Statistics of Electrical Manufactures

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Western Electrician

Chicago, IL, United States
vol. 36, no. 1, p. 15, col. 1-3



A slight falling off in the value of electrical and closely allied manufactures in the United States is shown by the year 1904 as compared with 1903. The Western Electrician's annual detailed estimates are given in the following table, and the total for the year just closed is $230,510,000, which is a decrease of 1.8 per cent. from the $234,750,000 of 1903. This showing is not surprising; the surprise, if any, will be caused by the fact that the shrinkage 's not greater, for in all, or nearly all, lines of business in the United States the volume was less in 1904 than in 1903. The electrical industry, in almost keeping pace with the record of the year before, certainly stands well.

An examination of the figures shows that while there has been a falling off in several lines, others hold their own or show a slight increase. Thus, the valuation of steam turbines used to drive electrical generators has more than doubled, comparing 1904 with the year preceding. Vapor lamps, too, have exactly doubled in value of output. Gas engines for electrical use continue, to show a steady increase, while reciprocating steam engines exhibit a falling off. Boilers, both water-tube and fire-tube, display a marked gain, but it is possible that the estimates in this line were too low in 1903. Electric fans continue to decrease in value of output, and this fact may be accounted for by the cold summers of the last two or three years. Decreases are shown in all kinds of wires and cables, indicating a decline in electrical construction. General electrical machinery dynamos and motors decreased slightly. Arc and incandescent lamps show slight gains, while the demand for electrical heating appliances exhibits an interesting decrease. Telephone apparatus shows a considerable falling off, while space-telegraph apparatus is on the gain; yet the hiatus between these two systems of communication is still very considerable. In other lines there are a few interesting changes in some cases, but in most instances the volume of business is shown either to be about the same in 1903 and 1904 or to manifest a difference one way or the other which is not especially significant.

The Western Electrician feels that it has a right to take pride in the figures of electrical and auxiliary manufactures given annually in its New Years numbers. These figures are exactly what they purport to be estimates. But they are very far from being mere guesswork; they are based on estimates furnished by a large number of expert authorities in the various lines of the electrical and allied industries. The mass of figures secured by a careful consideration and collation, of these individual estimates is laid before the electrical public while it is fresh and of value in taking stock of the year's progress; and it would be impracticable to secure it in any other way; The table is designed to show the value of apparatus manufactured in the country during the year for electrical use. If, for instance, the applications of electricity were non-existent, there would be no demand for waterwheels, boilers or engines to drive dynamos, or for wire or rail to convey the current; yet waterwheels, boilers, engines, wire and steel rail would doubtless be produced. Therefore, to get at the true significance of electricity in relation to the manufacturing industries there seems to be no other way than to depend on estimates of men practically engaged in the different businesses allied yet distinct which are affected. Then, too, the various branches of what may be called the purely electrical industry are themselves so interlaced that estimates of the values in different departments are obviously more satisfactory than exact figures of the value of output of each manufacturing concern, even if the latter could be secured. Estimates have a recognized place in all statistical efforts that aim to be comprehensive in showing general tendency rather than exactly minute in detail; and the figures herewith presented are set forth in the confident belief that they are substantially correct approximations of the volume of business in the lines indicated. They are made possible by the kind co-operation of many men prominent in the electrical and allied industries; and to these friends the Western Electrician returns its best thanks.





Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:March 19, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;