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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 44, no. 1128: October 26, 1889

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October 26, 1889 Record and Guide. 1433 De/oTED ro f^L EsrME . BUILDIKC AftCrilTECTJl^E .HoUSEWOLD DtOOfyiTlOEi. BUsiiJess ai^dThemes of GErJEtv^L 1;^t£i\esi PRICE, PER VEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, . . - JOHN 3V0- foimnuaicatlons eLould he adtiressed to C.W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. /= T. LINDSITi'', Business Manager. Vol. XLIV. OCTOBER 20, 1839. No. 1,138. By far the most important piece of news which lias been made public for some time is tlie trafiSc combination of the Chicago & Northwestern road and the Union Pacific, althougii its effect upon the stock market has not beeu in any way commensurate with its importance. Tlie combination is something more tlian a trafl&c agi'eement, while it falls short of an actual consolidation. The contract provides for joint tariffs aM trains, settlement of dis¬ putes, divisions of earnings from tlirough trains, proportions of equipment, rates under competition, and (hat no competitors shall have advantages over the parties to the agreement. The roads will be operated as one. whiie each retains its corporate identity. The agreement specifies nothing as to the territory easfc of Chicago, but considering the relation of the Vanderbilts to the Nortliwestern roads it practically means nothing less than a trauaeontinenlal sys¬ tem of roads. Its significance would be hard to over-estimate. It is the first direct step towards the establishment of such a system, and in time it will force similar agreements befcween other roads. The competitors of the New York Central, of the Northwestern and of the Union Pacific will all be obliged to protect themselves, and before many years are out the process of consolidation, which began after tbe panic of 1873, will end in the establishment of some three or four enormous systems of roads. The news of continued commercial pros]3ei'ity in Europe, espec¬ ially in Great Britain and Germany, has an interest for us quite apai't from pliilantliropic considerations. Our foreign trade is chiefly with these two nations; indeed, as more than 50 per cent, of all our exports go to Great Britain alone, and nearly S?* per cent, of our imports come from that country, it is manifest how snhstau. tial a bridge this commerce must be for the diffusion of prosperity from one people to the other. .Moreover, by a fortunate concur- rense, the enlargement of Euglish trade upon terms more or less satisfactory to the Euglish manufacturer occurs at the very time when the produce of our farms and fields—the staple of our export trade—was uever more abimdant, and iu reality awaits the loach- gtone of a strong foreign demand to become in a sense "active' wealth, productive of prosperity. It appears that the better times in Great Britain are principally the result of the expansion of trade in "new" countries. The Australian demand for products of everj description is reported to be excellent. The Argentuie Republic, in developing which the English have invested a great deal of capital and enterprise, is now becoming a large and profit¬ able customer of theirs. Trade wifch India and the African colonies bas also greatly increased. The revival of foreign trade has naturally stimidated activity in the ship-building industry, so that, on the last day of September there were 521 vessels of 882,749 tons gi-oss under construction in the deekyards of tbe United King¬ dom, compared with 400 vessels of 698,995 tons twelve months ago. How important the ship-building industry is to Great Britain can be shown by putting beside the foregoing figures a statement ol the work uuder construction at the same time in other countries. In tlie United States 44,495 ions are building, in France (in spite of heavy bounties) only 16,175 tons, in Italy 24,730 tons, in Germany 81,397 tons, in Holland 20,985 tons and in Norway 14,082 tons. Our trade with Great Britain is so large, being indeed three-eighths of our trade with all the world, and our commercial relations with that country so intimate, that in the nature of things it cau now be a matter of but a short time before we feel the influence of the improvement in her fortunes. The public have no foundation for a judgment as to hoiv wisely, the Exposition Site Committee have done their work other than in the reports of tbeir proceedings and " what is said in the papers." From these it certainly appears that the committee have acted in a very hap-hazard way in selecting a site, and have so frequently changed their minds as to its exact limits that really the question before the pabhc is, " What site is the committee now on?" rather .than " What site is the Exhibition to be on?" They seem to have acted upon the Irishman's instruction astothebestwayofshpoting: " Close your eyes, fire, and then see what you have hit." From the first tbe committee have clearly recognized that without tlie Bloomingdale Asylum property the Exposition was an impossibility on the site selected. Under these circumstances it would naturally be thouglit that the very first thing the committee would do, even before they permitted their minds to rest on the site a.s one to be considered, would be to find out whether the asylum build¬ ings could be vacated in time for the Fair. Apparently, it is at this absurdly late hour that the discovery is being made. On Wednes¬ day last Mr. James M. Brown, the chairman of the Board of Gov¬ ernors, said: "It seems to me it will be impossible to give up the use of this property for the World's Fair, for it will be at least three years before our buildings at White Plains will be ready. We cannot turn the inmates of the asylum adrift. That, I think, is what we shall be obliged to tell the committee." That the com¬ mittee should have to be informed on a matter of this importance, whicii some of the best informed say determines whether the site is or is not available, is scarcely to be credited. The advisability of scattering the Fair buildings iu different parte of the city grows ; and, the more the difliculty as to site perplexes us, the wider does this become as a door of escape. The pressure of public sentiment, to continue the simile, has certainly put the door ajar at present. There are so many advantages attached to this plan that it is strange it has uot received more attention than it has before this. In the first place it will make the Site Committee inde- pent of grasping or recalcitrant property-holders on the site they have selected, and the knowledge that tbe use of their land is not of material importance and could easily be dispensed with would make property-holders more inclined to he liberal and forego profits. Scatter the buildings, and it would matter little whether tbe Bloomingdale land was vacated in time or not. The maiu building, or machinery hall, or both, could be put on the Riverside- Morningside site; and otlier sites, all of them centrally located if needs be, could be chosen for the ether buildings; or, if this veere not done, Inwood, Van Courtlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park could be used. So, after all, the stories that were sent forth so much to the satis¬ faction of our national pride, that the new cruiser Baltimore was a magnificent success and the fastest afloat turn out to be inaccu¬ rate. The figures made public with so much demonstration, as to the vessel's speed and horse-power, were merely guess-work, aud, judging from the official report just issued, must have been com¬ pounded of what the contractors felt the vessel was doing and the record of the patent log used, which, by the way, it appears was made for a speed of ouly ten knots ! Instead of developing 9,000 horsepower or 1,000 horse-power more than the contract called for, aud thus entitling the builders to a premium of $100,000, only 8,977 horse-power was developed and the deficiency entails a pen¬ alty of $9,212. This is a poorer result than is to be read on the frice of the figures, for it must not be forgotten that Secretary Whitney, "for the encouragement of American shipbuilders," consented to reduce the horse-power requirements 1,000 horse¬ power below what the designs of Mr. White called for, and what the English builders had guaranteed to the Spanish^Government on thesame design; for tbe Baltimore was designed for the Spanish Government by W. H. White, now the Chief Naval Constiiictor of the British navy, and was to develop 10,750 horse-power; but Spain built a larger vessel instead, the Reina Regenta, of 5,600 tons and 11,500 horse-power, which was launched on the Clyde in 1887, and Secretary Wlijtney purchased the discarded plans. Not alone in the case of the Baltimore, which was followed by a ludicrous undeceiving, but in all "trial trips " the public are some¬ what fooled. The recent manoeuvres of the British fleet clearly showed that the speed that vessels attain on trial trips under the extraordinary conditions that then prevail are at best only a distant indication of their capacity under ordinary circumstances. Vessels are built, and upon the result of their "trial trip" are classed, as the case may be, as seventeen, eighteen, nineteen or per¬ haps twenty-knot boats. The public then take it for granted tbat the nation possesses cruiseis capable of that speed. TJiis is a delu¬ sion. It is safe to say that very few wai'ships ever develop their contract speed after they have been accepted from the contractor's hands. It is out of the question for the government to go to fche expense or to take tbe pains that the contractor does to get speed. And, as a consequence the nineteeu-knofc boat in the contractor's hands does only seventeen knots, if indeed she does that wben in the possession of the government. Ifc is a curious fact, too, fchat gov¬ ernments are continually building vesfels solely for speed intended to be able fco capture "anything afloat;" yet, in spite of magnifi¬ cent trial trip records, there is not a single cruiser in existence that the fast Transatlantic liners could not play with. The City of Paris, twice the size of the largest cruiser, and built nofc solely for speed as cruisei"s are, but to meet commercial exigencies and carry passengers and freight, bas steamed 3,788 knots in less than six days