Not all of the munitions were for the British. The requirements of France and Russia were also great, and some large orders, especially for the latter country, were secured by Canadians. One of the biggest, though not one of the most satisfactory, of the "war orders" was that secured from Petrograd by the Canadian Car & Foundry Company, for 5,000,000 shrapnel and howitzer shells, which was surrounded by so many exacting conditions and required such an effort for its financing that it appeared likely at one time to involve the company in more loss than profit. This, however, was not a purely Canadian affair, as sub-contracts for $52,000,000 out of the total of $83,000,000 involved were let in the United States. This was an extreme case of sub-letting outside of Canada; and while in some of the earlier contracts made by the Shell Committee considerable sums had to be sent to American plants for parts and materials, it was estimated that by the end of 1915 fully eighty per cent. of the value of the munitions turned out in Canada was wholly the product of Canadian labour and resources. The new demand created a number of subsidiary industries not previously existing in Canada, some of them of high permanent value, among which the most important was perhaps the refining of zinc spelter. The explosives plants were a more ephemeral kind of establishment, but several among these were constructed with a view to easy conversion to some related chemical industry, such as coal-tar dyes, after the war.
The recruiting of an army of (in 1916) nearly 400,000 men for overseas service naturally made serious inroads into the supply of labour available for this new and vital industry, and industrial leaders called vigorously for some form of registration which would secure for them their absolutely necessary help and tend to direct into the army the men who were not likely to be useful in the factories. No effective measures were taken to answer this appeal until well on in 1916; but the situation was somewhat aided by two factors, one the importation of