Achievements Of The 19th Century:
A Century Of Achievement
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The origin of agriculture is lost in the darkness of re-mote antiquity, but not until comparatively recent times has science been applied to its practice. The ancient Egyptians, it is true, attained a proficiency in the pursuit of the art far in advance of anything seen in Europe until the end of the Seventeenth Century, if we except the work of the Saracens in Spain, who revived agriculture, as they did other arts and sciences. The Egyptian inscriptures and frescoes testify to an amazing state of enlightenment among the farmers on the banks of the Nile, thousands of years ago. Not only did Egypt produce corn enough for her teeming population, but she annually exported mil-lions of bushels of bread stuffs. Egyptian cultivators of the soil were familiar with the value of a rotation of crops and adapted their crops to the season and soil. They were expert breeders of poultry and made a practice of artificial hatching. Their sheep and cattle were admirably cared for, being fed hay during the yearly inundation and pastured in meadows of green clover at other times. Their paintings, which illustrate rural affairs, show advanced methods of plowing, sowing and harvesting, with well-kept farms and farm buildings.
The Babylonians, the Israelites, and the ancient Romans were great agricultural nations. Later on the Romans held agriculture in contempt and fine lands, formerly highly cultivated, were allowed to go to waste. Under the barbarian conquerors of Europe, in the Middle Ages, agriculture was despised and neglected. The Saracens and their successors the Moors practiced husbandry as an art. To this day remains of their noble works testify to their wonderful system of irrigation and to their enlightened cultivation of the soil. In the rest of Europe numerous wars and the feudal system made agricultural progress scarcely possible. The condition of the masses was such that they had neither the means nor the will to improve their holdings. All that they raised beyond the barest necessities of life was taken by those above them. Rye, barley, and oats afforded food and drink. Even the aristocracy 0f Europe had few edibles other than these and wheat. It is said that until the end of the reign of Henry VIII, there were no salads or edible roots raised in England and that Queen Catherine, if she wished a salad, was obliged to send to Holland or Flanders to get it.
Agriculture partook of the general improvement which resulted from the invention of printing and the revival of learning, but its progress was slow. During the Nineteenth Century more advancement has been made in the practice and science of agriculture than during the whole preceding period of history, although at the beginning of the Century the study of agriculture and the improvement of its methods had already received a considerable impetus. Jethro Tull's sensible doctrines and practices of husbandry had been made known to the world, although their merit was not fully realized; Blakewell's experiments had resulted in improved methods of breeding and caring for stock; the alternate system of husbandry had been substituted for the old wasteful and ignorant practice of sowing successive crops of corn until the land was exhausted, then turning it out to rest, in the futile belief that nature would restore its fertility; improvements had been made in some farm implements and machinery; much had been done in the way of draining land. Agricultural societies had been founded in Great Britain and the United States.
The increase and diffusion of knowledge of agriculture during the Nineteenth Century has been remarkable. This has been accomplished through many agencies agricultural societies, farmers' papers and magazines, lectures, agriculture colleges and schools, Government bureaus or departments of agriculture and experiment stations. As has been said, agricultural societies date from the Eighteenth Century. In the north of Italy such societies were established very early in the Century and in Scotland there was more than one short-lived association before the founding of the well-known Highland Society in 1783. In 1793 a private association called the Board of Agriculture was incorporated in England. This was supported by Parliamentary grants. It did valuable work until it was dissolved in 1816. Since then, various agricultural societies have sprung up in different parts of Great Britain and in the rest of Europe. As early as 1784 agricultural societies were established in Pennsylvania and South Carolina and in 1791 and 1792 in New York and Massachusetts. From these beginnings an almost innumerable number of agricultural societies has grown. Each state in the Union has a central organization which, encourages local societies. In many states each county has its own society. A like condition of affairs exists in Canada. Much popular interest is taken in these societies. Frequent fairs are held at which are awarded prizes to fine products of dairy, farm, garden, and orchard. Horticultural and agricultural societies have done much to spread a knowledge of improved stocks, implements, and seeds.
The first agricultural school is said to have been founded by Fellenberg at Hofwyl in Switzerland in 1806.
It prospered for thirty years and over three thousand pupils were trained in it. Since then, numerous institutions have arisen in different parts of Europe, and have been conducted with success. They have exerted great influence, especially on the Continent, and it is maintained that in many countries the land now yields almost twice as much per acre as it did before the founding of these schools, colleges, and their attendant model farms. In the United States, in 1862, Congress passed a bill providing for the "endowment, support, and maintenance" of colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts in the several states. The course of instruction covers a period of four years. The curriculum is comprehensive and includes, besides language, literature, history, and general science, botany, geology, zoölogy, entomology, horticulture, veterinary science, and the various interests associated with theoretical and applied agriculture. As a rule, the tuition is free, so that any student who is able to pay his living expenses may take advantage of the opportunities offered.
Systematical study of the farmer's problems under the Government supervision is almost entirely a development of the last fifty years. Private individuals, such as Jethro Tull and Arthur Young, long before made investigations and experiments for the benefit of humanity, but this was done at their own expense. In 1843 the experimental farms of Sir John Bennett Laws at Rothamstead and of the Rev. Mr. Smith at Lois Weedon, attracted the public attention to the benefits to be gained from methodical study. It was, however, totally impracticable for the ten-ant farmer of Great Britain to experiment to any extent, whatever the advantages to the world. At last Parliament realized this and in 1889 created a Board of Agriculture, whose duties in many respects resemble those of the Agricultural Department of the United States. Since then experimental farms under the auspices of the Government and the various agricultural colleges are conducted with success. France and Germany have long carried on experiment farms. One of the best Government experiment farms in the world is in Germany, at Mockern, near Leipsic, in Saxony. It was established in 1851.
The Governmental experiment stations in the United States date from the establishment of the agricultural colleges in 1862. Each college endeavored to teach the practice of husbandry as well as the theory. Farms were bought and cultivated under the direction of the colleges. These became experiment stations. Recent legislation has systemized the work of these farms; regular reports are required from them by the Department of Agriculture and copies of such reports are sent to every other such station. There are now one or more experiment stations in each state and territory of the Union. The Department of Agriculture itself investigates and experiments in both laboratory and farm. Useful information has been collected and recorded on a multitude of subjects and all of this valuable matter is at the service of every fariner in the land. The support of the experiment stations in the Union costs the country about one million dollars a year. The commissionership of agriculture was established in 1862. In 1889 it was made a department of the Government and its chief became an officer of the Cabinet. The department embraces the weather bureau ; also the bureaus of forestry, agricultural chemistry, botany, entomology, pomology, animal industry, vegetable pathology, and of experiment stations. It pays particular attention to over-coming the enemies of crops, both insects and diseases, having sent costly expeditions to foreign lands in order that they might be studied in their native haunts.
The motto of the British Royal Agricultural Society is "Science with Practice." It is typical of the agricultural progress of the Century. Science has been applied to farming in innumerable ways. Geologists, chemists, physiologists, statisticians, architects, and mechanists have helped the farmer solve his problems. At first the tillers of the soil would have nothing to do with scientific aid, and opposed all innovations. But as capital and skill were brought to bear on farming by wealthy and enlightened cultivators of the soil, wonderful results were obtained; and, gradually, such object lessons had their effect on the masses. At the end of the Eighteenth Century, in England, millions of acres of wastes, commons and open field farms were enclosed and the present system of British farming, by which the land is owned by landlords occupied by tenants, and farmed by laborers, came into general use. Through long misuse or neglect the land had become impoverished and it was necessary to expend much ingenuity and capital on restoring its fertility. Men addressed themselves to the problem with zeal. Attention was given to the best methods of draining, manuring, and to the rotation of crops. Farm buildings were better planned and constructed, live stock was improved and better cared for.
The system of thorough drainage and deep plowing introduced by Smith, of Deanston, about 1834, is, with modifications, the one in use to-day. Good drainage has restored the prosperity of clay farms and made them some-times more productive than the best naturally drained ones.
Agricultural chemists have made a science of manuring. At the beginning of the Century, as a rule, little attention was paid to this necessary part of farming. Half-rotted straw was the usual fertilizer, although many substances have been used to enrich soil from time immemorial. Until the present day the feeding of plants had not been really understood and manuring had been done almost blindly. Chemistry and geology have demonstrated what is necessary to plant life and what stimulates growth. Besides water, carbonic acid, and ammonia, plants feed on certain mineral substances, such as lime, potash, magnesia, soda, sulphates, and phosphates. Certain crops exhaust the resources of the soil and these must then be restored artificially. Davy, Sprengel and Liebig led the way in the study of agricultural chemistry with valuable results. From 1835 onwards the use of nitrate of soda, guano, bones, and superphosphate spread. Manufactured guano proved almost as valuable as the natural Peruvian supply. Science has taught the farmer to use for enriching the land many things which were formerly wasted. Almost every vegetable and animal substance, in one state or another, can be used as manure, and properly applied supply the needs of plants. There is, to-day, no lack of materials and guides to the farmer who would improve and preserve the fertility of the soil. So thoroughly has the science of fertilizing been studied and set forth by competent men that the ignorance and blindness of a Century ago seem incredible.
In the United States the farmer has had a virgin soil to deal with. For years he used it wastefully, but of late he is realizing the wisdom of more careful husbandry, especially in the East, where worn out land has testified to the fact that the supplies stored in the soil by nature throughout ages can be exhausted soon by unthrifty use.
Irrigation is not a product of the Nineteenth Century, for it seems to be almost as old as agriculture itself. The irrigation-works of Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, and China were built so long ago that no one can name the dates of their construction. Yet irrigation plays an important part in the agriculture of to-day. In India an elaborate system of irrigation works has been built to prevent terrible famines, which cause untold suffering in arid but densely populated sections of that crowded land. In Madras alone 6,000,000 acres are watered. Great Britain has found these irrigation-works profitable investments, returning from 6 to 30 per cent per annum on the money invested and resulting in annual crop values of millions of pounds. France has blossomed like a garden with her small, well-tilled irrigated farms and her thrifty agricultural population has grown rich. In the western part of the United States hot and arid lands have been made to bear luxuriant vegetation; water has been brought from far under the earth's crust and by means of artesian well and windmill distributed over the thirsty land. The irrigation of or-chards and fruit lands in California has resulted in fruit unrivaled in size and beauty, which, by means of cold storage and refrigerating processes, is sent all over the world.
During the Nineteenth Century much attention has been paid to the breeding of live stock. Great improvements have been made in all breeds of domesticated animals. Not only have individual specimens of high merit been produced, but all over the civilized world there is a much better quality to be found. Contagious diseases, such as pleuro-pneumonia and rinderpest, have been combatted successfully and by quarantine have been limited to small districts, preventing the spreading of the plague.
Agricultural fairs have done much to improve and encourage the improvement of live stock, as has the fashion of breeding pedigree animals. Among wealthy landowners in England, about the middle of the Century, there was a "pedigree mania," and fabulous prices were paid for cattle of particular breeds. This drew attention to the good points of the animals and resulted in a general distribution of offshoots from fine stock. Inspired by the success of British stock breeders, Americans imported cattle from the best herds, and the effect upon the cattle in the United States was instantaneous. In 1867 J. O. Sheldon, of Geneva, New York, sold forty head of shorthorns, known as the "Duchess," for $42,300. In 1873 a single scion of the same family brought $40,600 at public auction, and an eight months' old calf sold for $27,000. These extraordinary prices attracted the attention of farmers all over the country to the importance of the selection and breeding of cattle. As often happens, the pupil has distanced the teacher, and the average animal in the herds of the United States is today above that of Great Britain. The Jersey was imported in 1850. Having become acclimated and improved in strength, size, and quality, she is now one of our best dairy breeds. About 1857 the Holstein-Friesian breed was introduced. In 1896 the Department of Agriculture estimated there were 16,137,586 milch cows in the United States, valued at $363,955,-545, producing 20,000,000 tons of milk.
Horses, sheep, and pigs also have been much improved during the Century. The trotting horse is a product of New England. The Puritans regarded the race course as a snare of the devil and taught their horses to trot instead of to run, little dreaming that the trotting match in years to come would be the cause of gambling like any other trial of speed on the turf. Lady Suffolk made the first trotting record below 2:30 less than fifty years ago. In the United States today there are thousands of horses who can trot a mile in less time, while Alix has covered the distance in 2 :03 3-4. The trotting horse affected materially the art of the wagon and carriage builder in the Northern states. Carriage wagons and even agricultural machines have been constructed more and more with regard to lightness and beauty, and it is said that the average farm wagon of New England is prettier and lighter in draft than the carriages used by the nobility and gentry of Europe.
Spanish merino sheep were first imported to the United States in 1809. The extremely high price of wool at this period induced farmers to pay especial attention to the breeding of sheep and the production of wool. In 1812 unwashed wool sold for $2.50 a pound and merino lambs brought as much as $1,000 apiece. This was practically - the beginning of the enormous sheep industry of the United States. An ingenious statistician has calculated that the 40,000,000 sheep of the United States in 1898 would, if placed head to tail in a straight line, reach twice around the globe.
The American hog is another development of the Century. The swine brought from the Old World throve and multiplied abundantly in the forests of the New World, with their plentiful mast. The Western farmer had only to turn his hogs into the woods in the early spring and herd them with their progeny; at the first approach of win-ter to fatten for a few weeks on corn before killing. Huge droves of them bred in this way were sent yearly through the Southern states, where the planters bought them as food for their slaves. Since clearing the forests, the enormous corn crops of the West have rendered easy the production of much finer pork, and the American hog, the result of judicious crossing of improved English breeds, is as nearly perfect as possible. In 1898, hogs to the number of 26,134,000, were slaughtered in the United States.
During the three-year drought in the states west of the Mississippi the Kansas hens saved Kansas. That the suffering in that state was far less than that in Nebraska and Iowa was due to the hens. Living on sunflower seed, a plant that required little or no water, they produced their crop of eggs with unfailing regularity, the only crop which was unaffected by the terrible drought.
In the middle of the Century there were not more than half a dozen breeds of poultry in the United States, now there are over one hundred generally distributed through the country. Many inventions have made artificial hatching easy and profitable, and hens go on laying, while chicks are hatched and cared for by machinery. The average number of eggs laid by one hen has been increased, by original methods discovered in the United States, to from seventy-five to one hundred and seventy-five per annum. In 1898, it is estimated, the fowls of the country laid 819,732,916 dozen eggs. In 1893 the poultry of the United States was valued at $210,000,000, against $35,000,000 in 1840.
Dairy farming during the last quarter Century has grown greatly in Great Britain and her colonies, but the United States has made far more progress in the art. Germany, Denmark, and Scandinavia have long paid much attention to dairying, but conducted on a scientific basis, it is a comparatively new departure for the Anglo-Saxon. Dairy schools, literature, exhibitions, and societies and new and improved implements have all contributed to progress. In 1877 the centrifugal cream separator was invented by Lefeldt, and, since then, there have been introduced wonderful churns, butter-driers, milk-testers, refrigerators, heaters, and cheese-making apparatus. Creameries or butter factories have become common and almost all of their work is done by machinery, much of which is operated by steam. From 1840 to 1893 the value of the dairy products of the United States increased from $70,000,000 to $435,000,000. The census of 1890 re-ported an average of eighty-three gallons of milk per annum for each inhabitant of the United States. The total value of the dairy products of the world is $2,030,-000,000.
Bee culture has undergone marvelous changes during this Century of progress and invention. Adjustable hives, extractors, and comb foundations are among the aids to raisers of honey. There were over 3,000,000 colonies of bees in this country in 1896.
Agricultural machinery is almost entirely a Nineteenth Century product, and it is American invention which has made the marvelous changes which have lightened the labor of the farmer all over the world. For thousands of years there was but little improvement in agricultural implements. The. tools for the cultivation of the soil at the beginning of the Century were but little better than those in use in the day of the Pharaohs. Indeed, during the Middle Ages so much that man had formerly possessed or known was forgotten or lost that it is doubtful if the period between the revival of learning and the dawn of the Nineteenth Century had brought things to a state equal to that in Egypt four thousand years ago. In the first half of the Eighteenth Century that agricultural genius, Jethro Tull, applied iron to his plows, but few were the people who followed his excellent example. His own laborers rebelled against his innovations and willfully broke his implements. Early in the Nineteenth Century the plow used most in the United States had a wooden mold board, sometimes covered with sheet iron, while the share was of wrought iron. This was succeeded by the cast iron plow, which has been gradually developed into an efficient machine made of greatly lessened weight and draft and made almost entirely of polished steel. The improved plow of today cuts the soil to a depth of several inches and turns it over, exposing it to the air, thus pulverizing and loosening it and fitting it for the reception of seed and for a vigorous and healthy growth of crops. There are plows which free rich soil from stone, plows for making surface drains, mole-plows which burrow under the surface without turning a furrow and others for regulating the depth of furrows. There are also plows which cut off a thin slice of land for the purpose of killing weeds and special plows for use on hill sides. Indeed, so infinite is the variety of modern plows that it is impossible to enumerate them here.
In 1837 the Royal Agricultural Society of England offered a prize of £500 for the successful application of steam to the cultivation of the soil. No successful steam plow having appeared by 1843, the society's offer was withdrawn. In 1851 and 1852 a premium of £200 was offered, but not awarded, although a rotary cultivator, patented and submitted by John Usher, of Edinburgh, did fairly good work. The offer was renewed in 1857 and John Fowler, jr., the only maker who entered for trial, was awarded the prize. In the meantime, several other steam plows or cultivators had been patented but, when in 1858 the Royal Society again offered a prize, it was Fowler who won it. Steam plows seem to have been in general use in England before they were operated to any extent in the United States, but the first cultivation of growing crops by steam was carried on in Louisiana in 1871 on a sugar plantation belonging to Effingham Lawrence.
Axes, scythes, hoes, spades and almost every tool for manual labor on the farm has been vastly improved by American ingenuity, but a greater gain has been the substitution of beast for man in performing farm work and the frequent application of steam to agricultural machinery. In harvesting, first the sickle gave way to the cradle, and then the cradle to the reaper drawn by horses, which is, on large farms, being in turn superceded by the steam reaper. For forty years the Royal Agricultural Society of England offered a prize for the production of a successful reaping machine, and repeatedly the advent of such a machine was heralded only to raise hopes doomed to disappointment.
In 1822 Henry Ogle, of Alnwick, England, is said to have invented the foundation of the mowing and reaping machines of to-day when he brought forth the finger-bar. His machine was received with angry prejudice by the working people, who threatened to kill its manufacturers if it was not withdrawn. In 1826 the Rev. Patrick Bell built a machine which was used for a few years and then discarded. At last, in 1831, Cyrus McCormick, of Virginia, invented a successful grain harvesting machine, containing the essential elements of every reaping machine built from that day to this. It was first successfully operated on the farm of John Steele, near Steele's Tavern, Virginia. Two years later Obed Hussey built a machine which was much like the McCormick reaper, except that it had no reel and no divider and no platform on which the cut grain could accumulate. Both of these machines were shown in 1851 at the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in London. Under the auspices of the Royal Agricultural Society of England they were tested in the field and the "Grand Council Medal" was awarded to the McCormick one, which was referred to by the judges as being worth to the people of England "the whole cost of the exposition."
Step by step the reaper was improved. Until 1849 it was used just as it was for cutting grass, as well as for harvesting grain, but in that year A. J. Purviance, of Ohio, obtained patents for inventions which made a more suitable machine for the double use. The list of inventions which made harvesting and mowing machines the perfect automatons that they are to-day is a long one. Numerous attachments have been added and reaping machines now not only cut grain, but gather it and compress it into bundles, holding it while a mechanical binder draws twine around it, fastening it securely and discharging sheaf after sheaf.
The McCormick reaper is today used all over the world, harvesting grain in every civilized country, and the French Government decorated its inventor with the Legion of Honor for "having done more for the cause of agriculture than any living man."
Many interesting stories are told of the difficulties with which Mr. McCormick had to contend when he was struggling to introduce his machine. The reapers, which he made in a small blacksmith's shop on his farm, were taken by team from Rockbridge County, Virginia, across the Blue Ridge, thence by boat down the James River to Nor-folk, shipped from Norfolk to New Orleans, again by river to distributing points in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. He had not the means to manufacture the machines at his own cost, and it was not until he had traveled as an agent among the farmers of the West and obtained orders for his machines in four states that a firm in Cincinnati could be persuaded to undertake their manufacture. Mr. Mc-Cormick had still to go with his machines to his customers and, explaining their operation, prove that they would do their work satisfactorily before the buyers would pay for them. He perseveringly continued his toil as agent and instructor until his reapers had won their own way to popularity and needed no booming.
It is estimated that nearly a million harvesting and mowing machines together were used in the fields of the United States during the summer of 1898. Thousands of these machines are exported annually, but their chief beneficiary is the American farmer. It is through their powerful aid that he has cultivated the great grain fields of the West and that he is able to compete with the cheap labor of the old world.
Less than fifty years ago the square-tooth harrow was universally used, but today there is an infinite variety of harrows, clod-mashers and kindred machines. In 1857 Share's harrow appeared. It was followed by the disk harrow, the smoothing harrows, spring-tooth and rotary harrows.
Among the greatest economizers of labor in agricultural machinery are the drills and sowing machines. There are different sorts for different kinds of seed, and they deposit the seed in the ground with more exactness and precision than is possible with the most careful sowing by hand, the drill being adjusted to measure spaces and quantities with unfailing regularity; whether operated by hand, horse, or steam the same result is accomplished with different degrees of speed. Manure distributers take the place of the disagreeable work with cart and shovel, avoiding all danger of unequal distribution; and there are hoes which can be operated by horse power without injury to the growing crop; turnip-thinners, which automatically thin out the rows where the plants are too thick, leaving tufts growing at the proper distances; haymakers, which enable the farmer to make hay while the sun shines faster than he dreamed of a quarter of a Century ago, scattering it so as to expose it to the sun and air, and yet others by means of which the new mown hay can be cured and dried without taking the sun into consideration or caring whether he shines or not. A successful horse-fork appeared in Pennsylvania in 1848. Since then great improvements have been made in hay forking and carrying machinery, so that the farmer is saved the severe labor of pitching the hay to the back of the mow by hand. Hay can be cut, raked, cured, pitched and unloaded by machinery.
As early as 1858, at a show in England, there were exhibited over 48 threshing machines, most of which were worked by steam. Experimental threshing machines were made as long ago as the first quarter of the Eighteenth Century, but none that was practical seems to have appeared until in 1786, when Meikle, of Scotland, invented one which contained some of the essential features of those of today, so that with many modifications and alterations, of course, the complex modern threshing machine, comprising straw-carriers or elevators, separators and winnowing apparatus, is a direct evolution of it. The threshing machine has been carried to such a state of perfection that it is capable of performing a -whole series of operations, from feeding the grain to delivering, stacked or sorted and weighed, the straw, grain and chaff. There are various modifications of the threshing machine, such as cloverhullers, cornshellers, and other seed separators. Some threshers are fixtures in barns or mills, but as a rule they are portable.
The cotton gin of to-day does not differ substantially from that invented in 1793 by Eli Whitney.
Steam has revolutionized many agricultural processes, as it has so many other departments of industry. There are now hundreds of manufacturers who turn out annually thousands of farm-engines. The farm-engine is often stationary, but there are many which can travel from farm to farm, chief among them being the itinerant threshing-machine. Steam and water and wind are all used to sup-ply motive power for numerous operations, such as grinding feed, sawing wood, shelling corn, cutting fodder, churning and pumping.
Agriculture has remained, during the Century, as in all probability it will be for many Centuries to come, the chief source of livelihood of the world's workers. Mulhall estimates that of the 201,640,000 workers in the world 98,610,000 not far from half are employed in agriculture. It is interesting to note his figures for 1894, which show the overwhelming importance of agriculture. He estimates the number of workers engaged in various occupations to be as follows :
Agriculture. Manufactures. Various. Total.
Grt. Brit. & Ire 2,530,000 9,030,000 5,260,000 16,820,000
There are no statistics attainable to show the increase in the value of food products during the entire Century. But Mulhall has compiled figures showing the increases since 1840, which was the beginning of the era of the improvement of agriculture. During the period from 1840 to 1894 there was an increase of 76 per cent in the production of grain in Europe and 38 per cent in that of meat, while during the same period the increase in population was 44 per cent. From 1840 to 1894 the area under crops in Europe, the United States and British colonies rose from 402,000,000 acres to 842,000,000 the number of hands being 98,000,000 which gives an average of eight and one-half acres to each. But if the economy of labor were as well understood in all countries as in the United States, where each hand cultivates twenty-one acres, the tilled area might be two and one-half times as great as it is. Mulhall shows that the production of food, reducing all kinds to a grain denominator, is equivalent in the United States to twelve tons, and in Europe to three tons, per farming hand, which shows what an enormous waste of labor there is in Europe for want of improved agricultural machinery. European peasants undergo more severe toil than the American farmers, yet four of them produce no more food than one agricultural hand in the United States.
Mulhall gives the value of farm products of the civilized world in 1894 as follows (reckoning $5 to the pound) :
Millions of Dollars.
Grain. Green crops. Meat. Sundries. Total.
Great Britain & Ireland.. $250 $ 380 $ 275 $ 245 $ 1,150
The farm products of Europe sum up a value of $12,825,000,000, or three times as much as those of the United States, but the former occupy 86,000,000 persons, and the latter hardly 11,000,000, so that the average product per hand is three times as great in the United States as in Europe, as regards value the average as regards food being four to one, as has been already shown.
From 1840 to 1894, the capital invested in agriculture had increased from $40,085,000,000 to $108,845,000,000. All of these increases and, as has been shown, in the United States especially have been due to improved methods of agricultural production.
It is only within recent times that the world has awakened to the importance of scientific forestry. In this work the United States has been laggard, the vast tracts of timber in this country having been regarded as practically inexhaustible. Yet it is estimated that at the present rate of cutting forest land the United States cannot long meet the demand made upon it. By far the greater part of the white pine has been cut, and vast inroads have been made into the supply of other timbers. The state of New Jersey affords a painful illustration of the waste caused by wanton destruction of forests. Long ago it was "lumbered out," yet 2,750,000 acres, or sixty per cent of the whole land area, are fit for nothing but growing wood. From a commercial standpoint, as well as because of the effect of trees on climate and water-flow, men have come to see that the preservation of the forests and their replenishing is of importance. The decay of Spain, once the granary of the world, is ascribed by some authorities as due in part to the destruction of the forests, and that sections of Asia no longer "flow with milk and honey" as-in biblical times, but furnish havens for hordes of bandits, is alleged to be due to the same cause.
Forests were disposed of to private individuals in wasteful fashion in Europe until about fifty years ago, when the reaction came. In France, since 187o, no sales have been made, but a policy of increasing forest land has been pursued and $40,000,000 has been spent for reforesting dunes and devastated mountain sides. In Prussia, since 1831, trees have been planted to take the place of those cut down. Austria began the policy in 1872, and England inaugurated a reserve forestry scheme in India in 1873. In America New York has led, having first instituted a forest commission in 1885, and Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have since established special commissions in charge of the enforcement of forestry laws. The President was authorized by act of March 3, 1891, to make public forest reservations, and seventeen such, with an area of 17,500,000 acres, were established in Colorado, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon previous to 1897. In February 22, 1897, President Cleveland proclaimed thirteen additional reserves, comprising 21,379,000 acres. Since then other reserves have been made.
Arbor Day has been established in forty-four States and Territories to encourage tree-planting, and in six States the day is celebrated as a legal holiday, and in five as holidays in schools. In this way the importance of forestry has been impressed upon the people.
In 1895 timber was being cut in Europe at the rate of 20,000,000 tons a month, and in the United States at the rate of 50,000,000 tons a month. It has been estimated that one billion dollars worth of forest products are consumed annually in the United States, representing nearly twice the value of the total output of all the mines, quarries, petroleum wells and other mineral products of the country. Three hundred thousand persons are occupied in the direct manufacture of forest and saw-mill products. Forest products have been put to many new uses during the Century. Tar, pitch, turpentine and oil of tar are more largely used in the arts. Cedar oil, sassafras oil, and wood alcohol are employed in the manufacture of paints, soaps, varnishes, perfumes, and disinfectants. Even paper and silk are made from wood nowadays, and special processes convert brushwood into a substance nutritious for feeding cattle.
A factor of importance to the farmer and a development of the latter part of the Nineteenth Century is the weather bureau, which, established, in nearly every civilized country, has resulted in saving millions of dollars worth of farm products, and also has been of great service to mariners, warning them of impending storms and enabling them to save not only their ships, but their lives. The science of meteorology has reached such an advanced stage that it is possible for the forecaster to predict the weather thirty-six hours in advance with dependable accuracy. The popular impression as to the unreliability of the weather bureau is due t0 the fact that the erroneous predictions attract most attention. As a matter of fact, the forecaster is right, as statistics show, in eighty-five cases out of a hundred.
Meteorology, or the science of the weather, is a new study. Of course, rudimentary myths relating to the weather have been current since the earliest days, and farmer's almanacs are nothing new. But these means of forecasting the weather are not always reliable. The first instance of the principles of natural philosophy being brought t0 bear on the explanation of the complex phenomena of the weather was in the publication of Dalton's meteorological essays in 1793. Since then meteorology has become more nearly an exact science, successive discoveries having placed the weather philosophy of the untutored on a scientific basis. Beginning in 1854, meteorological reports were collected and sent out daily by Professor Joseph Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution. This was made possible by the telegraph, and with its extension the weather service in various nations began to improve. The meteorological department of the English Board of Trade was established by Admiral Fitzroy in 1857.
These services were, however, on a small scale, and were principally for the use of mariners. But with the development of the science it was thought that a wider service might be established. Through the efforts of Dr. I. A. Lapham, of Wisconsin, a resolution officially creating a weather service for the United States was passed, and on November 4, 1870, the first weather bulletins, based on simultaneous observations, were sent out to twenty cities from Washington. The work was put in charge of the Signal Service of the War department, and Professor Cleveland Abbe originated the present system of weather forecasts. The popularity and success of the predictions and their benefit to the farmer led to the bureau being placed under the direction of the Agricultural department July 1, 1891. The success of the weather bureau under the Agricultural department has been phenomenal. In his report for 1895, the Secretary of Agriculture declares that warnings of cold waves alone secured from freezing more than $2,275,000 worth of perishable agricultural products, which otherwise would have been lost. That report has also this to say concerning the weather bureau : "The possibilities of usefulness to agriculture, manufacture and commerce are almost without limit in the increasing accuracy and capabilities of the weather bureau. The time is not probably far distant when its records, warnings and forecasts will be constantly in demand as evidence in the courts of justice and also by those purposing large investments in certain kinds of agricultural crops, in perishable fruits, in commercial ventures, and in manufacturing plants. Weather bureau forecasts in the not distant future will, no doubt, be consulted and awarded credibility just as thermometers are to-day. The usefulness of the meteorological branch of the service, wisely and economically administered, is beyond computation."
There are now one hundred and fifty fully equipped stations, located at selected points, over the United States, where observations are made by means of interesting but intricate instruments. These observations are taken at the same time each day at each point, and the result telegraphed to Washington and other special stations, where the predictions are made by a study of the conditions. This is possible by the scientific study which has been made of the movements of storms and the conditions by which they are governed. The forecasts and warnings are issued to the public by means of maps or bulletins, telephone, telegraph, steam whistle, flag and by the newspapers. It is a comparatively easy matter to reach people in cities or towns, but the problem is to extend the advantages of the weather bureau to those who live in small villages or remote from any post-office.
Many and varied are the uses to which the forecasts may be put. If the forecast was for rain on the morrow it would not be advisable to cut hay today; or, on the other hand, seeding operations might be pushed and advantage taken of the fact that rain would probably soon fall on the freshly loosened soil and thereby greatly pro-mote germination of the seed. In winter the cold wave warnings are of immense value if the knowledge of the expected condition is rightly applied, as regards the protection of perishable products in storage, in transit, or even the delay of shipment until a more favorable time, in the care of live stock and in many other ways. If frost has been predicted the usual precautions can of course be taken as regards the protection of fruits and vegetables and sensitive plant life of all kinds, bearing in mind that a covering of straw, a cloud of smoke caused by smudge fires, or in fact any artificial covering that will tend to prevent free radiation of heat, will go a long ways toward preventing serious injury, if any, by frost.