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purchase enough of No. 1 hard wheat to make 1.5 barrels of flour. In some places in Minnesota only one-eighth, the legal toll, was taken, and the amount taken varied from this to onethird at Minneapolis. It was stated that 700 years ago the English miller with his small toll made several times the profit that the Minneapolis mills made in 1891. Geographical Location and Extent of Milling Industry.—The first development of the milling industry in the United States was in New York and in Pennsylvania. These states exported flour to the other colonies and to the West Indies. They long held first rank, and still mill large quantities of wheat, having held fifth and seventh places respectively among the flour producing states of our country in 1900. In the number of establishments and the amount of capital invested, they have always held first rank, at least until after the early nineties. Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Michigan later assumed importance as milling states. Thirty years ago, the flours most sought after in the home and foreign markets were those of St. Louis and the south. St. Louis was then much the largest flour-making center of the United States. The improvements in milling processes changed the whole situation, for the best flour was now made from spring wheat. In the great rush to obtain Minnesota flours, St. Louis and southern flours were for the time forgotten. The first Minnesota mill was erected in 1823. The development of the milling industry in Minneapolis was most remarkable and rapid, chiefly by reason of the cheap water power obtainable from the falls of the Mississippi river. Other factors were the nearness of the wheat fields and the subsequent improvements in the art of milling. Before 1860, the annual output of the Minneapolis mills was about 60,000 barrels. This increased to 98,000 barrels in 1865, 193,000 in 1870, 585,000 in 1873, and over 1,000,000 in 1876. A conflagration then impeded the industry by destroying many mills, and it was not until 1879 that the output again exceeded a million barrels. By the end of the century, the average annual output was approximately 15,000,000 barrels. As the milling industry developed, it moved toward the wheat fields. From 1877 to 1888, the receipts of flour at Buffalo were 22 per cent of the receipts of both wheat and flour, while from 1889 to 1898 they were 42 per cent. As the freight rates per hundred pounds were about the same for grain and flour, it was comparatively less expensive to ship flour than wheat, for an equal weight of flour had the greater value. This was true in both the domestic and foreign trade. On the other hand, it has been maintained that transportation companies can ship and handle wheat more easily and cheaply than flour, and that consequently there is a tendency for foreign countries to buy our wheat and manufacture it into flour themselves. Chicago annually grinds between four and five million bushels of wheat, which is about one-seventh of its total receipts. The rank as to production of flour in 1900 of the twelve chief flour-producing states of the United States was, in decreasing order of importance: Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, New York. Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky. In portions of the south, it is thought that wheat growing would become more profitable and would increase, if local flour mills were established. There are some roller mills in northwestern Georgia, and even in central Georgia, but an increase in milling capacity would increase the demand for wheat. In the table below is shown the flour milling industry in the United States as given by the last census. The most rapid increase in the number of establishments was from 1860 to 1870. From 1880 to 1890 there was a decrease in the number of establishments on account of combinations. From 1890 to 1900 there was again a remarkable increase. The annual milling capacity of the United States is over one billion barrels.
(All figures are in round millions, except the number of establishments.)
1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 |
No. of establishments . - o 11 80 1 13 sos 22 573| 24 sis 18,870. 25,258 Capital invested. .... 54 85 152 177 208 219 Salaries paid ... ....] ... ... | ---------- -------- - : 9 5 Total wages.......... o 9. !; 17, 18 18 Cost of materials used 113 208. 367 4.42 43.4 47 to 136 249, 445 505 51.3 561
Value of products ... .... ........
Milling in Foreign Countries.--Excepting for the United States, Hungary leads the world in the manufacture of
flour. Budapest was the star milling city of the world until about 1890, when it was eclipsed by Minneapolis. The mills of Hungary have the best equipment obtainable, and the wheat is carefully graded for milling. Hungarian flour of the first qual. ity commands a higher price in the English market than the best Minneapolis flour. Sometimes it sells as much as a dollar per barrel higher than any other flour. The reason for this lies not so much in a superior process of manufacture, as in the fact that this flour is the product of the very best wheat obtained by the close system of grading. American millers find it more profitable to make more flour of a slightly lower grade. It may be that the difference in price is also partly accounted for by English prejudice. The first roller mills of Great Britain, dating from 1878, were said to be unsuccessful. It was not until the middle eighties that a respectable body of roller millers had sprung up. It is estimat, d that they numbered 400 to 500 in 1891. Two years later there were 664 complete roller plants, while at the present time 900 is the estimate. These mills have a daily capacity of about 247,000 barrels of flour, and a yearly capacity of 61,715,000 barrels. This is over ten million barrels more than is annually consumed in the Kingdom, and takes no account of the millstone flour production. In 1878 there were 10,000 millstone flour mills in Great Britain. Perhaps 6,000 or 7,000 of these still exist, but few of them grind wheat. There has been active competition between American and British milling interests for the milling of the Kingdom, with the advantage slightly on the British side on account of the freight discriminations between wheat and flour. The flour mills are now being built at the quayside instead of inland, as formerly. Liverpool is one of the largest milling centers of the world.
The modern roller system has been in operation in Russia nearly 30 years. The work of the mills along the Volga and in south Russia compares very favorably with that of mills in the United States or Hungary. Dampening the wheat is an important part of the milling process, for most of the grain is extremely dry, and their softer red wheats are fully as hard as our hard spring wheat from the Red river vally. The flour is of a golden color and highly nutritious. Their product seldom reaches the world's markets. After they become accustomed to it, most persons prefer it to any other. Argentine wheat growing began to develop in 1880, and before 1895 over 300 mills had been built, an increase of nearly 100 per cent. The milling industry was so overdone that many mills went to ruin. In 1901, the annual producing capacity of the Argentine mills was stated at over 13,000,000 barrels, but the exportation and internal consumption did not equal half of this amount. It is especially the large mills of the interior that have had little to do. High taxes were a great disadvantage. New mills were, however, erected in the ports in 1903. These mills were equipped with the most modern machinery, and turn out an excellent product. The flour yield averages about 66 per cent. There is little home demand for by-products, and they are disposed of chiefly by exportation. It requires great economy to make milling profitable, and the industry will very probably be confined to the chief river and ocean ports, and to the small and comparatively unimportant local gristmills. On the whole, milling in Argentina is progressing slowly, and in other South American countries it is only local. American competition crippled the Dutch mills in Holland, but they are regaining their trade on account of freight discriminations. In 1902, The Netherlands ranked second in importance as a market for American flour, Great Britain being first. Tariffs drove American flour out of Belgium, but Belgium millers suffer from ruinous competition among themselves. In Canada, mill-building is active, and both foreign and domestic trade is carried on. During 1903 flour-milling in New Zealand and Australia was temporarily at a standstill on account of crop failures, but it is usually an important industry. Progress in New Zealand seems to have been slow in this industry during the last few years, apparently on account of over-capitalization and over-production. The Chinese and Japanese have erected some flour mills, and they are ambitious to do their own milling, but success in this is not yet assured.
The Whole Wheat was used by the ancients for food. Pliny describes “amylum,” a food prepared from unground wheat, which was first soaked, and then hardened into cakes in the sun. At an early (late in England whole wheat, known as “frumity,” was used as food. Here the grain was also soaked, and then boiled with milk and sweetened. Ordinarily wheat is no longer used as human food without first being ground or crushed. Where mills are wanting, as is sometimes the case in frontier and in savage life, the grain is often simply parched or boiled. The Arabs, for example, have a dish known as ‘‘kouskous,” which is made by boiling fermented wheat. The Uses of Different Flours.--When wheat is ground by the modern processes many different grades of flour result, not only from different kinds and grades of wheat, but also from the same grade or variety. Over 50 direct milling products may result from grinding one grade of wheat. These products differ so in quality that many of them are each most suitable for a certain purpose of consumption. What is true of one grade or variety of wheat in this respect is true also of different grades and kinds of wheat, and the products differ more widely yet. Hard-Wheat Flour.—Hard wheat, of which the spring wheat of the Red river valley and the Turkey red wheat of Kansas are excellent examples, produces the flour that stands for the world's white-loaf bread, or “light bread.’” This flour is rich in gluten, which readily absorbs a considerable quantity of water. As gluten becomes wet, it swells to several times its dry bulk, and it grows elastic and tenacious. Gluten is the nitrogenous or tissue-building part of the wheat, and it supplies the same important food elements as are furnished by lean meat and the casein of milk. Soft-Wheat Flour.—The flour made from soft wheat is the best flour for crackers (English “biscuits’’), cake, pastry, and the hot ‘soda biscuits’’ so common in the southern portion of