John Lord Hayes National Association of Wool Manufacturers.

The awards and claims of exhibitors at the International exhibition, 1876 ... online

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instructive, at the Exhibition. Four years ago, the dyers of
Paterson held that it was impossible to perfectly dye pure black
silks in their establishments, on account of supiK)sed defects in
the water of the place. A dye is now given in black dress
silks fully equal to the celebrated black dyes of St. Chaumond,
near Lyons. The American dyers of black silks refrain from
the reprehensible practice of European manufacturers of heavily



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8ILK AND BILK FABRICS. 413

weighting their black silks by means of chemicals. It is said
that the average of French black silks are weighted as high as
one hundred per cent. The weighting may be carried, without
detection by the eye, as high as three hundred per cent ; but
very brief wear reveals the deception. It is by no means claimed
that there is higher morality on the part of American manufac-
turers. But the sins of the producer for a domestic market fly
back to him so promptly and certainly, in the form of reclama-
tions, that interest alone compels honest fabrication.

" Dyeing," said the immortal Colbert, ^ is the soul of tissues,
without which the body could scarcely exist.*' This is especially
true of silks : the attainment of the arts of perfect dyeing is the
overcoming of the last obstacle to a successful manufacture.
Fashion, constant only in change, is perpetually varying her
demand for new colors, hues, and tones. «She is inexorable even
as to the most delicate shades. A ribbon or dress silk may be-
come absolutely unsalable, at any moment, by a change of fashion.
Hence the advantages which Paterson enjoys in the perfection
of her dyeing establishments, and of a taste instructed by a
vicinage to the great metropolis. The taste of the present times,
it may be observed, demands the almost exclusive use of aniline
dyes in colored silks. They are more vivid and enduring on silk
than on any other raw material, and, though still comparatively
fugitive, are no more so than the fashions. Black, brown, and
drab are almost the only colors for which anilines are not used.

To recur to the more general features of the silk industry of
Paterson. Its importance is shown by the facts obtained from
the report of its Board of Trade of 1876 : number of opera-
tives, eight thousand ; amount of silk used each week, nine thou-
sand pounds ; number of ribbon manufacturers, eight ; number
of broad-silk factories, six; and about one hundred and fifty
band-looms, worked by men in their own homes. Most of the
spinners use their own silks. The average wages of men weavers
per week, fifteen dollars ; women and boys, seven dollars. The
value of the total production yearly is about six million dollars.
We have dwelt at length upon the silk industry of this city,
because it is representative of its class. Important manufao-



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414 SILK AND SILK FABBICS.

tones of woven silks, broad goods, and ribbons, are found in
AVest Hoboken and Union, in New Jersey, and in New York
City : such as those of Herman Simon, in Union ; Giveniaud
Brothers, in West Hoboken ; John N. Steams & Co., and J.
Silbermann & Co., in New York City, &c. All the silk manu-
facturing establishments of New York and New Jersey , including
those of Paterson, may be said to be manufacturing apfiendages
of the city of New York. The manufacturers nearly all have
their warehouses and partners in the city, or visit it daily, and
the goods are despatched each day to the city sale-rooms. Some
were originally importers of silk goods ; others still continue im-
porting in connection with their manufacturing operations. Thus
a knowledge of the wants of the trade, of the changes of fashions,
of the coming styles, is secured, which would be unattainable
except through the influences of a great metropolis. That im-
porters should become domestic manufacturers is a tribute to the
excellence of home manufacture. The papers of the day furnish
a significant tribute of this kind, in an advertisement of the great
importing firm of A. T. Stewart & Co. of American silks of
their own fabrication in the city of New York.

A few words may be given to some of the improvements
made in the silk fabrication, which may be observed in the
centre of manufacture now under review. Machinery for
throwing has recently been introduced at Paterson, by which
a spindle which formerly made three thousand five hundred
revolutions per minute now makes seven thousand, doing its
work as well as that more slowly revolving. It is claimed that
these machines, some of which contain nearly seven hundred spin-
dles, are capable of producing double the amount of work per
spindle that can be done with the largest European frames ;
and that they can be managed by two attendants, one on each
side. Winding, which ten years ago cost by piece-work one
dollar per pound, costs now forty-five cents ; the girls earning
more than at old prices before the improvements. A new
Swiss machine, just introduced, reduces the cost of warping
from ten cents to five cents. The old machines, moved by hand,
contained eighty bobbins ; the new one, moved automatically,



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SILK AND SILK FABRICS. 415

contains three hundred. A new loom for weaving hat ribbons
makes two hundred and fifty shots in a minute : each loom is
independent, making from thirty-six to fifty yards per day, and
one girl tends eight looms.

But the most notable improvement is the absolutely success-
ful achievement of weaving the very highest class of dress
gros-grains, black and colored, by power. This has been ac-
complished by the Messrs. Simon, at Union, N. J., about fifteen
miles from Faterson. Mr. Simon, educated as a civil engineer
in the technical schools of Europe, has combined the various
improvements observed by him abroad and in this country into
an automatic loom ; upon wliich, with the attendance of a boy
of twelve or fourteen years old, sixteen yanls of broad gros-
grain silks may be woven per day, — the cost being eleven cents
per yard. The production of eighty looms in this establish-
ment has this average. We are assured that no first-class
goods are woven abroad by power. These goods can iherefure
be made more cheaply here than at Lyons. These looms, with
their products, won the admiration of our associate, Mr. Geb-
hard, who remarked '"that he had never seen such goods made
upon power-looms, and had no idea that such work could be
performed automatically."

Stlk BmidSf Trimmings^ and Laces. — This department of
the silk manufacture employed in 1876 two thousand seven
hundred and fifty-three operatives : more than three-fifths were
women. The founder of this branch of industry in the United
States — if, indeed, he may not claim to be the pioneer of the
industry as a whole — was William H. Ilorstmann, who, having
learned the trade of silk-weaving in France, established himself
in Piiiladelphia, in 1815, as a manufacturer of silk trimmings.
In 1S24, he introduced from Germany the use of plaiting or
braiding machines ; and, in 1825, the use of the first Jacquard
loom employed in this country. By means of the various im-
provements introduced by him and his successors (his sons and
grandsons), the house of William II. Ilorstmann & Sons has
become one of the largest in the silk manufacture now exist-



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416 SILK AND SILK FABRICS.

ing in this country. Its vast warehouses and sale-rooms in
Philadelphia bewilder the eye with the number and variety of
its fabrics ; including, indeed, the whole range of narrow textile
fabrics, — bindings, braids, fringes, dress trimmings, coach and
military equipments, theatrical goods, gold and silver laces, and
embroideries. Two other large houses in Philadelphia, viz.,
J. C. Graham and Ilensel, Colladay, & Co., vie with the older
house in the production of this class of goods. Tlieir houses
were established about 1850. These manufacturers have most
contributed to give Philadelphia its reputation as the chief seat
of the general manufacture of trimmings in the United States.
In New York, the present house of J. MaidhofT & Co. was
established in the manufacture of dress trimmings in 1849.
In this city, Louis Franke is also prominently identified with
the manufacture of silk fringes, cords, and tassels. In Con*
necticut, Tobias Kohn, of Hartford, now President of the Nov-
elty Weaving and Braid Works, established the manufacture of
gimps, fringes, and tassels, as early as 1848. An expert in
this department of the silk fabrication observes that ** the home
manufacturers so fully supply the demands fur the dress*trimming
trade that there are very few colored dress and cloak trim-
mings imported. The variety of patterns for sale at the trim-
ming stores is so great that ladies find no difficulty in perfectly
matchino: the color of their dresses. While thus meetinof all
the requirements of taste, the American fringes and trimmings
are in general of the best material. Being made of pure silk,
they will usually outlast the garment they ornament. They
contrast in this respect with imported goods of similar appear-
ance, but made from inferior silk, and hence apt to fade by
exposure, or to wear out and fall off. Greater care in the pro-
cesses by which they are made has also contributed to the nota-
ble superiority of American trimmings."

The manufacture of silk laces by means of the most modem
and approved European machinery has been undertaken on a
large scale, with high success, by A. G. Jennings, of the Not-
tingham Lace Works, Brooklyn, N. Y; the machines made
in England having cost over one hundred thousand dollars.



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SILK AND SILK FABRICS. 417

The products of the works are principally silk guipure laces^ and
black thread and silk blonde laces for trimmingSy Brussels
spot-net and grenadine veilings, silk purling for trimmings^ and
Bilk-lace ties and scarfs. It is claimed that the lace goods are
superior to those ordinarily imported, from being made of pure
silk. The exhibit of these goods at Philadelphia received an
award for excellent fabrication, and for " illustrating an impor-
tant manufacture just introduced into the United States by the
exhibitor."

General Observations. — Having considered the character-
istics of the three leading departments of the silk manufacture
in this country, our remaining observations must apply to the
industry as a whole. It cannot be denied that the silk manu-
facture in this country enjoys some high advantages. The raw
material is iree of duty ; and can be obtained, certainly, as
cheaply by the American as by European manufacturers. In-
deed, the former have often the advantage of obtaining at
low prices the surplus stocks of Europe. The protective duties
on silk manufactures encounter but little popular prejudice,
as a revenue is thus obtained by taxing articles, principally of
luxury. Our sUk manufacturers have of late received very
favorable consideration from the revenue committees in Congress,
who have responded to all their reasonable demands. They thus
benefit by an ample and wisely arranged protection. That is
much less, however, in fact than it seems to be, — sixty per cent
— as the silk manufacture peculiarly suffers from foreign under-
valuations, estimated to be as high as thirty-three per cent, mak-
ing the actual protection not higher than forty per cent. It is
asserted that the higher protection given by the tariff of 1864,
viz. 9 an increase of twenty per cent, has not increased the prices
of g^oods to the consumers; the increased competition having
actually made the prices of goods lower under the increased
tariff. The silk industry, although subject to the high cost of
labor, rates of interest, and local taxation, which bear so heavily
upon all manufactures in this country, has been benefited by
the arts and inventions matured by our older textile industries,

63



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418 8ILK AND SILK FABRICS.

and by the general perfection of machinery secured by our
patent system. It is believed that, as a whole, our silk machi-
nery, in efficiency, is equal, and in some respects superior, to
that abroad. As to our fieibrics, first in acknowledged excel-
lence are our machine twists and sewing silks, articles of first
necessity in the manufacture of boots, shoes, and clothing, and
in the household economy of every home. The machine twists
are produced of such quality and at such prices as entirely to
prevent the importation of foreign twists, and sewing silks are
imported only to satisfy the lingering prejudice against domestic
productions. Our spun-silk fabrics have no foreign rivals, in
quality and prices. In ribbons, we supply two-thirds of the
demand of our own market, and in plain goods can fairly com-
pete in quality with the products of St. £tienne. In trimmings,
even with their infinite diversity, there is no article made abroad
which is or may not be reproduced here. In broad silks, each
of the last five years has seen the achievement of some new
fabric, advancing from millinery to dress silks, overcoming all
the difficulties of Jacquard weaving, and thence to brocade and
damask silks. Our manufacturers have in the last year seen
accomplished, on a large scale, the fabrication of colored and
black gros-grain dress silks, which are pronounced, not by the
makers but by rival manufacturers, to be absolutely equal in
quality, while cheaper in price, to the very best imported silks.
We are still, however, far from the position in the silk manu-
facture to which we should aspire. In the higher fabrics, we
are wanting in originality and a national character of design.
The widest field for artistic work, that of the fabrication of up-
holstery stuffs, is almost wholly unexplored. We have made
no bolting cloths, have done but little in velvets, and still allow
the silk plushes for hats (so enormously consumed here) to be
made abroad. With all the excellences of our machinery, we
are too dependent upon foreign workmen for skill in manipula-
tion. Technical and art schools which shall develop native taste
and skill, can alone give a national character to the higher
fabrics of this industry.
These general observations cannot be more appropriately



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SILK AND SILK FABRICS.



419



closed than by a summaiy of the American production as fur-
nished by that model industrial institution, — the Silk Association
of America : —

VALUE OF PRODUCTS, CLASSIFIED BY ARTICLES, MANU-
FACTURED IN THE YEAR ENDING DEC. 81, 1876.



Tram . . .
Orgmniine . .
Spun Silk . .
Fringe Silk .
Floss SiUe. .
SeiringSilk .
Machine Twist
Drese Goods



Milline^ and Tie Silks . .
Women B and Men's Scarfs

Handkerchiefs

Foulards

Ribbons

Laces

Coach Laces

Veils and VeiUng . . . .

Silk Hose

Braids and Bindings . . .
Military Trimmings . . .
Upholstery Trimming . .
Ladles' Dress Trimmmgs .

ToUl products, 1876 .



Reeled Silk consumed
Spun Silk consumed .



Total SUk Threads . .
Consumed in sewings and twist
Consumed in wearing . . .



Ponnds.

1,144.860
140,000



1,284,860
651,811



788,049



Pounds.

869,182
184,667
140,000

88,862
5.488

82,895
468,916



1,284,860

Yalae.

$11,874,570
80o,000



12,679,570
7,262,519



$5,427,051



Value.

$2,768,490

1,614,961

805,000

208,172

85,428

951,460

6,801,059

1,850,585

1,679,166

119,946

927,000

472,000

4.526,556

220,000

24,500

16,518

8,200

315,000

28,000

526,036

3,705,076



26,598,108



12,679,570



$18,918,538



The American Exhibits of SUk. — Although much material
furnished by the Exhibition has been incorporated in the pre-
ceding pages, the features of the display of products of the silk
industry at the Exhibition demand a special notice.

The position accorded to the American silk exhibits was an
exceedingly advantageous one. Instead of being thrust on one
side or into a comery it had the post of honor at the east end



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420 SILK AND SILK FABRICS.

of the Main Building, on the central aisle ; and thus naturally
attracted the first attention of the visitors who made a sjste-
matio survey of the Exhibition. The show-cases in which the
goods were displayed exhibited the good taste so peculiarly
requisite in this industry. Although various in construction
and ornamentation, there was a general resemblance, which
gave agreeable unity to the display. Inside the cases, some
of the goods (as those of spooled silk) were arranged in archi*
tectural devices, giving the effect of towers, domes, and arches.
In others, the richness of fabrics alone sufficed to give bril-
liancy to the displays. The arrangement of the dyed silks
so as to give prismatic effects was peculiarly attractive. No
visitor could fail to feel, that, if this exhibit had been wanting,
the American display of textiles would have lost its chief
charm, and American patriotism one great source of its com-
placency. In Machinery Hall, and in the Women's Pavilion,
different processes of the silk manufacture were illustrated, on a
large scale, by several different manufacturers. The actual
operations of reeling, twisting, spooling, and weaving, — in
some cases by the Jacquard attachment, — gave delight and
instruction to curious throngs. The newest American machinery,
— especially the " two-decker " spinning-frame, constructed by
the Danforth Locomotive and Machine Company, containing
winder, doubler, spinner, and reeler in one — attracted the
admiration of experts.

These exhibits were equally surprising to foreign visitors and
our own people. High tributes to these exhibits have already
come back to us from abroad : the French publicist, Jules
Simonin; the Swiss Commissioner-General at the Exhibition;
and a well-instructed writer in a paper published in Macclesfield,
the head-quarters of the English silk industry, — having pointed
out the exhibits at Philadelphia as proofs of the competition
which their countrjrmen must expect in this country.

Having given the names of the principal foreign exhibitors in
this department, we cannot do less for our own countrymen.
In describing the exhibits, to avoid any possibility of error, the
writer has adopted substantially the language of the official



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SILK AND BILE FABRICS. 421

awards. The exhibitors are grouped according to the depart-
ments they pursue ; and are named irrespectively of merit, —
no numerical scale of excellence being admitted by the rules of
the Exhibition : —



J. H. Hatden & Son, Windsor Locks, Conn. — Slack and mediam

twisty of great brilliancy, strength, and regularity.
M. HsHiNWAT A Son, TVatertown, Conn. — Machine and sewing

silks, perfect in quality of material, color, and workmanship.
Holland MANUFAcruRTNa Co., Willimantic, Conn. — Machine twist
and sewing silks ; highly meritorious for the excellent quality of raw
material, and the preparation for the various purposes.
Seayet, Foster, & Bowman, Boston, Mass. — Sewing silks, of

great uniformity and general excellence.
Beldimg Bros. A Co, Rockville, Conn. — Machine and sewing silks,
of good color, strength, smoothness, and quality.

Acs, Hackenburo, & Co, Philadelphia, Pa. — Sewing and embroid-
ery silks, meritorious for great beauty and brilliancy of color ;
button-hole twist and saddler's silk highly conunendable.

NoNOTUOK Silk Company, Florence, Mass. — Sewing silks and ma-
chine twist ; great superiority as to strength and regularity, evincing
extreme care in the manufacture.

S. M. Mbtenbbro, Paterson, N. J. — Millinery silks and upholstery
satins, of superior quality and finish ; ladies' scarfs of excellent color
and design.

John N. Stearns & Co^ New York City. — Brocade silks, of superior
styles and quality ; twilled silks, well made, and meritorious in every
respect.

DcxTER, Lambert, & Co., Paterson, N. J. — Millinery silks, well
made, and of good colors ; brocade silks, of excellent manufacture.

Chenet Brothers, Hartford and South Manchester, Conn. — Spun
ailk, in every form, perfectly manipulated ; piece goods and ribbons
made thereof evincing a high degree of excellence.

New York Woven Label Manufacturing Co., New York. —
Woven silk labels and fae-simile of signature of Declaration of
Independence, of good execution.

Frbdebic Baare, Paterson, N. J. — Black figured silks, made in an
improved and superior manner; millinery goods, of good manu-
facture.

HAHtL A BooTHy Paterson, N. J. — Figure, dress, and millinery



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422 SILK AND SILK FABRICS.

silks, plain satins, serges, and silk ribbons, of excellent mana&ctare
and material.

Werner, Itschner, & Co., Philadelphia. — Faille, fiwcy, and Jaoquard
ribbons, of very good manufacture both as to color and oombination
of material.

B. B. Tilt & Son. — Brocade silks and handkerchiefs, of superior
quality and workmanship.

William Strange & Co., Paterson, N. J. — Plain and &ocy rib-
bons, of good materials, well made in every respect ; silk and millin-
ery ribbons of great beauty and superior quality.

Louis Franke, New York. — Silk fringes, dress trimmings, and
tassels, of the best material, excellent in style and manu£M^ture.

ScTRO Brothers, New York. — Braids of great regularity and ex-
cellent manufacture.

Dale Manufacturing Coiipant, Paterson, N. J. — Silk and mohair
braids, fancy cords and trimmings, of great beauty and excellent
workmanship.

William H. Horstmann & Sons — Dress, carriage, and upholstery
trimmings, of great excellence and beauty in style, material, and
execution.

A. 6. Jennings, Nottingham Lace Works, Brooklyn, N. Y. —
Guipure, cashmere, and other lace and trimmings and net goods,
of excellent fabrication.

Weidmann & Greppo, Paterson, N.J. — Black and colored dyed
silk, compares well with the production of the best European estab-
lishments.

Exhibits of American Cocoons a7id Raw Silk. — Although
we have waived the consideration of the foreign products of raw
silk, the only two American exhibits of this material were so
interesting and instructive that they deserve an extended
notice. While the silk culture has ceased in all the older
States, it has recently been attempted, with sanguine hopes of
success, in California and Kansas.

The planting of mulberries for the feeding of silk-worms
was first undertaken at San Jose, California, in 1856, by M.
Prevost, a botanist from Normandy, France; but the public
attention was then so occupied with gold mining that the trees
were unsalable, and M. Prevost abandoned their culture. A
small number of trees was also planted by a Swiss gentleman, —



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SILK AND SILK FABRICS. 423

M. Mueller, of San Jose, — who, in 1861, imported a few silk-
worm eggs. The worms raised were fed upon the trees before
planted, and the results obtained were so excellent as to revive
the interest of M. Prevost, who recommenced the planting of
mulberries and raising of silk-worms, which he continued until
the time of his death, in 1869 ; he having in the mean time dis-
tributed silk-worm ^gs, gratuitously, to persons in various
parts of the State. The interest in sericulture became thus so
general in the State that the legislature of California provided
bylaw that a bounty of $250 should be paid for every 5,000
newly planted mulberry trees, and $300 for every 100,000
cocoons produced in California. The object of the law was
defeated by the planting by speculators, for the bounty, of
several millions of the worthless multicaulis mulberry, and the
law was repealed. In 1866, Mr. Joseph Neumann, of German
birth, imported machinery for the fabrication of silk, and in-
vented a reeling-machine for winding the raw silk irom the
cocoons. In 1867, he reeled the first skein of raw silk pro-
duced in California. In 1869, he produced 130 pounds of raw
silk, and made from it two large flags, — one of which he pre-
sented to the State, and the other to the National Government.
Meeting, like most pioneers, with but little commercial success
in the attempts to manufacture silk, he finally abandoned the
fabrication for the production and reeling of raw silk. His very
large exhibit of cocoons and raw silk, and his exhibition of
worms feeding and in different stages of growth, attracted
great interest, and received irom the expert judges the following
award : ^ A very good collection of cocoons and raw silk, of a
variety of races, highly commendable for the successful attempts



Online LibraryJohn Lord Hayes National Association of Wool ManufacturersThe awards and claims of exhibitors at the International exhibition, 1876 ... → online text (page 34 of 48)