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August 10, 1889
Record and Guide.
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De/oteD 10 f\^l Estme . BuiLDif/o AFtcriiTECTai\E .Household DegoratoH.
BUsirJESs Mio Themes of GeHeraI I;>Jt€[\est
PRICE, PER VEAR LV ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS.
Published evei-y Saturday.
TELEPHONE, - . JOHN 370.
Communications should be addressed to
C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
/..T. LINDSEY, Bu^ness Manager.
AUGUST 10. 18S9.
The movement of prices in Wall street only makes all the more
probable the predictions made in these columns as to the future. A
bull movement cannot be said to be thoroughly under way, yet the
natural tendency of values ia upward. Bear pressure always
fails of its purpose ; quotations go steadily upward. It is seldom
there has been such a consensus of bull arguments as tbere are
found at present. They need scarcely be repeated. The main one,
of course, is the surety of good wheat, oats and hay crops, the
surety of poor crops abroad, and the prospect of a good corn crop.
All this following, as it does, a good corn crop of last year, and
accompanied by a heavy cotton product, cannot fail to make stocks
more valuable. A dealer cau feel sure in buying as long as he is
independent of the daily fluctuations of the market, for his stock
will be intrinsically worth more. As for the rate situation, it is
not all that it might be; but it is better than it was, and it is con¬
stantly improving. Wars take place only when there is not
enough business for all the competing lines. It is not likely this
fall that any railroad in tbe Northwest need fear a lack of business.
Prosperity is a great harmonizer. Tliere is talk also of a combina¬
tion of Ohio roads, similar to the Interstate Eailway Association
further West; aud St. Paul & Northwest will, in the futui-e, be
practically operated under one management. Dealers should
have one eye fastened on the money market and the other on Jack
Frost. If from any, clouds will come from those directions,
Mayor Grant is a man of many opportunities, aud of gi-eat
sagacity in taking advantage of them. Although he owes alle¬
giance and his election to an unscrupulous political organization,
and in consequence some of his appointments have been none of
the best, yet to all appearances hie administration is popular. The
reason for this is, that so far aa he could, under his present political
restrictions, he has acted so as to please the newspaper press and to
ax>peal to that sentiment in the popular bosom which likes the
Mayor to be something more than a clerk, by taking the lead in all
movements involving municipal pride. Thus he has had the
chance to come out in opposition to unpopular corporations, such
as the Manhattan Company, to prove a good figure-head in the
Centennial celebration of Washington's inauguration, to act ener¬
getically and successful in a great and necessary charitable under¬
taking, and, finally, he will have a chance to please the business
men of the city by a judicious selection of the committees for the
World's Fair, Next winter, doubtless, he will start in again to
pass his rapid transit bill, and very likely he will be successful.
In case he is he will have a good platform whereon to base his
claims for re-election—claims fchat at the present showing are very
certain to be presented. Two years more will be needed to com¬
plete Ilia scheme, and it is ouly right, he will argue, that he should
have it, considering that it was not his fault that the undertaking
was delayed. If he is re-elected; if he is fairly successful in his
second term, and if Tammany is satisfied in the meantime with
only its legitimate spoils, there is no telling to what position Hugh
J. Grant may not ultimately attain.
The universal attention and comment which the Eiffel Tower has
attracted at the Paris Exposition will tend to lead to some attempts
afc copying that phenomenon of engineering skill. The tower has
undoubtedly been the distinctive feature of the Paris Exposition.
But not only from the very fact that it has been the feature of
another Exposition, but also on grounds of desirability. Even if
the idea were original, it is extremely doubtful whether the erec¬
tion of so stupendous a structure would be advisable. An Exposi¬
tion is intended to exhibit the i>rogreas whicli a nation has made in
workmanship and machinery. Does such a structure as the Eiffel
Tower represent truly and completely such progress in any single
direction? In the sphere of house construction it certainly indi¬
cates nothing of what progress has been made ; neither is it repre¬
sentative of any improvement in the methods of iron work. But
it will be said the Eiffel Tower is a triumph of engineering skill.
Yes; but only iu the sense that any big machine or mechanical
phen omenon is a triumph of engineering skill. Why not dig holes
in the ground twice aa deep as the tower is high ; why not shoot
enormous columns of water up in the air ; why not construct a
machine that will hurl single rocks immense distances? All these
things could be doue iu a way that would make them wonderful;
but they couJd not he done in a way that would not make them
useless. Elaborate adaptation of means for the purpose of making-
people open their eyes in amazement is not worthy of any serious-
minded people. It is simply an ingenious waste of time and
It is a relief, after reading the exaggerated stories published in the
Philadelphia Inquirer about the wretched water which the inhabi¬
tants of that serene city are obliged to drink, to turn to the more
moderate and sensible conclusions of the Bulletin. That paper,
while admitting that the water supply is not pure, holds that it is
"not the polluted and pestilential fluid which it is represented to
be by the exaggerators and by the promoters of siieculative
schemes," It seems that there ia a corporation, called the South
Mountain Water Company, wMch wishes to contract with the city
authorities for a new supply from the upper Delaware. This they
offer to the city free, and to all other consumers at 10 per cent, less
than the present rates. The water derived from this source is said
to be the best within the reach of the city. The Bulletin, however,
thinks that the city should retain ownership and control over its
water-works wherever they may be, that no private company
should haye any interest, direct or indirect, in them ; and that the
tax rate should be raised in order to makeabeginningof the work."
Of course it would be folly unspeakable to put the water supply of so
great a city as Philadelphia into fche hands of a private company.
Yet an inquiry ought to be made why it is a corporation can fur¬
nish water brought from a greater distance than the present water
is brought from at 10 per cent, less than the present rates.
In another column will be found an account of a somewhat
peculiar phase of the building association movement—a phase
which has aroused the thorough antipathy of the members of
regular local building associations all over the country. Some years
ago, it appears, certain capitalists conceived the idea of tm-ning the
good name which the buildmg associations had to thttr own advan¬
tage by starting an organization under the same name and upon
the same plan as the ordinary associations, excr-pfc that the sphere
of operations of the new association should not be limited, and that
fche managers of fche company should obtain some reward for their
services in receiving and handling the money. The enterprise
turned out to be very profitable, and these associations have grown
apace during the last two or tbree years. Members of the local
associations, however, think the moi;emenfc hurt by these national
associations, for the following reasons: (1) The latter are close cor¬
porations. The individual shareholders have no voice in the election of
officers or the jnanagement of the company. Consequently the organ¬
ization is not a co-operative one in spirit, for co-operation means, if
it means anytliing, the equal rights of all tiie partners in the enter¬
prise to a share in its management. Indeed, it can be said that it is
the almost perfect democracy which we find exemplified in the
local associations which has led to theii" success, for, unlike ordinary
business ventures, the details of the work they do are so simple that
the domineeriug infiuence of a single mind is not necessary. (3)
The national associations are wasteful of poor people's money,
They charge twenty cents for handling every dollar paid in and
requii'e a membership fee of a dollar ou every share—all of which
goes to the management fund. It follows from this that a national
association would need over 16 per cent, more money than a local
association to do fchesame amount of work. The former benefit the
managers primarily and the shareholders incidentally ; the latter
benefit only the shareholders. Therein lies tbe difl'erence.
Very possibly there is another side to this story. If there is, it
will doubtless soon be heard, for the Metropolitan League is going
to bring the matter before the attention of the Legislature of this
State, An investigation will doubtless ensue; with what result
remains to be seen. If the national organizations are as successful
as they are said fco be, there is very likely some reason for it outside
the fact that they are managed by enterprising people. The real
standing of these companies, what they have done and what they
are doing compared to what the local associations have done Srud
are doing, needs first of all to be ascertained. On this question, as
on many others connected with the buildingassociation movement,
a person is hampered in getting a clear view of tho sub,iect by a
lack of available data of a complete character, A priori, however,
it must be admitted that the case against the national associations
seems to be very sti-ong.
The Chicago Tribune emjihasizes an objection against New York
as a site for the World's Fair of 1892. It says: "The heat is the
fatal fault, however, and that also bars out New York, which,
though farther north, is as murderously hot during the midsummer
months as Washington." And then it goes ou to explain that the