Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/763

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743
HOW THE EARTH IS WEIGHED.


1859 No. of
com-
panies.
Number
of
policies.
Amount
of
insurance.
Gross assets. Surplus.
New York State. 8 23,690 $72,197,426 $11, 629,085 $3,630,706
Other States. 6 25,918 69,300,541 8,907,000 1,440,442
14 49,608 $141,497,967 $20,536,085 $5,071,148
1870
New York State. 41 377,437 $1,039,662,517 $133,119,187 $19,673,246
Other States. 30 370,370 984,222,438 136,401,253 28,815,048
71 747,807 $2,023,884,955 $269,520,440 $48,488,294
1879
New York State. 12 261,799 $730,648,500 $202,562,832 $32,887,465
Other States. 19 333,687 709,312,665 198,952,961 32,390,256
31 595,486 $1,439,961,165 $401,515,793 $65,277,721
 

The number of companies rose from fourteen to seventy-one in eleven years, and fell to thirty-one in the following nine years, while the amount insured was only reduced by about 25 per cent. Compared with other institutions, this shrinkage during a period of general retrenchment is not large. With about 600,000 policies in force, $400,000,000 of assets and $65,000,000 of net surplus, the success of life insurance is really astonishing. As a cooperative enterprise, in the truest sense of the word, it outranks every other in the means employed. Scientific principles are applied to the solution of an intricate social problem, and result in the most equitable division of burdens. The aims and purposes are most exalted, too. Other associations combine individuals to cooperate with a view to their own present support and immediate enjoyment, while this institution is based upon abstention, self-imposed for other future beneficiaries.

With its usefulness not yet fully appreciated, its wide field of application not thoroughly understood, we may well be thankful for what it has already accomplished, and be proud of it as an exponent of the civilization and of the times in which we live.

 
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HOW THE EARTH IS WEIGHED.
By Dr. OTTO WALTERHÖFER.

EFFORTS have been made, at all times in which the spirit of investigation can be said to have existed, to ascertain the condition of the interior of the earth. There has been no lack of unfounded assumptions on the subject, and fanciful hypotheses were held even down to a period in which correct conclusions had been reached upon