Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/529

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513
MANUFACTURE OF BOOTS AND SHOES.

and shoemaking industries has cheapened the products of the latter, one has only to compare the price of any kind of goods for a series of years. For illustration, take women's Polish grain shoes, men's boots and brogans. These are all cheap goods, and as the prices in the first place would have to be as low as possible great reductions would not be expected. Yet note:

Ladies Polish shoes per pair: 1865, $2.25; 1868, $1.62½; 1870, $1.37½; 1875,$1.12½; 1880, $0.95. Brogans: 1865, $1.75; 1870, $1.50; 1880, $1.30; 1885, $1.20; 1890, $1.05. Men's heavy boots, per dozen pairs, kip and double half soles in order: 1872, $38 and $25; 1880 $26 and $21.50; 1885, $26 and $20; 1890, $21 and $17.

In spite of all competition Massachusetts has retained its early grip upon the shoe industry, and within its factories are to be seen the art at its highest and its results at their best. In 1845, in that State, 45,877 hands made 20,896,312 pairs of boots and shoes, and in 1875 49,608 made 59,762,866 pairs—that is, an increase of less than one tenth in the manual force resulted in an output nearly three times as great. New Hampshire and Maine, however, have considerable interests in the shoe business, and factories are beginning to spring up in the West and the South. Unfortunately, the census figures for the last decade have not been completed; but the following table will tell the story for the thirty years between 1850 and 1880:

PSM V41 D529 Financials of the leather industry between 1850 and 1880.png

The increase in the number of establishments between 1860 and 1870 and the decrease between 1870 and 1880 mean no decline in the industry. This change results from the tendency toward consolidation and concentration. Improved machinery has enabled large producers to crowd their smaller competitors out of the business or to force them into combination. The same move


  1. Currency.
  2. The first figures in these columns are special factory statistics, These were collected only in 1870 and 1880.