War is a developer of the ingenuity and resources of a country. It may be hell to the poor fellows on the firing line, but those who remain at home reap the profits that come from the furnishing of army supplies, munitions of war, and food for the fighters. Till the present war broke out the majority of the world was ignorant of how much it depended upon Germany for many of the chemicals and dyes that enter into daily use in almost every industry. The cotton and cloth mills of Canada, and the knitting mills will have to come to a standstill when their present supply of dyestuffs gives out unless the ingenuity of Canadian or American chemists comes to the rescue. Analine dye, a coal tar product, is made in Germany and is admitted to the United States and Canada free of duty. Germany has a monopoly of this important dye simply because it manufactured it cheaply and had no competition. The formulas for the manufacture of these dyestuffs are generally known to chemists, and coal tar is plentiful wherever there are gasworks, yet the manufacturers of cloth and cotton felt so indifferent that so long as they could get them cheaply and in abundance they gave no encouragement to Canadian or American chemists to produce them. The secretary of the interior of the United States, thinking this is a first rate opportunity to start a new industry, invited some twenty-five of the chief dealers in the coal tar products to Washington for a conference. Those representative American manufacturers did not think it worthwhile to go into the business, as it might not be profitable to compete with foreigners for the trade. Why do not the Canadian chemists try their genius in the production of dyestuffs ?
Before the Hamilton Gas company found a market for its coal tar refuse, it used to dump the stuff into the Caroline street gully, and it is there yet, mixed with the rubbish of nearly sixty years. Less than twenty years ago, a Mr. Butler came from England and stated a distillery for the conversion of the refuse of the gas works into a merchantable tar product, and it is now doing a profitable trade. At the present time, the gas works furnish from six to eight thousand gallons of tar a month, which is sent to Toronto for distillation. The local gas works has a still of its own, which is now out of use for want of repairs. When the coke works are established here, there will be an almost unlimited quantity of coal tar for distillation. The same condition exists in every town in Canada where there are gas works. It would certainly seem to the common lay mind that the chemists of Canada should be able to convert this valuable product into dyestuffs instead of shipping it to foreign countries to be worked up and then have to buy the finished product at an advanced price. The same is true of other waste, such as tin cans, bones, old rubber shoes and tires – everything has its use and nothing is now wasted. For more than fifty years, the soap factories in Hamilton sent down through the sewers to the bay the wastage from the lye used in soap making. Some ingenious chemist discovered a use for this spent lye and converted it into what is known as crude glycerin. One soap factory in Hamilton for the past four or five years has been shipping from five to eight thousand dollars’ worth each year of this crude glycerin to a firm in the United Staes that uses it in the manufacture of dynamite and other explosive material. The Hamilton firm has been in business in this city for fifty years or more, and in that time sent through the sewers into the bay spent lye that would have paid them at least a quarter million dollars had they known its value. There is not anything now that goes to waste, not even the cores or peelings of apples, for science and chemistry has converted them into delicious jellies and jams of any flavor to suit the taste of the bonvivant.
The Dominion Tar and Ammonia company is also profiting by the war in the sale of at least one of its by-products, creosote oil. Heretofore Germany could ship this product into the United States for half the price the Hamilton company could afford to produce it at a profit. The German price was three cents a gallon; the Hamilton price six cents. Now that the war has put a stop to the importation of oil from Germany, it has opened a market for the Hamilton product. The Dominion Tar and Ammonia company has its works in Belin, Ont., where it converts coal tar into aqua ammonia, disinfectant, moth balls and naphthalene flakes. It also distils anhydrous ammonia for cold storage and ice freezing machines. The residue of the coal tar is creosote oil, which is used in shingle and wood stains, and other purposes, but the demand for the residue was not sufficient to exhaust the supply, and thousands of gallons went into the sewers of Berlin. With this new market opened by the war, the Dominion company will have an increased outlet beyond the demand for the Canadian trade. Creosote is now largely used instead of maple and other wood chips for smoking hams and other meat products.
The city of Hamilton is now a large user of tungsten incandescent lamps for lighting the streets. This lamp is said to be the most economical one in use for household or street purposes. A few years ago the Ontario Lamp and Lantern company began the manufacture of the tungsten lamp, and built a factory on Cannon street east, occupying almost an entire block. The company employs a large force and pays good wages to their men and women employees. When the Hydro system came into operation in this city, the company naturally expected to furnish the lamps, but the manager could not even get a look-in. Germany and the other German principalities were able to ship into Hamilton the tungsten lamps at a lower price than the lower factory could manufacture them and make a living profit. The girls working in the foreign factories engaged in the manufacture of tungsten lamps were paidtwenty-seven and one half cents a day, while the girls employed in the Hamilton factory were making an average of $1.35 a day. Then the duty on this class of goods is so small that the foreign makers had no difficulty in overcoming it. The Hamilton Hydro commission bought their lamps on the foreign market instead of at home, thus creating more unemployment for the Hamilton men and women. Would it not be part of good business for the city government to give to a local manufacturing company not only its influence, but to throw everything in its way that will furnish work for the home industry? In the case of the tungsten lamps, the money the city pays a foreign company for them goes to enrich another company and Hamilton only gets the lamps; but if the city buys the lamps from the local factory, it has both the lamps and the money. The Ontario Lamp and Lantern company is a large tax payer and every hand in their employ is in many cases, not only a taxpayer, but every dollar paid out in wages is spent with the local business men. And this rule might be profitably observed not only by the corporation but by the citizens generally. Patronize home first, because it is here you earn your living.
In the year 1857 – just fifty-seven years ago – Canada and the United States passed through one of the worst commercial and manufacturing panics. Hamilton then had an actual population of not more than 15,000. The compiler of the city directory of 1858 took a more roseate view of the figures and increased the population of about 27,500; it was an editor’s dream. Canada then had a population of less than 4,000,000, and the united States could only muster 30,000,000. So you see this great American continent was not suffering from a surplusage of population. Neither Canada nor the United States were oversupplied with mechanical industries, but jogged along raising food to feed the world and buying the greater part of their supplies from the old world. It may be interesting to know that the cloth to make the uniforms of the first soldiers that enlisted in the northern army at the outbreak of the civil war in the United States had to be bought in England, and even the bunting of which the stars and stripes was made had to come from England. When the war broke out, the United States had to arm its soldiers with the old-fashioned Belgian musket, there not being factories at home to furnish them. Well, when that panic in 1857 came along, both countries were not in a condition to stand much of it. Canada got it bad. The only industries in Hamilton were the Great Western railway shops, three or four foundries and machine shops, a few planning mills, and some small affairs that did not furnish much employment to labor. For the next three or four years things looked blue in Hamilton, and all of the young fellows who could pluck up courage to leave home and had enough money to pay their fare hiked across the Detroit and Niagara rivers. Talk about the hard times that prevail now ! They are not in the same class with those of 1857. Now the people patronize no end of picture shows twice a week, and subscribe money by the hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A. and patriotic and unemployment funds, and think nothing of it. To meet the men and women in the streets dressed in the best of comfortable clothing, and especially the handsomely dressed women, one would never think of putting Hamilton in the hard times list. It was not so fifty-seven years ago; instead of growling about hard times now, we ought to feel thankful that it is as well with us as it is. There is sunshine hidden behind the dark clouds, and it will break through ere long and we will forget all about the past. It is true that Hamilton industries are running at a close margin just now and that hundreds of men are idle; yet in some of the factories they are not only working full time, but are running overtime. When Hamilton could furnish a job for every man things were prosperous, but when the people got the craze for a hundred thousand population, when there was not work enough for those who were here, men across the seas heard of this wondrous city and country and came flocking in till there were three or four men for every job. They came, unfortunately, at the wrong time, for in Europe they were getting ready to loose the dogs of war, and that paralyzed not only Hamilton but the whole world. And there you are. “When this cruel war is over,” as the boys used to sing during the dark days of 1861-65, then the sun of prosperity will shine once more, and the factories of Hamilton will be running day and night to supply, in a measure, the wastage that is now going on.
Hamilton has been enjoying a grand musical treat during this week, the Creatore band and the local choir of half a thousand or more furnishing the programme. It will be a pleasant memory for the long winter nights, but we fear that the Patriotic fund is not going to be enriched by the hoped-for surplus. Thursday evening was especially enjoyable, for there was a larger audience than on any of the preceding nights, and both singers and musicians caught the spirit of it. When the first part of the programme had ended, Lieut. Robinson was escorted on the stage and Prof. Creatore ceremoniously handed him the baton. It was a compliment from the younger to the veteran bandmaster. The audience cheered and the choir waved a handkerchief salute. Then with his usual modesty, the veteran lieutenant waved the baton, the band played O Canada, and the music of Canada’s national song never sounded better. At the close of the piece, Prof. Creatore threw his arms around the neck of the veteran bandmaster, and with his most graceful bow handed him off the stage. The new marching song of the British army, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, was sung by Roy McIntosh, and Mrs. McCoy-Hamilton roused the audience with Rule Britannia. As the new song is hummed and whistled by everybody, we give herewith the words that they may learn to sing it.
IT’S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY
Up to mighty London came an Irishman one day,
As the streets are paved with gold, sure ev’ryone was gay;
Singing songs of Piccadilly, Strand and Leicester Square.
Till Paddy got excited, then he shouted to them there
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go;
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know;
Farewell Leicester Square.
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.
Paddy wrote a letter to his Irish Molly O,
Saying, “Should you not receive it, write and let me know;
If I make mistakes in spelling, Molly dear,” said he,
“Remember it’s the pen that’s bad, don’t lay the blame on me.”
Molly wrote a neat reply to Irish Paddy O,
Saying “Mike Maloney wants to marry me, and so
Leave the Strand and Piccadilly, or you’ll be to blame
For love has fairly drove me silly
Hoping you’re the same.
It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Farewell, Leicester Square!
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there.