« AnteriorContinuar »
day are received by a single elevator. These elevators are generally constructed of wood, and have a capacity varying from 10,000 to 40,000 bushels.
From the point of view of ownership and management, there are three types of elevators found at the local markets: (1) Those provided and owned by the farmers themselves; (2) those owned by the local grain dealers; and (3) those controlled by the grain buyers located at the primary markets. Hundreds of elevators situated along the railroads which extend into the grain territory are controlled from the primary markets by what are called line elevator companies. The Northern Pacific Railway with its elevators may be taken as a typical case. On this road during 1901, there were 430 line elevators, 286 local dealers’ elevators, and 22 farmers' elevators. In the same year in Brown county, South Dakota, a county which is 36 miles wide by 48 miles long, and which is considered as typical of the Dakotas and Minnesota, there were 45 elevators with a capacity of from 12,000 to 15,000 bushels each. There were also 12 flat houses with a capacity of from 3,000 to 5,000 bushels each, and 3 large elevators belonging to flouring mills. Twelve line companies were operating in the county, and they owned 30 of the warehouses. 20 of them were owned and operated by independent parties. When local market conditions are unsatisfactory, the farmers establish more elevators. During 1904-5, the farmers' elevators in Minnesota increased approximately 90 per cent in 18 months. For the year ending September 1, 1901, 1,549 licenses were issued for country elevators and warehouses in the state of Minnesota.
The successful working of elevators as now constructed and all the principles of their machinery are entirely dependent on the flowing quality of wheat. Since the advantages of this quality for labor-saving machinery had been completely established prior to the extensive development of the wheat industry on the Pacific coast, it is a peculiar and noteworthy fact that in the subsequent development of the wheat industry, the Pacific coast differed from other parts of the country in this, as in nearly all other things, by not taking advantage of the flowing quality of wheat. The grain is handled in sacks, and
1 Industrial Commission, 10:cccxviii. 2 Rept. R. R. and Warehouse Commission of Minn., 1906, p. 59.
it is even resacked after it has been cleaned by the elevators. Undoubtedly one of the main reasons for this is found in the climate. During the summer season of the year, there is no rain, and the sacked wheat needs no protection from the elements. If it is not shipped at once, it is piled up in huge piles at the shipping points. This avoids the use and expense of elevators, although it is sometimes piled in warehouses. The platforms and warehouses are owned by the grain-buying firms who collect the wheat for ultimate shipment.
V Storage of Wheat at the Primary Market. The capacity of terminal elevators to handle and store grain is enormous. Chicago was perhaps the first city to develop great facilities in this line, and it is partly to this that the city owed its early pre-eminence as a grain center. Its first elevators were built in the fifties. As early as 1867 Flint wrote that “7,000 to 8,000 bushels per hour of grain may be taken from a train of loaded cars by a large elevating warehouse, and the same grain at the other end may be running into vessels, and be on its way to Buffalo, Montreal or Liverpool within six hours of time. The Illinois Central Railroad grain warehouse can discharge 12 cars loaded with grain, and at the same time load two vessels with it, at the rate of 24,000 bushels per hour. . It is capable of storing 700,000 bushels of grain. It can receive and ship 65,000 bushels in a single day, or it can ship alone 225,000 bushels in a day.” All the warehouses of Chicago could store an aggregate of 3,395,000 bushels, and it is further said: “They can receive and ship 430,000 bushels in 10 hours, or they can ship alone 1,340,000 bushels in 10 hours, and follow it up the year around. In busy seasons these figures are often doubled by running nights." By the end of the nineteenth century, , however, there were single elevators in Chicago with a storage capacity greater than that of the entire city at the above writing. Some reached the high figure of four million bushels. The public warehouse capacity of Chicago in 1900 was 28,600,000 bushels, and the private warehouse capacity was 28,615,000 bushels. At that date, five cars of wheat could be unloaded in eight minutes. In 1905 one of the Chicago elevators, together with its annexes, bad a capacity for storing 5,000,000 bushels.
1 Eighty Yrs. Prog. of U. S., pp 75-76.
From 1871 to 1887, the Chicago elevators were managed by persons whose sole business was the warehousing of grain. Competition was active, and Chicago was the best market to which grain could be sent from the West. By 1892 a change took place. The elevators had passed into the control of persons who immediately embarked in the grain-buying business. Nearly every railroad terminating in Chicago favored some elevator system with concessions that gave control of the grain business of the road. As early as 1894, there was an association of all the elevator people in Chicago, and all of the great terminal elevators were owned by a comparatively few men or firms. The owners of public elevators bought a large proportion of the grain that was received, and they also controlled great private elevators.
Minneapolis had a grain storage capacity of 27,485,000 bushels in 1898, and the largest elevator had a capacity of 2,300,000 bushels. Some 23 elevators, having two-thirds of the city's storage capacity, were operated under the Chamber of Commerce rules, 4 were operated under the state warehouse law, and the remaining 6 were private elevators. Minneapolis is perhaps the most notable city as a center for powerful houses which control elevator lines. At the close of the century it had 36 elevator companies, which controlled 1,862 country elevators with a combined capacity of about 50,000,000 bushels of wheat. St. Louis has 8 public elevators with a total storage capacity of 6,900,000 bushels, and 25 private elevators with a capacity of 2,475,000 bushels. The largest elevator has a capacity of 1,500,000 bushels. It can receive and deliver 30,000 bushels per hour. The total capacity of all public elevators for receiving and delivering grain per hour is 181,000 bushels. Kansas City, Missouri, has 24 elevators having a total storage capacity of 9,280,000 bushels. The largest elevator has a storage capacity of 1,000,000 bushels, and a capacity of receiving and of delivering 15,000 bushels per hour. A total of 215,000 bushels can be received and delivered by all elevators.
Duluth and Buffalo are the two other great inland elevator centers. Some of the elevators of Buffalo have a storage capacity of 2,800,000 bushels, are “built of steel, operated by electricity from Niagara Falls, protected from fire by pneumatic water systems, and have complete machinery for cleaning, drying and scouring the wheat, when it is necessary.
" The 28 elevators of Buffalo have a capacity of about 22,000,000 bushels, and the estimated cost of their construction is $13,000,000. Long spouts containing movable buckets can be lowered from the elevators into the hold of a grain laden vessel. Great steam shovels draw the grain to the end of these spouts, where it is seized by the buckets and carried to the elevator. The 28 elevators have facilities for receiving from lake vessels and railroads and transporting to cars and canal boats an aggregate of 5,500,000 bushels daily. Wheat is unloaded from vessels at the rate of 100,000 bushels per hour, while spouts on the other side of the elevator reload it into cars, 5 to 10 at a time. A 1,000bushel car is filled in 3 minutes, and the largest canal boat in less than an hour. About December 31, 1905, 6,151,693 bushels of wheat were afloat in the harbor of Buffalo.
There is often a community of interest in the management of railroads and elevators, as is shown by their methods of operation and by the fact that the same men have heavy investments in both railroads and elevators. Where the railroads owned their own storehouses they generally found it impracticable to trade in grain themselves. They made operating agreements or sales in such a manner that companies or individuals would do this work for them. These companies became the medium through which practically all the cereals tributary to the respective lines of road on which they operated must go to market. Where laws prohibited a public warehouseman from trading in grain, other companies were organized, working in conjunction with warehousemen, to handle the business.
Financially, the elevator consolidations have brought money from the great public money market of the world. On this account the rate of interest has fallen, which has been a disadvantage to the local capitalist with small capital. Without the present system of elevators a farming community would be much worse off than under existing conditions, but from the farmer's point of view there is ample room for improvement in the present system. If the competitive system is to give way to organization, the farmer must receive his proper share of the benefits arising from the co-operation of all the interests
involved, for the foundation of the whole system rests on the prosperity of the wheat-grower.
Storage of Wheat at the Seaboard.—The elevators at the seaboard are not as large as those at the primary markets. The largest storage capacity of an elevator on the Atlantic coast at present is 1,800,000 bushels. Such an elevator can unload grain cars at the rate of 560,000 bushels per day and simultaneously it delivers grain to vessels at the rate of 1,000,000 bushels per day. An ocean steamship pier is usually about 250 feet wide and about 800 feet long. The railroad tracks are in the middle of the pier, and ocean vessels are moored on either side. The capacity for handling cars depends upon the size of the terminal, and varies from 65 to 1,000 cars per day. Grain in bulk is easily loaded on a vessel by transferring it through spouts running from the elevator to the hold of the ship. There are also two different arrangements for loading grain on a vessel while it is alongside a pier taking on board other freight. One arrangement consists of a series of belt conveyors which carry the grain along a gallery above the pier. The grain is transferred to the hold through spouts lowered from the sides of the gallery to the hatches of the vessel. The other method of loading is by means of a floating elevator, and it is used when the grain is loaded from boats. The latter are towed alongside the vessel, and the floating elevator transfers the grain from them through the hatches of the ship.
New York and New Orleans are the only seaports where the docks and wharves are largely under the ownership and control of city government. The stationary grain elevators of New
York have a total storage capacity of about 17,000,000 bushels, and they are able to transfer over 375,000 bushels of grain per hour. From 5,000 to 14,000 bushels per hour can be transferred by each of the floating elevators, which have a combined capacity of 178,000 bushels per hour. It has been estimated that the New York elevators, working 10 hours per day, could transfer in 30 days the 157,280,351 bushels of wheat exported from the United States in the fiscal year of 1892.
Philadelphia has five stationary elevators and three floating elevators. The total storage capacity in 1904 was over 4,000,000 bushels. One thousand carloads of grain, or 800,000 bushels, could be received in a 10-hour day, and at the same time