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PRODUCTION, BY COUNTRIES
Fluorspar produced by countries, 1919–1923, in metric tons
New South Wales.
Bavaria. Saxony Prussia.
e Figures not yet available.
CRYOLITE Cryolite occurs in commercial quantities only in Greenland, at Ivigtut. According to Ball, it is mined in a great open cut, the vertical walls of which stand remarkably well. Air drills are used, and the cryolite is shot with black powder down in benches from the top, the effort being to shatter the product as little as possible. It is then hand cobbed and thrown into wheelbarrows, the waste being separated from fairly pure cryolite in the process. The cryolite is then wheeled to sorting platforms, where several men scoop water over it and others hammer off impurities and sort it by hand. Three classes of ore are thus produced-one for the United States, the "black” (dark brownish-gray translucent) cryolite, which contains approximately 93 per cent of cryolite, and two for Denmark, both of white cryolite said to be 95 and 99 per cent pure. The ore is then trammed to a hoist and after hoisting is trammed to the pier and placed in large, carefully alined, straight-walled piles according to its grade.
Formerly two-thirds of the product was sold to the Pennsylvania Salt Co. and the other third went to Copenhagen, but at present these relative proportions are reversed. Of the cryolite shipped to the United States the greater part is now used as a flux in the metallurgy of aluminum and for opaque glass. In aluminum metallurgy in this country the mineral is rapidly being supplanted by artificial cryolite.
The imports of cryolite into the United States in 1923, according to the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, amounted to 6,375 long tons, valued at $319,959, or $50.19 a ton, as compared with 3,899 long tons, valued at $196,302, or $50.35 a ton, in 1922.
8 Ball, S. H., The mineral resources of Greenland: Econ. Geology, vol. 17, pp. 17-31, 1922,
Under the stimulus of active demand in the early months of 1923, the fuel-briquetting industry established a new high record of production. The total output was 696,810 net tons, an increase over the previous high record, made in 1922, of 77,385 tons, or 12 per cent. The output was 46 per cent greater than in 1918 and 23 per cent greater than in 1920. The curve in Figure 1 shows that the trend of total production has been steadily upward during the last 16 years with but four interruptions.
FIGURE 1.–Fuel briquets produced in the Eastern, Central, and Pacific Coast States and in the United
States, 1907-1923. who has compiled the statistics on fuel briquets since 1911. h The tables in this report were prepared by Miss J. M. Corse, of the United States Geological Survey,
Fuel briquets produced in the United States in 1922 and 1923 a
The outstanding feature of 1923 was an increase of 48 per cent in production at plants in the Eastern States. These plants serve territory where anthracite is used generally as household fuel, and much of the gain may be attributed to the shortage of domestic sizes of anthracite during the winter of 1922–23. It may also be true that some consumers who obtained briquets as a substitute for their regular fuel at that time found them suitable for their purposes and continued to use them during the following winter, to avoid paying the higher prices asked for anthracite. In the Pacific Coast States there was an increase of 8 per cent. In the Central States the
production was approximately 5 per cent less than in 1922.
Of the States producing briquets, Wisconsin, which has two plants, stood first, producing 40 per cent more than any other State. The greatest gain over the preceding year occurred in Pennsylvania, where there was an increase of 71 per cent. The combined production in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania constituted more than 67 per cent of the total output for the country.
The value of the briquets manufactured in 1923 was $5,898,698, an increase compared with the value in 1922 of 8 per cent. The average value per ton f. o. b. plant, however, declined from $8.79 to $8.47. This was the second decrease in as many years, and it carried the average value per ton to a level not much above that of 1920. The failure of the total value to increase in the same ratio as the total production and the pronounced decrease in the average value per ton are explained by the fact that the low-priced product of Pennsylvania formed a much larger part of the total than in 1922. A better idea of the trend in prices of briquets may be gained from the following table, which shows the average value per ton at the plants in Pennsylvania and the Central States during the last 13 years.
Average value per ton (f. o. b. plant) of briquets produced in Pennsylvania and the
Central States, 1911-1923
In 1923, as in previous years, the value at the plant was lowest in the Eastern States, where materials suitable for the manufacture of briquets are available at low cost and where there is keen competition with other fuels. For the Eastern States the average value per ton f. o. b. plants was $6.65, for the Central States it was $9.35, and for the Pacific Coast States it was $9.76. These figures, however, do not indicate the prices paid by consumers. Some of the plants are hundreds of miles from the localities in which their product is consumed, and to the value at the plant must be added the cost of transportation and the margin of the wholesaler or the retailer and sometimes both. Complete information as to the retail prices of briquets is not available, but reports of five producers who sold a part of their product direct to consumers showed a range of prices from $6.26 to $15.75 a net ton. Practically all the briquets sold in this manner were purchased by consumers in the neighborhood of the plants. Customers at distant points would have to pay freight charges. At four of these plants retail prices showed decided seasonal fluctuation as a result of summer discounts. At two the prices were gradually lowered, reached the lowest point in June, and rose during the remainder of the year. At two other plants prices were reduced in April and remained the same until September, when they were raised to the level of the first quarter of the year. At the fifth plant prices were reduced in May, June, and August and then remained the same during the rest of the year. The differentials between summer and winter prices varied greatly at the different plants and were $0.88, $1.00, $1.74, and $3.54. Customers who purchased their supply at the summer prices saved 1, 2, 6, and 27 per cent, respectively, of the prices that they would have had to pay in the winter.
DISTRIBUTION In its questionnaire for 1923 the Geological Survey requested information on the methods of disposing of the briquets. The replies show that two plants sold to wholesalers only, four sold to retailers only, and eight sold direct to consumers as well as to wholesalers or retailers or both. No plant sold its entire output direct to consumers.
Fuel briquets sold in the United States in 1923, in net tons
In 1923 the total quantity of briquets sold by the producers was 680,276 tons, of which 52 per cent went to wholesalers, 32 per cent to retailers, and 16 per cent direct to consumers. These briquets were widely distributed and were shipped into no less than 30 States
FIGURE 2.-Distribution of fuel briquets in 1923
and the Dominion of Canada. The entire output of the plants in California and Washington was consumed within the States of origin. The map in Figure 2 shows the States into which each of the eight producing States shipped its product.