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the manufacture of explosives, artificial fertilizers, and matches. In the main, however, these are also based on imported raw materials.
Swedish inventive genius and engineering have played a glorious part in the development of the explosive industry having in view especially the contributions of the brothers Nobel, the inventors of dynamite. No great export takes place of these products. In connection with the manufacture of explosives nitric acid is produced from imported salpetre.
Considerable quantities of fertilizers are imported, especially nitrate and potash. A very important fertilizer industry has nevertheless been built up in Sweden, which is also a large exporter. The principal branch of the industry is engaged in the production of superphosphate from imported phosphate. A not inconsiderable production of basic slag and caleium cyanamid takes place. Sulphuric acid is produced from sulphur pyrites in connection with the production of superphosphate. The caleium cyanamid is made from caleium carbide, which is produced in large quantities and largely exported.
Swedish matches are too well known all over to need more than a cursory mention here. The chlorates needed for the manufacture are produced in sufficient quantities in the country. There is also a not inconsiderable export of chlorates.
The following facts in connection with the productive capacity of Swedish agriculture may also be stated. The wheat grown in Sweden nowadays covers about three-quarters of the consumption, and the rye crop about 80 per cent. The crop of barley is ordinarily sufficient for the consumption. Oats, on the other hand, are imported in considerable quantities, whereas formerly they were a large export article. The potato crop covers the domestic requirements. Swedish flour-milling satisfies the requirements of flour and meal.
There was earlier a considerable export of livestock, meat, and dairy products. This has practically ceased in quite recent years, but there are indications of its resumption. The former large export of butter has been latterly converted into a considerable import. The most recent statistics, however, denote that the export is again on the increase.
Sweden imports large quantities of fodder products, notably maize and oil-cakes. The production of hay and straw is sufficient for home requirements, and also permits some export.
The fisheries are very important on account of the long coast-line and many lakes and rivers. Of greatest importance is the herring fishery. Sweden nevertheless imports large quantities of salted, dried and smoked fish.
Of other foodstuff productions may be mentioned the margarine industry, which is of considerable proportions. No export of any importance takes place. Most of the raw materials are imported. Since the end of the eightcen-nincties Sweden has supplied its own requirements of sugar. The beet is also grown in the country. The refining has been carried on under Government control since 1906.
With regard to stimulants it may be mentioned that the distilling of spirits has been placed under Government control since 1856. The rectification of spirits, by distillation or otherwise, has been done only by the A.-B. Yin- and Spritcentralen since 1919. The manufacture of tobacco has been a Government monopoly since 1915.
Iron and Steel in Sweden
Iron-working in Sweden can be traced far back into prehistoric times. Ample available resourees of lake and bog ore and an unlimited supply of fuel from the immense pine forests constituted the natural pre-conditions for the production of iron at a very early period, to be carried on as a sort of local industry in certain parts of the country. The eminent Swedish arehaeologist, the late Dr. Oskar Montelius, was of the opinion that the commencement of the »Iron Age» in Sweden could be dated at not later than 500 B. C.
Native initiative promoted by the Swedish rulers, and impulses from abroad, served to develop the iron production as time went on, from the early handicraft methods to a more and more industrialized production, concentrated at places which were most suitable for the smelting of the ore and the further treatment of the product. The use of lake and bog ore was more and more abandoned in favour of rock ore, and the iron production in consequence was as a matter of necessity located in close proximity to the Swedish iron-mountain districts, where forests, waterfalls and rapids were also to be found in abundance — the country so appropriately described by its old-Swedish name, »Jarnbaraland». Here for many a long day the production of iron was carried on as a sort of half-way house between handicraft and industry, rather untroubled by and indifferent to events and disturbances in the outside world, safe in its well-deserved good name and reputation.
Progress in this sphere, as well as in all others, is inevitable. The day finally arrived when developments in iron-making gave a severe blow' to the Swedish iron industry, as it was then carried on.
King Coal made his entry as an auxiliary in the production of iron and steel; made it with much noise and steadily growing insistance and weight of authority. This happened in the eighteenth century.
About the middle of that century Sweden most probably turned out more pig-iron than any other country, and even at the beginning of the nineteenth century still nearly 10 per cent of the world's output of pig iron appears to have been made in Sweden.
From this dominant position as an iron-producing country Sweden was foreed in one respect by the developments referred to above. The production did not lessen quantitatively — rather the contrary — but the enormous expansion of the iron industry in the countries well provided with coal very soon left Sweden in an insignificant place in that respect.
The changed position of the country as regards quantity of iron produced had one good effect; it drew attention to the superior quality of the Swedish iron. This was no new discov ery by any means, as it had long been acknowledged, but the comparison with the »coal-made» iron threw the fact into stronger relief. It also made it apparent that this superiority was not due to surpassingly good ores alone, but that the exclusive use of chareoal for the smelting contributed in no small degree to bring about such result. In this way Swedish iron had its reputation enhanced; and in the iron and steel-working trades all over the world it gained an assured position.
An inevitable corollary of the enormously increased production of iron in the chief eoal-bearing countries was that the price of the commodity went down rapidly, thereby placing a serious obstacle in the way of disposing of Swedish iron. Despite superiority, Swedish iron could not help feeling the effects of the new price-situation very keenly and, as time went by, it was found impossible to continue operations at certain ironworks. Too high production costs, but above all, perhaps, poor transportation facilities, were the chief immediate causes. Other works, favoured by a better situation, could move with the times as regards developments, could expand and modernize their establishments, build ncw plants, and for the time being make sure of weathering the more and more severe competition. To century-old experience in conjunction with the good ore could be added better scientific training on the part of the managements, leading up to further improvements in the products and to the adoption of sounder principles in the economic arrangements.
The old »iron-working» in this way became an industry», as we now understand the term, and this transition brings us into contact with the most modern times.
The appliances with which our forefathers made their iron, were simple; and there was correspondingly little variety in the manufactured product.
Leaving out the very oldest periods, when the only product was wrought iron, though certainly often more or less having characteristics of steel and therefore requiring to be refined as, for example, at blacksmiths' shops at the dwelling places, the production consisted of pig-iron, which was either cast into different objects (more than anything, perhaps, into guns and other war-material) or else refined in forges and hammered into rough bars. The blast-furnaces were small and primitive, the forges no better. They w^ere situated on rivers or brooks, and were operated only when sufficient waterpower was available, perhaps only a month or two each year. Between whiles the ironworkers were occupied in farm-work or in the forests. Ironworking was thus carried on as a
periodical occupation by the farming population, who used it as a means for bettering their sometimes scanty sourees of livelihood. Reminiscences of these old days still survive in certain parts of the country, and appear like an idyll in the modern strife. Those engaged in this trade are tied to the home district with strong bonds of affection.
By closing down a number of works, and concentrating the iron production in more favourably situated establishments, greater possibilities were opened up for manufacturing more highly wrought products.
Rolling-mills for rolling out the iron, naturally of the simplest description, had come into use rather early — in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The demands on them could not be great, because all hard materials were forged by power-hammers, and the rolling mills were merely required to treat the soft iron. In connection with the development of the Bessemer and open-hearth processes in the country much harder and more varied service was required of rolling mills. Very hard materials had then to be rolled into a great variety of sections and sizes as, for example, file steel, thin steel sheets, and heavy beams. The remarkably complete rolling mill establishments of our own day prove that nothing has been neglected in the matter of adapting them to the altered conditions in the trade; and the Swedish cold-rolling mills deserve special mention in this connection.
Like all other machines used at the ironworks, the rolling-mills were at first driven direct by water-power. Steam was later introduced more and more commonly; and at the present day electricity has completed its victorious advance by also entering the Swedish steelworks in all departments. Electric motors are coupled direct to blowing engines for furnishing air to the blast furnaces, to fans for the gas-generators, openhearth furnaces, and heating furnaces, as well as to hammers and rolling-mills.
Hot blast began to be used at Swedish blast-furnaces in the eighteen-thirties. The first installation was made at the Brefvens Bruk works in 1832. Wood was used at first as fuel for the air heaters but very soon, as might be expected, blast-furnace gas was employed for this purpose.
With the introduction of hot blast for the blast-furnaces we enter upon a new epoch in the Swedish iron industry. The changes effected in the blast-furnace process by the employment of hot blast reduced the consumption of chareoal per ton of pig-iron produced very considerably; and this led to a corresponding lowering of the productioncosts of the pig iron. The output per blast-furnace and day rose simultaneously, and with the same consumption of chareoal a great deal more pig-iron could be turned out. Hot blast is particularly suitable when it is a case of producing pig-iron with certain pereentages of silicon and manganese, as, for example, Bessemer pig with about 1-2 % Si and about 8 % Mn, or foundry-pig with about 4 % Si and 1-5 %—2 % Mn, to mention only a couple of grades commonly used in our day. From an economic point of view, therefore, the hot blast in pig-iron production is of even greater importance now than 80—90 years ago.
The hot blast, however, has not been the only means used in Sweden to cheapen cost the of pig-iron production during the time that has elapsed since its introduction.
The concentration of the iron production and the use of better fire-resisting materials in the blast-furnaces made it possible to use longer blowing periods; the works were more completely equipped with machinery; better and more effective arrangements were introduced for the roasting of the ore; more powerful blowing machines were installed, higher blast-furnaces built, etc. — all factors which have served to lower production costs.
The very latest development in Swedish iron-production is the electric pig-iron furnace.
Exertions in the Swedish iron industry have always been directed towards finding means for saving the costly charcoal. They have resulted at last in a type of furnace where all the heat requirements are supplied by electric current, whereas the charcoal is merely used for the reduction of the ore. It was late in the autumn of 1910 that