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Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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termine the quality and the kind of material to be used.

From what I can gather from the architects, there does not seem to be a
prejudice against American slates per se. Welsh slates are criticised by them
as being cold in color and inartistic. If American slates could compete in
prices and quality, while at the same time offering warmer colors, I do not
see why they should not command at least a share of this market, provided
they were properly placed before the trade.

School slates have never commanded an extensive market in Ireland, and
the trade is a diminishing one. Inquiries directed to two of the houses in
Dublin engaged in this trade elicited the following replies. One says:

The slates principally used in Ireland come from Wales. We stock also German and
American slates, but the demand is very slow. Slates, in our opinion, are rapidly giving
place to paper, upon which most schools do their work. * * * Slate or silicate black-
boards we do not keep, as our customers, as a rule, use blackboards made of wood.

The other house says :

We find the trade in slates a decreasing one. Jotters and scribblers are produced so
cheaply now that they are taking the place of slates. Tliey are a much more satisfactory
stock to handle.



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430 ROOFING SLATE IN IRELAND.

I addressed to a few of the leading architects of Dublin the following
questions :

(i) Why is the Webh slate preferred to Irish or American?

(2) Is the preference one of price or of quality?

(3) Is there anything in the Dublin climate which renders the Welsh
slates better adapted for use here ?

(4) If architects have a preference for Welsh slates, state the points of
preference.

I append replies received from two of the most eminent architects in
Dublin. One says:

The reason that Welsh slates are preferred to Irish is that their quality is decidedly supe-
rior, while the difference in price is slight. I do not recollect to have ever used American
slates on any of my buildings, so that I am unable to speak from experience of their quality.
The opinion I have formed from conversing with men qualified to judge is, that the Eureka
green slate, with which the roofs of Christ Church Cathedral are covered, is of excellent
quality, but too costly for general use. On the other hand, I am told that some very inferior
green slates have been shipped from America, which have a tendency to discolor and disin-
tegrate in this climate. I do not know their cost, but I presume they are cheap. 1 have not
noticed any of them being used here for some years past, however.

In my opinion Welsh, Irish, Scotch, and Westmoreland slates, as well as tiles, are un-
affected by the Dublin climate.

Speaking for myself, my main object is to obtain the best value in the materials I use in
my building slates or otherwise. In the next place, quality and price being equal, I would
give a preference to native materials. I have no reason to doubt that this is a general feeling
among Dublin architects on the subject.

Welsh slates are in favor because (generally speaking) their price is moderate and their
quality good. They are open to two objections, viz, that they are made too thin and their color
is cold and inartistic. The green Westmoreland slate is both for quality and appearance the
best slate that comes into Dublin, so far as I know, but its price renders its use impossible in
the ordinary run of business.

The architect in the foregoing has pointed out one of the defects com-
monly alleged in American exports, that is, quality. Here is a case where one
of the great cathedrals of Dublin was roofed with an American slate of high
quality which gave satisfaction and has continued to give satisfaction, but
the chief trouble was its price, which forbade its general use. Immediately
a cheap and inferior slate, resembling the other only in color, was put upon
the Dublin market, and the result was to bring American slate into ill repute.
If exporters would see to it that only goods of qualities in accord with
representations were exported, the effect upon our foreign trade would be
magical.

The other architect writes as follows :

The Welsh slates have obtained nearly universal use heretofore in Dublin, simply because
being a water-borne building material from the neighboring and convenient coast, no other,
subject to the greater cost and risk of breakage incident to land carriage, could hope to com-
pete with them in price. This is also true of stone, bricks, and other building materials on
the east coast of Ireland for eight hundred years. Except common native stone for rubble,
it will be found that nearly all building materials in this district are more readily, cheaply,
and systematically delivered by sea carriage than they could be obtained from native source*



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ROOFING SLATE IN IRELAND. 43 1

Welsh slates can not be said at this present time to be preferred by architects at least.
The market price has been pushed to an excessive limit. The slates (first quality) are now
split so thin in the quarries as to scarcely bear handling, fixing, or any weight to speak of.
The color of Welsh slates is not generally pleasing to architects in England or Ireland.
Now that comparative prices do not rule the choice, architects prefer the heavy, strong, and
pleasant-colored gray-green slates of Westmoreland.

As weather slates, the Welsh slates have had no superior in standing Dublin climate.
Irish slates, so far as they have come into the Dublin market and been tested by intelligent
builders, are found to be excellent weather slates, but less uniform than Welsh slates in quality
and have been irregular in delivery. Splendid slates from Victoria quarries, once in the
market, but not now, were suitable for building cisterns. Mantelpieces in Killaloe slates are
good and would be preferred by most architects to Welsh slates. The quarries do not give a
steady or reliable supply. They are smothered by accumulations of waste and debris. They
are not developed with sufficient system, capital, or under the same facilities as the Welsh
quarries.

Dublin climate is particularly trying to wood, stone, and slates. American slates here-
tofore tried have not suited it. There was a large importation of them about twenty years
ago, and they " caught on" by their pleasing color and low price, lliey have not stood well,
and are altogether out of repute and use now.

The same gentleman, in a letter to me, says:

You may take it from me that there is a fortune for some man who will produce an artifi-
cial slate. It must be less fragible than natural slate or tiles. It must be thick and rough in
texture and weather enduring.

The folly of the present Welsh quarry manipulators is in producing a thin, smooth, nice
article. Close lapping with these is the worst of weather roofing — draws wet by capillary
attraction and breaks under frost. The artificial slate of the future must be as thick and
rough as an ordinary Westmoreland slate and not too light.

From the above, our slate exporters can form a fair idea of the quality
which would meet the approval of the Dublin architects, who in the final
are the arbiters in the slate trade.

NEWTON B. ASHBY,

Dublin, November 20, i8g6. Consul.



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NOXBS.

Restriction of Refrigerated Meats ia France. — Deputy-Consul Chancellor,
of Havre, January ii, 1897, says:

The importation of frozen meat from foreign countries into France has
greatly increased within the last six months, or since the extensive refriger-
ating chambers and machinery, described in my report of June 17, 1896,*
were established at Havre. Large quantities of frozen meat, principally from
Australia, have been received at this port after a sea voyage of from three
to four months, during which time the meat has been perfectly preserved in
specially constructed refrigerating chambers, in which the temperature is kept
below zero. After the meat is debarked, it is placed in warehouses, where it
is kept at the same temperature as in the refrigerating chambers in the vessel
until the time of sale. It is known that frozen meat, when withdrawn from
a cold atmosphere, will decompose very rapidly. It is important, therefore,
that meat once subjected to the process of freezing should be immediately
cooked or consumed, otherwise it will very soon undergo putrefaction and
become unhealthful. In spite of this fact, it has been found that as frozen
meat is much cheaper than recently slaughtered meat, many butchers buy it
and retail it as ** fresh meat.** In order to put a stop to this fraudulent
practice and protect the public, the French Minister of Agriculture has un-
der consideration the project of a law prohibiting the sale of all meats that
have been transported in a frozen condition unless it be so stated at the time
of sale, and following the enactment of the law, all meat so treated and placed
upon the market must bear a tag upon which is printed in large letters the
words ** frozen meat.** A violation or evasion of this provision of the law
will be punished by a fine of from Jioo to J200, with imprisonment of from
six days to one month, the punishments to be doubled for the second offense.



Lard and Other Alimentary Fats in Belgium. — On December 29, 1896,
writes Consul Roosevelt, of Brussels, January 15, 1897, King Leopold II
signed a decree, to go into effect April i, 1897, relative to lard and other
alimentary fats, as follows:

The denomination lard shall be used for pure pork fat only. Alimentary fats containing
other fatty matter (excepting butter and margarin, which come under a special ruling) must
bear a label indicating exactly their nature and composition. For a mixture of fatty matters
of various natures, this label may, however, be replaced by one bearing the inscription, " mixed



•Printed in Consular Rbports No 193 (October, 1896), p. 275.



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NOTES. 433

fats." Each receptacle (barrel, bucket, jar, or tub) in which fats other than lard (butter and
margarin) are exposed for sale or delivery shall bear a label as above described, printed in
plain and distinct characters, stating nature of commodity, as well as name or firm name and
address, or mark of manufacturer or seller. A similar label must also be affixed to recepta-
cles in which the goods in question are delivered to buyers or transported for sale or delivery.

Lard and other edible fats containing more than I per cent of water or any other foreign
matter whatever, apart from fatty substance, can not be exposed for sale, held or transported
for sale without a label bearing the words *• aqueous," " salt," showing the presence of foreign
matter.

It is absolutely prohibited to sell, exf>ose for, hold, or transport for sale lard or other
edible fats containing mineral matter other than water, salt, antiseptics, or glycerin, or that
may be spoiled or tainted, or prepared or imported in contravention to the regulations relative
to the meat trade.

It is also prohibited to sell, expose for sale, hold for sale or delivery in the same premises,
or in premises having communicating doors other than the public entrance, or to transport at
the same time in the same wagon or vehicle for sale or delivery, alimentary commodities and
fats not destined for food, but presenting a similarity to edible fats, unless the receptacles con-
taining the fats are labeled " fats, nonedible," indicating in plain characters that such fats are
not for alimentary use. Violations of these provisions are punishable by law.



United States Goods for New South Wales. — Under date of November 23,
1896, Consul Bell, of Sydney, says:

I have made inquiry among various mercantile firms, with a view to
giving information relative to American trade affairs. We do not get our
share of the boot and shoe trade, though many people here like American
footwear. Some responsible dealers have said to me: ** Your people do
not manufacture for our trade. As a rule, American boots are too narrow,
too short, and too small, considering the number. They do not study our
tastes or wants; their boots do not fit; the prices are high." My own
notion is, that our best foot wear is not brought to this market, and that if
the tastes of the people were studied, we could easily secure fully half the
trade.

Some textile dealers tell me: **Your widths are not suitable for our
markets and too often the colors are unsubstantial. They lack solidity and
firmness." This applies to cottons only, as I think the dealers here know
little of our woolens. Some dry goods men tell me: **You stay by your
patterns too short a time; you change your styles too often. We buy a cer-
tain style of goods that we can sell and, after ordering, a different kind of
pattern comes and we are told it is better, etc.; but we must be the choosers
of what we buy. ' ' Some firms tell me : ** Your people do not pack properly,
or keep goods up to sample or agreement. We get a trade and a certain
class of goods, and a poorer class comes to fill the order. Too often they
fail of uniformity. Our people change slowly and must know what they are
buying."

As a rule, machinery and implement dealers are well satisfied both with
goods and with the business methods of our people. I think our implement



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434 NOTES.

dealers have been very honorable and have high reputations for promptness
and fair dealing.

We should have a better trade in saws, files, cutlery, and shelf hardware.
The quantity of our goods in this market is not what the reputation of these
goods would indicate or deserve. Of files, we have a very small trade ; most
of those come from Sheffield.

As this is one of the strongest competitive points on the globe, goods of
all kinds should be first class. Tools for all kinds of wood machinery should
be of superior temper, as Australian timbers are very hard.

We should have a good trade in safes of the better kind, though it would
take some patience to work up the trade.



American Sugar of Milk in Europe. — The milk-sugar manufacturers of
Germany, says Consul Germain, of Zurich, under date of January 9, 1897,
petitioned their Government recently to impose a protective duty upon their
product. The imperial Treasury Department returned the petition with the
information that the request could not be granted for the reason that the free
entry of sugar of milk was protected by a treaty which would not expire
until the end of 1903. The petition was worded about as follows:

In former years and as late as 1890, Switzerland alone supplied the demand for milk sugar
in the world's markets, the best customer being the United States (consuming about three-
fourths of the entire production), Germany producing just about enough to supply the home
demand, but, of such a poor quality, however, that its consumption was necessarily limited.

The prohibitive American tariff of 1890 (8 cents per pound, and, since 1894, 5 cents per
pound) brought about a great revolution in our industry. Protected and encouraged by this
high tariff, the manufacture of sugar of milk developed rapidly in America, thereby excluding
all of the foreign product, throwing the entire Swiss article upon the European markets and
causing the German producers great loss and inconvenience, because, while other countries
(Italy and Austria) protected themselves by tariff legislation, Germany concluded a commercial
treaty with Italy and Austria, whereby sugar of milk was allowed to enter the German Em-
pire free of duty for a period of twelve years, and w^hich, under the favored- nation clause,
made Germany the common dumping ground for all the other countries manufacturing this
article.

The results are obvious. The German milk-sugar industry had to fight against the lowest
of prices, but, notwithstanding, an increased consumption, brought about by great improve-
ments in quality, has made steady progress, so that at the Columbian Exposition at Chicago
in 1893 Germany was the only country to receive an award for the excellence of its sugarof-
milk exhibit.

In the meantime, protected by a high tariff and good prices at home, the American indus-
try increased its production to such an extent that it is now able not only to compete, but
undersell all foreign competitors in the European markets, and especially in Germany, where
its product, under the favored nation clause, is admitted free.

Three American milk-sugar concerns, through their Berlin and Hamburg agents, are offer-
ing to the German trade, in any desired quantity, sugar of milk at from no to 120 marks
per 100 kilograms ($27.50 to $^0 per 220.46 pounds) delivered, which means a further decline
in prices for the Germans and the unavoidable disastrous consequences incident thereto.

The more the American imports gain footing, the harder it will be in the future to exclude
them from Germany.



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NOTES. 435

To illustrate the decline of Swiss milk-sugar exports to all countries, I
would add that in 1890 they footed up 1,662 metric centals, worth |6o,ooo,
but since have decreased to such an extent that in 1895 the export figures
were only 980 metric centals (98 long tons), worth 125,800.

The former export to the United States (in 1890, valued at J 14,000) has
almost completely ceased.



Proposed Exhibit of United States Goods at Stuttgart — Consul Johnson,
of Stuttgart, writes, under date of January 8, 1897:

Mr. Hermann Weissenburger, of Cannstatt, requests me to call the at-
tention of United States manufacturers and shippers to the fact that on July
4 next he proposes to open in this city a museum for the exhibition of
American products. Being convinced such a museum might be of much
material benefit to United States exporters, I herewith beg to give notice of
his undertaking. Mr. Weissenburger assures me that as soon as he has one
hundred American houses to represent he will give his entire time to the
undertaking. Mr. Weissenburger, while personally unknown to me, is well
spoken of, but, while assuring him of my interest in the object, I have informed
him he must be prepared to give the best of references to the United States
business world before he can expect business houses to enter heartily into his
undertaking.



American Bicycles in Ireland. — Under date of February 5, 1897, Consul
Ashby, of Dublin, says:

A cycle show was held at the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society, Balls-
bridge, Dublin, from the i6th to the 23d of January, at which was exhibited
everything that pertains to cycles and cycling generally. The show, besides
being a success, was especially interesting on account of the opportunity it
afforded of a comparison of American and British cycles, and as giving an
index of the proportion of American competition in these markets. As
both British and American machines were shown in most cases by the local
agents, the cycles were exhibited side by side and the difference in construc-
tion, fittings, and finish accentuated.

About six hundred and fifty machines were exhibited. Of these, 90 per
cent were of British construction and the remainder (with the exception of
eleven of French make, which closely resembled the American) were of Ameri-
can manufacture. There was a striking difference in construction and fit-
tings between the American and British bicycles, the higher crank bracket
and correspondingly higher seat and longer steering head of the former being
a strong contrast to the dropped crank bracket and short steering head of
the latter. But the most important differences were in the fittings. The
American machines, with a few notable exceptions, had wooden rims, with
single-tube tires, a plain steel brake, small, hard saddle, and, often, wooden
handle bars; while the British machines had detachable tires fitted to steel



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436 NOTES.

rims (hollow in the best grades), a rubber-lined brake, large, springy saddle
and steel handle bars. But what struck one most was the difference in mud
guards, the short, narrow and almost useless wooden guards on American
machines (when they had even these) forming a striking contrast to the
ample steel or celluloid mud guards used on all the British machines intended
for road riding.

It seems remarkable that our manufacturers of bicycles do not attempt
to fit the machines they export to suit the tastes and necessities of those for
whose patronage they desire to compete. Why they consider it a necessity
to fit useless mud guards to machines intended for use in a cotmtry where it
rains on an average two hundred and twenty-nine days every year is hard
to understand. There is no necessity to change the design of our machines
nor to fit steel rims in place of wood, as in time the public will become ac-
customed to them, but short, narrow, useless guards will meet with disap-
proval as long as mud remains.

I am indebted to Mr. Piatt, vice and deputy consul, for the materials of
this report.



Bicycles in Germany in 1897. — Consul Monaghan, of Chemnitz, writes,
under date of February 10, 1897:

Germany's bicycle business in 1897 is to beat all previous records.
Great preparations are being made to meet enormous demands ; most of the
factories that failed last year to meet demands have dqubled capacity and
output. Estimates say that each large concern, and of these there are a great
many in the Empire, will deliver 20,000 to 40,000 wheels. Although orders
up to capacity, for delivery in 1897, have been booked, the demands for
good wheels is increasing every day. One company near Nuremberg
sends away weekly eight double car loads, or 1,000 wheels. If an effort is
made to get a good, fair-priced American wheel on this market, say one
worth from J50 to J 75. a big business can be built up. A |ioo wheel won't
do it, and any effort to j;ush such or to put them on the Empire's markets,
except in certain circles of Berlin, Breslau, Dresden, Frankfort, etc., will
fail. Good, light, substantial, neatly finished wheels at ^50 to $75 will sell.
Freights to Hamburg or Bremen can be easily ascertained in New York ;
freights from Bremen or Hamburg to Chemnitz average 3.90 marks (93
cents) per 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds). Duties: Polished, finished, per
100 kilograms (220.46 pounds), 10 to 20 marks ($2.38 10^4.75); with parts
of wood, 6 marks. I may say that no article in the long list of those taxed
is so indefinitely dealt with as bicycles. Whether a purpose lies l)ehind this
fact, I can not say. Duties, however, are not high in any sense of the word.
That they are in no v/ay protective is demonstrated by the number of wheels
that come from England and other countries. A bicycle-lamp factory near
Chemnitz is to turn out 200,000 lamps or lanterns in 1897. Shops for parts
are as busy as they can be. Five years ago, the most sanguine had no idea
of such enormous development. One concern in this city, that four years



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NOTES. 437

ago had forty or fifty hands, has hundreds now. The best way to work this
market, it seems to me, would be to send parts and put them together over
here, thus saving enormously in freight rates.



Trade'inarks of American Bicycles in Germaay. — Consul General de Kay,
of Berlin, under date of January 28, 1897, says:

Having heard from sources in which I place confidence, viz, from Mr.
Eugene Westermann, an importer of American bicycles and agent for various
American articles, and from the Hamburg agents of a bicycle manufacturer
in the United States, that certain persons in Berlin propose to take out
patents or copyrights on the trade-marks of as many American bicycles as
are as yet unprotected by the law for Schutzmarken, I have encouraged Mr.
Westermann to anticipate them by taking out such trade-mark patents in
his own name. The patent office here does not inquire whether the appli-
cant has a right to a trade-mark or whether articles bearing such trade-
mark have been sold; it merely looks to see if the mark is original, that
is, has not been already taken out in Germany. I understand, further, that
there is no redress for owners of foreign trade-marks who find that some one
has taken out a patent on their trade-mark in Germany. The German
patentee can prevent the sale of goods so marked in Germany unless the
foreign manufacturer makes terms with him. Mr. Westermann has agreed
to cover all bicycle trade-marks of which he has knowledge, with the ex-
ception, of course, of a few firms that have been already warned and have
taken steps to protect their mark. So far, I learn of but three that are so
protected, viz, the Columbia, Cleveland, and Standard. Mr. Westermann



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 60 of 82)