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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 44, no. 1121: September 7, 1889

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September t, 1889 Record and Guide. 1903 llf^€ "^ ^ ESTABLISHED^ N^^RPH 3\'-^ 1868. ^ DEvfejED TO R,E^L ESTWE , SuiLDlf/o Aj!.cHlTECTJR,E ,HoiJS£«OLD DeG0IV,T10I4. BUsihJESs a(Jd Themes of GEfjER^l 1j^7£i\e5t PRICE, PER TEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS. Published every Saturday. TELEPHONE, - - . JOHN 370. ItommuDlcations should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway, /. T, LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XLIV. SEPTEMBER 7, 18S9. No. 1,131 Wall street sees, or thinks it sees, which is the sarae thiug to it, the prospect of a genuine bull market, the first which has appeared within the memory of auy of the brokers who cannot show gray hairs ae evidence of their presence at the breaking up of the last one. All the conditions aTe favorable—that is, for Wall street—as never yet have the sides there Ijeen perfectly clear. There is always a dark cloud on the horizon. A heavj' frost in the West would still send the cold chills down the back of every operator in the "street," but barring-that tliere is little else to bother him. Railroad wars, he believes, never are serious when there is plenty of business for all. It i-^ only when the rations get low that a figlit for what is left is likely to occur. Europe, it is true, is getting too much of our money, and we too little of theirs ; but this is a condi¬ tion which may any day change. Englishmen have a keen nose for prosperity, ar.d, no matter what country, they appear to have the capital always TCady to take advantage of the country having it. It is a pity that our imports are on so large a scale, as every dollar must be paid for; but as we are very likely to have plenty of wheat, corn, oats, pork and cattle to exchange, the handling of it all will bring good times to all. ———•--------- The reports that have been received on this side indicate that the striking dock laborers in London have been successful. Several of the dock companies have conceded the demands of the men, and work has been resumed. After this it is not likely that other com¬ panies will be able to bold out much longer. To pass an intelligent judgment on the strike, a thorough knowledge- of all the " condi¬ tions" related to it would be necessary. Most of the judgments that have been passed so far in thia country have been little more than a reflection of the sympathy, one way or the other, of the per¬ sons expressing them. One of the flrst questions one would like to have answered is: Will the .strike, granting that it is successful, benefit the dock laborers a.3 a class f So far as individuals are concerned, the rise in wages is of course a "good thing." The dock laborer who henceforth gets twelve cents an hour in London instead of ten cents will find life somewhat easier than hitherto. But suppose this increase iu wages lessens the number of men employed in the docks and makes the companies economize in other directions, the benefits obtained through the strike wiU simply be giving to Paul what has been taken from Peter. If we fix our eyes on Paul only, we shall be sure to see in the sfci-ike nothing but benefit. The difficulty is to keep watch on the condition of Peter. In every case an increase in wages that is not due to greater pro¬ duction means taking from one person's pocket all that is put into another's. Wlien a company increases its pay roll without any corresponding return, it declares smaller dividends or makes fewer improvements to property than it otherwise would. This means that stockholders have less money to spend, and this their trades¬ men aud others feel; or, if the company makes fewer improvements, less labor of a certain kind is employed, and men find it harder to get work, and consequently their wages fall. The strike in Eng¬ land, however, is no doubt due to the improved condition of trade on the other side. Labor is endeavoring to get its share of the increase. It should not be overlooked that there is a lesson in the strike for employers in this country. Events here usually follow the course of those on the other side. This has been the case for years. We seem now to be at the beginning of good times, and perhaps no better indication of this can be given than the tendency of wages to rise, which is now visible. The Missouri Pacific have voluntarily increased the wages of certain employes 10 per cent., and the other day the Pottstown, Pa., Iron Company announced an increase in the wages of puddlers from §3.25 to $3.60 a ton, and probably this will affect the entire iron trade, as the company is an important one. In the controversy between Mr. George Gunton and Dr, Wash¬ iugton Gladden as to whether Trusts are institutions which tbe public should view with favor, correctly or not, a great deal lias been made to depend upon the effect which the esistance of the Standard Oil Company has exerted upon the price of refined petroleum. Mr. Gunton ia a defender of Trusts. He alleges that the Standard Oil Company has lowered the price of refined in a greater ]n'oportion than the price of crude oil has been reduced by the producers, and from this he draws the inference that the public have been bene¬ fited, having in fact been made sharers in the great economies which the Trust with its enormous capital and resources has been able to effect. On the other hand. Dr. Gladden denies that the Standard has done anything of the kind. He asserts that the pubhc have not only not obtained any benefits from any economies, but have not received even the full reduction iu the price of refined that they are entitled to iu consequence of the reduction in the price of crude. --------•-------- It is very difficult to bring controversies as to matters of opinion or belief to any conclusive test. For a long time to come people will, no doubt, continue to argue as to whether Trusts, as a whole, are institutions beneficial to tbe public or not. There are already two camps in tlie field fighting on the subject, and the proliability is tbat the truth is not wholly with either. But it is comparatively easy to settle disputes as to what are called "matters of fact," especially such a matter of fact as whether the price of refined petroleum has fallen in the same proportion as the price of the crude oil since the establishment of tlie Standard Oil Company, Exactly when the Standard Oil combination came into being may well be a matter of dispute. The Standard Oil Trust has existed for only a few yeiirs. Previously there was the Standard Oil Com¬ pany and its affiliations, which, so far as the public was concerned, was for years practically all tiiat it is to-day as a Trust. It is nofc nec;!S- sary, however, to go back further than 1873. At that time the Stand¬ ard Oil Company was undoubtedly a powerful organization. Its infiuence on the oil trade was great, though, of com-se, thecompauy wasnot then fche overwhelmingmonopoly that it is to-day. Now, on the Sth day of November, 1S73, tbe Standard instructed its Oil City, Pa., buyers to pay $4,75 per barrel for oil, and on the 9th it purchased at those prices 20,000 barrels in Oil City. At the same time 6,000 barrels were sold to Oil Creek refiners at the same figures. That, however, was the highest price of the year, and perhaps it is not fair to treat it as tbe iirioe of crude oil at the time, though a controversiahsfc might feel warranted in going back to 1871 when oil fetched as high as $5.10 a barrel, and taking some figure between that amount and %i as the starting price. In those early days the price of crude oil fluctuated rapidly and extensively. Oil had sold as high as $30 a barrel and as low as 80 cents before 1873, Certainly for 1S73 SJS^.iiO would be a low aver¬ age, and we will accept tbat figure. Now, let us turn to the price of refined oil. The highest New York quotation in 1873 was 21% cents a gallon and the lowest 21% cents.; the average may be placed for convenience at 25 cents. During the past twelve months the price of crude oil has been about yO cents, so that there bas been a decline of about 77 per cent, from tbe average of |3.50 a barrel in 1872, If Mr. Gunton is right and, as he says, the Standard Trust has lowered the price of refined, at least in proportion to the reduction tbat iias been made in crude, then the market price of refiued during the past year should have been 77 per cent, less than 30 cents (the price in 1873), or 55^ ceuts per gallon. As a matter of fact the price has been about 7),4 cents a gallon. Refined oil has seldom sold much below that figure. It is plain then, that facts do not bear out BIr. Gunton's assertion. This error does not affect the strength of his argument as a whole. It shows, though, tbat he bas endeavored to prove a good case, with poor evidence. Further announcement as to the details of the postal telegraph arrangements will be eagerly awaited. As yet there bas been given to the public nothing sufficiently specific for intelligent con¬ sideratiou; although, apart from its details, it would seem to be a commendable step in that it will lead to a closer affiliation between the telegraph company and the postal department. Some time ago, Postmaster General Wannamaker made the announcement that the improvements he contemplated were not in the direction of a reduc¬ tion in cost, but rather towards a betterment of service ; but it is safe to say that nobody expected that he would reach an agreement with the Westera Union Company (if indeed he haa), whereby the company should take advantage of thegovernment delivery system, paying for the same by a considerably smaller charge to the public. By this the public will certainly lose nothing, and perhaps gain a good deal. What this gain will consist in, however, cannot be learn until the details of the delivery system are known. If it will* involve no increase of expenditure on the part of the government, but simply the utilization of carrying J'acilitiesalready in existence why the gain will be considerable ; but, if on the contrary, it does involve an increase of expenditure, the question will arise how far that increase is justified by the saving effected by the decreased cost of telegraphic messages. Bishop Duggan, of Loughrea, has written a letter in which he asks the friends of Ireland in this country to invest capital in establishing manufactories in the Emerald Isle. Ireland has many \