Samuel Armor.

History of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present online

. (page 20 of 191)
Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 20 of 191)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

$84,000,000 has been coaxed into the industry, the number of factories has in-
creased from six in two states to seventy-six in sixteen states, and the annual
output has grown from 40,000 to 700,000 tons, or one-fifth of the total sugar con-
sumption of the United States, enough to supply all the people living west of the
Mississippi River. As a result of the Newlands bill, great areas of desert land
have been reclaimed where sugar beets can be raised more profitably than can any
other crop, and upon the expansion of this industry largely depends the success or
failure of the great irrigating works which the Federal Government has con-
structed at an expense of $80,000,000.

James \\'ilson knew that the long haul freight charges ate up the profits
of the far western farmers on low-priced cereal products when shipped to the East.
They cannot successfully compete in the East with the farmers of the great
Mississippi \'alley who have a much shorter haul to market. But with alfalfa
and beet pulp with which to fatten stock, they obtain two crops, sugar and live-


stock, on wliich the freight charges are small in proportion to the value of the
product. Sugar beets reach their greatest perfection when grown under irriga-
. tion and our farmers, especially in the irrigated West, have found the crop to be
one of the most profitable, if also the most difficult, which they can grow. Due
to rotating other crops with sugar beets one year in four, thousands of farms are
producing greater yields of such other crops than ever before.

This industry now distributes $63,000,000 annually to .American farmers, to
laborers in the sugar factories and to laborers in coal mines and other American
industries which furnish it with supplies, all of which money would be sent to
foreign countres in payment for imported sugar, but for the establishment of this
domestic industry.

Since the industry was established up to 1913, it has distributed $400,000,000
to American toilers, and when fully developed it will distribute $200,000,000
annually to American industry.

During the fourteen years in which the domestic beet sugar industry grew
from 40,000 to 700,000 tons, the average wholesale price of sugar declined from
$4.97 per 100 pounds to $4.12 per 100 in 1913, or seventeen per cent, despite the
fact that during the same period the price of practically all other food commodities
has increased from thirty-three and one-third to 100 per cent. When fully
developed, this industry will still further reduce not only the price of sugar, but of
all other food products through increasing the yield per acre.

The German increase in yield per acre of wheat, rye, barley and oats has been
eighty per cent during the past thirty years, as compared with an increase of but
six and six-tenths per cent in the United States. German economists are a unit
in attributing Germany's increase in yield to the introduction of sugar beet cul-
ture which taught their farmers to grow a root crop one year in four in rotation
with cereals, and thus out of $^^86,000,000 worth of these crops which Germany
annually produces. $438,000,000 worth is due to the introduction of sugar beet
culture. Even greater results than those obtained in Germany have been secured
wherever sugar beet culture has been introduced in this country, and should the
further expansion of the industry result in duplicating Germany's experience
throughout the I'uited States, our yield of these four crops, at present farm prices,
would be worth $2,000,000,000 instead of $1,124,000,000. as at present (19131.
In the language of Knauer. one of the foremost agriculturists of Germany: "It
is our firm belief that increased beet culture is the greatest blessing for every

To secure a heav}- tonnage, fields to be planted to sugar lieets should be thor-
oughly fertilized. Barnyard manure is the best fertilizer, but in Europe it is sup-
plemented with large quantities of commercial fertilizers. The beets exhaust only
a portion of the fertilizer, leaving the balance, with a mass of fibrous roots, to
enrich the soil for the three succeeding crops which should be' grown before re-
planting the field to beets. To teach the farmers the art of rotation and how best
to grow beets and all other crops, each factory employs a scientific agriculturist
and a corps of assistants who spend their time with the surrounding farmers. Tn
1912 the actual cost to the factories for this educational work amounted to thirtv-
eight cents for each ton of beets sliced, or a total of nearly $2,000,000. So benefi-
cial have been the results of this work, that Secretary of Agriculture Wilson de-
clared that a beet sugar factory is as valuable to the farmers of a community as is
a government agricultural experiment station, which costs the public thousands of
dollars to maintain.

Sugar beets ret|uire deep plowing, ten to fourteen inches, or twice the usual
depth. When using- horses, farmers are inclined not to plow deeply enough to
secure maximum results, and some of the factories have put in power plows
which turn six furrows and harrow the land at the same time. They plow and
harrow the land for $2..=^0 per acre, which is about one-half of what it costs the
farmers to plow ec|ually deep with horses. The traction engines also are used for


hauling train wagon loads of beets to the factory. In some localities farmers are
banding together and purchasing engines for plowing and hauling beets.

Beets are drilled in rows, usually eighteen inches apart, eighteen to twenty-
five pounds of seed to each acre. Practically all the beet seed used in America is
grown in Eurojie, but it has been demonstrated that superior seed can be produced
in the United States. Sugar beet seed growing requires five years of the utmost
skill, care and patience, from the planting of the original seed to the maturing
of the commercial crop which is sold to the trade. The factories contract for
their seed for three to five years in advance, sell it to farmers at cost price and
deduct the amount from the payment for beets.

^^^^en the beets are up and show the third leaf they should be thinned. Unless
thinned at the proper time, the pulling up of the superfluous beetlets injures the
roots of the remaining ones. Scientific experiments in Germany, where all other
conditions were identical, showed that one acre, thinned at the proper time, yielded
fifteen tons ; the next acre, thinned a week later, yielded thirteen and one-half tons ;
the third acre, thinned still a week later, yielded ten and one-half tons; and the
fourth acre, thinned three weeks after the first, yielded seven and one-half tons.
The rows are blocked with the hoe, leaving a bunch of beets every eight inches.
These bunches are thinned by pulling up the superfluous beetlets, leaving one in
a place eight inches apart. The ideal factory beet weighs about two pounds and
a perfect stand of such beets, one every eight inches, in rows eighteen inches
apart, would yield forty-three and one-third tons per acre. The present average
yield in the United States is about ten tons per acre, while the hitherto "worn-out
soils" of Germany yield fourteen tons per acre, or forty per cent more than is
secured from our "virgin soils."

\Miile the beets are growing it is necessary to keep them free from weeds, so
that the\- will get the full benefit of the sun and the strength of the soil. Where
the cultivation is done with horse power instead of with the hoe, the rows are
generally placed farther apart. After the beets have reached their maturity, they
are plowed out and are then topped by hand, which consists in cutting ofif the top
and that portion of the beet that projected above the ground, which was found to
contain very little sugar. The tops are fed to stock, for which purpose they are
worth three dollars per acre.

In the United States, eight miles is the usual limit for hauling beets to the
factory b}- wagon, while the supply of beets may be drawn from an area with a
radius of fifty miles or more. To reduce the labor of unloading, the factories erect
receiving stations on the railroads in the beet growing area and pay the same
price for beets delivered at these stations as for those delivered at the factory.
Tim Carrol of Anaheim invented the method of dumping the beets from the
wagon into a chute that conveys them into the car ; a similar method is employed
for dumping the- beets from the cars into the bins at the factory. In 1912 the
freight on the railroads averaged forty-five cents per ton of beets, and the receiv-
ing stations with their dumping apparatus cost the factories about $2,000 each,
many of them having from $40,000 to $50,000 invested in such stations.

As the beets arrive at the factory, they are first weighed and then dumped
into bins for storage or floated directly to the beet washers. While being dumped,
a fair sample both of the beets and of the loose dirt which the car or wagon con-
tains is caught in a basket. These samples, properly tagged, are conveyed to the
beet laboratory where they are trimmed, if not properly topped, and the dift'er-
ence in the weight of the samples as received and their weight when trimmed and
wa.shed is called the "tare." Whatever percentage this amounts to, is applied to and
deducted from the wisight of the car or wagon load. A sample of these beets
then is tested by the polariscope for its sugar content and its purity ; farmers often
are paid a stipulated price per ton for beets of a given sugar content and twenty-
five to thirty-three and one-third cents per ton additional for each extra degree
of sugar which they contain. The tare rooms and the beet testing laboratories




are open to any one, and in some localities the farmers' associations employ ex-
perts to tare and analyze each sample of beets.

The bins are X'-shaped, about three feet wide at the bottom, twenty to thirty
feet at the top and twenty to thirty feet high. As beets are needed, beginning at
one end of the bin, the loose three-foot planks at the bottom are removed one at
a time and, with hooks attached to long poles, the beets are rolled into the flume
or cement channel below, in which they are floated into the factory. This is not
only to save labor, but to loosen up the dirt which attaches to Jhe beets, thus
partially washing them. The water which is used in the flume is warm water
pumped to the upper end from the factory.

After being floated m from the bins or sheds, the beets are elevated from the
flume to a washer, where they are given an additional washing before being sliced.
From the washer they are elevated and dropped into an automatic scale of a capac-
ity of 700 to 1,500 pounds. From the scale they pass to the slicers, where, with
triangular knives, they are cut into long, slender slices which look something like
"shoestring" potatoes. These slices drop through an upright chute and are packed
tightly into cylindrical vessels holding from two to six tons each : the battery con-
sists of eight to twelve vessels arranged either in a straight line or in circular
form. Warm water is run into these slices, and coaxes out the sugar as it passes
from each vessel to the succeeding one. After passing through the entire series
of vessels, the water has become rich in sugar, of which it contains from twelve
to fifteen per cent, depending upon the richness of the beets. It then is drawn
off and is called diffusion juice or raw juice. This is carefully measured into
tanks and recorded. As this juice is drawn off, the vessel over which the water
started is emptied of the slices from the bottom, the leached slices containing
from one-quarter to one-third per cent of sugar. These slices are called pulp, and
by conveyors are carried out from the factory and deposited in bins, from which
they are fed to stock as wet pulp or are conveyed to dryers where the water is
evaporated and the dry pulp is sacked and shipped for stock feed.

\\^arm, raw juice is drawn into the carbonatation tanks and treated with
about ten per cent milk of lime — about like ordinary white-wash. This lime
throws out impurities, sterilizes the juice and removes coloring matter. Carbonic
acid gas from the lime kiln is forced through the lime juice in the tank, throwing
out the excess of lime, converting it into a carbonate of lime or chalk. Tests
are taken here by the station operator to show when the process is finished.

From tha carbonatation tanks the juice is pumped or forced through filter
presses consisting of iron frames so covered with cloth that the juice passes
through the cloth as a clear licjuid, leaving the lime, and impurities precipitated by
it, in the frame, in the form of a cake. This cake, after washing, is dropped from
the presses and conveyed out of the factory. It contains from one to two per
cent of its weight in sugar, which constitutes one of the large losses of the process.
It also contains organic matter, phosphate and potash, besides the carbonate of
lime, which makes it an excellent fertilizer, all of which is used in Europe on the
farm, but so far is little used in America. The juice passes through the Danek
filters by gravity after having been treated with carbonic acid gas a second time.

After a second, and sometimes a third, carbonatation and filtration, the juice
is carried to the evaporators, commonly called the "effects." usually four large
air-tight vessels furnished with heating tubes running from 2,000 to 7,000 square
feet in each vessel. A partial vacuum is maintained in these evaporators which
makes the juice boil out at a low temperature, thus preventing discoloration, and
to a large degree the destruction of sugar, which would be caused by high tem-
perature. There always is, however, some unavoidable loss of sugar in this
apparatus. The juice passes along copper pipes from the first vessel to the last,
becoming thicker as it does so. It comes into the first vessel at ten per cent to
twelve per cent sugar and is pumped out of the last one so thick that it contains
about fifty per cent of sugar.


After a careful filtration, the juice that comes from the evaporators and is
called thick juice, is pumped to large tanks high up in the building and from there
is drawn into vacuum pans: These are large cylindrical vessels from ten to
fifteen feet in diameter and from fifteen to twenty-five feet high with conical top
and bottom, built air-tight. Around the inner circumference they are furnished
with four to six-inch copper coils which have a heating surface of 800 to 2,000
square feet. Exhaust steam is used in the evaporators and live steam in the pans,
the juice in both being boiled in a vacuum to prevent discoloration and reduce
losses. As the syrup continues to thicken by this evaporation, minute crystals
begin to form, \\hen sufficient of these have formed, fresh juice is drawn in
and the crystals grow, the operator governing the size o'f the crystals to suit the
trade. If small crystals be desired, a large quantity of juice is admitted at the
outset, while if large crystals are desired, a small quantity of juice first is admitted,
and, as it boils to crystals, fresh juice gradually is added to the pan and the
crystals are built up to the desired size. The operator of this pan, known as the
"sugar boiler" is one of the most important men in the factory. The water fur-
nished the condensers of these vacuum pans and the evaporator goes to the beet
sheds and is used for floating in the beets. It amounts to from 3,000,000 to
8,000,000 gallons ever\' twenty-four hours, according to the size of the factory.
and must be very pure.

The mass of crystals with syrup around them and containing about eight per
cent to ten per cent of water is let out of the vacuum pan into a large open vessel
called a mixer, beneath which are the centrifugal machines. These are vertically
suspended brass drums perforated with holes and lined with a fine screen. They
are made to revolve about 1,000 times a minute, and the crystal mass of sugar
rises up the side like water in a whirling bucket. The centrifugals force the syrun
out through the screen holes leaving the white crystals of sugar in a thick layer
on the inner surface. These are washed with a spray of pure warm water and
then are ready for the dryer.

The damp white crystals from the centrifugal machine are conveyed to hori-
zontal revolving drums about twenty-five feet long by five to six feet in diameter.
These drums are furnished with paddles on the inside circumference, the paddles
picking the sugar up and dropping it in showers as the drum revolves, \^'arm dry
air is drawn through and takes the moisture out of the svigar, which now is
ready to be put in bags or barrels for the market.

After the moisture has been thoroughly removed in the granulators or dryers,
the sugar drops directly to the sacking room through a chute, at the lower end of
which the top of the double bag is attached. The sugar flows directly into the
sack, the flow being cut oiT automatically with each 100 pounds, when an endless
belt conveyor passes the upright sack past the sewing machine at the proper speed
and the product is sealed ready for storage or shipment.

Five of the seventy-six beet sugar factories, reported by Truman G. Palmer
as being in existence in the United States in 1913, are located in Orange County,
Cal. and are described by him as follows:

Los Alamitos Sugar Company

Los Alamitos, Cal.
Erected 1897 Daily Capacity, 800 Tons of Beets


Size of main building, 93 feet 9 inches by 261 feet: length of all buildings.
2,144 feet: area of beets grown by independent farmers in 1912, 10,432 acres;
grown by the factory, 401 acres.


Beets $4,321,443.87

U'ages and all overhead expense 1,208,100.99


Fuel and all other supplies 1,314,930.61

Experiments, insurance and other items 290,613.48

Santa Ana Co-operative Sugar Company
Dyer, Cal.
Erected 1912 Daily Capacity, 1,200 Tons of Beets


Size of main building. 66 feet by 266 feet; length of all buildings, 971 feet;
area of beets grown by 226 independent farmers in 1912, 9,061 acres; grown by
the factory, none.

No disbursements up to time of this report.

Southern California Sugar Company

Santa Ana, Cal.

Erected 1909 Daily Capacity, 600 Tons of Beets


Size of main building. 67 feet by 265 feet: length of all buildings, 1,184 feet;
•area of beets grown by independent farmers in 1912, 10,000 acres: grown by the
factory, none.


Beets $1,224,996.35

Wages and all overhead expense 307,000.00

Freight on beets, sugar and supplies 309,900.00

Fuel and all other supplies 337,369.51

Holly Sugar Company

Huntington Beach, Cal.
Erected 1911 Daily Capacity, 1.000 Tons of Beets


Size of main building, 65 feet by 260 feet : length of all buildings, 1,100 feet :
area of beets grown by 300 independent farmers in 1912, 11,000 acres; growil bv
the factory, none.


Beets $1,100,000.00

Wages and all overhead e.xpense 225,000.00

Freight on beets, sugar and supplies 300,000.00

Fuel and all other supplies 230,000:00

Anaheim Sugar Company
Anahqim, Cal.
Erected 1910-11 Daily Capacity, 500 Tons of Beets


Size of main building, 58 feet by 275 feet; length of all buildings, 1,155 feet;
area of beets grown by independent farmers in 1912, 10,069 acres; grown by the
factory, none.



Beets .■ $ 653,575.09

Wages and all overhead expense 201,579.70

Freight on beets, sugar and supplies 173,600.00

Fuel and all other supplies 194,200.00

Experiments, insurance and other items 86,130.00


Only two of the five sugar factories in the county answered any of the ques-
tions addressed to them by mail ; and even they neglected to mention the amount
and value of their annual production of sugar. Following is a summary of the
information received.

The Los Alamitos Sugar Company was organized in 1896. It is a corporation
of which the following persons are the officers : \V. A. Clark, president ; J. Ross
Clark, vice-president ; Henry C. Lee, second vice-president ; E. C. Hamilton, man-
ager. Number of employees during sugar campaign 300; daily capacity of factor}-.
800 tons of beets : land produces ten tons of beets per acre ; water is supplied by
artesian wells and pumping plants ; percentage of sugar in beets is high compared
with that in other sections.

The Santa Ana Cooperative Sugar Company was organized in 1911 and began
active operations in 1912. The officers are James Irvine of San Francisco, presi-
dent : C. A. Johnson of Huntington Beach, vice-president ; Remsen McGinnis of
Denver, secretary; S. \\'. Sinsheimer of Denver, general manager; E. AI. Smiley
of Santa Ana, manager. The daily capacity of the factory is 1.200 tons, of beets.
The average quantity of beets worked up annually is 100.000 tons. The sugar
content in the beets is nineteen per cent. Water is supplied by artesian wells
located on the company's own ground at the plant.

Having thus failed to get the actual amount and value of die sugar produced
in the county from the factories, the transportation companies, or any other local
source, the writer applied to E. E. Kaufman, field agent of State Commission of
Horticulture, and received a bulletin containing statistics on "California Crop Dis-
tribution and Estimates for 1918." This bulletin shows that Orange County excels
all other counties in the state in the production of sugar beets. It is credited with
216,000 tons and ^tlonterey County, its nearest competitor, with only 156.800
tons. The bulletin gives no values — only quantities ; but. by using the foregoing
data and assuming that the factories received as much as the sugar equalization
board recently fixed as the maximum price, we can approximate pretty closely
the. value of the sugar produced in Orange County in 1918. If the beets in this
county average nineteen per cent sugar, as the Santa Ana Cooperative Sugar (Com-
pany alleges they do, then the 216,000 tons of beets, grown in the county, would
produce 41,040 tons, or 82,080,000 pounds of sugar; and if the factories received
"ten cents cash, less two per cent aboard basis," as the sugar equalization board
recently fixed the maximum price, or iiine and eight-tenths cents per pound, then
they received $8,043,840 for Orange Countv's sugar crop in 1918. The estimated
value of the 1919 crop was $10,500,000.

Late in June it was announced that the sugar company contracts for the season
of 1920, would start with twelve dollars per ton as the basic price for beets
testing fifteen per cent sugar with the price of sugar at nine dollars per hundred
pounds, and for each additional per cent of sugar in the beets, fifteen per cent of
the price of sugar would be added to the basic price for beets. To illustrate by
a suppositional example, let us use the sugar content of the beets, given by the
Santa Ana Sugar Company, of nineteen per cent, or four more than the basic per
cent, and the price of sugar, as fixed by the sugar equalization board of $9.80
per hundred pounds, the equation would be $12.00 -f 4 (.15 X $9.80) =$17.88.
the price per ton of beets to the growers under such conditions. \^'ith sixteen
inches of rainfall, in gentle showers that all went into the ground, to supply
moisture where not provided by irrigation, and with good prospects for high


prices for sugar, the outlook for a bumper crop of beets and a prosperous sugar
campaign could hardly be brighter than on July 1, 1920.

The sugar beet is said to be the most scientifically bred plant in the world.
Beginning with a small, tough, woody root, found near the salt water in Southern
Europe, which contained little more than a trace of sugar, it has been bred by a
century's most scientific and painstaking investigation to yield a heavy tonnage of
pure sugar equal to one-sixth of its weight in Germany and one-seventh in the
United States. Notwithstanding this intensive cultivation and high development,
the sugar beet still retains its partiality for soils located near salt water, which

Online LibrarySamuel ArmorHistory of Orange County, California : with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its earliest growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 20 of 191)