National Geographic : 1914 May
MEXICO AND MEXICANS every place that they could fill, because it would be good for the country, in the de velopment of a middle, thinking class, to have the employees as well as the owner ship of the railroads nationalized. He felt that to have Mexican conductors, engineers, telegraphers, etc., would be to assist in the establishment of a middle class, which he recognized as Mexico's crying need. The railway manager knew by experi ence that the Mexican does not make as good a railroad man as the American, but he was gradually carrying out this policy at the time I was in Mexico, which was just before the fall of Diaz. It was Diaz's idea that the establishment of in dustries in Mexico and the employment of Mexicans in responsible positions in connection with them must eventuate in a middle class worthy of the name. SOME MEXICAN INDUSTRIES Mexico has many important industries, and some of the plants are the largest of their kind in the world; for instance, the Bueno Tono Cigarette Factory, of Mexico City, has a daily output of 12 million cigarettes a day. It is the largest factory of the kind in the world, and earns a 12-per-cent dividend on an in vestment of $3,250,000. The Mexican Light & Power Company, with a capitalization of $25,000,000, op erates the great hydro-electric plant at Necaxa, which is one of the largest on the Western Hemisphere. A few years ago there were in Mexico 145 cotton mills, with 732,000 live spin dles, and employing 35,000 operators. The owners of a single chain of mills at Orizaba employed 5,000 people and turned out products valued at many mil lions of dollars (see also page 476). One of the largest glycerine and soap factories in the world, with a daily out put of 75,000 boxes of soap, was in op eration in the very country where the Federals and the Constitutionalists have been fighting during the past few months. All of these growing industries were demanding something in the way of in telligence from their employees and were making progress in the direction of es tablishing a middle class in Mexico. THE MINES OF MEXICO Humboldt once pronounced Mexico "the treasure - house of the world." It produces one-third of the world's silver, a considerable percentage of its gold, one ninth of its lead, and one-twentieth of its copper. The country's mineral produc tion, exclusive of iron, coal, and petro leum, amounted to $158,000,000 in 1910. With the exception of Campeche, Ta basco, and Yucatan, every State in the Mexican republic possesses mines, of which there are 21,oo00, covering 633,000 acres of mineral lands, and giving em ployment to half a million men. Yet probably less than one-fourth of the min eral possibilities of the republic have been exploited. Prior to the outbreak of the Madero revolution, upward of 5,000 min ing claims were registered each year. The famous iron mountain at Durango is estimated to contain 600 million tons of iron ore, which is worth seven times the value of all the gold and silver mined in Mexico in two centuries. It is believed that this deposit was formed by the same process that made the Hudson River palisades, near New York city. A big opening was made in the earth's crust, through which this enormous mass of iron was thrust up, and piled high above the surrounding territory. No one knows how deep this iron mass penetrates. It is nearly a mile long, more than a third of a mile wide at the base, and some 700 feet high. An American smelter com pany has erected works to utilize this iron. The Santa Maria graphite mines are the largest and most important in the Western World. There are seven beds of graphite deposits, varying in thickness from 9 to o1 feet. They were formed from coal beds by the metamorphic ac tion of intrusive granite. The graphite is transported to Saginaw, Mich., where it is ground up and sold to the pencil and lubricant factories of the world. The region around the Gulf of Mexico is very rich in petroleum. Some years ago an oil company was engaged in sink ing a well near Tampico. At a depth of 1,824 feet a gas explosion blew out the en tire installation of machinery, and the well 481.