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From King Cane to the Last Sugar MillAgricultural Technology and the Making of Hawaii's Premier Crop$
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C. Allan Jones and Robert V. Osgood

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840006

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840006.001.0001

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Industry Growth and Labor Unrest—1898 to 1929

Industry Growth and Labor Unrest—1898 to 1929

(p.71) 3 Industry Growth and Labor Unrest—1898 to 1929
From King Cane to the Last Sugar Mill

C. Allan Jones

Robert V. Osgood

University of Hawai'i Press

The period after annexation saw rapid industry growth. HC&S’s Puʻunēnē factory was the largest and most modern in the world, and in 1908 East Maui Irrigation was formed to deliver water to the plantation. By 1912 the industry could boast 53 sugar plantations. Improvements included widespread use of large steam plows, chemical weed control, fertilizers, and steam railways. The industry led the world in the use of biological control of insect pests. The success demonstrated by hybridizing sugarcane species and identifying superior varieties dramatically increased sugar yield per acre and total sugar production. Extensive efforts were made to reforest Hawai`i’s watersheds which were damaged primarily by unrestricted cattle grazing. After World War I gasoline and diesel tractors began to replace steam plows. Irrigation ditch systems were renovated and sealed to minimize leakage, and “Maui-type” wells tapped the fresh water aquifers under the islands. Factories installed more powerful mills, more efficient systems to clarify and concentrate juice, and improved centrifuges to separate sugar crystals from molasses. By the early twentieth century Hawaii was among the most technically advanced sugar industries in the world. But Japanese labor unrest caused the HSPA to recruit Filipino immigrants, and plantations began to employ contractors for field operations.

Keywords:   immigration, chemical weed control, Maui-type wells, Japanese labor, Filipino labor, contract labor, fertilizers, sugarcane hybrids, biological insect control, reforestation, watersheds

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