Publication: Third Annual Report of the Department of Industries of the Province of British Columbia for the Year Ending December 31st 1921
Victoria, BC, Canada
Report of the Department of Industries.
To the Lieutenant-Governor in Council,
Sir, — In accordance with the "Department of Industries Act," I have the honour to submit the following report. It contains : —
(1.) General Review.
(2.) New Industrial Development during the Year 1921.
(a.) Development in Copper Industry.
(b.) Automobile Tire and Tube Factory.
(c.) British Columbia Magnesite.
(d.) Abrasive Papers.
(e.) Starch and Potato-flour.
(f.) Specialty Work in Wood-working Plants.
(3.) Industries possible of Immediate Development in British Columbia.
(a.) Iron and Steel.
(b.) Manufacture of Glass Bottles.
(c.) Development of Carbonate of Soda Deposits.
(d.) Manufacture of Paper Bags.
(e.) Copra Oil-crushing Plant.
(f.) Manufacture of Industrial Alchohol from Wood-waste and Sulphite Liquor from Pulp-mills.
(4.) Commercial Possibilities of Shark-fishing.
(5.) Complete List of Industries assisted financially by the Department of Industries.
(6.) Receipts and Disbursements from the Development Fund.
(7.) Loans repaid in Full.
(8.) Directory of British Columbia Products.
(3.) INDUSTRIES POSSIBLE OF IMMEDIATE DEVELOPMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.
The immediate future should further fill out the many present opportunities that exist for further industrial enterprises. The lack of all-year-round industries in British Columbia is severely felt, and if one were to mention what could be started here the list would be a very long one. However, based on strong local market demands and the possibilities of development for the Eastern Canadian and export markets, there are several industries which warrant the immediate attention of capital.
(a.) Iron and Steel.
First among these would be the development of the iron and steel industry. So much has been written on this industry that beyond stating the opportunities for it in British Columbia, it is not the intention of this report to deal further with the matter at the present time. There are several interests working at present towards establishing it, and the future will see something definite accomplished.
There are several minor industries, however, that require less capital and have proportionate possibilities that would be of considerable benefit to the Province and to other enterprises, industries which by the judicious employment of capital should yield a good return to the investor who has sufficient foresight to take advantage of them.
(b.) Manufacture of Glass Bottles.
Chief among these I would place the manufacture of glass bottles and containers. In the past some effort has been made to start this industry and several years ago a company commenced in New Westminster. This company, however, was more interested in the sale of stock than in the development of the industry, and the company finally went into liquidation and the plant was moved to Anacortes, Wash., where it has operated continuously for the past number of years to the benefit of that district and more particularly to the City of Seattle.
In 1916 a small attempt was made in Victoria to manufacture glass bottles and a hand-blowing plant was established on the Carey Road. This gave employment to six or eight men for a number of months and bottles were shipped to Calgary, Vancouver, and other places. Through failure to have a satisfactory supply of raw material this enterprise did not succeed. It is also claimed that it did not provide for the up-to-date requirements of the bottle trade. The materials used were cullet and sand from Mount Tolmie.
Sand. — In the past the trouble in starting this industry has been a proper local supply of raw material. The chief material required is a sand free from impurities, and at present the chief sources of this material are Belgium; China; Ottawa, Illinois; and Monterey, California. The nearest supply, at Monterey, is suitable for making a blue bottle-glass. The sand at Ottawa, Illinois, is suitable for making flint-glass and other clear bottles.
To date no satisfactory deposit of sand has been located in British Columbia. This, in some respects, has no doubt been due to the fact that prospectors and others have not realized the commercial value of sand-deposits, more particularly in that the development of these sand- deposits would not provide for any great return for the discoverer. They would, however, be of great benefit to the Province.
To overcome this local condition it has been represented by persons familiar with the industry that the same plan could be followed here as at Anacortes; that is, of bringing in the sand from Ottawa, Illinois. The cost of the sand delivered at Anacortes from Ottawa, Illinois, is $12.50 per ton to lay down the material in their factory, and a local industry could be started along these lines, importing sand from Ottawa, Illinois, and Monterey, California. After the industry is developed local sands could be tried out until satisfactory deposits are discovered.
There are also further possibilities with respect to the utilization of quartz, which occurs in British Columbia almost 100 per cent, pure silica, and which is suitable by crushing for the highest grades of bottles and products in the glass industry. Deposits of this quartz occur on Douglas Channel, Banks Island, Dorothy Mine near Fanny Bay, North Bend, Kamloops, and Armstrong District. People familiar with some of these deposits claim that this quartz can be mined, crushed, and delivered at a plant in New Westminster, Vancouver, or Victoria for about $9 a ton, and in this way an excellent local material supplied for a glass-works. Persons starting in this industry could well have this in view as a future development to reduce their costs.
Soda-ash. — This material also could be at present obtained, as at the Anacortes plant, from the United States and England. It is of particular interest to the glass industry to know that there are extensive deposits of carbonate of soda in British Columbia near Chasm, on the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. A company has acquired these deposits and is contemplating their immediate development These deposits are of special purity and a conservative estimate of the visible supply is 237,000 tons. This material requires to be dehydrated to obtain soda-ash. The unique nature of these deposits, occurring as they do in the pure soda, should make it possible to develop them at a lower cost per ton than present deposits in California, Egypt, and elsewhere, which require an initial separation from other impurities and salts before dehydration can be carried on.
As an offset to the handicap of sand, this local supply of soda-ash should furnish an added advantage to a company operating in British Columbia.
Limestone. — This material is obtained in any quantity locally.
Cullet (Broken Glass). — This material is introduced to make a quicker melting, but is not absolutely essential in the manufacture of bottles. Large amounts of this material are available in every settled district.
The utilization of the above-set-out materials essential for the glass-making industry produces a clear glass. The different colours are obtained by the introduction of coal, sulphur, and other materials.
Markets. — The breweries, dairy industries, fruit-canneries, and pickle industries would furnish an enormous market for glass bottles in British Columbia, and the further development of the chemical-manufacturing industry of liquid pastes and prescription wares would require a bottle-factory to be in existence in British Columbia turning out their requirements. These various industries generally start in a small way and at present are handicapped in having to order bottles in car-load lots from Eastern Canada. The present supply for Canada is controlled by the Dominion Glass Company, with factories at Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Redcliffe, Alberta. British Columbia requirements are chiefly supplied from Montreal and the freight on one car-load of bottles to British Columbia would approximate $500.
There is sufficient demand in British Columbia for soda-water and beer bottles to take care of the output of a one-unit plant, and it is considered advisable for persons interested in this enterprise to put in to start a unit to handle this line of business. There are various types of up-to-date glass plants, and the equipment required would consist of a regenerative furnace, 15 to 20 tons, of the Semins [sic] Siemens-Martin type, oil-fired or heated by gas from gas-producing equipment. A funace [sic] furnace of this nature would require one annealing lehr of a size of 10 to 16 by 70 feet in length; this lehr fired in the same manner as the furnace. Two types of bottle-making machinery are the Lynch Noboy machine or the Amsler-O'Neill bottle-making machine. A furnace of the size set out above would take care of about three bottle-blowing machines. The automatic operation of the blowing of these machines requires the installation of an air-compressor and fan-cooling system. These, together with the motors, storage and mixing tanks, and machine-shop equipment, go to make up the smallest unit of a glass-bottle factory, and at the present time in British Columbia there is ample business offering to keep one unit such as the above working on brown bottles alone.
The demand for clear-glass bottles, such as milk-bottles, fruit-containers, tumblers, prescription wares, glass tops, etc., would be sufficient to keep one other unit of a like size and a 20-ton furnace operating on a clear-glass mixture.
The chief item of expense in a glass plant would be the furnace and lehr, and in this connection it is interesting to note that the Anacortes plant obtains its supply of brick for the furnace from a British Columbia plant, and by the use of local material the cost and upkeep of these two items of the factory equipment should be reasonably low.
The cost of putting in one unit of a plant of this nature has been estimated to be from [dollae:$45,000] to $60,000. This does not include an outlay for site or buildings or working capital. Persons commencing a glass-making industry in British Columbia should, to ensure success, arrange for a capital of $100,000.
The Industrial Commissioner visited the plant of the Pacific Coast Glass Works in San Francisco and that at Anacortes, Washington. In checking up the possibilities of this industry it is found that there is a reasonable prospect of success for this industry with an adequate return for capital invested. Its importance to other enterprises is fairly big, in that the establishing of a glass-manufacturing plant in British Columbia would assist a large number of smaller enterprises requiring glass containers.
(c.) Development of Carbonate of Soda Deposits.
The requirements of the glass industry in respect to raw material points out one anticipated local market for soda-ash. This anticipated demand is only a fractional part of the present world-wide demand for this product, listed on all trade reports as a stable article of commerce. The deposits that occur near Chasm, on the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, about 200 miles from Squamish, possess possibilities that would warrant their further development. These deposits are owned by a Vancouver syndicate, which is endeavouring to raise the necessary capital to undertake the development of them, and to this end it has formed the Lillooet Soda Company, Limited. It is not the intention of this report to in any way encourage any individual person to invest in this undertaking, but from the standpoint of the development of the natural resources of British Columbia the possibilities of this industry should warrant the people interested in it in having sufficient confidence in the enterprise to raise the moneys necessary for its development in the near future.
All the essentials for a good and new industry, as far as British Columbia is concerned, exist in these deposits, and it is hoped that the public-spirited people interested in these claims will see to it that an opportunity is given to capital to engage in this enterprise that would further widen the industrial horizon of British Columbia, and provide a natural resource that enters into the manufacture of glass and soap and is used in many other lines of industry, such as the woollen trade.