Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/305

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JULY, 1894.



TO arrive at an understanding of that tendency toward combination which is a most conspicuous phenomenon of the industrial life of the United States, it is necessary to trace the industrial development throughout its several stages. And as it has been in this country that industrial activity has met with the least hindrance, the steps of its development can be rapidly summarized with approximate accuracy. Although the industrial structures of other countries in previous centuries have had an influence in determining the industrial forms of the United States, the isolation of the American continent and the peculiarity of the conditions affecting its settlement justify the consideration of its industrial expansion as a separate growth, without reference to the industrial status of other countries or older civilizations.

Grandfathers of to-day tell us that in their boyhood in many parts of the country the life of each household was sufficient unto itself. Buildings were erected, grain was raised, winnowed, and ground; cattle were killed, their meat cured and hides tanned; wool was clipped and spun by its members, who, in addition to the performance of manifold other simpler functions, carried processes of manufacture still further—the men, in the days of winter, making the family's shoes and the women its clothes. In doing this work the members of the family were maintaining themselves in that condition which contrasted with barbarism. Houses and clothing were necessary as protection against the often inclement weather, and the possession of a regular supply of food was only possible by the preparation and preservation of the products of the recurring seasons. Upon the evenness of the