Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/44

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34
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

formation, is certainly warranted by recent experiences. Thus, if the trade between the United Kingdom alone and the leading countries of the East, exclusive of India, continues to increase in the next quarter of a century in the same ratio as it has during the last quarter, when commercial facilities were much less than at present, its aggregate value of $190,000,000 in 1860, and $440,000,000 in 1885, will swell to $1,038,000,000 in the year 1910; and, beyond that date, to an amount that must be left to the imagination.

That the only possible future for agriculture, prosecuted for the sake of producing the great staples of food, is to be found in large farms, worked with ample capital, especially in the form of machinery, and with labor organized somewhat after the factory system, is coming to be the opinion of many of the best authorities, both in the United States and Europe. And as a further part of such a system, it is claimed that the farm must be devoted to a specialty, or a few specialties, on the ground that it would be almost as fatal to success to admit mixed farming, as it would be to attempt the production of several kinds of manufactures under one roof and establishment.

Machinery is already largely employed in connection with the drying and canning of fruit and vegetables, and in the manufacture of wine. In the sowing, harvesting, transporting, and milling of wheat, the utilization has reached a point where further improvement would seem to be almost impossible. In the business of slaughtering cattle and hogs, and rendering their resulting products available for food and other useful purposes, the various processes, involving large expenditure and great diversity of labor, especially in "curing," succeed each other with startling rapidity, and are, or can be, all carried on under one roof; and on such a scale of magnitude and with such a degree of economy, that it is said that, if the entire profits of the great slaughtering establishments were limited to the gross receipts from the sale of the beef-tongues in the one case and the pigs' feet in the other, the returns on the capital invested and the business transacted would be eminently satisfactory. It is not, however, so well known that the business of fattening cattle by the so called "factory system," on a most extensive scale, has also been successfully introduced in the Northwestern and trans-Mississippi States and Territories, and that great firms have at present thousands of cattle gathered under one roof, and undergoing the operation of fattening by the most continuous, effective, and economic processes. The results show that one laborer can take care of two hundred steers undergoing the process of grain-feeding for the shambles, in a systematic, thorough manner, with the expenditure of much less time and labor per day than the