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Diagram showing number of graduates from Civil, Mechanical, and Mining engineering schools of the United States for each year since 1880.-From Engineering News; also:

Total Metallic product U. S., 1880-1892.
Total Mineral product U.S., 1880-1892.

Scale, $10,000,000 1 division.-U. S. Geoological Survey; also:

Average price in cents of 1 ounce Troy of 350 silver, 1,000 fine.

Gold product United States, 1862–1892.
Silver product United States, 1862-1892.

Both in millions of dollars; silver valued at $1.29 per ounce, Troy.—Rothwell's Mineral Industry.



1860 250


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1890 1892

The questions naturally suggest themselves : What are the causes of these great differences of growth? Are the mining schools doing their duty? Is their rate of growth proportioned to that of the mining industry?

The last question is easily answered. According to the latest returns from Major J. W. Powell, director of the United States Geological Survey, the mineral product of the United States was as follows:

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Non-metallic mineral products... $173,279,135 $356,216,615 2.06 times. Metallic product...

190,039,865 302,307,922 1.60 Est'd value unspecified products, 6,000,000 10,000,000 1.66


$369,319,000 $668,524,537 1.81 times.

It is remarkable that the increase (1.3 times) in the number of graduates from the mining schools should be so close to the increase (1.81 times) in the total value of the annual mineral product of the country for the corresponding decade. In fact, no one would have ventured to predict such a close agreement beforehand.

It will be noticed that the rapid growth in mechanical engineering schools since 1880 corresponds almost exactly with the advent of electricity as a practically useful form of energy. No one can safely predict the outcome in this direction, but a reaction is not unlikely to ensue, and many young men with great expectations may meet with disappointment.

* An outline of part of this statistical inquiry was published by the writer in the Engineering and Mining Journal, but it has been revised and enlarged for this paper.



This ought to be a question easily answered by a direct appeal to our census statistics. The writer applied to the officers of the eleventh census, but they reported the “personal statistics” to be still in an unfinished condition, as they are the last to be worked up. In this emergency he turned to the tenth census (1880) for the actual distribution of the wage-earning occupations of the entire country. The results of this census are as follows:

44.10 per cent.



7,670,493 Professional and personal.

4,074,238 Trade and transport, .

1,810,256 Manufactures, mechanics and mining, 3,837,112






The total number of persons engaged in the mining industry is nowhere clearly stated in this census. It gives the total number of “engineers (civil)” as 8,261, and takes no account whatever of either mining or mechanical engineers, as such. It gives, as the total number of "officials connected with manufactures and mining,” 8,198. To get an estimate (if anything in excess), we assume that 4,000 are in each case connected with mining, and we have, as near as may be learned from this report, the following results:

Engineers, surveyors, etc. (probably in excess),. 4,000
Other mining officials

Chemists, assayers, metallurgists, etc.,


9,969 Stamp-mill operatives,

1,449 Miners, ....

234, 238 Quarrymen,

15,169 Iron and steel-smelters,..



Grand total for the United States,

316,474 This makes those engage in mining and metallurgy, 316,474, in a population of 50,000,000, or a total of 17,392,099 wage-earners; those engaged in the mining industry aggregate only 1.82 per cent.; or of the total population in 1880, the miners aggregated only 0.63

per cent.

The wage-earning population at this period was, therefore, distributed as follows:

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Now, although some employment is given to engineers by the first two classes of wage-earners, most of it comes from the three latter classes, each of which is closely related to some one particular class of engineering work. Thus, the work of the mining engineer comes from the activity of those engaged in mining and metallurgy; that of the civil engineer chiefly from those engaged in trade and transport; that of the mechanical engineer from those engaged in manufactures and mechanics. The personnel of these industries, we have seen, were related numerically in the ratio of 1.82:10.41:20.24, or as 1:5.72:11.12. Hence it would seem in a general way as if the relative field for mining, civil,

mining, civil, and mechanical engineers in 1880 was roughly in proportion to the numbers 1, 6, and 11.*

Now, we have found the number of graduates from the schools of mining, civil, and mechanical engineering, in 1880, were in the proportion of 1:4.25:1.11; and both civil and mechanical graduates, but especially the latter, were at that time much below their normal ratio.

If we examine the ratios of graduates in 1892 from the schools of mining, civil, and mechanical engineering, we find them greatly altered; they have become 1:7.73:9.27. In short, then, unless the relative proportions of the wage-earning classes have essentially altered in the last thirteen years since this census was taken, the supply of civil engineers has most nearly approached the limit of demand, and that of mechanical engineers is still somewhat below it.

Employment for civil engineers comes partly from the occasional necessities of agriculture, and partly from the constant needs of municipal work. These would increase the estimate made above for the field of civil engineers. But agriculture calls only for infrequent land surveys, while municipal work occupies the mechanical even more than the civil engineer; trade alone, as apart from transport, gives very little rect employment to civil engineers--so that on the whole the writer believes the above estimate is very near the truth.

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