National Geographic : 1970 Jul
many such one-family stills licensed in Lux embourg), it is closely supervised, and the tax man may-and does-drop in at any hour of the day or night. Later, in Mr. Houtmann's living room, I tried a sip of his produce. Strong, throat catching, faintly fruity, it tasted like home made applejack I have had on a farm in Ap palachia-from a moonlit still that looks re markably like Mr. Houtmann's. U. S. Factories Help Economy Farming, wine production along the Mo selle, and one-family distilleries like the Hout manns' help to diversify an economy too de pendent on a single industry. Yet the depen dence on steel is still heavy, and in recent years an effort has been made to diversify further. By offering tax benefits, a central European location, and a stable industrial climate (not a serious strike in 40 years), the government has induced foreign investors, including some American companies, to build factories in Steel: A nation's lifeline W ORKER WITH TONGS tows a ribbon of red-hot steel in the Belval mill at Esch sur Alzette, center of Luxembourg's most important industry. The metal has looped after emerging from rollers that flattened it into a uniform strip. The band, straightened and drawn into wire, finds a worldwide market, as do sheets, plates, and beams. Blazing breath of a converter (right) blows air through molten pig iron to burn away unwanted elements. Iron deposits boosted the Grand Duchy to economic independence in the 19th century, offsetting an emigration drain. ARBED, three companies consolidated into Europe's third largest steel-producing firm, today employs a sixth of the nation's work force. Com puters regulate many processes since a mod ernization program began in 1967.