National Geographic : 1925 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph © Kadel and IIerbert CALCAR, ON THE LOWER RHINE This small town, northwest of Essen, is one of the most picturesque spots of Germany. In the 15th century it was the seat of a famous school of wood carving, and its Gothic cathedral is a veritable museum of this art. In the center of the market place (central foreground) is a statue of the Prussian general Seydlitz, the famous cavalry officer whose superb horsemanship has given rise to many stories, one of which relates that he once rode between the sails of a windmill in full swing. But Calcar does not claim that it was the windmill shown in the background of this photograph. Early next morning the Rijn-Schelde was under way, headed for the Ruhr dis trict. All day long its proximity was evi denced by the passage of barges, banked high with coal, for France and Belgium. During that week 444,000 tons of repara tions coal moved from the mines. TIHE RUIIR DISTRICT SEETHES WITH INDUSTRY We passed through much of the Ruhr after dark, and thereby perhaps had the most striking view of it. The light of the upleaping flares from its blast fur naces from time to time momentarily threw into relief that vast labyrinth of wharves, stacks, mills, railway tracks, and pit heads, where labor more than 2,000,000 men. Oberhausen, Essen, Rheinhausen, Duis burg, Ruhrort, Meiderich-these indus trial centers follow so closely upon each other as to produce one colossal effect. The last three compose, in fact, one com munity, whose combined water fronts form what is probably the largest river harbor in the world. The Ruhr district produces per year about 6,ooo,ooo tons of pig iron and from 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 tons of steel. During 1924 its average monthly yield of coal was 8,ooo,ooo metric tons. The five big groups of iron and steel manu facturers employ about 1,500,000 men, while the coal workers number about 550,000.* The ancient compilers of the "Nibelung enlied," who fabled the Rhine underworld as alive with metal-working gnomes, would indeed rub their eves could they behold how completely man's works on the Ruhr have dwarfed their poetic im aginings. * See also "The Story of the Ruhr," by Fred erick Simpich, in the NATIoNAl, (;EOGRrnPHIC MAGAZINE for May, 1922.