2o6 AUTOBIOGRjiPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
engaged in the manufacture of iron and steel! And let me here say that tlus great work was not accompUshed by command but by example. It was the men in training, before aUuded to, who erected, perfected, and put in opera¬ tion these most marvelous enterprises of the age. And to these noble, brave, and energetic men the people of this country owe much for the far-reaching results they so thoroughly accompUshed, which have already changed the social condition of our vast territory. They have furnished us with a material which for quaUty, cheapness, and the quantity furnished in a given time is without parallel, and could not have been realized by any other known methods. Without it the builcUng of transconti¬ nental railroads would have been almost impossible. Had the rails been made in the old way out of puddled iron, with the increased traffic on the Atlantic ends of the lines, they would have been worn out before the Pacific coast could have been reached. The credit does not end here. The reduction of freight rates, owing to the general use of steel rails, is so enormous that it was said by one of our most distinguished pubUc men, the late Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, that the saving alone on the cost of transportation due to the use of steel in the place of iron would, if available, amount to a sum sufficient to pay our national debt in a comparatively short time.
In addition to the use of steel for rails, the Great West is being fenced with steel at a cost that seems almost fabu¬ lously cheap, and this product is being used largely for many other purposes. It was formerly iron that was used for structural work, now it is steel; and it has practically super¬ seded the use of wrought iron. Steel is largely used in the construction of all grades of machinery employed in the manufacturing arts. It is the base of our immense inland system of transportation. It is this imperial metal that