Original Document
Original Document
Herbert N. Casson, "Morgan and US Steel Corporation," 1907.


And now, for the practical people who love facts and figures, here is a feast of statistics. In the long history of commerce, where has there been a corporation with possessions like these? The United States Steel Corporation owns as much land as is contained in the three States of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island.

It employs one hundred and eighty thousand workmen - more than the combined armies of Meade and Lee at Gettysburg.

More than a million of the American people - as many as the population of Nebraska or Connecticut - depend upon it for a livelihood.

Last year it paid out in wages one hundred and twenty-eight million dollars - more than the United States pays for its army or for its navy. "Our workmen have a first mortgage on United States Steel," said Charles M. Schwab.

It owns and operates a railroad trackage that would reach from New York to Galveston, or from Paris to Constantinople. It possesses thirty thousand cars and seven hundred locomotives.

It has nineteen ports and owns a fleet of one hundred large ore-ships. This is the most numerous of all American fleets under a single ownership. It is the sixth largest commercial fleet in the world, and from the point of view of industrial efficiency, it is perhaps unequalled in any country.

It has ninety-three blast furnaces, nearly all of them running day and night, and it makes forty-four per cent. of the pig iron of the United States.

From its fifty great mines it produces one-sixth of all the iron ore in the world. In one year it heaps up a mountain of more than sixteen million tons of red ore.

It makes three-fifths of our Bessemer and open-hearth steel, two-thirds of the steel rails, two-thirds of the wire rods, three-fifths of the steel beams, ten-elevenths of the wire, and nearly all of the wire nails, wire fencing, steel tubing, tin plate, and steel bridges produced in the United States.

It makes more steel than either Great Britain or Germany, and one-quarter of the total amount made in all the countries of the world.

To feed its ceaseless fires, it burns in a single year ten million tons of coal, eleven million tons of coke, and fifteen billion cubic feet of natural gas. Its supply of fuel will last for sixty years.
It can make anything in steel from a carpet-tack to steel rails, from a tin can to armor-plate, from a wire nail to an Eiffel Tower.

Its iron-works and steel-works are mainly in Pittsburgh and twenty-five smaller "steel cities" within a hundred miles' distance; but it also owns large plants in Chicago, Joliet, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Muncie, Elmira, Philadelphia, Troy, Hartford, Worcester, and elsewhere. It is about to create a new industrial centre at the southern end of Lake Michigan [Gary, Indiana]. Its ore is mainly in Minnesota. Its headquarters are in New York, though as a New Jersey corporation it maintains a nominal "general office" in Hoboken.

If it had been organised in Pennsylvania, its fee would have been fourteen hundred thousand dollars, and its yearly tax more than five millions; but being organised in New Jersey, its charter fee was a mere two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. Even this comparative trifle was more than the fortune spent by Baron Peter Hasenclever in founding New Jersey's iron business. Its annual tax to the State - another trifle of sixty odd thousand dollars - is more than three times the cost of the famous Lynn iron-works, built in 1645.

Its total responsibilities, as expressed in stocks and bonds, were as follows, at the date of its first annual report:
Bonds (mainly five per cent. bonds held by the
Carnegies) $366,097,697
Preferred stock $510,281,100
Common stock $508,302,500
Total $1,384,681,297

And not even this stupendous total expresses the full power of this industrial empire. Behind it stood Morgan, Rockefeller, and Carnegie, representing about two billion dollars of well-handled and aggressive capital.

Such an immense capitalisation was not unknown in principle. The plan of issuing stock based on expected profits rather than actual assets, was not new to company-promoters. Several hundred-million-dollar companies had been successfully launched; but they were regarded, by old-fashioned financiers, as dangerous experiments. Consequently, when Morgan coolly announced that his new company would pay interest or dividends upon nearly fourteen hundred millions, the whole international world of finance was speechless with surprise.

Fourteen hundred millions !
Supposing that this amount represented real capital, it would be equal to the following:

One-sixty-seventh of our national wealth in 1900. One-fifth of our national wealth in 1850.
One-thirtieth of the world's manufactures.
One-tenth of American manufactures.
One-fifteenth of all the gold and silver mined in the world since the discovery of America. More than the combined product of all the manufacturing industries, farms, fisheries, and mines of the United States in 1850.

More than the gross receipts of all American railroads in 1899.
One-fifth of the resources of our 3,871 banks in 1900. Seven-twelfths of the deposits in our savings banks in 1900. All of the savings banks deposits in 1890.

The value of all the animals on American farms in 1880. Combined value of all our corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, and potatoes in 1900.

Three times the value of all our cotton and wool in 1900. More than all our national exports in 1900.
The value of all the banks, manufactories, canals and street railways in Canada. The value of all Canadian farms - both land and implements.

One-eighth of the national wealth of Italy or Spain.

The profits of Monte Carlo for two hundred years.

The expense of the whole consular and diplomatic service of the United States for seven hundred years.

The interest on our public debt for fifty years.
Twelve times the capital of all the banks in the city of New York. More than the total amount of stock issued by the eighty-six largest corporations that had been organised from 1887 to 1898.
The cost of ten Panama canals.

The cost of thirty-five steel plants, each as large as Krupp's.

All the pension claims of the United States for the next eleven years.

Every life-insurance policy falling due for seven years. The salary of seven thousand Presidents during twenty-eight thousand years.

All the exports of London for three years. One-quarter of all the gold coin in the world and one-half of all the silver. Twice the total receipts of our national government. Two and a half times the amount of gold and silver produced in 1899. Two-thirds of all the money in circulation in America in 1900. All the money in circulation in 1889. Three times the gold in the U. S. treasury in 1900.

The cost of all the American public schools for six years. A little fortune of $9,000 for every man and boy in its employ. Ninety dollars for every family in the United States. One dollar for every human being in the world.

A $3,000 home for every family in Iowa, Kentucky or Georgia. More than 78,000 $2-a-day workmen could earn in their lifetime. A pile of silver dollars 2,200 miles high.

Two hundred and sixty-four car-loads of silver, with twenty tons in a car. Enough silver dollars to pave a boulevard, 72 feet wide, from Ann Arbor to Detroit. As many one-dollar bills as would make a green sash six times around the world, with 6,700 miles left for a double bow-knot and streamers. As much as twenty clerks could count in eight years, with each counting a dollar a second and working eight hours a day.

Enough gold to fill a train of forty-four fifty-ton cars. Enough gold, if beaten out, to cover 304,000 acres - over three-eighths of the State of Rhode Island.

Credit: Herbert N. Casson, The Romance of Steel: The Story of a Thousand Millionaires (New York: A. S. Barnes & Company, 1907), 218-23.
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