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

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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as Americans or Englishmen would call starvation wages. Still, there is no
starving; at least I have never seen any. The people pay their rent, eat
wholesome food, live simply, and put away an odd penny for rainy days that
seldom come. The system of invalid and old-age pensions put the work-
ingmen and workwomen of Germany outside the pale of actual want.
Against labor so differentiated, organized, and cared for as is German labor,
competition on the part of England will grow harder year after year.


Chemnitz, yi^/v 16, i8g6. Consul,


It is interesting to note Saxony's growth as a spinner of cottons. In
1856, she had 133 concerns, with 554,000 spindles, that produced 19,300,000
pounds (average numbers 23s), employed 11,696 hands, of whom 2,427 were
children, and paid in wages to men 12 marks (not quite $3 per week), to
women 6 marks (J1.50). The mules (self-actors) had 460 spindles each and
the spinning frames 180. The hours of labor were 84 per week or 14 per
day. In 1896, she has 32 concerns, with 900,000 spindles, producing
80,000,000 pounds of yarn, running from the coarsest to i2os.f The mills
of 1896 employ 8,500 hands, of whom only 87 are children under 14 years of
age, the laws regulating the employment of children being rigidly enforced,
exception being made in no case, unless where it is absolutely necessary,
and then only after most careful investigation. The wages paid run from
16 to 24 marks (J4 to |6) for men and from 9 to 15 marks (112.20 to ^3.70)

* The total imports of china and earthen ware into the United Kingdom during the year 1895 amounted
to only 1^3,340,280, in which the imports from Germany figured for $1,059,488, or about $85,000 less than the
Imports from Holland.

f A man in Chemnitz has invented a mule for spinning cotton waste. It is made and managed very much
like mules for spinning woolens. Asa Lees, of England, has invented a similar mule, said to be much better
than the German.

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for women. The self-actors have 900 to 1,200 spindles, the frames 480. A
pair of self-actors (900 to 1,200 each mule) require to run them two spin-
ners and two helpers; the latter put in the roving. These parties are all
paid by what is turned off the pair of mules. They work 65 hours a week —
not quite 11 hours a day. One pair of self-actors, spinning yarns from No.
6 to 60 (average 24) turns off from 1,500 to 4,500 pounds a week.

Everywhere, old mills are being enlarged and new ones are being built.
Dividends that would delight our manufacturers are resulting. One concern
near this city declared 22 per cent as its last year's dividend. Every effort
is being made to make the Empire independent of England and other coun-
tries. Vapor has taken the place of steam in producing an artificial atmos-
phere. Schools all over the Empire are teaching a scientific knowledge of
fibers, methods, etc. What is true of Saxony, is just as true of Baden,
Bavaria, Wurtemburg, Prussia, Saxe-Meiningen, and Silesia.


Chemnitz, October 10, i8g6. Consul.


While many parts of the Austro- Hungarian Empire are well known foi
their productiveness, others are frequently mentioned on account of their
beautiful landscapes and scenery, in which lofty hills alternate in a grand
and picturesque manner with deep valleys. The latter is true of northern
Bohemia. Unfortunately, the beauty of the country is counterbalanced by
the unfertile and hilly condition of the soil. Here, the large, waving corn
fields of central Austria and of Hungary are replaced by flax fields clustering
on the hillsides. In fact, the unfruitfulness of this part of Bohemia is such
that it was unprofitable for the farmer of times gone by, when yet transpor-
tation charges were high and transportation itself difficult and slow, to grow
grain, and he, at the time, turned his attention to the cultivation of flax,
which, not requiring a rich soil, gave him a better opportunity of gathering
large harvests.

Since then, a large number of the inhabitants of Bohemia have been en-
gaged in the growing of this plant and in changing it into linen j and many
a family is dependent upon this industry for the necessaries of life. It is for
this reason that the condition of the linen industry is of great interest to the
inhabitants of the entire Empire. The linen trade is to-day the only branch
of the textile industry that presents a surplus at the end of the year in the
balance of trade. Thus the imports of raw and manufactured cotton during
the year 1895 amounted to 530*042,387.36; exports, $4,463,817.85; imports
of raw and manufactured silk, to 114,676,843.56; exports, 19,225,730.01;
imports of raw and manufactured wool, to $29, 925, 072. 04; exports, #13,593,-
510.51; imports of flax, yarns, and manufactured linen, to 16,703,120.90;
No. 197 7.

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exports, ^7,276,668.57. Now, when we take into consideration the fact
that the balance of trade of the Austro- Hungarian Empire has fallen from a
surplus of $54,000,000 in 189310 a surplus of $6,000,000 in 1895, an in-
dustry which presents a surplus at the end of a year must be of the greatest
importance, and all economists and financiers of Austria-Hungary will give
it their attention.


The end of the year 1894 saw the linen industry in a sore plight. The
extremely high price of the raw material, as well as of the yam, during the
first quarter of the year 1894 had been followed by a very rapid fall, as will
be seen by the following selling prices of flax on the dates given :




Line yarn, 40.
Tow yarn, 20.










Yarns, in fact, did not become salable until the last quarter of 1894,
and the spinners saw the year 1895 coming on with a large stock on hand and
prices going down more and more. At the same time, but few orders had
been given. In consequence, a general reduction of the quantity to be pro-
duced was already thought of. In Bohemia, the falling of the price was so
much more noticeable, as its spinning mills are dependent upon the exports
of their products. Naturally, the export of yarns to Germany, its largest
buyer, was reduced to a minimum, and that to the west did not become
significant until the price of yarns had fallen to a level which had been
thought impossible theretofore. This was during the spring of 1895. Since
then prices have slowly recovered, though they have to-day not reached their
former normal height. The loss sustained by the spinners on their stock is
estimated at at least 1,000,000 florins.

This precipitous fall of the price of the yarn was of the greatest result
to the weaver. Provided he had bought a large quantity of yarn at a seem-
ingly moderate price, as was the case in many instances, he now found that
he had bought far too dear, and was obliged to sell at a loss. Large orders
expected from the United States were not forthcoming, and in March, 1895,
any weaver was happy to work without a profit, as long as his costs were
realized. But many a manufacturer was obliged to throw his goods on the
market for whatever price they would bring. This condition was aggravated
by the fact that cotton sold at an extremely low price, and people began to
accustom themselves to buy the cheaper cotton goods. Another severe blow
was dealt the linen industry by resolutions of the departments of war of
Servia and Bulgaria, which had been large buyers from Bohemian merchants,
to substitute cotton wearing apparel for linen fabrics. Roumania, on the

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Other hand, which as yet clothes its soldiery with linen, fills its demand from
the large stores of German, English, and French establishments. At this
place, I may mention that Austria itself has for some time ceased to be a
consumer of linen for use by its Department of War and has introduced
cotton goods in its place. This is of the utmost consequence, as the Bohe-
mian linens surpass those of Scotland and Ireland in durability, but are in-
ferior to those of the two countries in fineness of texture, bleaching, and

Through such measures, Bohemia is now obliged to compete where it is
outclassed, though it makes every effort to perfect itself. It is at the present
time compelled to turn its attention from the manufacture of coarse but
durable linen to that of fine and beautiful fabrics.

Another cause of ill effect is the union goods, /'. e,, goods woven of cotton
and flax fibers. This texture is glued and dressed in so perfect a manner
that it becomes difficult, in many cases, to decide whether the articles in
question are pure linen or whether they are union goods. In such instances,
recourse must be had to a magnifying glass of high power, with the aid of
which it will be possible to discern the construction of the various fibers. On
account of this great similarity to linen, it is not seldom that union goods
are bought, the buyer being of the opinion that he is obtaining pure linen.
Yet even where the quality is known, union goods, though not possessing the
fine luster of linen, and not as easily washed, and though they allow dust to
adhere more readily than linen does, have, nevertheless, on account of their
comparative cheapness and their similarity to linen, frequently taken its place.

In general, the outlook is not the brightest, yet matters have assumed a
somewhat better and more encouraging aspect during the past few months,
as comparatively large orders have been received from the United States and
from South America.

In consequence of this condition of affairs, manufacturers of linen goods
have petitioned the Austro-Hungarian Government to pass laws looking to
the correct marking of the texture woven and to take measures for the re-
introduction of linen into the army. While the former petition will no
doubt be granted in the near future, the latter has little probability of being
answered in the affirmative. Aside from this, the manufacturers have taken
great pains to replace linen in its formerly very important position. They
were forced to send agents to various countries and study the taste of foreign
nations. To reintroduce their goods into the dwellings of the laborers, they
have conceived a somewhat ingenious plan. The farmer who sowed and
harvested the flax no longer wore linen fabrics, but bought the cheaper
cotton goods. To prove to the farmer that he was doing a foolish thing,
the members of the Flachs und Leinen Verein, a society made up of the
large growers of flax, of the spinners, and of the weavers, resolved to offer
certain goods to the small growers for a percentage of the raw material. They
therefore selected a collection of samples, adapted to the station and wishes
of the intended consumers, and offered to pay 5 per cent of the total amount of

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the raw material they bought with these goods. The farmers soon found
that they were profiting by this measure, and linen goods to an extent were
reintroduced into the houses of the poorer people, who have thereby become
convinced of the greater durability and other superior qualities of the linen

What the future has in store it is difficult to foretell. Large profits are,
at any rate, out of the question. Unfortunately, the one who suffers most
during such inauspicious conditions is the laborer.


Reichenberg, June p, i8g6. Consul,


Silk goods may be regarded as objects of luxury on ^account of their ex-
pensiveness; consequently, their sale is limited, yet they take the first place
among spun stuffs, and the industry, wherever carried on, seems to pay good
profits. In the United States, the silk industry is but little developed, and
it would seem that if the American people would acquaint themselves with
the most advanced methods of procedure in the industry, which is being sim-
plified to a great degree not only in machinery, but in raising the silkworms,
they would be able to manufacture enough of silk goods and so supply their
vast home demands.

One of the difficulties of sericulture has been the raising and feeding of
silkworms on mulberry leaves, which thrive only in mild climates. It has been
found, however, that the silkworms can be successfully fed on the rhizocarpic
plant called Scorzonera hispanica, which thrives well in colder climates, and
makes possible the establishment of sericulture in the northern countries.
Brilliant results from a three years' trial were acquired by the Moscow Impe-
rial Society of Rural Industry. This society claims that this new branch of
sericulture is very important for localities where cereals do not thrive, prin-
cipally in the northern governments of Russia, not requiring any compli-
cated conditions, while expenses are small at the beginning.

By this means the production of new cocoons from ready chrysalides can
be made a common occupation for peasants. The work itself, not requiring
great physical labor, can be done by women, and the rapid results give the
producers a chance to earn money quickly.

The committee of the Russian silkworm breeders is taking great pains to
instruct the people in sericulture, and it has just published a small book on
the subject, which I have translated and send herewith, thinking it may be
of interest and benefit to the people of the United States.


St. Petersburg, June iiy i8g6. Consul- General.

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Successful efTorts in feeding the silkworms on a rhizocarpic plant called Scorzonera hispan-
ica have proved the possibility of establishing sericulture in northern climates. The brilliant
results in the production of silk — acquired, after three years' trial, by Mrs. O. O. Tikhomirov,
member of the committee of sericulture of the Moscow Imperial Society of Rural Industry,
under the supervision of A. A. Tikhomirov, director of the same committee and professor of
the Moscow University — will open a new and profitable branch of agriculture, especially im-
portant for localities where cereals do not thrive, principally in the northern governments of
Russia. This new branch of sericulture, open to all, and requiring no complicated machinery,
with minimum expenses at first and with a very small floating capital, can develop rapidly
and become a common occupation for peasants for producing raw cocoons from ready chrys-
alides, provided that in each locality large establishments are organized to unwind the raw silk
and breed chrysalides, which require more complicated apparatus, special knowledge, and large
outlay. Such division of the silkworm industry will serve with great success for the develop-
ment of sericulture.

The sale of raw silk in unlimited quantity can be considered guarantied, as all our factories
which prepare silk tissues from foreign raw silk will get raw silk of better quality, as can be
seen from samples shown. As there will be no duty or customs expenses to be paid, it will,
perhaps, be possible to raise, at the very beginning, the price of raw Russian silk. In Mos-
cow, Sapojnikov's silk manufactory accepts cocoons in unlimited number, having their own
silk winding department. In St. Petersburg, it is to be hoped that N. M. Polovtsev's im-
mense manufactory of reel silk will accept the whole quantity of raw silk produced, and
will, perhaps, establish at the mill a section for unwinding cocoons. Thus, a definite sale 0/
raw silk will be organized, and, therefore, there is a fair probability of developing the silk-
worm industry.

Our Minister of Agriculture, A. S. Ermolov, who always sympathizes with everything con-
cerning the development of useful branches of agriculture, will, of course, help as much as
possible. Thus, this new branch can be made of considerable assistance to the welfare of all
landowners, including peasants.

The time for feeding the silkworms is from the beginning of May until mowing time.
The work itself, not requiring great physical strength, can be done by women, and the rapid
results of the work give the producer the chance of earning money quickly,.which especially
favors this industry.


Every building in which the air is dry and pure and where the temperature can Le kept
at 68° to 77° F. is good for feeding silkworms. It is desirable that the worms, during the
five different periods of their existence, should be surrounded by an even temperature; there-
fore the supports for the shelves are put in the middle of the building, with a passage around
them. The shelves must be movable, their size about 3^ feet each, at a distance of 18 inches
one above the other, beginning from the floor, up to the ceiling. The shelves must be easily
movable from their places, so that they can be raised or lowered. There must be several
reserve shelves to facilitate the work of assorting the worms — called, also, ihe rarefaction of
worms — during their growth, and also for cleaning away what remains under the worms.
These shelves are made of wooden frames, from i^ to 3 inches wide, the middle either cov-
ered by an incompact material — unbleached calico, say — which is tied to the frame, or else
the middle is made of net, strings, cord, cane, or metal, in order that the worms lying on
the shelves can have plenty of air. llie heating of such a building depends on the temf)er-
atnre outside, therefore it is necessary tb watch the temperature inside as well as outside the

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The eggs, or chrysalides, after wintering, are brought in for animation and are gradually
surrounded by warmth, beginning with 46° F. They are put on the shelves in one row, the
animation to be commenced only when the necessary quantity of leaves for feeding the worms
is obtainable. For the first six days, a temf>erature from 46° to 55° F. must be kept ; during
the next two days, 64°; the following six days, 70°; and the remainder of the time, 76°.
Provided the temperature does not exceed 68° or 70°, it is not difficult to regulate the worms
according to their age. The places on the supports for the shelves, as well as the shelves
themselves, must be of even size, so that the shelves may be interchangeable. Sorting of
the worms, according to their virility, and placing them on different shelves are necessary in
order that the passage of the worms from one state of existence to another may be simul-
taneous, so that the worms which have not fallen asleep should not trouble and interfere with
those that have. Such assortment is very important for the further reason that, during their
sleep, the worms throw off their skin, and the new skin, which is formed at every new age,
is so tender that it is apt to be scratched if the active worms crawl over them. This assort-
ment of the worms on the different shelves is also necessary for a simultaneous spinning of
their cocoons. Each worm, before beginning to spin its cocoon, prepares a lair for itself in
which it remains lying while making the cocoon. Having placed itself in such a lair, the worm
cleans its intestines by throwing out its last excrement, preparing itself to become chrysalid ;
thus, if among the worms making cocoons some should be behind time, they, in throwing out
their excrements, can spoil the work of the others, making spots on the cocoons already
begun. Experience has shown with worms fed with the scorzonera that these spots do not
spoil the cocoons, but when the worms are fed on mulberry leaves these spots do not come
out, and the spotted cocoons are considered as garbage. Therefore, worms that are behind
time are separated if there are many, but if few, they are destroyed. Calculations made show
that for worms animated from ^J4 grants weight of eggs, apartments of the following dimen-
sions are required: For worms of the first age, 3 feet square; during their first sleep, 10 feet
square; during their second sleep, 30 feet square ; during their third and fourth sleep, accord-
ing to the size of the worms, from 12 to 1 6 feet; during the last stage, before cocooning, they
occupy a place of 42 feet. Thus, the rarefaction of worms, begriuning with their first age up
to cocooning, is made by increasing the place occupied by them from 3 feet square to 42 feet.
According to such calculations for animating and feeding worms gotten from 4^ grams of
eggs, it is necessary to have 42 feet of shelves, i. e., twelve shelves of 3 J^ feet each, and two
reserve shelves. When the worms first begin to animate, they are taken off every hour and
placed on other shelves, according to the quantity of the worms animated. On the .shelves,
one must write down each time how many worms animated and how distributed.

First of all, a sheet of common unglazed gray wrapping paper is laid on the shelf, and the
worms are put thereon. The best way of removing the worms from the eggs is to carry them
on the leaves they feed upon, because as soon as they smell the fresh leaf they readily go on ;
but for giving them fresh food subsequently, the following manner is very convenient : Fresh
leaves are cut and put on a sheet of paper in which holes of the size of the worms are cut
out; these sheets are then put on the worms, which crawl immediately through the holes on
to the fresh leaves, and then the lower sheet of paper with old leaves and the worms' excre-
ment is taken away. The holes on the paper are made with scissors in the usual manner.

The rarefaction of the worms is produced seven times during the first period of their ex-
istence; at the second period, they are rarefied the first day immediately after their awaken-
ing, changing the lower sheet of paper at the same time; the second day the rarefaction is
done without changing their litter, the cut or chopped leaf being placed straight on the shelves
without pmper; the third day, the litter is changed toward evening and during all the sub-
sequent periods of existence; as soon as the worms wake from sleep, the rarefaction and the
change of litter is to be made. From the third period, rarefaction is made less frequently
but the litter is changed always according to requirements. Ordinary branches serve for

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building the cocoons on. The size of these branches equal the distance between the shelves,
I. ^., 18 inches high. Birch branches are best for such a purpose on account of having more
numerous ramifications for the reception of cocoons. It is best to use one-year-old branches
which have no odor. Such branches are put at the edges of the shelves, but when the litter
is changed for the last time before the cocooning takes place, the worms are grouped more to
the middle of the shelf. The cocoons are taken off on the ninth day; after that, the worms
have changed into chrysalides.

At the beginning of the feeding the leaves must have a dry surface and be gathered
twenty-four hours before they are given to the worms, and must be of the same temperature
as that of the room in which the worms are kept — 77° F. For each 66 grains troy of ani-
mated eggs the food should be regulated as follows:

Food is given four times — 230 grains each time. On the second day, 3^ ounces avoir-
dupois; on the third day, 7^ ounces ; on the fourth, before the worms fall asleep, 3|^ ounces ;
and on the fifth day, the last day of the first period, i ounce for those that have remained
behind, provided they are not to be destroyed.

On the first day of the second period, after the worms awaken, lo)^ ounces ; the second
day, 17^ ounces; the third day, 19 ounces; and on ihe fourth day, 5 ';( ounces.

On the first day of the third period, after the awakening, 17 }4 ounces; on the second
day, 3 j^ pounds ; on the third day, 3 pounds lo ounces ; on the fourth day, 2 pounds ; and
on the fifth day, for those that remain behind, 17 "^ ounces.

On the first day of the fourth period, after awakening, 3 pounds 9 ounces; on the second
day, 3 pounds ii ounces; on the third day, 8j(^ pounds; on the fourth day, 9 pounds 5^
ounces ; on the fifth day, for those that remain behind, 4 pounds 1 1 ounces ; and on the
sixth day, 14^ ounces.

On the first day of the fifth period, after the awakening, 5 pounds 1 1 }4 ounces ; the second

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 35 of 82)