United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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If the firms are not in Leipsic, their respective orders are turned over to their
commission agents for further transmission. Much work and postage are
saved in this manner by the Order Institution to these firms. Orders not
urgent are carried twice a week by the Leipsic publishers or furnishing stocks
of outside publishers to the commission agent of the provincial **sorti-
menter," and are delivered to them per dispatch bale. Similar institutions
for the collective trade are also established in Berlin and Stuttgart, where
North and South German sortimenters have a second commission agent.

In the same manner, payments are simplified. Almost without exception,
the sortimenter extends the credit for all goods ordered in the course of the
calendar year until the Easter fair of next year, at which time he can survey
his obligations, after returning or crediting again all books not sold, so far
as it is possible, by means of the bills of the publisher, which are generally
printed for this purpose, and on which are named all novelties or salable
works. He then transfers the amounts to a new list, in duplicate, on which
are given the names of about two thousand publishers, and sends them with
the payment directly to his commission agent.

Every commission agent writes the different lists of his principals on a
general publisher's list, and makes the payments one week after in the Book-
sellers* Exchange to the Leipsic publishers and assignees of outside publish-
ers, who represent the whole publishing trade. In this way the sortimenter
saves an innumerable number of single postal money orders or exchange fees.

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The publisher is also the banker of the sortimenter, paying cash at once
for all shipments ordered for monthly payments. These cash orders enlarge
from year to year. Periodicals are given only for cash payments, calculated
for one quarter or one year in advance. Periodicals bought in this way may
be exchanged for cash by mediation of the commission agent within two
months after the beginning of the quarter. For books bought for cash, espe-
cially for novelties, a higher discount is granted, which causes more and
more the sortimenters to supply all goods bought '* on condition'* at cash pay-
ments as soon as they have sold out what is expressly permitted by the above-
named trade regulations of the exchange society. For all these labors, the
sortimenter and commission agent pay, besides the settlements of the pack-
ing for the bales and other expenses, only a small fee of about 150 to 180
marks on a sale of about 100,000 marks per annum and a commission fee
of one-half of i per cent of the cash goods which he bought from the pub-

An important factor in facilitating **sortiment" dealing is the cash basis
which began forty years ago. From the simplest beginnings it has become
the most important factor for this flourishing business of the publishers and

These organizations (there are five or six very considerable ones in Leip-
sic and Berlin) buy all salable books in great quantities, keep them always
bound in stock, and sell them for cash to the sortimenters for the usual cash
discount of the publishers at a large sale in quarterly accounts. By their stock
not represented at Leipsic, by large discounts, profitable payment conditions,
free packing, and polite dealing, these cash sortimenter houses have become
such a desirable source to buy from that to-day 8 to 10 per cent of all the
wants of the book dealers go through the cash sortimenter, a factor with which
every publisher of generally interesting literature has to reckon.

Each of these cash sortimenters publishes every year a catalogue of his
stock. The catalogue in the year 1891 of one of the greatest firms contains
363 pages and 8,000 titles; the most comprehensive cash sortiment cata-
logues of the firm of F. Koehler, 1895-96, is even of still greater magnitude.

On account of the law of the German Empire as to ** limited companies,**
several book companies have established themselves in Frankfort, Breslau,
and other points for the purpose of having general headquarters. Some of
them are flourishing, and besides the direct profit which they give to all
members, they were also able to distribute a dividend of 6 per cent in 1895.

These simple but eflective reasons for the flourishing state of the German
book trade have caused in Italy, France, and England, where the sortiment
trade is unfortunately depressed, a movement for the introduction of the sys-
tem which obtains in the German organization. In fact, this very old Ger-
man method has become so powerful and instructive as to furnish a plan that
may well be imitated by the book dealers of all nations.


Breslau, August 7, i8g6. Consul.

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Events in the East, the war in Cuba, disturbances in South America, and
the rumors of war to come have called Germany's explosives mills into
great activity. War materials take rank among the most important exports
of the Empire. Last year saw nearly twice as large quantities of war muni
tions in the export lists as in 1894. During the last three years, there went


1893. I 1894. 1895.

I i

I ' i j •

I Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value. Quantity. Value.

I Double cent. Double cent. \ Double cent.

Explosives.^ , ",675 ■ $809,000 ^ 40.27a ' $1,746,000 50,450 j $1,809,000

Artillery fuses, powder, 1 ' I I

etc 82,123 I 3,700,000 85,503 3,45i,ocx3 92,309 I 4,165,000

In spite of the closest competition, this year's business will be better
than last year's. Orders given last year are yet to be filled. The countries
that take the most of these exports are Africa, China, the Argentine Repub-
lic, and Brazil. Hunting powder has hardly held its own. This is largely
due to the fact that there is rather a decrease than increase in the world's
demand. On an average, the German Empire, even in this article, has had a
fair share of orders. China has taken, since 1894, the largest number of car- '
tridges, fuses, and guns; then come Turkey and Spain in the order named,
the latter ordering large quantities to Cuba. Belgium, Denmark, Norway,
Bulgaria, Roumania, England, Austria- Hungary, Africa, East India, the
Philippine Islands, the Argentine Republic, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay,
Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States take large quantities annually.
Munitions of war make up by far the largest part of these shipments. Ger-
man hunting cartridges, especially those loaded with smokeless powder, are
bought in large quantities. The explosives go in largest shipments to South
.\frica — to the Cape and Transvaal. Then come, in the order named,
Russia, England, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Japan, China, Denmark, and
Sweden. In these articles, the export is threefold greater to-day than it
was two years ago. These are welcome results to factories that suffered
from a falling off in sales of explosives, due to the law forbidding the use
of explosives in coal mines. These losses are being made up by the use of
patented explosives in the use of which danger in mines has been reduced
to a minimum. It seems to me that United States manufacturers might
make efforts to effect sales of these substances among the many nations
enumerated above as Germany's best customers.


Chemnitz, July 14^ i8g6. Consul.

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A resident of this city (the famous dyer of blacks) owes his success to
a system known to chemistry long before he made it the means of building
up the largest and most interesting dyeing establishment of its kind in the
world. He had hard work to get where he now is. He owes his wealth
and name almost entirely to his own enterprise. Professors connected with
the dyeing departments of Saxony's most famous technical schools assured
me that he was the first who had the courage and enterprise to combine the
practical chemist with the practical dyer. This he did some years ago, gain-
ing results such as have secured him a position and name unprecedented in
the history of textile dyeing. He dyes cotton, cotton and wool, cotton
and silk, black, getting absolutely fast results. The method employed is
known to chemists and dyers as the oxidation method. Hosiery, under-
wear, yarn, cloth, etc., are impregnated with a solution that, when exposed
to dry warm air, oxidizes and turns green. The articles to be dyed are put
on laths, run slowly through long chambers filled with warm air which is
kept in circulation by means of revolving fans. It is a most interesting
process, and one that might be introduced into our country with profit, the
more so as cotton dyeing, with us, is practically in its infancy. Others
oxidize, but this man does it on so huge a scale that he gets results attain-
able only in this way. His black has held most of the trade in fast blacks.
Goods made in Great Britain, destined for the United States, have been
dyed by him and sent back to Manchester or Liverpool to be shipped.
The business in hosiery of this city is built up on this fast black. Efforts,
I understand, are being made to induce the head of the famous house to
visit the United States with a view to opening an establishment, similar
to the one here, in some such city as Philadelphia, Providence, or Fort

Another great factor that this German dyer found useful in forging his
way to the front was the enterprise enlisted here and in the United States.
Nothing new, if good, is or was for him too costly. Dealing with millions
annually, determined to maintain the high standard always aimed at, he
has an eye for any improvement, is in earnest and eager to give it a trial.
His success illustrates, more forcibly perhaps than that of any man, the
spirit of the new German Empire. He typifies its progress, its determina-
tion to break with the conservative methods of the past, its eagerness to
excel, its fearlessness in facing all competition.


Chemnitz, y///v 20, i8g6. Consul.

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German exports in 1895. 235


Germany's imports in 1895 dropped 40,000,000 marks (nearly $9,520,-
000), as against 1894. She took from Austria 56,000,000 marks ($13,328,000);
Holland, 35,000,000 marks ($8,330,000); and England, 30,000,000 marks
($7,140,000); the United States, 21,000,000 marks (§4,998,000) less than
in the previous year. The most remarkable results relate to Roumania, which
sent Germany in 1 893 goods worth 84,000, 000 marks ($19, 942, 000) ; in 1894,
59,000,000 marks ($14,042,118) ; while in 1895 ^^^ ^^^^ only 38,000,000
marks ($9,044,000). Chile and Venezuela took less of the Empire's wares,
while Argentina and Brazil took a great deal more. There was a large in-
crease of imports from British Australia and the Dutch East Indies ; from
the latter, the imports more than doubled in two years. Imports from most
European countries increased, France with an increase of 16,000,000 marks
($3,808,000) and Russia 25,000,000 marks ($5,950,000). The increase in
the imports from Russia is small compared with what it was in 1893-94, the
two preceding years, viz, 190,000,000 marks ($45,200,000), due to the new
commercial treaty. The exports show an increase of 373,000,000 marks
($88,774,000) over 1894. All leading nations are in this list. The exports
to the United States show the largest increase — 97,000,000 marks ($23,086,-
000) over 1894. The increase in the exports to Great Britain was 44,000,000
marks ($10,472,000) ; to Austria-Hungary, 34,000,000 marks ($8,092,000);
to Switzerland, 31,000,000 marks ($7,378,000); to Russia, 26,000,000 marks
($6, 188,000). The exports to France, which had fallen far in 1894, increased
by 15,000,000 marks ($3,570,000) in 1895, reaching thereby nearly the high
mark of former years. The increase to Denmark was very large, viz, 1 7,000,-
000 marks ($4,046,000). Exports to lands over the sea were large, especially
to South American countries. Chile's increase was 22,000,000 marks
($5,236,000), against decreases in the four or five preceding years; Brazil's
increase was 18,000,000 marks ($4,284,000); Argentina's, 7,000,000 marks
($1,666,000); Mexico's, 5,000,000 marks ($1,190,000). China took 7,000,000
marks ($1,666,000), and Japan 9,000,000 marks ($2,142,000) more than in

1894. Of the African states, the Transvaal makes the best showing, viz,
in 1892 it took wares, etc., worth 1,000,000 marks ($238,000); in 1893,
3,000,000 marks ($714,000) ; in 1894, 5,000,000 marks ($1,190,000); in

1895, 9,ooOjOoo marks ($2,142,000). Remarkable as are all these results,
they are only what German push and perseverance warrant thoughtful ob-
servers to expect.

Chemnitz, October lOy 18^6. Consul.

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The tendency to increase crops by artificial fertilizers is attracting the
attention of cultivators more and more to the various potash salts. In an
address recently delivered before the German Agricultural Society (Land-
wirthschaftsgesellschaft) at Eisenach, Professor Marcker, director of the agri-
cultural chemical-test station at Halle, dwelt on the great importance of
potash for the formation of coal hydrate in grains and named as suitable for
this purpose the following natural salts, viz, kainite, krugit, karanit, and

Kainite is by far the most important of the potash-containing minerals,
the others being either produced in too small quantities to assume real
importance or containing too little potash or too much chlorine. Kainite,
as shown by chemical analysis, is composed as follows :

Per cent.

Sulphate of potash ; 21.3

Chlorate of potash i 2

Sulphate of magnesia 14.5

Chlorate of magnesia 12.4

Chlorate of soda (natron) 34-6

Sulphate of chalk 1.7

Water 12.7

Clay 0.8

Total 100

It contains, therefore, about 12.8 per cent of pure potash (corresponding
to 24 per cent of sulphate of potash).

One drawback to kainite is its large percentage of chlorine compositions,
which, according to the foregoing analysis, is 48 per cent. This would call
for caution in its use, since too much chlorine has a negative effect on the
development of plants.

Kainite stored for a certain length of time becomes a compact, hard
mass. To prevent this it should be mixed with a small percentage of turf.
It is evident that on a swampy meadow or too moist prairie soil, potash
loses its effect ; the level of the ground water must be lowered by means of
canals, such as are employed in irrigation. A further condition to the
effectiveness of potash fertilizers is the presence in the soil of sufficient
chalk. The want of this can readily be supplied by the addition of marly
iron or burnt chalk.

Regarding the best time for putting the fertilizing potash salts in the
ground, it seems advisable to do so as soon before the sowing as possible.
It should not, of course, be done immediately before the sowing, much less
at the time the seeds are sown, for immediate contact of the salts with the
grains will do the latter more harm than good. It depends also more or less
on the humidity and composition of the soil, a sandy ground absorbing the
water much quicker than a clayey one. The principle to go on must be

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their widest distribution and dissolution on the surface before the beginning
of vegetation. Fixed rules can not be given on this subject. It can be put
down as a general rule that the drier a soil is the sooner the potash salts
must be employed.

The chemical analysis of the most essential agricultural plants has given
the following percentage of potash contained therein :


I Quantity.


Cattle turnips*..






Oat straw


Barley straw..



Meadow .

Pea vii


3, coo








24 5


36. z



♦Turnips: Roots, 96 pounds; leaves, 22.5 pounds. Potatoes: Roots, 43.5 pounds; leaves, 3.4 pounds.

Therefore, the largest quantities of potash are found in cattle turnips,
hay, and straw, while grains assimilate a much smaller percentage. It will
be seen from these figures that the quantity of potash tilled into the soil
must be in keeping with the crop to be grown upon it, viz, a hectare (2.471
acres) of ground to be planted in grain woyld require 200 pounds; prairie
land and land planted with potatoes, 400 pounds; cattle turnips, 900 pounds
of kainite. Fertilizing in this proportion would only be rational if all
plants had like ability to absorb potash from the ground, but such is not
the case. On the contrary, some plants absord very large quantities, others
very little, consequently the i)ercentage of potash contained in the plants
themselves is not the only factor to guide the farmer, their capacity for
absorption should also be taken into account.

Of grains, barley needs the most potash fertilizing, then rye and wheat.
Pease, oats, and potatoes, on the other hand, absorb potash readily and re-
quire less fertilizing. Of turnips and similar roots, less is known, but it is
supposed they require much the same treatment as potatoes.

Regarding the employment of potash salts, the following rules are the
result of careful observations:

In meadows and on turfy or sandy prairies where hay is cultivated, potash
salts are very effective, a failure being experienced only on very dry or very
swampy soil. Very often prairies yielding small crops have, after being
fertilized, given a very satisfactory increase of hay. A hectare of prairie
requires from 400 to 600 kilograms (882 to 1,327 pounds) of potash (kainite).

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to which 60 to 70 kilograms (132 to 154 pounds) of phosphate of lime may
be added. This fertilizing must be repeated every year (the phosphate of
lime every other year), as the potash contained in one crop proves that the
stock can not suffice for more than one year.

In the matter of grains, the salts must be distributed as soon as possible,
for if done at sowing time the growth of the grain would be delayed by too
close contact with the potash. It is advisable to plow the salts under the
surface. One hectare requires from 400 to 500 kilograms (882 to 1,102
pounds) of kainite and 70 to 80 kilograms (154 to 176 pounds) of acid
phosphate in the form of Thomas phosphate meal or superphosphate in bet-
ter ground. Barley requires a little more of both ingredients than wheat;
oats a little less. It has been observed that potash prolongs the vegetation
of these grains, and that heavier kernels as well as a richer straw crop are
obtained. Lupine is, especially on light, sandy ground, very remunerative
when potash is used as a fertilizer — 400 to 500 kilograms (882 to 1,102
pounds) of kainite for i hectare of lupine — while phosphates may be saved.

Pease and beans, though needing less potash, have experienced good re-
sults by fertilizing. It is not necessary to use great quantities of kainite,
but here 50 to 70 kilograms (no to 154 pounds) of phosphate of lime will
prove of great value.

Clover and like grasses thrive well up)on a potash- phosphate fertilizer.

Potatoes require special care, as impure salts, with a large percentage of
chlorate, may reduce the quantity of starch in the root, rendering the latter
thereby less desirable for technical purposes, /. e., the manufacture of spirits,
etc. On the whole, potatoes seem to require only a proportionally small
amount of potash, and it is not advisable to give them a strong fertilizing
salt at the time of planting them, but rather to plant them on ground which
the year before was fertilized with potash. The reduction of the starch
caused by chlorate-bearing salts is rather considerable, viz : Carnallite causes
a reduction of 4 per cent; kainite, 2 per cent; chlorate of potash, i to lyi
per cent ; sulphate of potash magnesia, oy2 per cent. This would show that
in no case should carnallite be used for potatoes. The taste of potatoes is
also unfavorably influenced by the use of chlorate fertilizers, potatoes with
too little starch having a soap-like taste. If potatoes be given potash at all,
let it be in the form" of sulphate of potash (free of chlorate).

The fertilization of cattle turnips may be viewed from the same stand-
point as iK)tatoes, only as they are not intended for human food, less pre-
caution need be taken regarding the immediate use of potash salts. It seems
that on light turf or sandy soil a greatly increased crop can be obtained
through potash fertilizing, though the percentage of starch may be a little
reduced. It is asserted that they can be better and longer preserved if they
have been so fertilized.

Sugar beets require exactly the same fertilizing as potatoes.

The tobacco plant is easier affected by the disadvantageous influence of
chlorine-bearing potash salts than potatoes or sugar beets, as its burning qual-

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ity and flavor suffer under such influence. The pure chlorine-free potash
salts are needed and can be given in spite of their higher price, which the
valuable harvest abundantly repays.

For garden vegetables, cabbages, etc., potash fertilizing is very suitable.
Asparagus, especially, is said to get a particular tenderness and flavor there-
from; 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of kainite or carnallite, with a like
quantity of chile saltpeter, is said to double or treble the crop.

A last application for potash salts is for the conservation of stable and
barn manure. Its use prevents, to a very large degree, the destruction of
the organic substances and nitrogenous compositions which are the most
effective parts of such manure. Manure treated with potash salts acts, when
used, a little slower than ordinary manure. From three-fourths to i kilo-
gram of kainite or carnallite is necessary to conserve the manure of one head
of cattle or ten sheep per diem. It is advisable to strew it over the manure
heap, rather than on the manure in the stable, where it might induce hoof
inflammation in the cattle.

The German Agricultural Society, in 1895, produced and sold 433,000
tons of kainite, of which 190,000 tons were exported to foreign lands. In
1880, only 23,768 tons of kainite were used, against 293,000 tons in 1895.

The production of kainite and other potash minerals in Germany rose
from 969,000 tons in 1884 to 1,526,200 tons in 1893. During the same
period the production of chlorate of potash increased from 116,400 tons,
valued at 15,610,000 marks ($3,715,000), to 137,000 tons, valued at 17,305,-
000 marks ($4,125,830).

In 1885, 68,982 tons of chlorate of potash, valued at 9,700,000 marks
($2,308,000), were exported, and in 1894, 93,913 tons, valued at 13,500,000
marks ($3,213,000), which was sent to the following countries:


United States




Sweden „





JO, 434








An advantage in potash salts is that, when they are employed, plants
thrive with less humidity.

Weimar, May 23, i8g6. Commercial Agent.

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Large quantities of German glassware are annually imported into the
United Kingdom. Take up a cup, saucer, bottle, or glass in a summer re-
sort or bathing place in Great Britain and, ten to one, it will be marked
"made in Germany." In 1889, Germany sent to England and her colonies,
of such wares, ^2,380,000 worth ; in 1895, nearly J5, 000, 000 worth.*

The Thuringian cups and saucers, with colored landscapes, etc., were the
objects most disliked by English houses making similar goods. Do what
they would, it was impossible to comi>ete with the German waives. This, to
anyone familiar with Thuringia's and the Empire's **house industry," will
not seem strange. Men and women, boys and girls, in their homes among
the Thuringian hills, work on these cups, plates, and saucers at wages such

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 34 of 82)