Popular Science Monthly/Volume 72/May 1908/The Whiter Pittsburgh
|THE WHITER PITTSBURGH|
By JOHN F. CARGILL
IT has very happily been said that the location of the city of Pittsburgh was decided in the Carboniferous age of our planet. Equally true it is that, uncounted ages before the primal granite was clothed in verdure which "the creeping centuries" drew from surrounding air, some happening in far-away nebular space—some law of gravitation or propulsion determined the soft coal deposits, and the three branching rivers of later age. These things influenced and prearranged the site of the Iron City. If the widest range were given to imagination, perhaps it might be argued, too, that the all-enfolding laws shaped even the course of modern industry—declaring what manner of people should become the city's builders. But it is not the purpose of this article to raise any question of law versus foreordination.
The early settlers in the Pittsburgh district were largely composed of Scotch-Irish; a stock rugged and honest, that has, individually and collectively, assisted in the making of more world history within the past three hundred years than any nationality has ever done within a similar period. The unleavened Scotch-Irishman can hardly be described as of fascinating or lovable personality; but empires have never been founded or perpetuated by qualities sweetly lovable. Strength and determination are the essentials; and "rugged and honest" is a fair designation. Many another people might well covet one so good.
He has usually been punctilious in his dealings, reliable and moral: a considerate husband and father, religious, Calvinistic, opinionated, self-sufficient, blunt and austere. He is little interested in literature, or in science except in so far as it might contribute to his immediate business interests. The Bible is, in the main, he thinks, sufficient for literature and the conduct of life. (The reference is not so much to the comparatively modified and composite man of to-day as to the generation that is passing.) In character and temperament he is radically different from the New Englanders who settled some of our other bustling cities to the north and west; but no man is in position to say that, so far as material results are concerned, the Pittsburgher has not availed himself to the utmost of his opportunities.
Before the war of the rebellion, Pittsburgh was of comparatively little consequence. There was a town here, which had called itself a city for more than fifty years. Situated at the junction of three rivers, the waterways furnished the means of traffic. But there was little business; no capital invested from the outside; none of the present-day commercial enterprise. Every small manufacturer was a workman, and furnished his own capital. Such statistics as we have of the decade before the war show that all combined the little furnaces and factories used somewhat more than three hundred thousand tons of coal per annum. In 1906 forty-six million tons were mined in the Pittsburgh district. Farming and matters relating to river traffic were the greater industries, and Pittsburgh was the market and outfitting emporium west of the Alleghenies.
When at length a little charcoal iron began to be produced, the sturdy artisans of Pittsburgh worked some of it up into articles such as plows, axes, saws, scythes and other farm implements; locks, scales and malleable iron castings. But the Pittsburgher did not reach out after business; he scarcely even asked for it; all of which is in conformity with the Scotch-Irish principle of stubbornness. He did not advertise, nor send out salesmen. It has been said that not a traveling salesman was sent out of Pittsburgh before the war. Whereas the Yankee business man of other western towns went after trade, the Pittsburgher's attitude was that of confident indifferentism. "This is the head of navigation," he would say—"everything has got to come here, sooner or later." And he was right. Whether he builded better than he knew, we can not say; but events have proved that his industrial fortress was impregnable.
It was during the years of the war, and the period immediately subsequent, that Pittsburgh "found herself." The first oil discovery was made just prior to the actual breach between the north and south; and the production of oil, added to the other resources of the region, gave a new impulse to the industrial situation. The terrible years from 1860 to 1865 stimulated rather than depressed business conditions in Pittsburgh; since the needs of the War Department, of outfitting, furnishing of arms and armament, building of river craft and gunboats, and the point of vantage that was offered for the transfer and transportation of troops and supplies, were tremendous factors.
The things that have made for the development of Pittsburgh in the last generation have been set forth and printed and distributed the country over, and translated into all the languages of the globe. To try to enumerate them would involve a burdensome task, unnecessary to the present article; and only a few leading figures may be given, merely to suggest what is now being done.
The coal production of 1906 has been stated at 46,000,000 tons; the figures for 1907 being not yet accessible. The traffic tonnage, by rail and river for the same period was 122,000,000 tons; 12,000,000 tons having descended the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. The traction cars carried during the year 200,000,000 people. The total bank deposits at the close of the year were over $340,000,000. The real estate sales were over $70,000,000. The present population of Greater Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh and Allegheny) is conservatively placed at over 550,000.
The figures of the total output of furnaces, mills and factories are so enormous as almost to set present estimates at defiance. Such a wonderful era of prosperity, such wonderful opportunities for swift acquisition of riches have never been witnessed in the world before; and certain resulting effects have been witnessed which might have been foreseen. That these effects are not at all surprising—that they are not widely prevalent, and might reasonably have been expected to be much greater, can be easily shown. The habit appears to have become chronic among professional paragraphers to assume a necessary decay of manhood as a resultant of accumulated wealth. But Goldsmith would have been the first to declare himself merely a licensed poet; that he molded no prophetic verse.
In view of the city's far-reaching reputation for grime and unloveliness, it would seem well to mention a fact that is cause for general surprise to visitors, namely, the beautifying of streets and parks, and the construction of fine driveways in the suburbs. The natural beauty of western Pennsylvania can only be realized when one leaves the business part of the city and plunges into the districts adjacent, where conditions are found that suggest what must have existed before man's transforming had converted the earth to his own uses. It is doubtful whether any community, east or west, has done so much in so short a time, to make the surrounding country accessible. In various directions about Pittsburgh fine, hard, smooth macadam roads extend for many miles. Even roundabout some of the suburban towns, as Sewickley, twelve miles down the Ohio, one can travel by carriage or automobile over excellent roads for long distances through a region showing diversified scenery of great beauty.
Fine parks were never more essential anywhere than in Pittsburgh; and it is mainly owing to the munificent generosity of Mrs. Mary E. Schenley, whose gifts to the city amount to about ten million dollars, that the great need has been supplied. Schenley Park is situated accessibly, and consists of seven hundred and fifty acres. The topography lends itself admirably to landscape gardening. Nobler or finertrees can not be found anywhere, and the bold hills, small streams and deep valleys have been made use of in an artistic way. Highland Park lies on the hills overlooking the Allegheny River, in the north-east environs of the city. The carrying out of the artist's plans has caused the construction of winding shady drives; and the features include an artificial body of water known as Lake Carnegie. Reservoirs which supply the eastern division of the city with water are located
on the high hills adjacent. The total area of all of the parks is over nine hundred acres.
The city that leads the world in iron manufacture must inevitably be a smoky city. For a period, beginning in the early eighties, when natural gas was first applied to manufacturing on a considerable scale, the diminished use of coal led to brighter and clearer conditions. But the industrial growth of Pittsburgh has been such that the supply of gas soon came to be inadequate. Gas is still used as an auxiliary fuel, but the percentage of soft coal is growing relatively larger year by year. So far as the iron furnaces are concerned, it is hardly to be expected that much relief from smoke is likely to be had while coal remains as plentiful and cheap as now. (It has been estimated that the Pittsburgh deposits are likely to last two hundred years or more, according to the rate of increase in production.)
But the most of the furnaces are situated outside of the city proper, and the annoyance of smoke and soot from the steel and iron works is less than is generally supposed. Many visitors express surprise over the small amount of smoke, as compared with what was expected; and it is not unusual to hear it said that Pittsburgh is not perceptibly smokier than many other places.
But the Pittsburgher makes no such claim. The Iron City is blacker and more smoky than most towns; although it is certainly not so bad as its reputation. And it is going to be very much better. For years those of her citizens interested in civic improvement have been fighting for a smoke ordinance; and now one has been carried through—a good one, which will stand: it has been framed upon corrective and improved lines. The people have learned through hard experience how to do some things effectively. Establishments that have for years taken advantage of Pittsburgh's sooty reputation, and so allowed their chimneys to belch incontinently, are already being restrained.
Compared with many large manufacturing cities, the physical conditions in Pittsburgh do not render it an especially undesirable place of residence; and a little journey through the East End divisions of Oakland, East Liberty or Swissvale would convince almost any person who views the miles of handsome residences and well-kept grounds. And the surroundings and suburbs extending for miles down the Ohio River are quite unusually beautiful. Moreover, contrary to a supposition which prevails in other places, Pittsburgh is not unhealthful. According to the statistics, Allegheny County will bear comparison in healthfulness with almost any of the larger centers of population.Architecturally, there is much that can be said for Pittsburgh, as compared with other cities of equal prominence; and a good deal has been written thereon. The Allegheny County Court House stands
as one of Richardson's masterpieces; and among the noteworthy structures are the new Carnegie Institute, the Technical Schools, quite a number of imposing and beautiful churches and the Nixon Theater—regarded as among the beautiful and artistic amusement places of the country. Choosing from among Pittsburgh's extraordinary number of modern skyscraper business edifices, it may doubtless be said with truth that the Frick Building is the finest of its kind anywhere.
There is one feature that seems especially worthy of note. In no part of the city, practically speaking, are there rows of dwelling houses
built closely together—each house looking exactly like its neighbor. Possibly the city's sponsors remembered the experience of Glasgow, whence many examples and traditions were naturally derived. There the evils of overcrowding bore their ill fruit until some time in the sixties, when a great change was enforced. The inestimable benefit of wider spaces between residences should naturally have offered its lesson. At least, the builders of Pittsburgh knew—and profited from the knowledge.The tenement districts must still be spoken of apologetically, for there are portions of Pittsburgh where the dwelling houses of the poor and working classes are decidedly bad. But the city is no worse than many others in this respect; and, moreover, Pittsburgh's fame as the great industrial paradise has caused an influx of laboring classes which no amount of intelligent study could have forestalled. As to general cleanliness there is much to be hoped for, and expected. Not all of the sections of the city are as well kept as they should be; but nobody doubts that conditions are to be improved in the near future.
The main business streets and the finer residential portions of the city are kept in as good condition as almost anywhere else.
Thus far the reference has been to the physical and industrial aspects. There are other elements worthy of note; lines of broader development in which Pittsburgh has already attracted attention: wherein she promises to exert, some day, an influence over a wide area. These fields are represented by the Art Society, the Scientific Museum, the Pittsburgh Orchestra, the Public Library System, the Technical Schools, and the Astrophysical Observatory affiliated with the Western University of Pennsylvania. One distinction must be named, the observatory represents a field that has long since "arrived." Its work is known to science the world over.
The Pittsburgh Art Society was born in 1873; and out of that society of thirty-five years ago have been developed the Carnegie Art Galleries and the Pittsburgh Orchestra. The Museum, the Art Galleries and the Technical School are several parts of the Carnegie Institute, toward the upbuilding of which, together with the library, Andrew Carnegie has given many millions of dollars. The orchestra is a separate entity, now self-supporting. In the cultivation of the fine arts, the Art Department of the Carnegie Institute has unquestionably given to Pittsburgh a great stimulus. The galleries contain a fine permanent collection of paintings and sculpture, the property of the institute, as well as numerous paintings which have been loaned by private owners for an indefinite period. This exhibit is open to the public daily during the greater part of the year, and no charge for admission is made. Each year the department holds a competitive exhibition of paintings, which is open to the artists of the world; and these exhibitions have become of international importance. Hundreds of paintings are sent by noted artists of Europe and America; the efforts of the directors tending toward the elimination of favoritism, and the fostering of a spirit of fairness. This broad policy of the Art Society is influencing the artistic spirit at home and abroad. The children of the public schools are encouraged to interest themselves in the art exhibits; and art talks are given by the director to classes of children from the schools. Incidentally, Pittsburgh has in the past contributed a few names to the world of art. In the list of
Diplodocus Carnegiei Hatcher; Order of Diriosauria: in Carnegie Museum: 84 feet in length; found by the Carnegie Expedition under John Bell Hatcher, in Jurassic beds, Sheep Creek Basin, Wyoming, in 1900. The only complete specimen ever found.—A replica is in the British Museum.
eminent artists who have lived in the city are John W. Alexander, Charles S. Beinhart, A. G. Beinhart, George Hetzel, William, Alfred and Bryan Wall, Clarence Johns, David Blythe and others.
The new institute building, usually so called, is an Italian Renaissance structure covering four acres, and containing the Library, the Museum, the Fine Arts galleries, and the Hall of Music. The Technical Schools have another location. The museum has over 100,000 square feet of floor space on the first, second and third stories; and a special library which takes up one end of the great central court. In the basement are rooms devoted to the curator's work, and the preparation of specimens. The lecture hall seating between six and seven hundred people opens from the museum section; and here the Academy of Science and Art holds meetings, and provides lectures which are free to the public. At present there are in the museum over 1,300,000 objects on exhibition. The aim is to not only illustrate and interest, but to educate the masses in matters of fauna and flora, geology and mineralogy. Research and science are furthered by the systematic collections in its library.
In the field of music, the Pittsburgh Orchestra has achieved national distinction—going back to the earlier clays when Frederic Archer was its first conductor. Mr. Archer also played the magnificent organ for many years. When he died Edwin H. Lemare became organist; while the directorship was taken up by Victor Herbert. Under Herbert the orchestra became famous as one of the leading musical institutions of the country; and under Emil Paur, the present conductor, whose reputation is international, it has reached a still higher level. The concerts are always well attended, although they are not free. A series is given in Pittsburgh every year; and usually a tour is made of the larger cities. Twice a week during a large portion of the year free organ recitals are given in the music hall of the institute. Taken for all in all the Pittsburgh orchestra is doubtless exercising a rather broad influence in musical matters. Every year there is a season of -rand opera, which is always popular. As a rule the churches have excellent choirs, and many have talented organists.
The library (reference here is to the Pittsburgh Library distinctively, since there is also a fine Carnegie Library across the river on the north side—formerly Allegheny) has found as wide and excellent a field of influence, perhaps, as has almost any institution of the kind anywhere. The plan was developed by Librarian Edwin H. Anderson, who was its head from 1895 to 1905, and embraces among many features the furnishing of collections of books to the public schools and to the vacation and summer schools; the establishment of numerous branches in large centers of population; the Home Libraries department for children; and a liberal encouragement of the use of library books by all classes of people. The encouragement has been particularly directed toward the laboring classes and poorer people. This work has reached an unusual degree of appreciation. The library has (1907) 300,000 volumes; and a few figures relating to the book circulation may be of interest. The present home circulation (that is, books taken out to carry into the homes of the people) is more than 800,000. The entire recorded use of books from the library in 1907
was 1,463,207. Of the entire withdrawals from the library, the percentage of fiction to the whole was less than 58 per cent. It is stated by the librarian, Mr. Hopkins, that the withdrawals in 1908 will probably exceed two millions. The Boston Public Library had, last year, a total of 903,349 books. In 1907 the report of the Boston Library showed a home circulation of 1,461,403. The report states that of this number 70 per cent. "very nearly" of the entire withdrawals was fiction: including juvenile books, the percentage of fiction was much greater. These comparative figures are worth considering, since they indicate the importance to the community of the work of the Pittsburgh Library. It would perhaps hardly have been supposed that the relative proportion of useful books, namely, works of science, history, travel, philosophy, art, biography and religion, which are being read in a community composed so largely of workers in the industrial trades, exceeds the showing of the Boston Library by 12 per cent.
The Carnegie Technical Schools were established in October, 1905; and they have a present endowment of four million dollars. There are four schools: for engineers; artists and designers; tradesmen; and women; and their development has been according as space could be made ready. At present the accommodations are not adequate; but when the fine and commodious School of Applied Science is finished, next September, it is anticipated that the present departments will all be adequately housed. As time passes, buildings will be erected as necessities demand and funds permit. The statement is made that the buildings now provided equal not more than one seventh of the future's needs. The number of students at present, in all departments, is 1,750. They come from thirty states; and it is reasonably anticipated that the schools are going to draw from all quarters of the world. The growth is very rapid, in appreciation and interest.
The School of Engineering comprises electrical, mechanical, civil, metallurgical and chemical; while under architectural, a department is maintained by itself. The School of Design is virtually that of architectural design.
The trade courses embrace draughting, electrical wiring, plumbing, bricklaying, sheet metal and cornice work. (In one of the lofty rooms of this department a complete two-story house is in course of construction, wherein all of the technical features of electrical wiring and equipment, plumbing, drainage, etc., are carefully demonstrated.) The trade courses also involve foundry practise, forging, pattern making; machine-shop practise; house and sign painting.
The Women's School comprises technical courses for the daytime; and trade courses in the night schools. In the technical courses are mathematics, English history, social ethics, chemistry, drawing and designing. Also, departments of dressmaking and millinery are included. There is a special department intended for professional housekeepers, matrons and hospital managers, with professional courses in these lines.
The night school for women comprises purely trade courses, aiming to make the services of women more valuable. These courses embrace bookkeeping, stenography, typewriting, cooking, dressmaking. Those
who take up stenography must study commercial law; and those who study cooking must take instruction in the chemistry of foods.
It is the aim of the institution as a whole to keep abreast of all matters of technical science. The faculty has been most carefully selected; and the determination is to get men practical experience— men who know what to go after and how to obtain and present the most valuable kind of knowledge. There is one main purpose, differing from any that has hitherto been tried: the length of the course is indeterminate. The argument given is, the impossibility in a collection of students to have all equally trained or equally efficient within a given time. Each student must, in a sense, be the arbiter of his own destiny: he must get a certain work done before he obtains his certificate. If he fails to do this, he is given instead a statement to the effect that whereas he has been in the institution a certain number of years, he has merely covered a certain ground creditably. The certificate still awaits his future efforts and accomplishment.
Everything is done to bring the advantages and resources of the schools within reach of the plain people. In other words, it goes down
to them, and after them. The type that it is designed to reach is the middle-class boy. There are some boys of wealthy parents in the schools; and doubtless there will continue to be a certain percentage always; but he is not the type. The theory is that the country boy or the son of poor parents is going to bear the future load in technical and industrial life. It is also recognized that it is from these strata that the best results are sure to come—that the young man who has had the hardest struggle, to whom life presents the greatest problems and the most toil and effort, is the coming man. He is far more certain to achieve success and a name. Great emphasis is laid on the personality of the student: he must have the proper attitude toward work; he must be active, bright, always industrious, and never slovenly in his work.
The intention of the school is to have its heads composed of men whom the students will seek from afar. The members of the faculty shall be men sought by students from everywhere, for sake even of the one man.
The feeling of democracy is cultivated; and every discouragement possible is thrown in the way of dividing into high and low castes, upper and lower strata, cliques or classes.
The tuition fee is nominal. The directors wish it understood that while the school gives courses in engineering and the trades which are on an equal footing with other institutions, yet it is not the aim to turn out skilled or practised engineers or mechanics. What is claimed is that the institution can turn out those who are capable of becoming better engineers and mechanics than those who have lesser opportunities, or training not so good. That which only can develop the mature engineer or mechanic is future practical experience.
Another aim of the institution, already very effective, is the finding of employment to aid indigent students in working their way through. It is not claimed that employment is provided for every student who now applies for it; but that much is being done, and much more will be done in the future. During 1907 over 600 men students applied for employment through the secretary of the schools. Approximately 350 positions were offered, and nearly 300 positions were filled by students, making up an aggregate earning capacity of upwards of $25,000.
The Western University of Pennsylvania is, with one exception (the University of Nashville), the oldest institution of learning west of the Appalachian Mountain ranges. It has an enrollment to-day of somewhat more than 1,100 students; and besides the Department of Astrophysics (of which, more hereafter) there are five main departments, namely: Engineering, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry. The buildings are now scattered; but the plans for the future involve the concentration of all departments on a new site. The location is most admirable, consisting of 43 acres adjacent to the Carnegie Institute, and the Technical Schools. A race for development seems not unlikely to grow up between this institution and the Technical Schools, both of which seem destined to become strong educational factors.
It was in the year 1867 that Samuel Pierpont Langley was appointed to the chair of astronomy and physics in the Western University of Pennsylvania; and beginning almost from that time the Allegheny Observatory has held a place among the working observatories of the world. The equipment contained only a thirteen-inch equatorial telescope; and necessity, then as always the greatest spur to progress, stimulated Langley's fertile brain for a means of providing his observatory with better apparatus. For some years he labored with the problem of electrical time signals for railroads, in which he was finally successful, introducing the time signals on the Pennsylvania system, and other railroads in the district. Since then observatory time has been supplied from various observatories to nearly all railroads. Returning after a number of solar eclipse expeditions, Langley began, about 1870 to study solar phenomena, in which he became one of the highest authorities, proving, among other things, that the absorption by the earth's atmosphere of solar heat is variable, and that sunspots have no appreciable effect upon the temperature of the earth. In 1885 he gave the results of some of his investigations in solar phenomena before the Royal Society in London. During his charge of the Allegheny Observatory he contributed upwards of a hundred papers to scientific journals. In his studies of solar physics, recognizing that the instruments were inadequate to record much of the sun's radiant
energy, he began a long series of experiments which resulted in the invention of that marvelously delicate instrument, the bolometer. With this perfected, he renewed his investigations of the sun, moon and stars, which brought to light facts as important as any in the whole realm of astronomical physics.
Beginning with Langley's charge of the observatory there had grown up a valuable and intimate association with John A. Brashear, which continued after Langley's transference to the Smithsonian Institution, and until his death. The bolometer could not have achieved its wonderful success without Brashear's mechanical and scientific assistance. Experiments had shown that transparent crystals of rock-salt have the faculty of transmitting the low heat rays of the sun (that is, the invisible rays below the red); and Brashear undertook the solution of the problem of producing accurate surfaces upon lenses and prisms made of this substance. Its deliquescent character was a factor very difficult to contend with, but a method was discovered by which surfaces were produced within a half light wave, answering to the most critical demands of Langley's bolometric research. During a visit to the Chicago World's fair, in 1893, some unusually fine rock-salt crystals from mines in Poland were found in the Russian exhibit, which were secured for the Smithsonian Institution, from which some of the largest and finest lenses and prisms were made. Langley's joy in
Brashear's success was boundless—and naturally so. The proportion of invisible radiated heat, underneath the red part of the sun, is many times greater than the visible rays. It is through the curious quality of rock-salt lenses and prisms that it became possible to concentrate the dark, lower heat rays, and to achieve the splendid results with the bolometer.
Professor Langley's life work and the honors that have been heaped upon him are so well known that to enumerate them would be supererogatory. The secretaryship of the Smithsonian Institution is the highest gift of science in America, and this honor he held for nearly twenty years, until his death in 1906. He was given the rumford Medal of the London Royal Society, and elected to a membership in that body; was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, besides having other honorary memberships and degrees in large number.
John A. Brashear began to make telescopes as a business in 1880; although his first telescope, a refractor of five-inch aperture, was made in 1872-5. When it is remembered that Brashear had reached middle life before he relinquished his employment as master mechanic in the rolling mills to begin experimenting in the field of optics and astronomy, the amount of valuable scientific work he has accomplished in the thirty-odd subsequent years is fairly amazing. He made many pieces of apparatus for Professor Langley's studies; besides a long list, impossible to enumerate here, of telescopes, reflecting lenses, mirrors and spectroscopes for astronomers' use in all parts of the world. He has sent instruments to England, Ireland, France, Germany, Egypt, South Africa, Australia, Syria, Italy, Argentina, Japan and numerous other countries, besides an endless series of apparatus for use in the United States and Canada. One reflecting telescope which he himself used in a three years' study of the floor of the lunar crater Plato, was in constant use afterwards by Professor Langley. Brashear developed a highly valuable method of silvering mirrors, which was freely given to the scientific world; published a paper on "A New Method of Correcting Errors of Curvature in Optical Surfaces," which has proved invaluable; constructed apparatus for measuring the velocity of light, and also to measure the differential velocities between long and short waves; many refractometers, and optical trains—among which were two for Lord Rayleigh with error not exceeding 1/1,500,000 of an inch. He constructed the first spectro-photoheliograph for Professor Hale, a work that was epoch-making in the realm of solar photography. One of his spectroscopes made for Professor James E. Keeler, of Allegheny Observatory, was the instrument used by Keeler in the discovery of the physical character of the rings of Saturn, proving the correctness of the Clark Maxwell mathematical theory. One of his finest instruments is the Mills spectrograph for the Lick Observatory, used by Professor Campbell in his many discoveries of the motions of stars in the line of sight. With the cameras he has built for astronomical photography a hundred new planetoids have been discovered. He has made, perhaps, the largest perfect plane in existence, 33-inch diameter. He has just completed the 37½-inch mirror of the great Cassegrain telescope for the University of Michigan; and is now constructing a 30-inch refractor for the Allegheny Observatory and a 24-inch for Swarthmore; and has orders for enough large and important instruments to tax the capacity of his workshop for more than two years.
Data about the hundreds of pieces of apparatus that he has made would fill a book. And besides, he has raised by his own personal efforts nearly three hundred thousand dollars for the construction of the new astrophysical observatory of the Western University of Pennsylvania—the equal of any in the world. "I can not say," he says, "that the bank balance bears a fair relation to the work we have done," but he adds that in view of the marvelous discoveries made, and the appreciative and kind treatment he has had from the world, he feels like saying, "I am content. ... I have that which can not be bought by dollars and cents." Dr. Brashear always emphasizes that his associate and son-in-law, James B. McDowell, is master of the development of the delicate work in optical service; and that he could never have made his success without McDowell's cooperation. Dr. Charles S. Hastings, of Yale University has also been associated with Dr. Brashear in the development of the mathematical problems of modern optics: the day of empiricism in optical science having become a thing of the past. Dr. Brashear has twice been a director of the Allegheny Observatory; and is now chairman of the Observatory Committee; he served two and a half years as acting chancellor of the Western University of Pennsylvania. He has degrees of LL.D. from Wooster University of Ohio and Washington-Jefferson Unversity, as well as degree of Sc.D. from the Western University.
Pittsburgh's "arrogance and greed" have been so advertised that it should be permissible to mention that the city contains more than one hundred and fifty active benevolent and charitable institutions; more than twenty large, finely equipped hospitals; and over four hundred churches of all denominations. It is scarcely more of an iron city than a city of churches and church-going people. There are benevolent societies, non-sectarian and sectarian; homes for the destitute, aged, infirm, white and colored, for men, women, girls and children; public baths for the poor; children's playgrounds for poor children.
One of the most notable institutions (undoubtedly the most remarkable single-handed permanent beneficence in the world) is the Carnegie Relief Fund, endowed five years ago by Andrew Carnegie, with a gift of four million dollars in Steel Company bonds. This fund applies to more than 65,000 men employed in the iron and steel trades, who, with their families and dependents, would comprise an aggregate population of over 300,000 persons. The bonds bear good interest, and the income provides for accidents, deaths and pensions. There has been a total disbursement already of $1,129,117.29. In 1907 the amount paid out was $216,764.03.
A well-known writer has said that Pittsburgh men are strong, upright and good intentioned, but "too busy" in the upbuilding of industries and fortunes to pay attention to the civic welfare. Perhaps the utterance was timely; for since then the long-delayed civic awakening has come to pass. The betterment, always hoped for—regarded by the many as impossibly Utopian, but always fought for by a tenacious and stubborn few—is an accomplished and positive fact. Two years ago the fighting citizens seized a political opportunity; and Pittsburgh has in Mayor George W. Guthrie an executive of whom it is justly proud. Not even by his bitter political opponents is he charged with any wish or motive that is foreign to the highest interest of the city. From a machine-ridden, ring-encircled municipality, the revolutionizing and purging have been so thorough that political corruption is now virtually non-existent. It is no longer "a city ashamed"; it is joyful and proud.
Anxious critics have inquired whether Pittsburgh's sudden and untoward opulence is a menace—a menace to itself, and to humanity. The city has been adding a chapter or two to the history of sociology. It has turned out (promoted is perhaps more accurate) a new and curious variety of plutocrat; and still worse, has produced a new leisure class. The latter was born out of the loins of toiling industry; has sprung upon an amazed world within a decade; and the funny twins have made an unwelcome commotion. It is seriously asked whether these do not furnish a gauge by which the future manhood of Pittsburgh is to be determined: whether they are not the prolific seeds of complete degeneracy.
The answer is to be found in the fact that Pittsburgh was raised up by the brain and brawn, the self-respecting moral qualities of its Scotch-Irish founders. They were, and are yet, a forceful race—fighters and workers, natural leaders, men with a high sense of duty, who do their own thinking. Do the critics see no signs of the vital undercurrent which is to be the determining factor of the future? Do they not see in Pittsburgh's intellectual activity a guaranty of the more wonderful reputation which is to be achieved hereafter, when the present spendthrift perversions and pranks have been long forgotten? Just as it has been in the past, so now the vicious idler is made to feel uncomfortable. His father toiled for his winnings, is toiling yet, if he lives, and the son who lives only to spend money and invent new and outrageous forms of diversion is a virtual outcast. And yet he is an almost inevitable outgrowth of the marvelous period. He is not confined to Pittsburgh; but has merely been somewhat disproportionately advertised. And doubtless, too, his number is small as compared with what it might have been had the principles of his progenitors been less firmly anchored. He will not increase. Pittsburgh has even a confident hope that he and his tribe may become extinct.