Steatite or soapstone has long been used by the natives for the manufacture of lamps and vessels.
Soapstone for pot- working.
In each province they had found the best springs, beds of clay, paint, soapstone, flinty rock, friable stone for sculpture and hard, tenacious stone for tools, and used ashes for salt.
Glass and other sands and gravel ($13,270,032), lime ($11,091,186), phosphate rock ($10,653,558), salt ($7,553,632), natural mineral waters ($7,287,269), sulphur ($6,668,215, almost wholly from Louisiana), slate ($6,316,8 I7), gypsum ($4,138,560), clay ($2,599,986), asphalt ($1,888,881), talc and soapstone ($1,401,222), borax ($975,000, all from California), and pyrite ($857,113) were the next most important products in 1908.
Soapstone is quarried in Montgomery and Northampton counties, phosphate rock, in Juniata county; rocks from which mineral paints are made, in several counties, and there is some garnet in Delaware county.
That it cannot be hammered from one shape into another, yet its degree of brittleness differs as that of soapstone does from that of glass, so that there are the intensely hard and brittle cast irons, and the less brittle ones, softer and unhurt by a shock which would shiver the former.
Second, though the brittleness should be lessened somewhat by the decrease in the extent to which the continuity of the strong matrix is broken up by the graphite skeleton, yet this effect is outweighed greatly by that of the rapid substitution in the matrix of the brittle cementite for the' very ductile copper-like ferrite, so that the brittleness increases continuously (RS), from that of the very grey graphitic cast irons, which, like that of soapstone, is so slight that the metal can endure severe shock and even indentation without breaking, to that of the pure white cast iron which is about as brittle as porcelain.
Virginia was by far the most important state in 1908 in the production of soapstone, nearly the whole product being taken from a long narrow belt running north-east from Nelson county into Albemarle county; more than 90% of the output was sawed into slabs for laundry and laboratory appliances.
The product of talc and soapstone in 1908 was 19,616 short tons, valued at $458,252.
There are also many quarries of rock-salt, gypsum, lime and some of marble, alabaster, soapstone, &c. The annual revenue of ~he government from the leases, rents and royalties of mines does not amount to more than 15,000, and about 6000 of this amount is derived from the turquoise mines near Nishapur.
Soapstone is abundant in both the E.