National Geographic : 1896 Jul
MINERAL PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES The mineral products of the United States in the calendar year 1895 had a total value, according to the statistics collected by the U. S. Geologi cal Survey, of $611,795,290. This amount, although nearly one-sixth greater than that for the preceding year, was less than in 1890, 1891, or 1892. The quantities of the principal items were, however, greater than ever before, while the values were in many cases less, owing to the reduc tion in prices. The most noteworthy increase in the list is in the case of pig iron, the quantity of which increased nearly 42 per cent, viz., from 6,657,388 long tons to 9,446,308 long tons, and the value nearly 62 per cent, viz., from $65,007,247 to $105,198,550. This production is the largest the country has ever seen and is probably not far from double that of the British islands. The decrease in silver production has continued, the amount produced being 47,000,000 ounces, or about 2 million ounces less than the year before. The production of gold has greatly increased, being $47,000,000 against $39,500,000 in 1894. The product of the Transvaal was almost equal to that of this country. The production of copper has increased slightly, being 381,106,868 pounds. The production of lead also has increased, reaching 161,440 short tons. The output of coal con sisted of 135,118,193 short tons of bituminous and 51,785,122 long tons of Pennsylvania anthracite. The output of coal, both bituminous and an thracite, is the largest on record. The production of petroleum was 52,983,526 barrels of 42 gallons each, the largest amount ever produced in a single year with the exception of 1891. The production of natural gas has slightly diminished. The enormous increase in some of these items, especially those of pig iron and coal, illustrates in emphatic terms the promptness with which the supply of such products responds to an increased demand. For two years the railroads of the United States were economizing in the pur chase of rails, with the result that at the end of that time an unusually large number of lines were needing new rails, and the different compa nies took advantage of the low price of steel to supply their necessities in this regard. The result was a large and sudden demand for steel rails, causing a great increase in price; mines and furnaces were reopened, and general activity prevailed in the trade, resulting, as before stated, in an increase in the iron output of nearly 42 per cent over the previous year. In the case of most of our mineral products the output is limited only by the market. The supply and the facilities for extraction are more than sufficient to meet any possible demand.