Statistics of Electrical Manufactures

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Western Electrician

Chicago, IL, United States
vol. 40, no. 1, p. 19, col. 1-3



As shown by the annual New Years estimates of the Western Electrician, given below, the value of electrical and closely allied manufactures in the United States in the year 1906 amounted to the great sum of $351,010,000, by far the largest in the history of the industry. Compared with the corresponding figure of $268,075,000 for 1905, the increase is seen to be $82,935,000, or 31 per cent. This is a tremendous increase, especially as 1905 was itself a very prosperous year, advancing 16 per cent. over the preceding year.

It was known before these estimates were made up that the year just closed had been one of unparalleled prosperity in all lines of industrial activity in this country, and an average increase of 20 per cent. would have been accepted as gratifying but not surprising. But when the total was reached, and the increase was shown to be 31 per cent., it was at first suspected that there must be some error, as it was doubted whether the jump had been so great. Going over the various items again, however (and these estimates are based on underlying estimates supplied by a large number of the best-informed men in the various lines represented), there was every reason to believe .that the figures were just and reasonable, and the conclusion was reached that the total was an approximately accurate one.

Of course no pretense is made that these figures are of minute accuracy. They are just what they pretend to be, estimates based on information kindly furnished by experts as the year is closing. But they are very far from being guesswork; they are founded on the shrewd estimates of many men actually engaged in the business and having expert knowledge. The Western Electrician has been publishing these estimates annually for eight years, and just as the figures faithfully revealed the setback of 1904, they show with equal fidelity the truly marvelous advance of 1906.

The figures given are intended to show the value of the machinery and apparatus manufactured in the United States for electrical use. Some of the items are not "purely electrical," if, indeed, there can be any tangible object which can be so termed. But when a hydro-electric plant is built which depends entirely for its existence on the fact that power may be electrically transmitted, the waterwheels, generators, transformers, switchboard, poles, wires, rotaries, etc., are all, surely, to be counted as a part of the electrical development machinery and apparatus that would not be needed if there was no such thing as electrical power transmission. But the buildings, foundations, real estate, etc., are not included, for the inquiry is limited to manufactures. A similar rule may apply to electric railways and forms the general principle on which the classification is made. The idea is to survey in a broad, statistical way the whole activity of electrical development and to show its yearly advances or reverses.

In accounting for the increase it is to be remembered that it is due not only to increased volume of business but also to a great extent to higher prices. Thus, the value of bare wire sold for electrical use as such is shown to have increased from $20,000,000 in 1905 to $33,000,000 in 1906. This is due not alone to increased poundage, but also to the greatly increased price of copper. And similarly, through the whole list, both price and volume of business have their effect.

Nearly all the items constituting the table show a large increase. An exception is the case of reciprocating steam engines for electrical plants, valued at substantially the same as last year. Steam turbines and gas engines, however, show large gains. Belting shows a decrease, which is not surprising, but the decrease in underground conduit is explained by the fact that the valuation for 1905 was perhaps too high.

Grouping the figures given below on broader lines, the result is as follows: Wires and cables, $88,625,000; dynamos and motors, $74,000,000; telephone apparatus, $28,500,000: prime movers of all kinds, $27,750,000; cars and trucks and distinctively railway apparatus, $15,700,000; boilers and auxiliary power-house plant, $14,425,000; lamps of all kinds, $13,125,000; batteries, primary and secondary, $8,775,000; poles, $7,500,000; all other, $72,610,000; total, $351,010,000.

To the large number of friends who assisted in the preparation of the estimates herewith submitted to the electrical public the Western Electrician returns its cordial thanks.





Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:September 28, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;