Sugar, Utah's Second Largest Industry | 100 Years Ago:

in #history7 years ago (edited)

100 Years ago the newspaper "Goodwin's Weekly" presented its readers with a comprehensive article on the sugar industry in Utah. At that time, the sugar industry was the second largest industry in Utah and therefore had a high economic importance.

An interesting insight into a previously important industry. You can read the complete article here:

Since the beet sugar industry was instituted in Utah, the state has led in the average yield of beets per acre, and is unlikely that this honor will ever be wrested from her. The soils and climate here are both peculiarly adapted to this crop, and it can be grown with greater assurance of substantial cash returns than another crop similarly favored by natural growing conditions. Hence the clamor for more refineries. The beet raising industry is growing in this state by leaps and bounds and the factories are hard pressed to meet the constantly increasing demand for additional refining facilities. The market for beet sugar is practically unlimited and the industry is extremely profitable for all concerned. In view of the fact that but 22 per cent of the total amount of sugar consumed in the United States is produced in its own continental territory, it may readily be seen what possibilities are in store for the industry when it assumes full proportions. Among the great beet raising states, Utah is rapidly appraching first rank. She has already passed Michigan and bids is fair to outdistance California in the near future. Then the race will narrow down to a contest between Colorado and the Bee Hive state, with the chances very much in favor of the home producers eventually I winning out. 

 The estimated output of sugar in Utah for the year 1916 aggregated 232, 800,000 pounds, the product of 941,000 tons of beets. This crop, enormous as it was, was severely shortened by the unusual period of early freezing weather in the fall, which caught the growers with many acres undug. How ever, the census of the 1917 crop shows that Utah will make marked gains in beet production, it being estimated that her yield will exceed that of Michigan by approximately 35,000 tons. As imatters now stand, the beet sugar manufacturing industry in this state is second only to that of the metal mines and their allied industries. From one small factory in 1891, when but 1,000,000 pounds were produced, the industry has grown until in 1915 a grand total of 109,642,300 pounds were produced by eleven factories. Three great sugar manufacturing concerns are now operating in the state the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company with factories at Lehi, Payson, Elsinore, Spanish Fork, West Jordan, Brigham City and Garland; the Amalgamated Sugar Company with factories at Ogden, Logan and Lewiston; and the Layton Sugar Company with its one factory at Layton. There are several other companies that have been recently organized and are now preparing to establish plants in several sections of the state.

The Lehi plant, the first to be established in the state, was the third beet sugar factory to be erected in the United States. This plant has been enlarged three times since it was first operated, and it now has a capacity of 1,400 tons daily with an annual out; put of approximately 30,000,000 pounds of beet sugar. The second factory to be established in Utah was one at Ogden and the factory at Carland came third. Three new plants were put in commission in the fall of 1916, one at Spanish. Fork, ono at West Jordan and another at Brigham City. The first named was moved from Nampa, Idaho, thoroughly remodeled and made up to date in every particular. Its capacity is 1,200 tons of beets per day. It has been an accepted policy of Utah citizens, especially the pioneers, to show a preference for Utah-made goods; and this has been done in many instances, even when the product of home industries were inferior to the imported brands. In the case of Utah beet sugar, however, an unwarranted prejudice has obtalneu In the minds of many housewives. Somehow" or other, they have been lead to believe that beet sugar is not the equal of cane sugar for canning and similar purposes. Unfortunately, this opinion has been spread broadcast, most likely by those who would reap a substantial profit from the sale of cane sugar.

A few years ago this question was agitated in California, and in order to determine the relative merits of the two classes of sugar, exhaustive experiments were conducted under the direction of Prof. G. W. Shaw, a recognized specialist on sugar. Recognizing the far-reaching importance of these experiments, the United States government caused to be published in a special bulletin (Circular No. 33) Prof. Shaw's report covering his investigations. The report in full is attached to this article, in order that it may servo to dispel whatever prejudice the reader may hold with respect to the use of beet sugar: "The relative merits of sugar from beets and that from; cane have been a mooted question ever since beet sugar has become such an important factor in the sugar market. The friends of cane sugar early in the days of the beet sugar industry maintained that beet sugar was repulsive, ill-flavored, ill-looking, and entirely inferior to cane sugar. As soon as it was found that sugar, white and pure from a technical standpoint, could be made in the beet sugar factory directly from beets, and that this sugar would analyze as close to 100 per cent as the product from cane, the friends of the latter advanced other arguments, especially to the effect that beet sugar could not be used for various purposes for which the older cane product had long been employed. Even today the question is often under discussion.

On account of this, and the numerous statements made in public meetings in the columns of newspapers that beet sugar cannot be safely used for purposes of fruit preserving and canning, and the fact that this idea is quite prevalent among housekeepers, cannery men and confectioners, certain experiments were undertaken in the canning of fruit and in the making of jellies, using beet sugar and checking the results against the same kind of fruit prepared in the same manner with cane sugar. "The sources of the sugar from the cane was purchased from the Western Sugar Refinery, San Francisco, California, and was guaranteed to be from cane. The sugar tested 99.7 per cent pure sucrose. The beet sugar was made directly from beets grown at Oxnard, Cal., and was manufactured by the American Beet Sugar Company, the sugar having been donated by that company for the purpose of this test. Analysis showed this sugar to bo 99.8 per cent pure sugar, and thus fully equal to the cane product in sugar value.

"The fruit used in the experiment comprised cherries, apricots, plums, peaches and pears. Each of these was preserved in different strengths of syrup in the ordinary method of canning employed in the cominerc' a canneries, as well as after the method followed in the household practice of canning and jelly making. In the cannery 'the method of procedure was to make up a concentrated solution of sugar by dissolving 350 pounds of sugar in tanks, then reducing portions of the concentrated solution to the desired density, as shown on a spindle. In the case of apricots, both peeled and unpeeled fruit were put up after the ordinary canning methods, in the regular course of work with syrup showing 40 per cent sugar; with greengage plums 10 per cent syrup was used; with pears, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 55 per cent syrup was used; and with peaches 40 per cent syrup. In most instances all these strengths were used in both the case of sugar from cane and sugar from beets, but in the case of one cannery only beet sugar was used. In the making of the syrup some difference was noticed in the action of different grades of sugar.

The beet sugar caused the more froth in the making of syrup, but further investigation led to the conclusion that this was due to the finer granulation of beet sugar. This was proven by the use of cane sugar of about the same granulation in another batch of syrup, in which case the same frothing occurred as with the beet product. This has been noted in other instances, and canneries are wont to count this against beet sugar, but it is only the result of not comparing sugar of the same granulation. This difference in the action due to the difference of granulation was the only apparent difference arising during the making of the syrup. This is not an essential difference between these sugar, however, as the character of the granulation is entirely dependent upon the wish of the manufacturer, the method of boiling in granulation being the same in both cases. The sugar ordinarily used by the canners is known dry, coarse, granulated, a grade not commonly made by the best sugar manufacturers, because there has not yet been I a sufficient demand to warrant its production; but it could be made by them as rapidly as the ordinary granulation.

"The several kinds of fruit were placed in cases in the ordinary manner, and stored in a rathbr unfavorable location for a period of two years, cans of each variety being opened from time to time to observe the change, if any. Of the 2,000 cans which were thus treated, only six cans from the beet sugar lot and seven from the cane sugar lot spoiled during the two years, and this spoil age was evidently due to imperfect sealing of the cans, thus showing the utter lack of foundation for the idea that fruits do not keep well when preserved with beet sugar, and that such sugar does not work well in the cannery. "The utter folly of this idea that beet sugar cannot be used for canning purposes is further empnasized by the fact that practically all the sugar used In Germany and France for the purpose of canning and preserving Is from the beet, and for many years American refined beet sugar was used without complaint in this country, because the mass of the people were not aware that it was derived from the beet. This sugar was brought here as raw sugar from Europe, refined at American refineries, and consumers purchased it under the false idea that it was can sugar. "But as the industry began to grow rapidly in the United States, attention was directed to the source of sugar, and there has arisen this popular error, which may have been some what fostered by interested parties." 

 Preview Image (beet sugar): Pixabay | Text and Illustration: Source | In the USA, anything published in and before 1922 is not protected under copyright. No permission is needed to use it. 

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