cars with the most improved methods of preservation for the contents, and this was expected to increase the traffic over the Cincinnati Southern railroad and enlarge the revenue accruing to this city. By the year 1890 it became apparent that the better understanding of railroad management had resulted in more equitable rates, and the solidification of many of the smaller roads into large systems, and the disposition generally of the various railroad interests to come to a better understanding with each other, served to put rail transportation in the position it deserved to occupy, as the great medium for commercial prosperity.

            The period of ten years which followed the decade just treated, was one of the greatest prosperity for the manufacturers and merchants of Cincinnati. The opening year, 1891, was one of the most satisfactory experienced in a long time, and showed that the industrial and commercial interests were advancing steadily, through no inflation but rather by natural growth augmented by a better spirit of co-operation between the business men than any that had previously characterized their relations towards each other. They united to obtain the most favorable freight rates for themselves, and also to encourage a trade with foreign countries, realizing that while Cincinnati had always depended more on local conditions of trade than exterior conditions, there were vast benefits to be derived from advertising the advantages of their city in the more remote regions of the world. Unlimited supplies of cheap fuel for manufacturing purposes were of great value to the city, and, in fact, this was of such prime importance that many manufacturing enterprises were attracted to Cincinnati for that reason alone.. This cheap coal also was of great importance to the laboring classes who used (page 572) it in their homes, making it possible for them to save as great an amount of their wage as they could have in other cities even though they were to receive higher pay, and this of course, made for contentment of the laborers and an uninterrupted production. In the Government Census it appeared at this time that there was a very large increase in the number of manufacturing establishments located within the corporate limits of the city, showing that the manufacturers realized the advantages of foreign trade, and were developing a more comprehensive manufacturing department to meet the new demands made upon them. It was also noticeable that the average wages paid to the employees were higher, not only actually but relatively. This was accounted for by the fact that more men and fewer children and women were being employed, and the quality of the products was such that it required a more skilled class of workers than formerly. The year 1893 saw a monetary panic in the country, and Cincinnati business suffered with that of other cities. In the first months of the year there was an exceptionally active operation in manufacturing and commercial interests, but when the stringency in money matters became felt, there was a decided let down in the volume of business done, and much of the labor was laid of. The merchandise on hand flooded the drooping market, men bought with reluctance, and there was a marked falling of in prices. But so solid was the foundation of the business interests of, the city, and especially the banks, that there were no failures among them, and only a few among the manufacturers. The aggregate business of the year fell only slightly below that of the preceding year, being estimated at a ten per cent decrease, a much slighter reduction than was felt in most other sections of the country. This panic was felt less by the citizens of Cincinnati than by those of other cities, because the average wealth of her people was more than fifty per cent higher than the average for the entire country, being, in fact, relatively the wealthiest city in the United States. The manufactories continued to produce heavily, and this, a prevalent condition throughout the country, contributed largely to the panic, because production was going on at a faster rate than the demand warranted.

            The recovery of the business world from the effects of this financial panic was slow, and the manufacturing branch of the city's commerce continued to be depressed throughout 1894, although some improvement could be noted toward the end of the year. The total production for the year was much larger than in 1893, but the aggregate valuation showed a decrease of about eight per cent. The next year was still below the expectations of producers, who had expected a complete recovery from the panic in that year. There was, on the whole, an increase in the volume of business done, but the prices ruled low and the profits were small. The most satisfactory improvement during the year was shown in the boot and shoe business, the sales indicating a gain of twelve per cent over the preceding year, totaling $12,580,000, while the whiskey trade showed the. greatest loss for the year, the volume of business falling thirty per cent below that of 1894. In 1896, the questions involved in the presidential campaign, especially with regard to the financial (page 573) condition of the country, produced a feeling of commercial uncertainty which caused buyers all over the country to exercise undue caution, and the manufactures were therefore curtailed. The reports of the manufacturing establishments of the city for the year showed that only ten per cent had increased their output, while sixty per cent of them had decreased, and thirty per cent showed no apparent change. The net decrease was about five per cent, the aggregate value of all products reaching $225,000,000. This was, of course, a discouraging situation for the manufacturers to face, but when it was taken into consideration that Cincinnati was in a much better state than the other large manufacturing cities, it could not but be admitted that they were fortunate to be so well situated as regarded cheap transportation, fuel, and raw materials, which made it possible for them to meet the competition of other manufacturers without incurring the losses endured by their competitors. In 1897, the long looked for improvement in industrial and financial conditions made itself felt, and the returns of the manufacturing interests were most favorable in comparison with other years. The increase in value of the products manufactured in Cincinnati for the year was twelve per cent, some lines of business increasing the value of their output as high as twenty-five per cent. The estimated valuation placed upon the year's production was $250,000,000, an increase of $25,000,000 of the year before, and an amount surpassed by only one year, 1892, when the value of the output was $255,000,000. The money situation was much better in this year, also, bank exchanges being seven per cent higher, and this gave increased confidence to manufacturers, aiding in the fine showing of the year. As was expected in 1897, the upward trend of industrial activity continued throughout the next year, although the progress of this advancement was not regularly sustained owing to the uncertainties which existed relative to the outcome of the Spanish-American war. Not that any uncertainty existed in the minds of men as to the ultimate outcome, but there was some doubt for a short time as to the international commercial arrangements to be made after the war. While at first there was no little anxiety as to the effect on the monetary situation that the new administration would have, this uneasiness was dispelled by the stability of the money market. The demands of the government for money, supplies, and men were met by the country in a manner to bring credit to all without the confusion and commercial disturbance which usually attends such operations in other countries, and even the special revenue taxes which were imposed to help meet the expenses of the war had no bad effect upon business. Another aid to a good year in a manufacturing way was the excellent crop yield of the country, which was much in advance of the average for the five years just passed. Business failures throughout the country were fewer than in 1897, and the earnings of the railroads were entirely without precedent in the history of the country, the earnings of the principal. lines totaling more than $1,000,000,000. This general prosperity was reflected in Cincinnati, and especially in the earnings of the manufacturers, whose output for the year showed a gain of eight per cent, reaching a total of $270,000,000.

            (page 574) "The year 1899 was one of exceptional revival and expansion of industrial operations, attended with remarkable changes in prices of various important commodities, notably so in iron products," says a publication of the day. The foreign trade of American manufacturers was rapidly increasing in magnitude, and the demands of other countries were most encouraging to manufacturers, making it possible for them to produce to the limit of their capacity without fear of oversupplying the local demand, and thus precipitating an unfortunate financial condition-such as existed in 1893. just how great an advancement was made during the year is indicated by the fact that the bank clearings for the year were 36 per cent in excess of the preceding year. There were many less business failures throughout the country, and the earnings of the railroads were increased about ten per cent. Locally, the receipts of pig iron were 60 per cent in excess of the receipts for 1898 in point of quantity, and the value was about two and one-half times that of 1898, Cincinnati doing more business in that product than was transacted by any other city in the country. Prices were much higher in almost all branches of trade, being 9 per cent higher than in the preceding year, and 15 per cent higher than the average for the five years preceding.

            The year 1900 equaled 1899 in almost all features of trade, but the check which had inevitably to follow the extraordinary period of business prosperity which had existed for the past two years, came in the early part of this year. Prices, which had been a trifle too high, reacted finally to lower levels, and there was a decline in the production of almost all articles, because the unwarranted high prices had diminished the consumption of many products. The trade with foreign markets continued to improve, and never before had the exports of manufactured goods from Cincinnati so far exceeded the imports. This favorable condition of trade was prevalent in all sections of the country, and an important feature of the trade was the reaching of first place in value of exports by the United States, a position which had hitherto been held by the United Kingdom. The fear that had been manifest in industrial circles that the formation of trusts, which had been carried on to an unusual extent during 1899, would create monopolies, was much allayed by a decrease in this movement to centralize capital, and also by the formation of a number of new companies in various lines of business, the competition of which, it was believed, would prevent the manipulation of prices on the part of the trusts.

            It is interesting to make comparisons between the manufacturing operations of 1900 and the years preceding it, and in no way, perhaps, could the progress of the city be shown better during this decade than by an itemized table of values, but it is unnecessary here to go into detail further than to quote a very general statement appearing in the annual report of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce for the year 1900. "For the year 1870 the estimate of the value of manufactures was $125,000,000. For 1880 the advance was to $155,000,000, and for 1890 to $235,000,000. During the period here indicated, and subsequently, there was a decided decline in prices of products, so that aggregate valuation figures do not (page 575) reflect the relative increase in employment of labor and output of factories. This is notably so since the year 1890.

            "Cincinnati excels other localities in this country in quantity of output in various lines of manufactures, and in many others is near to the front. Industries of special prominence include woodworking machinery, machine tools, machinery and engines of every kind, vehicles, soap, metal products of every description, clothing, shoes, leather, harness and saddlery, furniture and office furnishings, distilling and brewing, printing, chemicals, pianos, lumber, pork and beef products, fire-proof safes, tight cooperage, etc. "The exportation of products of the factories of Cincinnati has been large in recent years, covering a wide range of articles, notably machinery of all kinds, machine tools, soap, oils, pianos, decorative pottery, whiskies, pharmaceutical products, stoves, furniture, office furnishings, etc.

            Transportation was much more settled during this decade than at any previous. time. The rate wars had ceased, and the improvement of the mechanical equipment of the roads made it possible to convey freight at much lower rates than had been done before. The location of the city in such a central position in the country and on a great river made it possible for products to be distributed from it at lower rates than could be done in any other city, making prices relatively lower in Cincinnati than in other manufacturing cities, which resulted in great good will between laborers and employers, controversies between them rarely disturbing the course of industrial life. In 1891, the subject of prime importance in connection with the transportation problem was that of selling the Cincinnati Southern railroad when the lease expired, but a committee appointed from the Chamber of Commerce made an exhaustive inquiry into the question, and recommended that instead of selling the road a new lessee be found. The value of shipments made over the railroads from Cincinnati in 1891 was estimated at $333,000,000, or an increase of 85 per cent in a period of twenty years. This per cent, however, does not take into consideration the general decrease in prices, and, therefore, to gain a more accurate idea of the quantity of merchandise transported, it must be stated that the average decrease in prices was probably a little less than 40 per cet during this period. The river's importance as a commercial highway was waning, but it is significant that while the railroad had usurped nearly all of its business, the quantity of heavy freight for which it was almost exclusively used was far in excess of the total amount transported over it when it was the sole means of conveyance in the entire region of the western states. During the last year of the decade there was little change locally in the railroads except for a few terminal improvements. The tonnage was greatly in excess, in 1900, of that hauled in 1890, but no definite figures as to the amounts for Cincinnati alone are available for this period. The period between 1901 and 1910 opened with the industrial world still enjoying that prosperity with which the previous decade had closed. Prices were reduced on most articles, the average decrease amounting to perhaps 5 per cent. Foreign trade was still on the increase and the value of exports over imports was increasingly (page 576) large, although the total value was slightly below that of 1900. Cincinnati was at this time producing more manufactured goods in proportion to her population than was any other city in the United States, and the aggregate output of the city in 1901 reached a value of $300,000,000, or nearly $1,000 per capita, as the population for Cincinnati was reported in 1900 as 325,902. At this time it became noticeable that less difficulty was experienced by those collecting data on the manufacturing interest of the city in obtaining the desired information, the majority of important establishments having no objections to giving the required figures. In this way, although the returns were far from complete, a rather satisfactory conclusion as to the comparative progress of the city's industry could be reached, a task of great difficulty in years gone by. In 1902, the city experienced the most prosperous year of any up to that time, the volume of its trade and manufactories exceeding that of any previous year, although the valuation placed upon the more important products fell about 7 per cent below that of 1901. This decrease was partly accounted for by the increase in wages, the average rise being 23/8 per cent in comparison with 1901. Owing to the unusually large imports in. the country as a whole, the export trade did not show such an excess. The agricultural products were in excess of any previous year, and as the bank clearings continued to be as substantial as those of 1901, the year was one of great prosperity for the country at large, and this prosperity was reflected in the affairs of Cincinnati business men, the value of manufactures for the year being $315,000,000, and the value of all commodities received, $545,000,000. The most important gains in the last few years in industrial operations were made in leather, boots and shoes, soap, harness and saddlery, machinery, vehicles, furniture and office furnishings, clothing and groceries, while the pig iron received and the sales of local dealers for direct shipment increased 118 per cent in five years. The year 1903 was quite generally satisfactory for Cincinnati from the viewpoint of the manufacturers, and the best indication that they were prospering was in the large amount of building that was being done at this time. Added to this there was an important extension in t he electric interurban system, which materially bettered transportation to districts immediately in the vicinity of Cincinnati. The volume of business done by the manufacturers was comparatively large, and especially was this true in the important branches such as machinery and the other well known classes of manufactured products of Cincinnati. However, along with this increase shown by many industries, there was a corresponding decrease in others, while many showed no change whatever, making the total valuation placed upon the year's production about the same as for the preceding year, $315,000,000. The next year, 1904, showed the city to be keeping pace with the good business conditions which were prevalent all over the country at the time. A good showing was made by almost all departments of the manufacturing business, and some of the more important ones especially showed marked improvement. Transportation facilities were being greatly improved around Cincinnati at the time, and it was agitated freely that the Ohio river should receive some attention so that it might (page 577) be improved for navigation, in order that the river could carry a larger portion of the great burden of freight which was carried annually to and from the city by the railroads and which amounted in 1904 to about twenty million tons. The value of the product of the manufacturing establishments of the city for the year showed a slight increase over that of the year before, being estimated at $320,000,000. The year 1905 was characterized by the good demand which continued from first to last for the products of nearly all manufacturing establishments, which experienced a substantial increase in the volume of their output as well as the value of it. The only feature of the year's business which marred its otherwise even tenor, was the occurrence of some slight labor troubles. Labor was well paid and well employed, and there was little or no reason for the demonstrations which occurred to interfere with the operations of the factories. Three to five per cent represents the increase in value of the products of the manufacturing establishments, the figure used for the basis of comparison with other years being $333,000,000. The commercial prosperity which had existed in 1905 continued to be experienced in 1906, practically all lines of manufacturing showing a decided advance over the year before, the value of the aggregate product being estimated at about $345,000,000. This era of prosperity continued throughout the first ten months of 1907, but was brought to a sudden close by the financial panic which came at the end of that year. Its effect on the business of Cincinnati is best described for our purposes in a publication of the time relating to the commerce of the city. "In most of the lines of commercial and industrial activity there were satisfactory conditions in this city as the year 1907 progressed, until the occurrence of financial disorder in October, which developed in New York, the effect and influence of which reached all sections of the country, in more or less degree of unfavorableness. This community, in common with other communities, suffered from these disturbances of confidence and restrictions upon financial facilities for the conduct of industrial operations, but the banking institutions for the city were not shaken, and they applied their ability and resources most creditably in meeting the exigencies of the situation. The interference with business operations represented by the October monetary panic is reflected in the comparisons of bank clearings for our city, which for the first ten months of the year made an increase of 9 per cent over the record for the corresponding period of the preceding year, while the last two months of the year fell behind 19 per cent in such comparison. This feature in the affairs of industry, investment and employment of capital furnishes explanation for a large part of causes for failure of the year's results to disclose a usual gain in the comparisons which investigation leads up to." In spite of the fact that retrenchments of magnitude took place in the last two months of the year, the first ten months showed such a satisfactory increase as regarded the value of manufactured products that the total for the year was slightly above that of 1904 when there had been an uninterrupted f low of prosperity. The estimated value of all the products of Cincinnati and vicinity was $350,000,000 for the year. Industrial activity rebounded with unusual rapidity the next year from its state (page 578) of depression to the accustomed conditions of confidence and prosperity, one of the principal causes for this splendid recovery arising in the splendid crops for the year. The prices on almost all manufactured goods ruled considerably higher during the year, having a stabilizing effect on manufacturers, who became confident that their profits would not suffer as they had done following the panic of 1893. These higher prices, however, induced higher wages and an increase in the cost of raw materials, thus preventing the profits of the manufacturers from being as high as could have been desired.

            That money was far from free was shown by the decrease in bank clearings in the city of about 10 per cent from 1907. The great depression which existed in the early part of the year was reflected in the greatly diminished value of the manufactured products for the year, those of Cincinnati being estimated at $250,000,000, in comparison with $350,000,000 for 1907. However, there was large general improvement in 1909, the valuation of products reaching $300,000,000 in that year. This advancement continued during the next year, a total of $325,000,000 being quoted for manufactured goods.

            The following table will give a comprehensive comparison between the years 1901 and 1910 in regard to some of the more important products of local manufacture and their value :





Whisky made and received ...



Beer made ...



Boots and shoes manufactured ...



Soap manufactured



Clothing. sold ...



Vehicles manufactured ...






Pig iron, receipts and sales...





            Acting on the advice of the committee of the Chamber of Commerce in 1900 appointed to investigate the question of selling the Cincinnati Southern railroad, the citizens of Cincinnati voted in 1901 to re-lease the road. This was done, satisfactory terms being agreed upon with the New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Company. The new lease was for a period of sixty years beginning in 1906, the first twenty years of which the annual rental to be $1,050,000, during the second twenty years, $1,100,000, and for the remaining period, $1,200,000. Reflecting the increase in export business, the railroads showed a decided improvement in the amount of freight moving outward from Cincinnati in the early part of the decade. This increase continued until 1907, when the panic and the subsequent diminishing of manufactures and commercial operation in 1908 reduced the tonnage and earnings of the railroads materially. By 1910 vastly better transportation facilities were afforded to Cincinnati merchants and manufacturers who had excellent rail communication with all parts of the country. In some respects the terminals were improved by the end of this decade, but the inability of many of the citizens to comprehend the advantages of good (page 579) terminals, and their unwillingness to lay aside their personal objections in the matter, hindered many good plans from being carried out. 1910 saw eleven railroads entering the city, and the freight tonnage for the year was estimated at about thirty-three million tons. In addition to these eleven railroads there were a number of electric lines connecting Cincinnati with the surrounding district, greatly facilitating the question of short hauls. It cannot definitely be stated just what tonnage is to be credited to the river transportation. However, figuring the average tonnage of steamboats for the year at 467 tons and the total departures and arrivals for the year at 2,699, it can be estimated that the steamboat tonnage for the year was slightly over one and one-quarter million tons. This figure does not include the barge service on heavy freight which was many times larger than the steamboat tonnage.

            In the consideration of the progress made in manufacturing and commercial lines from the year 1910 down to the present, particular attention will be paid to the effect of the World war; what branches of trade suffered and which gained, the percent of loss and the net gain. Cincinnati experienced unsatisfactory conditions in the business world in 1911, because the bright prospects held forth at the beginning of the year failed to materialize, causing a feeling of unrest and uncertainty. But owing to the diversity of manufactures in .this city many of the heavy losses suffered by some were offset by the gains of others, and the aggregate value of the year's production was slightly above that of 1910, reaching $331,000,000. The greatest per cent of gain for the year in the manufacturing business was that shown by the automobile builders, who reported an increase of 250 per cent, while the greatest decrease was 40 per cent in one branch of the machine tool business. Little change was to be noted in volume of business done, prices obtained for the products, the cost of raw materials, or the wages paid, and in general the labor conditions were of the best, only one slight disturbance occurring in the year.

            1912 was a record-breaking year in all departments of business, and that this should occur in the year of the presidential campaign of the most interest in many years. when the defeat of the conservative party was admitted before the election, and after a winter of such severity that at first the crop outlook was poor, was, indeed, little less than amazing. Practically every crop broke the record for magnitude, the products of the manufacturers, as well as the production of iron and steel surpassed all preceding years in volume and value. Cincinnati with its 3,000 manufacturing establishments prospered accordingly, and important steps were taken to improve the export trade with foreign countries. Realizing that the greatest profits were to be made in the foreign markets, and the capacity of the factories was such as to create a vast surplus of manufactured articles, the Chamber of Commerce appointed a committee whose sole duty was the encouragement and development of this export business. Their most important act was the establishment of close trade relations with government institutions abroad and the most important foreign Chambers of Commerce, in order that the local manufacturers who could not go to the expense of establishing (page 580) foreign offices for the sale and distribution of their goods. Through the efforts of this committee direct communication was established in many instances between Cincinnati merchants and the foreign buyers, and so great did the interest in foreign trade become that a club was formed in the Chamber of Commerce known as the "Export Club of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce." Cincinnati at that time ranked second among inland cities in the amount of its foreign trade, being surpassed in this department only by Chicago, and the value of these exports helped not a little to swell the total valuation of Cincinnati's manufactures to approximately $350,000,000. There appeared in the report of the Chamber of Commerce for that year a number of interesting facts as to the city, among which were : that Cincinnati was the nearest large city to the center of population, being within twenty-four hours of 76,000,000 people, the largest center of hardwood lumber in the world, the only city in the United States owning a railroad, manufactured more and better machine tools than any other city in the world, as was also the case in respect to wood working machinery and office furniture, largest distributing center for whiskey in the world, fourth or fifth in the manufacture of shoes, third in the manufacture of electrical machinery, and had the largest leather supply house and harness factory in the world.

            Cincinnati reflected the general conditions which prevailed tall over the country in 1913, and a feeling of general timidity induced by bad weather and its effect on the crops, tariff and currency legislation, the revision of railroad rates, and labor troubles caused a spirit of caution to prevail throughout the entire business world. Railroads brought the question of a 5 per cent increase in freight rates before the Interstate Commerce Commission, an increase which threatened to reduce profits still more, and yet in spite of all the unfavorable sidelights which shown upon the year's business, there was a general increase in the volume. This was accounted for by the large volume of manufacturing in the first six months of the year, only the last three months being what could be really termed poor. The export trade did not suffer from these conditions which prevailed at home, and not only did most of the houses engaged in this department of trade report a satisfactory increase in the amount of their business done,-but several new firms entered the field. In view of the final results, the year may be looked upon as satisfactory from the standpoint of the majority of Cincinnati business men. 1914 was the most remarkable year which had ever been experienced by business men of the city. The feeling of nervousness and depression which preceded the government legislation had a retarding effect on manufacturing throughout the country,' and when the World war broke out in August, a nation-wide disaster in commercial and industrial life was averted only through the most heroic efforts of the administration. The lack of a merchant marine and the bottling up of the Central Powers by the British feet which cut off one of the most important markets for cotton brought this country face to face with financial ruin. However, the admission of foreign boats to American registry partially alleviated the ill effects of the first, and the establishment of a $130,000,000 fund by the (page 581) government to carry and market the cotton crop relieved the depression caused by the second. Other beneficent measures taken by the government were the establishment of the War Risk Insurance Bureau with a fund of $100,000,000 to protect the foreign exchange market, and the putting into operation a new banking system which greatly aided the situation. Toward the end of the year there was a great increase in foreign trade, the results of which were reflected in Cincinnati, although the upward trend of business came a little too late in the year to prevent some of the seventy business failures which occurred during the year. The greatest percentage of decrease in manufacturing in the city came in the department of machinery manufacture, which suffered a reduction of about 50 per cent. The year 1915 was a year of splendid recovery in the business life of Cincinnati. The general conditions which brought this improvement about were the enormous demands by foreign powers for food, especially cereals, wire, machine tools, automobiles, clothing, and munitions. The necessity for these articles was so pressing upon these nations, that they paid almost unquestioningly the prices asked in this country. The surplus supplies of the country were soon exhausted, and it was found that the present capacity of the factories was not great enough to fill all the orders that were pouring into them. New factories and plants sprung up like mushrooms in the districts favored by transportation and raw material facilities. Such high wages were paid by some manufacturers whose products were in the greatest demand, that a scarcity of skilled labor in other branches of industry began to be felt with a consequent increase in wages for all labor. Exceptionally large crops and an enormous influx of gold from Europe made for unusual prosperity which steadily increased throughout the year, and mounted still higher in 1916, making that year one of unparalleled advancement in volume of trade, industrial production, earnings of railroads, and import and export trade. Nothing could retard this tide of gain, and even the incidents connected with an unusually important presidential campaign and events of a discouraging nature in our foreign relations failed to stem it. Wages increased during the year from 5 to 25 per cent, but the additional profits accruing from an increase in selling prices from 100 to 250 per cent were eaten up in the added cost of raw materials which ranged in their increase from 10 to 300 per cent. The flood tide of prosperity continued until 1917, when this country entered the war, and the reason for its being retarded at that time was not on account of any doubt or uncertainty as to the outcome or lack of confidence in the government and the markets, but the government control of many of the important commodities of commercial life, such as wheat, sugar, coal, pig iron and steel, exerted an unusual influence on industrial life. The greatly increased demand for some articles of manufacture needed for the army and navy, the withdrawal of millions of young men from active producing, increased taxes and government loans all created a feeling of some uncertainty. The manufacturer was at a loss to know what prices to quote the consumer in advance of the manufacture of his product because the fluctuating cost of raw materials might either make him wealthy or (page 582) bankrupt him. There was a large, increase of business for Cincinnati, but the profits did not keep step with the volume of the trade. Practically the same conditions prevailed during the year 1918. Restrictions by government policy on some branches of manufacture were made up for in increased production of military articles. The entire resources of the country, financial, agricultural, military, and commercial were bent toward the winning of the war, and there was little room for conditions to be affected by the personal gain of private manufactures, or the manipulation of the markets by unscrupulous traders.

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