National Geographic : 1901 May
MEXICO OF TODAY* BY SENOR DR. DON JUAN N. NAVARRO, CONSUL-GENERAL OF MEXICO IN NEW YORK CITY GLANCE at our factories shows that our people manufacture acids, chemicals, candles, ex cellent beer and ale, carpets, furniture, and carriages that have received pre miums at some of the Paris expositions, cordage, glassware, hats, matches, paper of every description, sugar, tobacco, and many other articles, the production of which increases every day in quantity and quality. In the last few years the textile industry of Mexico has pro gressed at a surprising rate, and some of the manufactories deserve special mention. Rio Blanco is a manufactory situated near Orizaba. I personally vis ited this manufactory a few months ago and found that it produces eighty differ ent classes of linen and cotton goods, has a colossal and tasteful building, and maintains in incessant work more than 3,000 workmen, who make 40,000 pieces per week. I have in my office, in New York, a complete set of samples of all the linen and cotton goods from this manufactory, and all, especially the prints, in the perfection of the work and in the beauty and taste of colors and designs, excite the admiration of all who examine them. I have not at hand the statistics giv ing the actual number of cotton manu factories, but I calculate that there must be approximately 150, and that they last year produced more than ten millions of pieces of white and printed goods and nearly two millions of yarn. The sales declared for taxes for the years 1898 and 1899 are more than $29,700,000. An other of the manufactories near the city of Orizaba makes bags for flour, grain, salt, etc. The raw material is jute, a fiber originally imported from East India, which has been planted in Mex ico and in all probability will yield a good harvest. This establishment makes 7,000 bags per day and 800 meters of carpets and rugs of the same material. The motive power in these factories is electricity derived from the falls of the Rio Blanco. The wool manufactories, though not so many, are remarkable for the excel lence of their products, and are not often excelled by the best products of other countries. The number of tobacco man ufactories is very considerable, and the fame of the excellence of the material and elaboration is spreading day by day in the commerce of the world. Another manufactory worthy of mention is the one in Merida for.cordage. The capital invested in mounting it was $600,000, and up to September of last year there were exported to this country by way of the port of Progreso more than two millions of kilos of the henequen cordage there manufactured. Our government has promised certain privileges for the introduction of new industries into the country, and the department for correspondence has re ceived 114 applications. I have always believed that Mexico is destined to be not only an agricultural but an industrial country, as it produces a great number of vegetable raw mate rials and possesses an incomparable quantity of every known metal, and has living in cities a good part of its popu lation who have a decided inclination and a remarkable ability for mechanical labor. The facts of her development are confirming these views. * Continued from the April number.