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Every man knew his job. Everything moved $3,000 every day. It was officially anlike clockwork.
nounced not long ago by President Corey, Along with Chief Superintendent of Con- of the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Comstruction John C. Ogden, Chief Engineer F. pany, that Mr. Slick had invented processes H. Moyer, Furnace Superintendent R. C. which were saving the Cambria Company Glazier, and a representative from the United between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 a States Patent Office, I was accorded the year. To-day 15,000 men are turning out, privilege, unique for a layman, I was told, thanks to the inventor's labor-saving conof crawling inside this colossal brick-and- trivances, as much steel as 20,000 used to steel structure on the official inspection. produce. Mr. Slick had invented a new mechanism for The story of Mr. Slick's rise is typically insuring the right distribution of the coke, American. His father died when the son ore, and limestone in the furnace, and the was only three years old. Before he was experts were anxious to find out how it had fourteen the boy Slick began work in the worked. Everything was in apple-pie order. shops of the company of which he is now As I stood on top of the mighty pile I shud- the active head, with an army of almost dered to think what would happen were the fifteen thousand under him. He attended match to be applied and the rope ladder night school, and was quickly given a place in withdrawn before we could scramble out! the draughting-room. Before he was twentyNot many minutes later the heat inside this five he had become chief engineer of the tomb would exceed 3,000°—enough to turn whole Edgar Thompson Works, and when the ore into molten iron.
the United States Steel Corporation was At one o'clock General Manager Slick ap- formed he was raised to chief mechanical peared on the scene. Miss Jane Ogden, the engineer of all the Carnegie Steel Company's twelve-year-old daughter of Superintendent plants. Ogden, arrived to light the great mineral I asked Mr. Slick how he came to leave the bonfire. Thousands of workmen dropped billion-dollar Steel Corporation in 1912 to their tools and crowded around to watch the accept the management of the Cambria Steel opening ceremony. The signal was given, Company, a relatively small, independent the little girl pushed an iron bar, red hot at one end, through a narrow steel tube, and “I was born in Johnstown," he replied. the bonfire of one thousand tons was alight. “I began working here, and I thought I A deafening cheer arose from the assembled would like to come back. Besides, I wanted workmen, who had labored like Trojans for to try and see how I could get along manthis epochal movement.
aging a large body of men." The goal had been attained-attained with I noticed at the entrance of the works a signal success. The Cambria Steel Company little letter-box marked "Suggestions." I had lowered the record for building blast- learned that every employee is cordially infurnaces by more than a hundred days; vited to drop suggestions into these boxes, lowered it, too, not in a slack season with of which there are nine dotting the plant. men and material available in abundance, A prize of ten dollars is given every month but in the midst of a feverish boom, when for the best suggestion in each box, and the workmen were acutely scarce and materials best one of the nine wins an additional prize in famine supply.
of twenty dollars. In May over two hundred Within a short time the liquid iron would suggestions were received. The nine prizebe gushing from the aperture in the fur- winners are invited to the “ front office," nace in a stream that would shortly reach where they are congratulated by Mr. Slick. a volume of five hundred tons every day of This plan enables the managers to become the week.
acquainted with the men who have original Behind every big achievement is a big ideas, and, when opportunities occur, to idea, and behind every big idea is a human choose men from the ranks to fill more brain. The brain behind Cambria's extraor- important positions. dinary feat is that of Edwin E. Slick. There Does this help to explain how the Cambria is not a steel plant in the country that is not Steel Company, against apparently insurusing one or more of Mr. Slick's one hun- mountable odds in the labor and material dred basic patents. One alone saved, an markets, succeeded in establishing a new is saving, the country's steel-makers over world's record for blast-furnace building ?
THE OTHER SIDE
SIDE OF THE COTTON MILL
BY KINGSLEY MOSES
ITH almost the regularity of the contrasts this Main Street with Longacre
cycles of the seasons there sweeps Square or Park Row-conveniently forgetting
over the United States a gust of Thompson Street or Chatham Square, where agitation against the conditions of life im- squalor is not unaccompanied by vice. He posed upon the employees of some one or knows nothing of the antecedents of these the other of the great industries.
people, their upbringing, their previous enThe difficulty is that in seeing only one vironment. He does not know that some of side of the picture the reading public is them have in their pockets a monthly wage likely to forget that there is another side, to that is more real money than they have ever believe that the bad conditions shown are the seen before in the course of their whole lives. only conditions, and to imagine, for instance, There is no one to inform him that the neat that the case against the cotton mill is the little bungalow down there on the corner of blackest of all. It has not heard the story of the street is owned by the mill superintendent, Henry Decker, of the mill-owner with a con- who at the age of twenty-three bought a suit science, or of the red-headed Yankee girl. on credit and left his mountain farm in debt
In 1910 there were 129,263 fewer children to start at the bottom of the mill. He does under fifteen years of age engaged in non- not know that this man, whose salary is now agricultural labor than there were in 1900. forty-five hundred dollars a year, could not In the same decade the total population of write a legible hand until after he was thirty ; the country increased fifteen millions. The and that he then stopped work for six months astonishing decrease is attributed largely to to go to a business college, entrance to which the growth of sentiment that has removed had been made possible by months of lampthe child from such an indoor industry as the lit study over a tattered" Sanford's Arithmecotton mill. And even when public sentiment tic” and the “ Third Reader.” has not crystallized itself in law the decrease He does not know the life story of Henry is marked. Witness South Carolina, the Decker. Here it is : second cotton mill State of the Union, which to-day employs fewer children in the mills
THE STORY OF HENRY DECKER than it did five years ago.
Yet the increase Henry Decker was thirty-five years old. in workers of all ages has been large, and He had a chronic intestinal disease that prethere was—until the last session of the Legis- vented him from doing any manual labor. lature this spring-no prohibition against There was a wife, hopelessly broken by childthe employment of the child of twelve and bearing and privation, and five children, the
oldest thirteen. Says Mr. E. J. Watson, Commissioner of The Decker family lived in a one-room Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries of cabin in the North Carolina mountains. South Carolina, in his 1915 report: “It is There was just one plank in the cabin ; that easy to see that there was during the first was used for the table. The rest of the six months of 1915 a rapid drift away from house was of split slabs, the floor of cedar the employment of the child that is under puncheons unplaned. The roof was of slabs the age of fourteen years. ... Nothing could held in place by heavier cross-slabs. Nails be more gratifying than this very fact.'' cost money, you see.
But now what of the conditions of life of In front of the shack, lying at an angle of the operatives of the mills ?
thirty degrees, was a sterile scratch of land A visitor from the North or West who where grew a little corn. Four or five apple drops off his train in the mid-afternoon of a trees there were too about the house, and two Saturday in one of the mill towns of the pigs. Once a year one of the boys took the South is likely to jump to a conclusion not apples to market forty miles away ; once a vividly favorable.
year the children rolled a few logs down to The streets are thronged with people. the road, and a neighbor who had an ancient Many of the men are unshaven, pale, stoop- mule dragged the logs to town. The gross shouldered, and anæmic-looking ; the women cash income of the family was approximately soiled, slovenly of figure, vacuous of eye ; eleven dollars a year. They lived on homchildren tattered and barefoot. The visitor iny made from the corn, what fish and game
A house with four rooms was now their home. They were to pay two dollars a month for this. They had no idea how tne money was to be raised; and at first didn't like the house, for they couldn't keep pigs in the yard.
The wife and the two oldest children went to work in the mill. Henry Decker was given an easy job sorting yarns, where he could sit still. The first week they made no money, but the wife came home with some peculiar slips of paper. The foreman had told her that she could get food at the store for these slips.
The next week the family, all four of them, had made $14—not very much for sixty hours a week work for each of four people, but more than they had ever had in a year before.
At the end of the year Henry Decker was making $3.60 a week; his wife was a spinner at $6.40 ; Zeb was making $4.80 ; and Hattie, now sixteen, had reached $10 a week. That gave the family a weekly income of $21.80.
Their weekly expense was about as follows : Rent, 50 cents; food, $6.50; clothes, $3 ; incidentals, tobacco for Henry,
they could catch, a little bacon, and occasionally some sorghum—the cheapest grade of molasses-bought at the country store.
One of the children died after a while. The country coroner couldn't tell from what cause. To-day he would have pronounced it that strange new disease called pellagra. A second child was ill. A doctor on a walking trip through the mountains recommended a meat diet. But meat cost money. And there was no money; so that child, too, died.
Some one up North will probably say that had the children availed themselves of the opportunities afforded by the State for education they would have been better off. Quite true. But the nearest school was over twenty miles away, and the school-books necessary would have cost over a dollar one-tenth of the family's annual income.
Then, somehow or other, word came to Henry Decker that he and his family could find work in the cotton mill. And after a while they came for him with an open wagon drawn by two mules. He and his wife and the three children who had lived, and the furniture, bedding, and wardrobe of the family were loaded in.
So, after fifty miles of the roughest sort of country roads, they came to the mill.