Houston in 1937
Houston leads Texas cities in the number of wage earners in manufacture, and in the total of wages paid, according to the last Federal census of manufacturing. Houston is credited with 429 establishments, 16,225 wage earners, $20,237,285 in wages, and value of products totaling $144,752,821.
The principal industries are oil refining, cotton compressing and warehousing, cottonseed by-products, rice milling, oil field equipments, textiles, chemicals, paint, iron products, clothing, steel fabricating, flour milling and grain elevators.
A total of 542 new firms was established in Houston during 1934. A total of 29 new manufacturing structures were erected or enlarged, with a capital investment for buildings and equipment of $2,050,000. Probably few American cities in Houston’s population class can produce an equally good showing.
Statistics show 139,000 individuals gainfully employed in Houston. Of this number, 12,000 are classified as skilled laborers, 60,000 as semi-skilled laborers and 67,000 as unskilled. The pay checks of these workers aggregate $161,000,000 annually.
Due to merchandising economies possible through the utilization of the Houston gateway to the extensive market served therefrom, a great storage and forwarding industry has been built. Many fine modern warehouses have been established with unusually efficient facilities for service to shippers. Houston warehouses have a total floor space of 11,168,953 square feet.
Houston is the first cotton port of America. In addition it is the largest spot cotton market in the world; that is, Houston carries a larger stock of cotton in warehouses than any other cotton market city. Many millions of dollars are invested in the 24 high-density cotton compresses operating here.
As presently constituted, Houston’s facilities for handling the principal crop of the Southwest consist, in addition to the compresses, of 20 warehouses and terminal plants. These facilities have a combined storage capacity of more than 2,250,000 bales, while the compresses have a pressing capacity of 50,000 bales in 24 hours.
Within the several months of a normally active cotton season, Houston’s warehouses, compresses and rail-water terminals could compress and handle all of the cotton crop of the Southwest territory.
For a decade, Houston has had an important place in the petroleum industry of the Nation. In recent years its prominence has developed to the point where it outranks any other American community as an oil center. From a production angle it is headquarters for five major corporations. In respect to refining, equal magnitude has been reached. On the Houston Ship Channel are located 9 petroleum refineries with a daily capacity in excess of 200,000 barrels of 42 gallons each.
Pipe lines for the conveyance of crude petroleum converge at Houston from a long list of oil-producing fields. Much of the enormous tonnage annually delivered here through these pipe lines goes to Houston refineries. The balance is shipped to refineries elsewhere in the United States or abroad, or to points where it is consumed as fuel oil. Petroleum and refined petroleum products constitute an important part of the port tonnage of Houston. Most of the Houston refineries operate their own shipping facilities, such as docks and warehouses, on the Houston Ship Channel.
In the past three years the South Texas area, of which Houston is the commercial and development center, has continued to grow in interest and importance in the oil picture of America. Great new fields have been proved and exploration is continuing on an enormous scale. More than 6,000,000 acres of prospective oil-bearing land has been taken under lease by major oil operators in the area in which operations are directed from Houston. While the exploration of this huge area is proceeding rapidly, it will be several decades before the work is completed. An unusual field of future petroleum development is offered by the hundreds of salt domes in the Houston section. Each is a potential oil field.