1902 Encyclopedia > New York City > Commerce and Manufactures

New York City
(Part 10)

Commerce and Manufactures

New York owed its first rise in importance to the excellence of its situation as a seaport, and in this respect still maintains its pre-eminence over all American cities. Nearly 57 per cent. of all the foreign trade of the country passes through its harbor. Its exports during the fiscal year ending June 30,1882, amounted to $344,503,775 out of a total for the whole country of $750,542,257. Its imports during the same period reached $493,060,891 out of a total of $742,639,574, but a very much larger proportion of this trade is done in foreign vessels than formerly. There is no line of steamers to Europe sailing from the port under the American flag. Its supremacy as a port naturally brought with it supremacy as an entrepot of foreign goods; of these New York has been for the last half century the principal distributing agency, especially as regards dry goods. Of late this branch of business has to some extent migrated to Chicago and other western cities, owing to the growth of population west of the Mississippi; but east of the Alleghanies, and all through the Southern States, the hold of New York on the retail dealers is practically unshaken. New York is also the foremost city of the Union in manufactures, and no other city, except Philadelphia, can make any pretence of competing with it in this field.

The following table shows the growth of New York’s manufactures since the census of 1860: -


In number of establishment the boot and shoe industry leads in 1880, the number in this case being 839. then, in order, come-bakery products, 782; cigars, 761; men’s clothing 763; carpentering, 460; printing and publishing, 412; plumbing and gasfitting, 401; furnitures 299; painting and paper-hanging, 293; foundry products, 287; jewellery, 240; machinery; 240;women’s clothing 230; blacksmithing, 205. The whole number of industries enumerated in the census table is 164. In the value of products, men’s clothing leads, the total being $60,798,697. Next in order come – meat packing, $29,297,527; printing and publishing, $21,696,354; malt liquors, $19,137,882; women’s clothing, $18,930,553; cigars, $18,347,108; lard (refined), $14,758,718; foundry products, $14,710,835; sugar and molasses (refined), $11,330,883. Then come furnitures, bakery products, machinery, silk and silk goods, boots and shoes, carpentering, musical instruments (pianos and materials), grease and tallow, flouring and grist-mill products, coffees and spices (toast and ground), marble and stone work, shirts, iron castings, oleomargarine, millinery and lace goods, jewellery, all with annual production raining from 10,000,000 to $5,000,000.

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New York City - Table of Contents

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