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American Foundrymen's Association
By the President, A. O. Backert ROM war to peace, from high pressure production for
ordnance requirements to the uncertainty of demand for
commercial needs, from the tense anxiety and excitement of a world conflict for the preservation of democracy to an unparalleled era of unbridled unrest, is the transition of the foundry industry in a period of 12 months. One year ago the manufacture of castings to comply with rigid government specifications and the quantity production of semisteel shells, were the important problems presented for the earnest consideration of foundrymen. Today's problems, cast up in the wake of the war, are equally important and equally urgent, and upon their solution depends the conversion of a glorious victory abroad to an assured peace at home.
As production and more production was the one essential to overwhelm the enemy, so increased production is needed today to restore the equilibrium of trade and industry. With the constantly growing shortage of labor and the decline in the manual output other means must be found to compensate for this deficiency in production. This situation has emphasized, more than ever before, the greater need of mechanical appliances in foundry operations and has been met by the installation of labor-saving equipment on a
a scale never before equalled in the history of the casting industry. Thus, by mechanical means will be solved the associated problems of labor shortage and lack of production in the foundry trade, as it will be solved also in every other industry.
Several months ago your president returned from an extended visit to England and France where he was afforded
unusual opportunities to study conditions prevailing in the foundry and iron and steel industries. The people of both countries then were still suffering from the tremendous shock of the war and the readjustment of their industrial activities to a normal status was beset with many difficulties and problems that seemed almost insurmountable. Their national debt, which exceeds per capita many times that of the United States and the depreciated value of their money as measured by the dollar standard are causes for great concern among manufacturers and financiers. Otherwise conditions generally are not unlike those confronting us today. To provide an income for the great army of workers precipitated out of employment with the sudden termination of the war, a scheme of out-of-work pay was resorted to in the United Kingdom. Originally intended as a temporary expedient to tide over these workers, it threatens to become a permanent bonus for idlness at a weekly cost to the government in excess of $5,000,000. During the months of May and June more than 1,000,000 men and women were given this support from the national treasury and notwithstanding the tremendous shortage of labor in the metalworking industries, the number obtaining government support is increasing rather than diminishing.
In the United Kingdom the demobilization of the army was speeded-up to a higher rate than in France. The return of millions of these men to peace-time pursuits, particularly those who have been out of touch with civil life for from four to five years involves difficulties that time alone can solve. In a comparatively limited degree, we too are familiar with the self-discipline involved in the transition of our soldiers from army to civil life and this, in only small measure conveys the situation existing in the United Kingdom and France.
Investigators Make Invidious Comparisons It has been the prevailing practice of investigators of industrial conditions abroad to make invidious comparisons of production as compared with that of the United States. From the standpoint of tonnage and per capita output, particularly in the metal trades, these comparisons are borne out