It Ain’t Funny No Mo!
We recall that during the depression years of the early thirties, one of the largest manufacturing firms in the country had an estimated $80,000,000 of idle or surplus buildings, machinery and equipment.
No, it didn’t go broke. The eighty million dollars worth of plants and equipment eventually was absorbed by an expansion program, dismantled and scrapped or otherwise disposed of through regular
trade channels. Today that company is one of our billion dollar enterprises and made more money in 1949 than in any previous year of its history.
Regular trade channels in the surplus disposal field consist of dealers in surplus machinery and equipment, liquidators, auctioneers and scrap and salvage firms. This industry had its inception only forty or fifty years ago. It was not considered of any importance until the early stages of the first World War when contractors were seeking machine tools and other usable industrial items as well as scrap for
the steel mills.
The surplus industry then assumed a positron in our economy that has never since been questioned. Its record of thousands of pieces of critical machinery supplied to war contractors by dealers and rebuilders of surplus equipment during World War II speaks for itself. Its part in putting business back on its feet—such as the manufacturing firm mentioned above—is indispensable.
If this industry with its mediums of exchange did not exist, what would happen to industrial progress? What would happen to our economy if factories could not readily find a market for surplus or salvageable equipment? What would happen to manufacturers, who for some reason or other wished to make a change in their end product, if they could not find a market for the machinery thus made surplus to their needs?
There is only one answer: The economy would stagnate. Free enterprise would dry up as surely as if some dictator were to abolish our stock or commodity exchanges.
Some business men may look upon the surplus machinery business as a sort of horse trading racket. On the contrary, it is as fundamental to the industrial world as a bank is to our currency flow.
No one ever composed an ode to a dealer in surplus machinery, but we think the guy who has to gamble his time and money buying and selling surplus machinery and salvageable industrial equipment has contributed more to the progress of manufacturing enterprises than all the banks and bankers combined.
This specialized trade may not be the most glamorous in the world, but as they might say in Texas, “it is so sure nuff wrapped up in our economic picture that it aint funny no mo.”