Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/530

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ment is manifest in other manufacturing industries, like cotton and woolen. The decade following the war was a period of enormous individual expansion, while that succeeding it was one of corporate extension. This fact appears in the marked increase in capital and productive capacity in union with a decrease in the number of separate factories. That the forthcoming census will show further evidences of this change seems certain from the reports that have been published from time to time during the past ten years by those familiar with the progress of the industry. This development, however, has not been at the expense of the operatives, as is shown by the increase in their earnings since the introduction of machinery. The gain has been more than a third, as indicated by the above table. In 1885 the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor undertook an investigation of the net profits of the manufacturing industries of the State, and from returns received from 2,344 private boot and shoe manufacturing firms, employing 66,800 operatives, the average yearly earnings of the latter were $385.89; and from 22 corporations, employing 2,731 operatives, the average was $417.06. That would give for the 2,366 concerns annual average earnings of $401.47 for the operatives, considerably in excess of the country at large. The same investigation showed that in the cost of the production of boots and shoes 27·65 per cent was charged to labor and in that of leather 17·07 per cent went to it. This compares with 28·84 in cotton goods, 20·72 in woolen goods, and 27·18 in silk goods. On the side of the manufacturer these returns showed a net profit of 14·06 per cent on the capital invested in the boot and shoe industry against 8·13 per cent in leather, 0·65 in cotton goods, and 5·47 in woolen goods. The American shoe operatives as a body are thrifty and prosperous, and certainly much better paid than their fellow-craftsmen abroad. Skilled operatives in this country earn from $11 to $18 a week, while the same class in England obtain only $5.50 to $8.50, and in Germany $5 to $6.50. Mr. W. L. Terhune, of the Boot and Shoe Recorder, in an account of a trip among the shoe-factories of England, says that the skilled operatives at Northampton told him that they averaged only about $6 a week, so that the annual earnings for the best paid of them scarcely exceeded $300. With the extension, or rather the over-extension, of the business, and the consequent competition, there have come cuts in wages and strikes; but the same leaven of unrest prevails in the other old industries, and there is nothing peculiar about its manifestation, perhaps, except that the operatives and manufacturers in the shoe industry are both better organized than in other branches.

What the next decade has in store for the boot and shoe industry can be only a matter of speculation. At present the machines