These are the hectic streets of Seoul, looking more and more prosperous and luxurious. Fancy shops and splendid department store window displays reflect our growth as a people and as a nation. In the shops we often hear how products are “Made in Korea.” The meaning of that phrase is simple, of course, but it is in the tone of voice that we hear how proud people are that their country is now able to produce its own high-quality goods. The recently-opened Industrial Promotion Hall features exhibits of products manufactured by Korean companies. One not only hears “this is made in Korea,” but “this is also made in Korea,” a statement that exemplifies our growing economy. Why buy British textiles for suits when Korean textiles are woven by our own people’s hands and colored with Australian dyes? When worsted yarn was not produced domestically, a huge amount of foreign currency – about USD 10 million per year – was spent on importing it. At the Jeil Woolen Fabric Company, which boasts the largest capacity in Asia, 3.6 million pounds of worsted yarn are produced annually, meeting 74 percent of domestic demand. Worsted yarns extracted from raw wool are woven into suit textiles with spinning and weaving machines. Equipped with modern facilities and the latest technology, this industrial complex employs 1,000 workers that produce various suit textiles in the amount of 720,000 ma (1 yard) a year. Suit textiles are cleaned and dyed using the most advanced equipment and technology. This means that various textiles used for high quality suits and overcoats like Hanamapora are being produced and brought to the market with “Made in Korea” labels. The textile industry is now the fastest growing industry in Korea, with an increased production capacity of 150 million pil (11.1 yards) compared to the pre-Korean War period. In the cotton textile industry, there are 420,000 cotton spinning machines and 9,000 weaving machines nationwide, representing an increase of 132 percent and 100 percent, respectively, compared to the pre-Korean War amounts. Currently, 10 cotton textile plants located throughout the country produce enough cotton cloth and muslin each year to cloth the entire nation with 13 ma per person. The Taechang Spinning Plant alone produces 700,000 ma of cotton cloth and 1.4 million ma of muslin each month.
Along with textiles, our country also produces a widely-used material called vinyl. Vinyl is made by mixing synthetic resin with crude rubber and compressing the substance with a calendar roller. Lucky Chemicals in Busan produces 5,000 tons of syringes and 10 million toothbrushes each year using 5,000 tons of vinyl . However, the scale of many foreign vinyl brands competing in the market is undermining the sales of domestic companies. This is expected to change in the near future when the quality of locally-produced vinyl improves and the production costs are lowered to better compete with foreign brands. Soon, our vinyl industry will be able to fully meet domestic demand. A light and rust-proof special synthetic resin is widely used to produce household tools, dishes, stationery and toys, and it can even replace steel water pipes. The toothpaste we use every morning is produced in this plant at a rate of about 20 million units a year. The nylon plant in Soksan, Daegu, dyes nylon and nylon yarn. After the dying process, nylon yarns are weaved on 20 weaving machines in order to make socks. Around 200 workers manufacturer 7,200 pairs of nylon socks each day, meeting over half of the domestic demand, the equivalent of providing socks for 10 million people a year. The dynamic wave of our industry exists in what we wear and what we eat. For the first time, cube sugar with the Korean letters “lotte” on the label has arrived on the market. Raw sugar imported from Taiwan is melted, refined and crystallized at a Jeongtan plant, a 1,300-pyeong (3.3 square meter) building on land measuring 8,500 pyeong. The white sugar that is produced from the crystallization is then dried with heat, cooled and packed. The plant produces 250 tons of sugar each day, and some of it is further processed into cubes.
This plant produces 62 million bags of dried bread a year as field stable for soldiers. The breads are baked on frames in completely sanitized facilities and packed by female workers. For such packing, we need paper. To print newspapers and books, we need paper. Modern culture is a culture of paper. The Korea Paper Mill in Gunsan, which was restored after being demolished during the war, produces twice as much paper as it did before the Korean War, meeting 40 percent of the country’s paper demand. First, hardwoods are cut and truncated, barked and crushed into small pieces in order to be mixed with pulp. The melted material is dehydrated while passing through the calendar rollers and white paper finally comes out from the 112-inch paper machine in the form of a roll. In this way, 10,000 tons of paper a year is being supplied to the market as either pre-cut paper or as a roll.
Automobiles are being manufactured in Korea as well. The popular Sibal is the first car assembled using parts manufactured in Korea, though it is unfortunately not mass-produced. Meanwhile, enough bicycles are being produced domestically to meet the local demand for a convenient method of transportation. The bicycle is an appropriate method of transportation in a non-oil-production country like ours so it has bright prospects. It already takes up a significant portion of our light industries, with 60,000 bicycles being produced annually and around 1,000 iron wheels being produced daily with a molding press. A bicycle is completed after the long process of cutting, welding, boring and grinding. The Samchuliho bicycle is finally assembled after components like tires are prepared and checked. Costing less than half the price of bikes built by foreign brands, the Samchuliho bicycle has become a vital transportation means for all.
Pistons, important components of automobile engines, are being made by carefully melting selected materials. Melted iron is cut and ground according to precise measurements after completing a hardness test. Pistons for 3,000 cars are being manufactured each month. Founded in August of 1956, Heung-Ah Tires exemplifies the dramatic developments that have been made in the field of tire retreading. First, crude rubber mixed with chemicals is moderately processed in order to become a raw material that will be used to make the outer skin of the tire. Meanwhile, in this plant, yarns taken from the toughest textiles are twisted together to create ply for tires. The ply and the processed rubber are glued and pressed in multiple layers and molded into the shape of a tire. Koreans consume about 180,000 tires each year and various tire remolding plants produce 120,000 tires yearly, or two-thirds of the domestic demand.
This complex produces about 2,000 tires a year. Trucks equipped with tires that were made with our own hands are being used on construction sites to accelerate the process of national reconstruction. The recovery of plants, schools, houses and other buildings continues at a rapid rate, and many new skyscrapers are on the verge of completion. Accordingly, the demand for cement, the core material for construction, is on the rise and cement production needs to be urgently increased. Steady efforts are being made in this direction, evidenced by the five-year plan to increase cement production to 600,000 tons. Samchuck Cement, the only cement plant in Korea, can produce 72,000 tons of cement per year but the bulk of the domestic demand is currently being met by imports. The cement industry is a promising one because our country has sufficient deposits of limestone and anthracite coals, and production will exceed domestic demand when the five-year plan is completed. In Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, which has unlimited limestone deposits and is located near a coal mine, a new plant with a capacity of 250,000 tons a year is under construction with funds of USD 5 million. When the Mungyeong cement plan is completed in a year and a half, it will be fully equipped with the most modern design and technology and about USD 5 million will be saved each year on imports. A fertilizer plant is being built on a 200,000-pyeong plot of land located near Chungju. The increase of agricultural products, which account for 65 percent of Korea’s GDP, is closely related to the supply of fertilizer. Construction work began in September of 1955 with about USD 23 million. When construction is finished in three and a half years, the plant will produce 170,000 tons of fertilizer each year, meeting about 40 percent of the 400,000-ton domestic demand. Our fertilizer industry will be entirely self-sufficient when the planned Naju fertilizer plant is built. Basic construction work for the Naju plant’s drainage installation and water tanks is already underway. Meanwhile, in a temporary office that will be used as a warehouse later on, close reviews of the construction plans are being made every day.
Hankook Explosives Co., located in Incheon, has finished primary recovery work and it is now able to produce 600 tons of dynamites, inner pipes and fuses. Only skilled employees are recruited to produce such hazardous materials, especially because the fuses used for explosives are made with special material and advanced technology. The company will be able to produce 1,000 tons of dynamite when the second phase of construction on the plant is completed, allowing it to meet the domestic demand for explosives.
Common nails are made by stretching iron rods like this. The ends of the rods are tapered and become wires. The wires are then cut to make nails.
The shipbuilding and crane manufacturing industries are located in Yeongdeungpo, and all of the machines used in these industries are produced in the metal-working industry. The division of our country at the 38th parallel has placed most underground resources and power generation facilities in the North, which explains why our heavy industries like the steel industry have not made great strides, but major plants are gradually being restored or built from the ground up. While preparing the ground to build new plants, we anticipate the day when unification will bring our heavy industries into balance with our combined abundant raw materials and our capacity to generate power. The completion of a 50-ton open-hearth furnace at Daehan Heavy Industry gives our heavy industries new hope. The plant will process domestic scrap iron to produce about 45,000 tons of steel a year. The steel will be used to produce various flat-rolled steel products that will be supplied to small rolling plants or to machine shops that churn out steel bars or iron plates. Daehan Heavy Industry plans on installing various rolling equipment and production facilities including a medium-sized rolling mill.