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LIBRARY

OF THE

University of California.

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XLbc XHniversit^ of CbicaQO

FOUNDED BV JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER



TRANSPORTATION



ON THE



GREAT LAKES OF NORTH AMERICA



A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTIES OF THE GRADUATE

SCHOOLS OF ARTS, LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE, IN CANDIDACY

FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL ECONOMY



BY

GEORGE GERARD TUNELL



[IJOi'SE DOC, NO. 277, FIFTY-FIFTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION]

1S98



^



7-i / /3



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



PART I. Introduction Page 2

Growth of traffic upon the lakes .. - -.-. 2

(a) As shown by the commerce through the Detroit River - - 3

(b) As shown by the growth of the lake fleet 3

(c) As directly shown by the statistics . - - - 6
Development of commerce on the main divisions of lake system - - 7
Striking facts concerning character of lake transportation - - 8

Changes in lake vessels - - - 12

Discussion of freight rates - 16

Arrangement of statistical matter - ^ 18

APPENDIX I. Tables of Statistics.

(a) A valuation of the data furnished by Treasury and War Depart-
ments - - - - - - 19

(b) Traffic through Detroit River 20

(c) Traffic through St. Marys Falls Canal 22

(d) Tcmnage tables 26

(e) Freight rates - - - - 28

PART II. Flour and Grain Traffic 30

Importance of the water routes 30

How the railroads became competitors - - - - 30

Lake and rail traffic eastward from Chicago 34

Total east-bound traffic - - - - 38

Traffic through the gulf ports - - - - 48

APPENDIX II. Tables relating TO THE Flour AND Grain Traffic - 52

P-\RT III. Lake Transportation and the Iron-ore Industry - - 60

Substitution of Lake Superior for other ore - - - 61

Superiority of Lake Superior ores - - - - 64

Ore found in favorable conditions - 65

Highly developed facilities of transportation, decks, etc. - - - 69

Freight rates - . - - - - 71

APPENDIX III. Tables rel.a,ting to Lake Transportation and the

I RON -ORE Industry - 72



PART IV. Coal Traffic.

Growth of the traffic 80

Shipping and distributing ports - - 80

Competition of the lake and rail carriers 82

Development of dock facilities for handling coal ... §4

Freight rates on coal - - - 86

APPENDIX IV. Tables relating to the Coal Traffic - - . 87

P.\RT V. Lumber Business and Lake Transportation - - - 94

Decline in the movement of lumber 94

Explanation of this decline 94

Significance of change from pine to hardwood 96

Methods of handling lumber at dockB -. - - - 97

The "lumber fleet" - 97

Early exhaustion of pine 98

Exhaustion of pine doubly important because of its secondary effects 99

APPENDIX V. Tables relating to the Lumber Traffic - - - 100

ACKNOWLEDGMENT - - - • 106



orni Congress, ) HOUSE OF EEPRESENTATIVES. ( Document
3(1 Session. ( ( ISTo. 277.



STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE.



LETTER

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY,

THAXS:\IITTIXG

A REPORT MADE TO THE BUREAU OF STATISTICS BY MR. GEORGE
Gr. TUNELL. OF CHICAGO, ON LAKE COMMERCE.



February 3, 1898. — Referred to the Committee on Interstate aud Foreign Commerce
and ordered to be printed.



Treasury Department,

Office of the Secretary,
Washmgton, B: C, February r], 1898.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives:

I have the honor to transmit a repo- *■■ made to tbe Bureau of Statistics,
Treasury Department, on the commerce of the Great Lakes. This
report was i)repare(l by Mr. George G. Tunell, of Chicago, under the
direction of the Bureau of Statistics, and embodies the first serious,
attempt to describe statistically this important branch of the domestic
commerce of the United States. I can not too strongly urge the expedi-
ency of making this commerce a subject of annual record and investiga-
tion. The statistics of railway transportation have become a recognized
branch of the Government statistical service; but the necessary com-
plement, the movement of merchandise on lakes, rivers, and canals,
has been neglected.

Compared with the shipping tonnag:e employed in the foreign com-
merce of the United States, the activity of the lake shipping is far
greater. The bulk of transactions in the lake-carrying interests is so
large as to rank it among the great conveyers of the world. The con-
centrathni upon a small number of commodities, as well as in a few
companies, appears to make statistical records coniparatively simple.
On the important economic influences of this trade I need not dwell.
They are of vital importance in feeding domestic industries and in
permitting a further extension of American commercial interests in
foreign markets. These influences are becoming* stronger each year,
and I believe the time has come when they should be made subject to
official record, in order that they may be intelligently studied and
directed so as to produce the highest benefits to the industrial and
commercial interests of the LTnited States.
Respectfully, yours,

L. J. Gage, Secretary.



LAKE COMMERCE.



[Prepared under tlic direction of tlic Bureau of Statistics, Treasury Department, by (ieorjfe <J. Tunell.]



TRANSPORTATION ON THE GREAT LAKES.
INTRODUCTION.

Many circiiinstauces have recently directed attention to the transpor-
tation facilities of the Great Lakes. The ra])id growth of lake traltic,
the increasing size of lake vessels, the rapidity with which ships are
loaded and unloaded, and other developments of a similar nature have
interested the curious, while the vital significance of cheap carriage to
the mining, farming, and lumbering interests, and to their numerous
dependent industries, has compelled the people engaged in all these
occupations to give careful consideration to the questions of lake ship-
ping; and the whole subject of inland waterways has been forced
upon the attention of men in public life by the appeals that have been
made to Congress for large appropriations to immediately improve
existing harbors and channels and for the speedy construction of a deep
waterway from the Great Lakes to the sea. I>ut, notwithstanding this
widesiu'ead desire for information about the commerce on the lakes and
its far-reaching importance to several of our great national industries,
lake transportation has been well-nigh neglected, not only by writers
on transportation, but by our Government as well; and this in the face
of the fact that Congress is annually called upon to vote large sums of
money to facilitate trafllic upon these waters.

j^ot until the Eleventh Census was taken were full statistics gathered
of the movement of commodities upon the whole lake system,' and
since then (1889) nothing in the way of a comprehensive report has
been made or even satisfactory data collected.^ This being the situa-
tion, all hope of satisfactorily setting forth the development of lake
commerce in all its aspects may as well at once be abandoned. In fact,
the data are so meager and in part so unreliable that it is exceedingly
difficult even to set forth the growth of the total movement on the lakes.
As has already been stated, no statistics of the traftic moved on the
whole lake system can be obtained i)revious to the year 1889.

iJii 1852 a special report was submitted to Congress, entitled "Andrews' Report on
Colonial and Lake Trade," but this report leaves much to be desired, and l>esides the
period considered antedates that of this report. From this early date nothing com-
prehensive was attempted until the Tenth Census was taken, and even then only
commodities, carried in steam vessels were covered, and this portion of the subject
was not fully treated. The liulk of this report was devoted to ship1)uilding and to
the fleets and but little space given to the commerce moved.

2 See Appendix I for a critical examination of the data furnished by the Treasury
and War Departments. Mr. C. H. Keep's report of 1891 will there be discussed.
2



STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE. 3

YoY the later years we have nothing but the reports of the Chief
of Engineers.^ In the earlier years, however, the commerce passing
through the Detroit IJiver was very nearly equal to the total movement
on the lakes, and thus jiretty accurately retiected the development of
commerce on the whole system, and it is therefore a cause for sincere
regret that we do not possess full statistics of the traftic moved through
this channel.- Tn recent years business between Lake Superior and
Lake Michigan ports has largely increased, with the result that the
commerce through the Detroit River is not now so good an index of
the whole movement on the lakes as formerly. The growth of com-
merce on the Great Lakes, as retiected by the amount of traffic passing-
through the Detroit River, is disclosed by the following figures, which,
have for the most part been taken from the reports of Col. O. M. Poe,
Corps of Engineers, U. S. A. The statement covers the traffic passing
both up and down the river:

Commerce mored tlrrough the Detroit Bher.a



1883
1884
1885



Eegistered Freight
tonnage. tonnage.



20, 285, 249
17, 572, 240
17,872,182

17. 695. 17-t

18, U4.5, 949
16. 777, 828
] 8, 968,065

18, 864, -250

19, 099, 060



Registered
tonnage.



1889


19, 646, 000




1891


22, 160, 000
24, 785, 000




1893


1894


26, 120. 000


1895




1896 i



Freight
tonnage.



19, 717, 860
21, 750. 913
28, 209, 619
26, 553, 819
23, 091, 899
24, 263, 868
/25, 845, 679
129,000,000
27, 900, 520



a See Appendix I for the sources of these figures.

Assuming now that these figures are approximately correct and that
they all vary to the same extent and in the same direction, we find that
there has been a substantial increase in the traffic passing through the
Detroit River. The traffic statistics show that there was a rapid in-
crease from 1873 to 1880, but that during the decade ending with the
year 1889 there was absolutely no growth. Inferences from these fig-
ures, however, should be drawn very cautiously. I am forced to be-
lieve that either the figures for 187."3 or those for 1880 are incorrect. I
am of the opinion that the remarkable development of traffic from 1873
to 1880 did not take place.

In discussing the points just raised I shall present what upon the
whole must be regarded as the most satisfactory evidence we have of
the growth of traffic upon the Great Lakes. It is the growth of the
lake fleet. We have statistics of the tonnage of the lake fleet from
the year 1868, and their accuracy can not be impugned. ' On one side
changes in the volume of traffic would be reflected slowly by the size
of the fleet. If traffic decreased the fleet would not at once decline, for



'Ttiese reports are based on the data collected by the custom-liouse officials. No
attempt is made to give the commerce for the whole lake system— simply the total
number of clearances, Avith the total registered tonnage.

-This was true because there was very little local traffic on the lakes, and nearly
the whole of the long-di.stance traffic passed through this channel. In 1889 the
cargo tonnage carried through the river in American vessels was 19,717,860 tons,
while the shipments from all American lake ports aggregated but 25,027,717 tons.
(Eleventh Census, Transportation Business, Part II, pp. 27.5, 308.)

'That is, they are what they purport to be. All rigged craft, however, are classed
with the sailing vessels, and consequently many vessels that are really barges are
classed as sailing vessels. This is to be regretted.



4 STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE.

the vshii)s would be in existence and could not be put to other uses or
removed from the lakes.

If, however, business fell ofi' for a few years in succession, the ton-
nage of the fleet would surely be reduced. As the old ships became
unseaworthy or as vessels were wrecked, new ones would not be built
to take their places, and the tonnage would gradually decline, for ])eo-
pie do not put money in a losing venture. An increase of traffic, unlike
a decrease, is quickly reflected by accessions to the fleet. Years of
heavy traffic are always prosperous years for the shipyards. It then
appears that when the fleet is on the decline or stationary it may be
inferred that there has been no growth of traffic, and that when the
fleet is growing business is increasing.

In order to present the variations in the tonnage of the fleet in such
a way that the changes and the whole movement can be easily and
clearl}- apprehended, the figures have been charted.' The relative
amounts of sail, steam, and barge tonnage must be noted, for on the
lakes a steamer is supposed to be able to do two and one-fourth times
the work of a sail vessel of like tonnage.- The barges make as good
time as the steamers that tow them, so the carrying x)Ower of the barge
tonnage is also much greater than a like amount of sail tonnage. The
efiective carrying power of all the vessels has been largely increased
by the improved facilities that have been introduced for loading and
unloading vessels.

From the chart just mentioned, which may be found on the page
opposite, it appears that from 18G8 to 1872 the lake fleet did not quite
maintain its own, and then made rapid gains untd 1875, when the total
tonnage stood at 587,234 tons. From this high point the tonnage
steadily declined until 1879, when it stood at 552,002 tons. The next
year the tonnage increased to 557,942 tons and during the two following
years jumped to 048,815 tons and then increased slowly until 18S(), being
but 090,359 tons in that year. At about this time the new era in lake
transportation began ; the long stupor that had come over the lake car-
riers was broken and lake transportation was transformed from an anti-
quated to a modern industry. Since 1880 the tonnage on the lakes has
almost doubled, large accessions having been made every year, the years
1894 and 1895 excepted.' The growth of and changes in the tonnage
have now been pointed out, but the extent to which these alterations
enlarged the carrying capacity of the lake fleet still remains to be shown.
As has already been stated, it is generally held that a steamer can do two
and one fourth times the work of a sailing vessel of like tonnage. It
is obvious, then, that special importance attaches to the increase of this
kind of tonnage, and by the introduction of more powerful engines the
steamer itself became progressively a more efficient instrument.

Improved facilities for fueling, unloading, and loading* vessels have
also very greatly increased the carrying power of the whole fleet, to say
nothing of the enlarged carrying power due to better locks aud the

The figures may be found in Appendix I.

2 On the ocean it is generally held that a steamer can do three times the work of a
sailing vessel of like tonnage. The greater superiority of the steamer over the jail-
ing vessel on the ocean is due to the fact that ocean voyages are generally longer
than lake voyages, and it is while at sea that the steamer gains on the sailing vessel.
The sailing vessel is unloaded just about as rapidly as the steamer.

3 In examining the chart two facts should be kept in mind: (1) That the years
given are the fiscal years, and therefore ended on the 30th of June of the calendar
year; and (2) that vessels are built on contracts that freqiiently call for delivery at
a distant day, and so building may continue for some time after a period of limited
traffic has set in.



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STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE. 5

lighting of dangerous channels so as to permit passage by night. Mr.
A. B. Wolvin informs me that fifteen years ago 15 or 10 round trips
were considered a very good season's work in the ore business between
Lake Superior and Lake Erie ports, whereas 22 round trips are now
considered notliing more than a fair season's work. I shall now show
how the substitution of steam lor sails, aud other improvements, have
enlarged the carrying capacity of the lake tleet. In the following esti-
mates I have assumed that all the improvements other than the substi-
tution of steam for sails have increased the efficiency of the steam
tonnage by 75 per cent.^

It must be conceded that the estimates are conservative. In the
subjoined table accouut has been taken of the greater carrying power
of steamers and other improvements.



Tear.


Sail and
barge, plus
steam ton-
nage, multi-
plied by 3.


1 Sail and
' barge, plus
Tear. steam ton-
' nage, multi-
plied by 3.




742, 286
721,098
881,311
991, 848
982, 082 ,


1885 1,351,516


1870


1889 ' 2,058,278




1890 2,301,335


1875


1895 2,912.855


1880


1897 1 3,326,592







This table shows that the working power of the fleet was less in 1870
than it was in 186S, but that it increased rapidly from the former date
to 1875, but actually decreased from 1875 to 18S(f and increased rapidly
from 1880 to 1885. ' From 1885 to 1890 the growth was phenomenal, the
carrying power of the fleet being almost doubled in a period of live years.
Since 1891) the capacity of the fleet has largely increased, in spite of
several years of general business depression.

Now let us return to the statement of the traffic through the Detroit
Eiver. Can 9,000,000 tons for 1S73, and 20,235,249 tons'^ for 1880, and
19,717,860 tons for 1889 be considered as approximately correct? The
chart opposite page 1 shows that from 1873 to 1880 there was prac-
tically no increase in the floating equipment on the lakes, the ton-
nage in 1873 being 520,811 tons and in 1880 but 557,942 tons. By the
table above it will be seen that the effective carrying power of the
fleet was increased by but 100,000 tons, steam having been substituted
only to a limited extent for sails. ^Yith an increase of but 37,131 in
the' gross tonnage afloat on the lakes, could more than twice the amount
of traffic be moved in 1880 as was carried in 1873 .' Under certain cir-
cumstances this feat would be possible. If the season of 1873 was an
unusually dull one and a large portion of the fleet was tied up for a part
or the whole of the season it would be possible, with no large accessions
of tonnage, to carry twice the amount of freight in another season. But
all the facts we have show that the year 1873 was more than a fairly
good season. Eates, while not so high as during the preceding season,
were nevertheless well maintained; the traffic through the St. Marys
Falls Canal was large, shipments of flour and grain from Chicago and
Milwaukee were heavy, and the receipts of these commodities at Buff'alo

' It seemed l>est to me to make the increase of steam tonuage the basis of the
estimate, for the other improvements in a rough way went hand in hand with the
increase of this tonnage.

- It is to be noted that it has been accepted that the freight tonnage for 1880 Avas at
least tMinal to the registered tonnage passing through this channel. This assumption
is generally conceded to be entirely safe.



STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE. O

ligliting- of dangerous cluiiniels so as to permit passage by iiiglit. Mr.
A. B. Wolviii iiiforius me that fifteen years ago 15 or 10 round trips
were considered a very good season's work in the ore business between
Lake Superior and Lake Erie ports, whereas 22 round trips are now
considered nothing more tlian a fair season's work. I shall now show
how the substitution of steam lor sails, and other improvements, have
enlarged the carrying capacity of the lake fleet. In the following esti-
mates I have assumed that all the improvements other than the substi-
tution of steam for sails have increased the efficiency of the steam
tonnage by 75 per cent.'

It must be conceded that the estimates are conservative. In the
subjoined table account has been taken of the greater carrying power
of steamers and other improvements.



Year.


Sail and
barge, pliis
steam ton-
nage, multi-
plied by 3.


Tear.


Sail and
barge, plus
steam ton-
nage, multi-
plied by 3.


1868


742, 28«
721,098
881,311
991, 848
982, 032


1885


1, 351, 516




1889


2, 058, 278


1873


1890


2, 301, 335


1875


1895


2, 912, 855






3, 326, 592









This table shows that the working power of the fleet was less in 1870
than it was in 186S, but that it increased rapidly from the former date
to 1875, but actually decreased from 1875 to 1880^ and increased rapidly
from 1880 to 1885. From 1885 to 1890 the growth was phenomenal, the
carrying power of the fleet being almost doubled in a period of five years.
Since 1890 the capacity of the fleet has largely increased, in spite of
several years of general business depression.

Now let us return to the statement of the traffic through the Detroit
Eiver. Can 9,000,000 tons for 1S7;5, and 20,235,249 tons^ for 1880, and
19,717,860 tons for 1889 be considered as approximately correct? The
chart opposite page 1 shows that from 1873 to 1880 there was prac-
tically no increase in the floating equipment on the lakes, the ton-
nage ill 1873 being 520,811 tons and in 1880 but 557,912 tons. By the
table above it will be seen that the effective carrying power of the
fleet was increased by but 100,000 tons, steam having been substituted
only to a limited extent for sails. With an increase of but 37,131 in
the gross tonnage afloat on tlie lakes, could more than twice the amount
of traffic be moved in 1880 as was carried in 1873 ? Under certain cir-
cumstances this feat would be possible. If the season of 1873 was an
unusually dull one and a large portion of the fleet was tied up for a part
or the whole of the season it would be possible, with no large accessions
of tonnage, to carry twice the amount of freight in another season. But
all the facts we have show that the year 1873 was more than a fairly
good season. Kates, while not so high as during the preceding season,
were nevertheless well maintained; the traffic through the St. Marys
Falls Canal was large, shipments of flour and grain from Chicago and
Milwaukee were heavy, and the receipts of these commodities at Buffalo

'It seemed hest to me to make the increase of steam tonnage the basivS of the
estimate, foi- the other improvements in a rough way went hand in hand with the
increase of this tonnage.

-It is to be noted that it has been accepted that the freight tonnage for 1880 was at
least equal to the registered tonnage passing through this channel. This assumption
is generally conceded to be entirely safe.



6 STATISTICS OF LAKE COMMERCE.

were fully up to the average. Eigliteeu hundred aud seventy-three was
a panic year, to be sure; but business in general was good up to the
time of the crash, which did not come until well along in the autumn.
This, then, being the situation, it becomes difticult to understand how,
if a fleet of 520,811 tons was kept busy, in 1873 in moving 9,000,000 tons
of freight one of 557,942 tons could have succeeded in moving over
20,000,000 tons in 1880.

A comparison of the statistics of the traffic through the Detroit
Eiver for the decade ending in 1889 and the growth of the lake fleet
during the same interval seems to discredit the traffic statistics. In
1880 the registered tonnage passing through the river was 20,235,219
tons and the tonnage of the lake fleet was 557,912 gross tons.^ During
the succeeding ten years the registered tonnage never in any one year
equaled this amount, and stood at 19,01(5,000 tons in 1889,- the year of
largest traffic. The tonnage of the lake fleet, on the other hand, stead-
ily increased from 557,942 gross tons in 1880 to 907, (iOl gross tons in


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