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counties of New York, nearly to the southern point of the Tennessee river, in Alabama. Its western limit is near Pomeroy, on the Ohio river; it approaches to within about forty miles of Lake Erie, near Cleveland, and its point nearest the tide waters of the Atlantic, is perhaps from 90 to 100 miles west of Philadelphia.
On the eastern slope, in Pennsylvania, its character is chiefly anthracite; in Maryland, bituminous; and here are the richest mines of coal now known. Their value is inestimable, and is now fully appreciated.
Anthracite coal was first used on tide-water, as fuel, in 1820, and the supply sent to market in that year, was only 365 tons. In 1846, the total supply was 2,333 594 tons, and 11,468 vessels, exclusive of boats, were laoded with it for coastwise demand. The great and only drawback to the value of this coal-field, is its location in the mountains, and its distance from market. Over thirty-four millions of dollars have already been expended in making cannals, rail-roads, and other facilities for transporting the coal to points where it can be profitably used, and then the largest part of its cost is the result of labor outside of the mine. The interest on this capital, and the demand for this labor, will be perpetual.
On the western slope of the Alleghanies this coal field assumes a bituminous character. The only points at which it will be of value to us is where it touches the navigable waters of the Ohio and its tributaries. Here the coal is so abundant, so accessible, so cheaply and easily worked, that geologists and "coal viewers" have not been called on to describe its strata; and the only reliable authority I find in reference to it is in Silliman's Journal of October, 1835, and taken from a memoir of Dr. S. P. Hildreth. He gives this type of the field in the valley of the Monongahale.
"No less than four deposits of coal are found from the tops of the hills to the bed of the river, the uppermost is at an elevation of 300 feet and is six feet in thickness; the second is 150 feet above the bed of the river and seven feet thick-the coal of an excellent quality; the third is 30 feet above the river, three feet thick, and coal rather inferior; the fourth bed is a few feet beneath the river, six feet thick, and of superior quality."
This coal has some of the peculiarities of the flint-stone, a variety of the Scotch, and one of the Newcastle, but superior to either.
As this coal-field passes the head waters of the Sandy and Kentucky rivers, it takes nearly the characteristics of the pure cannel. On the banks of the river where this coal is mined, its price aside from the rent, s from 2 to 3 1-2 cents per bushel, depending on the quantity mined.
It is much to be regretted that our States interested in this field, have not had it fully surveyed and described.
There is a coal-field in the valley of the Osage river, of surprising depth and richness. This has but recently been discovered, and but little is known of it.
The great Illinois coal-field completes the list. This is nearly of an eliptical form; underlies nearly the whole of Illinois, the southwestern portion of Indiana, and the counties in Kentucky, opposite, for 70 or 80 miles. It crosses the Mississippi about the mouth of Rock river, and then extends 15 or 20 miles on the western bank of the Mississippi ; its edges on the Ohio are near Fredonia, on the east, and Shawneetown on the west. Its strata are probably parallel to each other, with a rapid dip westardly, and from a few inches to 8 or 10 feet in thickness. Its area, is not much, if any, inferior to that of all the coal-fields of England. As I believe, and think I can show that this is to be the great manufacturing district of the world, as this city is within, and perhaps to be indefinitely enlarged by its influence, I trust that you and your readers will bear with me while I endeavor to give all the facts connected with it, and to present all its aspects for examination.
RELATIVE COST OF WATER AND STEAM POWER.
Such have been the improvements, of late years, in the steam engine and in the economy of fuel, that we find steam gradually taking the place of water as a motive power. The object of the present article is to show the present relative cost of each. It will, however, be borne in mind, that the cost of the one is the same now and will always be the same as it was centuries ago; yet, while I write, even, the cost of the other may, by some new invention, be materially lessened. Power, for use of large manfactories, or extensive works, must be certain as well as ample; that of water must, therefore, be on large and rapid streams, with great volume and fall. In the West, we have but very few waterfalls where manufactories can be placed. The best, perhaps, are at Beaver, Pa., and at the Muscle Shoals in Tennessee. On the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, most of the rivers are short and are comparatively dry in summer. Many of the New England manufacturing corporations have been obliged, at vast expense, to purchase lands and form reservoirs sufficiently large to furnish water in dry seasons. The Eastern Mountains and hills are so steep that water rapidly runs from
them to the sea, and in the spring, when the snow is melting and the ice breaking up, should heavy rains fall, the force of the flood carries away every obstruction. To avoid this danger, the dams and locks must be of great strength, and necessarily, costly; while the mills, if possible, are placed off the river and take their water by canals. As the falls are falways on rocky formations and generally, at the gorges of hills, this canalage and excavation of sites for buildings and the making of roads to the spot, is attended with great expense. Where the falls are near tide-water, the work of the mills has often to be suspended.— Lowell, perhaps, is more exempt from this difficulty than Dover, New Market, Salmon Falls, and many other manufacturing sites in New England; yet Mr. Miles, in his history of Lowell, says: "Eighteen of the twenty-seven cotton mills in the city are situated on the river side, and, once or twice in each year are obliged to suspend part of their works, sometimes for days together, in consequence of back-water." Occasionally the ice carries the dam away, or breaks the waterwheel. In such cases the pay of the operatives goes on, or a higher price is put on the work of the remaining days. To estimate the loss, per diem, resulting to a company from suspension of its works, I give some of the statistics of the Merrimack mill. This mill has a capital of $2,000,000, and employs 1,737 operatives, at a cost of, say $240,000 per annum, interest on the capital $120,000—making $360,000 per annum; or nearly $1,000 per diem would be the loss by the suspension of a single day, aside from the inconvenience. Again, the waterwheels must not be exposed to the frost, but enclosed in masonry and often in excavations in the solid rock. I am not aware that any waterpower in New England is cheaper than that at Lowell. This now costs $5 per spindle. At first, the Locks and Canals Company relied for its profits mainly on the advanced value of its lots and the profits on building mills and machinery for other corporations, and therefore put the price of the power at $4 per spindle-probably but little over actual cost; the purchaser being at the expense of taking the water from the canal to and away from the mill, and this has, in some instances, been very expensive.
Nearly all these water-falls are at considerable distance from the highest point of navigation, or the sea; and the estimate is within the truth when I give twenty-six miles (the distance from Lowell to Boston) as the average distance of the New England factory from the point where the cotton is landed and the depot of its goods-both of which are usually transported on the on railroads. The freight from Boston to Lowell was, and I presume now is, $3 per ton. A cotton mill of ten thousand spindles will turn out two tons of goods a day-say six
hundred tons per annum; 100 pounds of cotton will average 89 pounds of cloth; 666 tons of cotton are therefore required by the mill; 1,266 tons cost, aside from drayage, (a considerable item.) $2,532 in transportation between the mills and where the goods are sold. Aside from the extra cost of water-power, this mill would require a capital of not over $250,000-perhaps $200,000 would be sufficient. This item then is 1 or 1-4 per cent. on the capital invested. Mr. Montgomery, in his work (published in 1840,) on the comparative cost of manufacturing in England and America, says:
"The attention of manufacturers in New England has been for some time directed to the advantages of steam as a means of propelling machinery. The advantages of a good location being considered equal to the extra expense of steam power."
Another important item of expense avoided, by a steam factory, is that of heating a mill. Mr. Montgomery gives the average cost of this at $467 80 per annum for a a mill of say 4 000 spindles. Six hundred dollars per annum may then be put down as the cost of heating a mill of 10,000 spindles. And it is not only necessary that the atmosphere in the mill should be at the proper degree of temperature, but of the proper dampness, so that the thread shall run smoothly. Both purposes require a large part of the fuel and machinery used in a steam mill.
The foregoing are not all, but are the most important difficulties attending the use of water power for cotton and woollen factories. Most of the difficulties are found wherever this power is applied; and as a general rule among engineers, at any position where coal can be had at ten cents a bushel, steam is as cheap as water power at its minimum cost. Such is the theory. The facts seem to go beyond this; for in New England, where water power is so abundant, the largest cotton factories, now being erected, are to have steam as a motive power; of this character are the Naumkeag mill at Salem, and that at Portsmouth; the first of 40,000 and the last of 50,000 spindles, and these are the largest in the world. At Fall River, Bristol and Newport steam factories are in successful operation. The fine goods of the Bartlett steam mills, Newburyport, have a wide reputation. The recent erection of the James mill, at the same place, shows the success of the former; and within the last year the escape steam of a new mill at Lowell is drowning the noise of the falls of the Merrimack. Let it be remembered that coal in New England costs, on an average, twenty-three cents per bushel.
As before stated, the water power at Lowell now costs $5 a spindle ;
$50,000 of capital is to be invested in power to run a mill of 10,000
The interest on this, per annum, is
Now add the cost of heating the mill.
And the cost of transportation,
And you have one side of the question as against steam,
I cannot fix, with precise accuracy, the steam power and fuel required for a mill of 10,000 spindles. The only authority before me, gives this estimate for one of 3,7000 spidles, with the necessary machinery for preparing the cotton and manufacturing the cloth: A high pressure engine of 40 horse power-length of stroke 4 feet, diameter of cylinder 1 foot-makes 40 single or 20 double strokes per minute; these or four round boilers, 15 feet long by 2 1-2 feet in diameter, requiring 200 gallons of water, and consuming 1 1-4 chaldrons (45 bush. els) of bituminous coal per day-pressure of steam sixty-eight pounds to the square inch. To do double the work does not, as I am told, require double the power and nothing like double the fuel. This estimate was made eight or nine years since; within that time very important improvements have been made in the application of steam power and the use of fuel; and probably I may safely say that an engine of 90 horse power, requiring 80 bushels of coal, is sufficient for the mill of 10,000 spindles.
Then 80 bushels of coal for 300 days at 23 cents per bushel, $5,520 00 Add salary of engineer,
Showing an advantage in favor of steam, from coal at twenty-three cents a bushel, of $112 per annum. The cost of an engine of 90 horse power, boilers, belting, pipes, &c., not required for the purposes specified in the other, would be probably not over $9,000, while the cost of communicating the water power to the machinery would be at least 17,000, Montgomery, in the work already quoted from, states the cost of two water wheels, equal to eighty horse power, including gearing, gates, shafting, belting, &c., at $17,000, The Tremont and Suffolk mills at Lowell contains 12,000 spindles, make coarse goods, and have six wawheels; the cost of each wheel between $3,000 and $3,500. entirely exclusive of the cost of excavating and walling up the branch canals to and from the mills.
It is a mooted question which will last the longer, the wheels or the engine; but give $3,000 to equal the difference, and there is the interest of $5,000 to add to the advantage before stated.