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CHAPTER V

THE FACTORY'S PRODUCTS

 

   To what extent are the factory's products necessaryto the maintenance of our present standards of living? When are the factory's productsdesirable? When are they undesirable?

   Let us try to answer these questions.

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   The factory's products are of three kinds.

   The first are products, of which copper wireis one example, which can best be made, or made most economically, by the factory.They are desirable products because they are essential to the maintenanceof our present standards of material well-being.

   The second are products, of which a can of tomatoesfurnishes a good example, which are just as desirable as the first, but which differfrom the first because they can be made just as well, and often more economically,outside of the factory.

   The third are undesirable products, ofwhich patent medicines are typical, which are undesirable because they are not essentialand may actually interfere with the maintenance of a high standard of living. Theyare products which it would be better not to make at all.

   Since the first kind of products, often not onlyfactory-made but factory-begotten, so to speak, are essential to the maintenanceof our present standards of living, it follows that the factories making them areessential factories. Ugly though all factories may be, and ugly though the factoriesmaking these products are, society will have to tolerate them because they furnishit products which really add to mankind's comfort.

   But products of the second kind--products equallyas necessary to material well-being as the first kind--we can provide for ourselvesby other methods than that of factory production. The products of this class areessential, but the factories making them are not.

   There are therefore two kinds of factories:

   Essential factories making desirable productswhich can best be made by the factory.

   Non-essential factories manufacturingeither the desirable products which can be made just as well or even better outsideof the factory, or the undesirable products which it would be wisest not to makeat all.

   A famous dandruff cure, which cures dandruffno more than it cures bad breath (for which it is also highly recommended by themanufacturer) furnishes a good example of an undesirable product, and the factorymaking it is, therefore, an equally good example of a non-essential and undesirablefactory.

   The ubiquitous canned tomato is a good exampleof a product of the second kind and the cannery which packs it is a good exampleof a non-essential factory. Desirable as are canned tomatoes as a product, the canneryitself is neither desirable nor essential because practically every household inthe nation may can its own tomatoes.

   The essential factory finds its justificationin the making of the first kind of products--desirable products which can only bemade or made most economically by the factory. These desirable, products includemost of our machinery--electric dynamos and Motors, gasoline engines, tractors, automobilesand tools of all kinds--hammers, saws, planes and drills. They include all kindsof "intermediate" products and materials, (intermediate in the sense thatthey are used in the making of other things, as in the erection of houses), suchas wire nails, copper wire and iron pipe. They include raw materials such as ironand coal, oil and cement. And of course they include factory-begotten products likeautomobiles which could hardly be made economically at all except by the factory.

   There isn't the slightest doubt about the factthat the factory can and does furnish this type of product of better quality andlower in price than it would be possible to produce it without the factory. It isnecessary explicitly to call attention to my full recognition of the useful partwhich the essential factories play in supplying us a plenitude of these things atlow prices so as to anticipate the charge, certain to be made, that I see no goodin any factories at all.

   If factory production were confined to the makingof these desirable products and if the public were to abandon the buying of the productof the non-essential factories, more than half the factories of the country wouldbe eliminated. There would even be a reduction in the number of factories makingdesirable products, because a drastic reduction in the number of non-essential factorieswould greatly reduce the demand for the products of the "essential" factoriesnow engaged in making supplies for the myriads of non-essential factories.

   Copper wire and iron pipe are desirable productswhich can best be made in factories. The factories making them are certainly essentialfactories. But enormous quantities of copper wire and iron pipe are used by non-essentialfactories. If any considerable number of the non-essential factories in the countryare eliminated, some of the factories making copper wire and iron pipe, and someof the mills making raw materials for these essential factories, would also disappear.

   Furthermore, since every factory, essential andnon-essential, is a large consumer not only of supplies and equipment of all kindsbut also of transportation, elimination of the non-essential factories would be followed,first by a reduction in the number of essential factories making supplies for them,and secondly by a reduction in the number of factories, both essential and nonessential,which furnish equipment and transportation to the essential factories. Once the processof reducing the number of factories were to begin with the elimination of the non-essentialfactories, the repercussion in the form of smaller demands for the products of otherfactories would mean a drastic reduction in the number of factories of all kinds.

   The two largest of our manufacturing industriesare the industries producing foods and kindred products and those producing textilesand their products. The products of these two great industries fall overwhelminglyinto the class of desirable products which are essential to the maintenance of ourpresent standards of living but which could be produced, just as well, outside offactories. A considerable part of the products of these industries, especially ofthe textile industry, consists of desirable products which are produced most economicallyin the factory. The factories making them are therefore essential. However, a verylarge part of the production of both industries (especially of the food industry)consists of goods which are undesirable and non-essential and which it would be betternot to make at all.

   These two industries employ nearly thirty percent of the men, women and children over ten years of age gainfully employed in manufacturingin this country--manufacturing having been taken to include every productive occupationexcept agriculture and fisheries--and include over forty per cent of all the factorieslisted by the census of 1920.

   Since a very large part of the factories in thesetwo industries are, in my opinion, undesirable and non-essential, it is quite possiblethat the number of desirable and essential factories in the two industries mightequal in numbers the undesirable and nonessential factories in all the remainingindustries. On this assumption over forty per cent of all our factories are undesirableand non-essential. If this estimate errs at all, it errs in my estimation on theside of over-conservatism. I am using it merely for the purposes of making it possibleto form a very rough idea as to the magnitude of the industrial counter-revolutionwhich is involved in my proposal that all these undesirable and non-essentialfactories should be eliminated.

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   If we include the superfluous essential factories-thosewhich supply the undesirable and non-essential factories with their supplies andequipment-at least a hundred thousand factories in the United States would be closedby such an industrial counterrevolution.

   If we include all the persons who are supportedby the activities of this hundred thousand factories, including not only the wageearners but also the owners and salaried employees, at least three and a half millionpersons now gainfully occupied in them would have to find other means of supportingthemselves. While this is nearly thirty per cent of the total number of persons gainfullyengaged in industry, it is only ten per cent of the total number of all persons gainfullyoccupied if we include agricultural, professional and domestic workers.

   Baldly set down in this fashion, this industrialcounterrevolution seems at first blush a ruthless proposal to destroy economic forcesand instruments of colossal magnitude--perhaps the greatest for good or ill whichman has yet evoked. But mankind's instinctive recoil from so startling an idea willbe very brief. It will console itself with the conviction that the industrial counter-revolutionis too visionary, too utopian, too chimerical ever to become a reality.

   But while the counter-revolution may be improbable,it is not impossible and it certainly is not impractical. Nor will mankind shrinkfrom it once a sufficient number of people find it to their interest to bring itabout. For men deliberately began a revolution of even greater magnitude about twohundred years ago.

   The industrial revolution closed hundreds ofthousands of workshops and community mills. It destroyed the value of incalculableinvestments of capital in domestic and workshop manufacturing equipment.

   It destroyed the trades and livelihoods of millionsof workers. It precipitated misery, ruin, and rioting. It was responsible for anamount of suffering that it is impossible for the human mind to fully visualize.

   Criticism, therefore, of my proposed counter-revolutionon humanitarian grounds--on the basis of the suffering which it might inflict--isequally criticism of the original industrial revolution. Mankind did not shrink fromthe industrial revolution--why should it shrink from the counter-revolution?

   If, however, one enlightened family here andanother one there adopts scientific domestic production, the transition from thefactory-system will be so gradual that the counter-revolution will come peacefullyand without adding to the misery and suffering which already exists in our factory-dominatedcivilization.

   As to the charge of utopianism, certain to bemade by practical men because of the drastic and destructive nature of the proposedchange, this cannot be made consistently unless the selfsame critics are willingto assert that Arkwright, Watt and Stephenson were equally impractical and utopianbecause they at one time proposed, and brought about,, an even more drastic economicrevolution. Their revolution has been justified on the ground that it improved theconditions of mankind and added to the wealth of the nations of the world. That isprecisely the ground on which I shall justify the industrial counter-revolution--forI propose to show that the elimination of the non-essential and undesirable factorywill add to the real comfort and true wealth of mankind.

   A study of the products of some of the most importantof the non-essential and undesirable factories of the country is all that is necessaryin order to do this. Such a study requires a candid, and I am afraid a disillusioningexamination of food products, for instance, and their production in our great mills,packinghouses and canneries. It requires us to make a comparison of factory productsand factory production with the products which we might consume and the conditionsunder which we could produce them if we turned to scientific domestic production.

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   White flour is a typical factory product. Ithas replaced the "rye and injun meal" of the American colonial era as theprincipal American breadstuff. That the flour of the American pioneers was a wholesomefoodstuff is more than probable because on a devitalized dietary they could hardlyhave survived the hardships to which they were subjected. It would therefore be abrash man who would say that there was any dietetic justification for the substitutionof factory-made white flour for the old American whole grain meals. Yet there areplenty of apologists for the modem milling industry who will be quick to assert thatthe modern product is superior to the product which it has almost entirely displaced.

   The modern flour mill takes wheat, one of theoldest and perhaps one of the best of the cereals, and converts it into white flour,middlings and bran. The bulk of the middlings and bran is sold for poultry and cattlefeed. Both, however, are also sold, in one form or another, for human consumption.The flour itself is sold for cake and bread making. The middlings, after being bleachedand packaged, are advertised as the cream of the wheat and sold for breakfast food.While the bran, generally sweetened and flavored to overcome its natural woodiness,is also packaged and then sold for its laxative properties.

   The white flour, which under our present schemeof factory production has become the principal breadstuff of America, (whole wheatflour being a negligible part of the total present day production), is hardly fitfor human consumption. It is pale and pasty in appearance; to the palate it is flatand flavorless. The public demand for it represents an acquired and not a naturaltaste. But it is not only unappetizing to the normal palate; it is a nutritive atrocity.Essential parts of the wheat berry--the vitamins, the mineral salts, the naturallaxative elements--are absent from white flour, because they are mainly found inthose parts of the wheat berry which are milled into middlings and bran. Consumersof white flour who happen to eat middlings and bran bring about a sort of metabolicreunion of the three parts of the wheat; but unfortunately much of the virtue ofeach of the parts is destroyed before the reunion by the processes to which the millhas subjected them.

   What is most unfortunate, only a small portionof the missing elements of wheat is consumed by this white flour eating nation. Mostof the middlings, and bran are sold to dairymen and poultrymen for cattle and chickenfeeds. The cows and chickens thrive upon what we are too stupid to eat! The whiteflour--that part of the wheat which is most anemic and which contributes most tothe well-nigh universal constipation of Americans--is used exclusively for humanconsumption.

   There isn't a single good reason, from the standpointof physiology, why wheat should be milled into white flour, middlings and bran. Butthere are many reasons from the standpoint of the factory system of production, distributionand consumption.

   There are first of all the profits that growout of the fact that white flour does not spoil quite so readily as does whole wheatflour. It can be shipped greater distances and stored for longer periods of time.It therefore lends itself to nation-wide distribution and makes it much easier forthe larger mills to invade the local area of distribution of the smaller mills. Wholewheat flour, which is a complete and practically natural organic substance, decomposesmore rapidly than white flour which milling transforms into an almost inert material.Like fresh eggs and fresh milk, whole wheat flour is a product little adapted tolarge scale factory production because it has to be comparatively fresh in orderto be marketable.

   Secondly, there are the profits which grow outof the fact that milling the wheat into its constituent parts creates three profits,where otherwise only one would have existed. Aggregate sales and aggregate profitsof flour mills are thus made larger. We are first persuaded, by the national advertisingof the mills, that white flour is more genteel, and that it is tastier and healthierthan the plebeian dark flour. A high price is then secured from us by the mills forthe white flour. We are then persuaded that bleached middlings make a breakfast foodsuperior to whole grain cereals. A high price is then secured for this part of thewheat as well. Finally we are persuaded that bran is an essential medicinal agent(for curing the constipation caused by eating the white flour from which the branhad been extracted) and thus the mills secure a fancy price from us for this lastconstituent of the original whole wheat.

   These factory-begotten products--white flour,bleached middlings, and parched bran--are undesirable forms of a most desirable foodstuff.We are not eating a superior foodstuff, because factories have taken over the millingof the wheat. But neither are we being furnished wheat products at a lower pricethan we could produce them for ourselves. And certainly the flour mills themselvesare not objects of such beauty as to justify their being solely on esthetic grounds.

   The great mills of which the nation is so proudare on all counts undesirable. And most of them are non-essential as well.

   For we are not without practical alternativesto which we can turn in order to supply ourselves with flour--and flour of a betterquality at a lower price.

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   A small flour mill can be purchased from almostany mail-order house. A suitable one is listed in the Sears, Roebuck & Co., 1927-28catalog for $10.35. It can be used to make whole wheat flour, cornmeal and oatmealfor table use, as well as coarse feeds for cattle and poultry. The mill uses self-aligningburrs for the actual grinding, instead of the great, clumsy mill-stones which werein use before the modern roller mill took over the matter of producing flour andcereals. The burrs are easy to replace and they can be changed so as to mill flourvarying from fine to coarse in a very few minutes. The extra burrs cost only 87 cents.The mill can be operated with a one-horse power motor or engine. Yet it has a capacityof from five to fifteen bushels per hour, depending on the fineness of grinding,condition of grain ,and the power used. With one of these mills we are independentof the flour factory; we get the finest flour, because it is whole and unbleached,at the cost of a little time, a little electricity or gasoline and the bare costof the grain itself.

   It will, of course, be objected that this isan alternative which cannot be adopted in the millions of homes located in our greatcities. Such a mill has a capacity far in excess of the needs of the average cityhome. It is essentially a piece of machinery designed for the farm or country estate.But this particular piece of machinery, which is a relatively large domestic flourmill, does not by any means exhaust the existing possibilities for domestic millingeven though this is an age in which the needs of domestic production are so terriblyneglected. The same catalog lists a series of hand grist mills, ranging in priceup from $2.65. The smallest size grinds about two pounds of grain every five minutes.Each mill is provided with steel burrs which grind coarse, medium and fine. It willgrind everything which the larger mills will grind. If hand-power grinding is tootedious, quarter horse-power motors are listed in the same catalog at $9.75. Oneof these motors could be used to drive the mill through a friction pulley placedagainst the fly-wheel much as electric motors are used to drive sewing machines.At a total cost of less than $15.00 including freight, delivery and fittings, thisequipment would enable even a small family to cut down its flour and cereal billto one-fifth its present dimensions.

   None of the mills now on the market, of whichI know, is really an ideal domestic machine. While the two described above are serviceable,their designing shows nothing like the ingenuity which has been built into the machinesused in our great flour mills. If human ingenuity were really put to work upon thedevelopment of domestic machinery, a mill would be produced no larger than an ordinarycoffee grinder, driven by a tiny electric motor, with fittings for attaching it toany wall, the whole apparatus weighing a few pounds and costing not much more thanfive dollars. In a large family it would pay for itself within sixty days. In a smallfamily, within three or four months. It should last, except for an occasional renewalof burrs, brushes and armatures, a lifetime. It would earn bigger dividends uponits cost than any other type of investment which we might make and would furnishus flours and cereals superior to those we now buy from the standpoint of flavor,nutrition and purity.

   But the domestic mill would not only earn moneyfor those of us who use it. It would forever free us from the menace and meannessof adulteration. Factories today are in business to make money. Many flour millshave not hesitated to use poisonous bleaches in order to whiten flour, as is shownby the history of the movement to enact and administer pure food laws. They havenot hesitated to doctor spoiled and discolored flours with chemicals which made themlook "like what they ain't." They have not hesitated to debase fine, hardwheat with an admixture of inferior grades and to palm off the resulting mediocre,though uniform, product as the finest flour it is possible to produce.

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   The average family in the United States consumes4.6 barrels of flour per year. Every domestic mill put into use in an American familywould reduce the demand for factory made flour by 4.6 barrels per year. Every 6,529families who turned to the domestic production of flour would put one flour millout of business.

   Twenty-five millions of these domestic millswould destroy factory milling. The 5,232 mills of all kinds in this country wouldbe eliminated and the 35,194 persons engaged in them released for other work.

   The incredible folly of concentrating huge armiesof workers, salaried employees, and executives in the centers where these large millsare now located; of shipping both the grain and the flour, middlings and bran backand forth across the whole country; of trying to support all of these non-essentialmills with million-dollar advertising campaigns to persuade us "to eat morebread," would be ended.

   Instead we would have a few factories makingthese domestic mills and supplying parts and replacements for them, all of them engagedin the work of making machinery into a servant and not a master of men. We shouldnot, as a matter of fact, increase the number of factories making machinery verymuch because factories making factory milling machinery would be replaced by factoriesmaking domestic mills. The decrease in mills making factory machines would offsetthe increase in mills making domestic machines.

   In addition, if demand for devitalized grainproducts such as white flour ended, not only would the non-essential mills disappear,but many of our patent medicine factories would also disappear. For fifty percentof the stock remedies in modern drug stores consists of patent medicines for thealleviation of constipation--laxatives, cathartics and purgatives in liquid, powderedand pill form. These products, which are absolutely essential in this white flourage, would become more or less non-essential if one of the principal dietetic causesof constipation were eliminated.

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   It is to be hoped that social historians willnot underestimate the part which advertising has played in creating the folkwaysof the period through which mankind is at present passing. For the placing of a socialstigma upon home-baking, one of the most important activities of woman in the past,has been largely accomplished by advertising. In creating the new social attitudetoward home-baking, advertising has served to increase the number of factories bakingbread precisely as it has increased the number of factories generally.

   Home-baking used to have the social standingof a useful art, an applied science, a means of self-expression. It was a contributionto the comfort and well-being of society quite within the capacities of most women.As a means of self-expression it is certainly not to be rated inferior to ironingshirts in a steam laundry or typing letters in a factory office.

   The modern woman looks upon the rapid developmentof the commercial baking industry, (the factory system applied to the baking of breadand other bakery products), as a blessing and looks forward hopefully to the daywhen all baking will be done in factories and none in homes. In spite of what modernkitchen ranges and modern kitchen implements have done to reduce the labor involvedin home-baking, the advertising of the baking industry, with the cumulative repetitionof one idea millions of times, has made her feel that home-baking is drudgery. Inthis way advertising has built into the mental habits of women one of those greattransvaluations of values which profoundly change the social history of mankind.

   One does not need to be very old to rememberwhen an altogether different set of values governed the attitude of women towardbaking. A report such as that of the Federal Trade Commission on the bread industry,in which it was stated that half of the bread of the country was no longer beingbaked in homes, would have been regarded by the women of the last generation as acalamity. The woman of those days who abandoned this particular household art wouldhave been considered shiftless, without pride in her occupation as homemaker, andindifferent to the welfare of her family.

   It is not necessary to be wholly in favor ofa return to a state of mind and a set of values which, in spite of some compensations,tended to overload women with heavy work. The modern woman's demand for comfort isthoroughly justified but this does not justify abandonment of domestic production,especially when comfort can be attained without necessarily turning to the factoryto provide the home with its breadstuffs.

   There are two methods, both of which might beused by the modern woman, to provide her family with breadstuffs superior in qualityand lower in price than those provided by the baking industry. Yet neither involveslabor as arduous as that performed by the women who work in factories, stores andoffices. If a large number of these women were to turn to these methods of supplyingtheir families with breadstuffs, 18,739 large bakeries--the numerous small bakeriesdoing less than $5,000 worth of business per year are not included--would be putout of business and 202,142 persons engaged in the factory production of bakery productswould be released for other work.

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   First, machinery can be used to make home bread-bakingvery much less burdensome than it has been in the past. There are dough mixers nowon the market which very largely reduce the labor of preparation for baking in spiteof the fact that they are still relatively primitive in design. What is needed isinexpensive equipment and machinery, electrically driven, which will do for the home-bakerwhat the elaborate and ingenious labor-saving machinery in the bread factory doesfor the commercial baker. The housewife who uses existing equipment, utensils, mixers,ranges, can bake bread with an ease that would have seemed quite marvelous to thecolonial housewife. If, however, our inventors were really to put their minds tothe task of developing machines for domestic use equal in ingenuity to those alreadydeveloped for factory use, home bread-baking would experience a renaissance of portentousimport to the commercial baking industry.

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   The second method by which the housewife cansolve the problem of greater ease in home production of breadstuffs is even moresimple.

   Let her give up bread-baking altogether. Or lether at least greatly reduce the family consumption of yeast bread because of therelatively great labor its production entails. The art of breadbaking, of makinga dough, of putting in a yeast or ferment and then of baking the loaf, is an oldone. But mankind throve before the art was developed, and could thrive just as mucheven if it were to be abandoned.

   Abandonment of bread-baking itself is easy, asthe modern housewife has already demonstrated, but breaking old habits of eatingas I now suggest is not. But the temporary discomfort involved in abandoning thebread platter at all meals would be amply compensated for by the permanent comfortof eating a greater variety of breadstuffs.

   A household mill, such as was previously described,is desirable though not essential to the adoption of this proposal. The domesticmill would provide whole wheat flour, whole rye flour, whole cornmeal, whole crackedoats, in fact the cereals generally, in the freshest, the healthiest, the most nutritiousand the most appetizing condition and at a lower cost than the factory product intothe bargain. Without a mill in the home it is difficult today to procure the cerealsas nature, so to speak, made them to be eaten. But whether the various flours behome produced or purchased from dealers, they make it possible for the housewifeto furnish her family with an endless variety of breadstuffs without once bakingbread.

   There is, for one thing, "johnnycake."Let a family once eat cornbread made from whole cornmeal--not from the pale, dessicatedproduct that the factories are now turning out and miscalling cornmeal; not fromthe cornmeal of ordinary commerce, from which the toothsome germ of the kernel hasbeen extracted, but made from the whole corn which includes the starch, the gluten,and the fibrous part of the kernel, and the universal popularity of johnnycake beforethe factory came along and destroyed the tastiness of the meal out of which it wasoriginally made is understandable.

   Then there are biscuits, pancakes and waffles.In the South to this day the hot biscuit is called bread. It is made from dough thatis quickly and easily mixed. The baking is a part of the work of preparing the mealand the "bread" comes hot to the table. There is no more reason for ourfear of hot bread than for fear about hot meat, or hot potatoes, or hot vegetables.Unfortunately, Southern hot bread today is generally made of white flour. If madeof whole grain flour it would furnish an admirable, nutritious and palatable breadstuffwithout all the labor of making yeast bread.

   But the waffle offers an even more appetizingbreadstuff and involves an even less laborious process of production. Waffle batterscan be mixed in a few minutes before a meal. If the fat is put into the batter whileit is being mixed and an electric waffle iron used, the waffle can be baked righton the table--at breakfast, luncheon and dinner--without the annoyance of greasingthe iron or of forcing the housewife to stand over a hot stove turning the old fashionedwaffle irons while the rest of the family ate at the table. An infinite variety ofwaffles can be made. A single meal of whole wheat flour waffles will make the soggy,mushy white flour waffle distasteful to the average person. The whole wheat waffleis crisp, where the other is tough. It has flavor, the natural flavor of the wheat,where the other has none. It nourishes the whole body where the other merely furnishesheat. It is healthy, where the other is constipating.

   In addition all sorts of waffle batters can bemade. "The waffling family" does not have to rely upon a monotonous repetitionof the same breadstuff. Mixtures of wheat flour and cornmeal are delightful. Thewaffle makes it possible to serve an infinite variety of breadstuffs without havingto mix yeast dough and bake bread at home or abandoning home baking to the commercialbread bakery.

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   Let us now turn to another branch of the foodindustry and consider canned goods.

   The canned goods industry is largely foundedupon two self-delusions of the American people: one delusion, that factory cannedgoods are cheaper than the goods which are canned and preserved at home--that ifthey are not actually cheaper the possible saving is not worth the labor and annoyanceinvolved in home canning; and another delusion, that factory canned foods are a verydesirable type of foodstuff.

   Before discussing these delusions, which arelargely responsible for the failure of American inventive brains to function uponthe problem of how to make it possible for the home to preserve foodstuffs efficientlyand economically, a bird's eye view of the canned goods consumed by the Americanpeople will be helpful.

   The following table is divided into two sections,one of them listing the "natives" among canned foods and the other the"exotics." Native canned goods are manufactured primarily for sale in sectionswhere similar fruits, vegetables and other foods are produced. Exotics are cannedprimarily for sale in sections where the exotics are not capable of being grown.When the place of production and the place of consumption is the same, the productis native; when the two places are not the same, the product is exotic. Canned grapefruitis an exotic in most parts of the country although a native in Florida and California.Canned fish, crabs and shrimp while exotics in most parts of the country, are nativein most of the coastal states. Canned tomatoes, on the other hand are natives inpractically every state of the union.

   If we locate ourselves in the state of Indiana,which is very nearly the geographical center of the country, we get a table of nativesand exotics something like this:

Native Canned Goods

Vegetables:
Peas
Corn
Tomatoes
Baked beans
Beans, other than baked
Asparagus
Spinach
Kraut
Tomato pulp
Tomato paste
Beets
Canned soup
Fruits:
Peaches
Cherries
Berries
Pears
Apples
Apricots
Fruit salad
Prunes Plums

Miscellaneous:
Sausages and other meats
Condensed and evaporated milk
Syrup
Preserves, jellies, jams, etc.
Pickles, sauces, etc.

Exotic Canned Goods

Vegetables:
Olives
Fruits:
Grapefruit
Pineapple
Fish, etc.:
Clams
Clam chowder
Herring
Oysters
Salmon
Sardines
Shrimp
Tuna
Miscellaneous:
Peanut butter

   A glance at this table makes it very clear thatnative canned goods constitute the great bulk of the canned goods consumed in Indianahomes--canned goods which could be, but are not, produced and canned by Hoosier householdsfor their own consumption. Yet with an unholy ingenuity, the factory has persuadedmost of the families of Indiana to buy factory canned goods rather than to consumehome canned goods even though they have to pay a higher price for an inferior productin doing so.

   I can see little advantage, and less from thestandpoint of the palate than from the standpoint of economics, in the canning ofmany of the exotics. But even though the desirability of enabling the Hoosier householdto buy canned pineapple be conceded, there is no possible desirability in enablingthe Hoosier household to buy canned sweet corn. In Indiana canned pineapple is anexotic; in Hawaii where the fresh pineapple can be secured and canned at home, cannedpineapple is a native. It is in my opinion just as silly for the Hoosier to eat factorycanned corn or peas or tomatoes, as it is for the Hawaiian to eat factory cannedpineapple.

   Whatever sense there may be in the eating offactory canned goods is confined to the eating of what I have called the exotics.

   The exotics, of course, come to Indiana from"elsewhere." They are produced and canned abroad or in some one geographicalsection of the country adapted to their production. If not canned in that particularsection, and shipped to Indiana where they are not produced, the people of Indianamight not be able to secure them at all. Thus the exotics may be said to lend themselvesrationally and logically to canning in factories. Factory canning, so far as it isessential and desirable in a rational scheme of life, should be confined to the exotics.It should be limited to those foodstuffs which furnish the variety and the spicein our dietary. It should include only those products which would be too expensivefor the average family if they had to be brought in the fresh state clear from adistant place of production to the point of consumption.

   But the exotics represent a relatively smallpart of the pack of the canneries of the country. The great bulk of our canned goodsproduction consists of condensed and evaporated milk, of vegetables like tomatoes,corn and peas, and fruits like peaches and cherries, native in practically everysection of the country, and which can be grown in nearly every backyard garden inthe nation. It seems to be folly of the rankest kind for us to buy the factory-madeproduct when it is possible to can and preserve the same commodities so much moretastily at home.

   Canning, preserving and pickling by the old-fashionedmethods which generally prevailed fifty or more years ago was one of the most arduousof the tasks of our homemakers. The equipment was primitive in the extreme. The useof the appliances then available, including the use of the all-important apparatusfor boiling and heating, was laborious in the extreme. Water, for instance, whichwas so necessary for the various boiling processes, had to be drawn from wells byhand, and this laborious work was typical of the hard labor involved in every stageof the work. Hours of standing and working in a steaming hot kitchen and of stirringboiling pots and kettles over a broiling hot stove was a part of the drudgery ofthe preserving season.

   The packer and canner came along and relievedmost of the women of the country of this labor. Grocery stores began to blossom outwith every variety imaginable of canned goods--canned milk, canned fruit, cannedvegetables and canned meat. During the harvest time, the canneries worked day andnight, stacking up in cases the foodstuffs which consumers were to eat the year following.Home preservation of food stuffs began to shrink in volume. National advertising,brightly colored labels, new and ingenious ways of flavoring and cooking the products,and also adulterating them, all combined to persuade women to abandon the hard workof canning.

   As a result most of us today have little ideaof the extent to which modern methods of home canning and preserving have eliminatedthe drudgery of the old methods. We have little notion of the extent to which modernappliances reduce labor, improve quality and save money in the home preserving offoods. Domestic canning and preserving offer the average home-making woman the opportunityto "earn" more money for her family, per hour, than she could possiblyearn in a factory or office and at the same time enable her to serve products farsuperior to all except the best canned goods now on the market.

   Let us consider some of the modern applianceswhich have made this reduction in the labor of home canning possible. They are byno means as efficient as they should be, and as they will be if the ingenuity ofAmerica ever really directs itself to the solution of the problems involved. Yetthe available appliances have already cut down the time involved in canning by one-third.Or, to put it in another way, with the best of the existing methods the homemakercan preserve three times as much in the same length of time, as was possible twentyyears ago.

   Sears, Roebuck & Co. list in their 1927-28catalog a variety of steam pressure cookers. The best type made from heavy aluminumcosts from $11.85 to $21.90 depending upon the size. This particular cooker is animprovement upon the original models of the same type. It has a new and greatly simplifiedlocking device --a single quick-tightening screw instead of the four screws withwing nuts which were formerly used. Some of that ingenuity, of which so much moreis needed in the field of domestic machinery, has evidently been put upon the problemof eliminating what used to be the most undesirable feature of this very efficientappliance. Yet the improved cooker costs less than half as much as the old stylecooker cost ten years ago.

   The smallest of these cookers will hold fivepint jars or three quart jars. (Incidentally, the old-fashioned screw-top Mason jarhas in recent years been replaced by a very much better clamp-type glass-top jarwhich makes the opening of a tin can even with the most ingenious can openers a difficultlabor by comparison). The largest of these steam pressure cookers will hold eighteenpint glass jars or seven quart jars.

   The same catalog lists less efficient devices,steam cookers which cost from $2.75 to $3.95, and a cold pack canner, including theboiler, for only $2.80. 1 mention these less efficient devices merely to make itvery clear that the equipment for canning is not beyond the purse of even the poorestof families.

   The best part of the story of what the steampressure cooker has done to home canning can be told in the following tables, takenfrom Extension Bulletin 56 and 64 of the New Jersey State College of Agriculture.

Time Tables for Canning

 

In Boiling Water 212°F
(Old Method)

Pressure Cooker
(New Methodd)

Fruits

in minutes

at 5 lbs psi

Apples

20

10

Apricots

16

8

Blackberries

12

6

Cherries

12

6

Gooseberries

16

8

Grapes

16

8

Peaches & Plums

16

8

Pears

20

10

Pineapple

30

15

Quince

30

15

Raspberries

8-10

4

Rhubarb

12

8

Strawberries

10-12

6

 

 

 

Vegetables

in hours

at 5-10 psi

Asparagus

1-3/4

45 minutes

Beans, lima

1-3/4

45-60 minutes

Beans, string

1-3/4

45 minutes

Cauliflower

1-3/4

45 minutes

Celery

1-3/4

45 minutes

Corn

3

1--1-1/2 hours

Kohlrabi

1-3/4

45 minutes

Mushrooms

1-3/4

45 minutes

Onions

1-3/4

45 minutes

Peas

1-3/4 to 2-1/4

45-60 minutes

Pumpkin

1-3/4

45 minutes

Salsify

1-3/4

45 minutes

Squash

1-3/4

45 minutes

Sweet pootato

1-3/4

45 minutes

Turnip

1-3/4

45 minutes

Beets

1-1/2

45 minutes

Brussels sprouts

1-1/2

45 minutes

Cabbage

1-1/2

45 minutes

Carrots

1-1/2

45 minutes

Parsnips

1-1/2

45 minutes

Peppers

1-1/2

45 minutes

Tomatoes

12-15 minutes

8 minutes

 

 

 

Meats

 

 

Poultry and game

3 hours

1 hour

Beef, lamb, mutton, veal and pork

3 hours

1 hour

Soup stock

1-1/2 hours

45 minutes

   These tables make clear what so simple and inexpensivea piece of machinery as the steam pressure cooker can do to redress the balance ofeconomy and comfort between domestic production and factory production. There isa clean saving of from one-half to one-third the time in processing. Sweet corn,which used to take three hours to process, can be finished in one hour. The saving,if the cooker is used for everyday cooking, is equally large. A ham which it takesthree hours ordinarily to cook, can be done to a turn in 45 minutes.

   In the competition between the cannery and theopen fire-place and the old brick oven of colonial days, the cannery deserved towin on the score of comfort, labor-saving, and economy. But in the competition betweenthe cannery and the modern kitchen equipped with modem appliances and a modern woodor coal range or an efficient oil stove, gas range or electric stove--domestic productiondeserves to win because it makes cooking as pleasant as any other kind of highlyskilled manual labor in which human beings can engage.

   According to the claims of one of the manufacturers,a half million steam pressure cookers have already been sold in cannery-ridden America.If, instead of this pitifully small number, twenty-five million were to be sold,one to every family in the country, and every family began to use them, most of the2,177 packers and canners doing a minimum business of at least $5,000 a year wouldbe put out of business and the 106,492 persons working for them would turn to somemore useful work.

   This ugly civilization. I believe, would be madeless ugly by the change.

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   There is, however, little chance of this renaissanceof domestic canning and preserving until the two delusions of which mention has beenpreviously made are somehow or other exorcised: namely, the delusion that factorycanned foods represent a very desirable type of foodstuff, and the delusion thatthe factory product is so economical that the labor and trouble of domestic canningis not worth while.

   Upon the second of these delusions let me quotefrom Frederick Frye Rockwell's book entitled "Save It for Winter."

   To anyone who has had much experience with the real modern methods of keeping food for future use there can be no doubt that it does pay, and pay handsomely. The new methods require very much less time and involve much less work than those which have been in general use up to the present time. The practice of both canning and drying has been practically revolutionized within the last few years. The new methods compared with those formerly in vogue are so simple that many persons have been inclined to doubt their efficacy until they become convinced by actual trial. The saving of food by these methods does pay even those who are located in cities and have not the facilities for producing the vegetables and fruit they can easily save for winter.

   Saving food for winter pays because it prevents waste. The surplus from the home garden, or cheap products of a glutted summer market, may be kept for the time when vegetable food is scarce and high in price.

   Saving food for winter pays because it enables you to make use of your garden, if you have one, to help support your family during twelve months of the year instead of only six or seven. The commonly held idea that these methods of saving foodstuffs apply wholly or chiefly to surplus garden products is erroneous. To take full advantage of the benefits which food-saving makes available one should grow crops especially for this purpose. This not only makes the work easier but permits making the most profitable second use of the ground occupied by the summer garden and allows one to plan systematically for the winter's requirements instead of just having what is left over from the summer garden.

   Saving food for winter pays because it furnishes a healthier diet. Home saved products, if carefully prepared, will be better than those which you are liable to buy, and so much cheaper that a greater proportion of them in the daily menu will be used. We Americans have been, next to the Australians, the greatest meat eaters in the world-not because so much meat constituted a healthy diet, but because, owing to our prairie ranges and other cheap sources of production, meat was more inexpensive to get and easier to produce and prepare than vegetables. Times have changed; meat in America, in comparison with vegetable products, will never be so cheap again. Those who prepare to take advantage of the cheap vegetable supplies of summer, will be on the road to more hygienic as well as more economical living.

   Saving food for winter pays because the actual expense for preparing and keeping vegetable food for this purpose has been greatly decreased by the -new method, in spite of the higher pries of many things used. Dehydrated vegetables of many kinds will largely take the place of canned vegetables. This means a tremendous saving in the cost of containers and in the amount of space required to keep products. Improved utensils have cut down the labor required in preparing and putting up the food. The percentage of food lost by "spoiling" has been cut from a very considerable amount to almost nothing.

 

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   As to the delusion about the superior qualityof cannery and packing house products, it would be easiest to dispel it by a littlehistorical review of the hygienic practices of the packing industries, were sucha method necessary. Upton Sinclair, in his unforgettable novel "The Jungle,"gave a vivid picture twenty years ago of this aspect of the packing industries. Therecords of the administration of the pure food laws by the federal government, andthe records of state and municipal boards of health show that the conditions which"The Jungle" described are by no means entirely eradicated. "The lessthe public knows about candy making the better," said the manager of one ofNew York City's largest candy factories during the course of an investigation madeby the Consumers League of New York early in 1928. Public delusion about the desirabilityof factory foodstuffs can, however, be dispelled upon the ground of palatabilityalone.

   Mass production of foodstuffs is essentiallyan outrage upon the human stomach. Upon the theory that the common and ordinary occupationsof life should yield all the satisfactions which it is possible by art and scienceto secure from them, eating ought to be a pleasure. The palate should be cultivatedfor the sake of enjoyment in eating just as the hearing is cultivated for the sakeof enjoyment of music. But cultivation involves appreciation of fine distinctions.With mass production, of course, fine distinctions are impossible. When foods areprepared in the mass, they are prepared for a mythical average taste--for the leastcommon denominator of taste. Not only that, but the methods used in mass productiontend to destroy those fine bouquets in foodstuffs which ought at all hazards to bepreserved if the most is to be secured in the way of enjoyment from eating. Factorycanning and preserving tends to destroy these fine flavors, and to that extent cheatsus of what should be a part of the joy of living.

   Furthermore, mass production, which cannot caterto the individuality and personality of each consumer, robs us of one of the attributesthat make life significant and less tragic than nature itself has made it. The foodprepared in the home expresses the housewife's personality and caters to the personalityof each member of the family. Personality is inextricably entangled in every dishand every meal. The very atmosphere of a real home gives to the meals eaten therevalues which cannot be duplicated in meals eaten in restaurants where the food isprepared in the mass and eaten in the mass. Those who habitually eat at home andwho eat at restaurants occasionally, certainly do enjoy the novelty of a restaurantmeal. But those who eat regularly in restaurants, who live perhaps altogether inhotels, very soon lose the ability to secure from their eating this kind of enjoyment.No matter how varied the bill of fare, a perpetual round of restaurant meals sooneror later ends in making all meals monotonous, The diners-out are a restless folk,shifting from one restaurant to another, seeking what is not to be found in the productof even the most skillful restaurant kitchen--the personal atmosphere of the home.

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   The possibilities of scientific domestic productionhave been indicated with regard to only a few foodstuffs. The branches of our premierindustry which we have been discussing--those making flour and cereals, baked goodsand canned goods--are among the largest in the industry. Yet to them can be addedmany others if the production of every foodstuff that is adaptable to domestic productionwere to be discussed.

   Domestic production is possible in milk, butterand cheese. In every branch of the dairy industry there are gains to society to bewon by eliminating the non-essential factory, and re-establishing with new methodsand modern equipment the domestic production of this group of immensely importantfoodstuffs.

   Domestic production is possible in the packingof meat products. What a blessing it would be if all the stockyards and packing housescould be removed from the sight and from the nose of mankind! By concentrating thepreparation and packing of much of the meat supply for twenty-five millions of familiesin Chicago and a few other packing house centers, a series of concentrated stenchesare produced that make a farce out of our pretentions to being a really civilizedpeople. If these stenches were resolved into their component parts in the twenty-fivemillion homes of the country, each would become so small that it could be liberatedwithout offense to the countryside. Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, (Kan.), and otherpacking house centers would then become fit for the habitation of a really civilizedpeople.

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   A glimpse at the probable future of factory productionof foodstuffs may be worth while before we turn to the products of the textile industry,the next largest of our industries.

   No Daniel is needed to read that future. Thehandwriting, already on the wall, is plainly to be read. The days of the farmer arenumbered. Agricultural production of foodstuffs has been weighed in the balance byfactory science and found wanting. The food factory of the future will make its productssynthetically. It will soon cease to be a mere processor and packer of foodstuffs.

   The factories are already making semi-syntheticfoods of many kinds. For instance, they are making various vegetable "fats."These are semi-synthetic substitutes for lard. They look like lard, serve the samepurpose as lard, and for all the purposes of business are lard. Lard, however, isafter all an organic food--while the semi-synthetic fats, after having undergonechemical treatment in the factory, are an inert, if not an inorganic substance, ofdoubtful value to organic creatures.

   What the factories have done with the fats, theyhave also done with the syrups. Enormous quantities of starchy cereals such as cornare now being chemically transformed into syrup. The semi-synthetic syrups, suchas corn syrup, taste like molasses or like maple sugar, especially when suitablyflavored with synthetic extracts; they can be used for the same purposes on our tables,and they have most of the qualities of natural syrups except, of course, the qualityof being natural--of being, in short, organic substances, and therefore, withoutquestion suitable for the consumption of organic beings.

   In the future we shall erect factories that willgo one step further.

   Sugar, the factory-obsessed scientists have determined,is nothing but carbon dioxide and water, irradiated by sunlight. Professor E. C.C. Baly of Liverpool University is now producing sugar in his laboratory synthetically.Professor Baly turns the chemically powerful ultra-violet rays of a lamp on quartzvessels of water in which carbon dioxide is dissolved and which contains either ironor aluminium compounds--catalysts that provide a large active suiface--and he obtainssugar. The proceeding is not entirely new. Daniel Berthelot was the first to synthesizesugar thus. Professor Baly's achievement is notable because he has mimicked naturewith greater fidelity; for in some of his experiments be used colored catalysts assubstitutes for the green chlorophyl of plants.

   On the strength of his, own success Berthelotargued that "theoretically there is no reason why we should not conceive ofa day when we shall produce some of our cereals and vegetables in ultraviolet rayfactories and manufacture foodstuffs out of nothing but the gases of the air."And J. B. S. Haldane predicts that in the next century "sugar and starch willbe about as cheap as sawdust" and foresees us making protein in the factoryout of coal and atmospheric nitrogen, so that "agriculture will become a luxuryand mankind will be completely urbanized."

   What a prospect!

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   Before the era of factory spinning and factoryweaving which began with the first Arkwright mill in Nottingham in 1768, fabricsand clothing were made in the homes and the workshops of each community. Men raisedthe flax and wool and then did the weaving. Women did the spinning and later sewedand knitted the yarns and fabrics into garments of all kinds. The music of the spinningwheel and the rhythm of the loom filled the land. Perhaps one-third of the time ofmen and women--one-third of the total labor of the nation--was devoted to producingthe yarns and fabrics which they consumed.

   In America and industrialized Europe this isall gone. Only in India and in the Orient is the song of the spinning wheel and theweaver's loom still heard. Slowly but surely the mills took over this work from theprotesting and embattled spinners and weavers. As late as 1810, for every yard ofcotton woven in a factory in the United States, 112 yards were fabricated by families.9

   In place of the loom rooms in its homes, Americanow has 7,816 factories employing 1,164,638 wage earners, not including owners andsalaried employees. Many of the wage earners in these textile mills are children.And the wages paid by these mills are notoriously the lowest which prevail in anyindustry in the country. Yet in numbers gainfully employed, the manufacture of cotton,wool, silk and other fabrics is the leading industry in the United States.

   A trifle over a third of the production of thecotton industry is used for industrial purposes. It is used in the fabrication oftires, car-bodies, etc. Two-thirds of the production of cotton and nearly all ofthe production of other branches of the industry goes to the consumer either as piece-goodsor cut-up into wearing apparel by clothing manufacturers. This means that probablyfrom ten to fifteen percent of the total number of factories and workers in the entireindustry are engaged in producing for the needs of other industries. All the restare doing work which used to be done in the home and much of which might still bedone there.

   Were modern inventive genius intensively appliedto the perfection of domestic machines there would be no drudgery in domestic spinning,weaving, knitting and sewing; a saving in time and money would be effected, qualityand design would be improved, and everybody of high and low degree would be furnishedan opportunity to engage in expressive work.

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   The variety of fabrics which the mills furnishus today is so great that we are apt to forget that the varieties produced in thehandicraft age were also great. Goods were produced for wearing apparel of all kindsincluding braids and ribbons; blankets and goods for all their bedding; goods forwindow and bed hangings; rugs, towels, cheesecloths. Yarns were produced not onlyfor weaving, but for knitting into hosiery and garments of all kinds and for twistinginto twines and cordage. Wool, flax, cotton, hemp, and silk were the principal fibersused in America at the time of the Revolutionary War. Flax was a favorite fiber,and linen fabrics were relatively as common as cotton goods are today. Some of thepopular fabrics were frockings, linsey-woolsey, broad-cloth, sheepgray, fustian,dimity, tuftaffetaers, velures, glovee, druggets, shallons, serge, kersey, crocus,lutestring, brocade print or printed cottons, black and colored synchaws, sarsuettes,shirtings, pelise cloth, cassimeres, tabby-velvets, bombazine, baizes, bombazettes.Some of these fabrics had their limitations, both from the standpoint of beauty andof comfort; others possessed a charm which has survived the centuries. Most of themhad a quality and durability that is well-nigh unknown today.

   It is easy to make glowing claims and to demandexcessive credit for the modern factory product. Modern designs, modern constructions,modern colorings and finishings, afford an amazing and entrancing variety. But howmuch of this credit is due to the factory and the factory system itself, and howmuch to the progress of the arts and sciences, which would have resulted in an equalimprovement in domestic and handicraft yarns and fabrics, it is difficult to say.

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   The myriads of improvements which the factoryhas introduced into this branch of production have not been without some offsettingdisadvantages. Recent developments in fabrics illustrate one of the disadvantagesto which the pressure for continuous production subjects textile products as it doesall other factory products. A certain poverty of invention is reflected in thesenew fabrics. Cotton has for many years been made to imitate silk by mercerizing,or to imitate woolen fabrics by fluffing the nap. But this was done largely in orderto persuade the consumer to use a cheaper product instead of the dearer one--notinfrequently in order to make it possible to sell the cheaper product as the dearerand secure a silk price for cotton goods. Such practices are not unknown in business.But this modern development is of a different order. It is a new form of factoryart. Silk fabrics are now being produced which can hardly be distinguished by theeye, from woolens, and woolens which look exactly like silks. The wool is spun finely.It is woven into a sheer fabric, and then finished so as to have the luster thatcomes naturally to silk. Silk, on the other hand, is spun so as to be bulky and fluffy,and finished dull instead of lustrous, so that it looks like a wool fabric, feelslike one, and is used in place of a wool fabric--in fact, it is in all ordinary respectsa wool fabric but for the humor of the fact that it is not. Instead of the manufacturerstriving to develop the natural characteristics of the fiber with which he is workinginto as beautiful a form as possible, he exerts all his ingenuity into making hisfiber masquerade as another. Silk masquerades as wool; wool as silk; cotton as silkor wool; and rayon, invented by the chemists as an artificial silk, is made to masqueradenot only as silk, but as the much less expensive wool.

   Why this invasion of each other's natural fields?Why, in other words, does the manufacturer of wool raid the region of demand forsilk, and vice versa? Partly, perhaps, as an outlet for the exercise of his ingenuityand a means of escape from the endless monotony of uniformity; mainly as a meansof enabling the manufacturer of woolens, for instance, to keep his looms operatingall the time by securing some of the normal demand for silk, and vice versa.

   What this means esthetically can be better appreciatedif the tendency is transferred to another field--to the realm of architecture andthe building material industries. Its absurdities and incongruities are then moreeasily recognized. It is as though the steel men were to fabricate their buildingmaterial into an imitation of lumber, brick, granite, and concrete; the lumber millsto fabricate lumber to imitate steel, brick, and stone, and all building materialmade to simulate competing building materials entirely unlike them in their naturalappearance, in their composition, in their strength, in fact, in all their architecturalqualities. Does, this sound absurd? It is absurd, but that hasn't prevented the manufacturersof these materials from actually doing these things. Steel mouldings, columns, andsheets can be purchased that look like carved wooden mouldings, carved stone columns,and plaster cast imitations of carved ceilings. Wooden mouldings and columns aremade that look like stone, and composition materials that imitate every imaginableother building material. This, of course, merely proves that when one turns to otherproducts to illustrate the absurdity of what is now being done in textiles, the factthat the other products are equally the produce of the factory and factory systemmakes it almost certain that one will find similar absurdities in that product aswell. The factory influence upon products evidently produces similar progeny no matterwhat the industry in which it is exerted.

   In foodstuffs this masquerade of one productas another takes the sinister form, in many cases, of ingenious substitutions andadulterations. Molasses, maple sugar, and honey are made of corn. Flavors, extracts,spices are made by chemical factories--not food factories--out of inert substances.Preserves, jams, and jellies, which contain none of the fruits of which they aresupposed to be made, are evolved out of concoctions consisting of glucose, applepulp and hayseed and made to imitate genuine foodstuffs with the aid of artificialcoloring matter, artificial flavor and artificial pectin. Manufacturers in one branchof an industry are not satisfied with the gross profit or the total volume of businessthat they can secure by selling what they apparently erected their factories to make:they try to add to their profits by imitating the products of other branches of industrywith the aid of chemists who are disgraces to their profession.

   That the sugar refiner should persuade the publicto substitute what he makes in his factory for other sweets, such as molasses, isnatural. If the public prefers the sugar, the fact that the business of the molassesmaker is transferred to the sugar refiner is sound in both economics and ethics.

   But when the sugar refiner inverts his sugarand flavors it so as to make it indistinguishable from honey in order to keep hisfactory busy, he poaches on the demand for the genuine product of our apiaries. Whathe thus does is bad ethics and bad economics no matter how profitable it may be tohim.

   Unfortunately there is a sort of Gresham's lawoperating in inter-industrial competition. Just as poor money tends to drive goodmoney out of circulation, so poor products tend to drive good products out ofthe market.

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   The hope of any renaissance of domestic spinningand weaving in factory-ridden America and Europe seems slender indeed. The arts uponwhich this most fascinating and expressive of all economic activities is based arealmost as dead as the arts of the temple and pyramid builders of Egypt. Spinningand weaving were the first of the domestic activities to feel the crushing competitionof the factory system; they will probably be the last to experience a revival.

   But that a revival is not impossible is indicatedby two developments of recent times, one in the realm of industry and the other thatof politics. One has to do with the rise of the electric power industry. Here issomething which our non-essential factories will do well to consider prayerfully:the electric power industry is beginning to discover that domestic productionfurnishes an almost unlimited market for its product. The other is the fascinatingpage in history which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is engaged in writing in India.

   In India domestic and craft production of textilesis not yet extinct. The village is still the chief industrial unit in India. Thevillages still contain workers whose chief occupations are, or were until very recently,weaving, pottery-making, iron-working and oil-pressing, nearly always in connectionwith the working of a piece of land. The highly specialized spinning of yarn andweaving of fabrics which existed in the larger towns of India at the time of theconquest by Great Britain, the making of muslin in Dacca and of calico at Calicut,has, of course, been destroyed. It was destroyed by the competition of British factoriesand the competition of factories which in recent years have been erected in Indiaitself.

   In the villages, however, spinners and weaversstill are to be found. The tradition is still alive. And while the tradition survives,it is still possible to produce a revival. In the Indian village, too, the pre-industrialfamily is still to be found. Relatives still live together as members of the familyin a communal organization. Income from the farm or workshop is collective--the jointincome of the family. It is only when mills and factories appear upon the scene thatthis type of family begins to break down. Wages are then earned individually, andwhen wage-earning begins, jealousies, dissensions and differences in earning powersrend apart the group upon which the old system of domestic or workshop economy waserected.

   Gandhi's searching analysis of the techniqueby which a relatively small number of Britishers were able to seize political powerin the whole Indian peninsula and to keep under their dominion three hundred millionhuman beings enjoying a very high state of civilization reveals the fact that thereal British strategy was not martial but commercial and industrial.

   The cheap and flashy cotton goods introducedby the British tradesmen destroyed the occupation of practically one-third the populationof India. India was "persuaded" to consume imported fabrics even thoughimportation of factory-made textiles deprived a third of the Indians of their meansof livelihood. The British factories forced the greater part of the population ofIndia to devote itself exclusively to agriculture. Indians were made to engage inthe production of raw materials. Ex-spinners and ex-weavers were forced to becomegrowers of opium, indigo, and other agricultural products, or they were forced intothe cities where they helped to form the reservoirs of unemployed labor, which madeit so much easier for the factory system to establish itself .

   Gandhi and his followers may meet defeat. A gallantgroup of patriotic men may suffer a crucifixion at the hands of quantity-minded businessmen who are determined that the whole world shall be made safe for the factory. Theywill certainly be defeated if they rely too much upon the nationalistic interestsof the Indians, and too little upon their economic interests. Patriotism and religionare able to move large masses of men and women to heroic and seemingly impossibleachievements, it is true, but they cannot indefinitely suspend the normal economiclife of any people. Christianity became powerful only after it recognized this fact.During the Middle Ages Catholicism was accepted in large part because its policyof land appropriation and monastic production made it easy for all classes to doso. The spirit of the church may have been religious, but its activities were economic.If Gandhi is to succeed he will have to rely less upon emotion and more upon economics.He will have to inspire his followers to solve the technical and mechanical problemsinvolved in domestic production, to evolve superior styles both in design and infabric construction, and finally, to build a distribution system that will make itpossible for the Indian spinners and weavers to out-produce, out-design, and out-sellthe best business men in the world.

   "Slowly but surely," says Gandhi, "themusic of perhaps the most ancient machine of India is once more permeating society."

   Evidently the stage is being set in India fora pitched battle between individual production of yarn and fabrics and factory production.All the odds are in favor of the factory--ample capital, government support, accumulatedtechnical skill, a distribution system built for the factory and not the individualproducer; above all, direction by experienced, ruthless, and sometimes desperatebusiness men. All the odds are against the individual producer--lack of capital,government opposition, his own hostility toward new methods and techniques; aboveall, a tendency to appeal to sentiment rather than self-interest in approaching theconsumer. If better domestic machinery were introduced, if design and quality wereimproved, and if the economic and marketing problems were solved even in a rudimentaryfashion, the basic soundness of domestic production is so great that it is not beyondthe possibilities that it would fully re-establish itself.

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   If all the resources of modern science and industrywere to be tapped for the purpose of making the spindle, the reel, and the loom reallyefficient domestic machines--as efficient, relatively, as is the average domesticsewing machine--the number of textile mills which could survive the competition ofthe domestic producer would be insignificant. What is needed, if the industrial counter-revolutionis to take place in the production of fabrics, of draperies, of rugs, of tapestries,is the development of electric-motor driven spindles, reels and looms, which wouldoccupy relatively little space and make the loom room practicable in every home.

   If the music of the spinning wheel is again tobecome a factor in the economic life of the world, the spinning wheel must be improved.In some of the Indian schools of spinning and weaving this is already recognized.Improvements, such as the change. from the thick spindle to the thin spindle, areindicative of what is needed. This one improvement increases the number of revolutionsof the spindle by from 50 to 100 for every revolution of the driving wheel, and correspondinglyincreases the amount of yarn spun with the same labor and in the same amount of time.A really "modern" domestic spinning machine should be no larger than asewing machine. The motor should be started and stopped as the sewing machine motornow is, by a rheostat operated by the foot, leaving both hands free to manipulatethe fiber and the yarn. The yarn produced would then cost the family hardly muchmore than the cost of the raw material.

   If there is to be a renaissance of weaving, ascraft and as art, and the craft woven textile is to compete in value with the millwoven product, the "hand" loom must undergo a similar series of improvements.It must cease to be a clumsy, labor-wasting piece of machinery. It should be smaller.It should be attractive enough to serve as a piece of "furniture" and sofit naturally into a room in the home as the easel of a painter fits into a studio.

   If the human ingenuity which has built automaticmachinery for our factories were to be directed to the development of simple toolsand machines for knitting, or if the old-fashioned habit of carrying knitting aroundwere to be revived among women, the battle between the knitting needle and the shuttlewould be staged upon another plane, and no matter which won, the factory would lose.

   If the non-essential textile mills of the countrywere to be subjected to domestic competition in which the individual producer usedmachines and equipment as efficient as those I have sought to describe a large numberof our textile mills would be eliminated. Perhaps 4,000 factories would disappearfrom the American landscape. New England mill towns would receive their final andwell deserved quietus, while southern mill towns would cease to make the cotton regionshideous.

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   Now let us turn to the production of clothing.

   In the sewing machine we have a piece of machinerywhich is ideally adapted for domestic production--a piece of machinery which representsthe application to domestic machinery of some of that ingenuity and persistence inthe solution of mechanical problems which has usually been devoted to the developmentof factory machinery. Howe and Singer, Wilcox and Gibbs, did for the housewife andher sewing what Arkwright, Compton, Hargreaves and those who developed spinning machineryand power looms did for the factory and factory production.

   It is no coincidence that the relationship ofthe actual invention of the sewing machine and the business men who saw fortunesin its production and sale almost exactly paralleled that of the inventors and theexploiters of the power-driven spindle. Howe, the real inventor of the sewing machine,had his invention filched from him by capable business men like Singer. More fortunatelythan Wyatt, Paul, Kay and High, upon the adaptation of whose ideas Arkwright builthis fortune, Howe finally was able to vindicate his patent right and thus force Singerand the various manufacturers of sewing machines to pay him royalties during thelife of his patent.

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   There are 16,904 establishments engaged in manufacturingwearing apparel from purchased fabrics according to the Census of Manufacturers for1923. There are 499,413 wage earners employed in these factories. If the domesticproduction of the clothes that men, women and children wear were to be really inaugurated,most of these factories would disappear and most of the workers in them freed tolead more rational existences. The gain to society would be incalculable.

   A modern sewing machine equipped with a smallelectric motor, a good dress form and a supply of paper patterns, enable the housewifeto produce garments that are superior to those that are produced in factories, andat a lower cost. A sewing room thus equipped affords a complete demonstration ofthe proposition which I have been arguing: that the factory cannot meet the competitionof the home producer if both are equipped with modern machinery and both use modernmethods. Upon this point let me quote from an interview with Mr. Hubert M. Greist,Executive Secretary of the National Costume Art Association:

   Home sewing enables women whose expenditures are limited to obtain four things in combination which they cannot secure in any other way. The first of these is individuality--smart, distinctive styles and fabrics, interpreted in the exact lines, colors and textures which best suit their types and tastes. This demand is real even when it is inarticulate.

   The second thing, quality, is in growing demand. This means not only good material but painstaking workmanship, as distinguished from garments "thrown together," relying for their sale on a smart first appearance. Imitation Of the better thing is rejected by many a woman of a type it would pay the merchant to cultivate. Her self-respect and refinement of taste prompt her to refuse a ready-made imitation of the real thing and to buy, within her means, piece goods of quality, good trimmings, findings and accessories an to fashion a garment which will accord with her own critical judgment and that of others with whom she has contact.

   A better fit is the third consideration. Skimpy dresses, or garments often shapeless where proper cut and line are important, frequently offend.

   The fourth objective is economy. Practically all women, when purchasing clothes, have that in mind. Ninety per cent of all the women who sew at home, according to a recent Government survey, sew to save. When we consider that 85 per cent of the families of the United States have incomes of less than $2,500 a year, we can appraise the possibilities of a well directed stimulation of interest in home dressmaking." 10

   Here is an occupation for the homemaker thathas fallen steadily into disuse as the factories which comprise the "needletrades" have multiplied in numbers and increased in size. In a factory-dominatedcivilization, countless numbers of women take jobs of all kinds, both in factoriesand offices, in order to earn money over and above that which they receive from theirparents or their husbands, to buy factory-made clothing. They buy an inferior product,skimpily cut and often ill-fitting; made of the cheapest fabrics which the manufacturercan buy and still keep his garments in the price-class at which he aims; exactlyduplicating millions of other garments, and for it they often pay an outrageouslyhigh price into the bargain. That they could make the garments themselves, of betterquality and at a great saving of money, and without the need of abandoning homemakingin order to do so, does not, of course, enter the heads of the great majority ofthem. If it did, the "needle trades" would perish. With them would disappearthe industrial maladjustments of these trades. Hundreds of thousands of garment workerswould no longer suffer from alternations of seasonable overwork and lack of work;they would cease to live under uncivilized conditions in congested centers like NewYork and Chicago; they would no longer endure packing like sardines in the subwaysand street cars which take them back and forth to their work. They would no longerbe the slaves of the sewing machine.

   For whenever men domesticate the machine, themachine ceases to be their master. The machine is made their slave--a labor savingdevice to be used when they need it, and to be laid aside when they are through withit.

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   Not all of the products of the "needle trades"lend themselves to domestic production. The making of coats and suits, both for menand women, requires a degree of skill beyond the powers of the average homemaker.In a sensibly ordered civilization this work would be done by craftsmen in innumerableshops in every community of the land. If the custom tailor and the custom dressmakerwere to realize the possibilities of their crafts, the factories could not competewith them. They cannot, however, hope for a revival of craftsmanship until theircustomers are re-educated to the niceties of the art; niceties to which consumersare made insensitive by the factory product; niceties which the factory system makesit easy for the public to ignore. If domestic sewing was a part of the life of everyhome; if custom tailoring was the rule in every part of the country, opportunitiesfor direct observation of workmanship and for contact with actual tailors would befrequent. Men and women would automatically receive an education in quality of materialsand workmanship which would make them reject the tawdry product with which the factorynow is able to satisfy them. This is by no means the least of the many advantageswhich flow from domestic and craft production--the education of the consumer.

   It is a pathetic commentary upon the pass towhich the factory has brought us, that modern pedagogy has had to discover the cripplingeffect upon the mind of this ignorance about the production of the goods we consume.The progressive schools furnish our children a substitute education for the directeducation which the factory has taken from them. They grind grain so that their pupilsmay know something about the flour and cereals they eat; they make paper, spin yarn,weave rugs and cloth, work in wood and iron all in order that their pupils may havesome understanding of the myriad of things which the factory sets before them andabout the production of which they otherwise would know absolutely nothing. The factoryhaving cheated the children of the factory age of any normal education in the crafts,the school is stepping into the breach and trying to reintegrate their personalitieswith a school-made substitute.

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   It is hardly necessary to further pursue thesubject in detail. The results of this rather sketchy analysis of some of the mostimportant products of our two largest industries--foods and textiles--and of thepossibilities of supplying ourselves with them through domestic and custom productioncan be duplicated in most of the other industries of the country.

   Most of the factory products which are desirablecan be made just as well, and sometimes better, outside of the factory while largequantities of the products which we consume are actually undesirable. All of thefactories making these products, and all of the factories making supplies and equipmentfor these nonessential factories, could be eliminated without any lessening in ourstandards of material well-being.

   Add to these products all those which it werebetter for society not to make at all, and the conclusion is irresistible: factoryproduction is in large part unnecessary.

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   If we might develop a more beautiful and morecomfortable civilization by producing things we need and desire outside of the factory,and if it is possible to use domestic machinery to furnish us a sufficiency of equallydesirable and perhaps superior commodities to those which we now make in the factory,why should we hesitate to abandon the buying of undesirable and non-essential factoryproducts? To answer this question conclusively we shall have to ask ourselves aboutthe influence of the factory upon the quality and quantity of the "goods, wares,and utensils" which we now consume.

   In what respects are factory products better;in what respects worse than the products which might be produced under a non-factorysystem of production? Would the non-factory product be as satisfying, as enduring,as beautiful as the existing state of science and art makes it possible for the factoryproduct to be?

   What about the enormous increase in the quantityof things which the factory makes it possible, and almost requires, that we consumetoday?

   Finally, is the price which consumers have paid,now pay and will pay for the advantage which the factory confers upon them worthwhile?

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   First, the factory has substituted uniformityfor variability in the commodities we use, and wear, and consume. It has not onlyproduced for us a greater number of things of all sorts, but it has produced themof a uniform quality in material, workmanship, and size.

   Uniformity, however, except in the case of machinerywhere interchangeability of parts is of great practical importance, and of coursein the case of raw materials and products for refabrication, is a doubtful virtue.The factory has so accustomed us to this absolute uniformity that most people nowattach a ludicrous importance to it. We have tended to transfer the unquestioneddesirability of quantitative and qualitative standard ization--that is, uniformityin sizes, materials, and workmanship--to the very questionable desirability of absoluteuniformity in the execution of every detail of the product. There are good reasonswhy the collars men wear should be absolutely uniform in size. Variations in collarspresumably of the same size would be a first rate nuisance since the collars mustfit the collar-bands of the shirts to which they are to be attached. But there isno good reason why every collar that a man buys should be absolutely uniform in everydetail of its design and fabrication. Small variations in height, in the peaks, andin the openings may be accounted virtues, since they not only relieve the monotonyof absolute uniformity, but make possible more delicate discrimination in dress.What is true of the collar, is, true of nearly everything that is purchased on estheticgrounds. Variety, not uniformity, is the real good. This tends to explain the presentvogue for the hand-made product. The very imperfections in hand-made products andin the antiquities with which our homes are being furnished are accounted charming,intriguing, delightful, beautiful.

   The factory, however, with its system of serialproduction can operate most efficiently only on the basis of absolute uniformityin the execution of every detail of fabrication. "No plant is big enough tomake two articles," says Henry Ford." Departures from uniformity createproblems not only in production but also in marketing which can only be solved byabandoning most of the economies of the factory system.

   There is a certain Spartan beauty in the factory-madeproduct when it does not purport to be anything but factory-made. Beauty of a certainsort undoubtedly is created by the skillful development of the sheer economy of lineand form that is natural to the factory-made product. Unfortunately, beauty of thissort does not add to the costliness of the product. It tends to lessen costs--tostrip off all extraneous ornamentation, especially any simulation of the ornamentationthat is natural to the handicraft product. This acts as a very severe check uponthe possibilities of profit for the factory. The factory, therefore, is under thestrongest temptation to conceal the fact that the product is factory-made, and touse the factory-made product mainly as a skeleton which can be loaded down with anappliqué of imitation hand-decoration, because it is then possible to securea higher price and a greater gross profit for it. Factory-made furniture is ornamentedwith imitation hand carvings. Textile designs are made to show systematically variationsthat are natural only to the handicraft fabric. Factory-made pottery and glassware,lamps and lighting fixtures, pictures and picture frames, carpets and rugs, all showin innumerable details of their design and execution the fact that the factory isdeliberately sacrificing the beauty that may be said to be natural to the factory-madeproduct in order that it may be sold at the higher price which imitations of thehandmade product command.

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   Secondly, the factory influence upon the productswe consume is responsible for the fact that goods have now to be designed for salerather than for use. The factory's products are designed to be made as cheaply aspossible instead of as finely as possible. The real objective of the factory is notto make goods, but to sell enough so as to maintain the volume of production uponwhich its profits are dependent. Decisions as to the quality and quantity of materialand labor put into the product, and the amount of ornamentation placed upon it, donot develop spontaneously out of the creative instinct and craft pride of the maker-althoughthat is never entirely destroyed--but develop out of the marketing needs of the factory.The salesman and the advertising man thus tend to usurp the functions of the designerand the maker. The vulgar taste is imposed upon the actual design of the product.This tends to restrict the scope of the designer. Instead of the designer being givenfull opportunity to educate the public to the standards which intimate study of thefactory-made product would enable him to evolve, he is forced to create on the planewhich may be called the least common denominator of the taste of the consumers ofhis product.

   The same force--the necessity of designing andmaking the product en masse and selling it at a low price--is responsible for thefact that the quality and quantity of material and labor used is reduced to a minimum,while the amount and kind of ornamentation is rigidly restricted to that which canbe applied mechanically and therefore cheaply. There is no inconsistency in the apparentcontradiction between this tendency and the tendency to over-ornament previouslydiscussed. The manufacturer tends to over-ornament and to use wastefully materialand labor in an effort to raise his product to the highest price-class in which hecan sell it in profitable, quantities. But within the price-class in which he operatesthere is the counter-tendency, to reduce and cheapen material and labor, ornamentationand design.

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   Third comes the very nearly absolute waste oflabor and material which results from the factory's inescapable tendency to continuousproduction. Only in the home can the owner of a machine afford the luxury of usingit only when he has need of it. The housewife uses her washing machine only an houror two per week. The laundry has to operate its washing machine continuously. Whetheroperating or not operating all of its machines, the factory has to earn enough tocover depreciation and obsolescence on them. Office overhead, too, must be earned,whether the factory operates on full time or only on part time. Finally, continuousoperation is necessary to enable the average factory to maintain a steady labor supply.

   But with continuous operation of its machinery,much larger quantities of its products must be sold to the public. The public buysnormally only as fast as it consumes the product. The factory is therefore confrontedby a dilemma; if it makes things well, its products will be consumed but slowly,while if it makes them poorly, its products will be consumed rapidly.

   It naturally makes its products as poorly asit dares.

   It encourages premature depreciation. If a householdheating plant depreciates at the rate of five per cent per year, the householderis in the market once every twenty years. If the walls of the boiler are thinnedby half, depreciation is increased to ten per cent per year. Cost to the factoryis reduced at the same time that the householder is forced to buy a new boiler withinten years--to replace his boiler twice as often as before.

   The factory encourages premature obsolescence.It changes models and styles as often as it can and sets in motion an elaborate propagandato persuade the public to replace still serviceable and still enjoyable types ofits product with the new types which are presumably better because they are at leastnewer. The average life of the automobile of today is seven years. If the car lastedseven years in the hands of the original customer, we have been told, there wouldn'tbe a market for the 5,000,000 cars now being produced annually. So the social pressurefor the new models must be made so great that all the models become obsolete yearly.

   Finally, it encourages the absolute waste bythe consumer of products it makes in order to stimulate more frequent purchases andpremature replacements. If the product can be packaged so that a considerable partof it is lost in the process of using it, (as is the case with tooth paste in tubes),or if the public can be encouraged to use it in ways that waste considerable partsof it, there is created what is called by advertising men "plus-consumption"with consequent increase of sales for the factory.

   Plus-depreciation, plus-obsolescence and plus-consumption--thesethree factors are built-as far as manufacturers dare, into the factory product. Theyconstitute a sheer waste of the material used and the time put into fabricating thefactory products for which sales are thus made.

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   The factory furnishes us products which are uniformby making us sacrifice the advantages of variety.

   It furnishes us products which are cheap by deprivingus of the advantages of quality.

   It furnishes products which are plentiful bymaking us abandon the advantages of conserving labor and natural resources.

   Plainly there are obverse aspects to every advantagewhich may be claimed for the factory product. Mankind may turn to non-factory productionwithout losing as much as may at first appear.

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   So much for the factory products and their production.So much for the possibilities of replacing them with better products and better methodsof producing them. These random notes make it sufficiently clear that many of theadvantages claimed for factory-made products of general consumption are factitiousand fictitious; that domestic and workshop production could furnish us superior productsin many respects at a lower cost, and at the same time eliminate the social, politicaland economic problems that go with factories and factory production.

   Now let us see whether the factory furnishessuperior conditions for the worker; whether men and women and children are betteroff laboring in factories and offices than they would be producing under their ownrooftrees or in their own workshops.


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