FACTORIES AND FACTORY IN SPECTION. The American factory in the early days of the Republic was an outgrowth of the English factory. In the 18th century England was the .centre of the world's mechan ical progress. She manufactured not only for Great Britain and her colonies, but for a large part of the rest of the civilized portions of the globe. Early emigrants to America were not allowed to bring tools and machines for manu facturing and the laws of the mother country also aimed to hold skilled workmen. The re sult was that the immigrant weaver who sought to follow his trade in the New World when without a loom built one; the printer who wished to issue a newspaper had to build his own press; the tanner had to make his own vats and the currier to fashion his own beam ing knife and table.
Because of these conditions American me chanics had to build largely from the very f oundation and thus they became inventors and designers of machinery and introduced many improvements that otherwise might not have seen the light. The textile industries were the first to develop here; then came the iron mills, the flour and grist mills and the machine shops. At the close of the Civil War in 1865 the United States was a land of small shops, with here and there a factory of modest proportions. The war had given a great stimulus to the machine shops and when it was no longer nec essary to turn out rifles and cannon, the ma chine men turned their attention to the mechan isms of peace. The reaper, the sewing-machine, the locomotive, the printing-press, the paper machine, the roller-mill for flour and a thou sand other mechanisms were developed and perfected and the shops grew into factories and gradually all New England, the Middle and later the Western and Southern States built factories of all kinds, thousands of which have grown to enormous proportions. New York City alone has over 10,000 factories and the 'Industrial Directory of New York State) is a book of 787 pages. In 1916 there were 285, 000 factories in the United States. of which 46,000 were in New York State. The factory has become the backbone of our Western civili zation. Here work is reduced to a scientific
system and goods are manufactured at a frac tion of the cost of former times. If the public pays as much for some things, it is because they demand so much better than formerly. The culmination of success in factory production is seen in the automobile. A better automobile is sold to-day for less than $400 than could be bought in 1906 for $1,500.
Factory methods have become so perfected in this country that construction engineers now make a specialty of factory buildings, usually confining themselves to one or more lines of industry and lay out the new buildings from the very foundations according to the most approved practice. Starting with the principle that the cube gives the most working space for the least cost of enclosure, the factory engineers go on to figure what height of story and how many stories are most economical for a given business. They lay out buildings with a view to the handling of a certain class of work to best advantage, that the different departments may move the unfinished work in the least wasteful manner and have the best conditions for good and rapid production. The sanitation and comfort of employees receives marked attention, as the principle is now well established that it pays the factory to keep the good will of its help.
The human element of the factory receives quite as much attention as the mechanical. Efficiency engineers have studied this problem from every angle and all large factories that pretend to scientific management now give close attention to methods of inspiring the workers to get results. Experimental departments are maintained to improve the machinery and proc esses. Elaborate systems of cost-finding and scientific estimating are common. Specialists are found everywhere in all kinds of factories, improving and systematizing, and there appears to be no end of development of these huge working machines, built up of combinations of men and machines all working toward the common end of turning out the largest quan tity of a given product of the best quality in the least time.